Monday, March 31, 2008

Out of Order

For 24 straight hours, Baltimore artists will hang their work on the walls of Maryland Art Place in preparation of the annual silent auction and gala known as Out of Order.

Find out more online. We look forward to this event all year... I hope my husband and I can find a babysitter!

Friday, March 28, 2008

friday finds!

for a grey, rainy day, these sure cheer me up!
charming gocco print by littlestflower

oh, how i want this wellie tee for my daughter. by charlieandsarah

these won't keep you dry, but the will keep you organized! by our own blockpartypress

and in the "just plain cute" category, notecards from ouou

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Last chance to apply for DIY at Artscape!

Photo by Uli Loskot

If you are a talented crafter (of course you are), one of Artscape's newest additions, DIY @ Artscape, may be perfect for you to showcase some of your unique talents. Artscape is supporting the emerging Do It Yourself trend by creating an entire section of the site dedicated to these hip and talented new wave crafters. For the first time, DIY @ Artscape invites crafters to create and sell original pieces of work at affordable prices. The application deadline is Sunday, March 30, 2008.

Artscape, the largest free, public arts festival in the country, features 150+ artists, craftspeople and fashion designers, visual art exhibits both on and off site; incredible live concerts on four outdoor stages; a full schedule of performing arts including dance, opera, theater, film and classical music; demonstrations; workshops; an entire park dedicated to children with entertainment, hands-on projects, interactive learning experiences, take-away crafts, street theater and family fun; and a delicious international menu of food and beverages.

For more information about DIY @ Artscape, visit or call the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts at 410-752-8632. See you there!

Persepolis: An Evening with Marjane Satrapi

Don't miss Marjane Satrapi this coming Tuesday, April 1, at 7 p.m. in LeClerc Auditorium at College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She will be giving a lecture and signing books, so don't forget to bring your copy of Persepolis! If by chance you haven't read it yet, no worries! Just pick it up at Atomic Books on 36th Street in Hampden.

The lecture is open to the public and free of charge. College of Notre Dame is located at 4701 North Charles Street in Baltimore. For more information, please call 410-532-5516.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

Well, it's officially spring and all the signs are springing up all over the area. I even saw a robin yesterday, so there is no doubt that Spring is here. In the art and craft world you can start to see the signs of Spring too. Birds, nests, grass, buds, cherry blossoms and all sorts of florals are springing up in soft pastels and fresh bright colors. The Etsy front page and treasury lists and are full of Spring themes and colors.

I know I can't help but be inspired by the new season. I have been out taking pictures of the signs of Spring and have been very inspired by what I've found. Here are some of my Spring photos. I hope they inspire you to create something amazing.

Post and images by BlockPartyPress

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Baltimore Album Quilt Tradition

I am a huge fan of the Maryland Historical Society. Their museum is really a fantastic resource and inspiration. My husband and I searched their library for records of our house, hoping to find information on the occupants so we could better approach our ghost crisis when we first bought our old mill house.

Librarians were more than happy to help point us in the right direction and even gave us new leads to follow when we couldn't find what we were looking for there.

I scan their photo archives weekly for images of Druid Hill Park for my own blog and often delight on spying on my little house captured in time over 150 years ago. This week I thought I'd browse their site and discovered an online gallery of Maryland quilts. On this tour, visitors can get lost in the details and collage of early Maryland quilts and browse the history of Baltimore Album Quilts. You think you know quilts, but you may be surprised. There's much more to them than you think!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hey Ladies!

In case you haven't heard, LadyFest Baltimore 2008 is coming! Ladyfest is a grassroots, community-based festival created by and for women to present, celebrate, and encourage women's artistic, entrepreneurial, and cultural achievements. This one-time festival, held April 11-13th, 2008, will feature a series of volunteer-coordinated events, including workshops, discussions, music, performance art, and other forms of self expression. Oh, and a cabaret! For complete schedule, volunteer information and more, visit their website.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Now I've done it. I'll have that song in my head all day. No matter, because I love bunnies all year 'round. Our Friday Finds this week features work from melissabeal, RedMush, SiebenMorgen, muttsywonder, winifredStudios, sarahorgren, naynu, babaialainn, MarmeeCraft, our own CuriousZoo, Deadworry, gardenpainter4. Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

craft around town

Hello! My name is Annie. You may know me as imogene, imogeneAndannie, or a member of the Charm City Craft Mafia. Thank you so much, BEST, for inviting me to guest blog today on the topic of craft and Baltimore. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some of my favorite Baltimore craft resources and inspirations. Let’s dive right in!

