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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Do You Love Lampwork Jewelry? Please Vote!


One of my fellow lampwork artists has put together a contest for lampwork jewelry. This week's entries are all bracelets, and boy are they beautiful! Laurie did this to help show the world how beautiful jewelry made with lampwork beads can be. If you love lampwork, you will want to visit just to see all the eye candy.

My entry is Tiger, Tiger! I would love it if you would vote for me! I am entry 2-2 on this page. You can vote once per page, and there are three pages of entries. Please check it out!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Looking for Craft Shows?

If you are like many crafters and artists who have sold exclusively online in the past, the recent economic woes have probably forced you to consider other selling venues. One of the most popular is the craft/art show circuit.

I have found a site that may be helpful on your search for such shows. Sunshine Artist is a database for craft and art shows across the country. What I love is that you can search within specific dates (or leave the dates blank for all upcoming shows), your state, or region if you don't mind traveling a little. Plus, you can search for shows that fit a variety of categories. You can look for fine art of fine craft shows if you want to weed out the shows that allow imports or kits.

Check out Sunshine Artist, and let me know how you do with finding shows in your local area. I would love to get your feedback!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All About Handmade News



As some of you know, I am a columnist for a new website aimed at being an amazing resource for the handmade artist, handmadenews.org . I am really impressed with the quality of the articles coming out of this website (and not just because I write some of them)!

I will take time each week to share not only the current articles I have written for the Business Tips department, but some of the best articles from the rest of the site as well.

So without further adieu...

MUST READS from Handmadenews.org

This week we have tackled Accounting & Paperwork in the Business Tips department. Please check out my Is Your Price Right? to help you think about all that needs to be figured into the price of your product, and Stay Sane with Filing to get some tips on organizing and filing paperwork for the small business.

A very fun article, in the aptly named "Just for Fun" department gives you a quiz to take to see if you maybe take your crafting a little too seriously. Are You and Obsessive Crafter? pokes fun at all of us who have, in the past, been sucked into the craft zone.

Next, for all of you color-lovers out there comes Color Toys and Joys! Every handmade artist has debated over color themes at some point, and this article list some tools to help you make your decision.

Finally, for this first week on my blog, I am going to feature a whole department as a must read. The Green Wise department is full of articles about going green with your crafts and your life. With articles about using found materials to make crafts, to more serious topics such as what is really in your make-up, this department has a number of fantastic pieces sure to inform.

So be sure to visit handmadenews.org when you are looking for crafting information. But be careful--it's easy to lose yourself in the pleasure!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Featured Artist: Studio Marcy


Today's featured artist is a lampwork bead artist sure to bring a smile to your face. Marcy Lamberson of Studio Marcy creates whimsical and fun lampwork beads and sculptures.

Marcy's background, in her own words:

My happy and somewhat quirky lampwork glass beads are designed to make the viewer grin. They are a reflection of who I am. Besides being a full time beadmaker living in Atlanta, GA, I also teach this art form both as private lessons and in groups around the country. I contribute beads to the HOPE Bracelet Project and Beads of Courage, which are two non-profits supported by glass artists. Other important facts are that I can write with both hands at the same time in opposite directions, able flip my tongue over 180 degrees, and still working on learning how to hula hoop.

What does it mean to you to "buy handmade"?

Buying handmade is having a chance to purchase an item that was made with someone's hands and heart. I know from my personal experience, when I make something, my customers have bought a small piece of who I am as a person.

How long have you been active in your craft? What inspires your work?
Although I have created artistic items all my life, I have been making whimsical lampwork glass beads for about eight years now.

Inspiration comes from everywhere. As funny as it may sound, one of the ways I look at life is through beads. I see someone's dog, who I unconsciously reconstruct into a cute bead, or a pattern on a fabric or it can even be a phrase in a story that spurs my imagination. Inspiration can come from 3-D, 2-D or even daydreaming.

Where do you sell your creations?
I primarily sell my glass beads through my etsy shop, http://www.StudioMarcy.etsy.com. It is an easy way to find my most current offerings and contact me. Often people will email me through my StudioMarcy@gmail.com to request custom bead orders- like pet or people characterization focal beads, or beads representing items that have special meaning to them.

I also have a fun daily creativity, inspiration and lampwork glass blog: http://www.StudioMarcy.blogspot.com

Are there any special accolades you have earned in your field?
Well yes, some wonderful things have occurred in my field.

