Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Mosaic: Land, Sea and Air

curated by Sharon Fischer/Stray Notions

1. Little Bunny, 4"x4" photoprint. great for a child's room, by KHawkins Photography
2. Koi - goldfish - embroidered pendant necklace, by Stray Notions
3. Original collage with encaustic and upcycled materials, by Jessica Burko
4. Dog Collar in Aww Nuts an Exclusive Design, by Cody's Creations
5. Bronze Viking Turtle brooch - Single, by Prunella's Workshop
6. Sterling Silver Dragonfly Silhouette Pendant with CZs by Cristina Hurley

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What a day it was! Boston Handmade at Jamaica Plain Open Studios 2013

And what a weekend it was! This year marked the 20th anniversary of Jamaica Plain Open Studios and Boston Handmade was representing all over town including at a group site on Eliot Street in my parents' yard! The weather was gorgeous and the crowds were steady all day both days. We had a fantastic time hanging out in the sunshine, chatting with visitors and selling our work. A good time was had by all and I'm looking forward to next year already!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Why Handmade: Old Friends, New Friends

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’sWorkshop

Saying goodbye is always bittersweet, especially when we know our friends and compatriots are on their way to new exciting adventures. So it is with heavy heart, Boston Handmade says goodbye to one of our own, as Karen Mahoney of City By the Sea Ceramics moves on. She has a wonderful opportunity to move to Oregon, where she will continue on making beautiful ceramic pottery.

Hokusai Tea Bowl by City By the Sea Ceramics
Please join with me, as I wish Karen all the luck and happiness in her future endeavors. She is an amazing artist, and I am positive she will find success where ever she goes. I actually first encountered Karen before I joined Boston Handmade. Her husband was selling her work at StART at the Station, in Worcester, MA. My intention had not been to purchase anything, but rather to scope out the venue to determine if I wanted to be a vendor there in the future. However, City By the Sea Ceramics was selling yarn bowls, and after a brief demonstration, I was positive this was an item my mother needed as a holiday gift. Imagine my delight, when I finally got to meet the artist behind the piece!

Yarn Bowl by City By the Sea Ceramics

Though Karen’s sense of humor could never be replaced, I am pleased to also welcome our new friend, Laurie Lynn of Beryllina. While we have not had the opportunity to meet in person, I know we will have plenty to talk about, as Laurie Lynn is a metal smith who hand crafts high quality jewelry utilizing certified recycled silver, gold, and platinum and stones mined in the United States. She has even mined some of her stones herself.

recycled sterling silver dogwood ring by Beryllina

We are glad to have Laurie Lynn as our newest member, and hope that you will check out her beautiful art. Perhaps she will even play a little blue grass for us!

Colorado amethyst agate and Montana sapphire recycled sterling silver pendant by Beryllina

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Mosaic: Red White and Blue

curated by Jessica Burko

Hey Boston! Show your red, white, and blue by voting tomorrow: Tuesday, September 24.
Find your polling location here:

Handmade items above were created by:
Lush Beads, Moon man beaded necklace
City by the Sea Ceramics, White Mug
The Patterned Peacock, Bird Cage Art Print
Abagail Leigh Handbags, iPad 2 & 3 case sleeve cover
Lush Beads, Bridal cuff
K. Hawkins Photography, Schwinn Bike seat photo print

Friday, September 20, 2013

Why Handmade: Cristina Hurley Gallery

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

In the heart of Canton, Massachusetts there is an unassuming storefront called the Cristina Hurley Gallery. If you are not careful, you might drive or walk right by, but if you dare to enter you will find absolute magic.

photo by Cristina Hurley

That was what I experienced this last past weekend, when I had the joy of having a trunk show in Cristina’s shop. Potential customers would enter, and begin perusing the various handmade merchandise, created by artists and craftspeople in Massachusetts. They were always quiet at first, but by the time they made their purchase they were part of the family. It seemed near impossible to not get roped in to the infectious laughter permeating through the room. Whether the important topic of conversation was the Muppets or Pandora’s music selection, it seemed customers had something to add and felt comfortable joining in on the fun.

