Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Handmade Children's Items & Unintended Consequences: Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

As I learn more and more about this issue I get more and more worried for all of the indie crafters who make children's products. If you haven't yet read this please take the time to read the letter Etsy put out about the issue.

Read here

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Remembering and reliving the past

That was then

According to Wikipedia "A Hoosier cabinet (also known as a "Hoosier") is a type of cupboard popular in the first decades of the twentieth century."

I was lucky to inherit one that had been passed down from my grandmother. After it was passed down to my parents it lived in their dining room as I was growing up. It was always one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house. When my parents had to downsize and sell our family home a few years ago the piece was passed on to me. I was beyond thrilled to welcome it into my home. We moved it into our family room and it acted as our office.game storage. My dream has always been to move it into my kitchen where it truly belongs. This week I was able to fulfill this dream.

This is mine

After removing a large shelf/coat rack from the wall and moving our mound of shoes I had finally found a spot. It took less time than I thought to clean out the years of paperwork we had thrown in there. It was such a relief to finally tackle the piles of paper and stuff growing inside. I was like a giddy child when I finally had it set up in kitchen and began adding cloth napkins to the drawers and tea boxes to the cabinets. I stood back and smiled as I knew my grandmother would be so proud. I am excited for my parents to see it when they come up for Christmas this week.

My kitchen is my other craft studio. Cooking is my other creative outlet. My hoosier is a reminder of the past and how much I love pouring passion into my home made food the way my grandmother did before me.

Happy holidays everyone! Here's to remembering the past and living a bit better in the present.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to: Make an Armored Ornament Out of Thumbtacks

Check out this holiday ornament made from thumbtacks from dollar store crafts.

Learn how to make it here.

Shop Local

Here are a few finds from a few Vermont crafters to inspire your holiday shopping.

Turquoise stack earrings by Manny beads

ami gingerbread man by urban-farmgirl

Burst Earrings by Broken Finger Art

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Bulletin Board - This week at the Bobbin

This week The Bobbin is offering fun workshops to help you DIY for the holidays!

Tuesday & Friday (12/16 + 12/19): from 3-5 you can learn how to
transform recycled denim into an on-the-go bag.

Wednesday (12/17)from 12-2: They are upcycling 2nd hand fabrics into crafty little stuffies.

Thursday (12/18)from 12-2: turn an old sweater into a cozy mitten
and scarf set!

To see all of their exciting classes this December check out their calendar.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Craft Spotlight - Sarah Ryan

I had the privilege of meeting our next crafter spotlight last weekend during a studio sale we were both selling at. I realized quickly that I recognized her work from a show she had done at Penny Cluse in Burlington years ago. I fell in love with her work then, and I was excited to meet the woman behind the craft now. I thought she would be perfect for our next crafter spotlight.

Sarah Ryan
Colchester, VT
Sarah Ryan Studio

1. What is the name of your business, what do you create and sell and how did you get started?
I generally just use my name, Sarah Ryan. It has been helpful in the world of computers to add the studio bit, hence the name Sarah Ryan Studio. I am an artist and illustrator and have recently started to admit that I am a designer as well. I make paintings and prints. I design logos and make illustrations for people and businesses in the local community. I enjoy any kind of art or design project and over the years I have done everything from wedding invitations and food labels to designing local currency and painting signs and guitars. I remember wanting to be an artist at a young age but not really knowing how that would be possible.

There were a few important events which helped me realize that I could be paid for making art. One summer when I was home from college, a friend of mine approached me and suggested that I help her boss out who needed the side of his food-vending truck painted. He had a name but no logo and no supplies. In one afternoon I had to find the right brushes and paint, come up with a design and get the truck painted. I finished it and thought "this is easy ..I love this" and I walked away with a pocket of cash. My career as an illustrator definitely started by working for Seven Days newspaper. I was drawing comics at the time and my friend Lars Fisk got my illustrations into Seven Days where he was working and which had just started. From there, I started making cards and then that eventually lead to me designing the logo for Crow Bookshop.

I am indebted to the local community whom I feel I am constantly collaborating with and being inspired by. I also worked as an artist assistant for Daryl Storrs and at Eleventh Street Studio for Kate and Richard Donnelly. I learned a tremendous amount from both jobs in terms of art production and the business of art. The other skill I have honed for years is cooking. I only recently took a break from being a chef to be a mom and artist full-time. Being a cook will always play a role in my life and I'm sure I will continue to find ways to bring food and art together in future projects.

