Monday, August 7, 2017

HandmadeMN: Celebrating the gifts and inspiration of the harvest!

"Seed Machine" print (detail) by Kelly Newcomer

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Early August was an occasion for celebrating the beginning of the harvest season for the ancient Celts, with games and festivals in honor of the Irish god Lugh, who was believed to have started the late summer festival known as Lughnasadh (meaning Lugh's Assembly, or something like that) in honor of his mother.

"Hiawatha" botanical art print by Lisa Rydin Erickson

Artists and crafters have always taken inspiration from the garden and from the harvest. I found several examples of harvest- and garden-inspired art made by members of HandmadeMN, and a few crafting supplies for your own projects, to illustrate this brief essay. Click on the captions to view the items in more detail and even purchase them if you like.

"Indian Corn" art print from Cindy Lindgren

Some artists even use materials from the fields, such as seeds as mosaic pieces, well-known in Minnesota as seed art or crop art. HandmadeMN maker Kelly Newcomer wrote about that last summer in this blog post you might enjoy.

Cotton fabric available from Anna Tere Designs

Back to Lughnasadh and first-harvest celebrations: One of many legends casts Lugh as the hero in a battle for the fruits of the harvest, which he wins, and then gives the food to humankind.

Illustrated Bible quote by All Things Jane

The festival was later Christianized, sometimes with St. Patrick as the hero who saves the harvest, and adapted as Lammas, or Loaf Mass, to bless the bread baked from the first grains of the season. Scottish bannocks, a type of unsweetened oat biscuit, are associated with this tradition.

Honeycomb earrings made with reclaimed beer bottle glass, by Western Art Glass

Nowadays, I think we could say that our county and state fairs are a kind of early harvest festival, and in that way we carry on those ancient agrarian rituals, with accompanying art and crafts inspired by, and sometimes made from, the harvest.

Corn-filled heating pad by Warm Hugs Corn Bags






Monday, July 31, 2017

Day in the Etsy Life: Illustrator Cindy Lindgren

by Cindy Lindgren

My studio with areas to draw, work on the computer and drawers full of card inventory.
Ever wondered what a typical day is like for an Etsy artisan? It's different for each of us, but I'll give you a glimpse into what it looks like for me.

First you should know I was a full-time Illustrator before opening my Etsy shop in 2009, so I always intended it to be a business where I switched from illustrating for clients in advertising and graphic design to illustrating for myself and selling my work online. Today my business includes my Etsy shop, an Etsy Wholesale shop, working with retail reps at Anne McGilvray & Company supplying art products to museum and gift shops, licensing/royalty work with Modern Yardage, Spoonflower, Check Advantage and Janome, and consignment with The Linden Tree. I create illustrations that are used for cards, art prints, posters, magnets, checks, embroidery designs and textiles.
I print all my own art prints that I sell on Etsy.
My day starts with packaging Etsy and wholesale orders. Thursday I had two Etsy orders and one wholesale card order heading off to California to box up, print shipping labels and walk to the post office. I live near a Byerly's with a mail service pick up twice a day and banking that is very convenient. Plus, the deli and flower departments are welcome distractions. If I post something on social media, it's usually in the morning after I photograph the listing or have an art show event to share.

I work around the Twin Cities rush hours by doing most work errands between 10 am to 3 pm. Today I pick up postcard promos for The Women's Art Festival at the organizer's porch and deliver a wholesale card order to St. Croix Retail. I deliver all my local wholesale orders to shops like the Minnesota History Center so I can see how my cards look in the shop, get to know the staff and get ideas for new illustrations from them. 
My Birch poster at the Minneapolis Airport store called Uptown.
Most days I eat lunch at home but today I take out my friend out for a birthday brunch at The Original Pancake house to have swedish pancakes with lingonberry sauce. Yum! Then I spend a couple hours working on a new illustration of the Carlson School of Management at The University of Minnesota. A professor contacted me thru Etsy asking if I'd consider illustrating the school building because she'd like to give her graduating students art prints as gifts. Since the UofMN Bookstore is already a wholesale client of mine, I said yes, knowing they would like the illustration on cards as well. I had taken photo reference, drawn up the pencil and was now redrawing it on the computer and adding color. I also spend time doing a little sketching for a new fabric collection I'm working on and keep each project in file folders. I like a tidy organized work space.

