Saturday, June 28, 2014

Coming soon: The 7th Annual Boston Handmade Somerville Marketplace

Mark your calendars for our annual celebration of all things handmade! Sunday, July 13th from 11am to 4pm (rain date Sunday, July 20), The Somerville Arts Council and Boston Handmade present an ArtsUnion Event: The 7th Annual Boston Handmade Marketplace, located in Union Square, at the intersection of Washington, Prospect & Somerville Avenue.

This annual, free, public event features a select collection of local artists, artisans and craftspeople that create their work by hand in small studio environments. Featured media includes jewlery, ceramics, fine art, textiles, paper goods, accessories, glass, and more! You can also experience and learn about the creative process of our exhibitors who will be doing live demonstrations and leading interactive DIY activities. While you shop or create you will also enjoy performances from Somerville area musicians playing throughout the afternoon. The independent artists, arts organizations, and craft studios participating in the 2014 Boston Handmade Marketplace represent a wide variety of media and neighborhoods from across the Commonwealth and New England.

The Boston Handmade Marketplace is an outdoor event celebrating everything art and craft with a vibrant spectrum of invited artists along with members of Boston Handmade. The Marketplace promotes independent businesses and individuals creating one-of-a-kind and limited edition handmade works along with organizations and craft studios that teach and encourage creativity and craftsmanship.

Shopping locally and buying handmade goods means you are supporting local small businesses and strengthening your hometown economy while building a stronger and more vibrant community. Be a local Handmade Hero, and say hello to Boston Handmade on July 13th!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why Handmade: The Boston Handmade Getaway

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

Sometimes we need to get away from the humdrum of everyday life. We spend so much of our time dreaming our work, creating it, and marketing it, and we have other obligations as well to families, significant others, and friends, we never stop and take time for ourselves. While technically we came to Salisbury for the Vintage Bazaar last weekend to sell our wares, it was also a time to rest, relax, and enjoy time away.

Tent mates (photos by Jessica Burko)

Day One:
Friday night. We arrived at the site. It is a lovely farm with green houses abounding filled with flowers and plant life. Setting up our tents was an adventure for some. Personally, it was the first time I had set mine up without my partner. I discovered quickly there was a broken bar, but nothing a little duct tape couldn’t handle. In truth, duct tape seemed to be my best friend during quite a bit of my set up. There was a situation where one of our spots may have been double booked, but in the end it was resolved swiftly. A darling gentleman from another booth came over to inform us, with a twinkle in his eye, we were having too much fun. In fact, he was correct.

We came back to a lovely beach home where we broke bread. Everyone shared the food they brought. We clinked glasses of wine, and some of us relished in having a kid free weekend for the first time in a while. Everyone was relaxed, though tired. We retired to our cool comfortable beds, breathing in the smells of the fresh salty air of the ocean. We pleasantly learned who snored, who suffered insomnia, and who couldn’t stay up past their bedtimes.

Where's Waldo

Day Two:

The day of a show can be very stressful. Fortunately, our tents exhibited little to no change from when we had left the night before, and remaining set-up moved along without a hitch. We experienced pleasant sunny weather, and customers who were in good spirits. Live music set the mood from folk sounds to contemporary country to classic rock. Boston Handmade balloons popped periodically, despite being a special balloon capable of withstanding most weather conditions. When they popped, they made unusual shapes, not typical to a popped balloon, providing the crew with unexpected entertainment. At the end of the day. Pettengill Farms was kind to put on a small informal cocktail party for all of the vendors, which ended our first day at the Vintage Bazaar on a positive note.

Relaxing at the Beach (photo by Jessica Burko)

Following the event, we convened back at the beach house, and headed towards the actual beach to dip our toes in the ocean. Some were converted into beach lovers, while others were long time fans. We laughed, as the sand tried to suck us deeper into the high tide coldwater. I was going to go in all the way in my clothes, until I discovered quite the drop off! Full from the cocktail party, some sought out the ice cream man, while others walked for handmade fresh ice cream at Willie’s. BHers appreciated alone time to read a book, or chit chat with their fellow members, or head to bed for another long day.

