Kickoff the Holiday Season with Craftland Cheer November 16, 2014 23:22

You won't find a place full of more glitter and cheer than Craftland during the holidays. We are excited to celebrate our amazing customers and the makers that make the amazing goods. So join us on Friday, December 5 from 5-9PM for limited edition gift bags, tasty treats, and a few surprises.

RSVP for the party at our Facebook page, and get your recycled shopping totes ready. On party night, shoppers will receive a 10% discount on all purchases over $100. We look forward to seeing you!

Home Visits: Kath Connolly! August 29, 2014 04:30

When I thought of doing this series of home visits to see Craftland items in their final homes, I knew that Kath Connolly would have to be featured. She's been one of our artists, and one of our most enthusiastic supporters, and has been a part of Craftland from the first of our pop-up days. She's seriously the best person in Providence, no doubt. I creepily invited myself over to Kath's house to take some photos, and because she's awesome, she said yes! Getting a personalized tour of all her artwork was so fun. 

First up, some amazing pieces by Cody Thompson, from way back in our pop up days. 

Who remembers the pop up year that there were the vending machines with art? Kath spent a lot of quarters to get a complete set of these Alec Thibodeau screenprints.

A more recent piece, a Pretty Snake kitty pillow. 

And, another recent find, a piece by Ricky Katowicz. 

It should also be noted that Kath has never missed a Craftland event, and has tasted every cheese ball. One of the reasons we were thrilled when she won a raffled off gift at our recent Reopening Party. Customers like her make it having a store in Providence the best!

Tuesday Staff Pick: Rocco! August 26, 2014 06:00

You may have met our newest employee, Rocco! He helped us immensely get through our move and poured you all bubbly at our Grand Reopening Party. He's awesome! 

For his first ever staff pick, he chose his favorite new soap that we just got in from Biggs & Featherbelle. The special Koala Bar has tea tree and spearmint oil, and is all natural and great for the skin. 

We carry over a dozen different types of soap by Biggs & Featherbelle, as well as gift sets and body scrubs, and is the reason everyone who walks into Craftland tells us, "It smells so good in here." 


Inside peek into the process, a guest post by Ricky Katowicz August 15, 2014 11:11

This is the window to my studio. There are two more reading, “SEW” and “FLY” as well. They’re meant to act as reminders – but I rarely need to be reminded to eat. Below, you’ll see what it looks like when you look in. Nice, but also messy… which is just the way I like it.

If you look close, you’ll see books, an iron, and even a pretend birthday cake. 

In here, I make things with the use of a sewing machine and a willingness to find ideas anywhere. In this spirit, about a year ago, I collaborated with my three year old on a special project for Craftland. Using her sayings, I made little wooden cameos.


I had realized that she is always giving me this genius wisdom, and I am always writing it down… so it only made sense to take those sayings and embroider them.

I begin with one of the above gems and proceed to my Brother “Project Runway” edition home sewing machine. Using crinoline (an industrial use fabric) and black thread, I carefully make lines using a freeform method. The resulting piece is partly made by me and partly made by the machine.



At a recent craft sale in NYC, a fancy lady asked me, “Who does your copy?” I was happy to let her know that it was this little bundle:

I just hope she never gets too mad at me for stealing her sayings.   

To close, here she is describing what she would do if given the chance to take a unicorn home. 


To keep up to date with Sparrow Sayings and other projects, please visit my blog here.

Thanks, and have a happy day.





Year Round Knitting, by Ana Campos of Toil and Trouble August 08, 2014 05:30

Many people talk about knitting as a seasonal affair, like a winter sport. When the snow clears up, they pack away their knitting until the first icy breeze hits again. Not me! I am a year-round knitter and I think everyone should be too. In the summer, consider taking your knitting out to a picnic at the park, on a boat ride, and yes, even to the beach (but probably not your precious hand dyed cashmere silk yarn). 

So what exactly does one knit in the summer? I'll tell you how I go about it. In June and July, I knit shawls. Not big bulky winter shawls, but lightweight fingering shawls with delicate designs. My picks this year were the Lida Shawl and Freesia. When they're finished, I carry one in my bag all summer for those air-conditioned restaurants and movie theaters. 

In late July, I start working on short sleeved shirts and maybe a lightweight cardigan so they'll be ready to wear in early September. I made a Boardwalk and a Whispers this summer.

By August, I'm ready to cast-on some socks. In fact, I have a ball of sock yarn sitting in my bag for when I finish the hat I'm working on. When that first chill hits, I'll be wearing my new socks while knitting up a big cozy sweater for the winter. 

 Toil & Trouble is the business of Ana Campos. She began to crochet at age 8, and learned to knit shortly thereafter. She believes that yarn is a manifestation of possibility, creating little pieces of possibility to share with the world. 

Home Visits: Kim O'Brien August 06, 2014 06:00

Kim O'Brien is the lovely jewelry designer and maker behind K. O'Brien Jewelry. Over the years she has been one of our artists, as well as one of our most die hard shoppers. Not only does she shop herself, we've also had many other shoppers tell us that Kim had sent them to Craftland. When I started this feature I knew I'd have to ask Kim to be included so I could get a peek inside her home to see where all these lovely items now live. 

