Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crow's Eye Studio- Mmmmm... Sandwiches and Quilted Goodness

The Earl of Sandwich invented the tasty treat that bears his name in order to keep his hands clean while he was playing cards. He was all about protecting the cards, Crow's Eye's Studio is all about protecting the sandwich.
Check out her awesome sandwich holders! Her shop on Etsy has a wide variety, very reasonably priced I might add. They are a great gift for anyone who packs a lunch, or loves to picnic.

Crow's Eye does more than make utilitarian teats, they also offer absolutely gorgeous fabric art paintings! Gwen, the woman behind the fabric, has been sewing seriously fro about 9 years.

She shares her daily mantra in the description of this beautiful piece:

Anything one cares deeply about doing is usually scary.

I agree. And I am looking forward to asking Gwen about this piece, First Flight on Saturday at Howard Street Handmade!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Runny Bunny - Rockin' Robin

When I was about 8 years old I had this awesome toy called Fashion Plates. It was basically a bunch of heads, torsos and legs on plastic rectangles that slid into little slots. Then you placed a piece of paper over the plastic pieces, rubbed like mad with your favorite crayon colors, et voila!
Ok, actually it wasn't my toy, it was my older sister's and she had left a pile of meticulously rendered designs in the box after she outgrew it and gave it to me.

After designing a few blase ensembles it occurred to me that I was limiting myself based on my sister's preconceptions, and the Three Headed Leggy Lady was born. then the Leg Headed Torso Girl and of course the Headless Woman, in her many incarnations.

The first time I saw TheRunnyBunny's work on Etsy, it was a charteuse owl. I remember following the link to Robin's shop thinking "This owl is like my eyes' favorite flavor of candy!"

Little did I know what that shop held in store for my eyes! I found Robin's slip cast mutants, and I suddenly wished for my Fashion Plate Freaks once again.

Puppy heads on shepardess bodies, ladies heads on owls bodies, babies heads everywhere, wings and 70's kitsch, weird ephemera seamlessly frankensteined into something new, and thankfully not ALIVE!

I don't think I could handle a world where herds of tiny baby headed owls romped through the brush hunted by poodle headed victorian ladies. Although, what are humans if not the ultimate adaptors, and I would pay a pretty penny to see anyone of Robin's creations do a well choreographed performance of "Puttin' On the Ritz." Wow, Robin could I make a music video with your creatures?!

I digress. That tends to happen a lot when I look at Robin's work, though. Her meldings of mundane mass produced cutesey figurines into her own special brand of art sets the mind reeling with associations, and strange emotional responses.

The incomparable Miss Robin Van Valkenburgh is the woman behind the slip cast madness that is TheRunnyBunny.

Robin is beyond description (although friggin' gnarly almost begins to do the job), so I won't even try.

If you want to meet her, you will just have to hoof it to Howard Street this Saturday. In the meantime, check out her shop on Etsy.

She has owls, she has awesome DIY kits, and of course, freaky fun. For more fun, check out her rockin' blog.

ButtonFlowers - The World is In Bloom

There are flowers everywhere!
This part of the year is my absolute favorite - when the trees are speckled with neon green and flowers are shooting up in the most unexpected of places.
Take Buttonflowers for example - never before have I considered the fact that my notions box could produce a garden in full bloom, but Celia Barbieri has a green thumb stuck in there among the thimbles.

Visit Buttonflowers online and you will find earrings and bouquets handcrafted from buttons found all ove rthe world. Celia says that her craftiness had been with her since childhood, and I think that her playfulness shines through in her work.
I am very excited to check her flowers out in person!
See you at Howard Street!

TheAyBeeCees - With Books Under Our Arms

There is something very sensuous about paper. Actually, there is a lot very sensuous about paper - the way it feels against fingertips, the sound of pages turning and sheet rustling, and of course, the smell. Having spent a large portion of my childhood afternoons in the neighborhood library, waiting for my mom to finish playing her ballet classes and come pick me up - I associate books and paper with comfort and peace, as well as liberation.

There is nothing quite like a blank page in a book. It is like a question waiting to be answered. And the difference between confiding that answer in the pages of a handmade journals and jotting it down in your PDA is the difference between whispering a secret to a good friend and writing an email to your cell phone company.

Ok, well maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but I think you get the point. I am a fan of handmade book, and TheAyBeeCees, whose work will be featured at Howard Street Handmade this coming Saturday is deserving of my adoration, and yours as well.

Jean Potter creates her work in a "tree house of a studio," and gets bonus points because she like NPR and cacti. Her work includes handmade journals, calendars, planners and more.

I especially love her Narcissus journal, which features a beautiful print of one of my favorite myths. I can just imagine filling it up with sketches and watercolor doodles to accompany my daily musings a la Frida.

The colors Jean combines in her creations remind me quite a bit of Kahlo actually - they are so vibrant!

Jean's shop on Etsy is full of handmade books that beg to be seen in person, so take a peek (or even a gander at her shop online) and then treat yourself - come visit her in person at Howard Street!

TheAyBeeCees so inspired me, I had to dig out a quote from Virginia Woolf to share:
"I have sometimes dreamt that when the Day of Judgement dawns - the ALmighty will turn to Peter and will say when he sees us coming with out books under our arms, "Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading."

Cache Bags - Mama's Got a Brand New Bag!

