Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday in the City

Historic house on Charles and Biddle in Baltimore City
From the John Appleton Wilson Collection at the Maryland Historical Society

Crafty Bastards wrap-up

We went down to check out some of our BEST members at CB yesterday, and had a great time! There was so much great stuff there, and Beastie Boys music to boot! Sweet Pepita had some supercool new shirts, Dandelion Blu had great enameled necklaces that I am coveting, and I walked away from Block Party Press's booth amazed again at the things she can do with polymer.

Definitely a fun show!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Finds: Summer Edition

Yes, it’s that time of year again: long sunny days, barefoot walks in the grass, corn-on-the cob, trips to the beach and bright summer colors. There’s something about summer that makes even the most timid of us embrace bold colors and fun patterns. So enjoy these great, adventurous summer finds.

You will turn heads with this gorgeous pink vintage concoction
by Grey Brocket

I just love polka dots! This bathing suit by Harajuku is irresistible.

Look mysterious in this amazing handmade hat by Sookie

Keep your skin glowing with this yummy scrub by BEST's own Spa Therapy

Who doesn't want to rock this awesome bracelet by EmeliaRo?

Crafty Bastards Tomorrow!

Visit BEST members Sweet Pepita,

Dandelion Blu,

The Broken Plate,

Beth Pohlman,

and Block Party Press, as well as fellow Baltimoreans Red Prairie Press, Spaghetti Kiss, and Imogene and Annie.

Saturday, June 28 from 10am-5pm
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
8230 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, MD

More info here!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Twenty Things - Jen Menkhaus

Twenty things you didn't know about me, by jenmenkhaus

  1. I have an unreasonable, unrelenting fear of spiders.
  2. Mayonnaise grosses me out.
  3. I have always wanted to go to India.
  4. My hair used to be pink.
  5. I stayed up all night to read the last Harry Potter book.
  6. If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be sushi.
  7. I saw Moulin Rouge five times in the theatre the first week it came out.
  8. I can always justify spending money on shoes.
  9. I miss Jeff Buckley.
  10. I am terrible at gardening.
  11. I make coffee so sweet, it tastes like candy.
  12. The most difficult thing I have ever done was ride a bike in San Francisco.
  13. Among the jobs I have had – dog groomer, ice cream scooper, produce stand attendant.
  14. My husband proposed to me at the Haunted Mansion / Nightmare Before Christmas ride in Disneyland.
  15. I can do math in my head.
  16. I speak enough French to get by. I can swear in Spanish or Italian, and I know the words for “beer”, “jewelry”, “vegetarian”, and “thank you” in German and Czech.
  17. I actually like playing video games, although I rarely do.
  18. I once drove to Boston on a whim.
  19. No one believes this, but I am actually an introvert.
  20. I would move to London in a second.

Would you like to be featured? Email your twenty things (keep it clean, please!) to baltimoreetsy (at) gmail (dot) com. Be sure to include your name and URL.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Where's BEST?

Can you spot the BEST member's jewelry in this video about Earth Alley?

Sources of Creativity

As a BEST member, art educator, and active member of the artist community for many years, I wanted to begin a discussion on creativity and what inspires, drives, distracts and pushes us to create. Thinking back to the part of your life that has been the most creative, the people who have been major influences, and the actual process of how you make.

Anita of Miscelena Handmade Papercrafts has volunteered to be our first person to complete my short little snippet to begin the discussion process.

1. What part of your life do you find is/was the most creative ? Do you think back to these times when creating your work?

This is by far the most creative period of my life to date! Over the last decade and a half, I've worked hard to build a design career while raising my son... which didn't leave a lot of free time for other creative pursuits. After years of being in a 'production' position (i.e. helping translate others' ideas onto buildable designs), I'm now in a design position at my day-job and my son is in high school, pursuing his own creative ideas in a two-year specialized art class. As a result, I now have more time and ability to explore my photography and papercrafting ideas at home, AND I've developed a network of fabulous artists and designers who share my enthusiasm for 'playing' with color, pattern, texture and concepts. I feel so very
lucky to live within such a creative network of friends, family and other professionals.

