Every year, I gather up handcrafted goods from my art events, all stocking stuffer gifts for the East Coast family.
Supporting other artist friends is important to me, and sharing the love by sending it to my family as the "West Coast Santa" is my favorite thing to do in December. This year, some stocking stuffer gifts moved with me from Seattle, while others I picked up from my adventures here in the Bay Area. All brought back memories of friends - old and new - as I packed them up to ship to the East Coast. Here is a little selection of what my family found in their Christmas stockings yesterday:
Handmade Santa spread the love this year with awesome handcrafted stocking stuffer gifts found in Seattle and the Bay Area, including:
Did Handmade Santa visit you, too? Share your favorite handcrafted gift with us below!
The Christmas season is upon us! I've been busy like an elf crafting new work from a secret location in the Bay Area, getting ready for my first live event since moving here: the Indie Holiday Emporium!
I'm excited to join my new local Etsy team, SFEtsy, at their annual holiday craft show. They've moved it to a new location this year - to All Good Pizza in Bayview - which allows for more craftiness, space for musicians and tasty treats as well! Very exciting! I've been making my list and I've put together a little shopping guide from a handful of the artists that will be at the Indie Holiday Emporium this weekend. And, lucky you, if you can't make it to the event, you can always shop online in their Etsy shops!
Just a few of the fabulous handcrafted items available this weekend! Follow along, from the top to bottom and left to right...
RossLab has fabulous planters that will have your giftee talking to their plants! Splendid Colors has something for the geek on your list! MsAmandaJayne makes the cutest things to warm up those coffee mugs! Laughing Devil Designs has delicious soap that makes the perfect stocking stuffer. SpiffyPups has something for your #bestdogever. SinceSass has the perfect thing to hold that bottle of wine for the drinkers on your list! Of course, there will be a few sparkling items from the Glass Elements shop, too! Come visit us this weekend and find something for everyone on your shopping list!
Just this past Saturday Seth Godin posted a question on his blog: "How long between leaps?" This question comes at a perfect time for me, as my husband Jonathon and I recently decided to relocate to the Bay Area. He was offered a fantastic opportunity and we've decided to make the leap. So, to answer Seth Godin's question: about 5 years between leaps, thanks for asking!
Leaping into a new adventure is exciting, yet scary! Photo © Hamad AL-Mohannna
New Adventures Always Come with a Little Heartbreak
As exciting as it is to leap into a new adventure, this one comes with a little heartbreak and, of course, a healthy dose of fear of the unknown.
Glass Elements was born here in Seattle in 2008. My glass work was just a hobby back when we lived in DC, and only became a real business when I started my Etsy shop after moving to Seattle. In the span of 5 years, it's grown from a small closet studio in our first rental, to the spare room in our second and now has expanded to take over the basement of our house.
With this move, I'll be searching for a studio space outside of our home and downsizing as well. It'll be liberating to clear out the things I've collected that I haven't really been using, yet daunting to find the perfect space to rebuild my studio space in our new city.
Just physically moving my studio isn't the only thing on my mind. It's always sad and a little scary to leave behind your friends and your support network. The support of my local etsy team, etsyRAIN, and in particular, the amazing friends I made from being involved with the group were instrumental in making Seattle feel like home.
Huge thanks & hugs to Marlo, Kayce, Heidi, Mary & Dave, and Becky (and countless others!) for the continued support and for Just Being Awesome. From what I've heard of the Bay Area, I am hopeful that I can find a community of artists and the perfect studio space to start over. If you have any tips for our transition, I'd love to hear them... Want to visit with me before I leave the area?
Find me at these upcoming shows as I finish out my summer season and before I load the car and write the note...
It's the summer solstice and all around the northern hemisphere, people are celebrating the longest day of the year and the start of summer.
Although not widely celebrated in the US, it holds a special place in my heart because of my Finnish roots. Two years ago, Jon and I were visiting my family in Finland and experienced the joy of celebrating Midsummer, or Juhannus, as it's called in Finnish. It's the biggest summer holiday in Finland and most Finns, including my family, spend Juhannus at a quiet cabin by a lake - celebrating with a picnic, sauna and midnight bonfire.
