Monday, August 27, 2012

Favorite Etsy Shop: Greg Warm Brodt

I really like local artists whose work reflects their surroundings, so when I came across GregWarmBrodt, I was immediately drawn in. Greg creates hand cut linoleum block prints of Baltimore landmarks, such as the the Bromo Seltzer Tower and the Dominos sugar plant. These have a real nice folksy feel to them. I think a series of these on a wall would make a real nice addition to anyone's home!
Check out Greg's site for more great prints.
Written by Stacey Phinney   

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What I'm Working On - Block Party Press

I've making lots of new goodies this summer.  Here are some of my newest jewelry pieces.  Nature has definitely been an inspiration and things are turning more rustic as we head towards Fall:

There are much different things cropping up in my print shop. Animals, cuteness and love are prime themes and the colors are bright and fun.
I'm currently running "Back to School" Sales in both shops! 20% off in the jewelry shop (use code: B2S2012 at checkout) and Buy One Get One Free in the Print Shop. See the shop announcements in each shop for the details of each sale.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What I've Been Working On: Sugar Paperie

Introducing the Eco-Chic Collection!  After many years of saving (ahem...hoarding) paper scraps, I've finally put them to good use.  Cards from this collection are created from reclaimed envelope liners and other fun paper scraps.  
 Perfect for your favorite teacher...
 ...or sailor.
Check out my shop for more new work!

Written by Sugar Paperie.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adult Summer Camp - Common Ground on the Hill

I had no idea they had summer camp for adults! No clue that there were wonderful things that adults could sign up for for a week or even a full 2 weeks. You could be a "day camper" or you could make it "away camp" and stay in the dorms and be a full time camper taking as many classes as you can fit into the day!

Common Ground on the Hill is just such a camp, right in my own back yard, which happens annually at McDaniel College. I know this isn't the only place that has these wonderful camps, I met loads of people who had been elsewhere or were going somewhere to do more summer camp!

The most wonderful thing about this camp is it is totally dedicated to art and artists of all kinds. From making native black clay into beautiful works of pottery art, making a gourd banjo, taking women's blues singing lessons and yes- metalwork classes! Click on the link above to see the myriad of classes available for all ages! Yes, there were 70 year old women taking beginning blacksmithing classes and there were high school students with scholarships taking piano for the first time. So much fun and so many wonderful new friends I met!

Of course I took a jewelry class! I have always wanted to take a class from Linda Van Hart of Tollhouse Studio. Linda is the director of the arts program for Common Ground and is also a full time professor of art at McDaniel, has a fabulous art studio and does shows all over the US. Her forte is chasing and repousse, but she is so gifted a teacher, she is able to teach all forms of metalwork to a class that includes rank beginners to those with experience and makes it fun, challenging and exciting for everyone.

This years class was Reticulation, along with demos for chasing and repousse, wire work and forging. Reticulation is the process of taking a piece of silver a bit different from sterling (sterling is .925, so only about 17% copper - reticulation silver is 20% copper), heating and coolong it many times, and rising the pure silver, then painting your design with a hot torch to make beautiful hills and valleys of swirled silver on the surface. No two pieces are ever alike.

This was my main project - a hydragea leaf from my garden, cut to shape then reticulated. Later I added the stem and created a neck wire to form the torque.
I hope you enjoyed my little story about adult summer camp- and I really hope you will look into these wonderful programs for yourself or your kids to expand and grow their love of the arts!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Favorite Etsy Shop: Olele

I've become a bit obsessed recently with folding hand fans.  A friend of mine brought one back as a gift from Japan a couple of years ago, and I've found it to be so useful!  It's lightweight, easy to use, and fits into every bag I own (not to mention, it is a serious lifesaver for those hot and humid summer days!).  I've been considering purchasing another one, which is how I stumbled upon the fabulous and funky Olele on Etsy.  Each fan is handcrafted by Spanish-based artisan Karmele Luqui using top quality wood staves, and a beautiful array of ethnic fabrics.  They come with matching leather cases as well, so the fan stays in tip-top shape for years to come- what a wonderful and unique gift, perfect for keeping cool during these final days of summer!

Written by Rachael of Open Eyes Press

All photos courtesy Olele.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Lemon Pepper

Sure, we all want to buy locally raised meats, poultry and dairy but have you priced that stuff lately? Enter the chicken back!

Fried chicken backs will reward you with an excellent ratio of crispy coating vs. meat (the coating is what you are after anyways right?) and you can purchase a big bag of them at the farmer's market for about five bucks.  You can also easily grill them using your favorite seasonings.  Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper that comes in a spice grinder is a great option as is their South African Smoke Seasoning Blend. 

When the weather cools, try chicken backs roasted in the oven with a good smattering of dried, rubbed rosemary, chopped fresh garlic, and salt and pepper. Happy bone gnawing!

Written by Barbara of Baltimore Soaps and More

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What I've Been Working On: Heavens to Bessie

A few times a year I go on supply buying trips. I always manage to purchase something a bit quirky. Sometimes these things get used in work immediately and sometimes they sit, waiting for the perfect moment to inspire me. It was over a year ago that I purchased a few strands of bright colored skulls. I had NO idea what I was going to do with them. So they sat. Just a few weeks ago I went on a buying trip and picked up more skulls. These were tiny and as I love things in miniature, naturally I had to have them too.

When I got home, I pulled the ones out that I had bought the year prior and I laid them all on my desk and then went about my business. My thought was if I stared at them long enough, eventually I would figure out what to do with them. And then one day I did.

Though out college, little lithe bodies had found their way into my art work. I used them in a few paintings but by the time graduation rolled around I had sketch books full of them. I could just never seem to leave dance behind entirely.

My idea was always to use them in jewelry and somehow I only made that happen once. I decided to change that! I have been adding my old sketches to these funky skulls and have been having a blast in the studio ever since. I name each one because they really have their own personalities...well that and I am a freak.

All of these pieces are now available in my shop. At this rate, there will be plenty more, and soon!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Finds: Summer Fun

Ah, summer.  Who doesn't love hanging out with friends and family during a season that brings everyone outdoors?  Here are a few items that top my list for summertime fun:
This super stylish deckchair from GallantandJones is perfect for toting around the the backyard or the beach
DimeStoreBuddy offers up retro party supplies galore, including these fun (and eco friendly) paper straws.
I love this shark sleeping bag from TheMiniatureKnitShop


This one-of-a-kind art book from FlatEarthStudio will definitely get your creative juices flowing.

Written by Rachael of Open Eyes Press