Sunday, November 3, 2013

On the Road - Crafty Bastards - Washington, DC

I was thrilled beyond thrilled to be a part of this year's Crafty Bastards in Washington DC. It was my first DC show ever and I had heard nothing but wonderful things about this fair. Saturday morning's check in was a dream. I was greeted by two of the fabulous organizers: Amy Austin and Sarah Dick of the Washington City Paper. Droves of volunteers offered helping hands, bagels, and coffee. I wish all my Saturdays started off like that!

Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair - Washington DC
Amy Austin and Sarah Dick of the City Paper/ Crafty Bastards

YAY volunteers!
There were three big white tents set up in the lot next to Union Market. Speaking of Union Market, holy smokes...what an amazing place! This year round indoor food market offers an impressive array of local & artisanal food, drink, produce, and even dinnerware. There was plenty of seating throughout the market and delectable restaurants to try out. I could see myself easily putting on a few more pounds if I lived close by.

Craft Bastards tents

Union Market - DC
I was lucky to have my main squeeze Thom with me during the two busy days in DC. We recently expanded our set up and it felt great to spread out and show more goods at the show.

Mr. Twitch and Whiskers

game board goodness

cars galore
One of the coolest parts of the show was seeing so many northeastern friends at Crafty Bastards. We had time for quick hellos during the day and a relaxing dinner at Union Market in the evening.

Lisa DeMio of Red Staggerwing (NH)

Erik and Abby of Abby Berkson Ceramics (MA)

Jen Gubicza's Zooguu creations (MA)

Northeast Roll Call (from front to back): Cutesy but not Cutesy, Twitch and Whiskers, The Art and Craft of Mimi Kirchner, Zooguu , Nathan William Murrell, and Red Staggerwing Designs (taking the pic).
Who doesn't love vibrant color and sparkle? I just so happened to be set up next to the most colorful and dazzling gal at Crafty Bastards: Alison aka Miss Alison. Her sparkly vegan-friendly vinyl accessories instantly took me back to the parking lot carnivals of my youth. Her fabrics made me remember circling around a canopy topped ride in a swanky futuristic car with gold glitter vinyl seats. What's not to love about that? Miss Alison offers a wide variety of purses, pouches, checkbook covers, cuffs, pencil cases, and belts in every color combo imaginable. She has a keen eye for geometric embellishment, which can be seen in her bold line patterns and embroidered accents. I treated myself to a silver wristlet purse with orange, purple, and red wavy stripes. It's already a favorite! Visit Miss Alison's website to see all that she has to offer and to find out about her future events. Sparkle on!

Alison of Miss Alison

pouches with punch

Can't get enough cuffs!

a rainbow of belts
When you come across Mimi Kirchner's art dolls, look closely and you will see beauty in the details. Finely textured vintage fabrics and trim, carefully sewn inquisitive eyes, and skillfully sculpted features make each of her creations come to life. This talented Boston area artist is known for her meticulous attention to detail and you can see it in everything from the hand embroidered mustaches of her tattooed gents to the charming outfits on her fox dolls. My favorite piece in her booth was her General with Medals doll, complete with regal uniform and full decoration. In addition to creating, Mimi also shares her talents in classes and through patterns available in her Etsy shop. I adored every magical stitch of Mimi's dolls and I'm sure you will too. Visit Mimi Kirchner's blog, Facebook page, and Etsy shop, for more information and make sure to check out this great Etsy Handmade Portrait video on her.

Mimi Kirchner - art doll maker extraordinaire

forest friends

sideshow specialties - tattooed gents (and a lady)

general vs. pug
The two full days provided a steady stream of enthusiastic customers and many went home with Twitch and Whiskers' Fun 'n' Games rings...

owls and ice cream - the perfect combo

 five vibrant houses on a wooden nickel ring
pinback button necklaces...

tonsils out club pinback button necklace

 what a hep cat
protractor necklaces...

 protractor necklace with porcelain flowers

 tin equestrian protractor necklace
tin car and drawer pull necklaces...

start your engines...

bee-utiful brass bee on a backplate
and rouge compact/vintage tin locket necklaces!

 Chapstick tin locket atop of a vintage floral curtain tie back

 gorgeous and bold face powder locket

Katie of Moonlight Bindery donning a leafy rouge compact locket
One of the highlights of the show was when two good friends excitedly opened each others' lockets to reveal the surprise inside. Nothing beats a booth filled with laughter!

My favorite customers at the show had to be the stylish kids that went home in Twitch and Whiskers lockets. They looked absolutely stunning!

ballerina beauty

two radiant gals sporting lockets
Thom and I got to treat ourselves at Crafty Bastards as well. I went home with a hilarious Pizza Posse shirt from Common Rebels. Thom and I shared a sweet and savory meal from the Chicken and Waffles Truck that was eye-rolling good.

Seriously...can you find a better t-shirt?

The ultimate treat from the Chicken and Waffle Truck
Before we headed back to Connecticut, we got to take in a few sights and sounds of DC. The weather was beautiful, so we took a stroll to the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, and the National Botanical Gardens. Highlights included seeing the A Day Like No Other photographic exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the George and Ira Gershwinn exhibit at the Library of Congress. We couldn't believe that we got to see the Gershwinns' actual piano and hand written scores!

