Handmade Philly Etsy Treasury

Just wanted to show some love to my fellow Handmade Philly Etsy Members.  I created an Etsy Treasury of some of the coolest items handmade by Philadelphians.

Handmade Philly

Niesha Kennedy-Robinson is a lover of things handmade.  Besides being a wife and a mother, she is the owner and operator of Wee Bit Trendy, a small online shop that provides Handmade Faux Treats for Baby.  She loves DIY (why buy when you can DIY), and doing PR for Sharp with Art Group and West Park Arts Festival.

Save the Date: Handmade Philly at the Philly Swap

We are glad to announce we’ll be participating in the Philly Swap this year. Members of Handmade Philly will be onsite all day presenting a workshop on how to make jewelry from your textiles and t-shirts.

The Philly Swap will be held at the Broad Street Ministry on Saturday, May 12 from noon to 5 pm.

What is the Philly Swap? It’s a huge clothing swap complete with sewing machines and workshops, so that you can embellish and re-create all those fabulous finds.

Here’s the back story: In 2005, the Swap-O-Rama-Rama was created as an event to offer alternatives to consumerism.  Its creator and founder, Wendy Tremayne, saw an opportunity to showcase the creative talents of local artists and DIY specialists through recycling clothing and textiles while addressing consumerism head on.  Since then Swap-O-Rama-Rama has reached an international level with clothing swaps happening in cities like Istanbul, Jerusalem, Panama City, and hundreds of others.  Through the sponsorship from the New York Foundation of the Arts the program obtained its status as a 501.3C giving it a non-profit status.  A Creative Commons License protects the Swap-O-Rama-Rama while allowing the event to continue to be affordable and open to the public.

For three years (2008-2010) the Philadelphia Sewing Collective held the Philly Swap here in Philadelphia.  New producers have now stepped forward to relaunch the Philly Swap in Spring of 2012.

This will be Handmade Philly’s 4th year leading a workshop at this event. So come on out, don’t be shy! Whether you leave with a sack full of goodies, or just one or two special treasures, you’re also bound to leave having gained some new insight on reusing clothes and textiles.

Design Curator: Simplicity

Simplicity goes a long way; especially when it comes to design. Think about when you’ve finished creating any of the following: a painting, a sketch, a film, a photograph, a piece of furniture, clothing or jewelry. Ask yourself one question, “What can I take away?”  A well-known designer asked herself this question in the early 20th century. Her name was Coco Chanel.

Cumbersome victorian fashion.

In Chanel’s day women were bred by Victorian fashion. Women were still stuck in corsets, skirts that encircled their legs with multi-layers of fabric and undergarments, and huge wide-brimmed hats weighing down their heads. Chanel never did succumb to the constricting styles of her time, but instead asked, “What can I take away?” She took away a lot and came away with a living legacy to her design philosophy.

Look in your closet. Do you have anything made with Jersey? Do you have a little black dress? Do you have a blazer? Have you ever worn a belt over a cardigan? What about an A-line skirt? All of this is Chanel.

 Her designs revolutionized women’s fashion and have remained a classic staple today and will continue into the future. Granted there will always be variations on each design, but the basic design idea was Chanel.  The cliché proverbial phrase, “Less is More,” applies to Chanel and her philosophy of simplicity. She used less, but received much more in sales and history.

Coco Chanel (left) defied frilly fashions and introduced simplicity.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Take a look at your newest creation and see what you can take away; be a revolutionary like Chanel. Go against busy and crowded design sometimes and take the simple road. It will be a new diversion for your art.


I’ll be here the 5th of every month giving you new design tips and design profiles. I’ll be your design curator. See you next time!

-Elizabeth Wann (Freelance Writer and Designer)