DIY Alert Blog
This Week's Giveaway: Get a Hobby, by Tina Barseghian
This week, we're giving away a copy of Get a Hobby: 101 All-Consuming Diversions for Any Lifestyle, by Tina Barseghian. This is an awesome reference manual for hobbies -- quite literally profiling 101 wide-ranging pastimes. You can read my review of the book, and an interview I did with the author, here. One lucky person will win, and we'll announce next. week. Good Luck! UPDATE: The winner is Christina Aucone. Happy reading, Christina!
Cool Place Alert: Zines at Multnomah County Libraries!
This week, we're talking with Laural Winter, a Reference Librarian at Hollywood Library. The Multnomah County Library system has recently added a collection of zines to its stacks. Why is this cool, and what are zines? Read on and find out:
For the uninitiated, will you explain what a zine is? Zines (pronounced like "zeens") are self-created publications. Or as a child told me, zines are homemade magazines. They can be about any topic. For example, there are zines about people's personal lives, dogs, veganism, feminism, politics, shoes, crafts, libraries, books, music, and zines about other zines. Personally, I have been reading zines for about two decades. Zines have been around for many decades. One of my favorite zines is a personal zine called Invincible Summer by Nicole Georges. Another favorite zine is The Dvorak zine : changing the world one keyboard at a time, narrated by Alec, Frunch, & GCB. A new favorite is a craft zine called Do Stuff!: Leethal Zine by Lee Meredith. Was it challenging, creating a collection of independently-published work like this for the Library system? Yes. We, the Zine Library Group, first had to see if there was a demand for a zine collection in the Library. We held zine events. We had a table at the Portland Zine Symposium. We communicated with other library systems that had zine collections. We connected with Portland zine businesses and organizations like Microcosm Publishing, Reading Frenzy and Independent Publishing Resource Center. We had fun in the process. And we found that Portlanders gave us a resounding yes for a zine collection in the Multnomah County Library. Why is it important for people to read zines? As a librarian, I see zines as being important for local history research. I also see zines supporting freedom of speech through representing all points of view. Besides these lofty ideals, zines are great for nonfiction and fiction reading for entertainment. Can we check zines out, just like books? Yes, you can check out zines for 3 weeks just like books. You can renew your checked out zines as long as there isn't a hold on the zine. What if we want to suggest a particular zine for the Library? How do we go about that? If you would like to suggest a zine you can find an online suggestion form on our website, or you can email us at: email@example.com. Will you also tell us about other resources the Libraries have for zine-makers? We have a large collection of clip art books. We have computer labs and photocopiers. We also have books on self-publishing, bookbinding, collage, and zines. We have a zine website, too. The Central Library has an amazing picture file that has been maintained since the 1920s. It has pictures on a wide array of topics. You can ask a librarian at the third floor Art & Music reference desk to help you find pictures. We also have staff that can help you find any information you need. We'd love to see you! I'd like to add professionally, it has been very rewarding working on the zine collection for Multnomah County Library. I never knew one of my personal interests would affect me so profoundly and professionally as zines have!
This Week's Giveaway: A Crafty Prize Pack
Oooooooh, delightful things in our prize drawing this week. Take a look: - A cute pink paint-ship notebook, from cat and monkey. - A sweet plaid zipper bag, from Holland Cox. - An adorable button and recipe card set, from boygirlparty. - A lovely machine-embroidered fabric flower pin, from Honorable Mention. - An amazing polymer clay magnet, from niceclutter. One lucky subscriber will win all this bounty. We'll announce that winner here next week. Fingers crossed, everyone! UPDATE: And the winner is . . . Judy Corona! Congratulations!
PDX Profile: Lancea LaPorte, Designer and Crafter
This week, we meet Lancea LaPorte, who writes the Make It! column for Portland Family Magazine. (You can download the latest issue from their website - just follow that link.) Each month, Lancea dreams up a new kid-friendly craft project. And when she's not crafting, she owns her own graphic design firm, LaPorte Design.
