Friday, April 29, 2016

May arts and crafts shows around Minnesota (and Wisconsin)

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 8, and isn't it convenient that there are two popular art-and-craft fairs taking place on the day before, one in St. Paul and the other in Minneapolis. That means you can skip the malls and big box retailers and buy handmade gifts directly from the makers. Yay! And maybe a little something for yourself, too. 

Here's the line-up of May events, with a peek at items from some of the members of HandmadeMN who will be there. 

Saturday, May 7, from 10 to 5, at the  Progress Center, Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul. 

Look for these fabulous HandmadeMN artists when you go.

Cindy Lindgren, with cards, art prints and fabric in the Craftsman Nouveau style, like this beautiful Craftsman-style print of red poppies.

Poppies art print by Cindy Lindgren

KiyiKiyi, featuring unique soaps, lotions, bathbombs and lip balms. How about some colorful Alice in Wonderland inspired goat milk and olive oil soap? Doesn't that sound luxurious?

Alice in Wonderland goat milk soap by Kiyi Kiyi

Caddie Jo Designs, selling handmade cotton laminate raincoats and rainhats, and colorful cotton dresses and skirts. Maybe a cute colorful raincoat will be just the thing for a little girl you know.

Girl's raincoat by Caddie Jo Designs

Kaleidoscope Kitty, selling handspun yarn, like this beautiful colorful skein of silk yarn.

Handspun silk yarn by Kaleidoscope Kitty

LyricCol Design will be showcasing hand-painted totes and towels, like this cotton canvas tote with  more pretty poppies.

Hand stenciled cotton tote from LyricCol Designs

Nokomis Spring Urban Craft and Art Fair 
Saturday, May 7, from 9:30 to 4 p.m., at Lake Nokomis Community Center, 2401 Minnehaha Parkway, Minneapolis. 

The following members of HandmadeMN will be there:

Jeff Ambroz: Mixed media artwork and hand-crafted goods

Suz and Roo: Fun handmade jewelry and vintage-inspired tees

Mimi's Fun Stuff: Handwoven bags & purses, handwoven shawls, upcycled denim cell phone bags, purses & totes

Metaling Susie: Handmade rustic metal jewelry

Susie B. Handicraft: Pet toys, pet beds, recycled storage containers, recycled tote bags

Next weekend, May 14–15, we've got one at the fairgrounds in St. Paul again, and another in Duluth's lovely Lester Park.

May 14–15; Saturday from 10 to 6 and Sunday from 10 to 5, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds grandstand. There you'll find delightfully nerd-centric practical items from Daydreamers Emporium, such as handlebar purses, coasters, and handy bags (top-handle bags)

Second Saturday Marketplace   On May 14, Saturday only, from 10 to 3, at Lester Park Community Center, 106 N. 54th Ave. S., Duluth (take 5th Ave. off E. Superior St.) Among the participating artists is Tanya Beyer, with her original watercolors and mixed media featuring native flowers, wild birds and landscapes of the Upper Midwest, plus cards and prints.

May 20–22; Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday noon–8, and Sunday noon–5, at sites all around Northeast Minneapolis. 

See these HandmadeMN artists at the following sites:

In the Food Building, 1401 Marshall St. NE (55413) Shadow Box Art presents wooden shadow boxes filled with natural items.

And at the Grain Belt Bottling House, 79 13th Ave NE (55413), Cheri C. Meyer showcases her jewelry made with elaborate beadweaving techniques.

The final weekend of the month, Memorial Day weekend, offers a couple of fun destination events for art and craft loving road trippers (as well as those who happen to live in  or near Webster, Wisconsin and Brainerd, Minnesota, of course).

Arts and Crafts Extravaganza
Sat., May 28, from 9 to 4, on the grounds of the Webster, Wisconsin, elementary school. 

Look for functional rock creations made with stones sourced from around Lake Superior by  Naturally Unique Rock.