The Capitol

Library of Congress

National Botanical Gardens
I couldn't have asked for a better show and trip and I'm proud to say that I was officially a Crafty Bastard! Many thanks to the organizers of the show and volunteers for making the artists feel like a million bucks and warm hugs to all the wonderful customers that showed love in my booth. This was the best show yet!

Speaking of shows, my fall/winter holiday season will be starting in a few days. I have been busily preparing new pieces and hope to see you out and about! 

Brookline Marketplace - November 9 - Brookline, MA

Craftopia - November 10 - Pawtucket, RI

Wellesley Marketplace - November 23  - Wellesley, MA

Craftland Holiday Show - November 27 through December 31 - Providence, RI

SoWa Holiday Market - December 14 & 15 - Boston, MA
For updates, sales, and pics of new pieces, follow Twitch and Whiskers on Facebook and Etsy.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

On the Road - Jamaica Plain Open Studios - Jamaica Plain, MA

Two weekends ago, I headed up to the Boston-area for one incredible show. It was my second time participating in Jamaica Plains Open Studios and this year I set up tent at the Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts. Many Eliot School teachers/artisans were set up inside the historic school and over a dozen other artists circled the front lawn. Though grey clouds threatened stormy weather at times, the weekend ended up providing us with sunshine and clear skies. It was fun being set up next to fellow Danbury artist Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture and we both enjoyed the steady flow of enthusiastic visitors.
Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts
Twitch and Whiskers and Folk Couture at JPOS
In addition to amazing handmade goods, live music and a sea of bubbles drew people onto the lawn of the Eliot School throughout the day. I had a perfect view of Bubble Man Jim Dichter and loved watching both kids and adults flash soapy smiles.
Live music from the Old Time Rips on the lawn of the Eliot School
Bubble Man Jim Dichter
On the Eliot School lawn, I had the pleasure of meeting a gal who melts (quite literally) for nostalgia. Breezy days at the beach on Cape Cod, vintage treasures, and sweet childhood memories playfully blend together in the mixed media work of Bumble Belly Designs. Amy Keller's encaustic works layer a special heated beeswax and resin medium with vintage ephemera, whimsical drawings, skillfully cut paper silhouettes, and pigments. The wax gently veils some details in the background while bringing others to the forefront. The result is work that is both dreamy and slightly mysterious. My favorite piece of Amy's is called The Heart Outside Yourself. A mother's heart strings are delicately tethered to her children with a sea of snipping scissors below. It reminds us of how precious and fragile our connections to others can be. In addition to one of a kind artwork, Amy offers prints and waxed minis of her originals. Amy also makes pillows and tea towels with vintage images and clever word themes. To see her whole array of artwork and to find out where you can find Bumble Belly Designs during the holiday season, swing by Amy's website, blog, Facebook page, and Etsy shop. You will be absolutely enchanted!
Amy Keller of Bumble Belly Designs
a whole lotta childhood charm
The Heart Outside Yourself
Old MacDonald Pillows by Bumble Belly Designs
I brought to JPOS a new batch of Fun 'n' Games rings. I always enjoy watching people identify the familiar game pieces and read the funny sayings on the vintage pinback buttons.
Fun 'n' Games rings
Smiles with style!
Visitors really enjoyed my new game board display made by my clever, clever husband. It helped me to showcase some new pinback button and dexterity game necklaces. Some of my favorite quirky pieces went home with happy customers.
new game board display
Looking out of this world in an outer space themed dexterity game necklace
Bravery at the Dentist necklace - and according to this gal...she earned it!
It really was one busy weekend and I enjoyed sharing my vintage compact lockets, tin car necklaces, and brooch assemblages with the lovely ladies of JP.
She's the cat's meow!
Ready to stop traffic in a U-Turn necklace
Gorgeous and golden in a vintage brooch necklace.
Author Christine McDonnell is full of car-risma and creativity.
Over the past few years, I've been fortunate enough to get to know and become friends with some of my wonderful customers. Last year, I met Jack and his mom Erin at the Brewery during JPOS. It turns out that Jack is quite the jewelry designer and all around cool, creative kid! Jack, his brother Kieran, and Erin made my day with a special visit. Erin looked gorgeous in her new compact locket. 

I recently met Lisa through my Etsy shop. We worked together to design a variety of custom made thimblism necklaces. She came by looking adorable in her hot dog thimblism necklace and introduced me to her sweet kids Max and Anya. They not only taught me how to make Rainbow Loom bracelets, but also made me a special one to perfectly match my outfit. I'm one lucky duck and that's one fabulous family!
Jack, Erin, and Kieran brightened my day in JP.
Lisa and her colorful, creative kids Max and Anya!
rainbow wrists
Thank you to the organizers of Jamaica Plain Open Studios, the talented artists, and numerous visitors for making the weekend a fabulous one. I am counting down the days to JPOS next year!

Come November, I have a busy holiday show season and I hope to see you out and about! 

Brookline Marketplace - November 9 - Brookline, MA
Craftopia - November 10 - Pawtucket, RI

Wellesley Marketplace - November 23  - Wellesley, MA
Craftland Holiday Show - November 27 through December 31 - Providence, RI
SoWa Holiday Market - December 14 & 15 - Boston, MA
For updates, sales, and pics of new pieces, follow Twitch and Whiskers on Facebook and Etsy.