Do you have a favorite item that you bought at Craftland?
This question is impossible to answer. I have so many favorite items I bought at Craftland from way back in the holiday pop up shop days up until about three days ago. Seeing that is over a decade of buying I will say that my favorite items are my first two purchases, a glitter belt from Red Thread Belting and button hair pins by The Littlest Bean. These first purchases started a collection from these two lovely makers and caused me to fall madly in love with Craftland. I guess it all started with glitter and buttons!


You're such a great shopper for gifts. Was there one gift in particular whose recipient was super happy?
There are many happy family members and friends who have received gifts from Craftland. (Me being one of them!) Crowns and Wands by Thimblewinder made my nieces delighted on their birthdays. I have gifted many felt flower bouquets by Kath Connolly and they were all well received. In fact, just the other day I saw a few I had given my aunt proudly displayed in her home. My parents have a small bouquet of them (which have survived seven grandchildren playing with them!) at the kitchen table. It is our gathering place and I just love seeing them there year after year as we meet for waffles and coffee. The next favorite gift is HeatherJeany's bike t-shirt. I bought four, one for each nephew at the time. The youngest is delighted to not have outgrown one yet as he keeps getting his brothers' shirts passed down to him.


Why is buying handmade important to you?
My favorite part about all of these purchases is they led me to collecting items from the small businesses. These collections may have started with a t-shirt, hair accessory or card I fell in love with. Once I get home with my new treasures I look up the artisan's website to learn more about the person behind the work, see what else they make and where they are making stuff. Often I have had the honor of meeting these makers in real life through Craftland parties, craft fairs, or starting a relationship on social media and planning a real life meet up. There are so many lovely makers I have met thanks to buying handmade. With most of them I have become fast friends and have loved seeing their craft expand as they explore new ideas, materials and methods of making. So, why is buying handmade important? Well, my handmade purchases support a maker, a person, someone with a vision and my support can help that artisan continue in their explorations and can help their business flourish and expand. Since most of my purchases have led to amazing friendships I can also throw all of the encouragement and enthusiasm at those makers that they can take and because they are such lovely people, they cheer me on just the same.

Home visits: Holly Vine! July 28, 2014 09:36

Holly Vine works downtown for Indowncity, and pops into Craftland on a regular basis on her lunch break. I was dying to know how all these little things she's been picking up look in her new home. She was nice enough to send me some photos, and talk to me a bit about some of her favorite pieces. I think these all look so great and so at home. She definitely has a good eye for putting items together creatively, like putting a set of pins together in a frame, I love it!

What's your favorite item that you've bought at Craftland?
I love the pieces that have become part of the frame wall in our bedroom. I wanted to have a really eclectic collection of images and pieces, some I had put together myself and some pieces from local artists. I also wanted to have some difference in textures, so the range of artwork that Craftland has made it the first stop on my 'frame wall collection' mission!

The pieces in my collection from Craftland are:
Stag print cloth swatch- small yellow frame at top
Four small buttons- small white frame in center
'You Are My Sunshine' letter press- large white frame on left
Providence sketch postcard- ornate small yellow frame in center
'It's Going To Be Ok' card- white frame at bottom

Have you bought a great gift for someone from Craftland? Did they love it?
I'm always buying cards from Craftland: birthdays, weddings, special occasions, or a little pick-me-up for someone who needs it. Cards can so often be an after thought when giving a gift, but really, this is where the sentiment can be expressed the most. I feel that by putting heartfelt words into something someone has spent time designing, creating and producing, honors what those words are meant to convey. Cards from Craftland aren't the sort of thing that hang around on the mantlepiece for a few days either side of a holiday or occasion, they are kept, collected and cherished.

What do you love about buying handmade?
We've recently moved to a 'new' home (which is hugely misleading as it is old and scruffley and higgledy piggledy which we love!). We spent the first few months getting the space ready to live in and now we are filling it with who we are: I'm a cook and Charlie is an artist, so having artisan, handmade things in our home is essential.

When it comes to cooking, sharing food and flavours is hugely important to me. I think that is why I love spending time wandering around Craftland, the joy of having so many passionate artists offering beautiful, approachable and whimsical things that I can actually own, speaks to me as much as it does when I offer someone a slice of cake!

Buying cards, jewelry or homewares from Craftland isn't just about getting nice stuff, it's about inviting someone's time, energy, effort and passion into your home which is why I love to buy handmade.

Holly Vine lives on the East Side of Providence with her Husband, Charlie. By day she is the voice of In Downcity and at all other times she is the 'Holly' of 'Holly Likes to Cook' an online extravaganza of home cooked recipes, thrifty kitchen tips and tasty ideas.

Providence Polaroid Project July 23, 2014 14:51

A lot of you have been asking us what is going into our old space. If you've been on the block in the last week, you may have seen the new pop up shop that opened up, Providence Polaroid Project. For sure, it's one of the coolest pop ups I've seen.

I was lucky enough to get a tour of the shop the day before it opened and chat with Brandon Lane, one of the co-creators of the project along with Devan Durante. Best friends, photographers and analog enthusiasts, they created Providence Polaroid Project as an Interactive Gallery Space and Polaroid Camera Shop. They want to make Providence an Instant City, by turning the space we vacated into a participant driven gallery.