And rounding out the month, Brainerd, Minnesota, is the site of the 
Olde Depot Junktion
May 28–29, Saturday from 10 to 5, and Sunday from 10 to 2, at the Northern Pacific Event Center, 1511 Northern Pacific Road, Brainerd 56401. 

For $8 admission, see dozens of vendors displaying and selling an eclectic mix of fabulous items, and look for unique lamps and shades from LightReading as well.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Relax with White

By Jeff Ambroz

During the spring and summer, Minnesotans surround themselves with color.  We put on breezy attire of every shade, and enjoy the many vibrant hues of nature in our yards, parks and outdoor patios.  Even our dinner plates get more colorful, as we enjoy the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables.  Everywhere we look, there’s an abundance of color.

Fun, yes.  Relaxing?  Not so much.

That’s probably why white—pure, crisp and clean white—becomes so appealing this time of year.  Several HandmadeMN member shops are ready with handcrafted goods to help you to relax and refresh with the white trend.
Hang floral art by ChasedbyBeauty in your living room or porch, and provide a place for your eyes to rest and daydream in the summer breeze.  

ShopMayfieldLane's monogrammed guest towels will provide an instant pick-up to your bath.  While you’re at it, fill a tall clear glass vase with white coconut bath bombs from KiyiKiyi, and make your bath a relaxing retreat from the summer hubbub.
Stylish hand towels by ShopMayfieldLane
Coconut scented bath bombs by KiyiKiyi
We all know summertime is the right time to entertain.  Send crisp white note cards for invitations from vandaliastreetpress, and keep another stack of white thank you cards handy.  That way, you can offer appreciation to those who host you and yours in these warm months.
Crisp white paper goods by vandaliastreetpress

While you’re out and about, you may want to keep the calm, chill vibe with you all day.  Wear a scented vanilla cupcake pendant by tinyhands.  You’ll look as cute as, well… a cupcake!
Sweet little cupcake necklace by tinyhands

Be sure to explore these shops, and all the shops of HandmadeMN, as you select the perfect items for a peaceful and relaxing summer season.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Handmade History: Printmaking

By Kate McCreight, guest blogger

This post is the first in a series exploring the intersection of history and modern Minnesota makers. Is there a craft or technique you want to explore? Let me know in the comments! 

Printmaking is one of the great developments in art, enabling production of art and literature for the masses. Before printing, art and books were one-off creations, inaccessible to many, kept in churches, monasteries, and in the possession of the wealthy.

Artwork by Jackie Lehmann, A Bird and a Hot Air Ballon

Printmaking has a long history, dating back to 1st century China and the 8th century Japanese woodcut - a relief process where the image to be printed is raised and negative space is cut around it. In the Western world, printing for the masses began in the 15th century, quickly followed by the invention of moveable type and the Guttenberg Press (c. 1440), and the establishment of the first paper mills. Combined, these three innovations made it possible for the masses to gain access to printed words and images for the first time. Woodcuts were used alongside moveable typeface to illustrate books on printing presses, making it possible to print and illustrate single pages in one process. 

Vandalia Street Press, Love From Minnesota letterpress printed notecards

Printing grew more sophisticated, as artists sought to create more elaborate print works that could emulate pen and ink drawings. Color and depth of shade are introduced gradually, beginning in the 16th century with the chiaroscuro woodcut, which used layers of tone blocks to create a print identical to chiaroscuro pen and ink drawings, with dramatic shading. 

Amative Art, Let It Shine inverted print

As the 16th century progressed, intaglio (or, engraving) became the preferred medium for book illustrations and for artists' printed works. The opposite of woodblock reliefs, intaglio prints are created by printing the image created by the lines etched into a metal plate. Thick ink is rolled over the plate and pressed into the lines, then the flat surface is wiped clean. Paper is pressed over the etched plate to create the printed image. Intaglio prints have sharply defined images and the ink is slightly raised from the paper. Artists such as Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) and Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) incorporated printmaking into their artistic oeuvre.  

