nism: Hi, I’m Nathan Stapleton-McKinzie. I’ve always loved to draw and paint. I studied painting for a while in Carbondale, Illinois. From there I spent some time Upstate New York where I was represented by the Varga Gallery. At the moment I am working as a Freelance Designer/Flash Animator and living in the Windy City of Chicago. I love coffee and working on art late into the night.
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.
Birgitte of SewDanish: Since early childhood, I have been crafting and however busy life has been, I’ve always found time to do just that. Making things energizes me and makes me happy.
I love creating something from “nothing”. I often combine and incorporate recycled items and vintage fabric in my products, giving them a new lease on life.
Some years ago I was very lucky to do City and Guilds part 1 and 2 (now diploma) in Patchwork and Quilting as well as several courses in contemporary machine and hand embroidery. Pure Bliss!
I love dying my own fabrics, threads and anything else that can be coloured. I’m very excited about building up textured surfaces from lots of layers of fabric, paper, paint…. almost anything goes.
I often work a series of small numbers within a theme, exploring the possibilities. Since each item is handmade, the individual item will always be unique. Besides making contemporary wall hangings, I like making small things that can be used in daily life, like book covers, key rings, make up purses, drawstring bags, cards…
The idea of recycling isn’t just about separating your household waste into piles of glass, paper and organic waste. Like the above photo from Skip To My Lou, recycling is a cute way of having fun – as well as keeping little people busy and entertained with these juice carton boats.
I love the idea of simple, easy to make crafts and home made treats – especially when minimal mess is acquired making said crafts and home made treats!
Much like these yummy looking Ritz cracker snacks, made by my sister-in-law, Amy.
These are a straight forward make and you will need:
Ritz crackers/a cheaper alternative.
Chocolate (Amy has used white chocolate, but you can probably use just about any variety.)
Melt the chocolate: you can try the bowl in the pan method or the microwave method. Sandwich together 2 plain crackers, spread a little peanut butter in the middle (to hold the crackers together) then dip into the melted chocolate and add sprinkles to them – the last two steps my 4 year old nephew helped out with meanwhile my 2 year old nephew sat that part out and was on hand to taste-test.
I was so impressed with these cute little treats and it further affirms to me that from simple things come great things – and you don’t need to break the banks doing it, or expend a lot of energy making things.
Much like these sweet (literally) building block marshmallow straws from Makes and Takes, a crafting blog jam-packed full of crafty ideas for kids, family time, recipes, home projects and so on.
For instructions to make these marshmallow/straw building blocks.
So when keeping it simple on the craft and making front with kids, make it accessible and inclusive to kids of all ages. Devise tasks for all age groups according to their ability levels, encourage (but don’t over bear) their creative and crafty sides – and remember to get them to help with the cleaning up process, too!
Michele Banks is a self-taught painter from Washington, DC who specializes in the sometimes-maligned medium of watercolor. Although images of sweet landscapes and precious flowers may spring to mind when thinking of watercolors, Michele’s paintings are nothing like that.
She uses pigment, paper, and water to interpret and replicate natural phenomena. Just like the divisions of a cell, how water and paint behaves on paper can sometimes be predicted, but very rarely controlled.
Although Michele has always found science to be mentally and visually fascinating, she is not a scientist herself. Her corporate career was interrupted twelve years ago when her husband’s job moved their family to Bermuda. Michele started making collages and paintings, and sold a few through galleries on the tiny island.
Living in the tropics inspired her first conscious efforts at creating art, but really the urge had just been laying dormant for years. Michele clearly remembers decorating her first post-collegiate cubicle with collages created from comic books and bits of pretty ephemera.
Some of her artwork is still about collage making, but watercolors play an important role in those works as well. When a painting doesn’t work out, Michele tears them up, focusing on the colors and patterns, and reshapes them into a new piece.
Her favorite medium is watercolor because it suits her personality. Its properties require one to work fast, and to commit to brush strokes, while accepting the fact that complete control is simply not an option.
Her medical and biological themed work came about accidentally, while experimenting with various effects of watercolors and combining colors. A customer of hers remarked that one of her paintings looked remarkably like organisms under a microscope, “only friendlier.”
The idea of depicting natural processes and phenomena with watercolor was planted, and Michele ran with it.
Michele’s cell division and heart rhythm series are meant to be artistic interpretations of natural patterns and processes, that are literally at the root of life. Michele does not intend to make her paintings completely scientifically accurate, but she has found most medical professionals see something they recognize in her work.
Michele paints in a variety of sizes and colors. Her paintings are all one-of-a-kind original watercolors, not prints. Her bio-medical watercolors can be found online at her Maker’s Market storefront, and her collage work can be found in her Etsy shop. Michele also displays her work year-round at DC-area art fairs and craft shows.