Because of our travel constraints and the need to get to the airport early the next day, Jon and I couldn't join them and instead spent the last day of our vacation in Helsinki. Lucky for us, Helsinki puts on a large celebration at Seurasaari, an island near the city. So even though we couldn't join in the lakeside family holiday, we did get to experience a fun festival atmosphere before heading back home to Seattle. We enjoyed exploring the island, watching traditional folk dancing and feasting on my favorite festival food. But, the highlight of the night were the large bonfires set on the small islands just offshore. The tradition of lighting a bonfire started in the 1800's as a way to scare off the evil spirits, but now its just a fun way to celebrate the start of summer.
Bonfire at Midsummer Celebration by Jonathon Colman (creative commons).[/caption] Our last evening in Finland was lit up with gorgeous colors from the bonfires and a spectacular 11pm sunset, too! What a fabulous way to end our holiday!
Sunset on Seurasaari - photo by Jonathon Colman (creative commons)
After we returned home, the colors from that evening kept playing over in my mind and inspired me to create a whole new color line for my Glass Elements jewelry. The first piece that came out of the inspiration is on the left in the photo below. I love how the warmth of the bonfire and the 11pm sunset come across in the vibrancy and fluidity of the glass.
Of course, I couldn't stop there - since each new piece I make reminds me of our trip and brings me right back to Finland, at least in my memories...
Want to add a bit of Midsummer Celebration to your collection? There are several new fiery bonfire inspired pieces in the etsy shop waiting for you!
Happy Midsummer! Hyvää Juhannusta!
Today in the studio, I put down my glass tools and I brought out my paper supplies to wrap up a few special birthday gifts.
I'm always honored when someone selects a present for a friend, and when I get the chance to send it directly to the gift recipient, I love to wrap it up with a bit of extra care. I raid my paper stash and craft a little card to include a special message from the sender. I imagine the little birthday present being opened with glee, and the little bit of extra wrapping adding to the joy of the occasion. And that makes me so happy.
Shopping for a birthday? Let me wrap up something special for your friend on their birthday!
I've enjoyed walking to the post office lately with so many beautiful flowers blooming in my neighborhood. We've had some incredible spring days where the sun is shining and the sky is bright blue, creating a perfect canvas for all the vibrant spring flowers.
My constant companion on these outings is our dog Prim, aka #bestdogever. She loves a good jaunt, but doesn't tend to slow down long enough for me to capture a decent photo. I was able to convince her to linger a spell at this patch of gorgeous irises so I could snap a picture. I think she was a tad more interested in staring down a cat that was nearby, but I like to pretend she loved the colors of these flowers as much as I did.
Purple jewelry inspired by lovely Iris flowers.
I adore flowers that have gradations of color - they give me so much color inspiration in one place. This one patch of irises inspired me to head back into the studio to craft a few variations of purple jewelry. The new pieces range from a deeper royal purple to a more pastel lavender:
Find some more spring inspired purple jewelry in my Glass Elements etsy shop. Which one is your favorite?
Recently, I took a break from the glass studio and took a wood jewelry class with Julia Harrison at Pratt Fine Arts Center. Julia carves and crafts intricate wood jewelry. I've been a fan of her work since we met at Pratt several years ago. Her "Jewelry that Grows on Trees" class had been on my short list for quite a while, and I was happy to see this class offered on one of my open weekends.
I love trying out new techniques! It gives me a chance to step away from my normal activities and stretch my artistic style. It is also humbling to pick up a new material and realize that, although the scale is the same, the tools and tricks I use everyday don't apply. Taking a class like this is the perfect way to clear my mind (and my hands) of preconceived notions and start from scratch. Come along with me as I learn a few new things...
First up was becoming better friends with a hand saw and creating shapes that would hopefully match when I was done...
A little extra practice and the help of a file helped create a few matching pairs of wood components...
This took much longer than I anticipated and I must admit that I was dreaming of a mini power sander long before the components were complete! I'm a huge fan of power tools...
The Joys of Wood Veneer
The most interesting project for me was learning how to work with wood veneer. Before this class, I never thought to work with it.
Gluing multiple sheets and then slowly manipulating the bendy, but brittle, pieces over a bracelet mandrel took patience.
We allowed the glue to set for 24 hrs, creating a surprisingly strong piece that could be carved up to create a clean design.
A nice long time with a file to create a clean finish... and playing with a wood burning tool resulted in my favorite piece from the class:
To Be Continued...
Taking this class was a fabulous way to get a taste of a new medium. Just from this short course and my love of wood in general, I know I'll be working with it again soon.
Interested in seeing a few more photos from the class? Follow me on Instagram! What about you? What have you learned recently?
