Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Happy New Year!

curated by Susanne of enchantedhue

May 2015 be filled with happiness, love, success, joy, creativity, health, and new beginnings.

A Very Happy New Year from all of us at Boston Handmade!

Yin Yang Sterling Silver Pendant by CristinaHurley
Tiny Original Collage Art on Wood by JessicaBurko
Desert Sunset by jbarrows
West Roxbury by ChrisLangPhotography
Chocolate: Assemblage of Computer Parts and Collage by Melsplace
Olive Tray - Pickle Tray - Cracker Tray - Snack Tray by jilljburns
Willow Green & Gray Open Weave Infinity Scarf by Loomination
Blue and Grey Leather Clutch by LidaBrookeDesigns
You Can Have It All - Mixed Media Collage by McDonaldMixedMedia
Silver Flower Ring Daffodil Ecofriendly Recycled Sterling Silver by Beryllina
Snow Dyed Silk Scarf by enchantedhue
Pretty Peacock Print by thepatternedpeacock
Jasper Copper Ring by PrunellasWorkshop
Drop Pearl Earrings With White Freshwater Pearls by Linkouture
Orange White Mini Chevron Zig Zag iPad Ereader Pillow Stand by abigailleigh
Simplicity Bracelet - Silver - Lush Beads Industrial by LushBeads
Embroidered Tea Cozy - with Steaming Kettle in Red and Aqua by straynotions
Gaga Fingering Weight Yarn by ladydyeyarns
Boston Skyline Print- 5x7- Boston Photography by LucieWicker

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Creative Way to Do Boxing Day

by Jessica Burko

Bus Box made by the Gee-Burko Family

At our house we celebrate Hanukkah, at my In-Laws house we enjoy a little Christmas, and after all of that we have our own version of Boxing Day where we craft art, toys, and musical instruments out of all the brand new boxes we have received during the month.

Actual Boxing Day is celebrated in the UK and has a debatable set of roots according to a variety of sources... Boxing Day started because a ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present... Boxing Day was a day off for servants and when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master... A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day, Boxing Day... Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck and if the voyage were a success the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas.

Regardless of how you celebrate Boxing Day consider flexing your creative crafting muscles and think about empty cardboard boxes as blank canvases on which you can paint, draw, or make a bus (see above photo). You can cut boxes up to make flowers, to make collage shapes, a spinning mobile, or the letters of your name. With a little imagination you can use your empty gift boxes, ripped wrapping paper, and any other recyclable items around your house to make something fun. Wishing you a great Boxing day!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Merry to you
Christmas Robins by The Patterned Peacock

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas today and joy throughout the holiday season!

Stay crafty,
Your Friends at Boston Handmade

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wear it. Share it. Get yer swag here.

Show your love for handmade, support local artists, and get it NOW!

Never was the time better to give yourself, your loved ones, your coworkers, and your neighbors a genuine Boston Handmade t-shirt or tote bag. We are ringing out 2014 by pricing every item at $14 with FREE local shipping throughout Massachusetts. PLUS free gifts will be included with every purchase.

Place your order TODAY:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Snow, Snow, Snow

curated by Susanne from EnchantedHue

Lady of the White - Collage Art by McDonaldMixedMedia
White Leather Card Case by LidaBrookeDesigns
White Pearl Bracelet by Linkouture
Snow Birds Photo Print by LucieWicker

Can't believe I am saying this, but I miss snow!

Thankfully, Boston Handmade members have created some wonderful pieces featuring creamy whites.

Hope soon we will have a lovely snow covering like the one Lucie captured!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Handmade Weekend Plans

by Liz Stewart of Lush Beads

Looking to do some handmade holiday shopping this weekend? I have 2 suggestions for you.