Lynn Mohney getting a little silly at the Cristina Hurley Gallery; photo by Cristina Hurley

Cristina Hurley Gallery may be the dream of one woman, the feeling of family and community was. Cristina’s mother and sister stopped in frequently, and with them a feeling of warmth and happiness. Cristina’s employee is the mother of a mutual friend and member of Boston Handmade. Members of Boston Handmade created the majority of the work showcased in Cristina’s shop.

photo by Cristina Hurley

Cristina’s jeweler’s bench is located right in the store, in the back corner, where anyone could walk in off the street and actually watch her own work come to life. This, of course, was a natural place for me to gravitate, being a metal smith myself. Cristina immediately apologizes that her work area is messy, but it was anything but chaos. Everything had its reason for being right where it was, and what was more fascinating, their reasons for being where they were was similar to my own organization!

Cristina Hurley's bench - photo by Cristina Hurley

If you are in Canton, you need to stop by. You will be greeted by people with laughter and fun in their hearts. Come see the exceptional art and craftsmanship in Cristina’s jewelry, or view the other creations her shop has to offer, from dog collars to photography to handbags. Cristina is waiting for you!

Cristina Hurley Gallery is located at 554 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Boston Handmade at the Jamaica Plain Open Studios

by Abby at Abigail Leigh Handbags

Jamaica Plain Open Studios is celebrating 20 years this Saturday, September 21st and Sunday, September 22nd from 11am to 6pm!!! There will be a wide range of artists throughout the town and a bike tour. A map can be found here along with more information. Among the artists that will be at Jamaica Plain Open Studios we have 7 Boston Handmade members selling their fabulous art, jewelry, pottery and yarn.

Jessica Burko will be at Red Sun Press, 94 Green Street

Lady Dye Fiber Arts will be at the Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts, 24 Eliot Street

It seems like Jamaica Plain is the place to be this weekend, don't miss it!! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Triumphant return of the Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery

We've been giddy with excitement here at Boston Handmade HQ about the unveiling of plans for our 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery, this year in Brookline Village!

3/8 Wide Collar for Cat or Tiny Puppy by Gallery Exhibitor Cody's Creations

A wide variety of unique items created in a range of media will be available during four action-packed weeks from Black Friday through Christmas Eve (November 29 - December 24), Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11am to 7pm. We've partner with PopUp Republic, a social media marketing company just for pop-up ventures, to create this holiday home for all things unique, high quality, locally made and handcrafted.

Fiber art weather map by Gallery Exhibitor Stray Notions

The 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery will be located in Brookline Village at 2 Brookline Place, directly across from the Brookline Village Green Line T stop. The Gallery will be brimming with limited edition and one-of-a-kind items including hand crafted jewelry, clothing, accessories, home goods, art, photography, holiday d├ęcor, and toys - - perfect for holiday gift giving!

Pleated handbag by Gallery Exhibitor Abigail Leigh Handbags

Gallery exhibitors will be available on a rotating basis to speak with shoppers about their handcrafted items on display and fine art and craft techniques. Our Holiday Gallery, as with all of our programming, promotes local independent businesses and individuals creating handmade works in small studios, and in addition to providing a retail venue for local artists and craftspeople we will also be scheduling hands-on craft activities throughout the month of December. 

Champagne Pearl Pendant on Handwoven Sterling Silver Chain by Gallery Exhibitor Linkouture
Let this exciting announcement be your call to make The 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery the first and last stop for your holiday shopping, and make 2013 the season of handmade!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Remember

Photograph by K. Hawkins Photography

Today is 9-11 and we remember. Wishes of peace go out to our neighbors, and those around the world living in conflict and fear.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Meet the Artist Series at Cristina Hurley Gallery featuring Lynn Mohney

On September 14th, 2013 from 12-5pm,  the Meet the Artist Series is returning to Cristina Hurley Gallery with Jewelry designer and Boston Handmade member Lynn Mohney! Lynn and her husband, Duane Mohney, create beautiful metal jewelry under the business name Prunella's Workshop.

Prunella's Workshop is a wife and husband family business that specializes in metal jewelry and clothing accessories inspired by the medieval and renaissance periods. They have a love of the past, and a fascination with the many similarities ancient jewelry has to the current fashion in jewelry.  Some of the work strives to be as authentic as possible to the period whence it originated; other pieces are mere inspirations from the past with a modern flair.  The pair have a great fondness for the oral tradition of fairy tales and folk lore, which they try to incorporate into their work. 