This Friday & Saturday, during the annual PhinneyWood Artwalk, stop by the Studio of Awesome in Greenwood to shop a fabulous two-day pop-up shop event - "The Pop-up of Awesome" - featuring some of your favorite local artists. I've put together a nice selection of Glass Elements pieces to showcase at the event, including this fan favorite in Spring Green:
Find an array of fabulous gifts from more than 25 artists at this 2-day event.
I'm looking forward to shopping from a few of my favorites including Orange Twist, One Scrap at a Time, and Haute Goat.
Find the full list of featured artists on the facebook event post and start your shopping plans today. Event Info: The Pop-up of Awesome! at the Studio of Awesome 101 N 85th Street Suite 201 Seattle, WA 98103 (Across from Fred Meyer and above Mori Japanese Restaurant in Greenwood) Friday and Saturday May 10 & 11, 2013
Shop open hours: 12pm - 9pm BOTH DAYS!
RSVP for the event on Facebook. See you there!
Mother's Day is just around the corner - Sunday, May 12th - so I've put together a few of my favorites to help you find something perfect to celebrate Mom. This Mother's Day Gift Guide has a little bit of something for all the Moms in your life - the sweet tooth, the window gardener, the knitter, and of course - the jewelry lover! Don't miss the special Mother's Day offer at the bottom of this post, too.
I just adore the unique Mother's Day card shown above from Alfamarama. As well as this one, when you simply want to say thanks:
Does Mom like sweets? Find a delicious array of treats in Sweet Coconut Bakery's - Mother's Day Gift Box including these new dark chocolate caramels:
Help contain Mom's crafty project with this adorable bag from Chubby Cloud:
Add to Mom's jewelry collection with this one of a kind necklace I just added to the Glass Elements Etsy Shop:
And, just for you, my friendly readers: I'm offering a Mother's Day Special! Use the coupon code FreeShip to save on shipping for orders placed in the Glass Elements etsy shop until May 8th, 2013!
What do you think? Which of these handcrafted goodies would the Mom(s) in your life love to receive this year?
I'm kicking off my 2013 show season with a fabulous small event this coming weekend. I'll be joining over a dozen local artists for the 8th Annual Flying House Art & Craft Sale hosted by Becky Brooks in Issaquah, WA. Becky opens up her home and invites local artists to participate in this two-day event. She was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about her inspiration for hosting this event.
I love being surrounded by so much talent, creativity, and energy.
You have such a unique name for this art/craft show. What is the Flying House? It sounds like something right out of the movie "UP".... Becky: Before we bought our house--a 1954 custom-built rambler--a friend in the neighborhood had dubbed this house "Flying House" because of its butterfly roof. We fell in love with its uniqueness and artsy character, and have now lived here over a dozen years as the second owners.
At the very last-minute before our art sale opened the first year, I was determining a name and "Flying House" seemed like the obvious choice. I'm still working on the "Art & Craft Sale" part of the name, though. Any suggestions?
What originally inspired you to host this event? Becky: Eight years ago a couple of friends and I wanted to show our art in a home studio sale. Jeff's and my unique house and convenient downtown neighborhood location made it the perfect choice for hosting it. I pulled in a few more artist friends and the rest is history!
Has it evolved in the past 8 years? Becky: Oh, it has gotten so much busier each year! However, I resist moving the sale to another venue because it wouldn't be "Flying House," so we make it work as comfortably as possible in the confines of our space. I try to improve the sale every year in one or more ways. As examples, last year we added a credit card payment option; this year we've made room on the carport for more wares. Looking at old pictures of the earlier sales, I realize just how creative the displays have gotten so that we can fit more people and more art. I've definitely learned some lessons along the way. What do you most look forward to every year? Becky: I love being surrounded by so much talent, creativity, and energy. There are good "vibes" and I think both the artists and our guests/customers feel that when they are here. Thank you for sharing with us, Becky!
As a participant the past 3 years, I have to agree - this event has fabulous vibes! I love being able to visit with artist friends and customers in a small, comfortable setting.
Join me this weekend - I'll be showing new spring-inspired work as well as fan favorites.
270 NE Birch Street, Issaquah, WA Saturday, April 27, 11am - 5pm Sunday, April 28, 11am - 5pm
For more details and directions click here. RSVP for the event on Facebook. Subscribe to the Flying House Newsletter for updates on future events.