Western Avenue Studios has 245 working artist studios, of which you can expect to find 100-125 open during this weekend's Holiday Open Studios from 12-5PM. There will be snacks for sale in the loading dock area so you can fuel up to visit 5 floors in 2 buildings full of art and fine craft. I'll be in my studio A-205 with my Industrial jewelry from 12-4 on Saturday only, but feel free to stop by on either day! Other great places to visit in the building: Made in Lowell, The Loft Space, and Mill City Glass Works.

On Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, I will be exhibiting for the first time at Gift Local Lincoln. The event will be held at Bemis Hall, 15 Bedford Road, Lincoln, MA.  Stop by and visit me along with 20+ other handmade artists on Saturday evening from 6-9PM, or Sunday afternoon from 1-6PM.  My fellow Western Ave artists Arlette Laan and Joelle Felyce will be there as well!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Chilly Scenes of Winter

curated by Sharon Fischer, Stray Notions

I hope you all are having a lovely beginning to the holiday season.  I spent Thanksgiving with lots of folks and no power on the actually day --- cooking was an adventure but the views and textures were gorgeous.  Today's mosaic was inspired by the colors in this photo.


1. Photographic encaustic art, Jessica Burko
2. Yin Yang Sterling silver pendant with 18 or 20 inch leather cord, Cristina Hurley Designs
3. Small Brown and Blue Cross Body Bag, LidaBrookeDesigns

4. Kiva, Jon Barrows
5. Snow Birds, North Square- 8x10- Photo Print, Lucie Wicker Photography
6. Violet and Gray Double Infinity Scarf - Handwoven Cotton - Openweave, Loomination

Friday, December 5, 2014

Boston Handmade at JP Crafts Fair THIS Saturday!

Kickstart your holiday shopping THIS weekend! The annual holiday JP Crafts Fair is happening this Saturday, December 6, and some of your favorite Boston Handmade members will be there:

Up on the stage in our usual spot will be:

In the hall:

We will also be have some fantastic Boston Handmade items to give away so will not want to miss out! Bring your shopping lists and see you there!

First Church in Jamaica Plain
6 Eliot Street
Jamaica Plain, MA
(click here for to see this location on Google Maps)

11am to 5pm

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Feltmaker’s Bookshelf

by Ava Chan of Sugin Textiles

I recently hosted a Boston Handmade meetup, and gave a lesson in feltmaking. That made me think about the resources out there for learning how to make felt.

I have a number of feltmaking books that I refer to, when I have questions about technique or when I am looking for inspiration. The Boston Public Library has a surprising number of books about felt, though most are in their Reference collection in the Central Library. Many of the authors also teach workshops on feltmaking in the USA and internationally. I have a number of books that I refer to often, each one for different reasons. Some of these have gone through a couple of reprintings, while others are out of print, although finding used copies on the Internets is relatively easy. Here’s how I break out these books:

For diehard felt fans
Sadly, Felt: New Directions for an Ancient Craft (Interweave Press, 1996) by Gunilla Paetau Sj√∂berg and Patricia Spark is no longer in print, because it’s one of the few books that provides both a comprehensive history of felt, including modern trends for felt as an artistic medium, as well as detailed instructions on many techniques. There’s also information about sheep breeds and comparisons of their wool when made into felt.  

 Learning the basics
Uniquely Felt (Storey Press, 1996) by Christine White is pretty much the Bible of feltmaking. It’s still in print, and is a great first choice for a strong grounding in the fundamentals of making felt. The equipment section describes why some felters prefer one tool or anther, helpful input for your own choices. The projects include detailed explanations of the factors in play in the feltmaking techniques, as well as suggestions for rescuing projects that are going awry, which teaches you a lot about what exactly is going on when you make felt. 

Feltmaking and Wool Magic (Quarry Books, 2006), by Jorie Johnson is another excellent technical book, but is currently available only as an e-book. Originally from Boston, Jorie Johnson has lived and taught feltmaking in Japan for the last 30 years but also offers workshops worldwide. Her chapter on making felt samples from different types of fleece provides helpful guidelines for making felt swatches from the wool you are using in order to measure the result and achieve consistency for future work. 

