Friday, April 30, 2010

An Ode To Mom - Part 1

From WrenWillow

My mother taught me how to embroider when I was young and I did a few little pieces, later switching to crewel. But her primary love was (and is) knitting, and while I learned how to do a simple knit or purl, I never got into it. Likewise, my sister passed on it. But my brother, who is twelve years younger LOVED it. I remember him sitting on the couch one day when he was about 7, knitting along very happily and one of his friends came to the door and asked if he could come out to play. Michael said he'd be a few minutes, he wanted to finish the row. My dad overheard him and proclaimed to my mom "I'll be darned if my son is going to tell his friends he can't come out to play because he has to finish his knitting!" Mom lost her protege, and we have howled over that story for years - including my dad, who has eased up somewhat on his ideas of gender appropriate leisure activities! ~ Becky from GeminiRiverRocks

My grandmother worked in a sweater factory in Brooklyn, well into her seventies. In her downtime, she crocheted fine lace tablecloths, doilies, etc. She taught me some basics, and I also picked up knitting from an aunt and sewing from my mom, who helped me make clothes for my dolls. Later on, I studied loom weaving, did hangings and wearables for a time. I gave all that up when I fell in love with clay, until about 8 years ago; I have rediscovered knitting and enjoy its portability. ~ Virginia from Ceruleanblue

Arts and crafts is something that I always did with my 2 daughters, who are now in their twenties. If I was taking a ceramic class, we'd all work in clay. We painted together. My older daughter has helped me learn to knit. When my younger daughter was a senior in HS, she asked me to take a drawing class with her, which was being offered in the adult education program. Being a teen and so involved in being with her friends, I was really touched that she asked me. We both learned a lot, and she is now in her 3rd year of art school. ~ Jenny from ReclaimedDesigns

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring in the Hudson Valley Treasury

Curated by Letitia from Maryjane's Heirlooms Check it out while you can at

Featuring items from flgass, jjceramics, WrenWillow, MadeintheHV, stellahats, petiteami, BlondeChick, Beyond The Picket Fence, Moonfire Studios, Gemini River Rocks, Maryjane's Heirlooms, Pulp Sushi, Coasting Along, JSWMetalworks, abstractheart, wicketmint (see our side menu for links)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Revolution

by Neely Coyote McCormick from NellsBelles

I have a real knack for shopping. I mean I can walk into a place, find what is on sale, identify what is terrific about an item that has been passed over and breathe new life into it and pay practically nothing for it. It’s all about time and place and not having a judgement about something coming from the road traveled to long and too far. I lived a lot of my life sport shopping, accumulating lots of things I love and more that I absolutely never needed. That all changed very painfully and very abruptly a couple of years ago.

Two things happened in quick succession. First, my husband and I got caught in the real estate collapse right about the time we had decided to downsize. We had bought a smaller house with a barn for me to work in while still in possession of the larger home we lived in for the last 10 years. The upshot of that experience was that we never moved into the more modest house because it was easier to sell and we were on the verge of foreclosure on four We were drowning in paper obligations we never had any business taking on in the first place.

The second thing that happened was after talking to my girlfriend, she said something that changed my life. We were talking about Christmas shopping. There was barely money for groceries so Christmas gifts were out of the question. She told me that she was in Macy’s and when she arrived on her floor, she stopped for a moment and looked around. And then it hit her - every single thing in the store, including the construction of the building, everything within her sight, would end up in a landfill. Every dress, every screw, every floor tile, every shoe, every makeup brush every yard of fabric and carpet every rhinestone every watch…would eventually end up as trash in a landfill somewhere on this planet of ours. I can tell you, my mind was blown forever at this thought.

I would identify every single place and every single day as a way to reuse something instead of buying more. Fortunately, my work at the time was broken piece mosaics so I already had a reuse, recycle, reinvent mentality about using my materials. Not only was I using old china but I would purchase the chipped stuff on sale tables and friends were bagging up everything they broke and giving it to me. This way of working caused me to begin seeing things in components. A plate that was not really much to look at but had one beautiful rose right smack dab in the middle of the plate was a find. An otherwise white plate with a beautiful gold border around the edge would make a perfect border around a house number was a keeper. I was developing an eye for salvage.

When I started making jewelry, I ran to Michael’s to stock up on materials. Looking at all the findings, beads, pendants, wire, I was struck by two things. One, these materials were not going to express the vision I had in my head. Two, more than the materials themselves was all of the packaging. Everything came with cellophane, cardboard, staples, tape, wire - all manner of packing materials that would end up in the garbage before I even made my first necklace. The image of the Arthur Kills landfill flashed before me and I no longer had a feel for my new jewelry line.

