Handmade Philly: This Saturday at Philly Swap!

As mentioned a few weeks back, some of the folks from Handmade Philly will be holding workshops at Philly Swap this weekend. We will be leading a workshop on how to Make Fabric Necklaces from T-Shirts and we will be leading another workshop on Printmaking/ Stenciling.

Philly Swap will be held at the Broad Street Ministry on Saturday, May 12 from noon to 5 pm. This will be Handmade Philly’s 4th year leading a workshop at this event. So come on out, and don’t forget to bring those clothes you no longer want! 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.

To give you an idea of what we’ll be working on, here are some pics of us making necklaces from t-shirts:

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So, what is 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.

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.

Greensgrow Farms Holiday Bazaar

Greeensgrow Farms is located in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, and they sponsored a holiday bazaar on two consecutive weekends this past December.  I am not familiar with Kensington, however I found their location fairly easily off I-95.  There was free parking on the streets.  I understand they are also accessible by public transportation.  Greensgrow created an urban farm on a vacant lot in 1997.  They were selling local apples, there was a booth selling food inside the farm, plus a few booths selling/tasting local beers.  There was also a crepe truck parked outside.  No one will go hungry at the holiday bazaar!

The event is held within a greenhouse enclosure.  It was fairly comfortable for a crisp and chilly winter’s day.  There were approximately 30 booths, selling items such as jewelry, artwork, clothing, and did I mention the beer?

Joyce Mercer, of Jewelry With Me, had a booth for her lovely wire jewelry.  Joyce uses colored large gauge aluminum wire to design, create and twist wonderful creations.  Here she uses wire in complimentary colors to fashion necklaces.  Please click on the photos for larger images.

And here is a photograph of her ring collection.  Joyce will actually create a ring in exactly your size while you wait.  I watched her do this skillfully and quickly.  I have made some of my own wirework jewelry, so I have a good understanding of how much artistry and dexterity her craft requires.

There was fairly good foot traffic at the bazaar.  Sellers are able to pick one or more days for their booth — they are not required to sign up for all four days of the bazaar.  In my unofficial survey of the success of the bazaar, answers ranged from “it’s a bit slow” to “it’s great and worthwhile”.  I therefore suspect the answer is somewhere in between.  I will also opine unofficially that I believe items that could be considered urban, hip, or funky would sell the best at this venue.

Written by Diane Olivia

Cardinal O’Hara Winter Craft Show

Cardinal O’Hara High School is located in Springfield, PA, on Sproul Road.  They have a craft show each Spring and Fall.  I recently attended their November show.  There was plenty of open and free parking when I arrived.  The craft show itself is in the school cafeteria.  One must descend quite a few stairs to enter the show, which is something to keep in mind if you plan to transport and set up your craft display booth.  The show runs for the weekend on both Saturday and Sunday.

One of the crafters there was Handmade Philly’s own Pidge Molyneaux of MWM Designs in Drexel Hill.  She displayed some lovely artisan jewelry.   Her work is stylish and current, using crystals and semi-precious stones.  One of the pieces that caught my eye was a very elegant yet lifelike autumn leaf pendant.   The fiery red was beautifully offset by cylindrical turquoise beads.Pidge explained to me that it was a real leaf painted and sealed with precious metals.  What a great way to wear the beauty of nature!  Another lovely piece was a ceramic pendant depicting a tree, which was strung with silver and leather.  I imagined wearing it with a cowl sweater on a chilly winter’s night.   Clicking on the photo will bring you better detail.The show itself appeared well-attended, and many shoppers carried bags of goodies they had purchased.  The majority of the items for sale were at the lower price points, and very few items went over the $50 mark.  Most items were handmade crafts, there were some vintage items, and a few things that looked to be imports.  I saw home decor, paper crafts, needlecraft, photography, wood work, ornaments, soaps, baked goods, chocolates, and novelty decorations.  Many of the home items would be fitting for an American country casual style.   One of the exhibitors told me that her success was mainly “hit or miss”.  I did see more activity in the booths that either had food or the lower priced practical housewares.

All in all, it was a nice way to spend a nice fall afternoon, and because of the high traffic, it is a show that might interest a prospective exhibitor.

