Handmade Philly MeetUp: April!

Handmade-Philly-Flyer_MeetUp

Next Stop: Democracy!

Those of us here at Handmade Philly love the idea of art that is…well, “just” art! As in emotive, expressive, purgative…it exists because it must…art! But we also love the idea of art being used to help us plug in…to help us connect…and…wait for it…to help us VOTE!! Because of this, we are showcasing a new project called Next Stop: Democracy! A local group is hiring local artists and makers to create bigger, better, nonpartisan signage for Philly’s polling places! Read on below, to gather more information about this exciting project and its founders.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1/ Please tell us a bit about your project? 

Can public art increase voter engagement? This is a question that hasn’t been answered, so we’re getting Philadelphia’s best creatives together to help us find out. Election Day should be one of the most exciting days of the year, but to many people, it seems like a chore. Finding your polling place, finding the entrance, and waiting in line can be complicated and frustrating.

Plus, the signage required by the city to identify a polling place is nothing more than a few pieces of paper taped up on the wall outside the door. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you wouldn’t give it a second glance.

It doesn’t have to be this way! What if we could transform Election Day from something frustrating into something fun?

Our idea is simple. Election Day should be an experience. Instead of boring, confusing signs, let’s use bright, vibrant artwork to identify our polling places. Can artists and performers make Election Day in Philadelphia a little more colorful? We vote yes!

By commissioning more than 50 local artists to create large signs that say “Vote Here” in both English and Spanish, we’ll make it easier for people to find their polling places on Election Day. Plus, we’ll be hiring local musicians and performers to dance, sing, and drum at selected polling places. With art, we aim to make the voting process less confusing AND more enjoyable.

2/ Tell us more about yourself. 

Lansie Sylvia is a tornado of curls, sparkles, and great ideas. At HMC, she leads our external communication strategy, works with clients on communication projects, and builds new community partnerships. She also serves as Project Director for Next Stop: Democracy!, HMC’s newest community initiative funded by the Knight Cities Challenge and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Her areas of expertise include nonprofit communication, storytelling, fund development, and millennial engagement strategy. Since 2010, she has held director-level positions in a variety of Philadelphia-based organizations, most recently at the EHL Consulting Group and the Philadelphia Film Society.

Before receiving her M.S. in Leadership for Social Change from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, she completed an AmeriCorps Year of Service in Providence, Rhode Island. An active supporter of the arts, Lansie is the founder of Philly Give & Get, Secretary of the Charlotte Cushman Foundation, Communication Co-Chair at The Spruce Foundation, and a member of the Curtis Crescendo Club. Her go-to karaoke song is “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan.

3/ Will these signs be reused each year? 

Yes! That’s why we are doing a Kickstarter. We don’t want to use cheap, plastic signs that we order off the Internet. To do this right, we want to honor our artists and offer them locally made, sturdy, and durable canvases. Darla Jackson from the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym is ready to build us sign frames that will be functional and beautiful. But these high-quality wooden signs are more expensive than the mass-produced plastic ones.

4/ What is your plan for loss prevention? 

Each sign will be custom-built to include a small lock and chain so that they can be fastened to benches, trees, and fences to make it more difficult for people to walk off with them. Additionally, we are working with a team of field researchers to collect data on the outcomes, and those volunteers will be keeping an eye on the signs as well.

5/ Is your project a non profit or for profit? Where will proceeds from this project be spent?

Our main funding is provided by the Knight Foundation and managed by the Miami Foundation, which is our fiscal sponsor. So technically, I don’t know the project counts as either, legally speaking, but any proceeds are being reinvested in the project. The project is being produced by Here’s My Chance, a small business that works exclusively with nonprofits and socially-responsible businesses.

6/ Will each artist be paid? 

Yes! All of the artists and performers are being paid. We’re really passionate about that.

7/ Additional comments? 

A major city like Philadelphia needs a lot of polling places. 850 of them, to be exact. Every year on Election Day, these locations open on nearly every street corner so that voters can improve the city and make their voices heard…or so that a few of them can.

