Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Artists ~ Analiese Stinson ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Analiese Stinson 

Shop name: Skyward Designs

Instagram: - Skyward_ _ _ 

1. Tell us about your work
Well, I make limited edition and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces using traditional metalsmithing techniques. I like giving a modern aesthetic to these ancient processes. 

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I’ve been following my creative side for my whole life, from drawing to painting, to photography and mixed media projects. My passion for creating led me to Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where I discovered metalsmithing. I never regret choosing a career path that many might consider impractical, as it continually opens doors for me and makes me very excited for the future! Right now I work as a diamond setter in addition to creating my own jewelry. I am enjoying this balance between structured bench work and creative play. 

3. Where do you draw your inspiration? 
I am most inspired by patterns, colors and forms found in nature. This includes the stones that I use in my pieces -- I look for eye-catching, naturally formed stones. The process of creating is also inspiring in itself. 

4. What’s your favorite item to create? 
Lately I've been excited about my Geo necklaces. They are all one-of-a-kind sculptures, which means I spend a lot of time playing around in wax, making the most perfect shapes to cast in silver. Working in wax is a very relaxing, zen process for me. 

5. What’s your best seller?

During the holiday season I sell a lot of druzy quartz pieces, because they are irresistibly sparkly. Arrow bracelets have also been big hits lately!

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I moved here from Boston just six months ago.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
So many things. People really appreciate the arts here. I love the craft markets, the phenomenal restaurants and the wide variety of local businesses. I {heart} that RI has the endearing title of “smallest state”.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rhody for the Holidays

Holiday activities have kept us pretty busy these past few weeks, so we haven't done much posting.

Thanks to the nice folks at Providence Media for this little gem.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Artists ~ Susan Novich ~ Providence

Artist’s Name: Susan Novich
Shop Name: Susabean Studios
Twitter: susan.novich

1. Tell us about your work.
As a cut-paper artist, photographer, and calligrapher, I spend a lot of time in my third floor studio where I draw and create surrounded by piles of paper, boxes of ExActo blades, and plenty of ink, glitter, and glue. I usually begin by sketching out my idea, and once I’m satisfied with the characters and design I’ll choose my color palette, do the calligraphy for any text I’ve decided to incorporate, and then carefully deconstruct each element of the drawing. Once that process is complete, I break out my ExActo knife and cut out the individual components, finally reassembling them in a whole new way. Once the piece is finished, I take photographs, paying close attention to lighting and shadows to ensure the piece will continue to look 3-dimensional when printed.

I like to think of my art as multi-dimensional, multi-media circus of line and texture, colored pencils and pastels – a paper performance intended to engage and delight children of all ages.

How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I have always enjoyed the creative process and have had a pencil, brush, or camera in my hand for as long as I can remember. When I was very young, I used to camouflage the margins of my math notebooks with drawings – usually representatives from the animal kingdom. When it came time for college, I decided to attend Simmons College in Boston, MA, which had a great Communications/Graphic Arts program done in conjunction with The School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Being right down the street from the MFA and the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum was a real gift. And now I am right down the street from the RISD Museum – also a very wonderful thing!

In 2007, after completing the CE Children’s Book Illustration program at RISD, I began to think about other ways to publish my work and thought that a line of greeting cards might be a good solution as well as a lot of fun. In 2010 I launched Susabean Studios with “Look Who’s Squawking,” a line of greeting cards for which I conceptualize and execute the designs as well as write the copy.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
I can be inspired by the tiniest of details: a found object, a small but beautiful bead, even the discovery of an unusual piece of paper. I might take a long walk on the beach, listen to the crash of waves, and observe textures and patterns in the sand, or, alternatively, stroll down city streets – all of which can spark a myriad of ideas. If the New England weather is not conducive to wandering, there is always my muse – my pet Havanese named Coco.

What is your favorite item to create?
I enjoy the challenge of creating any new piece, but these days my favorite thing is to combine the art of cut paper and calligraphy. I like to use the handwritten letterforms not only as a texture, but to sometimes incorporate a “hidden” message, as well. In addition to my line of greeting cards, I am working on designs for the home d├ęcor market – floor mats -- which due to the large-scale format has been an interesting challenge. It’s forced me to think more creatively -- how to design pieces for a small canvas which can be successfully transformed to the larger format afforded by floor mats.

What is your best seller?
That seems to vary with the season. Oddly enough, one year my best seller was a Halloween card. I also have a Chanukah card that has done very well, and my new baby cards seem to sell out consistently. This year, in addition to new birthday and thank you cards, I’ve created a celebratory “New Year’s” card and a “Congratulations on your new Nest” card. It will be interesting to see what 2015 has in store!

How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I have been in Rhode Island since 2000, when my husband and I moved here with our three children from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am originally from Massachusetts, so coming back to family in New England was wonderful. I feel very fortunate to have landed in Rhode Island.

What do you {heart} about Rhode Island? 
The people are great, and I love the fact that everything is so accessible. Honestly, it just doesn't get better than living in a city that is so near the ocean. And then there is the amazing creativity. Having the artistic community of RISD as well as Brown and Johnson and Wales nearby – that college vibe – keeps things energized and interesting without becoming overwhelming. And the restaurants – so much good food! RI is a great place to live for so many reasons!

