Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial: Small Pouch

I'm excited about where my blog is going, I have a variety of steady post categories cropping up—Crafter Profiles, Thursday Inspiration, and now Tuesday Tutorials!

Sometimes I like to make a quick nonsense project for myself or just as an experiment. Now on Tuesdays, I'll share tutorials on those projects here.

Below are the steps to make the small pouch bag pictured above. This pouch took me a couple hours one evening, so its a great quick project when you have a little free time or want to update your accessories wardrobe for the coming season.

You should know this is my first time even attempting to provide a tutorial for one of my projects... usually I just make the project from scratch and don't concentrate on creating clear and understandable instructions. So if this first tutorial seems a bit rough, be patient and they will get better as the weeks go on!

Scrap Paper (for patterns)
Fabric - one type for the outside and another for the lining
Marker or Pencil
Sewing Machine (or a needle for hand sewing)

1. Measure & cut your patterns.

2. Fold your fabric in half, pin your patterns with the straight side along the fold and cut your fabric. Repeat this step for the lining. In this tutorial the outside fabric is striped and the lining is yellow.

3. Stack your outside and lining fabric inside out (front sides facing each other). Pin the top parts as I've shown below, about .25" from the edge. Sew where you have pinned (the bottom part will get sewn later.

4. Turn the sewn pieces right side out.

5. Stack both pieces inside out (with the outside fabrics facing each other). Pin the bottom which hasn't been sewn yet, about .25" from the edge. Sew where you have pinned.

6. Turn right side out and you have your basic pouch! Now its time to embellish however you choose—add a strap with extra fabric or ribbon, add a closure such as a snap, button or velcro, and add extras like tassels or patches.

In the comments section below please post links to photos of your bag once you try the project for yourself, along with any questions or tips!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Inspiration: Flower Garden

The end of the week is upon us and you may be running out of creative steam. In that case, here is some colorful inspiration to keep you going!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coffee Sleeve Experiment

So a week or so ago I wanted to start a quick project that was just for me, something small that I could overwork and just have fun with. The result: this coffee sleeve. I got very little done at first, until last night when I couldn't sleep so I stayed up to finish it! Old buttons and flea market fabric helped to achieve the purposeful messy and eclectic look.

Crafter Profile: Some Fine Folks

This week’s crafter profile features Jessica Bourque of Some Fine Folks. Jess is yet another talented artist with whom I shared the Hartford Art School and Delta Zeta experience, and most recently I was able to collaborate with her on the new Some Fine Folks business cards (pictured below)! Her answers are a pleasure to read, plus I’m sure any of you thinking about turning your love of art into a small business will find some insight and encouragement! Learn more about Some Fine Folks through Jessica's Etsy, Facebook, and Blog.

First, tell us a little about yourself… Where you’re from? Art background? Why you started Some Fine Folks?

Hi Designosaurus! First off, my name is Jessica Bourque hailing from small town CT. I must really like CT because I grew up here, went to school here (Hartford Art School) and now work here. My background is in printmaking but I simply love to do anything and everything creative. I started SFF because I needed something to pour myself into creatively. It also helped that I would wear/give away the things I made and have people say, “Wow, you could sell this!”

Lets get the important facts out of the way first — where can people purchase your pieces?

This summer I got into the craft show scene. I have done a handful of SOWA, Boston dates and also the Providence Open Market. You can find some of my products on my Etsy site, www.somefinefolks.etsy.com. I also sell at http://silvercirclestudio.com/ in Putnam, CT and http://www.aticcshop.com/ in New London, CT.

Why the name Some Fine Folks?

People ask me all the time how I came up the name Some Fine Folks and I’m starting to think I should just make up a really great story about it. I wanted a vintage feel to it and just started jotting down words. Can’t you just picture some black and white movie star drawling out the phrase, “those are some finnnne folks, there they are.”? Ha ha.

Tell us about your creative process?

Well my creative processes are very mixed because I tend to work with so many materials; whether it is silk screening, fiber work, or just drawing and painting. Even though I do work in many materials my aesthetic is definitely translated across the board. I love bright colors, patterns, delicate details, etc.

What are your influences?

