Friday, November 29, 2013

Opening Day of the 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery

Today is the day! We open our 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery today, November 29th, at 11am and we couldn't be more excited! We'll be open for holiday shopping and handmade happiness Tuesdays through Fridays from now through December 24th at 2 Brookline Place (entrance on Pearl Street, across from the Brookline Village T station), Brookline, MA 02445.
Gallery goods pictured above: onesie by Egg-A-Go-Go, ceramics by Early Bird Designs, hand-dyed yarn and felted scarves by Lady Dye Fiber Arts

For one month we are showcasing the region's most talented and creative artists and craftspeople while also engaging the community through workshops, events, and partnerships with other local organizations. Visit us in Brookline Village to shop, connect, and create. See you there!

Gallery goods pictured above: softies by Kitty Kitty Crafts, silk hand-painted scarves by Enchanted Hue, holiday cards by Kerry Hawkins Photography

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Handmade Thanksgiving

"Old Farm, Walpole, MA" by Kerry Hawkins Photography
Wishing everyone a happy handmade Thanksgiving!

On this day of thanks we want to say how much we appreciate our fans, followers, subscribers, and friends. You inspire us. Thank you for your many years of support for all that we do.

Sincerely, Boston Handmade

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Handmade for Kids: How to Make a Glass Votive Candle Holder

by Bev Feldman of Linkouture

These votive candle holders are super simple to make and would be a lovely handmade present for your child to make for family members and teachers (I still have one a student made me nearly seven years ago). They are glued and coated using Mod Podge, which makes an excellent glaze for multiple projects. 

Note: If your glass jars have labels on them, I have found soaking them in a bowl with hot water and soap for a couple hours makes it pretty easy to scrape the labels off. 

For this craft you will need the following:
  • An small empty glass jar, label removed and cleaned out
  • Tissue paper (hold onto that crinkled and torn tissue paper from presents!)
  • Mod Podge 
  • A sponge or foam paint brush*
  • A pair of scissors
  • A votive candle
*Don't have either a paint brush or spare sponge? Fingers work as well!

1. Cut the tissue paper into little square. Alternatively, younger children can tear it into pieces.

2. Using a sponge or a foam paintbrush, start to paint the Mod Podge onto the glass jar, doing a small section at a time. (You might want to pour a small amount of Mod Podge into a paper or plastic cup or plate for your child.)

3. Start gluing the tissue paper pieces onto to the glass jar. If the pieces are overlapping, more Mod Podge will need to be added so that the tissue paper is glued securely to the jar. Don't worry if the tissue paper bleeds. What matters most is that your child is having fun in the process!

4. Once the jar has been covered, allow the piece to dry for about 20 minutes, and then add one more coat of Mod Podge over the entire jar. Be sure to check that any pieces on the inside of the jar are firmly glued to the jar. You don't want any pieces of paper catching on fire when you light the candle!

5. Once the project has completely dried, place a votive candle inside the jar. Light and enjoy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Mosaic: Coffee and cake

curated by Sharon Fischer

1. Felted Wool Coffee Press Cosy - stylized roses, by Stray Notions
2. Neon, NYC 8x10 mated photoprint, by Kerry Hawkins Photography
3. Vintage Doily Hand Dyed Mushroom Colored, by Enchanted Hue
4. Baker's Kitchen Art Print, by The Patterned Peacock

Friday, November 22, 2013

Why Handmade: Special Edition; An Interview with Anne Thalheimer of My Monster Hat

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

Photo courtesy of Anne Thalheimer

Allow me to introduce Anne Thalheimer and her wonderfully zany Monster Hats. I have known Anne for 32 years, when we met in Charlene Twente’s second grade class. She was already a talented artist at the tender age of seven, and by the age of 9, Anne was creating her own comic book strips. Today,
this brilliant woman crafts fleece hats made to look like a variety of monsters, creates comic books, including a graphic novel, and referees roller derby, when she is not teaching in a variety of institutions from preschool to Yale University. It was an honor and a pleasure to cyber-interview Anne, and I hope everyone enjoys her work.

Tell us a little bit about your business.

My Monster Hat is a custom size and design hat company where I make crazy fun hats out of fleece, felt fangs, and lots of eyeballs.

How did you get started making monster hats?

I actually needed a fall hat, didn't like anything in the stores, and I'd just taught myself to sew. I made one -- I still have it, actually -- and started wearing it around town. A friend of mine saw it and said, Hey, can you make me one of those for Halloween? I did, and he wore it around, and people kept asking him where he'd gotten it. Then he started calling me every time someone did this, and so ... sure enough, the business was born.

How Sherlock Survived; A Speculative Guide - by Anne Thalheimer

I know you have been drawing comics a long time. Can you describe how they have evolved over the years?