Combining techniques in feltmaking
The projects in Fabulous Felted Scarves (Lark Books, 2010), by Chad Alice Hagen and Jorie Johnson, show you how to incorporate a variety of three-dimensional textures into scarves and shawls, and take advantage of felt’s properties, such as its resistance to raveling when cut. A number of projects borrow dyeing and shaping techniques from shibori, Japanese resist-dyeing, to add layers of pattern and design. 

Fabulous Felt Hats (Lark Books, 2005), also by Chad Alice Hagen, is, sadly, out of print. It is a great introduction to basic millinery with handmade felt. The projects showcase how to use the malleable quality of felt – how readily it can be shaped as it is being made --  to create simple berets, understated hats with brims, or more theatrical headpieces with greater dimensionality and protuberances. 

Books that generate ideas
How We Felt (Interweave Press, 2007) provides an inspiring gallery of projects and artists and show the possibilities for feltmaking, including rugs, bags, hats, and boots, beads, upholstered furniture, and sculptures. Having prior feltmaking experience is recommended if you want to try these projects; the instructions are rather condensed.

Sheila Smith’s Felt to Stitch (Batsford, 2014) and Lizzie Houghton’s Felting Fashion (Batsford, 2009) are also easier to grasp if you have some felting experience. Both authors are British artists. Both books provide many close-up photos of the surfaces of the finished pieces, in order to highlight the textures you can create when you add fabric to felt, stitch on it, dye it, stretch or cut felt.  Felt to Stitch offers general guidelines for making a nuno felted jacket that are really useful to an experienced felter. 

Doing it old-school
Modern feltmakers, at least in the USA, use pool noodles, bubble wrap, and thin pieces of plastic in their feltmaking process. But if you want to know what the previous  generation of feltmakers used before plastic became ubiquitous, check out How to Make Felt (Search Press Ltd, 1995) by Anne Belgrave, another British feltmaker. Check out the animal masks on her website.

What how-to books have made it onto your own bookshelf?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday: Handmade Style!

by Susanne of EnchantedHue

These are some of the Cyber Monday special deals members of Boston Handmade are offering TODAY and good through midnight so get some handmade goodness for the holidays...

Save 20% on Linkouture handcrafted jewelry all day! Use coupon code 20OFF2014.
PLUS the first 5 people who spend $200 or more will receive a $20 gift card to spend in 2015

Chunky Silver Bracelet by Linkouture

The Patterned Peacock offers free shipping to all US addresses. Use coupon code FREESHIP

Monogram Christmas Gift Tags by The Patterned Peacock

20 % off each order from Stephanie Cave Design. Use coupon code SEWSMALL

Custom Christmas Stocking with Monogramming in Festive Burlap by Stephanie Cave Design

25 % off on street art inspired yarn by Lady Dye Yarns. Use code ldycyber14

'Meadows' Superwash Merino by ladydyeyarns

15 % off all fine jewelry by Cristina Hurley. Use coupon code CYBERMONDAY15

Sterling Silver Hammered Texture with Emerald Wedding Set by Cristina Hurley

Free shipping on orders over 25 $ at LushBeads. Use coupon code LUSHFREESHIP25

Short Standoffs Silver Pendant by LushBeads

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Definitive 2014 Holiday Show Round-Up for Boston and Beyond

The official start of the 2014 holiday season is upon us! Our members have been feverishly handcrafting objects, art, wearables, and housewares for your gift giving joy!

Many of our friends and fans have been writing to ask about our semi-annual, pop-up, Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery, and we're sorry to tell you that we will not be producing a gallery this year. We were saddened to come to that conclusion but we were unable to find a suitable venue, and without a home, a gallery we could not make.