That’s right. Despite the internet making registration and finding your polling place easier than ever, voter turnout has been dropping year after year. In fact, across the country voter turnout is the lowest its been in 72 years. Here in Philadelphia, during the recent Mayoral primary only 27% of registered voters go out to the polls, which means that 27% of the electorate made a pretty huge decision for the rest of us.

And just like eating 27% of a cheesesteak or running up 27% of the Art Museum steps, that’s just not good enough.

There are many reasons why folks don’t show up to vote on election day. Here’s a big one: polling places can be located in parks, schools, office buildings, churches, and more. The signage required by the city is nothing more than a few pieces of paper taped up on the wall outside the door. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you wouldn’t give it a second glance. Plain, out-of-the-way polling locations combined with puny signage can make finding your way a real pain. It makes voting difficult, when it should be great.

That’s why we started Next Stop: Democracy!, a public art project to improve the voting experience in Philadelphia.


Kickstarter page for this project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/306238411/next-stop-democracy-60-signs-60-artists-1-city 

Photo Recap: Handmade Philly + West Elm = Etsy Craft Party!!

Cupcakes + Embroidery + West Elm + Etsy + Handmade Philly = Tons of Crafty Goodness!!

We had a wonderful time at West Elm, as we teamed up to host a workshop for this year’s Etsy Craft Party. This time around we focused on embroidering photos, and tons of people made it out to the event. Thanks everyone!!

If you were unable to make it out on Friday, or if that event just left you yearning for more, fear not! We are having another meet up this afternoon, from 4-6 pm!

Note: if we mislabeled your work, or missed crediting you by name, leave a comment and we will gladly correct the image. 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Handmade Philly’s March Meet Up!

March’s meeting will be held at the Clay Studio.Handmade Philly events are open to the public and are free of charge.
Date: March 9th
Time: 3-5 pm
Address: The Clay Studio, 139 N Second St., Phila.This meeting is being hosted by Handmade Philly member Meg Perine. Thanks Meg!

Details: “The good people of the Clay Studio have agreed to us having the next meet up in the gallery space.

The Curator, Garth Johnson, wants to be involved so he is giving us a tour of the whole building which includes the Resident artist floor, the School, and the Associate floor (where I share in the communal rented studio space). You can look at the Clay Studio website to see which exhibitions will be in the gallery by then.

Decal activity planned! Bring an item of smooth, shiny, white ceramic (or choose from pre-bought thrift store items from Ruth and me) and decorate it with decals! Decals will be in the form of colored paper so you can cut out a design and put it on the item to be fired, and it will be a permanent surface decoration. If anyone has stencils or things, feel free to bring them too!

Here's a look at the items Meg and I scrounged up at the thrift store.

Here’s a look at the items Meg and I scrounged up at the thrift store.

The Clay Studio is very near the 2nd st MFL stop in Old City. The street parking is so-so in that area, but there are several lots around. There are 3 doors, which can be confusing for first timers, enter through the gallery double door entrance.”

(Call for volunteer): We are looking for someone to take photos at the meeting, and to post about the meeting afterwards, on our blog.

Bring a snack to share!

If you are on FB, please be sure to RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/688938881154352/

 

January Handmade Philly Meet Up!

January’s meeting will be held in South Philadelphia at Jed Williams Gallery.

Date: January 19th
Time: 3-5 pm
Address: Jed Williams Gallery, 615 Bainbridge Street. Phila.

Bring a snack to share! BYOB (or Wine).
Bring something you’ve made, or bring a Work In Progress.

Looking forward to catching up with you, and for those of you I have not met, I’m looking forward to meeting you!

*Note (call for volunteer): We are looking for someone to take photos at the meeting, and to post about the meeting afterwards, on our blog.

Also, if anyone is interested in leading a skill share, please let me know and I can try to bring supplies!

Please be sure to RSVP if you have a FB account. https://www.facebook.com/events/786491068044878/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Handmade_Philly(1)

Handmade Philly November Meet Up: Space Pirates Lounge

November’s meeting was held at the Space Pirates Lounge, an art collective in Bridesburg. What an inspiring space! It’s filled with all kinds of handmade creations and art.