A friend of mine in college was addicted to bags. He had a bag for everything - one for the gym, one for the computer lab, one for classes, one for visiting home on weekends, one for his DJing necessities, one for camping, one for going to music shows, and many many others. At the time, I enjoyed teasing him - but now his maniacal obsession makes more sense to me.

There is something very liberating about being able to compartamentalize life into various pockets within pockets within bags and have them lined up and ready to grab as I head out the door for an adventure of any sort, prepared in a manner that would make any Girl Scout proud.

This portable organizational phenomenon seems to manifest itself in a sublime state in the work of Daniele Odell Wickel, the fabric artist behind Cache Bags. Daniele creates one of a kind messenger style bags, shoulder bags, zippered pouches, purse, you name it. She uses a wide variety of fine fabrics to create a myriad of bags.

So you may ask yourself, "What is a cache?"
Here is the answer cortesy of, home of Cache Bags:

CACHE: hand made bags, each one unique!!

I find myself fantasizing about possibilities while perusing her blog "Hmmmm.... this one would be great for grocery shopping, and this one would be perfect for the beach, and ooooh, look that one would be great for walking around fectivals.

Cache bags are not only functional, and beautiful, but they are STRONG. Plus, they come with the full endorsement of Danielle's three sons, and she creates them with a vintage Singer sewing machine. I LOVE IT!!

See you at Howard Street!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

gleaming -

gleaming - you spin me right round

I was thinking about circles today. Mainly because I was dying eggs, and eggs always make me think of circle and ellipses and how the tiniest things in Nature echo the largest. Or is it vice versa? Like eggs and planetary orbits. Anywho, there I was with green and orange fingers smelling like pickles, when I had a random urge to visit gleaming's shop on Etsy.

And what do I find? CIRCLES!
The talented Beckie Harmon use all kinds of circular doodads to build her sublime jewelry - buttons, pennies, and quarters for example. Not only that, but she also handpicks her chains from thrift store and the other materials she uses are all upcycled or found objects! More CIRCLES!

I love the shipwrecked necklace, and also the way that Beckie incorporates vintage paper and sheet music is amazing. Her work has depth that comes from her use of textures and symbols and layering... I love the fact that each of the pendants has a found object inside which you can't see. Pure magic, right in time for spring.

I have to wonder - do people who have the knack for finding awesome ephemera have an unfair advantage at egg hunts? I was thinking about inviting Beckie to mine.... but now I don't know.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crafters! Build a Birdhouse!

(or bat house, or birdbath...)

the Bountiful Cities Project Presents:
The 7th Annual Birdhouse Auction!

On April 18th, 2009, starting at 5pm, The Bountiful Cities Project hosts the 7th Annual Birdhouse Competition, Live Auction, and Celebration of Spring at the Courtyard on Lexington in Downtown Asheville to raise money for Urban Agriculture.

Featuring handcrafted birdhouses from local artists, the 2009 Birdhouse Auction will be a festive celebration of springtime! Dozens of locally made birdhouses, both functional and artistic, will be on display. The entries will be judged, with exciting prizes going to the top three winners. The entries will then be auctioned off in an old-fashioned live auction, while attendees enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer, and peruse the plants for sale. The location is the beautiful brick courtyard behind Bouchon French Restaurant on Lexington Avenue in Downtown Asheville. The 2009 Birdhouse Auction will be a lovely springtime evening celebration among friends and community!

Funds raised will go directly to the Bountiful Cities Project (BCP) to support the work of community gardening and urban agriculture. BCP is an Asheville-based non-profit with a 9-year history of supporting community gardening, urban agriculture, and food security for the Asheville community. The mission of the Bountiful Cities Project is: “to create, on urban land, beautiful community spaces that produce food in abundance and foster a learning environment for social justice and sustainability.” BCP works in and partners with 10 Asheville communities to grow food in the city: Shiloh, Burton Street, Montford, West Asheville (including Vance and Hall Fletcher Elementary Schools), Stephens-Lee, and others, running educational, youth and outreach programs and connecting communities to the resources they need to begin growing food in the city!

Community Gardening and Urban Agriculture are enjoying a renaissance as individuals recognize the health, environmental, economic and social benefits of growing, eating, and purchasing local food. BCP helps the idea become reality! Donating a birdhouse, and attending the party, will help BCP to fulfill its mission and enrich the patchwork quilt of gardens growing all over the city of Asheville.

Birdhouses are still being accepted! Donations accepted at the French Broad Food Co-op and the Short Street Cakes’ Cake Shop at 225 Haywood Road.

Children and youth in the Shiloh Community eating food from their garden as a part of the Bountiful Cities Project's Strong Roots Program:

Next Howard Street Handmade April 18th!

On April 18, 2009, from 11am to 5pm, Short Street Cakes will host the second in a series of local, handmade Craft Markets called “Howard Street Handmade,” located at 227 Haywood Road, at the intersection of Haywood Road and Howard Street. Over 20 vendors featuring all-handmade crafts will display their wares in the beautifully renovated brick building adjacent to West Asheville’s newest Cake Shop!

Vendor applications are still being accepted for future Howard Street Handmade markets. Artists interested in vending at Howard Street Handmade should email, or stop by the Cake Shop at 225 Haywood Road to pick up a hard copy.

Woo Hoo!
See you on the 18th...