The pop up shop is open Wednesdays - Sundays and is part gallery, part shop and 100% analog. Everything in the space uses old technology (think: cash, typewriters) and explores the idea of analog vs. digital, and the old technology that has brought us to the technology we use every day. How can we have tangible, analog experiences in a digital world? The technology of Polaroid cameras embraces instant gratification and Brandon described it as "the haiku of photography."

Visitors are encouraged to stand in front of one of their many backdrops to have their portrait taken with a 1971 Big Shot Camera to be a part of the gallery show at the end of the project. They also have memberships available so visitors can borrow a vintage camera and take it out around town "to capture the people, style and soul of our city" and have those images included in the final gallery show.

Join them on August 21st for the final gallery exhibit that showcases all the photos taken throughout the project.

Holiday Show 2014 July 23, 2014 14:14

Every holiday season we increase our number of artists from around 100 to around 150 so we can pack every corner of every table with awesomeness. Do you want to be a part of our shop this holiday season? If so, head on over and apply! Apply before August 1 and save $10 on your application fee.

Providence Art Windows July 15, 2014 11:10

If you're in town for the Handweaver's Guild of America Convergence, you may have noticed some interesting art exhibits in windows around downtown. That would be Providence Art Windows. Providence Art Windows exhibits juried art and art installations to fill empty retail spaces and participating gallery spaces. Their shows change three times a year and feature local and nationally known artists. 

This summer they planned fiber-related exhibits in anticipation of this conference. Here's a map of what can be found around town, and more information can be found at their website

We Moved! July 09, 2014 11:54

What a week! We only had the doors closed for 4 days while we packed up the store, cleaned it out and moved into our incredible new space. It was a crazy week, but we kicked ass and all went smoothly. Thanks for all your patience while we did this! The enthusiasm and excitement from all of our regular shoppers kept us going last week.

Please stop in and say hi and check out the new space, at 212 Westminster Street, a block down, on the corner of Eddy Street. We're so excited to share it with you!

And mark your calendars, on July 19th we'll be having a Grand Reopening in the space, and also celebrating 5 years of being open year round. RSVP on Facebook to keep up to date on what surprises we'll have in store for that day! 

Special thanks to our regular team for all working like crazy to get it all done, and to our intern, Rocco, for being such a huge help! Also thanks go out to Jones Moving, for saving our backs and having the whole store moved before lunch! You can check out our Instagram feed for photos from the week!


The Handweaver's Guide to Providence! June 30, 2014 07:00

Craftland is super excited that the Handweavers Guild of America will be bringing its Convergence Conference to Providence from July 14 – 19th. 

I am a weaver myself and before coming to Craftland, I worked for years designing jacquard fabric for the home furnishings industry in a Fall River mill that has since closed. This makes me extra excited that weavers from all over the country will be descending on Providence for a week in July. I predict there are going to be a lot of people in fabulous scarves walking around town. (Although pack your light ones, it’ll be hot here in July!) 

I also love visitors exploring my city. With that in mind, I’ve put together a Providence guide for all you visitors, with ideas of things to do, places to eat and unique shops to hit while you’re in town. 

Things To Do
First stop and not to be missed, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. This conference is well timed because the RISD Museum (pronounced riz-dee) has just reopened after a substantial renovation and now includes the new Angelo Donghia Costume & Textiles Study Center. This is a dedicated room just for textiles, with drawers full of items that you can open and gawk over. Some pieces are also out in a larger gallery, like this gorgeous Fortuny yardage.

Another spot to hit (that you’ll need to drive to) is Slater Mill in nearby Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Slater Mill is known as the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution and is designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. It has three historic structures that you can tour, and has a gallery with rotating exhibits related to the textile industry. 

There is something you should know about Rhode Island. We're the smallest state. If you’re visiting from some place like Texas, you’ll probably find yourself thinking that our entire state is about the size of Houston. One of the quirks that comes with being so small, is that anything that is a 20 minute drive is considered “further afield” and possibly requires a packed lunch. I say this because some of you may think I’m nuts for saying these things are “far away” but these 2 places are well worth the excursion.

First the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts (about 70 miles away). I love this museum for its collection of old looms. Call me geeky, but I love seeing a jacquard loom running on punch cards. 

Also, the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts, 45 miles away. This has some exhibits on display that are in conjunction with the conference, so well worth the drive. 

Places To Shop
Providence is set up with lots of different neighborhoods, all unique and worth visiting. The conference is taking place downtown, and we’re a little biased, but we think it’s the best neighborhood. We're located on Westminster Street with lots of unique, independently owned shops, our neighbors Queen of Hearts and Homestyle both have a unique selection of items, and Symposium Books has an extensive design section. Check out this handy Downtown Neighborhood Guide.  

Thursday nights are fun in this neighborhood because most shops stay open late, and we have an outdoor movie showing in Grants Block. Bring a blanket, and hang out for the evening. Known as Movies on the Block, the Thursday night you're in town they'll be showing The Great Escape. You may all be on Providence's popular Gallery Night Trolley that evening, but why not finish off the night with a movie and drinks. 