The 2014 Boston Handmade Holiday Card designed by The Patterned Peacock

BUT FEAR NOT! The vibrant and talented members of Boston Handmade are showing and selling original, one-of-a-kind, and limited edition handmade work all over Massachusetts from now through the end of December. And when we say, we've got you covered, we really mean it. Between all of our individual holiday show schedules we have a show that will fit any date and location that you seek including shows in 20 different local towns. There is guaranteed to be an opportunity near you to find us and shop handmade this holiday season:
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

13th Annual Craftland Show
Friday, November 28 - Wednesday, December 31.
Mondays - Saturdays, 10am - 6pm, Sundays 11am - 5pm
212 Westminster Street, Providence, RI
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

Small Business Saturday at Cristina Hurley Jewelry
Saturday, November 29, 12 - 5pm
Cristina Hurley Jewelry
554 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021
Cristina Hurley
Holiday Festival of Crafts
Friday, November 28, 10am - 5pm
Saturday, November 29, 10am-5pm
Sunday, November 30, 10am - 4pm

Worcester Center for Crafts
25 Sagamore Road, Worcester, MA
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

Enchanted Hue by Susanne Guirakhoo

Sunday, November 30, from 1-8 pm
Marriott Custom House
3 McKinley Square, Boston, MA 02109
Hacker Creations by Melissa Glick
Linkouture by Bev Feldman
Enchanted Hue by Susanne Guirakhoo

Methuen Festival of Trees
Tuesday, December 2, 5 - 9pm
13 Branch Street, Methuen, MA
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

The Cup Show
December 4 - 24, Tuesdays - Saturdays, 10am - 5pm
Worcester Center for Crafts, Krikorian Gallery
25 Sagamore Road, Worcester, MA 01605
Early Bird Designs by Jill J. Burns

Art by Jessica Burko

December 5 through 22, Opening Reception: Friday, December 5, 6 - 10pm
Piano Craft Gallery
793 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118 
Jessica Burko

Concord Giftopolis
Friday, December 5, 6:30 - 11pm
7 Eagle Square, Concord, NH
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

Beryllina by Laurie Lynn Berezin

ArtSpace Maynard Holiday Sale
Friday, December 5, 5-8pm
Saturday, December 6, 10am-5pm
Sunday, December 7, 12-5pm

ArtSpace Maynard
63 Summer St, Maynard, MA 01754
Beryllina by Laurie Lynn Berezin

Early Bird Designs by Jill J. Burns

Fire Works Open Studio
Friday, December 5, 4 - 8pm
Saturday, December 6, 10am - 8pm
Sunday, December 7, 10am - 3pm

The Fire Works Pottery Studio
38 Harlow Street, Worcester, MA 01605
Early Bird Designs by Jill J. Burns

Stray Notions by Sharon Fischer

17th Annual JP Crafts Fair
Saturday, December 6, 11am - 5pm
First Church Jamaica Plain
6 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay
Jon Barrows
Stray Notions by Sharon Fischer
The Patterned Peacock by Dana Garczewski
Linkouture by Bev Feldman
Enchanted Hue by Susanne Guirakhoo

Totally Bazaar II
Saturday, December 6, 12 - 6pm
Mill No. 5
250 Jackson Street, Lowell, MA
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

Hacker Creations by Melissa Glick

Saturday, December 6, 11am - 5pm
Worcester Roller Derby
34 Suffolk Street, Worcester, MA
Hacker Creations by Melissa Glick

StART at the Station
Sunday, December 7, 9am - 5pm
Worcester’s Union Station
2 Washington Square, Worcester, MA 01604
Early Bird Designs by Jill J. Burns

Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

Brookline Arts Center Artist Marketplace
Sunday, December 7, 12 - 4pm
86 Monmouth St, Brookline, MA
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

Asylum Winter Open House
Sunday, December 7, 12pm - 4pm
Artisan's Asylum
10 Tyler Street, Somerville MA 02143
Hacker Creations by Melissa Glick

Holiday Trunk Show at Cristina Hurley Jewelry
Sunday, December 7, 12 - 5pm
Cristina Hurley Jewelry
554 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021
Prunella's Workshop by Lynn and Duane Mohney