For my jewelry-making tools and materials I frequent:

Made in Metal: This shop is run by Jo Ann Aiken. Alongside raw materials and tools, you will find beautiful bench and studio space available for rent, workshops, and most likely an exhibition in the gallery space.

Terra Firma: Stop in and say hi! to Bill! He has everything you could possibly imagine in the way of metalworking tools and materials. Additionally, he has just expanded his shop to include a dazzling bead and findings section.

International Gem and Jewelry Show: This comes into town several times a year. If you like beads, you absolutely cannot miss this. ‘Nuff said!

Books. I can never have too many books, be them old, new, pricey or free!

Normal’s: THE place for used books and records. I could be in the art and zine section all day. I have found some beautiful out-of-print hardbacks here!

The Book Thing: THE place for free books! I have a small collection of old hardbacks. I love to pick up anything that has a mid-century modern cover, anything French, and anything with botanical drawings. Really. . . I will grab anything that will work beautifully as a photo prop.

Atomic Pop: I just love the book AND toy selection here. All at once, you can pick up knitting patterns, a comic book, a gorgeous Taschen book, a BUST magazine, a plush toy from My Paper Crane and a Hello Kitty keychain. Does it get any better?

Places I love to go:

Visionary Museum: Okay. This is a given. I know. But I had to mention it. I always walk away feeling reinvigorated and ready to MAKE. A plus: I also always walk away with wonderful trinkets from the gift shop.

Tulip Garden: One of my most beloved Baltimore outdoor spaces. Make sure you go when the tulips are in bloom. I don’t think this is even called the “Tulip Garden”, but I can’t help but refer to it as that. It’s just breathtaking.

See you around town!


guest blog by annie

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just in Case You Missed it...

There is a renaissance of sorts happening in North East Baltimore, particularly in the Lauraville area. This Saturday I ventured up the street to check out the grand opening of several new businesses in the 4300 block of Harford Rd. Already revitalized by the likes of Red Canoe coffee and book shop, The Chameleon Cafe and Zekes Coffee, this area is further establishing itself as a shopping destination with the new businesses.

My first stop was Studio C, opened by our very own B.E.S.T. Member Constance of Vibrant Earth Jewels. Tucked up on the second floor of Red Canoe, the shop is a sunny display of handmade jewelry and gifts. I quickly snatched up some dangling earrings made from vintage chandelier crystals. Next I ventured into Spinster Yarns and Fibers, a must stop for anyone who knits, crochets, or works with fibers. It is a haven of cubbies filled with rainbow colored yarns and wools in every shade imaginable. They also have an impressive book selection and other fiber supplies. In addition to their wonderful stock, they are also offering classes. Go to for more info.

Next stop was Rock Candy, dangerously close to my home, for someone like me with a raging sweet tooth. They carry organic and gourmet chocolates, funky items like candy bacon and Legos, great gift items, bulk favorites like gummi bears and worms- but by far the most exciting is the small movie theater in the back, complete with concession stand. Currently the theater is available by reservation, check out their site, for show times, chocolate tasting events, and new items.

Also be sure to stop into Bediboo, a unique children's clothing boutique, for hip urban tots and their Mamas. Another business I am keeping an eye on is Beth's DIY Workshop. Beth will teaching classes on using power tools, basic plumbing repairs, and simple carpentry. The workshop will have benches, tools, a DIY library, and will be available to rent open hours for customers to work on projects. What a great resource and congratulations to all the new business owners!

Post written by DandelionBlu

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

on craft

in my opinion, very fine craft work from the indie community. from margauxlange

Disclosures. I am a self proclaimed "craft snob." I am in love with the world of craft. I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit, and I have also spent much of my travels looking at craft. I have seen amazing schmuck (jewelry) in Germany, wonderful keramik in the Czech Republic, mind-blowing fiber work in Great Britain. I have watched low-country basket weavers work, been mesmerized by the rhythm of a loom, seen cold glass transformed into a work of beauty before my eyes.

I have also stood next to the original Mona Lisa in the awe-inspiring Louvre, seen large, intricately carved pieces of early Hindu temples, stood in a room filled waist high with motor oil in the Saatchi gallery. I tell you this to give you a frame a reference for my views. I am not an artist, not a crafter. I am an addict. While I enjoy any sort of intelligent discussion, I am not interested in the debate of art vs. craft. I group them both into an aspect of my life which comes second only to my family and friends. It is a way of life, a daily need, an appreciation for making.

