Julie Green, from UpUpCreative, gave me the low down on the crafty scene in Rochester, New York. Julie is a talented graphic designer whose work is bright & bold. She’s also the brains behind the Each Penny Pretty design blog. Check her out on Twitter!
Athens, Georgia, known for its enormous college and crazed football fans, also has an engaging artist community. One market is not enough to contain them all. Athens Farmers Market, in Athens, and Oconee Farmers Market, in nearby Watkinsville, feature fresh produce, and handmade goods from March to November each year.
Janice Hagey-Schmidt: From a young age I was going to the library checking out craft techniques. I used to paint metal shapes and glass bottles as a kid. Later I progressed to throwing pots and bowls on a wheel. I was thrilled with the use of underglazes on porcelain. And then… one day I took a metalsmithing class at a community college. I have been working mainly with metal ever since. But… I make my living as a graphic designer. Metalsmithing is my art.
The image above is from Gbrosseau Photo
I’m writing this at the end of a wonderful long weekend, and as the title suggests, I’m pondering the meaning of the word home. Why now? It’s been on my mind for months really… We currently live right downtown – and while many of our friends have found this to be an ideal environment for raising kids, for me personally, I’m not sure that it feels right.
Both my husband and I fondly remember childhood days spent frolicking in the forests near our homes, building forts, exploring, and having “adventures”. For me time spent in the forest feels as natural as eating or sleeping – despite having lived in cities of various sizes from the age of 11.
The city we live in and the surrounding countryside have an increasing problem of affordability – and many people are forced to move further and further out into the suburbs.
While the suburbs are an option – my husband will continue to work in the city for the foreseeable future, and many of the suburban areas that appeal to us involve an hour and a half commute. And I think it’s tough to know on the outset what kind of experience you’ll have in the suburb you choose. Some neighbourhoods are certainly more community minded and friendlier than others.
This past Tuesday I was busy planning our hike for this weekend and thought it’d be fun to go a bit further afield than usual, to Bowen Island (a 30 minute ferry ride from downtown). I started reading about this jewel of an island on the Pacific and I really liked what I read. I was actually so distracted by everything that I read that it made it tough to work that evening. We decided we ought to go for the weekend as perhaps this is just the type of place we want to call home. Bowen is a heavily forested island with a year round population of 3,000 people that swells to over 4,000 in the summer. It has a quaint downtown with shops, restaurants and a vibrant artisan community. There are no chain stores of any kind. Instead you’ll find miles and miles of trees and hiking trails, hemmed in by rocky bluffs and sandy beaches. The island has a strong history as a place of deep community ties and its populace is very involved in civic affairs.
The image above is from Spread the Love
After this weekend I’ve fallen in love with the island and I know my husband has warmed to it too. As city folks we aren’t that involved in our community right now. It’s easy not to be in the city. I volunteer as much as I can for a local social enterprise, and we make time to see our close friends – but other than that we often find ourselves working long hours, which often seems necessary to keep our entrepreneurial ventures healthy. Now as we ponder the next stage of our lives, thinking about our future children and putting down roots, we’re forced to ask ourselves just what home means to us, and what we should prioritize. We’re planning to visit Bowen again in September to learn more about the island, and we’re considering giving it a test run as renters, perhaps next spring. So for now, things are up in the air – but in the meantime, it’s given us plenty of food for thought as we plan for the future.
I’d love to hear some of your experiences as you were looking to settle down and have kids!
The spring craft market circuit is really starting to get fired up! This is an off week for me – but I attended shows the last two weekends. Craft markets are a great way to find local crafters & designers in your area and support local tourism at the same time. So I decided to peruse craft show listings to find inspiration for this week’s Shop Local post.
The Spring Bada-Bing, in Richmond, VA really jumped out! The show is in it’s fourth year and is hosted by the Richmond Craft Mafia (a member of the Austin Craft Mafia family) – whose slogan is “rubbin’ out the massed produced.” The SBB is held at the Plant Zero Arts Center, a community center with space for studios & apartments for artists, a cafe, & exhibition space. This year’s SBB will be help on Sunday, April 19 from 11 am – 4 pm.
A member of the Richmond Craft Mafia, Tasha McKelvey is a clay artist specializing in kitchenware & ceramic jewelry. She prides herself on creating art that is meant to be used & touched. She says, “today our homes are filled with stuff stamped out by machines. When we seek out handmade art we make our surroundings a little more human.”
I’ll admit it – the skulls caught my eye on this one! Crystal J. Silk uses traditional silk painting and dying techniques but creates anything-but-traditional patterns. Her work is vibrant, graphic, and quite hip. What would the boardroom think if you paired this silk scarf with a boring blank suit? Or just dressing up a T and jeans?
Erica Vess, who created this adorable “Up, Up & Away” digital print, is the brains behind BeesKneesStudio. Erica is VA born & raised and holds a BFA in painting & printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also creates acrylic paintings, tiny watercolors, and fine art prints.
Craft is certainly alive in Richmond, VA. Do you know of an emerging craft community? Please drop me at line at tara AT handmadeinpa DOT net.