Handmade Hellos: Fresh Greeting Card Projects from First-Rate Crafters
“Signed sealed delivered! In this delightful book card-making mavens Eunice and Sabrina Moyle of Hello!Lucky letterpress gather together more than 25 projects from today’s most talented paper artists. Simple instructions outline card- and envelope-folding basics plus how to screen print use a Print Gocco machine hand-bind emboss stamp stencil and much more. Ready-to-use patterns and spiral binding ease the process while easy-to-follow directions cute illustrations and finished project photos make it a cinch to create stacks of boutique-worthy greeting cards.” → more info
For about a two or three year stretch in the late 80s, if you wanted to track me down after-school or on a Saturday, you would have to go to a certain 2nd floor indie record store, housed in a heritage building in downtown Winnipeg. Without fail, you’d find me there, perched on a stool a the end of the counter, trying to maintain a conversation with the clerks over the ear-splitting volume of the latest 12″. And, if I wasn’t in “my spot”, I would be out fetching coffees or helping to unpack a fresh shipment of t-shirts. I didn’t get paid a cent to be there, save for the occasional bagel or coke; I was there simply for the atmosphere and my love of music.
It should come as no surprise, then, that my list of all-time-favourite movies includes “Pretty in Pink”, “Empire Records” and “High Fidelity”, or that visiting the local indie music store is always on my “to do” list whenever I travel to a new city. It seems that no matter where you go, indie record stores (both real and fictional) all share that common, inherent “cool factor”; something that you just don’t get in the big chain stores or their online divisions. I’m sure it’s a combination of several things – the music itself, the staffers who literally live for their love of music, and the underlying sense that the whole operation is barely hanging by a thread.
Sadly, though, that precarious existence is often the case for most independent record shops. With big-box electronics stores and online giants battling it out for the lion’s share of cd sales, and downloads becoming a preferred format; the indies are holding on, but barely. As SNL’s affable host Seth Meyers recently suggested, the next time you visit your local record shop, a Jamba Juice might be standing in its place.
In an effort to support, celebrate and preserve the unique culture of the indie record store, Record Store Day was born. Just 3 years old, this now-annual event is held in the 700+ independently-owned record stores across the US, as well as hundreds more internationally, and supported by retailers, artists, and consumers alike. The festivities range from in-store performances, “meet and greets”, parties, parades and more. In addition, many artists offer special, limited-edition releases and swag created especially for the day; which is now held yearly on the third Saturday of April.
Due to bad-planning on my part [Ed. and exacerbated by serious technical difficulties on my end!], this article is reaching you on the heels of Record Store Day 2010. For that I apologize, but it’s no excuse not to celebrate anyway. While the parades and hoopla may have passed, there are still plenty of reasons to pay your local music retailer a visit – hundreds and hundreds of reasons organized by genre and alphabetically, in fact. So, why not set some time aside this week to explore the sights and especially the sounds of your favourite (or new-favourite) record store? After you’ve made your rounds, be sure to talk to the people that work there to get a suggestion or two. Chances are, they’ll hook you up with something you’ll love…and possibly something that you would never have found on your own.
The shop where I whiled away hours upon hours as a teenager has since closed, but I have three current favourites that I absolutely have to mention: Into the Music, (Winnipeg, MB), Rasputin Music (San Francisco, CA) and Easy Street (Seattle, WA). And, when the urge to shop for cds strikes me in the middle of the night, CD Baby loves me and is open online 24-7.
The fabulous recycled-record necklaces featured above are by Yoshi of Random Prefect. (I recently grabbed one from her Etsy shop and absolutely adore it.)
The neighborhood of Del Ray in Alexandria, Virginia has a great little motto: “Where Main Street Still Exists.” And it is absolutely true. Del Ray’s main street, Mount Vernon Avenue, is lined with adorable shops and independent restaurants. It is the kind of place that encourages residents to hang around close to home, rather than wander into the city, and also lures in people from neighboring towns who are looking for something different.
One of those adorable shops is called A Show of Hands, and it is my favorite kind of place: a store completely devoted to selling the works of local artists and crafters.
Currently more than 300 artists have their work on display there, and more are added all the time. Nearly every artist featured is from Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC or West Virginia, with just a few sprinkled in from other areas.
A Show of Hands will celebrate its fifth anniversary this November, and over the years has served as the launching pad for several northern-Virginia area artists and crafters.
Store owner Pat Miller, who is also chairman of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, says that was her intention all along. While the store accepts work in all mediums from artists of all levels of expertise and experience, the focus tends to be on emerging artists. Those who maybe still have their day jobs, and can’t yet focus completely on their artwork.