My influences come from a million different things. I love, love patterns; patterns on vintage hankies, lace, paper, whatever. It’s sort of become an obsession collecting objects that I have taken a visual interest in. Whenever I am in need of inspiration I tend to work through my piles of stuff and something comes from that. It’s interesting that certain images such as flags, trees/bark, maps have come across in many of my pieces since the beginning of my really beginning to create more thoughtful artworks.

Favorite materials to work with?

I can see myself getting more into creating mixed media work to try and integrate both my love of fiber materials and printmaking/drawing.

Favorite places to buy supplies?

FLEAMARKETS! Can’t get enough of them!

Do you have a favorite piece you’ve made since starting SFF?

It’s a dangerous job, because I tend to love mostly all of what I make. I have a hard time not keeping things on my dresser. The nice thing about doing shows is that I get to wear a different piece each time! I love bold colors and buttons that have a story. I have found so many great vintage ones with horses, anchors, or monstrous gems on them!

Have your techniques & aesthetic changed much since the beginning of SFF?

Absolutely! In the beginning I was still sort of experimenting with creating a product. Over time my natural gravitation towards vintage pieces of trim, buttons, sequins got intermingled with my getting the hang of simply assembling something that was pleasing to look at and wear.

What does your creative space look like?

A Disaster! My roommate is luckily pretty easing going, because I really do have piles and piles of boxes stacked in our living room/office/art studio. I need a Martha Stewart makeover asap!

Any other jobs?

My “real” job is an art teacher at a small, private high school nearby. Technically it’s a job, but I still get to create all day, which is awesome!

Other hobbies?

Way to many…living on my own has awoken my domestic side; I now read cookbooks and am learning to can!

Favorite childhood craft project?

I don’t know about craft, but I have always been hands-on. When I was younger I would spend hours sitting at the kitchen table taking apart answering machines and other unused electronics. Monotonous work; dissecting each screw and wire. When I had finished, that would be it, I would put everything in a ziplock bag and find something new to work on. Again, shows the collector in me!

What are the most fun, and the most difficult parts of running a creative business?

It is exhausting! I have spent hours scouring the internet sourcing materials, finding craft shows, packaging products, taking photos and updating etsy, etc, etc, etc. It truly is eye opening how much work goes into owning a business. I definitely appreciate now so much more handmade goods in boutiques or craft shows. The most rewarding parts obviously are seeing people wear your product. I love what I make so when you get to meet people who also do, it’s an amazing rush!

This summer you’ve really kept yourself busy with craft shows, almost every weekend it seems! Favorite experiences? Lessons learned? Advice you’d give to others who want to sell at shows?

Pack lots of snacks, water, caffeine yourself (as long as there are available port-o-potties – bring extra tp too!) Being able to create while you are sitting at your booth is also a huge plus! You keep busy and also shoppers can get a peak at your process. I have been so lucky to have family and friends support me and tag along to shows with me to help set up and entertain for the day. Meeting and seeing vendors each week is also great; you get great tips from veterans and sometimes make longtime friends! If you are interested in doing shows, go for it! It can be hard not to get discouraged as shows can be completely unpredictable; one week you’ll sell a ton and the next maybe nothing. I look at this still as a hobbie, something that I enjoy doing. If you become unhappy in it, it’s time to find something new!

And finally, a look into the future — you already sell a variety of things between all your accessories, cards, and home goods… any plans to expand & create/sell new items?

I have been thinking a lot about this as the Some Fine Folks year anniversary is coming up! It’s amazing how much I have learned about being an entrepreneur for your craft in such a short amount of time. I am looking forward to slowing down a bit, hopefully doing a few holiday shows and then really looking at where I as an artist want to be. Grad school may be in the future for me, so that could lead to any number of new avenues for Some Fine Folks. The great thing is that Some Fine Folks is totally ambiguous so it can always follow me wherever I decide to go!

(interview has been edited)

And once again, you can find more about Some Fine Folks here: Etsy, Facebook, Blog

Monday, August 16, 2010

Crafter Profile: Piece of Mind Design

During this week’s crafter profile we hear from Lauren Jones of Piece of Mind Design. Lauren and I went to art school together, where we both became members of Delta Zeta sorority, and we even went on an amazing study abroad winter term trip to Italy with other University of Hartford students! I had a lot of fun putting together this interview & reading her answers. Plus after looking at her photos I just had to purchase one of her collage necklaces!