Other neighborhoods worth walking around are Wayland Square on the East Side of town, Wickenden Street over in the Fox Point neighborhood, Hope Street (which includes shops like Kreatelier and Frog & Toad, that I think you weavers will enjoy) and Thayer Street, our college town strip. Also on the East Side is a shop called The Paper Connection, which is full of handmade, specialty art papers used in weaving, clothing and sculpture and also a collection of paper textile objects and books. Also, Providence’s “Little Italy” neighborhood, Federal Hill is a fun place to stroll around if you love a good Italian Market. (You might want to bring a cooler with you to take some food home!)

Places to Eat
As you may have heard, Providence is a food lovers heaven. There are almost too many good places to name, so I'm just going to mention of few of my faves located in the neighborhood of your conference:

Ellie’s Bakery is my favorite lunch spot and has the best sandwiches in town, hands down. They're also well known for their sweets. If you love macarons, then you must stop in. 
Livi’s Pockets, located in The Arcade, is one of our best kept secrets for a tasty, fast lunch. 
Small Point Cafe makes for a good morning coffee stop, but also makes great sandwiches for lunch. 

A few other neighborhood faves you should check out if you're going to be taking your time: Local 121Gracie’sBravo Brasserie, Figidini and Rosalina.

Lastly, I know you weavers spend a lot of time sitting on a loom bench, and I’m sure you have tight, sore necks and possibly some low back pain? Hmmmm? Just me? Why not treat yourself to a spa treatment at the Biltmore Spa? 

And please, visit Craftland!!! Stop in and say hi! All our items are handmade by independent artists. Your purchases help artists like you make a living, and help us keep our community of creative people vibrant. Have fun in Providence! 

The process behind upcycled jewelry, from find to finished! A guest post by Mei-Ling Uliasz of Twitch and Whiskers June 27, 2014 04:00 1 Comment

It's Sunday morning in Connecticut. Get up super early, grab a coffee, slather on some sun block, and head up Route 7 until you reach a field brimming with vintage treasure. You've reached The Elephant's Trunk in New Milford. It's our state's largest and best known flea market. This not-so-secret destination has been featured on shows like Flea Market Flip and Market Warriors. It's also the place where you can often find me digging around for inspiration and supplies for Twitch and Whiskers; my line of handmade, upcycled jewelry.

My search for jewelry making supplies always starts with "smalls." I carefully scan booth displays for junk drawer piles, glass cases filled with palm-sized curiosities, and boxes containing metal and plastic doodads. When selecting my purchases, I keep cost, condition, and designability in mind. I will only allow myself to bring an item home if I can visualize it in a completed piece of jewelry and if it's reasonably priced. This prevents me from impulsively spending too much money and filling my apartment up with cool, but unusable stuff.

My process of creating is a cumulative one. I am constantly collecting new supplies and combining them with materials I've been holding onto. Sometimes an item will speak to me right away and I will turn it into a completed necklace as soon as it reaches home. Other times I will have to hold onto a supply for weeks or even months before it gets used. The pieces found on my trip provided the perfect inspiration for new jewelry. I hauled home some great scores from The Trunk (as locals call it). My cache included: seven brass and silver toned star stampings, a tin protractor, eight pinback buttons, three brass sailboats, a metal Lawson logo, and an old match safe from the Diamond Match Company.

The pinback buttons were combined with vintage plastic buckles, poker chips, rhinestones, beads, vintage chain, and brass stampings to create whimsical necklaces and Fun 'n' Games rings.

I mounted some large pinback buttons from my collection and rhinestones atop of the brass and silver toned stars to create three bold pendants. The the bead chains were made out of beads from deconstructed pieces of vintage jewelry.

I used the Lawson logo and a variety of vintage chain to assemble a unique, multi-strand piece. The protractor was embellished with aurora borealis rhinestones and a floral brooch to make a beautiful bib necklace.

My favorite find of all had to be an early 1900's match safe with hinged cover. I instantly imagined it as a locket, containing a small diorama. At home, I found the perfect figural brooch in my collection to put inside. The adorable Spanish gentleman with jaunty hat looked 'muy fantastico' atop of cut outs from a 1950's travel book on Spain. I fastened to the lid a brass flower from a clip on earring, added a vintage brass bar chain, and dangled two tiny crystals from the chain to complete this one of a kind, interactive necklace.

Lastly, I made one more pinback button necklace using a sky blue porcelain cabochon, brass stamping, and vintage chain. The remaining, unused supplies were carefully stored away to hibernate until they someday awaken to reach their full potential. I'm sure future trips to The Elephant's Trunk and other places will uncover more inspiration. And so the cycle continues...

Mei-Ling Uliasz lives in Danbury, Connecticut with her husband and super duper cat Miette. She has been an elementary educator for 14 years and designing jewelry for Twitch and Whiskers for nearly five years. During her free time, she enjoys going on hikes, visiting museums, catching a live play or show, and watching movies with her husband. Mei-Ling also likes to blog about craft shows and other artists. She could eat a whole pineapple (but chooses not to). 