Linkouture by Bev Feldman

Holiday Trunk Show at Cristina Hurley Jewelry
Saturday, December 13, 12 - 5pm
Cristina Hurley Jewelry
554 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021
Linkouture by Bev Feldman

Union Square Pop Up Holiday Sale
Saturday, December 13, 11am - 6 pm
Sunday, December 14, 11am - 6 pm

11 Sanborn Court, Somerville MA 02143
Hacker Creations by Melissa Glick

Brookline Arts Center Artist Marketplace
Saturday, December 13, 12 - 4pm
Sunday, December 14, 12 - 4pm
86 Monmouth St, Brookline, MA
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay
Early Bird Designs by Jill J. Burns

Holly Fair
Saturday, December 13, 10am - 6pm
Sunday, December 14, 12 - 5pm

See Linkouture by Bev Feldman
in the metalsmithing studio: 42 Brattle Street, Cambridge, 02138 basement level

Handmade Holidaze
Saturday, December 20, 12 - 5pm
Moose Lodge
67 Fitchburg St, Marlborough, MA
Loomination by Leanne Tremblay

The Patterned Peacock by Dana Garczewski

Etsy Artists of Boston Winter Bazaar
Saturday, December 20 10am – 5pm
Sunday, December 21, 10am – 5pm
Arsenal Mall 485 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA.
Hacker Creations by Melissa Glick
The Patterned Peacock by Dana Garczewski

Make 2014 the Year of Handmade and shop locally, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind for your friends and family!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Happy Thanksgiving

curated by Susanne from enchantedhue

Thanksgiving Holiday Banner by thepatternedpeacock
Handwoven Tea Towel by Loomination
Custom Arts and Crafts Mission Style Table Linens by straynotions
Cocktail Napkin Holder by jilljburns

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year or are you invited? Is your house ready for guests? Have you picked your hostess gift?

No worries if not, BostonHandmade members offer a wide array of unique hand-created pieces to dress up your table and walls, and to surprise your host and hostess. If you are traveling and don't want to bring it in your luggage, your purchase can even be mailed directly to your destination, just request an alternate address at check-out.

To get you into the mood, here is my favorite Thanksgiving song!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Wellesley Marketplace is happening this Saturday!

by Bev Feldman of Linkouture

The 38th Annual Wellesley Marketplace, featuring over 175 boutique vendors, including Boston Handmade members Liz Stewart of Lush Beads, Dana Garczewski of The Patterned Peacock, and Bev Feldman of Linkouture, is happening this Saturday!

In addition to buying fabulous handmade gifts for everyone on your list, there will be fabulous raffle prizes up for grabs, including tickets to see your favorite Boston sports teams in action, exercise passes, and an iPhone!

You can buy your tickets ahead of time online. Be sure to also review everything you need to know to make your handmade holiday shopping experience a huge success, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Warm and cozy

curated by Sharon, Stray Notions


1. Coffee Mug, Tea cup, Mug, porcelain, handmade mug, - Dandelion, Early Bird Designs
2. Felted Wool Coffee Press Cosy - stylized roses, Stray Notions
3. Handwoven Tea Towel in Raisin & Navy - 11 x 23" - 100% cotton, Loomination
4. Cup of Tea Print, The Patterned Peacock

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boston Handmade at Jamaica Plain Crafts Fair

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

Are you ready?! Boston Handmade will once again be representing at the best holiday fair in Jamaica Plain!

This show is always full of talented artisans and we are super psyched to be a part of it this holiday season. The following Boston Handmade members will be up on the stage selling lots of holiday gifts and art:

See you there!