First, tell us a little about yourself… Where you’re from? Your art background? Why you started Piece of Mind Design?

I am from Long Island, New York. A town called East Patchogue. I have a BFA in ceramics with a minor in Art History from the Hartford Art School. I started PoMD because I love creating things and wanted to be able to share my pieces with friends & family, and other people who enjoy handmade items. I always wanted to own my own business.

Where can people purchase your items?


Why the name Piece of Mind Design?

It is a name that came to me a long time ago. Along the lines of 'piece of my mind.' All the items I create are a piece of me, and the things that influence me.

So I know you studied ceramics in college, and now your shop is filled with jewelry — are you still doing ceramic work? Do you have any plans to include ceramics in Piece of Mind Design on Etsy?

When I opened the shop I intended to sell ceramics. I have a lot of pieces from college and some that are more current, but it is really difficult to be a productive potter when you don't have your own studio. I would love to get back into ceramics one day, but I just don't have the time/studio space that it takes right now. I love making jewelry because I can take my supplies anywhere to create.

When did you start making jewelry?

I have always made jewelry. I got a bead box with a rainbow array of seed beads from my mom when I was 5 or 6 and would spend hours crafting. I have always been obsessed with making handmade items for myself and other people.

Tell us about your creative process?

For my necklaces I like to start with a focal object, maybe a charm that I purchased or a color palette. I work on adding and taking away elements until I am happy with the product.

What are your influences?

I love fashion magazines and people watching. Sometimes I see someone wearing a piece of jewelry that I love and so I try to replicate it with my own touch. I am also very influenced by the way my friends dress, very hip yet alternative.

Favorite materials to work with?

I love beads. I can spend hours in the craft store searching for the right color or shape.

Do you have a favorite piece you’ve made since starting PoMD?

I really enjoy making the collage necklaces. They are fun to customize for people. I love when customers ask for a collage necklace personalized for their favorite color or an image that suits them. I love unique jewelry that is one of a kind and special for a specific person's sensibility.

How have your techniques & aesthetic changed since the beginning of PoMD?

I have gotten smarter about the materials I purchase. I have more intentions when I buy something so I think it makes the items look much better put together

What does your workspace look like?

I don't have an exact workspace. I sometimes work at my desk, my bed or a dining table. I keep my supplies in boxes so they are very portable. I hope one day to have a permanent work space but for now its too difficult.. I have a kitty who eats everything!

Outside of PoMD, how do you spend your time (jobs, hobbies, etc etc)?

I have been working for the last 2 1/2 years as a full time nanny, however I am starting graduate school come September for Higher Education/Student Activies. I am very curious to see if my new work environment will effect my creative process at all. As far as free time I am usually at the beach or with my friends or boyfriend. I am lucky because I have very creative people in my life who inspire and influence me everyday.

Is there a strong local art/craft scene in your area?

Yes, I believe so. A lot of people in my area really enjoy supporting the indie artists and crafters. I often attend local craft shows and galleries. I think it is important to get out and see what other people are making.

Favorite childhood craft project?

I really can't name just one… my mom was an elementary art teacher. I was her arts and crafts guinea pig as a child. I did a lot of beading, sewing, and painting.

Do you have a favorite experience since starting PoMD?

I think my favorite experiences have been getting the feedback after someone wears or receives one of my pieces. Just knowing that someone is excited to wear something I made puts a smile on my face.

How do you advertise/promote PoMD?

I promote locally with business cards and word of mouth as well as through etsy and facebook.

Finally, what advice would you give to others interested in starting their own small creative business?

I would say, keep trying. It can be really discouraging. I have been working at this for some time now and I still get discouraged sometimes when I feel like I have been working so hard to only make a few sales here and there. If you take pride in what you are creating and do your best to promote it will pay off eventually. Don't give up!

(interview has been edited)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August Alphabet Posters are on Etsy!

July posters, "C" and "D", are finally posted on Etsy! For more info on the series check out my previous post.

Looking for a specific letter? Here's the timeline:

July 2010: A, B

August: C, D

September: E, F

October: G, H

November: I, J

December: K, L

January 2011: M, N

February: O, P

March: Q, R

April: S, T

May: U, V

June: W, X

July: Y, Z