This July, I am very happy to have been chosen to teach a sculptural beadmaking class for the International Society of Glass Beadmakers' International conference- The Gathering.

Last year I demonstrated and presented a program on my current work for the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.

My work has been exhibited in many locations including the following:
The Heinz Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
The American Association of Woodworkers Museum (a collaboration piece)
The Ohio Glass Museum
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fabulous Finds: Lampwork Jewelry

I was spending some time wishing I had a million dollars :) If I did, I would splurge on some of these incredible lampwork jewels. These are not for the faint of heart, or the penny-pincher! These are all truly pieces of wearable art.







Colorful Cala Lillies by artjewelryonline












Surprise Bird Box by Birdland Creations














Lovely Dancing Bloom Earrings by risabeads



















Sea Grass by Skychica













Dangerous Liaisons by redhotsal

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Featured Artist: Niven Glass Originals




There are always a few artists whose pieces regularly draw your attention. Florence, of Niven Glass Originals makes some of the most innovative fused glass pieces I have come across to date. She brings a strong sense of design to her fused pieces, making them stand out from most other fused glass. Her "Divas" are my personal favorite, and show such personality, it is hard to believe they were created in a kiln!

I am so happy that I get to present to you, Niven Glass Originals, and I am sure you will become a fan of Florence's work, too!



What does it mean to you to "buy handmade".
Handmade to me, means just that - from the hands of an artisan or crafter. I'd like to think that someone has developed an idea from sketch to finished product.

How long have you been active in your craft?
I have been a graphic designer and illustrator since 1983. Nine years ago, I took a stained glass course that completely changed the focus of my work. Since then I've slowly replaced my paint brush with a glass cutter, and now work full time as a glass artist. Over the past four years I have eased out of stained glass and now work exclusively with fused glass - glass that I cut, layer and fuse together in a high temperature kiln.

What inspires your work?
I am seldom without a sketch book, or at least a scrap of paper. I've been doing this long enough to know that inspiration comes from all over - a passage from a book, a walk in the park, design magazines, fashion, movies. My background as a graphic designer informs how I see things; my designs tend to be clean and precise - less is definitely more. But I also like to keep a sense of humor in my work - I don't take myself too seriously.

Where do you sell your creations?
I sell my glass at several retailers here in Canada and also online through my Etsy shop - Niven Glass Originals.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just for Fun: Is Your Cat Trying to Kill You?

I know that this is supposed to be a blog about handmade goods, and cats aren't necessarily handmade items, but this was too funny not to share. If you are owned by a cat or two, you will totally relate. (if you're not a cat person, this definitely will *not* help you to like them!)

This was taken from How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You.






















































































Monday, May 18, 2009

Cafe Handmade Virtual Craft Show

I discovered a new website this week, thanks to Twitter! Cafe Handmade is yet another website devoted to handmade, but with a twist. One of their coolest features is how they allow artisans to advertise. While there are the requisite little square ads along the side, the bulk of the artists on Cafe Handmade advertise through the Virtual Craft Show.

The Virtual Craft Show allows artists to upload 5 photographs on their work. These are arranged in a banner-type format as part of the Virtual Craft Show. When a potential buyer clicks on one of the photos, they are taken to the artists web site. The Virtual Craft Show is updated every week, so that there are constantly fresh items to be seen.

Signing up for the Virtual Craft Show starts at $14 for a two week minimum run. This advertising rate is comparable to a lot of the other handmade websites I have checked out. What's so cool about the Virtual Craft Show is you get to spotlight 5 items, rather than just one in a standard type ad.

Cafe Handmade has more than just the Virtual Craft Show. They have a "Best in Show" poll, where you can vote for the best artist in that week's show. They also have spotlights for featured artisans and a marketplace for your works. This is a site definitely worth visiting if you like handmade!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Fun Finds 5.15.2009

Another Friday is here! Thank Goodness! :)

I have been swamped with preparing articles for my Handmade News column, but I still made time to feature some very cool summer-themed items! All of these beauties are available on Artfire, and I have listed the link to each artists' shop, so you can find them easily.

So help me welcome summer, maybe a little early according to the calendar, but never too early for my spirits!







Summer Apple Tree Necklace by Hollis Wire



















Summer Orange Blossom Olive Oil Soap by Ginger Bells














Little Piece of Summer Art Pendant by Vusova


















The Summer Jumper by Drape Clothing















Tropical Paradise by Luna Cat Jewels

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Introducing Furever Friends Pet Market!