First Church in Jamaica Plain
6 Eliot Street
Jamaica Plain, MA
(click here for to see this location on Google Maps)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Bracelets Bangles Cuffs

curated by Susanne from enchantedhue

Hammer Textured Wide Brass Cuff Bracelet by PrunellasWorkshop
Hammered Silver Bracelet by Linkouture
Simplicity Bracelet by Lushbeads
Oxidized Sterling Silver Sparks Cuff Bracelet by CristinaHurley

Bracelets are my favorite pieces of jewelry. I wear them almost every day. From felt to brass, copper, silver, white gold, fabric, and gemstone; extra wide or narrow stacked; sleek modern or intricate vintage; tribal, ethnic, kitschy - I love them all!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

9 tips for holiday shopping at craft shows

by Bev Feldman of Linkouture

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Halloween costumes and candy have quickly been replaced with ornaments and menorahs. Shopping lists are being compiled and presents are being bought and tucked away.

Handmade products make some of the best holiday presents. They are unique and special, and they can often be specified to the recipient’s taste (with enough notice to the artist, of course!) Here are 9 tips to help make your handmade holiday shopping a success.

Gift image by The Patterned Peacock

1. Plan ahead
Time is a sneaky thing. You start out thinking you have months until the holidays, and before you know it’s a week before the holidays and you haven’t started your shopping. If you want a custom handmade piece for your spouse/friend/mom, you want to make sure to give the maker sufficient notice. Contact them early and check what his/her deadline is for custom orders. Even a few weeks before December 24 may not be enough time. 
2. See where your favorite artists will be selling
Most artists have a list of what upcoming shows they will be at on their websites or Facebook pages. If not, send them a quick e-mail. They will be happy to have your repeat (or first) business, and you can plan accordingly.

3. Check out what artists will be selling at the shows you will be attending
It can be really overwhelming sometimes to walk into a show and see booth after booth of handmade goodies. Where to even begin? If you know you are going to a specific show, check out to see what artists will be there so you have a sense of what to expect and you’re not quite as overwhelmed when you get there. 

Cranberry freshwater pearl and sterling silver gift set by Linkouture
4. Bring a list
Make a list of everyone for whom you want to buy presents and some ideas of what you would like to buy for them. Think about what their interests are, what colors they like. Do they love wearing jewelry? Have they mentioned to you that they broke their favorite mug or that they need a new case for their new computer? 

5. Check for entrance fees and discounts
At some shows you have to pay even before you have even bought anything. Before you go to the event, check online to see if there are any discounts. Some shows have a coupon you can print and bring with you which will save you a few dollars.

Ornaments by Happy Owl Glassworks, photo by Jessica Burko

6. Bring cash
Between entrance fees and snacks, it’s good to have at least $10 in cash on you. Of course, it’s also good to bring more cash to pay for your gifts, and it will help you to budget. Most artists accept credit cards, but we do lose a small percentage of our sales to pay for credit card fees so cash payments are often preferred.

7. Leave your coat in the car
Holiday craft shows can get really crowded and very hot. The last thing you want to do is lug around your giant winter coat. (Plus, you will want to keep your hands free for all those presents you will be buying!) If for some reason you aren't able to, check to see if the show has a coat check. 

8. Go with a friend or trusted shopping partner
Whenever buying gifts for my family members, I always like to check with my husband who can help me to decide if I come across something that I think one of them will like. Admittedly, going to craft fairs isn't his favorite activity, so I have friends that I also like to go with can give me their opinion. 

Teal & black cowl scarf by Loomination

9. If shopping with a gift recipient, find an excuse to sneak away
On several occasions I have had husbands return to my booth after their wives noted that they really liked a piece of my jewelry. It takes the guess work out for them and they don't have to worry about finding a present later. If you are shopping with someone for whom you want to buy a gift and they have shown an interest in something, find an excuse to return to that booth without them. Tell them you have to use the restroom or you have to make a phone call, and return to the maker's booth. Let them know you are on a secret mission, and we will make sure to get that item wrapped and paid for as inconspicuously as possible!

