The Church of Craft

July 28, 2010, 14:27 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

How do I craft my life? Well, it all starts with making time to craft. On the second Monday of every month, I do just that with the Church of Craft. No, it’s not some bizarre cult…although participants do sometimes bring offerings (i.e. sweets to share!). It’s a craft group where everyone brings something to work on, and together we chat and laugh and craft in the front lobby of Lark. These are the Mondays I love the most.

The Church of Craft started in the Bay Area in the spring of 2000 when three friends hatched the idea to gather and form a community around craft. With the help of the Internet, the founding members discovered an easy way to bring people together—from online to in-person. Thus, the Church of Craft was born.

Fast forward to 2010, where there are now thirteen chapters of the Church of Craft, throughout the United States, and even as far as Manchester, UK. The mission is always the same: bring a portable project, and gather once a month to craft together as a group. Go to a Church of Craft meeting and you’ll see knitters sitting next to painters, bookmakers beside embroiderers, beaders, quilters, sewers… and the list goes on and on. It’s always inspiring to check out what your neighbors are working on, and it’s a great way to pick up some additional crafty skills. My local group has even created a separate knitting group (Yarn Buds, how cute is that?) for anyone ready to learn or pick up the needles again. (Thanks, Anet!) Carrie, another amazing Church of Craft member is also a founding member of the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville. I’m telling you, it’s a supergroup of creative talent!

Want to join the Church of Craft? Go here to see if there’s a chapter near you. Or, take the leap and start your own chapter. If you’re in Asheville, come join us on the second Mondays of the month, from 6-9 pm, at 67 Broadway. I’m forever grateful to Trish for starting the Asheville COC, and am it’s great to have it at Lark. Thanks to the Church of Craft, I’ve made some wonderful friends, learned some awesome crafts, and actually finished a bunch of projects. Now that’s what I call time well spent!

A special thanks to Etsy for sending us Pebeo paints in our Etsy Craft Party package. As you can see, we put them to good use at our last meeting of the Church of Craft.

L to R: Meda, me, Kim, Carrie, Krista's monster china!, Denise, Krista AKA Canoo, Shannon AKA Earlygirl, Ira AKA This Dog's Life


Cast Cookware of Kerala: Must-See TV

July 28, 2010, 14:04 pm  Posted by Lark Jewelry & Beading

Anthony Bourdain’s television show, No Reservations, serves up a trio of personal delights: travel, food, and a thorny attitude. Now, if he could just work in some metalsmithing, it would be very close to broadcast nirvana.

Well, hold onto your seats boys and girls. In this week’s episode, Tony visited Kerala, a state located on the southwest coast of India. He and his crew documented an incredible group of craftsmen, known as Moosaris, who cast bell metal, a bronze alloy, into traditional cookware.

One piece they make is a uruli, a circular bowl used for cooking, serving, and ceremonial rites. The process of making a uruli is passed down from generation to generation, and the food prepared in them are believed to have a distinctive taste.

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Our giveaway celebrating the Beadweaving Master Class Series included signed copies of Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork, Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence, and the newly released Laura McCabe’s Embellished Beadweaving–three beautiful books offering master classes with some of the leading teachers in beading today. Incredibly, the giveaway generated more than 200 comments, demonstrating the popularity of this series and the enthusiastic passion it generates.

I asked for your suggestions about beaders you’d like to see in the series, noting that Sherry SerafiniMaggie Meister, and Rachel Nelson-Smith will have new releases in the series in 2011. As a group, you rejoiced at these choices and then gave us many additional and wonderful suggestions. Thank you. We are familiar with almost all the beaders suggested, and as we move the series forward I promise that your recommendations will be taken to heart.

I’m pleased to announce the winner of the three signed books, randomly selected from all the comments with a random number generator, is …

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Art and Fashion

July 28, 2010, 07:00 am  Posted by needlearts

I’m not really into fashion, per se. But, there is one designer of haute couture that so delights me, I consider his designs more works of art than fashion. The mix of pattern and color is truly inspirational. Perhaps it’s because he started out studying art history (dissertation topic: Costume in 18th-century French painting). In any event, and fortunately for us all, he ended up designing clothes rather than studying paintings of them.

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Fabric is not just for making clothes, of course. One of my new favorite things is this little bracelet I bought from local creative Marin Mitchell at the Etsy birthday party we threw last month.

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Beadmaille Necklace by Cindy Pankopf

California jewelry artist Cindy Thomas Pankopf, the author of Beadmaille, is a certified Senior Art Clay Silver Instructor, founding president of the Art Clay Society of Orange County, California, and a popular teacher at the Bead & Button Show and Bead Away events. In Beadmaille, Cindy merges beadweaving with chainmail to make 25 gorgeous and inspiring jewelry designs. I spoke with this self-described obsessive and addicted beader about what drives her, what inspires her, and what she eats for dessert. You can learn more about Cindy and her work at www.cindypankopf.com.

