The Jaw Harp: Heavenly Metal

September 22, 2010, 18:41 pm  Posted by Lark Jewelry & Beading

Jaw harp, Jew’s harp, juice harp, mouth harp, Ozark harp, trump harp, English trump, guimbarde, lamellophone…the list of names goes on and on.

Whatever you call it, this simple metal object is my latest obsession. There is so much grace in this design.

Since a jaw harp is meant to be played, its function must have dictated its design. Can the absolute clarity of purpose makes a design more beautiful? Hm. I’ll have to chew on that for a while.

Speaking of chewing, I love the way this object relates to the body. The scale of the object to the mouth is more intimate than, say, a trombone. To me, it feels like jewelry.

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Thank You, Creative Connection!

September 22, 2010, 11:20 am  Posted by Lark

You’ve been hearing a LOT about the Creative Connection event around here…and for very good reason. Lark Crafts was a proud co-platinum sponsor with our friends at Etsy, we had a bunch of our fabulous authors and publishing partners in attendance, and in general we’ve been pretty darn excited about the whole thing since we heard about it earlier this year. This constellation of entrepreneurs, authors, bloggers, crafters, and enthusiastic creatives came together from all over the country (from 46 states, I believe!) to join together to share, instruct, and inspire each other over a period of three days in the lovely city of Minneapolis. Perhaps you read Vickie Howell’s recent on-the-ground report chronicling just the first day of the event? Quite the whirlwind of activity, no? Well, I can tell you as someone who was there the entire time, from preview of the Handmade Market to the goodbyes at the Cupcake Farewell that the excitement, inspiration, and fun just kept coming for the remaining two days. And I have the photos to prove it. Check out my extensive set on Flickr chronicling the weekend’s adventures. You’ll see me, some of our authors, some celebrities in the creative world, and our wonderful trio of scholarship winners.

Speaking of those scholarship winners: I adored them. Seriously, you couldn’t find more enthusiastic ladies to send to an event like this. So when it came down to providing a recap of our time there, I decided that they could encapsulate the experience far better than yours truly ever could. And so I asked Kerrie, Suzanne, and Jennie for their reflections of the event.

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Q&A: Sew What’s Up, Tina?

September 22, 2010, 08:00 am  Posted by needlearts

The irrepressible Tina Givens is a Renaissance woman—illustrator and stationer, as well as fabric, pattern, and clothing designer. Now she’s an author, too, as Sew Tina! debuts on October 5. It’s a charming collection of 30 projects for children that celebrates Tina’s signature clothing and accessories, all made from her glorious fabrics, of course. Here’s the first part of my discussion with the busy designer and mother of three; look for the remainder of our chat in October, when Tina tells all about designing fabrics and gives us a sneak peek at her upcoming line.

Tina, you do so many things! People love your line of fabrics and patterns. But you were discovered at a stationery show. Tell me a little about how that happened.

My handcrafted stationery collection launched back in 2004, and a year later I decided (at the last minute) to exhibit a new scrapbook paper collection at the Craft and Hobby Association show. We arrived and found our booth miles away from the whole scrapbook area. We wrote few orders that show, however it was enormously successful in that representatives from Westminster Fibers came into the booth and introduced themselves.  They loved my work and literally on the spot invited me to design fabrics for their FreeSpirit line. I was stunned. A seamstress at heart, this was a dream. I kept pinching myself all the way home!

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If you don’t own any of Lark’s acclaimed ceramics books yet, this is your chance to win four standout releases. To be entered for a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by 9 pm EST on Tuesday, September 28th. Any post counts, but we’d love to hear about your most prized piece of ceramics. Is it a raku vase from a local artist? A goblet you were given as a housewarming present? Or maybe it’s a sculpture from a family member. Either way, we’d like to hear about it and why it means so much to you. We’ll announce the randomly chosen winner on October 5th. See the official rules and regulations here.