To see what upcoming holidays shows Boston Handmade members will be at, click here

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Around in Circles

curated by Sharon Fischer, Stray Notions

1. Sterling Silver Necklace with Mobius Spiral & Freshwater Pearl, Linkouture
2. Simplicity Bracelet - Silver - Lush Beads Industrial, Lush Beads
3. Hammered circle earrings ecofriendly recycled sterling silver, Beryllina
4. Boyfriend Ring Sterling Silver Wide Band set with CZs, Cristina Hurley Designs

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Happy Halloween!

curated by Susanne from enchantedhue

Spider Pendant #7 - Rust and Mint - by LushBeads
Original Mixed Media Art by JessicaBurko
Orange White Mini Chevron iPad Ereader Pillow Stand by abigailleigh
Pleated Linen Tote in Taupe and Orange by LidaBrookDesigns

Halloween! That spooky time of year! Spiders and skeletons and bats and ghosts. Orange and black and blinking lights and scary sounds.

I love it! I didn't grow up with Halloween (in Austria, my native country, it was not celebrated at the time), so I am more than compensating now. Not sure what I like more: the eery decorations or being allowed to scare children. Well, just a little bit of scaring...

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Meet Ava Chan of Sugin Textiles

by Ava of Sugin Textiles

Hello! My name is Ava Chan, and I make and sell felted goods for home and body under the name Sugin Textiles. I became a member of Boston Handmade earlier this year and I’m thrilled to be here.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: I grew up in New York City in the South Bronx, during that neighborhood’s bad ol’ days in the 1960s and 70s. My family lived on the top floor of a five-story walkup and outside time was confined to the fire escape and the building’s tar roof. Now I live with two greyhounds in a little ranch house in Brighton that has a small lawn and a back yard. Instead of white picket, the fence enclosing my house is chain-link, but it’s still a world away from what I grew up with. I went up to Boston for college (I studied mechanical engineering at Boston University) and stayed. I’m intrigued by different work environments and how one earns a living.  I’ve worked at general office jobs, as an ice cream scooper, a retail clerk, in a food coop, at a food pantry, as a software developer, as a technical writer, as an instructor of college freshman composition, and as a community organizer. Now I’m figuring out the components of owning a creative business. It is so delightful to be in the company of Boston Handmade members on this current adventure.

Q: What is the first thing you can remember making by hand?

A: I don’t remember the first things I made, but I do remember learning how to knit and crochet when I was about 7 or 8 years old – my mom taught me. I remember struggling with getting my rows to line up and to understand how you knew which way you were going when knitting up a row. I remember the thrill I felt when I figured it out. I still get that thrill now when I’m making something and get it to be what I want it to be.

Q : What are your favorite materials?

A: Generally speaking, natural fibers, wool first and foremost. Most feltmakers use merino fleece, which has a fine texture and felts readily.  I really appreciate it after working with fleece from other breeds of sheep, such as Shetland, Icelandic, and Coopworth. I love the way that linen and hemp become softer with use. Silk is delightful.  I also love clay, its malleability and how glazing and baking in a kiln seem to transform it into an entirely different substance.

Q: What do you love most about what you make?

A: I really love the textures that can be developed with felt. I think like clay, wool has an alchemical nature. It can be made into 2D or 3D objects, and the texture of the finished object is influenced by the type of wool, how much is used, how it is laid out and how you stretch and rub it as you make the felt. Felt can be smooth, soft, hard, or coarse. You can increase the texture of a piece by incorporating various fibers or even pieces of cloth or other objects. Stitching on felt, whether by machine or hand, creates a quilted effect. You can even incorporate solid objects into felt.  The more a piece moves away from a smooth surface, the more intriguing I find it.

Q: What is your biggest obstacle with what you make?

A: Feltmaking is slow! It takes a long time to get even merino fibers to mat together. I wish I worked faster.

Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?

A: I love cooking on Sunday mornings: waffles, biscuits, fried rice or noodles, and then eating them. I share with the dogs.

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