Day Three:

I woke to the smell of the ocean breeze yet again. It was a nice change from the usual attack of a toddler. I rose and packed my bags for my car. It felt bittersweet to prepare to go home after a relaxing weekend away. I missed my family, but I didn’t miss the chaos. We reflected on our ability to live together, six women, two bathrooms, for two days with little to no issue. 

Crafting at the Craft Show

The bazaar was quieter on Sunday, but I noticed the crowd was more intent on making purchases, Perhaps the knowledge we would all be gone at the end of the day increased their willingness to make final decisions. We were greeted with more live music, some of it quite amusing, while others were very emotionally moving. Break down of our site had none of the adventures of set-up, and we were on our way to our respective homes.

I arrived home, feeling battered, tired, and my head was pounding. I walked in the door and I was greeted by a barrage of hugs and kisses from my two little ones. Other good news awaited, too. All was well in my world.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Curated Websites for Handmade Goods

by Jill J. Burns of Early Bird Designs

I joined Etsy in 2007. It was a great starting place to begin selling online. Until Esty hit the scene adding e-commerce to a website took quite a bit of html knowledge and really required the services of a professional. The Etsy team did a good job marketing the brand. Folks came to know this as a place to find unique handmade items.

Lately, however, Esty has become rather crowded. Besides, artisans there are suppliers and small manufacturers. The quality of what you find can be very uneven and searching for that special something is really difficult. Among my fellow artists, there are many grumblings.

What I predict will be a natural progression in the independent maker movement is the growth of curated websites for handmade goods. Sites look for artists that fit their aesthetic and cultivate an audience. There are two that I have recently started working with: and

The Shoppe at Scoutmob’s tag line is “inspired goods by independent makers. The mark up is 100% , like a brick and mortar gallery, but they write the copy about you and your work and they market to a million+ audience. An artist applies much like they would to a juried show or exhibition. For me, it’s been a really good experience. The team is great and sales have been brisk. I also think it has driven some traffic to my Etsy shop. works in a unique way. Their tagline is: “Connecting the dots for Makers and Tastemakers”. Makers apply and if accepted fill their “studio” with their product. Makers aren’t necessarily independent, but could include small designers, too. Tastemakers (also a juried process) set up boutiques and fill them with the makers goods they feel represent their point of view. Tastemakers do their own marketing for their boutiques. I started with just a few items, and sales have not been as robust as Scoutmob, but many tastemakers are interested, so we shall see what happens.

I will keep my Etsy shop. But hopefully it will be one of many online places to find my work. If others have found alternative places to sell online I would love to hear about it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Mosaic: The Social Side of Craft Fairs

curated by Susanne from enchantedhue

Mini Fabric Art Quilt by JessicaBurko
Take A Chance by McDonaldMixedMedia
1 Inch Do Collar Hugs and Kisses by codyscreations
Eclectic Cowl by ladydyefiberarts

As independent artists, we choose our venues carefully. Showing at a craft fair or arts' market is not for fun, it is our business. We sign up because we want to show our art and make revenue. After all, it's not a hobby, it's our way to make a living.

Sometimes, revenue is not quite in correlation with the time and effort we put into participating into a particular show.

But there are always upsides. Even if we barely make the tent fee, we get to meet customers. Explain our process. Get people excited about our art (even if they don't buy right there and now). They take our business cards, might make a purchase online or come to an upcoming show and even bring friends. The seed is started.

The other part, especially for us who are members of Boston Handmade (or any similar group for that matter) is the fact that we are being recognized as a group of artists. Serious artists, who work together, show together, and promote each other.

Sharing a space with a jewelry artist this past weekend has taught me so much about the intricacies of working with metal, lost wax technique, and how one ends up with a unique design. I watched a wax mold being created and was blown away by the amount of time and patience and work it takes to transfer that into a piece of unique jewelry.

We had some very fun people walk into our tent. We saw incredible outfits. We had very profound conversations. We had some people leave our tent with a boost of belief in their own creativity. We found some unbelievable sources of inspiration. We had some people leave in awe of our ability to transform *simple* things into the works of art they are.