2. Did you have a creative mentor? A teacher or role model that taught you about creativity or simply inspired you to be creative?

Oh, this is very much in my genes: when I was small, my mother and grandmother sewed most of their (and my) clothes, and a real value was placed on handmade gifts... and handwritten notes. Much like cooks who find it difficult to simply follow a recipe, I learned early that it's better to 'make it your own', by altering a design or pattern and following inspiration. These days, I'm also constantly encouraged and inspired by my friends in the design-industry who each seem to have their own 'homemade' interests as well: some paint, some are photographers, some sew - there's always something new and exciting!

3. When you get stuck, how do you get out of it?

I've learned that it's no good to try to force creativity... when nothing's working quite right... nothing fits, the colors don't quite coordinate, I can't even cut a straight line... I have learned to just shrug it off, let it go. It's like giving myself permission to have some downtime: I'll go do something else entirely, usually reading (there's never enough book-time, it seems!) and come back to it later. If it's an on-going block, there's nothing like a trip to the art museum (ANY art museum) to jump-start some creative thoughts.

4. What is your creative process when making your product?

I usually start with one particular item: a stamp I've found, or a new patterned paper, or even just a color ("Today I feel.... lime green!") and start searching out the items (other stamps, other papers) that feel related to the theme, either color-wise or style-wise. Choosing inks - and I rarely use just one in a design anymore - is the next step; what colors do I want to emphasize? Is it about contrast or coordination? Is this a 'happy' card or a somber note?... then last come the embellishments: ribbons, twine, old dictionary pages, detailed brads, a bit of metal, etc., to add style and make the cards unique.

5. Do you have any creative thinking tricks you like to share?

I carry my point-and-shoot camera *everywhere*. I'm not a 'serious' photographer, and my shots are as often more simple documentation than thoughtful compositions... but whenever I see a palette of colors or textures(sky/trees/roadway or brick/concrete/railing or skirt/sign/building) I try to 'catch' it. Even if I never directly reference the images I capture, I think it keeps my brain 'tuned' to looking for patterns and contrasts.

Post written by JennyJen42

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Saturday! Saturday! Saturday!

Crafty Bastards is this weekend! If you happen to know a crafty bastard personally, you probably haven't seen her for a while because she's barrocaded herself in the studio, or possibly handcuffed herself to the sewing machine on the dining room table (there will be no eating here).

But have no fear! Some of the craftiest bastards from near and far will come out of hiding this Saturday at Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, MD.

I am really looking forward to seeing these Owly Shadow Puppets

and perhaps purchasing a Mean Card or two from Julianna Holowka...

There will also be BEST and Charm City Craft Mafia members in attendance along with many other Baltimore artists and crafters, so be sure to stop by and say hi!

This Saturday, June 28 from 10am-5pm
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
8230 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, MD

Open Studio Tour at the BMA

Visit the Sondheim Prize finalists in their creative habitats! Download the studio touring map, or pick one up at the BMA. For more information about the Studio Tour, call 443-573-1832.

Work by finalists:
Becky Alprin
Melissa Dickenson
Dawn Gavin
Geoff Grace
Maren Hassinger
Molly Springfield

The Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Finalists Open Studio Tour
Saturday, June 28, 1–4 p.m.
More info here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pile of Craft

So, maybe it was insanely hot at St. John's on Saturday, but we all had a great time! Many, many thanks to the Charm City Craft Mafia for putting on a great event. (I hearted my hummus sammich from Clementine!)

photo by my lovely neighbor from the Richmond Craft Mafia, modernjune

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Countdown to Pile of Craft - Tomorrow!!!

We can't wait to see you at Pile of Craft tomorrow. Check out who will be there from The Baltimore Etsy Street Team!!

Beth Pohlman

Bower Box

Countdown to Pile of Craft - 2 Days Left!

Don't forget to pamper your skin with these products from Pile of Craft!