Almost every day requires ordering something to keep work flowing smoothly, and today it's ordering boxes of card envelopes from a local company to pick up the next day. Other days it may be ordering cards at a local printer, catalogs, boxes, backing boards, clear packing sleeves or filling orders for posters and magnets. My least favorite part of the business is doing Quick Books for accounting and I have a person help me balance my account and print out tax reports twice a year.

Then late in the afternoon, I head to Lake Harriet to the Trolley Depot to drop off my cards of the two  trolleys I've illustrated for them. They'd like a new card of the depot so I spend some time taking reference shots and talking to the conductor and shop manager about the best angle to show. It's a busy evening at the Depot as kids come at 6pm in their PJ's to ride the trolley and have a story read to them. The depot was my first card client, so they are very special to me. Then I take a short walk by the lake before heading home.

My links:



Monday, July 24, 2017

Handcrafted Items, Made to Order

by Jeff Ambroz
ColorTextureStudio

In this age of mass-produced goods, items that are created just for us hold special meaning and significance.

Many HandmadeMN artisans work with their customers to create unique, one-of-a-kind treasures.  From accessories to home d├ęcor to stationery, these HandmadeMN makers enjoy bringing you items that speak to your soul.

“I’m a card maker and I'm passionate about paper,” said Aliya of PlaysNicelyWithPaper.  “I started selling cards because I made so many of them that I couldn't give them away fast enough.  It’s an honor to participate in someone's special occasion even as a small part of wishing someone well, celebrating a new baby or sharing a laugh over good times. My favorite part is when I get a note from someone saying that the card was perfect and the recipient gasped when they received it.”

“One of my most memorable custom orders came from a woman who wanted to make sure her niece had a special sweet 16th birthday. She wanted a culturally specific card that had lots of bright colors and many shiny elements. The final creation was so awesome, and she gave me permission to play in my craft room for hours while I made custom background paper and searched for the highest-shine glitter paper possible. The card was such a hit, her other relatives ordered another one for her niece too.”


https://www.etsy.com/shop/PlaysNicelyWithPaper?ref=l2-shopheader-name

One-of-a-kind card by the PlaysNicelywithPaper Etsy shop.

SusieBHandicraft receives many custom orders for panda afghans.  Great care is taken to ensure the perfect item for each customer.  “When a customer contacts me about using specific colors, I photograph the yarn I think they want to confirm the colors. The joy in custom work is that I know I'm making it for someone special,” said shop owner Sue.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SusieBHandicraft

Customized panda afghans, made with love by SusieBHandicraft.

TuesdayBlueberries has developed a strong following for its custom patches, many created in a fun retro style. “My shop actually started as a vintage shop and has transformed into a patch shop with some random vintage finds,” said shop owner Lisa Jean.  “People were always so interested in the vintage name patches I had, I saw a need and ran with it. I specialize in random. If you have an idea, let's see if we can create it!”

“I have had a couple special orders that stand out in my mind. One was for a little boy's 1st birthday party.  His mom dressed him in coveralls and I made a patch for the back that said "Noah's Garage". It was a cute idea and I loved helping her with it. The other one that stands out to me was an order that I did for the Children's Theatre Company, right here in Minnesota. I made the characters’ patches for the musical The Sneetches. It was so fun to see pictures on their Facebook page of the costumes with my patches on them,” said Lisa Jean.
 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TuesdayBlueberries

Custom patch by TuesdayBlueberries: A special birthday surprise.


Many HandmadeMN designers are ready to put their skills to use on a new challenge.  “I love working with people on custom projects because it exposes me to materials that I might not have otherwise chose to use,” said Nicole of nicolecollodoro.  “For example, I had one person want a custom pendant with copper. I use primarily sterling silver, but while making his piece I really came to appreciate and like working with copper.”
https://www.etsy.com/shop/nicolecollodoro

What kind of jewelry would you create with Etsy shop nicolecollodoro?

These HandmadeMN makers, and many more, are eager to work with you to create a special, handcrafted item that brings a smile to your face.  Contact your favorite HandmadeMN artisan today to start work on your very own custom work of art.