Be the first to own 500 Vases before it’s even available in stores! (For everyone else, you can pick up your copy on  October 5th or pre-order here.) The vases in this survey are far more than utilitarian objects; in this spectacular collection you’ll find works that challenge and enchant. As juror/potter Julia Galloway points out “the best vases transcend service and stand on their own as art.” Get ready to look at the vase in a whole new light with these extraordinary pieces of art. Front cover art by Priscilla Hollingsworth.

From freestanding objects to large-scale instillations, the works in 500 Ceramic Sculptures show the exciting diversity of ceramic art. Juror Glen R. Brown carefully honed this collection from over 7,500 submissions—a difficult task indeed—but what you’ll find is the best of the best of contemporary ceramic sculpture. Front cover art by Jeff Kaller.

Masters Porcelain showcases the work of 40 leading sculptors and potters using porcelain today. It’s a fascinating snapshot of porcelain’s unique expressive and technical qualities, and offers a glimpse into the thoughts and feelings of the featured artists. Curated by ceramist Richard Burkett, this is the first book in the Masters series, and the perfect book to start with for your very own growing Masters library. Front cover art by Sergei Isupov, Keisuke Mizuno, Silvie Granatelli, Harlan House, and Richard Shaw.

According to AmericanStyle magazine, flipping through the pages of Masters: Earthenware is like exploring a fine art gallery. Handpicked by the late ceramist Matthias Ostermann, 38 international ceramic artists are profiled with galleries of their spectacular work, and as with each and every Masters book, you’ll find insightful quotes from the artists interspersed throughout the images. Front cover art by Phyllis Kloda, Joan Takayama-Ogawa, and Holly Walker.

Now, go polish up your coffee table and clear some space—these books demand to be admired, poured over, and deliciously savored. Good luck to all who enter!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Simone for leaving the winning comment, as determined by a drawing at random.org. Enjoy!


River Rockin’ Jewelry

September 21, 2010, 08:41 am  Posted by Lark

I love walking along rivers and lakes looking for rocks. In particular, those smooth stones that have been tumbled and sanded, soothing to the touch. I have a collection of specially found and loved ones. While a rock pile is great, check out what these etsy artists have created with their finds.rock jewelry gallery

1. Ashley Akers Jewelry 2. Heavenly Cranes Jewelry 3. fugudesigns 4. sedona rockstax

5. Filigree Pheasant 6. Diane Kuligowski Handcrafted Jewelery 7. EmJay Designs 8. Reagan Hayhurst


The De-Stash Diaries, Vol. 12—So Tina

September 21, 2010, 08:00 am  Posted by needlearts

front cover

We’re all about designer Tina Givens here in the needlearts group. We’ll celebrate of the release her first book, Sew Tina!, with lots of fun posts beginning this week. Look for the book on October 5; until then stick around for an interview, some sneak peeks, a free project or two, and info about Tina’s blog tour. Today I decided to see what the clever folks at Etsy have been making from their stashes of Tina-designed fabrics.

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Connect with… Kaari Meng

September 18, 2010, 14:11 pm  Posted by Lark

In love with all things French General? Then you’ll love hearing from Kaari Meng, who’s attending (and leading several workshops!) at Creative Connection. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to connect with her there?

Name: Kaari Meng
Blog/site: FrenchGeneral.com and FrenchGeneral.Blogspot.com
Book: Treasured Notions
Traveling from: Los Angeles, California

What does Creative Connection mean to you?
The Creative Connection is like a one stop creative shop – combining  all of the very best talent the craft world has to offer.  It’s exciting to see it all come together and know that everyone is contributing to make this very special event succeed.

What are you most excited about the event?
I am most excited about meeting the women who are coming from all over the United States to participate in this unique craft concept.  I think it takes a creative soul to venture out and try something new.  We will each take something special away from this event – we will learn new skills, make new friends and know that every creative act is appreciated by someone else – that’s inspiring to me!

