Friday, April 18, 2014

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

It's gonna be another great Sunday at Bazaar-on-Hudson! This week New Prospect Pottery will be selling her gorgeous functional stoneware and porcelain pottery in Cold Spring, what a perfect event for an Easter family outing.
New Prospect Pottery
New Prospect Pottery
New Prospect Pottery
New Prospect Pottery
Happy shopping!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

Looks like it's going to be a gorgeous weekend! We have two craft fairs to recommend:

Silently Screaming Designs will be at St. Eugene's Catholic Daughters Spring Craft Fair at St. Eugene's Parish in Yonkers, NY, this Saturday, April 12, from 9AM-4PM.
Silently Screaming Designs
Silently Screaming Designs
Silently Screaming Designs
Huzzah Handmade will be at Baazar on Hudson on Main Street in Cold Spring, NY, this Sunday, April 13, from 10:30AM-4:30PM.
Huzzah Handmade
Huzzah Handmade
Huzzah Handmade
 Happy shopping!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How To Break through A Creative Block


Spring, the season of renewal, has arrived. Tulips and daffodil shoots have pushed their way several inches above the ground. The lawn is free of all but a few patches of snow, and the spring peepers sing loudly at night. The first crocus  has poked it's pretty purple head out from a ground cover of dried leaves. A variety of birds are visible.

With spring comes the beginning of craft show season. With craft show season comes the need to build up an inventory. The pressure of having to create on a deadline can often lead to a creative block.

Here are a few helpful ways to break through a creative block;

1. Step away from what you are working on and take a break.
2. Clean, organize, or rearrange your work area.
3. Take a walk. Often the environment can be an inspiration.
4. Flip through a collection of crafting books, art books, magazines, or other artists work.
5. Shop for new materials, or just go shopping.
6. Get some sleep.
7. Write down any inspirational ideas or thoughts.
8. Talk it out with someone.
9. Stay positive.
10. Don't pressure yourself.

Creative blocks can last for any amount of time, and hopefully not too long. A creative block can be what is needed to help refresh the motivation and inspiration that is needed to create.

Jenny - Reclaimed Designs

Friday, April 4, 2014

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

We're ba-ack! We're declaring craft fair season officially open!

While it might still be a little chilly out for a proper outdoor fair this weekend, but there is a new indoor market starting in Cold Spring, the Bazaar-On-Hudson. It will be open every Sunday from 10:30AM-4:30PM, beginning this Sunday, April 6, and continuing through July 27 and is located at 103 Main Street.

This Sunday three of the members of the Hudson Valley Etsy Team will be vending at the Bazaar.

Pick up some of Pulp Sushi's jewelry...
Pulp Sushi
Pulp Sushi
...one of Huzzah Handmade's felted or knit items...
Huzzah Handmade
Huzzah Handmade
...and a functional ceramic piece or three by New Prospect Pottery!
New Prospect Pottery
New Prospect Pottery
And while you're in the area don't forget to stop by The Tailored Mermaid in Beacon :-)

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In My Studio: Family Calendar Tutorial




Coming from a large family I decided to make a calendar wall hanging to keep track of everyone's birthdays. I had great fun making this and am really pleased with the results. The instructions for making your own are below, feel free to customize to your own specifications. Have fun!
Materials and Tools Required
Wooden Board
Letters F A M I L Y
Small disks  (approx. 50 will be needed depending on how many birthdays you wish to add)
Paint
Small sticky letters J F M A M J J A S O N  AND D
Scrapbooking papers x 6
Jump rings 0.35in/9mm x 85
Small eyelet screws x 12
Spray adhesive
Jewelry pliers
Electric drill
PVA Glue
Paint
Scalpel
Extra fine permanent sharpies
Sandpaper
Ribbon or cord for hanging
Materials