December’s meet up will be held in West Philly, at Eris Temple. Details to follow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Knitted Luxury for Women, Children & Home by Jemma Helliker

IMG_6879(2)

Jemma Helliker is a fellow Handmade Philly member and is on the Handmade Philly Etsy Team.  Her shop, Squidge & Bean, contains hand-knit accessories crafted from the finest merino and alpaca wool sourced from independent hand dyers from the USA and Uruguay. Each item is lovingly created by Jemma in my smoke-free, pet-free home. We got a chance to ask her a few questions about exactly what it is that she does.  Check it out below.

IMG_8675

Where does the name of your shop come from?

Squidge & Bean comes from my children’s nicknames. Squidge is my adorably bossy almost four-year-old daughter and Bean is my frighteningly fearless almost two-year-old son. As my children inspire so much of my work, it is only natural that my shop is named after them.

 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

I am originally from the great city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (think the Brown Ale) in England. Eight years ago I followed my heart and moved to Philly.

While here, I have had quite a journey. I first became a middle-school teacher, then I became a mum, and now I design and create hand-knitted accessories for Squidge & Bean and sell my items online and at craft fairs.

I’m happy to say my British roots are still alive and kicking; I am unable to get through a day without multiple cups of tea with milk and I continue to insist it is pronounced, “tom-are-toe”.

IMG_7352

What is your favorite…

Color: Purple

Animal: Elephant

Season: Spring

Movie: Dirty Dancing

Book: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

What would you call your style?

My style is classic and simple. I am committed to using only independently produced animal and plant-based yarns and I create items that allow the yarn to be the star.

When and where did you start?

My grandma and mother introduced me to the art of knitting on a cold winter evening in 2009. They patiently fixed my mistakes as I struggled through my first baby beanie. The finished hat was ugly, but I was hooked.

Knitting is my addiction and now my work. I dream about new patterns and spend my free time experimenting and creating new accessories out of beautiful yarns.

IMG_8690

 What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

I have transformed a corner of the spare bedroom into my studio/office space. With two small kids, it is a little difficult to create any sort of regular pattern and routine, but during naptimes (if I’m lucky) and in the evenings I love to retreat to “the office” to design, create, and enjoy some quiet time.

Do you listen to music when you create?

I’m a Pandora addict. The Mumford and Sons station is my current favorite.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m busy getting ready for the 30th Street Craft Fair on June 15th. I love the challenge of creating knits for spring and summer. For the kids, I’m working on Montessori inspired toys, for the home, I’m creating beautiful covers for vases and candle holders, and for her, I’m working on a range of detachable collars and yoga socks.

IMG_8590(1)

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Custom orders always produce the best responses from customers. There is something very special about developing a relationship with a customer and picturing them as I work. Last year, I worked with a great customer to create a pair of cashmere fingerless mittens for her cousin. They turned out fabulously and I keep her happy feedback and photos close by if I’m ever in need of motivation.

What’s the best thing about being a handmade artist?

Creating beautiful things with my hands.
What’s the worst thing about being a handmade artist?

Too many ideas and not enough time.

IMG_8496(1)

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years I would love to be working on Squidge & Bean full time. I hope to not only be knitting, but also producing my own yarns and teaching others how to knit. And who knows, maybe in ten years I may have some folks helping me achieve all this!

If you could give one piece of advice to a new etsy seller, what would it be?

I’m still new to Etsy, but the one thing that has stood out to me is the importance of good photography. Learn how to take drool-worthy photographs and get familiar with the photo-editing tools on your computer. I am amazed by the improvements to my photos with a few clicks.

How do you keep in touch with the public?

I update my blog, closeknitblog.wordpress.com, with behind the scenes news and updates and Etsy treasuries inspired by my life.

You can also keep in touch with me on Facebook (squidgeandbean.facebook.com), follow me on Twitter (@squidgebean) and shop online at squidgeandbean.etsy.com and in person the 30th Street Craft Fair on June 15th.

Next Page »