Lynn Mohney, the Designer, obtained a degree in graphic design in 1996 from Notre Dame College, and has various works in multi media; however, it was not until 2006, that she found her calling to work in precious metals. She discovered there was something truly empowering about taking a seemingly hard, inflexible substance, like  silver or copper, and easily manipulating and bending it to succumb to your will. As a result, Prunella's Workshop was born. In 2012, she was able to pursue metal working full time. Her partner in crime, Duane Mohney, fabricates many of Lynn's designs and is the caster as well for the occasional cast piece. Duane is a software engineer with a degree from Fitchburg State University.

Event info:
Meet the Artist Series
Lynn Mohney
Cristina Hurley Gallery
554 Washington Street
Canton, MA 02021
Join the Gallery's page on Facebook here for more information:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Mosaic: Fiber on my Mind

curated by Sharon Fischer/Straynotions

Its time for me to head to Fiber College so I thought I'd highlight our fiber artisans:
1. Orange Olive Brown Medallion Pleated Leigh Wallet Gaget Case, Abigail Leigh
2. Starburst- 220 yards of Peruvian Wool, Lady Dye Fiberarts

3. Tote bag - Giant Vintage Orange flowers and bouncy ball fringe, Stray Notions 
4. Silk Scarf, Snow Dyed, Black Rusty Browns, Hand Dyed, Enchanted Hue

Friday, September 6, 2013

Why Handmade: Photography Tips For Craftspeople

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

I am not, and probably never will be an expert in photography. I cannot tell you how to get better lighting in your pictures any more than I can tell you how to keep them focused. The automatic setting was designed with me in mind. However, as a graphic designer I can discuss what you want and do not want in your product photos.

First and foremost, keep your pictures simple. All too often I see pictures of product with fancy patterned backgrounds, propped on a wooden log, lying around with sand dollars and shells, etc. This detracts from the most important thing in your photograph – the item you wish to sell. It may be a lovely photograph, but you do not want someone to choose to not purchase your item because they hate the beach…unless of course you are selling handmade beach towels. A simple white, black, or grey background is usually sufficient.

Dog Collar by Cody's Creations

In most cases you want to choose a neutral toned background color. As noted above, black, white, or grey is nearly always appropriate, but a beige or a tan background can have its place as well. You do not want a color that washes out or alters the color of your item, especially if you want to sell it on line. A good test is to place your product on sheets of varying color. Take note as to whether the color of the product changes with that color; it will be subtle, but the hue will take on a slight change with only some colors. If you notice a difference, this is not a good background color.

While we are on the topic of color, which is exceptionally important, make sure that the end photograph closely matches the product. A customer may be very disappointed if something appears much different than what they expected, and color is something they will likely notice. Customers need to be prepared for some variation in tone due to differences in monitor screen; however, if you start with a photo that is near perfect in color variation it will be in turn closer to what the customer thought they were purchasing.

Sterling Silver 4 Point Star Orbit Bangle by Cristina Hurley

One more thing about color -  take the picture with different tones. More often than not, I have found my product does not look better or worse on a black or a white background, but it does look different. Various details will pop out better on one background than the other. We have two goals with our photos – we want to catch a customer’s eye and we want to give them a really accurate picture of what they are purchasing. Seeing your product on the two backgrounds will give the viewer more information. If the picture truly only works with one background, then discard the others.

Consider placement. No one is going to purchase your product if it appears far away and small in your photograph. Consider that I make and sell rings, which are very tiny items. The customer has a frame of reference for the size of the ring, but what they want to see the details. If the photo is a big wide open space of white with a little tiny ring in the middle, it will get lost and overlooked. Considering the number of people selling on sites such as Etsy, we cannot afford to be missed simply because the potential buyer couldn’t see what we were selling.

Take multiple views of three-dimensional objects, including close ups of interesting details. In two-dimensional work, take extreme close ups of areas in the work the viewer may want to get a better look at. For example, a face. If you are selling something functional such as a handbag, narrow in on areas that may be of concern for a customer, such as the way the strap connects to the purse, or whether there is a zipper.