And, last but not least, we had an outstanding time just being part of that incredible group. Sharing. Hugging. Joking. Pulling each others' tail. Helping each other out. Learning a new skill (knitting instructions still are a bit iffy for me ;) ). Getting new inspiration. Learning about the other's art and being able to relate that to customers.

It's not always about money. We are passionate about what we create. And we are equally passionate about our fellow members' success. And as a member of a group like Boston Handmade, each of our fellow members' pieces is like one of our own. This is the beauty of taking part of a group show - we honestly appreciate each other, and we promote each other without jealousy and with true appreciation of our respective artistic rendering.

Think about that next time you visit an arts' show! And a big *Thank You* to each of you who visited us this weekend at The Vintage Bazaar!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Why Handmade: Boston Handmade at The Vintage Bazaar THIS WEEKEND

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop
It has been a few months since the Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery. By now, you have begun to miss the opportunity to see many of us featured together as one group. THIS WEEKEND, for two days only, we will join forces at the 2014 Vintage Bazaar at the Pettengill Farm in Salisbury, MA. The flower farm, established in 1792, is the perfect summer location for our group.

The Vintage Bazaar is on June 21 through June 22 at 45 Ferry Road, Salisbury, MA. The event officially opens at 10:00 am with a $5 ticket for one day only, or you can pre-order an early bird ticket for $7. An early bird ticket will grant you admittance at 8:30 am on both days. You can order tickets at

Come see Susanne Guirakhoo of Enchanted Hue with her exquisite Shibori and handpainted silk scarves. Why hang art on the wall, when you can drape elegant dyed silks over your body? Susanne combines craft and fine art with finesse.

Vintage Linens from Enchanted Hue

Liz Stewart of Lush Beads will be present with elegant handcrafted beaded jewelry, including her industrial line. She uses new and repurposed hardware to create a sleek fun look you weren’t expecting. Don’t miss her morse code necklaces- they really get a message across!

Flower / Snowflake Earrings from LushBeads

Leanne Tremblay of Loomination is exhibiting handwoven wearables and home goods.  Her weaves are lush and soft wearable art. I dare you to try not to touch! I can’t resist, myself.

Double Infinity Scarf from Loomination

You won’t want to miss Jessica Burko and her original encaustic collage and mixed media art. Jessica combines old photographs, repurposed pages from books, amongst other images, in a way that reflects her own journey as a woman, a mother, and a homemaker, as well as an artist.
Little Kitten, an encaustic collage from Jessica Burko

We can’t wait to see what new items will be there from Sharon Fischer of Stray Notions. It always amazes me to see what a person can create with a needle and thread and their own two hands. Stray Notions brings fun and whimsical to elegant and lovely, all in one breath.

Chicken or the egg kitchy kitcheny from Stray Notions

Shannon McDonald of McDonald Mixed Media is joining us for her first Boston Handmade show, presenting mixed media and original fine art. Her collages are fun, surreal, and filled with emotion and vibrant color.

Various Mixed Media from McDonald Mixed Media

Please do not forget Dana Garczewski of Patterned Peacock and her beautiful limited edition prints. Her work has special meaning to me, as my two year old daughter even appreciates her work; particularly a print of a carousel horse she calls her “neigh.” Her surface pattern designs span from food, animals, locations, to cameras, ballerinas, and robots.

Daydream from Patterned Peacock

Lastly, I will be there representing Prunella’s Workshop and our handmade original metal modern jewelry influenced by the medieval and renaissance periods. Our featured work is formed from sterling silver, copper and an array of various semi-precious stones through the use of heat, solder, and a lot of fun with hammers.

Copper Cuff from Prunella's Workshop

We look forward to seeing you all at Salisbury at the Vintage Bazaar. It will be a fun-filled day with even more vendors and live entertainment. Better yet, if it’s a hot day, Salisbury Beach is close by for a quick dip!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What you can do when you're feeling stuck

by Bev Feldman of Linkoture

Picture it: You sit down in your studio space (or wherever you do your creative work). You are all pumped to to sit down with that blank canvas, to hear the whir of your sewing machine or the click of your knitting needles, to write a blog post of epic proportions. You get all of your tools ready and are all set to start working and....nothing. It is as if your brain has been emptied of all creative thoughts. 