My line work has become a great deal smoother and more confident -- the more I draw, the less choppy it looks. I actually released my first graphic novel over the summer, and I'm kind of amazed, looking through it, how smooth it all looks.

What You Don't Get - A graphic novel by Anne Thalheimer

What is your favorite part of running your business?

I love custom hat designs, when someone gets in touch with some really interesting idea, and how excited they are when I can actually take their ideas and concepts and turn those into a tangible (and warm!) thing!

Do you think people put more value in items that were made by hand?

I hope so! For me, it's important: knowing that I own something someone else created? That's kind of amazing, you know?

What is your favorite handmade item you own? Does it have a special story?

Something that I made, or something someone made for me? Actually, I guess both: my mom's a quilter, and she asked me to make her a bunch of flat monster heads, and didn't tell me why. So I made them and sent them off, and a couple of weeks later this quilt shows up at my house, that she's used one of my favorite fabric patterns to make (skeleton keys, and a zebra print -- I'm a roller derby ref on the side ---) and she's stitched the monster heads to them.

Zebra Pattern Fleece Monster Hat - photo courtesy of Anne Thalheimer

How do you feel about the quality of handmade items verses items that were mass produced?

It of course depends on the item, but I tend to think of "flaws" as quirks in handmade things and as faults in massmade things -- I like it when I can tell that something is one of a kind or handmade. I'm a little less excited about things that look identical.

Would you describe your family to be creative/handmade/artistic?

Sort of. My mom painted a lot when I was a kid and, ironically, made a lot of clothes for us. (The irony is that I didn't really learn to sew until I was an adult.)

How did you find your way into your art?

Needed a hat. I know! Less exciting...

Undead Green Fleece Zombie Hat - photo courtesy of Anne Thalheimer

Do you feel it is our responsibility as artists to pass along our skills and knowledge to future generations? If so, how?

I do. I actually do. When I was growing up in the '80s, handmade wasn't a good thing. I love that it's sort of been reclaimed in a lot of ways. I work as a teacher; I've been lucky to develop a class with Beehive Sewing Studio + Workspace out here in Western MA, and so I've gotten to teach people some techniques and to have fun with sewing -- I do a lot of one-of-a-kind work, so it's an interesting fusion of craft and art. But I love teaching kids to sew!

But yes. Teaching. Bringing our friends and family and especially our kids to craft fairs and to let them see the junk in the house from making stuff, and to make stuff themselves!

Making hats at Beehive Sewing Studio- Photo Courtesy of Anne Thalheimer

How do you pass along the love of what you do to other people?

Teaching. Wearing funky hats. I also donate hats from time to time to fundraisers and to shelters during the winter (because kids need funky hats too, and even more so when it's snowing). I do a lot of craft fairs and I let people try on the hats and take pictures with them on; it's hard not to crack a
grin when there's a monster eating your head.

Do you feel it is more important to pass along your specific skill set? Or a respect for craft/art in general? How can either be achieved?

Respect for art in general. Through teaching, of course, and through valuing the system that honors people who create these works of art. Bringing craft and art into daily lives.


The cold New England winter is upon us all. I encourage you all to check out Anne’s hats, and choose one best suiting your personality. You won’t regret it!

Photo Courtesy of Anne Thalheimer

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Shopping at the Wellesley Marketplace

by Dana of The Patterned Peacock

This Saturday, November 23rd,  is the 37th annual Wellesley Marketplace. The event will take place from 9:00AM–4:00PM at the Wellesley Middle School (50 Kingsbury Street). Known for its awesome selection of gift items, this show is a great place to kick off your holiday shopping. Boston Handmade’s Kerrie Beck and Dana Garczewski will be among the over 170 crafters at the Marketplace.

Kerrie of Cody's Creations will have a wonderful assortment pet collars, leashes, and harnesses. Her newest designs include dog collars in an authentic Stewart Tartan and an
exclusive Boston (Blue) design. She will also be donating 25% of each Boston
item sold to the Boston One Fund. Everything is made in her studio based in

Dana of The Patterned Peacock will have her limited edition prints along with an assortment of paper goods including her new 2014 calendar. Each month features a different pattern and color palette. The calendars are printed on sturdy 140lb textured white stock and come with a clear acrylic display stand. Her line is produced in her studio located in Watertown.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

We came, we saw, we renovated: The 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery

It's hard to believe that we got the keys to this year's Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery only a few days ago. We began renovations on Friday, November 15th and since then we have cleared the walls of many odd fixtures, nails and screws, we've painted and painted (and painted some more), we have scraped gooey film from windows, we've built shelving, and we've transformed folding tables into streamlined display counters.