2. What/who inspires you?
I am inspired by people who work with their hands. Cooks, potters, auto mechanics. People who teach inspire me. Visually, I love folk art, comic books, old engravings and children's book illustrations. Some contemporary artists who remind me what is possible are: Julie Doucet, Nathalie Lete, Tony Fitzpatrick, Rob Ryan, James Kochalka, Exene Cervanka, Holly Golightly (the musician), and Kat Von Dee. I don't think we're here on this earth to do just one thing and I think it's always interesting when people wear more than one hat, or let two worlds of interest collide and intersect. It seems to make things richer.

I also believe inspiration is out there all the time, everyday- it's there for us when we're ready and when we want to tune in. Music really inspires me too and I see lots of parallels between music and art. Alicia Keys' song "Superwoman" inspires me. My two year old daughter and I sing it as a duet.

3. Give us a peek into you work space. Where do you create? Describe your work space or studio.
I work at home. I have a great space on the second floor of my house. Each corner is kind of a different 'zone' for production. I always have a thought board for visual things I like- my dad taught me that. I have a computer desk, a painting and construction desk, and a drawing desk. I used to think the goal would be to have a space outside my home, and I may eventually, but right now it has been really nice for my daughter to experience my studio. She has her own spot in there now with a little desk.

4. Where do you sell and promote your work?
I have a website which functions as my portfolio. I do get a lot of jobs by word of mouth since I have lived in this area for so long. Occasionally, I am lucky to show my work at a gallery or at Penny Cluse Cafe, the later being somehow a wonderfully perfect place for my art. I do sell work out of my Studio as well, and now I have a small shop on Etsy, which is where I do a lot of experimenting. I sell my paintings there, but I also have been dabbling with felt. I find that the process of sewing something can really inform me about issues like construction and design. I also have done a craft show here and there. I seem to be wearing the hat of an illustrator and designer these days, but when I build up a body of paintings, I am sure to hang them at the Penny Cluse Cafe.

5. What are three things you can't live without?
good food, love, and humor

6. What are your three favorite things about Vermont?
Vermont is my favorite place in the world so my list is long, but here are three in no particular order: the Vermont state motto! 'Freedom and Unity' pretty much sums it all up, Long Trail IPA, and Molly Hatfield.

7. What does the term indie craft mean to you?
You know, I just watched Eva Sollberger's 'Stuck in Vermont' about The Bobbin and I think they really have it going on over there . At it's best, it's a community of people trying to make thoughtful work by hand and sell it locally and purposefully. There's a sense of camaraderie and fun to it- participation and encouragement. It's also about getting things done or made on your own terms. Vermont is the perfect place for this kind of thing to flourish. It is about the work and how it's made. It's also about the people and the heart they put into it. There is certainly an international movement as well which is more commercialized, but ultimately, if it's getting people to be more creative and make things by hand, I can get behind it.

8. Any new products, projects or news you want to share?
My favorite project right now is painting guitars with Creston Lea at Creston Electric Instruments. Something about the merging of art and music makes me very inspired. The shape of a guitar seems to suit a decorative painting style and makes me feel like I am making a painted version of embroidery somehow on Creston's guitars. It will be interesting to see what happens with Etsy. It's a great promotional tool and lesson in business and design. As my daughter becomes more independent, I can see myself having much more time than I have had in the past two years to devote to art. I am excited to see what that time will bring. It could be anything!

Thanks Sarah!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Have you heard?

The lovely Eva of Stuck in Vermont paid a visit to the Bobbin last Sunday. Check out this great video promoting indie craft in Burlington VT.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Finding your thing

our booth

This weekend was the Women's Festival of Craft. Erinn and I shared a booth along with many super talented crafty ladies. If you missed the event WCAX filmed a spot on the show that you can watch here.

For me personally the show went pretty well. Saturday was swamped and I had my best day. Sunday not so swamped and sales were down for me. All in all though I thought the show was a success and I am so glad I did it again. You get so much more out of doing a craft show then just selling your wares. It is also a time of reflection. Ideas are formed and realizations are made. You try to anticipate what will be your hot selling item. Sometimes you are right and sometimes you are wrong. I hit the nail on the head with some new products I brought to my table for the first time, and I was surprised by how what used to be my bread and butter wasn't this time around. We live and we learn.

What I really like about doing a two day show is it gives me that extra time to make some of these realizations and act on them. Taking visual inventory of what was selling and what wasn't on Saturday allowed me to come back on Sunday with a fresh eye and change my display around.