We're moving! Yay! June 26, 2014 06:00

We are super excited about our upcoming move, and are thrilled that our artists and shoppers are too. We have the best customers! We've been getting a lot of questions about the move, so I thought I'd try and answer them here. 

Where are you moving? 
Not very far, just across the street and down a block at 212 Westminster Street. In Rhode Island speak, we're going to be where Wharf used to be. It's a mere 164 feet from our current space, on the corner of Westminster Street and Eddy Street. 

Are you moving into a bigger space?
Actually, the overall space is smaller than our current space, but is about the size of our current retail floor. Our current space has a lot of storage that we don't really need, so we'll be shrinking down to the size that is perfect for our year round shop. We'll be able to carry the same number of artists as you're used to, but we won't be able to super-size as much at the holidays, but we'll still stock our shelves full of handmade gifts for you, don't worry!

Are you still going to have the Craftland Gallery?
Sadly, this is one of the things that will change. We will no longer have a large gallery space with rotating exhibits. We love showcasing artists though, and are brainstorming new and different ways to showcase artists on a smaller scale in our new space.

Will you still offer classes in the School of Craft?
Yes, we will continue to have occasional classes and workshops. The majority of our most popular classes tend to be more intimate and don't require a ton of space, so we plan to continue to do them in the new space. We'll take a break though while we settle into the new space, so look for them in the fall. 

Will you be having a moving sale?
This depends on what we decide to take with us, and what we decide to part ways with. Most likely though, we'll have some display items available. Keep tuned to our Facebook page, as that's where we'll be letting you know about the details.

What is planned for the space you're vacating?
We're excited that our space will be filled by a fun pop-up store, the Providence Polaroid Project. It will be an interactive gallery space and Polaroid camera shop, and it sounds incredible!  

When is this big move happening? 
We'll be doing the heavy lifting on July 2nd. Please plan accordingly as the shop will be closed on July 1 - 4 and will reopen on Saturday, July 5th. You'll all be at the beach then anyway, so you won't even notice we've been closed. 

Will you be having a fabulous grand reopening party?
You know it! We'll use any excuse to throw a party! We don't have the date planned yet, but keep your eyes on our Facebook page, we'll post it there as soon as we know it. 

Tuesday Staff Pick: Margaret! June 25, 2014 16:15

This week's staff pick is from Margaret and it's a Craftland lovefest.

She's got her eye on this print of two whales, made by the talented Jen Corace. Margaret loves all the small details in the drawing and that these details are all still visible in this high quality, archival digital print. "Plus, it's Jen Corace, and she's delightful!"  True, she is. This is also a standard size, 11 x 14, so you can easily frame it in a store bought frame and hang it in any room. 

"What font do you use?" A guest post by Sarah Parrott. June 20, 2014 15:47

The most common question I get asked about my work is, "What font do you use."   Happily, my answer is, "It is not a font, but my writing!"  About three years ago, when I was reevaluating my stationery line and overall work, I decided I wanted to incorporate more of my own lettering.  There are many lovely fonts out there, but when everyone is using the most popular ones, work starts to look the same.  I decided I wanted to make my work unique to me in hopes that someday people would recognize my work and know instantly, "That is Parrott Design Studio!"  

I started to practice....a lot.  I was writing constantly, trying tons of different pens, pencils, markers to get my lettering where I wanted it to be.  I took classes and studied my favorite calligraphers.  


These are my favorite pens that I use daily, each one good for something different.  I have highlighted a few of my favorites with examples below.

Nearly all my designs start with pencil to paper.  I sketch out different ideas, layouts, and try different lettering styles.  From there, I decide what type of pen I want to use to finalize the design.

After I have finished my pencil sketch, I choose my pen and use tracing paper to refine the design.  My go-to pen for line drawings is the Uni-ball for it's clean, smooth lines.  

When I want to have a little more control over thick and think lines for an illustration I use the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  It has a flexible tip that mimics a brush without the bristles so it produces smoother, solid lines.  The harder I press, the thicker the line. 

A fun pen I use is the Pilot Pocket Brush Pen.  It has tip like a paint brush, so you can some great variation in the strokes and ink coverage depending on the pressure you add.  I like it better than an actual brush because the ink is in the pen, giving you more control.

This year I finally made myself start using an actually pen and nib.  As with all the pens, it takes some serious practice and dedication.  I experiment with all softs of nibs, but the Nikko G is my favorite for envelope addressing and general lettering. 

The sheer amount of writing utensils out there can be overwhelming to someone looking to get into lettering and calligraphy, but I have found the simplest tools work when combined with dedication and practice, practice, practice!    

Born and raised in Portland, Maine, Sarah currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband, Rich, and their two pups, Simone and Scooter. She has a background in marketing, art history, and print design. When she is not printing or designing, she can be found baking, antiquing, listening to records, gardening, snowboarding, playing with her pups, and working on their 1930’s bungalow. 


Tuesday Staff Picks: Devienna! June 17, 2014 06:00

As predicted, Devienna's choice for this week's staff pick is jewelry! 

We recently got in these new pieces in from Maine artist, Maggie Bokor. These pieces are all you need for your summer travels. This fabulous 21″ wrap bracelet can also be worn as a necklace with the toggle on your collarbone or dropped down in front. Options are the key. We love it over here! 