Lithography (1798) differed from intaglio and woodblock printing in that the image to be printed was neither etched into or carved from the plates surface. Instead, a completely flat plate was used and the artist drew a mirror image of what would be printed directly on the plate surface. Almost immediately, artists began working with ways to make color lithographs. Color lithography requires multiple printings, one pass through the press for each color used. 

Kelly Newcomer, Spring is Coming

Screen-printing, or serigraphy, was developed in the 20th century, and first introduced as an art form at the 1939 World's Fair. Thick ink is forced through a stencil attached to a silk or mesh screen frame onto paper or fabric. Separate screens are used for each color, and multiple reprints can be made from the same screen. Andy Warhol’s (1928-1987) Pop Art pieces are some of the most famous examples of screen-printing.

East Ashley Studio, Vintage Camera watercolor giclee art print

Giclee printing is the most recent development in printing, and frequently used by artists today. Giclee (pronounced zee-clay) translates as "that which is sprayed" - referring to the ink as it is sprayed through a computer printer onto the paper. The printer is used alongside the computer as a tool by the artist, and the computer is not necessarily the source of the original piece, although it can be.

Lisa Rydin Erickson, Gunflint Borealis Sailing Print

Photographs are also reproduced as giclee prints. 

Chased by Beauty, Tea Ceremony Tray

Giclee prints are also used to reproduce artworks originally created in another medium. 

Smirking Tiger, Spoonbridge and Cherry

Despite the increased accessibility and availability of prints, they have retained their value as works of art in their own right. While many prints are available in open editions (unlimited number of a single image), others are restricted to signed and numbered limited editions. Regardless of their open or limited edition status, each print requires hands on labor from the artist: inking plates, selecting paper, and the creation of the original piece that is being printed. 

By virtue of a print’s accessibility and affordability, it is easier than ever before to add unique pieces of art to your home. The images shown here are merely a sampling of what the talented HandmadeMN artists have to offer. 

Cindy Lindgren, Conservatory Entrance

Further Resources: 
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Prints and Processes video series,

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Prints and Drawings,

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Doing the Kentucky Derby in Minnesota

By Kelly Newcomer

The Kentucky Derby is coming up May 6 & 7 (Mother's Day weekend). If you're wondering, where can I find a killer handmade hat to wear to watch the Kentucky Derby, you're in the right place. I'm also going to show you where to find handmade horsey kids' toys, mint-inspired body care, and a recipe for a classic mint julep using Minnesota Bourbon.

First off, the hats. The Kentucky Derby is traditionally a place to which one wears a hat. Since the 60's the hats have become more ostentatious. In fact, since the English royal wedding in 2011, the hat situation has really gone overboard.

Local handmade hats

Here in Minnesota, we have quite a few hat-makers or milliners. You could wear one of these on a fine spring day and turn a few heads.

Bound to be Creative Reversible Hat with custom ribbon from St. Charles, MN in a light-weight linen blend. Bound to be Creative also creates hats for adults and children in newsboy and cloche styles.

If it's too hot for a hat try a fascinator

A "Fascinator" is an accessory you can put right on your hair, doing away with the whole hat thing... Ododo Originals has a hand-beaded oversize flower fascinator. They need to be attached to the hair by a comb, headband or clip. The Ododo Originals version comes with an alligator-style hair clip. Ododo Originals is based in Minneapolis.

Hats for kids

While you're at it, why not also select a fascinator for baby? Bella Maria Creations of Maplewood, MN has a pink floral headband for babies made with lace and pearl beads.

Speaking of kids - did you know, some families actually set up their own mock betting with the kids by using Monopoly Money? I just found out that some horse-racing fans actually do this with their kids each year, and they read up on the merits of the different horses. I guess I was more into just admiring the different jockey outfits and marveling at those small adult riders. The Kentucky Derby weight limit, by the way, is 126 pounds, and that's for an adult holding their equipment.

Horse toys for kids of all ages

And now, before we get to the Mint-Julep recipe, one more baby item: a handmade horse toy from Little Wooden Wonders of Chanhassen MN. This puzzle measures approximately 7 1/2" long and 6.5" tall.