Written by Diane Olivia

Design Curator: Sultana Maria Jewelry

Every month I’ve brought different design concepts to the table. This month is a real life example of one design element we’ve already discussed: uniqueness. Sultana Aschim is a local jewelry designer and metal smith whose work embodies a unique design that is quite her own. Sultana uses lots of feathers, which is not a unique concept, but have you ever seen a feather with bullet shells?  Sultana is able to take something that isn’t unique and repackage it into something very unique; giving feather-wearers a new look.

I was able to to interview Sultana before the holiday weekend:

  • How would you describe your jewelry designs?

I would describe my designs as organic and bold. I use natural objects and found pieces in my work.  It is eco-friendly and original. Each piece is handmade by myself with objects I have gathered from my daily travels.

  • What is your inspiration for your designs?

I am inspired by my found objects. I have been collecting small inanimate objects my whole life in glass jars (I have so  many it’s really ridiculous.)  My parents are antique dealers and since I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to incorporate my collection into my work– from  vintage jewelry, small objects, recycled bullet casings, my rock collection, and anything else I’ve picked up that I felt had a unique design to it.

  • Do use any techniques?

I was trained as a Metalsmith/Silversmith in college when I received my BFA in Metals and Jewelry from Arcadia University.  Since then, I’ve developed my charm and chain line for Sultana Maria Jewelry, and I still use some of the techniques that I learned in college (ex: drilling, forming, cleaning up pieces with my dremel, oxidizing metals with patinas, and more).

  • Is there a specific kind of aesthetic you are going for?

Yes. I am not a dainty girly girl at all…. I do love my dresses and tall heels, but I love the grungy vibe (tattoos, abstract designs, city life.)  All the chain I use is oxidized (darkened to give my line a more organic feel.) I’m a rocker girl; I like loud music and I feel that my boho, gypsy rocker soul has adopted my jewelry collection.

  • How do you find inspiration for developing new design ideas?

I get my inspiration from the objects I find.  Right now most of my jewelry is made from rocks, feathers, and recycled bullet shells that I gather at indoor shooting ranges. I’m always wandering antique and flea markets to pick up new pieces to recreate in my work.

  • So far on my monthly posts I’ve talked about 3 different aspects or categories of design: simplicity, timelessness, and uniqueness. What aspect or category of design would you place yourself in?

I would definitely put my jewelry in the category of being unique.  I keep my work trendy and current with the style, but am always doing my own twist on it to keep in different from anything anyone has seen.  I’m definitely not a simple person 🙂

{Elizabeth Wann} Designer & Writer

Giving Hope Style: NEL and Covenant Mercies

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Roselyn who wasn’t living a fairy tale. Roselyn inherited syphilis from childbirth. Her mother died of AIDS and her father abandoned her; she lived with her grandmother. Syphilis had given her sores on her scalp and created an odor so strong other children couldn’t tolerate being around her, so she couldn’t go to school. With one simple treatment Roselyn could be cured, and the price of the cure? One venti skinny latte from Starbucks.

What does this story have to do with Philadelphia? Well, a non-profit just outside the city in Glen Mills, called Covenant Mercies, was able to pay the small sum for Roselyn’s cure through sponsorship money. Covenant Mercies is a non-profit organization, which extends compassion and support to orphans in Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia.

Covenant Mercies vision for orphans in these countries are as follows:

  • Enabling extended families of orphans to provide effective care through the Orphan Sponsorship Program
  • Building orphans’ homes
  • Providing adoptive homes for orphaned children
  • Providing Adoption Assistance grants for qualified families through the Orphans Fund

This vision is accomplished through the Orphan’s Initiatives program. The program consists of the orphan sponsorship program and orphan’s homes. The Orphan Sponsorship program is made possible by people who sponsor an orphaned child for $30 a month by filling out the Orphan Sponsorship Pledge form. The money goes towards medical, nutritional, and educational needs.

So, what is NEL and what does it have to do with this non-profit? NEL is my jewelry line, which incorporates only a couple materials to achieve varying creativity. The NEL design aesthetic is based upon simplicity and classic elegance combined with edge. NEL is not just about creating jewelry designs, but about raising awareness and support for non-profits. Now people like you can support this non-profit and in turn help children like Roselyn.