Finding Inspiration, by Cindy Tomczyk of Paper Parasol Press June 13, 2014 04:00

Last year, I dedicated one notebook as my “idea/inspiration” book for my company, Paper Parasol Press. Before this I was one of those disorganized designers who had 2-3 sketchbooks floating around with all types of randomness, scrapes of paper, iPhone notes, and posted notes. I was having a hard time streamlining my ideas or even coming up with new designs. I needed something I could easily locate! It’s hard to miss an Orla Kiely notebook on a messy desk. 

I love traveling, so even if it’s just a weekend getaway, I bring my inspiration book with me. Earlier this year, we took a road trip to Ojai, California. It was the perfect getaway, as I had just wrapped up a busy holiday season and was in need for new designs. Here is the process of my cacti design from rough sketch, to computer, to the final card:

One of my favorite tools, I have been using for over 10 years is my Wacom tablet. This is what I use to clean up my line work once I scan the sketch into my computer. I usually clean up the sketch in Photoshop and then bring everything into Adobe Illustrator, where I redraw it with vector lines. At first, the Wacom tablet was awkward, but with practice, I became comfortable with it. I have used the small and large sizes, but I feel like the medium size works best for me. I switch back and forth between a mouse and my Wacom tablet depending on the line work.

We recently got back from a trip to Hawaii and I was able to sneak in some sketch time while drinking rum and POG on the lanai. Here is the progress from sketch to computer and soon to be letterpress printed! So even while I was being casual about sketching, I was able to come up with some hand lettering for a new design concept and it wasn’t on the back of a napkin or receipt that I would ultimately end up misplacing. 

Sketching and jotting down ideas encourages me to spend more time working on concepts. It also helps when I am in a creative rut. Sometimes, ideas I had months ago come to fruition when I revisit them. Inspiration can strike at any time, so be ready!


Paper Parasol Press is design and letterpress studio based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our cards can be found in metropolitan boutiques around the country and a few in Canada, Japan, and Australia. We find inspiration in Americana, European Folk Art, and Mid- Century Design. 

Tuesday Staff Picks: Cara! June 10, 2014 04:00

If you regularly shop on the weekend, you've probably met Cara Adams. Cara also has taught classes on sewing and embroidery in the School of Craft.

When I asked Cara for her current favorite in the shop, she chose a print by Medusawolf, the business of Alan Brown from Bear, Delaware. She loves the variety of texture in all of the Medusawolf prints we have for sale, but she particularly likes this one because, "It's a beet, who's a person! What's not to love?" This print would be fun in your kitchen, but would work well in any room of your home or office. 

We're Moving!!! June 09, 2014 13:07

We are so excited to share with you some exciting news! In early July we'll be moving to a new space at 212 Westminster Street. This new space is a mere 164 feet from our current location, so we'll still be in the heart of our favorite neighborhood. 

We'll be the same great Craftland, but in a brand new space!

As we pack and get ready to move, we'll be offering some of our display items for sale. To kick things off, we've decided to see this handmade macrame that was handmade by Jen Corace and has been our window display for the last couple of years. People have been wanting to buy it for years, and now is your chance!

We're selling this for $200 and it would have to be an in store pick up. If you're interested, swing by the store. If you have to have it and don't want to miss your chance, email and I'll Paypal you an invoice. It would need to be picked up by June 28th.

Please follow along with us on Facebook and Twitter as we make the move. We'll be having some display items for sale, and some for free, so stay tuned! 

Summertime in Maine, by Amy & Noah of Pinecone & Chickadee June 06, 2014 11:15

Hi there. We're Amy and Noah of Pinecone+Chickadee. We've been designing and silkscreening our line of apparel and cards for about 8 years now. We got our start participating in craft fairs like Renegade Craft FairArt Star Craft BazaarBazaar Bizarre and the Craftland Holiday Show. Doing those shows really opened our eyes to the possibility of working for ourselves. We began doing craft fairs all over the country and making our business a reality. Then a few years ago we opened our own retail store in downtown Portland, Maine. It was a dream come true. We had aspirations of opening a store when we lived in Brooklyn, but nothing panned out. Going from Brooklyn to tiny Portland took some adjustment, but the great food, great art scene and great summers made it a lot easier. Everything really lined up for us when we moved to Maine. Hence our name, Pinecone+Chickadee...Maine's state tree and bird.

Summer is just around the corner, and we wanted to share with you how spectacular Maine is in the summertime. Maine is marvelous all year round (maybe not so much at the end of winter), but in the summer it just gets extra extra extra awesome. There's a reason Maine is called Vacationland.


So many beaches and lakes
Maine has more coastline than California. Yes, it's true! The reason for this is Maine has a lot of islands, inlets and coves; while California's coastline is relatively straight. Maine also has over 6,000 lakes and ponds. Noah grew up one of the islands in Casco Bay so going out for a day-venture is like time traveling for him.

Lobster rolls and fried seafood

It's just not summer unless you indulge in a lobster roll, fried seafood and a ice cold bottle of Moxie. Clam shacks abound along the coastline...Red's Eats, Days, Two Lights are all good places to get your fix. Try the wasabi lobster roll from the Bite Into Maine food truck in Fort Williams if you're feeling adventurous! 

