Nov 17

Tammy at The Crafty Princess Diaries blogged about a project to make special scarves for Special Olympians. This sounds like a really great project for any knitter or crocheter to work on! No specific pattern is required, but Red Heart is aiming to collect 5000 scarves knitted in their Red Heart Super Saver yarn in white and delft blue.

Oct 22

By Lynn Taylor,

This article was going to be about the artisans in my Etsy Street Team, Etsy West Michigan Team, but quickly I saw that this was a bit too broad of a subject.  As of this writing, there are 50 members of Etsy West Michigan (EWM or as I lovingly call it “Handmade in the Mitten”) and I could probably write a book with the variety of crafts we all create.

So, it became clear to me that I needed to focus on one aspect of what we do; other than all having stores on Etsy, we do CRAFT SHOWS!

We have the usual folks who do shows only in the fall and up to Christmas.  Then we have those who love to sit outside and do open-air venues.  And that, my friends, is right where I’m going.  You might say that’s been done with the likes of Bizaare Bazaar and Maker Faire, large shows or fiber festivals.  But let me tell you of our own local show that has come about purely by accident.

Fulton Street Artisans Market (FSAM) is actually a spin-off of our local farmers’ Market, which has been in existence since 1922 for farmers selling fruit and vegetables every weekend May through December.

Artisans started showing up, asking for booths.  Produce sellers would be placed in the booths first and then artisans would be given a booth after a lottery.  After this happened for several years, the farmers’ market directors decided that there was enough interest to allow artists and crafters to use the facilities on Sundays, when the farmers’ market was traditionally closed.

FSAM was born in 2004.  It is totally volunteer run and the small booth fee goes to advertising and promotion.  By focusing on the artists and crafters, Lisa and Merrie, FSAM Volunteer Coordinators, hope to attract more crafters and foot traffic by highlighting different artists each Sunday.  August 17, 2008 was set to be Etsy Day.

Rebuilding is the topic for this year at the FSAM.  The volunteers were looking for more artists and crafters to attract to their venue.  Luckily, some of the EWM Team had come across this venue and started to spread the word.  By working with the lovely ladies of FSAM, EWM developed a friendship and then the idea of collaborating bubbled up.  Why don’t we work together?  FSAM will do the promotion and advertising and provide the space for a show; EWM will use the Etsy resources and each of their own wealth of customers and contacts to draw people in, crafters and customers alike.  The Etsy team page came in handy, the Forums on Etsy to announce that any other crafters who wanted to join us for Etsy day could and should join in.  What an opportunity!  All we had to do was reach out and take it!

And take it we did. This could be the start of a beautiful community friendship! Farmers’ Market + Etsy Sellers = Love.

Oct 8

Yesterday I posted about an Autumn Wreath using found materials. I tried a second project with the found materials as well, that was not as successful.

I had the idea to use a paper bag and put some gathered clippings in it. I envisioned a rustic-looking bouquet in a paper bag and fastened with a bow. When I began executing my idea, I wanted to try a decorative yarn lacing effect. The resulting “cornucopia” shape is pretty unsightly.

I just tossed this one into the trash can after I snapped photos of it. Not all your craft ideas are winners, and it’s important to realize that! (It might work if you needed it for a bouquet or something, as you wouldn’t see the handle as much.)

Sep 16

I spent my final minutes at the 2008 PDX Zine Symposium visiting with BT Livermore and the guys of Robopocalypse Comics Collective.  Both tables had amazing collections of comics and other cool stuff, such as hand-silkscreened (in BT’s bedroom) t-shirts and other goodies. I picked up a long-armed stapler tee to represent, since I love mine so much.

My photo doesn’t do it justice, but I loved BT’s Bigtime banner. The letters are cut out of pinstriped suiting – so awesome! He also had some beautifully silkscreened zines, including one that caught my eye – Mustaches.

These guys were really cool and nice. I mean, um, tough and salty! Argh!

Sep 15

It’s been a couple weeks since the PDX Zine Symposium, but I still haven’t told you about Lee Meredith (a very talented craftista, of Leethal, and publisher of the very excellent “Do Stuff!” zine – highly recommended). I met Lee in person last fall when we both participated in the Multnomah County Library Zinesters Talking program.

She tabled at the zine symposium, and just look at how amazing her table looked! She had a lot of great merchandise, all with a recycled/upcycled theme (which I LOVE!), so I took a couple snaps of her amazing wares.