Recent MFA grads at MAP

Maryland Art Place's current exhibition, Convergence, features work by recent graduates from MFA programs in the Baltimore area. From black and white photographs to a sculpture made of sail cloth the show includes work in a wide variety of media. The exhibition is rich with texture and sits beautifully against the pale blue walls of the MAP gallery.

Artist talks are this Friday at 6 p.m. followed by a gallery reception starting at 7 p.m. See you there!

Participating artists include:
Christian Benefiel (UMD, College Park)
Lauren Boilini (MICA)
Ruth Bowler (UMD, Baltimore County)
Andrew Buckland (MICA)
Mahwish Chishty (UMD, College Park)
Penny Forester (MICA)
Joshua Gillen (Towson University)
Ellen Harper (Towson University)
Aniko Makranczy (UMD, College Park)
Justin Storms (MICA)

Work pictured by :
Aniko Makranczy
Ellen Harper
Penny Forester

For directions to MAP and gallery hours, visit

Post written by VWStudios

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Renegade Re-cap

The Renegade Craft Fair is a unique DIY event held 4 times a year in Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL and San Francisco, CA. RCF has gained a reputation over the last five years as being the biggest, best and the most well-known of all the DIY craft fairs out there. Each individual fair draws hundreds of applicants and tens of thousands of shoppers from all over the country and even abroad. Renegade is a juried event that celebrates and showcases independent artists and designers with work ranging from comic books to craft kits, silk-screened posters to reconstructed clothing and jewelry. I was pleased to be a vendor at this years Brooklyn show, packed my tent and my wares, bribed my friend Cindy with wine and chocolate, and headed North.

Saturday began with extreme heat and humidity, and although crowded, the shoppers seemed to be all wilting. Then one of the worst thunderstorms I have ever had the pleasure of being in struck. While the wind was blowing tents away, the rain was collapsing others, the pool was filling with water, and we were risking being electrocuted by the lightning. Unfortunately, several artists booths received so much damage, they were unable to come back the following day. It was an experience to say the least... Enough with the negative though.

I do have to say that I was blown away by the level of craft, sophistication and creativity of every single vendor there. I was humbled to have been included and even a little star struck. There was a great balance of vendors and merchandise, there was no one overwhelming media that stuck out. I can honestly say that I think there was something there for everyone. I was a little sad that I didn't get to see Lotta Jansdotter, a personal hero of mine! I suspect that she packed up when the terrifying storms rolled in and then didn't return on Sunday. I was incredibly happy to be neighbors with fellow Baltimoreans Rachel and Phil of Red Prairie Press- they are the nicest people and do one hell of a business. I think I must have one of each of their t-shirt designs by now.

My other neighbor was the lovely Catherine of Reiter8. She uses recycled sailboat sails and re-purposes them into messenger bags, totes and beach bags. They are "uni-sex" and have a great graphic quality to them- plus they are very durable and a green craft. Some of my other Renegade favorites were Orangyporangy, I got a great skirt that I am wearing right now. I also loved meeting and purchasing from The Candy Thief, her hair pieces remind me of those that Flappers wore in the 20's. I got a beautiful resin necklace from Fern Works, they made the trip all the way out from Oregon. I had to bring my ever patient husband back a gift, and Seibei's "Make Me A Sandwich" monster shirt was calling his name.

Of course I got a new scrub from Biggs and Featherbelle, I covet their products. There was no way Cindy and I could pass up the singing pickle T's from Wheelhouse Pickles, and they were giving out free samples of their fabulous pickles as well. I wanted to get some cards from Mean Cards, to send to friends and be, well, mean! But my favorite the "some may call you an enabler, I call you a friend" card was sold out. I'll have to catch them at Crafty Bastards in 2 weeks. So despite, the torrential rain, wind, dangerous lightning, and flooding, it was still an incredible experience for me and if anything, I learned a lot from. I hope to be back next year with a vengeance- much like those thunderstorms.

Post written by DandelionBlu

Countdown to Pile Of Craft - 4 Days Left!

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