What is the best part of being able to connect with other entrepreneurial women?
Every woman has something to teach – which makes us all pretty entrepreneurial! I think the best part of connecting with entrepreneurial women is getting to know someone and learning how they tap into their creativity – how that in turn drives their spirit.

How do you think the event will impact your future plans for business and/or creative growth?
Whenever I attend an event that is filled with creative women, I learn so much more than I expect to learn!  I learn about myself and French General by listening to what others would like to see us do – more books, fabric, kits…it’s always refreshing to hear from women who have been following our journey and would like to suggest new ways to grow our creativity.

What classes and panels are you attending or giving?
I am teaching four jewelry workshops throughout the Event and one fabric tag class during the Handmade Market on Thursday afternoon.

What color are your pajamas (for the pajama party)?
Say What?!  Didn’t know I was going to a pajama party!!

Want to hear what other folks were excited about? Follow the links to hear from:

Tina Givens
Sandy Stone
Vickie Howell
Serena Thompson
Cathie Filian

(Pssst: Did you see our post from Friday? Enter for your chance to win a fabulous batch of books from all our Creative Connection authors!)


Creative Connection Book Giveaway

September 17, 2010, 14:45 pm  Posted by needlearts

Those of us around the office who weren’t lucky enough to travel to Creative Connection have enjoyed all the updates from our authors throughout the week. From interviews to Twitter dispatches, it’s almost like we were there. To keep the Creative Connection fun going, we have a special book giveaway for you!

This bundle includes a bunch of books from Lark authors who attended Creative Connection: Fabric Remix by Sandy Stone, Sew Tina by Tina Givens, Craft Corps by Vickie Howell, Bow Wow WOW by Cathie Filian, and French-Inspired Jewelry by Kaari Meng.

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This Dog’s Life with Ira G

September 17, 2010, 13:47 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

From Asheville, North Carolina, it’s This Dog’s Life. I’m Ira G. Each FRIDAY, of course, I pick a theme and present a story around that theme.

In book news, we just got our advance copy of my ma’s first book, Craft-In, and it looks so cool! I’m sure she’ll tell you all about it when it comes out in October, (pssst, you can pre-order it here and here), but, just so you know, it’s a box set of 12 project booklets by some really talented artists, and has a painting on the cover by Michele Maule.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but let’s just say that if you like vegan cupcakes, hula hooping, keeping lists, fake food, shrinky dinks, drawing, moss, mini sheep, paper dolls, crocheting, painting, stitching, and hanging out with your friends, then Craft-In is the book for you! Contributors include Suzie Millions, Cindy Steiler, Julie Armbruster, Alli Good, Katy Yellen, Jodi Rhoden, John Murphy, Debrina Pratt, Jeanette Lim, Alisa Wagner Poage, MelMac Pink, and Maura Okuley. It will knock your ‘hawk off, dudes, and that’s all I’m gonna say about it for now.


This Dog’s Life 16

This Dog’s Life 15

This Dog’s Life 14

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Connect with… Cathie Filian

September 17, 2010, 13:00 pm  Posted by Lark

Next up in our Creative Connection celebration is the seriously charming Cathie Filian. Read more about why Cathie’s excited about the event and what functions she’s attending. And if you’re at the show, connect with her there!

Name: Cathie Filian
Blog/site: CathieFilian.com
Book: 101 Snappy Fashions, Bow Wow WOW! and Creative Juice
Traveling from: Los Angeles, California

What are you most excited about the event?
Seeing all my creative friends and meeting new ones.

What is the best part of being able to connect with other entrepreneurial women?
Learning from others and teaching others what I have learned.

What classes and panels are you attending or giving?
I’ll be doing a book signing on Thursday, September 16th at 5:30 and attending the kick-off gala dinner.  I will also be a panelist for the Boxed Lunch – Women Entrepreneurs on Friday, September 17th at 11:30 am to 2:00 pm.

What color are your pajamas (for the pajama party)?
Not sure yet!  I am still packing.  My favorite P.J.’s have holes and paint stains…so I am not sure they are the best ones for a public party.