It's been a whole lot of work done by some very dedicated people to revamp this raw space into a fine art and craft gallery. We still have a few details to finish before our Exhibitors arrive with their hand crafted merchandise, but we are well on our way.

Special thanks to Abby of Abigail Leigh Handbags, Cristina of Cristina Hurley Jewelry Design, Sarah of Egg-A-Go-Go, Johanna of Kaya's Kloset, Liz of Lush Beads, Sharon of Stray Notions, Dana of The Patterned Peacock, Lauren of Trope Pillows, and Helene of Urban Kitchen for all the help these past five days!

More gallery news to come - stay tuned!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Boston Handmade and Whole Foods Market: Craft with Us!

On Monday, November 18, I will be doing a craft workshop at Whole Foods Market in Boston at the Charles River Plaza. The project for the night will be DIY tile coasters. There will be a variety of patterned papers for you to decorate a four inch square tile. Mix and match coordinating papers to make a set of four coasters. These coasters would be a fun accent for your holiday party and they would also make a great hostess gift. This event is FREE and runs from 6:00-8:00PM.

Location: Whole Foods Charles River Plaza 181 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Boston Handmade is delighted to be collaborating with Whole Foods Market this holiday season! Our friends at told us about the Market's interest in local artists because they are teaming up to highlight Etsy’s community of independent artists and designers online and in Whole Foods Market locations around the world. As champions of the artisanal producer, Whole Foods Market is an all-natural fit with Etsy. The partnership, Ingredients for Creativity, kicked off in Whole Foods Market stores in early November, and will extend throughout all of 2014.

We are so grateful to Whole Foods Market for their support of our 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery as a Champion level Sponsor, and we are looking forward to working with their local Boston stores this season to share our love of all things handmade!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why Handmade: Holiday Shopping

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

If you are like me, you have just started to realize it is time to do your holiday shopping. I have no real excuse, as I have been preparing merchandise in anticipation of the holiday season since August, so it should be no real surprise to me. Nonetheless, I realized today just how close Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, and/or any other winter holiday you may celebrate are to us. It was not the calendar causing this revelation. I saw snow on a car bumper.

Snow Birds North Square by Lucie Wicker Photography

I like to make people gifts. There is something special about putting the time and effort into making something for the people you love. It is deeply personal and shows how much you care. I have learned my lesson the hard way, though. I need to start planning early, much earlier than mid November. I have spent more than one Christmas Eve, paintbrush or torch in hand, screaming in frustration as I have yet to finish a project. (I will let you in on a secret. No matter how careful a metal smith may be, every piece of metal they touch will melt or break on Christmas Eve.)

As You Wish Morse Code Bracelet by Lush Beads

If I do not make the gift myself, I try to shop handmade items. I confess, some presents, such as video game consoles, are not handmade. However, when the opportunity presents itself, I prefer the quality and uniqueness of items handcrafted from small businesses.

I also consider gifts encouraging the recipient to create their own handmade items. A perfect example, instead of purchasing puppets to go with a puppet theater for the children, I put together a bin of items to assist in making their own. I included paper plates, socks, paper bags, googly eyes, yarn, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and an assortment of other items. Other examples could include yarn or a knitting pattern, a tool such as a hammer or saw, or fancy paper.

Felted Wool from Stray Notions
What will you be giving your family and friends this holiday season? Where will you shop?

We hope we will see you at the 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery located in Brookline Village at 2 Brookline Place directly across from the Brookline Village Green Line T Stop. Merchandise will include hand crafted jewelry, toys, clothing and accessories, home goods, art, photography, and so much more!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coming Soon: The 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery

The 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery is coming soon to a storefront near you! Our hands are busy making art and objects for you and your loved ones to give and receive this holiday season. Visit us between Thanksgiving and Christmas at 2 Brookline Place, Brookline, MA 02445. We'll be open for business Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11am to 7pm each day.
Pet collars and accessories by Cody's Creations