Please include anything else you'd like to add:
A big thank you for this opportunity. ☺

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Artists ~ Kim Vredenburg ~ Hope Valley

Artist’s name: Kim Vredenburg

Shop name: Kim V glass


1. Tell us about your work. 
I have worked with glass, in one temperature or another, for over 30 years. My love affair with glass started when our local school district offered a stained glass class as part of their Adult Education program. I’d always been intrigued by glass and signed up. As my designs became more complicated in nature, I wanted to include fused glass details. One day my husband asked me what I would like for Christmas and I immediately told him that I’d like a kiln for fusing. Another year, he asked again what I’d like for Christmas and I told him a basic lamp working kit would be nice. All I wanted to do was create coordinating glass beads in the fused glass jewelry that a local shop was selling. Once that beginners torch was lit I was hooked and the poor fusing kiln sat neglected (but don’t feel badly for it…it has recently been fired up again to create pate d’verre pieces) A number of years ago, I decided to take my glass up a notch and became the first in the area to create jewelry combining torch worked glass with metalwork. When health issues forced me to step back from the torch, I added glass enameling to my repertoire. I am happy to say that I am back at the torch and playing with fire again!

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I've always been creating something. I remember knitting sweaters for Barbie :) As retirement was coming closer, I knew that I would finally have the time to devote to a small art business.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration? 
I am definitely inspired by antique/vintage things. I've been told by an artist friend that I create jewelry with a feminine industrial look. Perhaps it’s due to my love of antiques. Perhaps its due to my fascination with how old things work. Perhaps it’s due to having lived all my life in the area that was home to the American Industrial Revolution?

4. What’s your favorite item to create? 
Even though they are very time consuming, my favorite pieces to create are my electroformed skeleton keys. From the creation of the glass cabochon at my torch through the electroforming process itself, I am always intrigued by what happens. I love the mixing of new glass with vintage keys! I often find myself wondering what was unlocked and who did the unlocking with those keys.

5. What’s your best seller? 
It’s a toss up. I do sell a lot of boro glass beads on horseshoe nail pendants. But I also sell a lot of boro glass hearts, especially the ones that I include a small vintage key as an accompanying dangle. Due to the nature of how the glass reacts to the torch chemistry and the kiln temperatures, no two are alike, even if they come from the same glass rod. 

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island? 
With the exception of my first couple of years, I have always lived in Rhode Island. Is there any better place to live? :)

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island? 
I love the fact that I can live in the country, but can be in a small city within a short period of time. I love the fact that I see wildlife in my yard (ok, maybe not so much when they eat the garden). I love that I can be walking on a beach or meandering in the woods in the same day if I choose. I love the friendly people in our small state. I love doing shows and chatting with people that I chatted with at another show. I love the history of our state. I love local antiquing. I love that my grown children live in the same state and it’s only a short drive to visit with them. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Doing good ~ Ornament Rescue League ~ Providence

ORGANIZATION NAME: Ornament Rescue League
SHOP NAME: Ornament Rescue on Etsy
TWITTER: @OrnamentRescue

Once a year, Christmas ornaments make their way out of the attic and onto the tree, glittering with our warmest memories, shining with our brightest hopes.

Because everyone deserves their chance to shine, the Ornament Rescue League refurbishes old ornaments to create new holiday memories for your family this Christmas. And with all proceeds benefitting Hasbro Children's Hospital, each ornament brings the hope of critical health services for children all throughout the year.

We are a group of friends who have come together to have some fun and do some good. Members of the League range from professional artists and designers to crafting rookies. Everyone's welcomed. All it takes is a little Christmas spirit (and a glue gun!)

The Ornament Rescue League is dedicated to the memory of Jill and Cheryl's mom, Betty McCarthy, a glitter of hope for all who were blessed to know and love her.

Each member takes a different approach to rescuing ornaments which makes our collection eclectic and unexpected. If you'd like to see the rescue process in action, stop by our blog.

For us, no matter where the creative process goes, we love watching the transformation from tattered to terrific!

We're just getting started, but so far folks have responded to our Christmas Lights collection.

In addition, we were honored to be asked by the Frates family to support the Ice Bucket Challenge campaign and Team Frate Train ( with our Ice Bucket Challenge Santa ornaments in honor of all the shivering heroes of 2014.

Our members range in age from 25 to 80, hailing from all parts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, one Rhody currently living in Colorado, and one long distance member all the way down under in New Zealand!

Small but mighty, Rhode Island pride runs deep! When we tell people that all proceeds are going to support Hasbro Children's Hospital, everyone beams and buys an ornament!

Thanks to all the family yard sales who have generously donated old ornaments to the cause. We hope you like our rescue efforts!

And finally, if you and your friends are interested in starting your own chapter of the Ornament Rescue League to support Hasbro Children's Hospital (or whichever cause is dear to your heart), reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or the blog. We'd be happy to share our experiences and help you get started!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Read Rhody ~ Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney

buy Waking The Merrow (The Merrow Trilogy) (Volume 1)
at Amazon
I picked up Waking the Merrow after reading about the Rhode Island Writers Expo in the Providence Journal.

It's an interesting read. I say that because Evie, the protagonist, is easily one of the most unpleasant people I've ever seen as a main character in a story. She's rude and obnoxious, deeply flawed, with a drinking problem and rather careless parenting skills. I didn't connect with her as a person. To pile on, most of the story is in first-person narrative, so there's no avoiding her unhappy, snarky attitude.

Even so, I found the story to be a page-turner. While I didn't much care what happened to Evie, I was curious to see where the story went. There was a lot of history built into the story, starting with an emigration from Ireland, and ending in today's Pawtuxet Village, with stops along the timeline that include the burning of the Gaspee and a peek at Pawtuxet Village's Gilded Age past. Rhode Islanders will find a lot of the place references and history familiar.

It's no spoiler to say the story involves mermaids (merrow) - a glance at the cover makes that clear. It's the history of the relationship between the sea and land dwellers, and how it culminates in a clash with Evie's family that make for compelling reading.

Waking the Merrow is meant to be first of a trilogy. I'm looking forward to reading the other novels and see how the whole story unfolds.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014