1) Sand down the large wooden board
2) Drill two holes in the top of the large wooden board to enable it to be hung on the wall (as shown left)
3) Drill small holes in the top and bottom of each of the small wooden disks (as shown left)
4) Paint the edges of all the wooden FAMILY  letters in black, remember the inside of the A
5) Paint the large wooden board the desired background color, do a couple of coats.
6) Select the scrapbooking papers you want to use. Spray adhesive on the back side of the paper. Firmly press the right side of the wooden letter onto the paper. Leave to dry. Once dry use a very sharp scalpel to cut the paper around the letter
7) Paint the small wooden disks in 3 or 4 different colors to coordinate with your scrapbooking papers. Paint both sides
8) Use a sharp tool to make 12 holes along the bottom edge of the wooden board equally spaced out. Screw the eyelets into these small holes
9) Glue the FAMILY letters onto the painted wooden board, use a ruler to line them up and space them out equally. Leave to dry
10) Add the sticky letters onto 12 different disks representing the different months of the year: J F M A M J J A S O N and D (as shown left)
11) Write on the other small painted disks the family names and birthdays, use extra fine permanent sharpies in different colors  (as shown left)
12) Using the jewelry pliers open the jump rings and thread the disks onto the rings in lines of each month, order by the date with the month disk at the top.
13) Thread these lines onto the eyelet screws
14) Thread cord or ribbon through the holes at the top of the large wooden board to hang on the wall


"The way I see it, you should live life everyday like its your birthday"  Paris Hilton
Good Luck and Good Making
Sarah Omura
So Handmade

Monday, March 31, 2014

From the Life of a Potter

March is the month of NCECA (NATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR EDUCATORS IN THE CERAMIC ARTS). It is the National Conference that is part learning, shopping, workshops, meeting up with old friends from across the country and having a grand ‘ole time.


This year NCECA was in frigid Wisconsin. I remember those conferences which have in the past been a refuge for our cold NY winters. Last year it was in Houston and a few years back it was in Tampa. I prefer flip flops to mukluks anytime.



I went with my friend and kiln partner Deb Rosenbloom to a pre-NCECA workshop with three fantastic potters. Ken Bichel, a kiln master from Dubuque Iowa, Ching Yuan Chang, a potter from Taiwan, and Joy Brown, a sculptor from Connecticut, shared their methods for making and firing pottery. The workshop was held at Bethel Horizons at the Adamah Center in Dodgeville, WI..........brrrrrrrr!

Ken and Deb and I have fired together many times so this was a reunion for us. I hope Ken will design and build our new Salt/Soda Kiln this spring. I learned much in technique from both Ching Yuan and Joy Brown.


All of this travel to the conferences result in a great desire to ‘get back to work’! Here’s to another wonderful NCECA experience.

Lynn - New Prospect Pottery

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fooling Around with Fiber - An Adventure in the Wet Felting Process

Today we have a guest post from team member Kathryn Luciana of Huzzah Handmade sharing with us her recent visit to White Barn Farm and Fiber.

White Barn Farm Shop

Spring was barely in the air when I returned to White Barn Sheep and Wool near New Paltz, N.Y.  I'd visited this lovely shop and farm last year and signed up for a couple of lectures, but this time, I was there to immerse myself in a process called Wet Felting. I have always been intrigued by this process, and although I've been knitting and felting my work for years, Wet Felting is very different, and I wanted to learn more about it.

Paula Kucera, owner of the farm, welcomed us to her studio and shop, which is housed in part of the white barn for which the farm is named. The shop is cozy, very well stocked with a wonderful variety of fiber, books, tools, and a nice selection of local handmade items. Featured is a good selection of locally sourced fibers in addition to her own luscious yarns from her herd of mostly Cormo sheep. She recently remodeled the "knit lounge" and the workshop area of the barn, so we had lots of light and space to work. She described the process, showed us various examples of finished pieces, books about wet felting, and described the materials that we would  be using.
Merino wool batts, and coils of roving

Very simply stated, Wet Felting is a process by which various fibers are arranged on a fiber background creating a design. Then the substrate and fibers are covered, and warm, soapy water is gradually poured over the piece. By rubbing gently with your hands, and adding water as necessary, gradually the fibers start to meld, but that's just the beginning! Several more steps and several more hours later, you have your finished piece.