Thrifting and Yard Saling
No, it's not called "picking" or "hunting." Maine has a ton of thrift stores, junk shops, antique malls and flea markets. Mainers never throw anything away. Garages are for storing more stuff, not for cars. One of our favorite pastimes is thrifting, and now that we have a store to sell stuff in, the flood gates are wide open for what we will buy. In addition to carrying handmade goods from independent designers, you'll also find a wide variety of vintage housewares in our store. We generally look for vintage items from the 60's on up. What we can't cram into our house goes into the store. You can seriously plan out a yard sale map with the help of your GPS but nothing beats aimlessly driving around on a hot summer day and finding a yard sale that wasn't on any listing and scoring some amazing vintage electronics or cute vintage housewares for .10 cents. Such a rush!

There are fantastic campsites for getting close to nature like Acadia National Park, Baxter State Park, and Hermit Island. One year we went all out and rented a vintage airstream trailer from Vintage Maine Vacations for some beach'in lakeside camping.

Picnic Music+Arts Festival
When we moved to Portland we found such a diverse and supportive arts community, but nowhere to showcase all the talent we saw. That's why we started Picnic, an indie craft fair held every summer here in August. It's free to attend and really fun! It's a great festival that provides a place for emerging artists to hone their craft and to showcase some of Portland's excellent local bands.

Foodie Haven
The word "foodie" can have negative implications. But we LOVE food! And Portland has no shortage of good restaurants. Pai Men Miyake has some of the best ramen we've ever had, Blue Spoon's BLT is the straight up the best BLT,Eventide has a modern take on classic New England cuisine, and even a humble Italian sandwich from any commonplace corner store is just refreshingly yummy for a last minute beach picnic on a hot summer day.  

Thanks for reading and hope to see you in Maine this summer!

Dan Butler, in the Craftland Gallery June 04, 2014 07:00

On May 22nd, our latest show in the Craftland Gallery, Past Objects, opened. This show features drawings by New York artist, Dan Butler. Dan is the artist behind our popular Providence print and we are so excited about his solo show, which will be on display until June 26th. I spoke to Dan briefly to learn more about his show. 

Tell us a little bit about your show in the Craftland Gallery, Past Objects.
These are all drawings of objects I see on a regular basis around New York City, with the exception of the Hollywood Theatre which is located in Portland, Oregon.  I went to see a movie at this theatre and the terra cotta facade, especially in the nighttime, blew me away.  NYC has a similar building, also with a terra cotta facade, called the Alwyn Court building and it's an incredible sight.  

What is the significance of the show's title? 
Past Objects -  I think a lot about new technologies and how old is replaced with the new.  Architecture is a good example.  I've always been a fan of the period (victorian and art deco) when ornamentation and facades were fantastical, almost fairy tale in appearance.  I like looking at photos of places before the time of mainstream TV, radio, films and internet - when a trip to Coney Island in the early 1900s (modeled to look like the lost city of Atlantis) or a walk down 5th Ave or Broadway in Manhattan could be a transportive experience.  In the surviving structures of these eras there are angels, gargoyles, and faces sculpted into many of the facades.  Also surprising shapes, twists and turns in the wrought iron work of art deco designs.  

What is your process like for creating these pieces?
Making epic large drawings is the first part.  For instance, the Ionic Column (from 300 BC) I drew at the Met Museum, is over 6 ft. tall and almost 4 ft. wide.  Luckily I went early on a weekday and it wasn't too crowded however by lunch time the drawing was in danger of getting trampled on as the museum became more crowded.  I think security was anxious for me to wrap it up as my drawing paper began to cover more and more of the floor.  Once the drawing is finished I scale it down using the same black and white copier architects use for their building plans.  I then used a heavy paper and traced for the final for the pieces in this show.  

How does the cityscape of NYC influence your work?
For these works it's everything.  I have a feeling of awe many times while walking in the five boroughs of NYC.  Often, when I least expect it, I'll be amazed by craft - a funky rooftop with myriad pipes sticking out in surprising ways, elaborate art deco doors and windows, or curvy wrought iron fire escapes.  And I love this about every urban setting.  The Ottoman Warrior sculpture on the Turk's Head Building in Providence always gets me.  

Past Objects will be on display in the Craftland Gallery until June 26th. You can read a review of the show from the Providence Phoenix here


Tuesday Staff Picks: Kristin! June 03, 2014 04:00

This week's staff pick is by yours truly, Kristin Crane. I find that the hardest part about working in Craftland, is being surrounded by so much unique jewelry and it's especially difficult when we get a brand new artist in the shop. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but I rarely leave the house with naked ears. I currently caved and bought this pair of hammered silver earrings by our newest jeweler Amy Ambroult, from Holbrook, Massachusetts. 

These earrings are made from one continuous piece of wire that has been soldered into a variation on the classic teardrop shape, and then hammered to add texture. They are simple, yet sophisticated and can be worn with anything. They dress up an outfit, but also look great with jeans and t-shirt. I've barely taken them out since I got them. These are also available in a darker, oxidized version if you want a little less bling. 