Our Holiday Gallery will carry high quality handmade gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Boston Handmade has invited local artists to showcase their limited edition and one of a kind kids toys and apparel, bath and body products, jewelry, clothing, and accessories for people of all ages, home decor and fine art, functional and decorative glassware and ceramics, and much more to satisfy even the most challenging recipient on your list!
Fine Silver Jewelry by Cristina Hurley
In addition to a robust display of unique selections, the Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery is presenting a series of craft workshops throughout the month of December. Workshop topics include making a 3D Patterned Christmas Tree with Dana Garczewski of The Patterned Peacock, an Introduction to Shibori with Susanne Guirakhoo of Enchanted Hue textile studio, Fun with Recyclables with Boston Handmade director Jessica Burko, and How to Make Needle Felted Coasters with Diane Ivey of Lady Dye Yarns. Dates and times will be announced soon! Stay tuned to this blog or sign up for our email list for all the details.
Modern softies and quilted goods by Kitty Kitty Crafts
We are so excited to have our pop-up gallery this year and we are delighted for the opportunity to connect directly with the community. To further celebrate all things handmade and our wonderful, dedicated, and talented exhibitors, we will be having a gallery party on Thursday, December 5th from 5-9pm. There will be refreshments, live music, craft activities, and many of the gallery exhibitors will be on-hand to answer questions about their work. This event will be held in tandem with the opening party of the Feet of Clay Pottery's annual show and sale. Feet of Clay is a cooperative ceramics studio located at 21 Station Street, just on the other side of the Brookline Village T station from the Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery. Make it a night, and head out to support local artists and shop handmade for the holidays!
Print, design, and paper goods by The Patterned Peacock

The 2013 Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery is deeply grateful for the support of our sponsors:
PopUp Republic, Whole Foods Market, Abeille, JP Knit and Stitch, and Etsy. Check back in to our blog for updates on all of our holiday programming, gallery exhibitor spotlights, and how our sponsors are supporting our efforts as well as the larger creative community in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Meet the Artist Series presents: Dana Garczewski of The Patterned Peacock

Our November "Meet the Artist Series" guest will be Boston Handmade member Dana Garczewski of The Patterned Peacock! This event is free and all are welcome. The event will take place at Cristina Hurley Gallery on November 15th, from 3-7PM. The gallery is located at 554 Washington Street, in Canton, MA.

Dana Garczewski is an illustrator and surface pattern designer. She earned her BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University. After eight years as an in-house designer, Dana started her own company, The Patterned Peacock, which offers a line of bright and colorful limited edition prints that are produced in her studio.

 Her artwork is inspired by the belief that we are all curators in one way or another. “We go through life collecting experiences, memories, interests, stories, and favorites. The things we love are important; they shape who we are and allow us to connect with others who share our passions.”
Dana will be at the gallery during the show to meet guests and answer questions about her artwork and her process for making her products!

Dana has recently branched out into the world of licensing by creating fun novelty patterns for the gift market.
Please join us for this fun event on Friday, November 15th, from 3-7pm at Cristina Hurley Gallery! Hope to see you there.
Cristina Hurley Gallery
554 Washington Street
Canton, MA 02021

Friday, November 1, 2013

Why Handmade: Streamlining Production

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

Over the last few months, I have been discussing the pros and cons of making things by hand, and purchasing handmade items from local artists and businesses. There is a joy and pride to owning a one of a kind piece of art, knowing no one else has the exact same thing as you. The pride of ownership is not the same when you purchase something mass-produced from a department store.

A new earring design from Prunella's Workshop at the soldering block 

However, as a small business owner, your time is money. Small business owners don’t have the luxury of large equipment and many people on staff to create for them. In most instances, if they are truly creating one of a kind art, everything is made with their own two hands with no assistance from others. If one is truly going to make a living at their craft, they are either going to have to create pieces with expensive price tags, or learn how to use time effectively. The former is a matter of product choice. If you are a woodworker, learn to make high quality large-scale furniture, such as cabinetry or dining room table and chairs. A jewelry designer can choose finer materials such as gold and high clarity gemstones. Such items may take many hours, but the customer will be willing to pay the price tag.

sample earring designs with different variations

There is a threshold of how much more a customer will pay for an item that has been handmade. We need to determine that threshold and create items that will earn us a livable wage. Forty hours of work on an item only worth $45 is not good business sense. If your material cost is $5, you have paid yourself $1 an hour for your skills. People get paid more to flip burgers at your local fast food joint. Your talent and skills are worth more than a solitary dollar.

Annealing several pieces at once makes for speedier work

There are ways of saving time and effort, and still making one-of-a-kind pieces at a reasonable cost to the consumer. At Prunella’s Workshop, for example, we have taken techniques which we have found to be successful, and we are applying those techniques in slightly different ways to create different pieces with only slight changes in the way we work. For example, we have a circle cutter, which allows us to cut several uniform discs at once. In the time I can hand cut one wobbly circle, I can cut several perfect circles. Different hammers create textures on the metal. Circles do not need to remain circles. They can be hammered, folded and unfolded with dramatically different results, but no additional extra work on my part. I can anneal several pieces at once instead of one at a time. Instead of hand polishing, I can put the pieces in a tumbler, which will produce a similar effect and I can move on to a different project. By keeping the process simple, I produce far more pieces in less time, while keeping that handmade uniqueness to my work.

Several new pieces have been lacquered to prevent tarnishing, and are drying together 
Are there ways you can streamline your work process? Is there a place where you may be able to work smarter without cutting corners?
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