One day I was cleaning out a drawer and there were several pieces of junk jewelry, those impulse buys from Target or H&M that you wore once and then wondered why you bought it to begin with. I also came across some old grandma pieces that I would never wear but felt terrible tossing out. I opened myself up to the possibility in these tidbits and then I began to see components. If I disassembled the jewelry, there would be clasps, jump rings, beads, chains - all the things I had walked away from at Michael’s were staring me right in the face! I could make the jewelry I was envisioning by disassembling and recomposing them in a new and creative way. Suddenly, everything I laid my eyes on became potential material for all of my work.

We on this planet have enough. Some of us have too much and some not enough but there is enough stuff for everyone. We as artists can create a revolution now. We can explore the esthetic of recycling and reimagine what is beautiful. We have a power and a responsibility, as artists, to see the world through different more thoughtful eyes. Let’s make our contribution to our planet this earth day by pledging to develop new eyes. Let’s see the treasure not the trash.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day

Tomorrow is Earth Day and while we have come a long away being more socially conscious, we still have a ways to go. The members of the Hudson Valley Etsy Team don't need a special date or month in doing our part to help the environment and recycle goods.

Noelle from Moonfire Studio has a fun activity in stored, "My kids and I are making recycled paper for Earth Day. We use my scrapbooking scraps and other acid -free papers and dried leaves and flowers from the garden. We also iron different textures into the paper with lace shapes that I have - butterflies, leaves, etc. We did it last year too and it's alot of fun."

Judy from uses vintage components in some of her pieces like in her Light Blue Vintage Japanese Bead Byzantine Necklace , "I just got a bunch of old jewelry and antique keys that used to belong to my grandmother which I'm planning on incorporating in to my jewelry."

Gwen from Beyond The Picket Fence uses produce from the local markets to make her soap and will only use natural, sustainable ingredients.

Jenny from ReclaimedDesigns mosaics are made with recycled and repurposed items.

Visit tomorrow for an entry by Neely from NellsBelles on her discovery of simplfying and new use for old materials.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meet HV Mama - TinksTreasures

Debi Brown lives in Beacon and creates jewelry pieces for her shop Tink's Treasures. Debi shares the little treasures made by her grandson, like this bookmark.

My grandson, Patrick always stayed at least one day a week with me since he was 8 wks. old while Mommy & Daddy were at work. As he grew to be a toddler he was fascinated by my beads and beading tools and always asked me "play beads Grammy?" Over & over. I bought him some large wooden beads and stringing material and he would play with them but only if I got out my beads also. When he was about 3 yrs. I let him help me make a bookmark and he picked and strung all the tiny (#6) seed beads himself and chose a sunflower charm for one end because "mommy likes those" and a cross because he "loves Jesus the best" for the other end. I kept the bookmark and every time I look at it I can still see his tiny little fingers putting each bead on and choosing which color bead he was going to put on next. It makes me smile every time.

A boy and his beads, how can you not love that???

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Annual Peekskill Park Cleanup

This Saturday, April 17 from 10 am to 12 pm, Parks & Recreation is once again looking for volunteers to participate in the annual Peekskills Parks & City Cleanup. Last year they signed up 100 volunteers. Great for the whole family andno need to bring anything just Sign up at The Peekskill Coffee House and show up at the Park you wish to help out with.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Beacon Farmer's Market this Sunday

This Sunday, April 11th, the Farmer's Market in Beacon will come back to the outdoors and will set up at the pier next to the train station again. Among the vendors, you'll find our own Ceruleanblue and Beyond The Picket Fence.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Discover Romanticism Treasury

In case you missed the team's latest treasury curated by Luda from WoolSolution...

Featured members (from top left) are Beyond The Picket Fence, Gemini River Rocks, Tinks Treasure, Barbara Giordano Art, Pulp Sushi, WoolSolution, PetiteAmi, Moon Fire Studio, Pink Snake Jewelry, JJ Ceramics, Dough Roses, and Coasting Along.

Find more items by the team by using the search tag "hvny team" on Etsy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

More DIY Easter Eggs

If you're planning to make some Easter eggs this weekend, here are some fun and unique tutorials from the web to give you a head start.

From How About Orange

Hostess With The Mostess

A Fanciful Twist


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pottery On The Wheel - Class

Our very own Virginia Piazza from Ceruleanblue will be teaching a pottery class at the Garrison Art Center. Pottery On the Wheel Spring classes begin Tuesday, April 20th 6:30-9:30. This is a 8-week session for $260.

Learn skills to create vessel with instruction in throwing, and moving on to techniques in surface decoration and glazing. Limited to 8 students. Open to adults and older teens. Individual attention. Beginners welcome! Virginia has been teaching at GAC for the past 4 years and previously taught at the YWCA in Manhattan.

Garrison Art Center (off route 9D)
23 Garrison's Landing
PO Box 4
Garrison, NY 10524

Please call 845.424.3960 to register