As a 30 something who has spent close to half of her life around fine craft and crafters, only to recently find myself knee-deep in the indie community, I can easily see both sides of this argument. I have traveled to most of the most prestigious shows in the country, and seen work that made my jaw drop, made me willing to mortgage my home to own it, inspired me to devote much of my career to promoting the craft industry. And, I will add, I have found the fine craft community to be a generous and friendly group of people, who have in many senses built the road that the indie community of today is now cruising down.

On the flip side, I have found the indie crowd to be inspiring in many other ways. The overwhelming support of each other, the fearlessness which allows them to try new materials and subvert expectations, the lifestyle which actively promotes the rejection of mass production, the return to the beauty of everyday useful objects made by hand, the support of independent businesses - these all mesh so perfectly with my own beliefs that it is impossible for me to not support this movement as well.

I guess I just can't identify with the rhetoric of the recent SNAG conference. Do I think some craft is better than others? Of course, that's the nature of the world. But to discount craft artists because the lack of a B.F.A. or M.F.A. (visited AVAM lately)? I don't want to go down that road. I don't like where it's headed.

Overall, this discussion saddens me. I believe that the broad category of “handmade” and all of the social benefits that come with it is only weakened by the attempt to separate out some very talented and qualified indie craftspeople simply because they are too young or don’t have the right “pedigree.” Over and over, I have lamented the lack of younger buyers or makers, at American Craft Council Shows, Museum Shows, and other juried "fine craft" shows. I don't envy show producers... it's a difficult task that lies ahead.

To echo sentiments from Imogene and Sweet Pepita, the indie craft community is a vibrant, creative group of diverse artists which I am proud to be a part of. I am also proud to know many, many of the craft artists who belong to the world of "fine" craft. I hope that we can find a way to unite and preserve all forms of making, to ensure a strong future for craft in America.

Editorial post by jenmenkhaus.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Yes, But is it Craft?

Photographers, jewelers and ceramicists are no strangers to the art vs. craft debate. For years and years, artists and makers in these fields and more have either defended the validity of their work, or ignored the crafty insult and just got on with what they do.

I remember when I studied jewelry at MICA, waiting for the 27 with my toolbox sitting on the ground at my feet. I had to get to class straight from work later that night. An older gentleman took note of my box and asked if I was an artist. He was curious and chatty.

"Yes," I told him.
"Oh, well, what medium?"
"Jewelry," I said.

See, and this is where things changed. This man who was, just a minute ago, so interested and cheerful now seemed kind of offended.

"That's not art. That's craft. You're not an artist."
At the time, I was really hurt. I felt I worked too hard not to be taken seriously, and from his mouth, the term "craft" might have meant unskilled or leisure activity.

I think things are different now. There is validity in craft and there are phenomenal advocates for it in the greater community. Which is why I was so sad to read about certain ideas and opinions that were presented at the last SNAG conference.

I wasn't there, but I think Annie from Imogene, a talented local jeweler, captured the details and the mood in her blog. Please take some time to read this piece. There is a movement amongst crafters at this very moment. We are young and old, trained and winging it, full-time, part-time, all-the-time makers.

We are here.

Editorial post by Sweet Pepita

images gathered by jen menkhaus in support of this editorial. found on etsy, and all likely to jury into some of the most prestigious fine craft shows in the country. from jenmaestre, kjoo, tijusai, cherilewis, misslo, and rhondagushee

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday Finds (on Saturday!)

Mr. Owl Bag by our own JennyJen42.

Ornamental Flower Card from Modernradar.

The Orange Collection from Eninaj.

Amber Waves of Grain Pendant from our own Block Party Press.

Philippine Yellow ducky by loranscruggs.

Cashmere Marilyn Shrug by Adventuresofjr.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Super-Grand Opening in Lauraville

Fellow BEST member Constance from Vibrant Earth Jewels is celebrating the arrival of her new brick and mortar store, Studio C Jewelry & Gifts, with a grand opening this Saturday, March the 15th!

From 10am until 5pm, Studio C, along with neighboring shops Rock Candy, Bediboo, Spinster Yarns & Fiber and Beth's DIY Workshop, will be holding a raffle for a gift basket made up of items from all 5 new shops! Tickets are available for just $1 at the Red Canoe.

View Larger Map

The address is 4337 Harford Road, two doors down from the Chameleon Cafe. Stop on by, enjoy the festivities, and don't forget to pick up a raffle ticket! What better way to spend a Saturday?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tag... She's It!

