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Archive for the 'Crafts in Public' Category

Creating a Demonstration Survival Kit

Monday, December 17th, 2012
By Twistie

Photo via Historic Cold Spring Village

If you’ve ever demonstrated your craft in public, you know that it’s a far more perilous activity than most would suspect. In addition to the danger of losing your voice through constant talking, there’s the danger of losing materials to grubby hands or sticky fingers, and of course your mind when you spend most of the day answering the same three questions over and over and over and over and over again.

Then there are the crafts that leave us more open than others to minor injuries that require swift attention, though not grievous enough to warrant a trip to the ER, hunger pangs when things are just too busy for you to take a break, sunburn if you’re out of doors and nasty drafts if you’re inside… the list goes on.

But a few simple items packed in advance and used as necessary can help you make it through your weaving art demo safely and with a minimum of injury to you and to the public.


Happy Birthday, Rodin!

Monday, November 12th, 2012
By Twistie

Today marks the one hundred seventy-second birthday of Auguste Rodin, the great sculptor. In his honor, I thought it might be fun to see some of the unusual and crafty ways his most famous sculpture, The Thinker, has been interpreted over the years.


Whole Lotta Natural Beauty

Monday, October 1st, 2012
By Twistie

The instant I saw this piece, I needed to know more. I wanted to know more about the artist, the technique, the materials, the inspiration. I wanted to see more of the work.

The artist is Lotta Helleberg. She was born in Sweden and relocated to Virginia in the 80’s. She now lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, making art and loving nature.

The art and the nature go hand in hand at all times. Whether she’s creating wall hangings, pillows, handmade artist’s books, table runners, or sachets filled with organic lavender, Helleberg’s work combines a spare elegance with a profound respect for nature. The result, as you can see, is tremendously beautiful.

The materials she works in most include: antique/vintage linen fabric, natural dyes created from local plants, recycled/handmade paper, and silk. Her dye processes are eco-friendly, and many of the motifs are created with the help of local flora.

If you’re in the Virginia area, you’ll be able to see Helleberg’s work up close and personal from October 12 – December 5 at Over the Moon Bookstore in Crozet, VA and in the Artisans Studio Tour in Charlottesville, VA on November 10&11. Helleberg is studio #8.

Or, if you’re up in the Ontario, Canada area (As opposed to Ontario, California), Helleberg’s work will be on display at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Center in Oakville, Ontario from November 2 – 18 as part of the show De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things).

As for the rest of us, well, we’ll just have to get by on browsing her website and her online store.

You know, I really could use a spiffy new purse….

The Village Blacksmith

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
By Twistie

If you live near Williamsburg, VA or are planning a visit to the area soon, it may interest you to know that James Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop and Public Armory will have its ribbon cutting ceremony on March 31. That’s this saturday, for those of you without handy calendars.

The armory will include demonstrations of: blacksmithing, coopering/basket making, carpentry, brick making and masonry, and more.

I only wish I could be there, too.

Call For Entries: Smithsonian Craft Show

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
By Twistie

This amazing basket by Christine Adcock was shown in this year’s Smithsonian Craft Show in April. Adcock’s brilliant basketry skills won her the Best of Show award. You can see more of her work (including details of materials used) here.


Every year the Smithsonian Craft Show showcases the best of the best of American fine craft. Ceramics, glass, embroidery, beadwork, leather, woodwork, furniture, mixed media… if it’s considered a craft, it will probably be represented among the 120 artists hand-picked by a three-member committee.

That committee changes members every year and no artist is grandfathered in… not even Ms. Adcock.

What does that have to do with you? I’m so glad you asked!


I’ll Have the Ebi, Please

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
By Twistie

I love Japanese food, including sushi. And sushi inspires many a creative soul. It’s so pretty and the shapes are quite elegant, but simple enough to express in many different ways. As it turns out, someone has turned that inspiration into these charming handmade plush pillows. At $44.99 to $59.99, chances are you can afford to use them in more than one room.

Just be sure to remember not to do this with yours:

Because plush? Not as delicious as fish and rice.

Fire in the Hole!

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
By Twistie

Photo by Greg Crane

Do you know about the Crucible?

No, I’m not talking about Arthur Miller’s classic play about the Salem witch trials written in response to the McCarthy hearings. I’m talking about the school of fire arts in Oakland, California.

What are the ‘fire arts?’ Well, any craft or performance style that requires fire of some sort to make it work. At the Crucible you will find classes on such diverse topics as: ceramics, glass work, blacksmithing, kinetics and electronics, welding, and fire performance, among others.

Whether you want to learn about making neon sculptures, enameled jewelry, or bicycle repair, this is the place in the Bay Area to go. Oh! And look at that! They’re having an open house on April 2 from noon to four pm.

If you happen to be in the area, drop on by and check out the range of classes. Or, you know, just marvel at the fire eaters  and fire dancers.

For Those Who Want to Participate in the Crafty Manolo Yarnbombing Event

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
By Twistie

illustration via Baltimore DIY Squad

So. You’d like to go yarnbombing with Crafty Manolo, you say? But you aren’t sure what kind of bookmarks to make? You don’t have a pattern to work from?

Don’t Panic. I’ve taken a gander around the web and found a few good patterns in a variety of different techniques to get you started. Let’s take a look at a couple:

Not Just for Knitters Anymore

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
By Twistie

(via The Telegraph)

I love yarnbombing. It’s a wonderful, crazed, whimsical, delightful, anarchic, joyful idea. It makes me smile just to know people are doing this. There’s just one thing wrong with it: so far it’s been limited to knitters and crocheters. In other words, it’s brilliant… as far as it goes.

But I don’t knit. I don’t crochet. I have friends who craft, but not with fiber. What about us?

Well, I don’t see anyone else doing something about this so I guess it’s time to step up and do my part to make a difference. (more…)

Bombs Away!

Friday, November 19th, 2010
By Twistie

It’s part graffiti, part Monty Python’s Hell’s Grannies, and all whimsical fun. What is it? It’s yarnbombing!

So what is it, exactly? Well… it’s (usually) unauthorized public installations of knitted and/or crocheted items. In practice, it looks a lot like this:


The installation lasted about one day in Vancouver’s Chinatown, but the picture will make me smile for a long, long time to come.

But this isn’t just being done by our Canadian fiends, oh no it’s not. It’s being done all over the place.

For instance, the Twisted Knitters of Herefordshire bombed a local cheese shop with knitted mice, and just a few nights ago put a knitted poppy wreath on a war memorial statue.

A really great project that brought us together even with our varied opinions about the subject of war & conflict.

Or how about this wonderful project by Juniper Place yarns where scarves were distributed in the dead of night?

My vision was that people would come to town on Saturday and see that the “scarf fairies” had come in the night (you know, like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, to name a few)!

As she and her partner in crime draped scarves over railings and parking meters, people started coming along and taking the scarves, just as they’d hoped. By morning, not one scarf was left.

Sometimes it even has official blessings, like this project where the city of Denver, CO hired the Ladies Fancywork Society to install crocheted flowers in a chain link fence.

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m finding myself wanting to expand on this idea. Why should the knitters have all the fun? Why not a bobbin lace cover on a traffic cone? Why not polymer clay building blocks around construction sites? Why not quilted parking meter cozies? Why not Teddy bears in the arms of statues in the park? As long as it’s easily removable, it fits. Encourage people to take your art with them, and add to the whimsey of the day for passers-by.

Yarnbombing may be my favorite idea to come along in a long, long, long time.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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