The Making of a Felt Like-ness, by Amber Alves of Felt Like It May 30, 2014 04:00

The 2013 holiday season was, thankfully, very busy for me and Felt Like It. But, after making many things over and over again, I was feeling a bit creatively unchallenged. So, I decided to do something I've never done before: make a felt person. That person ended up being Colorado Rockies OF Charlie Blackmon (or @Chuck_Nazty to the Twitterverse).

My work generally focuses on inanimate objects, like food, or the US states (you all know Buddy Rhodes, the RI pillow). I don’t have much experience with felt figurative work. However, one time I made a cartoonish, bobble-headed-looking version of Ben Folds, so I figured “professional baseball player” was a challenge that I could handle.

Step 1: Gathering Sources and Making Faces
Deciding that the head/face was going to be the most challenging to sew, I started there ("HA!" said Future Self. "You don't know 'challenging' until you've made some felt pants!"). Utilizing Google Image Search, I gathered some good images that clearly showed the shape of his head, but also some personality. I selected one to use as a template, scaled it to the actual size I needed, printed it out, and made a super simple line tracing, marking off the basics like eye and mouth placement. 

I'm pretty sure I made everything at least twice (some components even thrice!). I started with a flat 2D nose made out of a few stitched lines. It looked lazy, to be honest, so I ended up making a three-dimensional nose (made two, actually!) and stitched it to the face using my "hide the knot under the thing you're sewing" method. For the eyes, I simply cut some felt circles and the mouth is a simple stitched curved line -- this gave the face a cute, cartoony look, but it's nicely balanced with semi-realistic eyebrows.

There was one crucial detail missing: the Beard (the Beard is, at this point, famous enough to Rockies baseball fans that it deserves to be capitalized). Of course, I ended up making three beards. For the final version, I cut out a larger-than-needed beard-shaped piece of felt and hand-stitched it directly to the face, leaving a small opening through which I stuffed a bit of felt before stitching it closed. This makes the head look like it actually has a chin. 

Beard, version 1 of many

Hand-stitched CR logo baseball cap

Beardless mini Blackmon, beardless regular Blackmon. TWINS!

Step 2: Making Felt Clothing is Hard...
Marathoning "Project Runway" did nothing to prepare for the challenge of making tiny felt clothes. I'm not used to precision sewing or dealing with apparel patterns. But I really wanted this mini baseball player to look detailed and accurate so I googled shirt, pants, and baseball cap patterns that I could scale down. Also, I couldn't locate any white-with-purple pinstriped material at my fabric store so I made some by machine-sewing purple lines onto white felt. 

The first pair of pants I stitched were too short. The mini looked absurd, with these long arms and stubby legs. I couldn't shortcut my way out of this, so the only solution was to make another pair of pants. Measure twice, cut once, kids!

I lucked out with the arms because I had just barely enough beige felt to make forearms and hands. Without the black undershirt, I ran the risk of having mismatched arm and face tones. 

Rockies jersey, front (before the french knot "buttons")

The spikes were tough because, while there are plenty of shirt and pant patterns online,
there wasn't anything for footwear that I could use. All I did was guess and hope! 

Step 3: ...But Hand Embroidery is Harder
There are easier ways to do everything, yet I never seem to go that route when I undertake a project. I go with what will look best in the final version. I could've used print-on, iron-on fabric paper to make all the logos and lettering, but what's the fun in that?! Instead, I chose to hand-embroider the CR logo on the hat, the "ROCKIES" text on the front of the jersey, and the name on the back of the jersey. (I did use print-on fabric and Heat 'n Bond for the tiny sleeve patch) The 19s on the front and back are cut from felt and then hand-stitched. A smarter person would've used a disappearing pen to sketch in the placement of the letters, but I pretty much eyeballed it. I'm happy with the way it turned out, though, despite the name on the back not being slightly curved like a true jersey.

Detail of jersey stitching

Step 4: Strike a Pose?
For the longest time, the figure just stood there (propped up in a stand) holding his arms awkwardly like a Ken doll. I just didn't know how to pose. If I placed him in a batting position, then I would've made batting gloves and a helmet for accuracy and that ship had sailed. Fortunately, inspiration came in early April when Blackmon was named NL Co-Player of the Week. The photo that came along with some of the press featured Blackmon with his right hand on his hip and a bat propped against his left shoulder. I went with it, but I ended up making about three bats (of course).

Awkward arms

The end result? A handsome felt figure that has the approval of Blackmon himself.

Of course, the felt version has a different head-to-body size ratio...

To wrap things up: if you're starting to feel uninspired by what you've been making, try making something out of your comfort zone. I challenged myself with this particular project, and along the way I learned some lessons about planning (that I should do more of it...) and not being afraid to rip stitches out and start over. And who knows, maybe now I'll launch a Felt Like It side project called "Felt Likeness." Any requests?

A native of Rhode Island now living in Denver, Amber Alves graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a degree in visual design and works as a graphic designer in the financial industry by day and creates rad pillows, plush toys, and tchotchkes by night under the name Felt Like It. In her free time, Ms. Alves enjoys cycling, running, traveling through the western US, and sampling the many craft beers Colorado has to offer.