I know the ACC was a whole couple of weeks ago, but I'm still a little in awe of the crazy knit fence I saw there! After seeing artist Lacey Jane Robert's fence, I looked up her work online... and all I have to say is... TAG... you're it!!!

Wouldn't it be great if more graffiti artists could express themselves in such a soft and fuzzy way! Now you have to check her out.. more info can be found on my blog!

Post written by JenyGwen

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We have a winner!

Her name is Janelle from Baltimore, and a special package full of goodies will be on its way to her tomorrow! Thanks to everyone who signed up so far & check back soon, as we'll be announcing details of our next giveaway later in the month!

Charm City Roller Girls

Not only is Baltimore home to such unique icons as Frank Zappa, John Waters and Divine, or great athletic teams as the Orioles and Ravens (ok, these may be questionable), we also play host to a sports team that has both of these traits... the Charm City Roller Girls. These ladies are as strong and tough as they are beautiful and unique... and they mean serious business. How could they not mean business with names like Joy Collision, Rosie the Rioter and Coach Ballbricker. They aren’t 15th in the nation for nothing and climbing higher to number one.

Much like our own newly formed B.E.S.T., the CCRG started out as a small group of girls meeting two nights a week and soon found themselves in an organized league of over 80 women. We all remember the down and dirty roller girl teams that gained popularity in the 70’s, these women are actually just like the rest of us. They are artist, mothers, teachers, activist and so much more. They work hard, play hard and hit pretty hard too.

So come on ladies, pull on those fishnets, hot pants and roller skates, come up with your roller girl name and head on down to the Fifth Regiment Armory this Saturday night (March 15th) at 6:00pm to support the amazing women of the Charm City Roller Girls.

For more information on the teams, rules of the game, pictures and upcoming bouts, check out the Charm City Roller Girls site at

Written by: Jill Popowich (aka- Wicked Witch of Westminster)

Pic by GlobalGlenn from the CCRG flickr site

Monday, March 10, 2008

Miscelena Handmade Papercrafts

Born into a family full of crafty (in the best sense!) women, my mom taught me the
value of a hand-written greeting when I was barely able to form the letters. Our shared enthusiasm for papercrafts - handmade cards and other remembrances - is still going strong.

I spend most of my weekdays working at a computer (albeit luckily as a commercial interior designer - a job I love!), and while I enjoy the connection and communication available via the internet, I believe our world will be a bit less beautiful if we lose the ability to touch one another with our own handwriting, our own words in ink on paper.

Flickr (my blog!):

Post by Miscelena

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rainy Day Project I: Homemade Playdoh

Another rainy Sunday in Baltimore. I can't even tell you how desperate I am for spring. Although I am a crafter by trade, I sometimes have a really hard time coming up with rainy day craft projects to kill a couple of hours with the kidlets. Why can't I let my 10 year old break plates solder?

When I can't think of anything else, my go to project is homemade playdoh! Not only is the act of making the playdoh a project, but you are in fact making a craft supply. Two birds, one stone and a lot of fun! This is all you need:
1 c. flour
1 c. boiling water
2 tbsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. salt
1 tbsp. oil
Food coloring (optional)
Mix and knead together. That's it! This playdoh is not sticky and does not dry out.
The images above are stills from a fantastic Sony Bravia commercial where they created a 60 second commercial using stop frame animation of playdoh bunnies running through New York City. You can read about it and see the commercial here. Happy Kneading!

toys toys toys!

I love the idea of giving artists the same (or very similar) blank canvas and asking them to make something out of it. I've seen it done very successfully many times, but have never seen it done in a way that just plain made me smile. I walked into Atomic Pop last night, and was happily greeted by their incarnation of the blank canvas project - although in this case it's plastic bunnies, bears, dogs, and more.

The show is called "Vinylmore," and it features over 50 different artists, many of whom call Baltimore home. It's the first DIY Art Toy Show happening here, it opened last night, and you need check it out. If you can't, you can see many of the pieces on Atomic Pop's blog or Flickr set. Work shown is "Horizon, Have A Nice Day, Southern Champion Set" by Sara Tomko, a graphic designer from Baltimore. Link to City Paper article.

Friday, March 7, 2008

New Work––Sneak Peek

I am not a production potter. As much as I might dream of having a studio pottery where I sit mesmerized by my spinning potters wheel, I’ve come to know my own studio persona well enough to know I don’t have the patience to work at the same form long enough to perfect my efficiency. I am easily distracted. As soon as I have a group of pots that I am happy with, I’m ready to move on and find a new challenge. And so I start sketching.

