Posts filed in Craft
You can find me at SoWa again this summer! Touted as the best outdoor shopping in Boston, at SoWa Open Market you can buy top-notch items from local artisans, making everything from couture fashion and leather accessories to jewelry, ceramics, and glassware.
“It is not going to rain,” said my husband Josh. Clearly, he is not a meteorologist, being so definitive in his weather prediction. I admired his optimism. We have had a very rainy fall open market season, with pouring rain the last three Sundays we pitched our tent.
Needless to say, it did rain. And at times the wind blew so hard Josh had to stand in the middle of the tent and hold it down. Yes, we had at least 25 pounds of weights on each tent post, but at a certain point it doesn’t matter. Incidentally, at our first craft show this year, a two-day affair, we encountered a “microburst” which is similar to a tornado, characterized by a quick burst of high winds. We saw it coming at about 3 pm of the first afternoon and we packed in a hurry, taking all our products with us. Many venders left everything. We arrived the next morning to discover that the tent across from us, which sold knitted hats and accessories, was completely blown away and most of the hats were up in the surrounding trees. Many other tents had been blown into the trees as well.
We started the season with a tornado and ended with a hurricane! When you factor in the time it takes to do a show, the incidental costs such as food, gas, advertising, etc., the cost of the space, and then the potential of loss due to weather or other uncontrollable events (earlier this year we were at a market where a sick dog pooped in the middle of an aisle, impacting four vender booths – it was one stinky mess!) one wonders if it is a viable way to make a living. Posing this question to other craft artists, musing on the revenue one should expect to bring in at a show, I got this response: Back in the 1990’s, if your expenses totaled only 10% of sales, then you’re in good shape (i.e. booth cost $100, sales were $1000). Nowadays, it’s more like 25% (booth cost $100, sales $400). Ofcourse, it depends on the state of the economy, how the work fits with the aesthetic of the show, the price point of the work as well as the size and location of the show. And, I know you can’t forget about post-show sales. People will remember you, even if they aren’t ready to buy at the show. Nonetheless, if you do the math and you gross $400 in one day, subtract for the booth, overhead, cost of materials, etc. – you make roughly $200 for about 10 hours of work at the show, to say nothing of the work it took to create the products. Wow.
A few weeks ago we finally watched the movie Singin In The Rain. We loved it, our kids loved it, and as we stood in the rain and wind, trying to be happy, we channeled Gene Kelly and sang the title song. I think I will put it on right now… (Actually I am going to find Kelly Clarkston so I can listen to What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. After that I might put on Bon Jovi Its My Life.) Integrity ! Always, Integrity !
Here are a few pictures of our display this past Sunday. I introduced Manu, my collection of handbags, belts and scarfs. I’ve been scouring vintage markets and antique shops for fabrics and components for years, and am really pleased with how they have come together with my own contemporary accessories in this new line. I have also developed custom-dyed fabrics, including silk, wool and organic cotton, which are then manipulated through traditional and contemporary techniques such as knitting, stitching, nuno felting, batik, crochet, embroidery, quilting and collage.
The resulting fashion accessories are a playful juxtaposition of contemporary and vintage textiles inspired by the mix of color and ornament in indigenous folk art and the rough and weathered look of things well-worn and well-loved.
The SoWa Open Market is held Sundays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., at 460 Harrison Avenue, in one of Boston’s hippest neighborhoods, The South End, which is touted as the best outdoor shopping in Boston!
With the goal of researching ideas and acquiring new skills in support of my enamel jewelry design work, this summer I had the opportunity to travel to Deer Isle, Maine to participate in a two-week intensive workshop on enameling with renowned artist Jamie Bennett. Jamie’s course focused on experimenting with painting on enameled copper using over-glaze china paints to create wearable works of art.
Jamie Bennett’s work is known for its meticulous use of color and his interpretations of nature that combine historical reference and contemporary explorations. Bennett is a Professor of Art in the Metal Program at the State University at New Paltz. Bennett’s work is the subject of a monograph, Edge of the Sublime, The Enamels of Jamie Bennett, published by Hudson Bay Press, which accompanies a retrospective exhibition of his work that traveled to six museums nationally through 2010.
From the interesting people you meet, to the talented instructors and their passionate support of craft traditions, to the glorious ocean setting, Haystack is an inspirational and life changing place. Yes – working in the studio all day (and into the evening) proved to be exhausting, however it was incredibly rewarding and a luxury I never have at home. It enabled me to hone my process and see new connections between familiar ideas and techniques – my work has grown tremendously.
Each summer at craft schools around the country, diverse communities of beginner to advanced artists gather in non-competitive environments to develop craft skills and nurture the creative spirit. Taught by national and international practicing studio artists and university faculty, craft schools like Haystack enable artists to question their preconceived ideas, reassess their work, and challenge themselves to experiment in unfamiliar artistic territory.
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts is an international craft school located on the Atlantic Ocean in Deer Isle, Maine. Hugging the rugged coastline, the campus was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, and added to the National Historic Register in February 2006. The school offers intensive studio-based workshops in a variety of media including clay, glass, metals, paper, blacksmithing, weaving, and woodworking.
Last week-end Jenne Rayburn Jewelry joined antiques, architectural salvage, vintage clothing, and original art at The Vintage Bazaar, an upscale outdoor market in Salisbury, MA. Despite being book-ended by rain on Saturday, the two days turned out to be delightfully warm with great live music and homemade ice-cream.
Thank you to Devon Chouinard-Allen for her hard work and wonderful style, which made the week-end a huge success. You can check out pictures from the day on The Vintage Bazaar Facebook page.
The feedback from the day was amazing, especially from customers admiring the recycled plastic necklaces. And the other venders were so generous with their advice and wisdom. We had a great experience!
Here is the treasure I let slip away – Owl fire irons circa 1950…