We have all been there. 

What is a creative to do? What can you do to help get the creativity flowing once again in your brain? In late April, Stanford University published a study showing that walking helps to boost creativity. I definitely see the benefits that going for a walk has on my creativity, as I go for a walk nearly every day with my 7-month old now and I am constantly coming up with new design ideas for my jewelry.

It also made me wonder: what are some other things my fellow creatives do when they are feeling uninspired?

When Lynn Mahoney of Prunella's Workshop is feeling stuck, she switches creative gears. "I write fiction, draw, work on computer graphics, paint...or, if it's summer, I go to Davis Farmland and pet the goats."

Photo courtesy of Lynn Mahoney
Susanne Guirakhoo of Enchanted Hue takes her dog, Shadow, for a walk in the woods. "...I find lots of inspiration there (and plants to dye with and edible weeds). I love the quiet and the smells and how vegetation changes within days. The brain can just go on a walk on it's own, without distraction."

Image courtesy of Susanne Guirakhoo
Leanne Tremblay of Weavlea finds her creative fix by hiking. "For me hiking is so relaxing and renewing that when I get back in the studio I feel refreshed and ready to work."

Image courtesy of Leanne Tremblay
Like Lynn, I find switching gears really helps me when I'm feeling uninspired. In addition to making jewelry, I blog. I find that if I'm having writer's block, taking a break from the computer and sitting down to work on a new piece of jewelry really helps, and vice versa.

Sometimes, however, I just need to go something completely different from my everyday work. In addition to going for a walk, here are some suggestions for things to do when you are feeling stuck creatively

Boston Handmade suggestions for creativity

What do you do when you are feeling stuck?

Monday, June 16, 2014

See you at the Vintage Bazaar at Pettingill Farm

curated by Sharon of Stray Notions
This coming weekend eight Boston Handmade members will be exhibiting at the Vintage Bazaar in Salisbury, MA. Come enjoy the day and check out some awesome handmade goods at Pettingill Farm.

Crystalline Heart- Mixed Media Collage Art, McDonald Mixed Media
Market/Beach tote - Vintage barkcloth with a tropical vibe, Stray Notions
Baker's Kitchen Art Print, The Patterned Peacock
Original collage with encaustic and upcycled materials, Jessica Burko
Bronze Viking Turtle brooch - Single, Prunella's Workshop
Daisy Garden - Beaded Anklet, Lush Beads
Handwoven Throw Rug in Orange & Cream, Loomination
Silk Scarf Hand Dyed Snow Dyed Pink Purple Orchid, Enchanted Hue

You can also support Boston Handmade by buying and wearing Boston Handmade T-shirt! 

Check out the Boston Handmade Group Tent at the Vintage Bazaar!
Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22

Early Bird Admission on Saturday at 8:30am
The Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm
45 Ferry Road,
Salisbury, MA 01952

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A newbies guide to being a vendor, part one

By Shannon McDonald of McDonald Mixed Media

It was a big step to become a vendor this year. 
A wonderful leap as an artist and I would like to share of some tips on starting. I just got my very first SOWA market under my belt and have some tips on preparing for your first show. 

I was scared to take the leap and really push my business. But I knew if I didn't I would regret it.
It is scary but trust in your abilities. Get prepared and organized and go for your dream. You got this!

There are so many shows that you can apply to. One of the biggest ways that I found shows was by getting involved. I applied and became a member of Boston Handmade. Then I joined a ton of Facebook craft/networking groups. Also, I paid for memberships at local non-profits art galleries and organizations.

These groups will become great resources to meet other artist, vendors and find shows.

My OCD went into overdrive getting ready for shows. I wanted to get organized and have a general idea of my start up costs for the summer. So I created some wonderful spreadsheets. Spreadsheets make me happy. They contained lists of materials needed such as a booth, chairs, printing costs, vendor fees ect. Once I had a list ready I started researching costs.  Some material needed to be shipped. However, I also talked to other artists/ vendors to see if they had suggestions to source local materials to cut down on shipping costs.