Having their goods for sale at a store like A Show of Hands is often the first step to working on their art full time.
The inventory at A Show of Hands is purposefully diverse. Paintings, photography, pottery, fiber work, soaps, jewelry, wooden toys, and homemade jam all have a place there, in addition to nearly anything else a local artist could dream up. The store even sells work from local musicians and poets, and occasionally sells tickets to events starring resident recording artists.
Pat and co-owner Maria Wasowski plan trunk shows and demonstrations at the store that feature resident artists, and are also planning to host performances at the shop sometime in the future.
The most popular items in the store are jewelry and baby goods, as the shop is a very popular destination for locals looking for that unique and special gift. After all, nobody wants to show up at a baby shower with the fifth Baby Gap sweater.
The store’s unique and ever-changing stock has made it a favorite destination for locals as well as tourists visiting Alexandria. Many of the handcrafted goods in the store cannot be found anywhere else!
A Show of Hands is located at 2301 Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, VA. Drop by Tuesday through Fridays 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Saturdays 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Sundays noon to 5:00 pm.
Gifts from the talented hands of textile and fiber artists are a wonderful way to celebrate the season. Below are just a few of the great pieces of work sure to delight someone on your gift list this year.
Sue Bleiweiss of Upton, MA is a full time mixed media fiber artist working with both fabric and paper, currently exploring the art of quilting, surface design, and book making. She is self published and has co-authored two books with Terri Stegmiller: Creative Ways with Fibre & Stitch and Creative Ways with Books & Journals. Her work can be found at her shop on etsy.
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a major in ceramics, Betty Busby founded a custom tile manufacturing business in Los Angeles. After selling it to move to New Mexico in 1994, she has gotten more involved in fiber art, and exhibits in shows nationally and internationally. She creates her own raw materials, and has been dyeing her own fabric since she began quilting over 30 years ago. Her amazingly beautiful art quilts can be found at www.bbusbyarts.com, sales are through her etsy shop
Colin’s Creatures is a collection of hand carved, lifelike, fine porcelain wooly animals, primarily sheep figures. Heads, legs, horns are made from porcelain for its detail, while bodies are cast stone for stability and a wonderful substantial feel. The fur is a woven fabric of wool, mohair or alpaca from the same German source of used on Steiff teddy bears. These whimsical handmade pieces can be found at www.colinscreatures.com
Diana Hughes of dyedianadye uses a variety of shibori techniques to hand dye gorgeous garments and accessories. Her Soba Scarf series, funky hand dyed scarves that are composed almost entirely of fringe, can be worn in nine different eye catching variations. This is one very versatile accessory! Diana’s work can be found at www.dyedianadye.com
For more incredible textile and fiber artists see TAFA: The Textile & Fiber Art List.
Please welcome Chelsey Mona to Try Handmade. She’s a jewelry designer and a blogger, and has done a great job describing her new column to you. Leave her a comment to welcome her to the site, and tell her if you have any shops to suggest!
You know the feeling you get when you introduce your best friend to a new band she’s never heard of? Or you when you discover that little hole-in-a-wall restaurant that makes THE best blackberry pancakes? Well, that’s what Freshly Made is all about. I get the privilege of introducing you to new artists that haven’t been discovered yet, the rare diamonds in the rough that are beautiful but little known.
As new artists get started, they’re still learning how to publicize their shops. They’ve made amazing stuff, but how do they connect with you? Let’s face it, most artists would rather be in the studio and though they may be used to the show circuit often times new artists have yet to learn the mysterious ways of selling online. Plus most websites that feature handmade items usually focus on shops that already have a following. While those artists are certainly deserving, it makes it really hard for new artists to break in. So how does the new artist get heard? We here at Try Handmade will hand them a megaphone.
Each week I’ll be featuring a new shop that hasn’t yet had a lot of online sales. I’ll be bringing you the freshest shops where the paint has barely dried, the wire has just been cut, the stones have just been set and the last threads clipped. Together we’ll go on an expedition to discover great new artists while giving a voice to those shops that need the publicity the most.
I am so excited to be a part of the Try Handmade community! I hope you’ll share your secrets with me, too. If you have a favorite hole-in-the-wall shop that should be featured or you have one yourself, please let me know in the comments below. I have a lot of shops in the queue to feature, but I know I wouldn’t have discovered half of the independent artists I know if I hadn’t been introduced by other people. Let’s build this up together!