My pets have always filled my heart with joy and love. That's one of the reasons I decided to propose a specialized pet market on 1000 Markets. If you haven't heard of 1000 Markets yet, it is a website for quality handmade goods that is a step above the rest. I am happy to say that the Furever Friends pet market is a reality, offering treats for your pet, and pet-themed gifts and art for you!

At Furever Friends, you can buy adorable artwork and photography like the exhausted kitty seen above. You can also buy handmade food and treats. Clothing for your pet is also available, including collars, coats and more.

Finally, we haven't forgotten the humans! Our For Humans Only collection features jewelry and collectibles that reflect your love for your pet. If you love animals, and you love buying handmade goods, Furever Friends will be a heaven on the Internet for you & your furbaby!



Monday, May 11, 2009

Handmade News!

I am so excited to be part of a new venture aimed at taking the pulse of the handmade movement. Handmadenews.org is a brand new, daily online news magazine full of information of interest to anyone who creates or loves to buy handmade goods!

I am currently a columnist in the Business Tips section. Even though Handmadenews.org has just gotten off of the ground, I have already had two of my columns published. Please check them out! The first, Finding Your Niche, talks about how you can combine passions to create one-of-a-kind art that will be in demand. The second, What's in Your Name, talks about the importance of naming your online business.

In addition to Business Tips, Handmadenews.org also has daily columns in Craft Techniques, Marketing, Craft Trends, Going Green, and much more! Be prepared to spend some time browsing the articles! There will truly be a treasure trove of information available for the handmade artisan.

I will still be posting my blog here, but I am going to focus more on presenting new-found handmade artists and trends, since my business-focused columns will be on Handmadenews.org . If you would like to be a featured artist, or know someone that would be great to feature, please email me at handmadechicblog@gmail.com!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Featured Artist: Karen McGovern

Every now and then, you come across an artist whose creations amaze and take your breath away with their innovation and beauty. Karen McGovern, whose business goes by the name Beadkeepers, creates some of the most original, nature-inspired jewelry I have seen to date. What's more, most of the proceeds from the sale of her creations features a nature conservation organization, rarespecies.org.


What does it mean to you to "buy handmade"?
I LOVE to buy handmade for so many reasons. Whenever you purchase handmade art you are not only buying something original, a true "work of art", but you are also supporting the artist who made it and thereby encouraging that artist to continue creating. Nothing is more satisfying to a hard-working artist than seeing their work appreciated. BUY HANDMADE, EVERYONE!!

How long have you been active in your craft?
I've been an artist all my life, but focusing on jewelry design for about five years.

What inspires your work?
Nature, the environment, the world around me. All my designs are a reflection of my belief that art and nature are linked--you cannot have one without the other.

Where do you sell your creations?
I currently sell online through Etsy, and my stand-alone website, Beadkeepers. My work is also available in Rebecca's Studio and Adornment Gallery located in Traverse City, Michigan. I also have a blog about how art and nature influence each other.
Are there any special accolades you have earned in your field?
I've had a couple experiences that really stand out--I was once asked to design a series of rings for a opossum rehabilitation center. The director gave them to all the staff. I created rings incorporating opossum teeth in glass. Very fun and a great honor. I also have been asked to create vessel necklaces in remembrance of passed loved ones, or as affirmations. These are the really special design collaborations that inspire and honor me.





Monday, May 4, 2009

The Semantics Game

I love it when people play the semantics game. I was reading one of many forums I enjoy, and someone stated that people really shouldn't be upset the sellers of mass-produced lampwork beads market them as handmade. *They are made by hand after all--just in a factory by underpaid workers is all* (OK, the sarcasm here is my addition).

Yes, there are a lot of things that are made by human hands. But anyone with half an ounce of sense realizes that when someone is shopping for handmade goods, they want those hands to be attached to an artist. If you want to dissect the meaning of handmade down to its barest bones, so be it. But the reality is, "handmade" has come to mean so much more.

The good news for artists is that handmade is becoming hot. Whether it is the movement to buy local to help the economy, the high number of problems we have had with imported goods, or the need to buy something that isn't pure technology in today's hi-tech world, items that are handmade are now of value. Why? It used to be that men and women knew how to make most of the items they used in their lives. Handmade items have become rare. And items made in a factory aren't rare.

So there.