Next come the prototypes. I make the same form over and over until I find the proportions I like. In this case, I started with cups and am now adding bowls, vases, and other cylindrical forms to the line. In time, these forms will sport printed images, subtle washes of color, and soft undulating glazes—connecting them visually to the last group of pots made. Keep you eye out for the finished pieces coming soon.

Post By VWStudios

Thursday, March 6, 2008

March, and er, well April for the Animals

Some of our animal-loving members will be marching for the animals this April 2oth in beautiful Druid Hill Park. To help meet the team's fundraising goals, some members will be donating proceeds from their etsy shops to the cause. It's always a fun day, so join our pack or help us out by donating.

And check back soon, as we'll be posting updates as well as special gifts from some of our members when you donate!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

BEST member at The Walter's Art Museum

Danamarie Hosler from greenstarstudio just completed this wonderful mural at The Walter's for their terrific family art center. Dana's work now hangs among some of the highest artistic achievements from nearly every corner of the world - and right here in Baltimore! For more information on her murals and other non-Etsy goodness, visit Danamarie at

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fine Art Meets Crafters

Today, let’s talk fine art. Many of the crafters here in Baltimore also make art for the gallery scene so I thought I would highlight a couple of fantastic museum shows that might be of particular interest to crafters.

The fine line between art and craft is intentionally being blurred by a pair of exhibits mounted at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. The current show, “Pricked: Extreme Embroidery,” explores how “handcraft traditions are rejuvenated in mainstream art and design.” I hear the show is out of this world and I can’t wait to find a weekend to get away to NYC to take a look.

Nava Lubelski, Side Dish, 2004
Hand-embroidered thread on ink stained cotton canvas
12 x 12 in.
Photo: Nava Lubelski

The first of these two exhibits, “Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting,” opened last year and included a wide array of non-traditional materials mixed with traditional techniques and traditional formats featuring non-traditional imagery. The show featured work by Baltimore artist, Piper Shepherd. It was by far the highlight of a weekend full of art.

Post by VWStudios

Monday, March 3, 2008

you are here, hon

Organized by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, the Baltimore Festival of Maps will feature a plethora of engaging public programs and educational experiences through an array of important exhibitions, interactive workshops and seminars, and engaging special events. Festival programs will range from one-day workshops and demonstrations to ongoing processes for the duration of the festival; some will challenge our assumptions and deconstruct the purpose of mapping through community-based programs, while others will explore our unique cultural heritage, including Baltimore jazz, historic neighborhoods, and tradition of painted screens.

The Baltimore Festival of Maps features more than 20 area arts and cultural organizations presenting activities exploring the rich history and contemporary interpretations of maps and the mapping process. March 16 - June 8, 2008. The complete program schedule is here.

Oh, and it's got a fun blog, too!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

sit down with the mafia, part one

Hello there crafty Baltimoreans, it's Christalena Hughmanick from the Charm City Craft Mafia. Our Baltimore-based group formed as a chapter of the Austin Craft Mafia a little over a year ago and functions as a true collective. We are a group of local crafters committed to strengthening our community by way of craft shows, workshops and other related events. At these events I showcase knitwear from my business, It Knits.

I've always enjoyed taking breaks from my tedious fine art projects by knitting a pair of gloves or ear warmers and eventually sought out a market to sell my creations and began It Knits. As I explored this market through craft shows, I found more artists and art supporters here in Baltimore than I ever imagined existed! This town is hungry for hand made goods and the shopping experience that comes with them. I've heard so many Holiday Heap show patrons say how pleased they are to have a mall-free shopping season. And who can blame them?

With all the craft activity happening here, I feel strongly that we are on our way to making Baltimore a craft destination. I love to see more groups form and more shows scheduled. It creates a buzz around our community and reminds the public that they have a multitude of amazing artists right here in their own town to buy from and support! I've experienced the successes of working collaboratively within the Craft Mafia and can only imagine what could be done if the local craft groups worked together. It's a great time to be crafting in Baltimore, so pick up that project you've been neglecting and get to work!

Applications for the Charm City Craft Mafia's 2nd Annual 'Pile of Craft' show on June 21 are now available at Also, don't miss the first ever 'DIY at Artscape,' at this year's Artscape festival July 18,19 & 20. Applications for these discounted booths can be found at