In preparation for the day, Paula suggested that we find something to inspire our project, like a photograph, scrap of fabric, an image or anything we might find helpful as a jumping off point. I decided to choose one of my photographs. I found several that I thought might work, and manipulated them in Photoshop to make them more abstract. I took four or five with me, but finally ended up with one from part of my garden.
My batt and my inspiration photos

Paula was kind to us. She chose 100% Merino 19 micron wool, because of it's ability to felt more easily then other fibers. A great choice for newbies. The "canvas" on which we worked is called a batt. We had chosen our batt colors in advance, and Paula had a nice variety available when we arrived. The batts are basically soft, rectangular sheets of wool, and since we were going to be making purses or tablet carriers, the color of the batt would become the inside of the bag. I chose gray/brown, but more adventurous students chose lime green or turquoise. Other than that, our tools were humble: a towel, plastic bubble wrap, synthetic organza fabric, a plastic sheet, rubber stair tread material, a scrap of non-slip rug material, and a piece of a foam "noodle" like kids use in the pool.


Our tools
The "paint" we used on our "canvas" was Merino wool roving in an amazing variety of colors,  yarn, and various other fibers. We set about pulling off sections from the roving coils to create our designs. With my photograph nearby, I started creating my scene. As well as the wisps of roving, I also used a couple of colors of merino yarn for texture. Once our bag front was complete, we flipped the whole piece over and repeated the process for the back and flap. (Notice the piece of plastic inside the bag to keep the back and front from felting together). With step one, the bag front and back completed, we moved on to step two. Time to get wet! If you like getting messy, you'll love this process.


Step One, complete
Step Two is where the magic starts to happen. The front of the bag is covered with a scrap of organza fabric. Then, warm, soapy water is dribbled over the fabric gradually. It needs to get really wet. Squishy wet. As you add water, you start to gently rub the fibers with your hands, eventually covering the entire piece. This abrasion will start the felting process. Rub, add water, rub, check your progress by lifting the fabric. Finally, the fibers will be adhered to themselves and to the batt, so that you can lift the organza and flip the piece over to repeat the process on the back. I wanted to make a messenger style bag with a cross body strap, so I had an additional step. I selected a length of roving, allowing for shrinking, and using the rubber stair tread, I rolled the wet roving back and forth on it until it felted into a solid tube. As I worked on the bag back, I attached the strap to the inside, felting it as I rubbed the outside of the bag. The side seams are turned under and felted closed securely. After that, time for a quick lunch and a trip to see the sheep down at the barn.


Recently sheared Cormo Sheep

Organza fabric layer
Back to work, we now started the labor-intensive part of the process. Our pieces were sandwiched between two sheets of plastic, and one piece still remained inside. We placed our work on the bubble wrap, rolled them around our foam noodle, and tied the ends tightly. On top of our towels, we started rolling the package back and forth on the table, 50 times one way, then flip the package around and 50 times the other way. There is a stance one must assume to do this, and you quickly learn the meaning of the phrase "put your back into it." Using our forearms, we rolled and flipped and rolled and flipped. Paula assured us that it would only take and hour or so! I soon realized that I didn't have to worry about working off the calories I ate at lunch.
Every couple of hundred rolls, we had the chance to peek at the progress of our work. They were getting smaller and denser, little by little. Finally, we were ready to move on, but we were not done yet! 


Checking the progress
Rolling, rolling, rolling!

After deciding that our pieces were sufficiently felted, Paula led us to the sink, where we scrubbed them vigorously in a basin of hot water. After wringing out most of the water, we then got to use our rubber mats. Now, at this point, if you have any aggression to release, go for it. We grabbed our bags and threw them down on the mats repeatedly to finish the process. Wham! We were done!! Our bags were felted, but there was still opportunity for further experimentation. I took my bag home and threw it in the dryer on hot, so that it felted even more, and the strap was then the perfect length. My bag ended up being about and inch or two larger than an iPad, all around. I will add a lining and a closure. Other students were considering adding needle felted decorations, beads, leather handles or other adornments.

Hot water "shock"
Throwing down!



So, after 5 hours, lots of elbow grease, and three cups of Yogi Energy Tea, I have a small insight into the ancient process of Wet Felting. It was a great day, in good company with a patient teacher. A very satisfying experience.  White Barn Farm and Fiber Shop is located at 815 Albany Post Road, New Paltz, N.Y. You can visit Paula on the web at: whitebarnsheepandwool.com



My bag, with felting completed




Story and Photos by Kathryn Luciana of Huzzah Handmade