Andy Peutherer: I am a Scottish artist and Photographer. My landscape work featured here is based on the spectacular scenery of The Scottish western Isles, Scottish highlands and the Hebriden Islands such as The Isle of Skye, the Uists, Lewis and Harris. I have a great passion for the landscape and natural history of Scotland which has led me to attempt to capture the almost surreal elements of the Scottish landscape, weather and wildlife. My paintings are created with mixed media such as spray paint, acrylic, emulsion and ink which are used together with self taught techniques to illustrate the wild, unpredictable and spectacular nature of the land and sky. I strive to create images which have a more original style than traditional water colours and oils.
When we were children, at one point or another, we always attempted to write on the wall. Most of us succeeded–much to the exasperation of our parents. If only they knew! One chalkboard paired with a few nontoxic chalkboard markers would have satisfied us for hours. I was an artsy kid, and that moose, painted by Houndstooth Design, is making my inner child squeal with glee. Josh runs Houndstooth Design from his St Cloud, MN home. He finds worn down toys, the sort most children would toss aside because of their chipped paint, and turns them into ethereal chameleons. You can leave notes on a pig in your kitchen or your kids can make a rainbow horse with non-toxic chalkboard markers. At the end of the day everything cleans up with a bit of soap and water.
Small spaces demand quite a bit from their dwellers. Every corner needs a purpose. “No wall left bare” was my motto when I moved into my first studio. Very often we overlook our walls when trying to figure out where to put all of our stuff. We buy boxes and baskets, maybe a few new shelves for the closet, but what about that 3’x3′ space on the kitchen wall?
Ken Rozema of KARoz Woodworking in Toronto, Canada builds these fantastic “Mail Message Centers”. I’m particularly fond of the chalkboard and corkboard combo. Sometimes a bit of paper stuck to a wall isn’t dynamic enough. Say it loud with a few bright colors or stick that very important receipt on the cork side. I’m always struggling with my mail (usually it ends up on the dining room table, after a 2-day layover in the living room) so a dedicated mail spot will help make it a one-way trip from the mailbox to the wall.
Speaking of kitchens, I’m sure you’ve got those random containers with random what-have-you stored inside them. I’ve tried label makers, but they look so boring, and the small font is hard to read. I like big, bold labels. The sort you can read from across the room, so there’s no question that yes, there is enough sugar for my husband to make me an apple pie this weekend.
Braden’s Grace Wall Art of St Augustine, USA makes peel-n-stick vinyl chalkboard labels. These little guys can be used indoors or outside, and can be transferred between surfaces with no messy glue or tape. A great solution for those random containers, be they in the kitchen, office, or playroom, that need a little bit of organizing to help make your life simpler.
Despite the magic of chalkboard, there’s really no mystery to it. Chalkboard paint can be bought at any hardware store, and almost anything can be painted with it. You apply it like any other paint. First goes down a primer and then the chalkboard paint. The best part is that it’s non-destructive. When your kids are grown and you don’t need that black chalkboard wall anymore it’s easy to prime and paint over it. However, most of these paints may have varying levels of toxicity. Carefully read the warnings on the side of the box.
There are companies that sell non-toxic chalkboard paint. Hocusadabra in Hong Kong is committed to selling non-toxic child friendly products, including chalkboard paint. Hocusadabra supports independent artists from around the world, and is opposed to BPA in children’s products. In a world where craft supplies tend to get made cheap, easy and chemically they’re doing their best to offer non-toxic alternatives.
In case you were wondering, chalkboard paint does come in different colors. Black is the easiest one to find in hardware stores, but I think it’d be pretty snazzy to have a cobalt blue or cherry red board hanging in my living room.
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!
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.