Austrian Vintage set of Two Doilies Hand Crocheted, Hand Embroidered, Filligree Hand Dyed Denim Blue by Enchanted Hue

In some instances, it is appropriate to show the item in action. A sweater may better show it’s merits if it is being worn. Consider not showing the face of the model so that the focus is on the clothing and not the wearer. You want the customer to imagine her own face wearing it, not your best friend. A wine glass ornament may need to be depicted on a wine glass, but if you are not selling the wine glass, that should be made clear and you should also include photos with just the ornament. However, there are other times that showing the product is a detractor. For example, no one wants to buy the earrings you are wearing. I know, and you know, that you can and will change the French hooks before sending it to the customer, but they are not certain.

Silver Chainmaille Earrings with Purple Freshwater Pearls by Linkouture

Some products require propping so they can be seen. Rings and earrings come to mind. There are photo products out there that will hold your item and remain all but invisible to the camera. Ideally these are best as there is nothing to distract the eye. However, if these are not available, choose a way to hold your item that blends into the background.

Finally, make sure your product, and surfaces are ultra clean! No one wants to buy something that appears dirty.

What tips do you have for product placement in photographs?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The newest member of Boston Handmade: Beryllina

by Laurie Lynn of Beryllina

Ancient Life necklace made with Fossilized Coral from Iowa, Holly Blue Agate from Oregon, recycled sterling silver & 14K yellow gold on a handwoven recycled fine silver chain

BH: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Laurie Lynn: I grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, surrounded by nature, craft, and music. My mom taught me to quilt, which started me off on my handmade lifestyle. Both my parents play music, which inspired me to play the flute and banjo (a recent addition), and together with my husband who plays the mandolin, we enjoy having bluegrass jams on the lawn with my folks when we visit. Spending time outdoors is a necessity for me, be it hiking, kayaking, mining for crystals, or just soaking it all in. My husband and I just moved to Concord, so we are thrilled to finally be living in the woods (coming from Boston, it is a huge change!).

BH: How long have you been doing your artwork?
Laurie Lynn: I started fabricating jewelry shortly after I moved to California in 2004, when I took a beginner’s metalsmithing class with a friend from the bead store where I worked. I immediately fell in love, and started accumulating the equipment I needed to work from home. When I moved to MA in 2008, I continued to dabble in metalsmithing as a hobby, until I heard about the North Bennet Street School. Straightaway I knew it was the place for me. I enrolled in their 18 month jewelry making program so I could learn the real foundations of jewelry making and make jewelry of the high quality I desired. Nine months after graduating from the program I left my office manager job to pursue my art and business (named Beryllina) full time.

Spearmint ring made with Green Tourmaline from Maine and recycled sterling silver

BH: Describe your work.
Laurie Lynn: I hand craft all of my jewelry using certified recycled silver, gold, and platinum, and stones that are mined in the United States, some of which I’ve mined myself. My jewelry is unique in style, and blends ancient traditional techniques with a more modern earth-inspired feel, often showcasing beautiful American gemstones or minerals. It is necessary to me to produce jewelry that I can feel good about, not just aesthetically and in terms of quality, but also morally and ethically, which is why I only use recycled precious metals and gemstones that were mined in the U.S.

BH: Why should people buy handmade?
Laurie Lynn: It’s really important to buy handmade, not just to support artists, but to help encourage an economy built on intention, pride in craftsmanship, and American-made, high quality, durable, creative products. I think making purchases selectively and having fewer, but more inspiring, possessions, rather than many mass-produced items would be beneficial all around.

Nefertiti earrings made with Nephrite Jade from Big Sur, CA and recycled sterling silver

BH: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Laurie Lynn: In ten years I’d like to still be working hard in my studio, creating jewelry that is well crafted, all American, and eco-friendly. I would like to be doing juried art shows throughout the Northeast and have an expanded base of clientele who appreciate my work. I’d also like to have a pot-bellied pig to keep me company in the studio. :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Workspace Wednesday: Cody's Creations

by Kerrie Beck of Cody's Creations

"I moved into my new studio in June of this year in Natick Center.  I love having a space to create, and have customers drop in and visit.  But, the part I love most?  I love watching the hustle and bustle out my window as I am sewing.  It is such a contrast from my home studio where all I would be able to watch is the occasional squirrel scurrying along the yard."

Check out Cody's Creations at:
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