This weekend was also about personal growth for me. I realized I am ready to take a next step in my crafting. I am ready to move on to my next big thing. I am ready to challenge myself and learn something new. I think in order to keep growing I need to branch out and find my thing. This all relates to my jewelry. Something is going to change. I am not quite sure what it is yet but I feel energized to make it happen.

those are all the deep thoughts I have for today.

keep crafting, keep pushing the limits, and keep being a rock star.


Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bulletin Board

Saturday and Sunday Erinn and I will be sharing a booth at the Women's Festival of Craft at Cit Hall in Burlington. Come check us out and all the other lovely crafters.

See you there!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

subsixstudios speak

fall harvest bracelet by subsixstudios

My hands ache from craft show preparation. This coming weekend I am participating in the Women's Festival of Craft at City Hall in downtown Burlington. It is a two day event happening on Saturday Nov 29th and Sunday Nov 30th. I like this show for several reasons. One is that the vendor fee is reasonable. $90 for two days. You can even split that with a friend which I am doing (Erinn of urban-farmgirl) so my cost is just $45 for a two day show. Bargain! I love that the show is downtown at the end of Church Street because you are bound to get many people just coming in off the streets. I also love that there is no entrance fee for customers. Entry fees really turn me off. The building is packed with three floors of women crafters from all over. The energy is pumping and the location is great. It makes me a bit sad to not be producing the Queen City Craft Bazaar this year with my friend Sara who is at this time in Costa Rica learning how to teach ESL. I torch was passed down to me though and I do plan on bringing it back. It was just way too soon for me take on this year. It will be back in some way. I am toying with the idea of producing smaller shows more times throughout the year. What are your thoughts on that?

Luckily for me it is school vacation this week so I have both kiddos home. This might seem like more of a distraction but it actually saves me so much time because I don't have to run in and out 3 times a day doing school drop off and pick up. I have so much left to do before this weekend. Here is my to do list:

1. Finish the last 4 necklaces
2. Make at least 5 more pairs of earrings
3. Crochet as many scarves and scarflettes as I possible can
4. Wash my table cloth
5. Make a new sign for my table
6. Make some magnets
7. Price and make my price sheet
8. Go to the bank
9. Pick up my table from my friend's house
10. Breathe!

Ok not sure if that helped or hurt me to write all of those tasks out but there they are now. Layed out for all to see. I better get cracking!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shop Local

The holidays are on my mind. So is money. I know money is tight for everyone this year. More of a reason to spend what you do wisely. For me this means shopping local and on handmade goods as much as possible. Here are some of my favorite pics this week from Vermont crafters.

NANNY - Upcycled Wool Doll by birdie handmade

Pink Flower Magnet set by Sarah Ryan Studio

The Rosy Romance Bag by Little Ms Boutique

Catnip Eyeballs by Hanna Pt.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Have you heard?

The Burlington Winter Farmers Market starts today!

10:00am - 2:00pm at the Memorial Auditorium.

There will be veggies, prepared foods, crafts and much more. Check out there website for more info.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shop Local

I was excited to find this Vermont crafter tonight on Etsy. With all the junky plastic toys being marketed to kids it is nice to have an alternative. These products made by Valerie at Green Mountain Wee Woolies really caught my eye.

Rainbow Bunting Baby set for $20

I also love this Waldorf inspired wool toy box set for $45.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Bulletin Board

Gardener's Supply Holiday Craft Show is TODAY!

Gardener's Supply is having an employee holiday craft show.


Noon-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14
This is their third annual craft fair, hosted by the crafty, artistic and talented employee-owners of Gardener’s Supply. Stop by and get a jump start on your holiday shopping. Erinn of urban-farmgirl and contributor of Queen City Craft will be there selling her amazing handmade goods.

Go check it out!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drops of inspiration

releasing the heart
harvesting the earth
reusing what is found
letting go of what is lost
warm glow of silent sunshine


Images clockwise from left: everything I never said by david zacharis (local VT musician and artist), another use for old zippers by Holly Klump, apples and pear apron by Modern June, The simple things in life by Nest Decorating (VT)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Crafter Spotlight

Sarah Green
Topsham, VT
Mountain Ash Design


1. What is the name of your business, what do you create and sell and how did you get started?
My business is called Mountain Ash Design. I sustainably create housewares and wearable accessories from a combination of new designer fabrics and locally procured vintage and recycled fabrics. I’ve been sewing since I was a kid. I started making my own clothes when I was in junior high. When I was an art major in college I wanted to make quilts but my professors couldn't take the medium seriously. (This was in the late 80s). I didn't have role models or a craft community that inspired me so I worked a variety of interesting job, including five years as a sex educator. All the while I continued to personally identify as an artist and work on quilting projects.
During this time I was working out the construction details for a unique potholder design, which became HotHolders™, my signature potholders, but I rarely sought out markets for my work. A few years ago I was in transition job-wise and decided if I was ever going to have any kind of career as an artist I had better get on it. So I decided to commit myself to designing and sewing full time and have the added benefit of being my own boss.