Aug 29

When we left you, we were talking about Tender Loving Empire and how we visited their table at the PDX Zine Symposium.

After TLE, we met a craft collective from British Colombia, Canada called Squid Inc Craft Collective. We picked up two awesome zines, “Arts & Crafts Revolution”, vols. 1 & 2, and met the author, Terri. It was great to meet them! Look for our reviews of these zines soon!

We were excited to meet Ally and Jeremy of Guapo Comics. If you come to visit Portland, visit them early in the morning for some coffee – they open at 6am!

They carry CROQ, too. In fact, they had a couple issues on the table at the symposium! Woo hoo, thank you guys for representing us there!

Aug 28

We were too late to register for a table this year, but we made a trip to the 2008 PDX Zine Symposium (Portland, OR) to check it out and say hi to some friends!

I read some Ghost World that morning, which got me in the mood to mingle with zinesters and comix artists.

The first person I met up with was Rustin from Streetcar Press.  He is an energetic supporter of the zine scene, and if you don’t know him, I suggest you send him a note and introduce yourself.

Next stop was Kate Bingaman-Burt of Obsessive Consumption. She just moved to Portland to be an assistant professor of Graphic Design at Portland State this fall (Yes, Portland eventually gets all the cool people!). If you haven’t checked out her site, blog, artwork, or zines, you really should. She illustrates one item that she has purchased EVERY day! Her zine is beautiful, so I picked one up! She is also the illustrator for the forthcoming Handmade Nation book!

Then we talked to Jared at Tender Loving Empire. Did you know they carry zines? Yes, that’s right, they do. In fact, they carry CROQ. Awesome! So go buy some zines from them!

Jun 15

Heather in the style of Vincent Van Gogh, ATC 2004

I was just bemoaning the lack of art in my life currently (in any form), and practically the moment I posted about it on Facebook, I received an invitation from Milla to join Miss Stacey’s Summer Art School. Sounds like just what the headmistress ordered!

The class, based online and to take place right in your own space, is now registering new students. Assignments will be rigorous, yet forgiving. You can do what you have time to do, and don’t worry about what you can’t do. Class runs from June 22-Sept 7 (with a possible extension if the summer session proves successful). There is a pre-assignment going on currently, that includes two parts:

1. get out your paints and play around, experiment with painting on different textures, using different tools to paint

2. paint (and only paint) a self-portrait

Here’s a self portrait ATC I did back in like 2004 or something…

I’m gonna get out in my garage and start painting! Come join us!

Oct 31

Last week’s zine reading at the Hollywood Library went well. There were about 20 people there. The library is really nice — I’ve never been there before, but I definitely need to go again!

Lee Meredith from Leethal brought her zine “Do Stuff” and had a fun project for us to do – making “ninja mitts” out of socks. She even brought socks for us to use to make ourselves some mitts! I made some pink and brown stripey ones, and my mom made some mini mitts for Lewis (which have already come in handy, as the weather has been cooling down, and his hands get cold).

I brought little packets with goodies to make a craft while I read (it was the same craft I used at the class I taught last month) – vintage bits with magnets, pin backs, and thumbtacks.

(I borrowed these pics with permission from Diane’s blog because I didn’t bring a camera with me!)

I figured people could glue while I read. I read two selections – one was “Getting Rich Quick Between the Ages of 7 and 14” and the second was a news article I wrote about Morsbags.

After I was done reading, we had a Q&A time, and that was it. It was a fun night!

Oh, and here is a project that one of the attendees made – I loved how these turned out, so I was really excited that Diane took a picture of them. The creator used old yearbook photos and some origami paper and glued them behind marbles. I think those big marbles are really cool!

Oct 8

I’m hosting a Morsbag-making party at the CROQ Office on Oct. 17th from 7-9pm.

What’s a Morsbag? Check for more info, but basically, it’s a handmade cloth shopping bag (made from recycled fabric). Morsbaggers make a slew of the bags and then GIVE them away to unsuspecting shoppers – all with the goal of eliminating some of the 1 MILLION plastic bags consumed over the globe per MINUTE!!

We’re just going to be doing the sewing/construction part at this party – and it’s our first Portland event.

If you check the Morsbags website, I guarantee you’ll be intrigued. Email me for the office address if you’d like to be a part!

heather -AT-

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