So, you're a graphic designer by day -- what kinds of things do you like to make when you're crafting? All sorts! I jump around a lot, I have Crafty ADD, I hear it's a common affliction. I make an effort to select products and processes that are non-toxic. I plan on crafting for a long time and I value my lungs. Recycling and reclaiming materials inspires me, Im always saving random things because I could make something out of this someday." I love taking classes. Last spring I took a traditional Mexican Papier Mache class and was elbow deep in wheat paste all summer. This winter I created almost 100 embroidery designs. I only got around to actually stitching out 6 of them. But I have all the designs neatly tucked away in a binder. Maybe I'll publish them in a book... I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Ceramics, but I always seem to come back around to paper, fiber, beads, ribbons, and buttons as my favorites. I also make jewelry, paper beads, origami and Artist Trading Cards, collage, papier mache, I also knit, crochet, and sew too, but I've given up on garment sewing until I can afford a really comprehensive garment sewing class. I'm not very good at fitting, yet. I also love to garden and bake. Those are kinda crafty, too. I'm currently working on the largest craft project of my life; my wedding. I'm trying, somewhat successfully, to limit my crafty time to wedding related items. But I won't give up the ATCs on Swap-Bot (and The Church of Craft, of course!) You're also a craft columnist for Portland Family Magazine. How did that come about? I've been the Art Director for the publication since 2004. When the publisher sold the magazine to another local publisher, I stayed on and proposed that my role could be expanded. It has been a goal to make crafting part of my art career. I tried doing the Craft Fair thing, but I'm not very good at making the same product over and over again. I'm a designer at heart. I prefer to invent, experiment and present, rather than produce. Being project oriented, I need to have a beginning and an end to each creative endeavor. What kinds of craft projects have you featured so far in the magazine? FruFru Love Lights (Click here to download a copy of this project!) Denim jewelry Overall Organizer (Click here to download a copy of this project!) Matching Pillow Case and Overnight Bag How do you go about coming up with kid-oriented projects? What specific qualities should kid-crafts have? Kid crafts should be fast, fun and messy. Materials should be non-toxic and kids should be able to complete the project in one sitting. Waiting overnight for something to dry is definitely not fun. The kids I know especially like to make wearable art; decorated t-shirts, jewelry, hats, bedazzled sneakers, etc. Crafts to give as gifts are also fun for kids and the recipient will appreciate it, too. What is your take on the difference between "Art" and "Craft?" I think Craft is a subset of Art. There are many art forms I enjoy doing that I don't consider crafty; dance, photography, painting, digital art, printmaking, etc. However, "craftsmanship" always plays a part in all of my art. It was drilled into me in art school. I believe presentation matters. Crafts are everyday art. Crafts are more accessible to people who would feel uncomfortable calling themselves artists. What is your favorite creative spot in Portland? The library - and not just the art or crafty section. I once sculpted a series of wall hangings inspired by microscopic sea creatures I found in an old 1950's micro biology book that I just happened to pick up. They were beautiful! I also love the hardware store, Re-Building Center, and Goodwill.
This Week's Giveaway: Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond the Unexpected, by Claudine Hellmuth
Okay, this week's prize is a dynamite reference book on collage techniques: Claudine Hellmuth's Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond the Unexpected. You can peek at some sample pages right here and see what I mean. One lucky subscriber will win, and we'll announce the winner here next week. Hope it's you! UPDATE: Congratulations to our winner, Serena Barton!
Call For Vendors: The Lov.li Fair
Pssst: if youre in the Northwest, DIY Alert is co-organizing a summer art/craft fair with Lov.li, and we still have a few openings for vendors. The date is Sunday, June 3rd. The Fairs from 11-4, and from 10-11, were planning some special things for our vendors. There is no table fee, and were taking no commissions. And the venue is great! Were also talking live deejay, make-and-take tables, and on-site PayPal transactions. You can learn more about the fair, and find contact information, here. There are two requirements: you must be a vendor selling your work on Lov.li, and you must be over 21.
