Tagged: craft show

handmade mart in silver spring, maryland

glass beadmaking demonstration by ryan eicherLast Sunday, my mom and I trekked up to Silver Spring, Maryland for Handmade Mart. It was a beautiful day and a great show – lots of very talented and original artists & craftspeople! The spread was quite well done, with a good variety of crafts represented and most were of very good quality. Overall, I was impressed!

The person I was least impressed with, though, was myself. I was there with “the big camera” around my neck, and you know how many pictures I took? One. I have been kicking myself all week about that one, and needless to say, I will never again take my camera to an event without taking a decent amount of pictures. I seriously feel like such an idiot… it’s a feeling that will linger and certainly get me shooting more in public!

But enough about me and my random camera shyness… let me give you the lowdown on some of the awesome people that I saw!

pidgepidge handwoven summer scarfProbably my favorite booth, and one of the most unique, was that of pidgepidge. She weaves scarves on a loom, and the results are simply fantastic. She has a wonderful eye for color and the different weaving techniques she used on each scarf gave them a wonderful texture. I was especially surprised at how soft they were; they looked like they might be scratchy, but they weren’t at all. She uses mostly natural wool & cotton fibers, and they gave the scarves a luxurious and huggable feel. This one’s definitely on my wishlist!

orange glass bird pendant by loriola on etsyI was very intrigued by the work by Lori Flanders, who makes her own glass lampwork beads in the shape of birds, cupcakes, hearts, and other cute things. She uses rods of glass and a high-heat torch, and it’s an artform where you have to work really quickly and skillfully while the glass is hot. Later on in the day, we saw Ryan Eicher (photo at top of post) doing a glass forming demonstration, which was fascinating. The molten glass is so unpredictable, yet has the potential for some really breathtaking results… that’s something I’d like to learn. Ryan teaches lessons, so I might have to check into that!

julius corkboard covered with inspiring business cards

Now my corkboard is covered in little cards from that day, inspiring me to keep working my crafty self. A few other artists that I got to see and chat with were Jennifer of Cotton Monster and Fuzzy-Ink screenprinted t-shirts. I also visited the ArtSpring store in Silver Spring, and will hopefully be consigning some of my work there in the future!

prints by el jefe design

And of course it’s not like I could leave the show empty handed… here are my treasures! Two prints by Jeff of El Jefe Design: Albie, from a song by Flight of the Conchords, and a whale riding a tricycle – because who doesn’t need one of those?

It was a great adventure and it was good for me to remember how awesome it is to be a crafty person… I’m certainly inspired to fill my summer with as much making things as possible!

get stuffed! SPACES art gallery exhibition

I’m sure some of you are wondering how the adventurous whales have been doing at their art gallery home! So I’ll let you know… they’re awesome.

adventurous whales at spaces gallery, cleveland, ohio

adventurous whales - friendly seas; spaces gallery, cleveland, ohioThis is the first time I’ve ever had my work featured in a real gallery. Heck, this is the first time someone has referred to my plush as art! But I like being thought of as an artist, and I definitely like being able to put my creations in an open space for all to see.

SPACES gallery is a small contemporary art gallery located in Cleveland’s West Side. It’s definitely an interesting place. They tend to focus on unusual, highly modern, and highly interpretive forms of art, and even with this untraditional viewpoint they’re one of the most highly respected galleries in Cleveland.

There I was, little Sam, walking into a small art gallery with creaky wood floors and white walls bedecked with paintings. I turned the corner into the next room, and there they were– my whales and jellyfish suspended from the ceiling, floating against the bright white wall. It’s impossible to describe the wonder of the feeling. These are my creations, my pride and joy, put on display for everyone to see and marvel at and respect. Quite simply, I was overjoyed.

narwhal & arthur rouge at spaces gallery, cleveland, ohio

spaces gallery opening - photo by brenton pahl

photo by Brenton Pahl for SPACES gallery

get stuffed! plush exhibit at spaces gallery, cleveland, ohio - photo by jerry mann

photo by Jerry Mann for SPACES gallery

get stuffed! plush exhibit at spaces gallery, cleveland, ohio - photo by jerry mann

photo by Jerry Mann for SPACES gallery

I’ve never truly considered myself an artist. I’m a maker, a doer, a creator; but not an artist. It’s the engineering side of me, the practicality, that tells me to make things that people will use or hug or give, not things that people just look at. But to be told that I make things that are nice enough to be just looked at? That’s incredible! And the fact that I got to show my work next to the work of some ridiculously talented plush artists? What a privilege.

adventurous whales - friendly skies; spaces gallery, cleveland, ohio

So I understand, now, where artists come from. They want to see and be seen; they want to impact the world from inside the minds of the people. They want to make a difference just like anyone else. And I completely realize that there isn’t anything earth-shattering or symbolic about my adventurous whales… but all the same, I hope my art brought a few extra smiles to the world.

(this exhibit ran from November 9, 2010 to January 21, 2011. but i’m sure they wanted to keep the little guys there forever!)

adventurous whales

I just realized that, for the last week, I’ve had a picture of me with a mustache as the top entry. oops! Let’s slide that one down a bit…

And now I can tell you all about what the little vinyl circles, and the blue polar fleece “mustache”, and the surprises were all about! I was asked to send along a few pieces to be part of a gallery show, “Get Stuffed“, at SPACES gallery in downtown Cleveland!

Of course, I sent over a Narwhal. But I wanted to take this opportunity to make something really awesome and unique… so I came up with some Adventurous Whales.

Adventurous Whales – Friendly Seas
friendly seas - the submarine whale

friendly seas - the submarine whale

friendly seas - the submarine whale

Adventurous Whales – Friendly Skies
friendly skies - the airplane whale

friendly skies - the airplane whale

friendly skies - the airplane whale

They’re both made from polar fleece for the main body, with vinyl and pleather accents and appliques. They each have pleather bellies. I couldn’t have done this without my trusty teflon foot… sewing all that vinyl is tricky! It’s especially hard to work with since it manages to be both slippery and sticky, plus once you’ve poked a hole in it you can’t change your mind!

I’m very happy with how they turned out, and I’m still brainstorming more “adventurous whales” for the future! With only a week to work on it, I had to stick to two (and even that was a lot!). The gallery opened last night, but I haven’t been over yet to see how they look with all the other plush. It’s definitely good to sew something super unique every once in awhile… something that makes you say, “well, that’s awesome, but i’m never making another one of those!”

p.s. can you find the mustache?