I was not prepared to spend money on lodging. So for my first year I picked one day shows close to home ( Boston & Providence) For shows that were farther away (Salisbury & Hyannis) I asked friends to put me up. 

Most people might take a conservative approach to their first season. NOT ME! I originally planned on 3 shows. As of right now I have 12 shows booked from June to September. I kind of took on the go big or go home mentality. I will keep you updated on how well this is going to work for me. While applying I was very specific about the type of show I wanted. I was looking for local shows that had a vendor fee under $100 and were juried. Everyone has different criteria. What is yours? Also, don't get discouraged if you don't get in. Instead use it as a tool to refine your presentation and vision of your business!

Step one was to get a booth. I couldn't afford to buy a brand new one. So I asked my fellow BH ladies if they knew of anyone who was not doing any shows or looking to sell theirs. BH'er Leanne Tremblay knew someone and I was able to get a booth with walls, weights and a foam floor for $90.00!!!! Then I asked my friend Britney Harlow who is a designed to make a fabric banner for my booth. We were able to trade and she made a wonderful banner for me and I am making a wonderful piece or artwork for her.
You never know unless you ask or beg politely! 

I asked everyone I could to borrow as many items as I could before investing in them. 
For example I borrowed folding tables from my parents, boss and friends before buying them myself. 

Pinterest became my best friend. I made a secret board so I wouldn't bombard my feed with my obsessive pinning. I started researching booth displays, tables, printers, fabrics...anything and everything. Most were inspirations on how to create my own unique booth. Also, suggestions on packing my car and getting a checklist together. Also, I spoke with my fellow BH members and asked their advice!

Repeat again...Don't Panic. Go to the shows before hand and walk around. See what you like and don't like about it. Talk to vendors and start getting to know them. Things will happen and won't go as planned but if you are organized that can ease some of the anxiety. Trade, borrow, Craigslist items to try and save some costs along the way. Don't forget this is your passion and all your hard work will pay off.

Good Luck!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Beach Time

curated by Susanne of enchantedhue

Bronze Viking Turtle Brooch by PrunellasWorkshop
Embroidered Koi Pendant Necklace by straynotions
Sterling Silver Beach Stone Ring by Linkouture
Large Striped Beach Tote Bag by LidaBrookeDesigns

Summer seems to have finally arrived in New England. We are lucky to live near beautiful beaches. There is one for every taste: rocky beaches, pristine sand, secluded ones, others teeming with activity, beaches where dogs are allowed. Some are known for their sand dollars, others for their tide pools and hermit crabs, others for their rare bird habitat.

So pack your beach bag, wear your beach jewelry, and spend a glorious day near the ocean!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Why Handmade: The Strawberry & Arts Festival, Behind the Scenes

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

Prunella’s Workshop will be returning to the upcoming 2014 Strawberry & Arts Festival On the Common in Westford, MA on June 14, 2014 from 10 am to 4 pm. We hope you can take some time out of your busy schedules to stop in, enjoy scrumptious strawberry shortcake, and explore booths from several different artisans and crafters. The show is located in the heart of the historic district of this small New England town, a lovely backdrop for a pleasant day outside with the family.

We have been busy bees here at Prunella’s Workshop preparing for several upcoming shows. Brand new designs, including rings, bracelets, and necklaces will be available for sale. We are exploring new types of stone setting, and some new innovative ideas, both renaissance themed, and modern. We hope you’ll be able to stop in and say hello.

That is the external story, the one we want everyone to hear. Every last word of it is true, too. However, there is more behind the scenes than what meets the eye. The customer sees handmade jewelry on an attractive display, with a smiling artist ready to answer any questions. Hopefully they understand the hard effort and love that went into each piece they see. Even if they see this, they won’t know the whole story.

The madness has already begun, but long before I arrive in Westford, I will be in full force insanity. I like to spend the day before a show making certain any last minute details have been addressed. Instead, I will be taking one child to gymnastics in the morning. In the early evening I will take the other child to soccer practice. Immediately following, I am walking for two hours for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, coming home and heading for bed so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the craft fair. On Sunday, I will attend the first of many gymnastics recital followed by a soccer game. Only four days later, I will be heading to a weekend long show. All of this will be accomplished with a business and life partner who is currently overloaded due to his other job.