Cindy, describe your personality …

I am a rather obsessive person. When I get involved in something it pretty much takes over my entire brain.

I am an all-or-nothing girl. My husband will often look over at me when my eyes are distant, tap my forehead and say, “It looks awfully busy in there!” He is always right!

I also like things to be very precise. Those who know me well call me a perfectionist.

… and describe your art.

Gold Caterpillar Bracelet by Cindy Pankopf



Seed beads are my drug of choice. I love all the colors and finishes and must have as many as I can find.

Beading for me began as experiments in color interactions. I would make the same project over and over but change just one of the colors to see how that would affect the overall look and feel of the piece. Color is still at the heart of everything that I create.

As I got more experienced with beading, I became intrigued with structural seed bead work. Because I am primarily self-taught, I do not have a lot of preconceived ideas about how a particular stitch “should” be done. I think that this has given me tons of creative freedom, which has led to some pretty neat stuff, like Beadmaille!

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To commemorate her 70th birthday and the 38th anniversary of Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington, Karen Lorene has put together an ambitious and impressive exhibition. Celebrating 70 features 70 unique pieces made by 70 different jewelers.

Each piece in the show relates to a specific year from 1940 to 2010. Most works are rooted in an historic event: the eruption of Mount St. Helens; the landmark case of Brown vs. The Board of Education; the invention of the Polaroid instant camera; the recording of We Are the World.

Celebrating 70 will be on view from August 19 through September 5, 2010. Facere Jewelry Art Gallery will host a lecture on Thursday, August 19 at 4:00pm with a reception to follow at 5:00pm.

Please join me in honoring the passion, dedication, and advocacy of Karen Lorene on this momentous occasion. If you are unable to attend Celebrating 70 in person, I highly recommend a visit to Facere’s website, where you can view each diverse and inspiring piece in this outstanding collection. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:

1940 - Linda Kindler Priest, The End of Art Deco

1943 - Micki Lippe, Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?

1945 - Gina Pankowski, Slice of Life

1947 Barbara Seidenath, Instant Moment

1951 - Seth Papac, i.d.

1954 - Jessica Calderwood, Brown Versus Board of Education

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Have a holly, jolly July!

July 26, 2010, 10:19 am  Posted by Lark

That’s right, folks… time to unpack the hot cocoa, tinsel, and candy canes. It’s Christmas in July over at Sew, Mama, Sew! And this year’s theme is brought to you by Fa La La La Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations, our first needlearts release of the fall season. This week on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog, you can enjoy some free projects, read fabulous designer profiles, and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book… so join the fun!

(Also, if you’re interested in getting updates like this on a more regular basis, we’ve just launched our needlearts twitter feed. Tweeting fun, here we come.)


Swapping Pillow Talk in the Blogosphere

July 26, 2010, 09:56 am  Posted by needlearts
Pillow Talk {Swap}

Pillow Talk {Swap}

If you make a mean pillow, you need to get in on the Pillow Talk {Swap} over on Flickr. You’ll make an awesome, modern pillow and receive one from your assigned partner in return. Everyone in the swap has to have evidence of participating in at least one prior swap of any kind in their Flickr photostream, so you know you’ll be paired with an experienced swapper. It looks like some amazing creations come out of these exchanges, and the administrators even take care to try to match you with the right partner according to fabric tastes and style. If you’d like more insight into the genesis of the Pillow Talk {Swap}, check out an interview with the two founders, Kerri and Heather, over on Fat Quarterly. You can also find Heather on A La Mode Fabric and Kerri on Lovely Little Handmades. Sign-ups for another Heather and Kerri swap, { Urban } Home Goods, start today (July 26th)! The next pillow swap will most likely start sometime around or after the holidays, so keep checking that Flickr page. Read on to find creations from some artists in past Pillow Talk {Swaps} that are generating some blog buzz.

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Free Project Friday (and sweepstakes!): In Bloom

July 23, 2010, 09:55 am  Posted by Lark

In Bloom, indeed! This project is so refreshingly simple and lovely, we just had to know more about the designer behind the pillow, Yvonne Eijkenduijn.

Yvonne’s Blog: www.yvestown.com
Your design style in three words: English country with a Scandinavian touch
What makes pillows the perfect creative canvas? Because they can be pretty and functional.
#1 on your summertime crafting to-do list? Bunting for garden parties
Current crafting obsession? Crochet!

Free Project: Give In Bloom a whirl!

Interested in winning a free copy of Pretty Little Pillows? Each Friday for the next month (ending Friday, July 30th), Lark Crafts will post a free project and giveaway offer. For a chance to win that week’s prize, you will need to comment on the post during the times and dates specified.

Comment on this post between now and next Wednesday, July 28th by 9pm EST, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free copy of Pretty Little Pillows. One winner will be selected at random on or before Thursday, July 29th at 10am, and announced on Friday. Click here for the official rules.

Congratulations to last week’s winner, CraftingwithCatHair. And thanks to everyone who commented!