Hearts and Crafts Summer 2011

Come celebrate the last days of July by shopping local, indie and handmade. On Saturday grab a sandwich at Starry Nights and dress yourself up in locally designed clothing and accessories. On Sunday get a coffee at Java's and enjoy artwork, jewelry,books, and wares made by myself and many other talented Rochestarians.

Check out this photo album of the vendors work that will be offered on Sunday. I'm working hard on some new Matchstick Paintings (below). Hope to see you there!


Review: StopStart

I have a favorite shirt that says "Art as Activism". One day, while shopping at Wegmans of all places, I saw it hanging in the Organic Gifts section. Although I am not one to buy my clothes at supermarkets, the message on this particular shirt was too important to pass up. Art at its best should expose, enlighten and force us to evolve.

This past week I bought a really great item in support of a really great cause called StopStart. StopStart is a fair trade organization, dedicated to ending human trafficking and re-starting the lives of trafficking victims in Cambodia. Proceeds go to the individuals who made the items to get them back on their feet.

The item I purchased is a messenger bag made from a used rice sack. I was drawn to the fish design (pisces cliche, I know). I also appreciate the repurposing of the the rice sack, from its mundane use to a fashionable design material. It is well made, strong and has an adjustable strap and interior pocket. There were a variety of styles and sizes to choose from and none are exactly alike. It was also really affordable at $17.00!

I have received so many compliments on this bag. Each time it opens up a conversation to talk about StopStart and human trafficking. Pure craftivism! Next time you go shopping, think about purchasing something that you know will help people and our world in some way.

*For more info on Human Trafficking check out this soon to be released film Not My Life . Also check out the Not For Sale website.


Buenahelena's Christmas in July Sale!

Myself and several people on the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team are participating in Christmas in July on Etsy. Although this is an unofficial event, not sponsored by Etsy, tons of sellers take part in it each year. If you search Etsy tags like Christmas in July or CIJ you will find items/shops offering a variety of sales from % off to free shipping to extra goodies.

The sale for Buenahelena is 25% off any item in shop, if you use the coupon code: RNESTCIJ, from July 14th-25th. Other RNESTer's are using the same code, but be sure to check what the specifications of their sales are. Most likely they are different than mine!

Happy shopping :)

How To: Make Ink Blot T-Shirts

I'm back from camp and here to share one of our projects. This year for crafts I wanted to take a new spin on the tried and true tie-dye craft project. I found a really cool tutorial on Instructables, based on Rorschach ink blot tests. These are super easy and give you pretty stunning results.

You will need:
  • A pre washed cotton t-shirt
  • Fabric paint (I used speedball silkscreen ink, found at most craft stores)
  • Craft/Popsicle Sticks
  • A large piece of cardboard
  • Flat thumbtacks
  • Ruler (preferably a yard or longer)
  • X-acto or utility knife
  • Iron

Step 1: Score a line down the middle of the back of your cardboard, using a ruler and x-acto knife. Don't go all the way through. Just enough so the cardboard can fold in half.

Step 2: Push the cardboard inside the shirt. Center it by lining up the crease in the card board with the care tag. Smooth the shirt out against the board, but be careful not to stretch it. Place 8 tacks to secure the top and bottom of the crease as well is the sides of the shirt.

Step 3: Add random paint splatters on one side. I used three colors, you can use as many or as few as you like. I also like to drizzle the paint on with small craft sticks. Be careful not to go too thin (design won't transfer) or too thick (design will crack).

Step 4: Fold the cardboard from the blank side of the shirt over your wet paint design.

Step 5: Open it up and you have a great ink blot design! Remove cardboard and tacks. Heat set with an iron, following the settings suggested for the particular fabric paint you are using.

Here is an example of one I made for myself. Enjoy as others interpret the psychological implicatons of your t-shirt design :)