2.What/who inspires you?

The materials themselves inspire me and the fact that most of them have a mysterious history involving the lives of other real human beings. I get inspired thinking about how American households accomplished their domestic tasks before we were set up to consume a lot of fossil fuels doing so. Other random inspirations include Jonathan Richmond; Preloved, a company in Canada that restructures cast off clothing into awesome fashions; BUST magazine - for its entrepreneur-encouraging tone; the VT local foods movement; and all the youthful VT art, craft and food entrepreneurs I meet at shows and read about in the local press. Also, I get pretty inspired when I've had some caffeine.

3.Give us a peek into you work space. Where do you create? Describe your work space or studio.
It’s not always this messy. You caught me at a moment when I’m working on my son’s Halloween costume, sewing a custom baby quilt, producing items for the holiday fairs, and developing a few new products. I don’t know why, but sometimes there’s a flurry of multiple projects going on at once there. This seems to happen in my most productive times. It’s weird but I’ve learned to accept it.

I’m also in transition right now in terms of my work space. For the past couple of years I've operated a literal cottage industry (well, not the entire industry, just my little part of it), working in various parts of my house until I moved all the dressers and stuff out of my bedroom. That's been my creative space for a while and has been working well as such except that I've been needing more space. My partner is downsizing the craft business he's run for 19 years so I recently took over part of his showroom in our barn. I still don't know if it will be just for storage of products and a display area or if it will become a creative work space, too. It's pretty far from where my sewing machine is right now, and I like to be able to get an hour of sewing in here and there without having to get the wood stove going out in the barn hours ahead of time.

4. Where do you sell and promote your work?

Craft fairs, consignment galleries around VT, on Etsy and I have a few wholesale accounts in different parts of the country.

5. What are three things you can't live without?

Hard for me to think beyond the cliché-but-very-true ones: my family, creative projects, and the great outdoors.

6. What are your three favorite things about Vermont?

My friends, the visual treats of the landscape (though not the temperatures), the tradition of independent thinking.

7. What does the term indie craft mean to you?

It's a community, an aesthetic, a market. People have always been making things and reinterpreting traditional crafts. I think indie craft is the current highly energized wave, with its own philosophies, inspirations, and culture, akin to (and parallel to) third wave feminism. It’s a really positive movement.

8. Any new products, projects or news you want to share?

I saved all my production scraps from the past year and just brought them to the Drop’n’Swap at Norwich University. Now they are going to a rags processing facility in Canada to be recycled into plastic. I’m not sure how cotton can become plastic, but I’m happy about the zero waste.
Also I'm starting to work with leather. I feel like such a bad ass, because I’m usually working with things like gingham and old calicos. I’m using leather repurposed from horribly unfashionable jackets, etc. - stuff people wouldn’t even want as a vintage find. My first leather product is a fabric trimmed wrist strap with a metal loop at the end. People can attach one to their keychain, dog leash or anything they want to hold by their wrist. The leather feels really luxurious against your skin. I wanted to make something special, but also small and simple so I can offer my customers an item for under ten dollars as the country goes through this economic shift.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

QCC news

Happy Thursday everyone!

Thanks to everyone who has been reading so far. Keep spreading the word. Tell your friends and link us on your blog if you can.

I just wanted to mention a couple of things today.

1. After next Monday's Crafter Spotlight I will be only doing them once a month. If you are interested in being featured please visit the submissions page to view the guidelines.

2. Remember to submit any craft shows or events you are doing for our bulletin board. Again see the submissions pages for more details.

3. Be patient with me as I adjust things around here. Some topics and when they get posted might change. For instance the Inspire me Wednesday topic has been changed to Drops of inspiration. I didn't want to be limited to just posting these once a week. As the blog evolves other topics may change and most certainly get added.

If you have any ideas or tips send me an email kacey@subsixstudios.com

Here is a FREE emboidery pattern from Sublime Sisters



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Drops of inspiration

Need I say more?