PDX Profile: Mariko, of superbuzzy
This week, we're visiting with Mariko, who is the co-owner of superbuzzy. (If you're a fabric junkie, or a lover of Japanese crafts, you'll love superbuzzy.) And in her increasingly-smaller spare time, Mariko also makes things and blogs under the name Super Eggplant.
So, let's start with your crafting -- what kinds of things do you make (when you have time to make them)? I tend to go in spurts with crafting. I'll get all obsessed with sewing something in particular, like skirts or totes, and then go on a rampage, and then I'll have a period where I won't sew at all. In sewing, though, I mostly make garments and a few accessories, like bags. I've only ever made one quilt! I also like to knit sweaters, though you wouldn't know that lately -- I've been working on the same sweater since last summer! I'm on the collar now, so the end is near, I hope. I'm trying to learn how to crochet and do some embroidery and cross-stitch. The crafting possibilities are endless! . . . And you recently started up an endeavor called superbuzzy -- where did the idea come from, and what do you sell? The idea for superbuzzy came to me in a flash. It just kind of hit me really hard, and I knew I had to pursue it. I signed up for an import/export class and starting thinking about how to make it all happen. Around that time I was reading Kelly's blog, and she casually mentioned wanting to open a business selling Japanese fabrics and zakka goods, and oh, was anyone interested? I contacted her immediately, and can you believe we actually made it happen? I think if I had been left to my own devices, I never would have followed through. It's so great having a smart, capable, and fun partner! superbuzzy sells not only Japanese fabrics but also notions (we just got in some really fun bias tapes), Japanese craft books and magazines, zakka (stationery, magnets, clips, tote bags, placemats), tools (yo yo makers and pompom makers!) and yarn. We're always looking for fun new products to add to our inventory! What has been the biggest surprise in the process of bringing superbuzzy to the world? I tend to be a self doubter, but I had a strong feeling superbuzzy would be successful. I did not, however, have any idea that it would grow so quickly! We just opened for business in August of 2006, and I remember having about two shelves of fabric. Now we have a lot more inventory and are running out of space. The response has been overwhelming, and it's really gratifying to know there are customers out there who love our products. Superbuzzy has a very enthusiastic following! Why do you think crafters love these fabrics and trims from Japan so much? I think the Japanese craft revolution is somewhat of a trend, but I also believe that there is a really strong Japanese craft aesthetic that speaks to us here in the US. You look at Japanese craft books and designs and fabrics, and you know, there's just nothing like it being produced here, so it's easy to get all crazy obsessed with the Japanese stuff! I've been reading Japanese craft magazines since the 1980s, and they have always been so full of amazing ideas. I guess I've been a Japanese craft junkie for a really long time! What is your take on the difference between "Art" and "Craft?" Hmm, good question! When I think "art," I tend to think towards fine art and toward individual, one-of-a-kind pieces. For instance, when I look at Angry Chicken Amy's miniature quilts and such on Kingpod.com, I think that is art! I guess I tend to think of art as something you put on a wall or at least something you don't touch or mangle, but I also am not completely adamant about this definition. I'm flexible! As for "craft," I think of craft as anything a person creates with her hands that brings the creator joy, both in the process and the final result. It's a very wide canvas! What is your favorite creative spot in Portland? There are too many to pick a single creative spot, and the spots have changed over the years! Back when I first started getting into sewing, I spent a lot of time at COD Fabrics in Beaverton. They were the first to carry high-tech fabrics, and they had seconds from Nike and InSport. They had polarfleece before it became ubiquitous! I also spent a lot of time in the remnants section at the Mill End Store in Beaverton. Oh, and my best friend's mother was a co-owner of Josephine's Dry Goods, so I remember spending a lot of time there and dreaming up all sorts of garments. Nowadays I go to Fabric Depot (it's fairly close to my house), Rose City Textiles, Bolt, Close Knit, Lint, oh, you name it. I tend to do all of my crafting at home, but if I had time to go out and knit, I'd probably find a sunny cafe. I've always found sunny spots, wooden tables, and yummy coffee to be very conducive to crafting.