Mint Julep Lib Balm

Set the mood with sweet kissable lips thanks to KiyiKiyi's handmade lip balm. A fresh and minty lip balm treat for your lips! The  perfect summer drink captured in a mint lip balm with nourishing mango butter! This balm is the bomb.

Ride a horse

And if you're really into getting all Derby-y, I suggest that you go ride some horses this spring in lovely Minnesota. One great place to do that is at Acres for Life in Chisago City - I know about this company because of the work they do connecting people to horses in the name of therapy.

The Kentucky Derby Mint Julep RECIPE:

reposted from 2015 source: WCCO's Mike Filed Under: Bourbon, Dixie's On Grand, Kentucky, Kentucky Bourbon, Mike Augustyniak, Mike's Mix, Mint Julep
  • 1.5 oz Kentucky bourbon (bartender Brian recommends a higher-quality bourbon like Blandon’s)
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 6 mint leaves (stems removed)
Add ice to a shaker tin.
Muddle mint leaves over ice, using enough force to shred the mint and slightly crush the ice.
Add bourbon to the ice and mint.
Pour all ingredients into a lowball glass.
Garnish with a mint sprig.

Minnesota Bourbon

Mint Juleps are a traditional cocktail served during the racing season. Here in Minnesota, craft brewing and local distilling is growing every year. There actually is a local bourbon, Pike Street Bourbon. I haven't tried it yet, but wanted to pass this along just in case you're really into doing your Kentucky Derby in a super local fashion from Panther Distillery, the Pike Street Bourbon. Distilled in Osakis, MN just northwest of St. Cloud on Highway 94.

-Kelly Newcomer, handmademn blogger and artist.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Baby Shower Gift Guide

Are you searching for a unique baby gift for a friend or family member? A gift that's special like her? We have collected some ideas for you from our member's shops. From personalized baby toys to nursery decor, we've got you covered.

Baby Booties Card by Plays Nicely with Paper, $5.00

Personalized Name Puzzle by Little Wooden Wonders, $30.00

Baby Afghan by Mimis Fun Stuff, $40.00

Custom Diaper Bag by Shop Mayfield Lane, $45.00

Child Bookends by blessing and light, $38.00

Guitar Rattle by Smiling Tree Toys, $23.00

Kids Hat by Bound to be Creative, $22.00

Baby Age Blocks by Little Wooden Wonders, $40.00

Nursery Safari prints by Niko And Lily, $39.95

ABC 123 Nursery Art, by Devon Design Co. $30.00

Mother Silver Family Bracelet, by Metaling Susie,$65.00

Custom Book Plates, by Arty Didact, $12.00

Flutter Sleeve Tunic, by River Bird, $34.99

Victorian Lace Baby Afghan, by Susie B Handicraft, $26.00

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Through the Keyhole

'H a n d m a d e M N - T e a m' by westernartglass

Curious Glance

Leather Journal with Trees, ...

Dandelion Note Card

Activity box of tiny toys fo...

6 Robot Eyes Magnets - recyc...

Quilled paper art, mosaic ar...

Miniature Brown Extra Small ...

Dramaticilly photographed Ma...

vintage wooden canisters . v...

Bark jewelry - Birch necklac...

Control Panel 8 x 10 inch pr...

Deer Print, Giclee print, Ch...

Soda Fired Bowl, Faceted

Deer Silhouette Decorative D...

Greeting card - Peace: for C...

Wall Art - Wood Wall Art - ...

nude in the kitchen (print)
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The champion of the unexpected, unlooked for reentry in the middle of the afternoon--the late Walker Percy--enjoyed the idea of a biology student arriving at class to find a Shakespearean sonnet tacked to her dissecting board.  And likewise, a Literature student exploring a dogfish with their fingernail.  Off the beaten path.  Momentarily lost from the guided tour...a surprising revelation.  Here is a strange convergence of robots, nature and a nude in the kitchen.  File under:  Minnesota April Snow, or, Flat Tire on the West River Road.

Musical soundtrack:  

Frank Zappa - Peaches en Regalia - original 1969 mix