Tales from an urban-farmgirl

Last week I reopened my Etsy shop in time for holiday shoppers ( I hope). I joined the Etsy Hookers Team in the spirit of self-promotion, and have been having the best time messing around on their network site, checking out all of the cool stuff people are making. They have a blog where they feature a member every week - this week it's the great fray
-her shop is amazing.
Check out the blog and some truly cool crochet.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Drops of inspiration

design * sponge sneak peak: kat heyes
link to original post

The wooden floors remind me of the floors in my childhood home. I long for the day when I can have floors like this again. The rest of the rooms in her flat I find just as inspiring.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crafter Spotlight

Stacie Mincher,
Middlebury VT
Stacie Mincher Designs

1. What is the name of your business, what do you create and sell and how did you get started?

The name of my business is Stacie MincherDesigns. I design and make things out of all kinds of recycled materials. I am best known for my creations using the teeth of metal zippers. I cut the strips of teeth off of the fabric tape they come on and arrange them into patterns on a wood base. I turn them into beautiful pins, pendants, earrings, boxes, and clocks. I also make things out of corks, bottle caps, vinyl records, buttons, magazines and books, and whatever else I can find that looks interesting. Combined with new elements such as wire, beads, or findings, they become functional items such as bowls, picture frames, key chains, or jewelry. I started my business in 2001. I was finished with college and working some crappy retail jobs and didn’t know what to do. I knew that I wanted to do something artsy and I knew that making things made me happy. I started selling my wares at the Rutland farmers market and a couple small craft shows. It wasn’t until I moved back home two and a half years ago that I began doing my crafts full time.

2. What/who inspires you?
So many things inspire me. I love working with colors. If you visit me at a craft fair or a market you will see that I have some of the most colorful and sparkly stuff around. Garbage is great! I reuse a lot of materials that would normally be thrown away. I love hunting for things at garage sales, rummage sales, and thrift stores. Also, the other artists I meet really inspire me. People are doing some great work and it is so nice to be around all of the good energy that they give off.

3. Give us a peek into you work space. Where do you create? Describe your work space or studio.
My work space is currently in the room that was once known as the ‘dining room’ at my Mom’s house in Middlebury. We have been having a lot of work done lately so the space has moved a few times. I have lots of shelves and containers to hold all of the stuff that I plan to use eventually. But right now it looks like I am just a huge pack rat. I have a few projects that are portable which can be bagged up at any time and taken on the road. I spend the weekends at my boyfriend’s house and I usually bring my zippers there with the hopes that I will get some work done. I also spend some time gallery-sitting at the Brandon Artists Guild and find that when I work on my projects while I am there, people can become engaged in what I am doing and that interest often translates into sales.

4. Where do you sell and promote your work?
I got my start selling things at Farmers Markets (Rutland, Brandon, Middlebury, Bristol, and Winooski). I have been doing two a week this year. Although I don’t always make a ton of money there that is ok because the best part of it all is the people. I have had some great customers and met some awesome vendors that I am happy to call my friends. It is so much fun to be out in the sun, taking with people, and sharing something that you love with others! I also do many craft shows throughout the year. See my website www.staciemincherdesigns.com for a list of the current ones. Earlier this year I was juried into The Vermont Hand Crafters and will be at the show at the Sheraton with my zipper designs. I have also spent a great deal of time getting my work into some of the best galleries in the state which include Frog Hollow in Burlington and Middlebury, The Brandon Artists Guild, Art on Main in Bristol, The Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, and Artisans’ Hand in Montpelier. Although I have a website, I currently don’t have anything for sale online. Sometime soon I will get my act together and sell things on there or on etsy. You can find out where I will be on my website or email me any time.

5. What are three things you can't live without?
It is really hard to limit the list to three things I can’t live without, but I am going to say my car, my computer, and tweezers.

6. What are your three favorite things about Vermont?
Three great things about Vermont that have kept me here are: The laid-back attitude of most of the people, the beautiful scenery, and awesome cheese (my favorite food).

7. What does the term indie craft mean to you?
To me indie craft means being true to yourself and what you stand for. To be successful you need to follow the trends to degree, but it is so important to be original and unique. I have a policy which is that I would never make or sell anything that I would not use myself.

8. Any new products, projects or news you want to share?
I spend a ton of time trying to use what I have and to come up with innovative new ideas. This year I have been focusing more on my zipper creations and I finally have zipper pendants.

Thanks Stacie!