Awesome! I don’t watch America’s Got Talent, but my favorite show The Soup (I love you truly Joel McHale) just turned me on to these fantastic hats by Hannibal Means!
Photos from Rickey.org.
Shopping blog featuring products made by people not factories.
This week was the final episode of Lost. There are may fan sites where people hypothesize about the details of the show, like where the island is supposed to be. We know it’s somewhere in the Pacific, some say Bali. Jakarta is also a pivotal location to the storyline, so I thought I’d showcase some local sellers from this magical place. Oraber is an Indonesian painter and printmaker who studied painting, but has evolved her craft to doing mainly printing, especially woodcut. This piece is a great image of many themes within the Lost series, which I attribute to the mystical energy of this part of the world.
As designer Maria Theresa says, the clothes we put on can be inspired by our constant changing moods, and can inspire or subdue them. This dress reflects the ethereal nature of the Lost story, if I were on the island trying to sort things out I think it would be just the thing to don. The designer wants each piece to be an extension of the wearer and reflect who that person is.
This pillow is named the “Tree of Life,” and it called out to me as I sat and watched the final moments of the show. Jakarta resident, Kainkain, is a talented embroiderer who now calls design her fulltime job since she discovered Etsy. This particular design is a fitting end to this story. The tree is both delicate and stand sure, and as such, it is a perfect reflection of how each and every one of us experiences life, no matter what far corner of the earth we find ourselves.
Allison Taylor’s story as a crafter begins in a familiar way: she first learned to crochet at her grandmother’s knee at the tender age of six.
Despite her grandmother’s considerable skill as a fiber artist, not to mention her infinite patience, crocheting didn’t quite stick with Allison that first time around. Six year olds aren’t famous for their attention spans, so it’s not really that surprising!
It wasn’t until much later when Allison was a college student that she picked up crochet hooks and some yarn again. Although she had never gotten into the knitting, crocheting, sewing, and other fiber arts that her grandmother had mastered, Allison had always admired her grandmother’s talent and skill with needles, yarn, and fabric.
When her grandmother became ill and was no longer physically able to craft, due to side effects of a stroke, Allison was inspired once again to take up the craft she had not been able to master as a little girl.
She made her grandmother a blanket, to show her how much she appreciated her, and how impressed she had always been with her fiber skills. Blankets are still Allison’s favorite thing to make, and friends and family can count on one for a gift whenever there’s a wedding or baby on the way.
Allison was “hooked” on crochet from then on, and turned her hobby into a side business with her Etsy shop that opened in 2008. Although she has a day job unrelated to crafting, it in no way diminishes her fierce love for making.
The best part for Allison is having strangers own something she made with her own hands: “It’s a way of sharing something tangible with people across long spaces, which is so rare,” she says. “It’s really exciting and touching, and I never get over it.”
She also feels a connection to her grandmother every time she picks up her crochet hook, another feeling many crafters can relate to. The emotional connection associated with creating and sharing handmade goods is probably one of the big reasons handmade is so popular these days.
The most popular item in Allison’s shop is the best friends beanie, which also happens to be her favorite thing to make for the shop! Customers also respond well to her continuum scarves and continuum collars, with their unusual shape.
Like most of her creations, Allison let the continuum scarf emerge on its own, without too much planning ahead from her. Her general technique is to pick up her crochet hook and yarn, and experiment with different stitches until something she loves emerges.
You can find Allison’s crocheted gems in her online shop. If you see something you like but are fixated on a certain color, don’t worry because Allison loves to do custom work!
Patricia Woodhouse is the owner of Bead Obsessions, Old Town Alexandria’s first bead shop. She’s also been a designer and needlework artist for more than fifteen years. Although she has been making things her whole life, her journey towards bead obsession began in the early ’90s, when she took a class on knitting with beads.
She fell in love with the technique, and quickly became interested in all types of needlework and embroidery, but especially any that involved beading. She formed a beading group with women she met in class, and together they experimented with design, and shared techniques, stitches, and sources for the best materials.
Since learning how to weave and embroider with beads, Patricia has favored extremely detailed work featuring hundreds of seed beads. She compares seed beads in bead work to pixels in a photograph: the more per inch, the more vibrant and interesting the final image.
Patricia has never been interested in selling her work; embroidery and beading and all her needlework was only ever a hobby, but one she adored. However, in 2005 she became weary of working in an office, and frustrated with the frequent buyouts and uncertainty that went along with the corporate world. At the time, there was no other bead shop in Alexandria, Virginia, and Patricia saw her opportunity.
Bead Obsessions was opened in 2005, with the goal of catering to beaders like Patricia: artists who loved to focus on the details, and wanted to create complex, decorative arts pieces in addition to wearable jewelry and accessories.
In addition to a wide variety of seed beads, Patricia’s store stocks glass, lampwork, and semiprecious beads, craft and precious metal wire, plus all the tools, notions and books and magazines needed to create art with beads.
Bead Obsessions is also all about getting others obsessed with beads, and therefore there is a class going on nearly every day! Patricia teaches many of the classes herself, but also recruits locally and nationally famous bead artists to teach classes as well. The day I visited, bead artist Amy Katz was leading a small group in making a bracelet. The bracelet, an original design of Amy’s, features glass pearls and seemingly millions of seed beads. The technique uses a peyote stitch to create bezels around the pearls, and is incredibly labor-intensive, but produces incredibly gorgeous results.
The extensive class schedule includes sessions for all levels of beaders, and does not focus only on embroidery and needlework. You’ll also find classes on making chain maille, knotting and stringing beads, metal work, wire work, and wire crochet.
Bead Obsessions is located in Alexandria, Virginia at 619 South Washington Street, and is open six days a week.
I have noticed myself being drawn to mixed media fiber art pieces lately. Particularly ones framed in embroidery hoops like these wonderful creations from Mummysam! I love the dimensionality that pieces like this have. The colors and technique that the artist from Mummysam uses are interesting and unique. This fox with the fiery orange fur caught my attention instantly. Just where is he headed (or coming from) I wonder. Even if it’s just a window or split second glimpse I always consider it a privilege to be invited into an artist’s world. Samantha Cotterill, the artist behind Mummysam, writes:
“All of my creations are made using natural fibers, with each piece being individual and unique.”
She also mentions that a Mummysam line of fabric for Robert Kaufman will be available late summer. Personally, I can’t wait to see what it looks like!
Aside from these creative mixed media fiber art pieces, there are also prints and the most adorable art dolls available. Also, don’t forget to check out Samantha’s website where you can find all sorts of information and links to the her personal blog and shop!