This Week's Giveaway: Stitch Markers from Amyville
How cute are these stitch markers? They're handmade by the very-talented Amy Secrest, of Amyville. She makes all kinds of polymer clay wonderments - check out her website! Two lucky DIY Alert subscribers will win. There's one set of cocktail olive stitch-markers, and one set of sushi stitch markers. (Yup, that tiny little sushi is handmade, too. Wow.) We'll announce our winners next week. Fingers crossed, everyone! UPDATE: Congrats to Tabitha Rhodes and Heather Corvey, our big winners! Happy knitting, ladies.
PDX Profile: Amanda Horton, of Allium Designs
We're chatting this week with Amanda Horton, who makes delicate jewelry under the name Allium Designs, and has mad metal-working skillz. You can see more of her work at her Etsy store. ----------------------------------------------
So, how did you get started designing and making jewelry? Well...I really started making jewelry when I was living in Brooklyn, NY. I had always dabbled around making different things (headbands, clothes, soaps, lip balms, various housewares and accessories, etc.) and the I started making jewelry for myself and friends. People would always encourage me to start selling my various products. And, then one evening I was on a really bad first date and the cocktail waitress complimented me on a pair of earrings I was wearing (that I had made). We started chatting and come to find out she was starting a showroom and was interested in seeing and carrying my line. (Why I love New York.) So, in retrospect that was kind of a turning point for me...it is when I finally thought, "Hey, other people like my designs...I can actually start making jewelry to sell!"
How would you describe your approach to jewelry design? My approach, let's see. People are in a hurry most of the time and not everyone has a chance or wants to think about accessories. I try to create pieces that are simple, wearable, durable, and glamorous. I hope people feel like they can grab a piece of jewerly to put on whether they are spending 3 hours to get ready or running out the door in five minutes, and look good and feel confident about how they look. I try to portray a sense of simple elegance by combining elements of vintage charm with a contemporary look and feel.
What kinds of things inspire your work? Everyday sorts of things from nature to the people I encounter on a daily basis. Usually I get an idea and start to make it and halfway through, I get inspired while in the process of making an actual piece. I really have to work with something and have something tangible in my hands to get an idea of what it is going to look like, how it will hang, etc. So, I guess I don't really have a "design eye"...I like to be in the process of working with the various components that go into my pieces.
Out of all the pieces you've made, do you have a favorite? I have this really great big beaded necklace that I made when I first learned how to properly bead - with silk thread and handmade needles. It is chunky, long and goes with so much of my stuff. I had this really great teacher at F.I.T and she made me appreciate and embrace the craftsmanship of handmade jewelry. So many designers just use crappy beading wire and crimps and there isn't anything special about the workmanship. I try to avoid that because with a little extra time, you can make something so much more durable and nice. I am probably one of the only people that notice, but that is enough for me! I absolutely love the piece. I only made one and wear it all the time.
What is your take on the difference between "Art" and "Craft?" Good question. I guess I don't really consider myself an artist and I don't really know why, I just don't. I think each are both perfectly acceptable forms of expressing yourself. Art encompasses so many things and I think of crafting in more specific terms of making and producing something like buttons, stocking hats, bath products...stuff like that.
What is your favorite creative spot in Portland? Sadly, I spend a lot of time on the bus in Portland. I work up on the hill at OHSU and it takes about an hour to get up there and an hour to get home each weekday, which I must say is crazy in and of itself since I do live so close-in in the city. Anyways, it clearly isn't the most creative spot per se in Portland, but I have a lot of time to think and gather my thoughts in terms of design. I do a lot of sketching and planning on the bus.
This Week's Giveaway: MAKE 09
The folks at MAKE Magazine (sister publication to CRAFT) have donated four copies of their latest issue for our weekly drawing. This is the "Fringe" issue, which involves fascinating projects from the fringes of making. No matter what your creative obsessions are, you'll find things to compel you here. We'll announce our four winners here next week!
UPDATE: Congrats to our winners: Onyia Cook, Patrick Sullivan, Karyn Harmon, and Kristin Yount!
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