I’ve made a limited number of Hope bracelets for Covenant Mercies, and have priced them at a minimum of $15 with $5 of every purchase going to Covenant Mercies. Each order is packaged with either a tan or red burlap pouch tied with rope and comes with a Hope bookmark as a token of Covenant Mercies.

 But…you can donate more to the non-profit. The minimum amount you pay is $15, but you can set your purchase amount higher than $15; every additional dollar you pay for the bracelet goes fully to Covenant Mercies.
Send me a message on Etsy or email me if you would like to set your purchase amount higher for donations to Covenant Mercies. I will set up a special order for you.

{Order your bracelet here}

{Have a question? Email me here}

-Elizabeth Wann {Writer & Designer}

Interview with Light Mosaic

1. Would you introduce yourself, your background and tell how Light Mosaics came to be, and what you do.

 My name is Lisa Hwang. By day, I telecommute as a Financial Consolidation Analyst for IBM. I have joint custody of my 14 year old son, who is an aspiring golfer, and care for 3 lovable dogs (except the 10 month old puppy is a bit of a terror right now). Although, I have been doing finance/accounting for 16 years, I have always dabbled and tried to tap into my inner creativity. I started with B&W photography back in college at Drexel University. I took fashion sketching and handbag/shoe design classes at Moore College of Art. Then, I finished 5 classes towards an Interior Design degree at the Art Institute but realized it was going to cost way too much.

While living in Brooklyn, NY, I took ceramics and knitting classes but it was too hand intensive and repetitive for me (I have problems with my wrist stemming from many years of working on the laptop).   So, I dabbled a lot and couldn’t seem to find my niche until a few years ago when I bought a mosaic kit.

I created Light Mosaics and decided to use my Chinese middle name I-Kwang which means “Harmonious Light” for my shop’s name and logo.   

I am a self taught mosaic artist and have been creating mosaic candle holders and vases for a few years for my friends and family. In October 2009, as the holidays were approaching, I couldn’t make these items for the same people, so I decided to try to sell it to the public.   I launched an etsy shop, networked through facebook, placed my items in three shops around the city and participated in 3 holiday craft fairs. I also expanded my product line and started making pendants, rings and wall hanging jewelry holders.  

ring

candle

pendant

 

 

 

 

 

2. What are your strengths and what makes your work different than others?

 “Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials.”   I think my work has a unique style. I like the gritty and non-standardized look of my mosaic candle holders and vases. I like to use various colors, and I am biased to using white grout because it makes the colors pop out more.   My rings and pendants are designed with the mosaic concept in mind.   The jewelry holders that I make are not related to mosaics but it was something that I designed and made for myself.   I have never seen anything out there like that so I thought I would start marketing and selling them.   What female wouldn’t want a jewelry holder that holds almost everything in one place?

jewelry holder

 
 
 
 
 
 

soap dish

pink vase

 

 

 

 

 

 3. Tell me about your workspace.   

workspace

My workspace is my dining room table. Luckily, the table expands 2 leaflets if I need to actually use it. Most of my supplies are tucked away inside a closet and cabinet in the dining room area. I hop between my full time job workspace (on the right) and the dining room table throughout the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. How has the popularity of the internet affected your business?

The internet holds a wealth of information and it is also a good communication tool. Facebook has been my primary site for finding information on local craft fairs and networking with other artists. Etsy.com is a good site to sell your work but it seems like you have to be really lucky to be successful. There are over 170,000 shops on this site! From my own personal experience, when I go to search for an item, tons of pages come up. After flipping through 10 -15 pages, I just stop and get frustrated if I can not find something I like at the right price. Artists have to relist or list new items constantly to be noticed.

5. What are your plans for 2010?

For 2010,  I will be doing craft fairs in the spring, summer and fall about once a month either for the Creative Collective at Headhouse Square on South Street or the Piazza at the Schmidts in Northern Liberties.   I have to limit the amount of fairs that I do because I can not make products fast enough because of the process and it’s a busy time of the year for me with my son’s golf tournaments and practices.   But, I would like to break even financially and continue to remain a presence in the Philadelphia artist and crafting community.

You can find more of Lisa’s items at: 

www.lightmosaics.com

www.lightmosaics.etsy.com

www.twitter.com/lightmosaics

Thanks for reading this fourth interview in my series, Jan Cohen, www.thejmccollection.com

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