I’m not complaining or looking for sympathy. Far from it. I am illustrating the importance of time management as well as consideration of one’s personal health. The better we organize before hand, the easier it is to deal with a jam packed weekend with a show sandwiched in the middle. There are many small preparations I can make as early as today to prepare for the show at hand, including packing the vehicle a day ahead of schedule. While it may be reasonable to perform last minute preparations the afternoon before, I need to assume I will be tired after walking. Sleep and eating right are essential. The truth is, I may be exhausted come the day of the show, but it is important the customer sees the smiling artist and not the frazzled mom. She needs to stay home and rest up to see her baby do her gymnastics routine.

As professional artists we already wear many hats, from bookkeeping, to public relations, to customer service/salesman. We also have our personal hats- spouse, sibling, child, parent, friend, and many others. However, when a customer is there in front of us, we need to be in the moment. We need to pay attention to what is going on right now-even if we’d like nothing more than to lie under the table and take a power nap.

How do you deal with stress? Time management?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Adult Sized Sandbox: Accelerating My Business

by Leanne of Loomination

For years I've been working hard on my line of textiles. I began showing at craft fairs and selling my work at galleries and boutiques in 2010, but it wasn't until the fall of 2012 that I stopped making handbags, fiber jewelry, and knitwear and began to focus exclusively on handweaving. Since then I've been working on putting together a line with a cohesive aesthetic and I've finally gotten to the point where I'm confident with where my work is going.

Booth display from way back in 2010!

I've been trying to take my business full time. I am still doing some part time work, which I enjoy, and which I will probably always continue to do a bit of here and there. One of the major things that has concerned me on this journey is the business side of things. Everything I've been doing has been based on trial and error, instinct, and the advice of other craftspeople. While this is a great way to build a business, I just don't have any way of knowing whether I really am making the best decisions possible. A lot of emotion goes into making handcrafts and as a result, a lot of my business decisions are also based on emotion.

In March, I participated in the Consumer Ideas Pitch Contest at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, which opened my eyes to a lot of new opportunities. If you're interested in pitches, check out my BH blog post, My First Pitch Contest: Merrimack Valley Sandbox. The next logical step was to apply to the Summer Accelerator Program, also at the Sandbox, which helps early stage businesses through workshops and mentorships. 

Handwoven Scarves

The application, which was due on May 1, was fairly involved. Some of the questions I knew the answers to, like describing my business, my target audience, and what work I've done so far. Some of the others really made me think, like "What impact do you hope to accomplish with this idea?" After applying, I was chosen as a Semi-Finalist and interviewed for a space in the program.

I found out late last week that I got in and am now a Sandbox Accelerator Finalist! I am excited to be spending the summer growing my business and learning new ideas and strategies. I'm not really sure where this program will take me or exactly how it will work - I'm a little nervous right now - but I can't wait to see where this will take my business.

On June 9 and 10, the Merrimack Valley Sandbox is holding their 2014 Sandbox Summit, a two day conference for anyone who's interested in entrepreneurship. The week before my program kicks-off, this will really be the beginning for me. I hope you might be interested in coming along!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Craft with us! It's the Etsy Craft Party

THIS FRIDAY Boston Handmade will be hosting an Etsy Craft party. We invite you to join us for a fun project and the chance meet up with some of your fellow crafters. The theme for this year’s party is Recapture. We will be transforming photographs into mix-media, multi-dimensional works of art using a variety of craft supplies and creative techniques. Here are the details:

Date: Friday, June 6
Time: 6:00-8:00pm
Place: Cody’s Creations Studio, 43 Main Street, Natick, MA
Cost: This event is free and open to the public. Craft supplies and light refreshments will be provided by Boston Handmade. We just ask that you RSVP in advance.
What to Bring: Some of your favorite photographs. We will have a scanner and printer to make copies for you to use, and we can even access your images in the cloud.

Thank you to Boston Handmade member Cody's Creations for hosting this special event at her studio and to Etsy for encouraging creativity, and gathering people together for the goodness of handmade.

We hope you can join us on June 6th for some creative crafting fun!
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