Last week, in the middle of our sweltering heat wave, Gather Here hosted a craft party. So a group of lovely ladies and gentlemen (yes, really) got together to make and exchange friendship bracelets. Maybe not the most "grown up" of craft activities, but a great time.
the always lovely Virginia, owner of Gather Here Ady Bee shows off her skills
as it turns out, I should stick to knitting
If you're in Boston, I hope you come to the next party!
I've been doing a lot of thinking about art, crafting, the handmade movement and Etsy. Yes, I know I'm always thinking about these things, but this recently, even more. Even though I opened my Etsy shop in 2009, this is my first year being serious about it. While I was finishing a graduate degree and working full time, it couldn't really be more than an occasional hobby, but now I have a plan for how I want my business to evolve.
Of course this involves coming up with a business plan of sorts (ugh), which has made me scrutinize every part of my process. I'm planning to share some of these thoughts and insights along the way. This is the first installment.
Living with another creative person and seeing the differences in how our creativity manifests got me thinking about different types of artists and artisans. I ended up coming up with two broad categories: the finished-object focused artist versus the process-focused artist.
When I think about myself, I know I always need to have my hands busy. I love creating, and I start to get crabby if I have to go a day without even 10 minutes to work on something crafty. I love the feeling of making, watching things come together, perfecting techniques, and everything else that's involved in the process. But more than anything, I love seeing the finished piece. Whatever it is I'm making, my happiest moment is when I add that last finishing touch and then try it out - be it mittens that I anxiously pull onto my hands, or a drawing that I quickly hang to "see how it looks in the space."
On the other hand, my husband is completely different. He is incredibly multi-faceted and talented and I'm constantly blown away by all the amazing things he works on. But - he is a different kind of animal. He starts a million projects, throws himself in the process, finds victory in every step of the way, and 90% of the time, sets them aside before finishing. Now mind you, I'm not saying this is in any way worse than being "finished-object focused." It is just a very different way of experiencing the creation of art - this kind of artist is immersed in the process, and as the process starts to wrap up, the project might lose some of it's appeal. And that's ok - the phrase I heard the most in design school was, "it's all about the process."
Nate making book covers
But when it comes to owning a handmade business, you really have to understand what kind of artist you are. If you find that you start many projects but don't finish many of them, a handmade business might become a burden for you. After all, if you don't finish your pieces, you won't be able to sell them. Without pieces to sell, your business is going to suffer. If having the pressure to finish pieces is going to take the pleasure out of it, this might not be a good path for you.
If you're all about the finished piece, then a handmade business is probably a more viable option for you because you will have an easier time creating inventory for your shop.
Of course, this is just one of many, many things to consider when thinking about starting your handmade business, but I think it's a crucial one. It can be the difference between turning your craft into an unpleasant chore, and starting the business of your dreams.
Hello friends! I hope this heat wave is being kind to you. Right now I am seriously regretting our lack of AC.
The silver lining to all this heat is that its doing wonders for my veggie garden. I hope you're not sick of seeing pictures because I get more excited about this project by the day. I've finally moved beyond just having "a bunch of plants" to actually having produce!
soon to be full-grown tomatoes
sweet basil, which became a salad after these photos
One of my favorite and most frustrating design projects is our house. We bought our first house a year ago, and I am ashamed to admit we're still not done setting it up. I like to tell myself that it's because I'm very particular about how it should end up. But mostly I spend too much time knitting and not enough time cleaning.
I've been trying to fill our home with interesting pieces, focusing on handmade (of course) and things I've managed to bring with me from my native Brazil. My favorites, of course, are the handmade things I brought from Brazil. I wanted to share some snapshots with you - these things were made by Brazilian artisans and carefully packed away in suitcases.
Hello friends. I hope you all had wonderful and relaxing weekends. Some of you mentioned wanting to see more of where I live, so I took some photos on a Sunday evening walk to share with you. This is a little peek at downtown Salem.
Can you believe this week is almost over? I have been trying to get so much done I end up losing track of time. There just aren't enough hours in the day! Here are some snapshots of what I've been up to.
I saved these pictures for a separate post so I wouldn't completely flood you with pictures, but when I visited Liz (Made in Lowell) at Western Ave Studios, I also met Peter Zimmerman. He is an amazing glassblower/lampworker and was kind enough to let me take some photos of him working.
Peter making a turtle You can find the finished adorable turtles here
Hello dear friends, I am popping in for a short post today to share some garden photos from this weekend. My whole life I'd been a killer of plants and owner of the blackest thumb, so I can't even explain how exciting it is to have my first veggie garden this year. The best part? It seems to be surviving. I'm finally getting to the flowering stage, so hopefully I'll start seeing actual veggies soon.
zucchini flowers - I had never seen them before!
Are you growing any veggies this year? Do you have any words of wisdom to share with a very inexperienced gardener? :o)
A couple of weeks ago I took a wire-knitting class at Bead + Fiber, which is a store specializing in beads and fiber (duh) with a large yarn collection. They're also located right across from Grey's Fabric. Basically, if you come to Boston and like arts and handmade, you should visit the Sowa neighborhood.
Anyway, here are some photos I shot during the wire knitting class. I learned how to make a beaded wire bracelet.
The verdict? I'm not sure this type of knitting is for me. The result is very organic and "messy" for lack of a better word, and the perfectionist in me had a hard time with it. Also, its like regular knitting except it makes your fingers hurt! But in about an hour you can make a cute bracelet, so I might be trying this again when gift-giving season rolls around.
Have you ever tried wire knitting? What did you think?
Last Saturday I went to Lowell to visit the Western Avenue Studios for the first time. This is definitely a place everyone should visit! It's a renovated textile mill with over 140 artist studios. They have open studios every first Saturday of the month, which is just amazing (it's also conveniently located near the train).
While I was there, I visited Liz of Made in Lowell in her studio, for an afternoon of chatting and knitting. I was completely smitten with her studio and took lots of photos to share.