Free shipping on Matzah covers

Just in time for chag- original handmade batik Matzah covers:

2013-02-24 14.16.20    DSC03486

Supplies limited. Get yours today.

2013-03-25 09.15.44     2013-03-25 09.29.57

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Falling back in love with the fish

DSC03403I spend the month of December at craft shows and talked a lot about the batik process and stamping. I always bring some of my stamps (I have over 30), as they are an art collection themselves. “All my stamps have a story” I tell people.

My fish stamp is my only metal stamp. My mom bought it for me in Arizona because it didn’t look like any of the stamps I have. The metal holds the wax much more efficiently. With my wooden stamps I have to re-wax in between each stamping. With the fish I can stamp 4-5 times with the same wax.

When I got back to working in my studio in January I starting stamping with the fish a bunch.

DSC03400  I love the fish stamp, and not just because it’s one of my few stamps that is a recognizable symbol. There is something to be said for efficiency.

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Batik stamp contest!

My friend Getzel Davis recently led a group to Ghana with American Jewish World Service and since that’s where I learned my batik style, I asked him to go on an adventure and find me more batik stamps. He was rather excited at the prospect, and brought me back a few.

Turns out, to say “batik stamps” in Ghana means different things to different people. Where I learned, it involved wooden blocks like this:

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In my years of practice, I have come across stamps carved from calabash gourds like these below. If you click on the picture, you can watch a video of someone using the stamps:

video stamping

So, Getzel brought me calabash gourd stamps, which are super cool but a bit more fragile. Here is some of my current collection:

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Here is a close up shot of the handle:

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Can you build me 3 stamp handles? Winner will get a batik fabric in colors of their choice using one of these stamps!

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MCC’s Artist Fellowships

On a whim I applied for a Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship. How cool would this be?
The MCC’s Artist Fellowships provide direct, unrestricted support to Massachusetts artists in recognition of exceptional original work, to foster the creation of new art in the Commonwealth.

UNRESTRICTED!!

Awards
The Artist Fellowships provide competitive grants of $7,500 and finalist awards of $500. The number of awards per discipline category varies according to the number of applications reviewed, the recommendations of each panel, and program funds available.

In all seriousness, the application was so simple I can only imagine how competitive it is. Here are the instructions:

Upload five images, in JPG format, using the online form. Images will be simultaneously projected left to right, 1-5, during the panel review. Please consider this as you choose the order in which you upload images.

Review Criteria
There are two review criteria for the Artist Fellowships: artistic quality and creative ability as evidenced by original work submitted.

That’s it.

So here is what I sent:How do I show what I do in 5 images?

I’ll let you know in February.

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Bartering projects

It’s always fun to see my fabric used in new ways. At New Bedord Summerfest I traded a BBbatiks fat quarter for a business card holder with ApRi.

All her items are made with reclaimed burlap from New England roasters’ coffee bean sacks. They sew each item on industrial machines from the 1960’s because the fabric is so heavy. Fabrics are thrifted, upcycled and recycled. Jute is natural fiber that doesn’t need pesticides or even fertilizer, making it even more sustainable and eco-friendly. It is biodegradable, strong, durable and UV resistant.

Here is a wallet April made out of one of my fat quarters:

Love it! Apparently this piece has already been sold at the American Folk Festival in Maine- but stay tuned for future collaborations.

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Who are the artists in my neighborhood?

Lucky for me I’ve got AMAZING ARTISTS in my neighborhood… and we’ve decided to tell the world how great we are on our new website, bsidejp. A short walk from studio to studio, the B-Side is saturated with artists!

When you get tired of a hit record, you can flip it over and find an even cooler song on the b-side. The B-Side of Jamaica Plain is the neighborhood around Brookside Ave. and Amory St., near the Brewery Complex.

If you’re planning on attending Jamaica Plain Open Studios, September 22 & 23, 2012, this is a great area to visit us artists in our natural habitat.

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Searching for the perfect red

I was working on a tablecloth commission. In general I find commissions to be both very exciting and a bit nerve racking. Creating a piece to fit somebody’s vision adds pressure. Plus, they consider me an expert, since I’m the artist. Me, expert? In this case, I got to go to their house and lay out fabric and see how the colors and designs fit in their space which is one of my favorite activities.

I know the red she’s looking for, but I’ve been struggling with how to get there. It also has to play well with chartreuse, the base color.

Here’s what I have discovered:

Barn red- too brown
Red fuchsia- too pink
Basic red- also too pink
Scarlet- too orange
Hot pink- not red
Rust orange- not red
Strongest red- THE WINNER!

 

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kids T-shirts now available

Meet my new models: Zeke Silas and Jonah Max!

 

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Dusty Lavender and Harvest Gold R.I.P.

I recently learned that an “internet special” is a color that they mixed and had some left over- so they sell it cheap online. They’re not totally sure how they got the color, and therefore know they can’t reproduce it- so it’s a one shot deal.

Alas, dusty lavender and harvest gold no longer exist in Pro-Chemical land.

R.I.P.

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Passover on Shabbat: How do we cover the mazah?

There are big halachic (Jewish law) implications and discussions for when Passover begins on Shabbat (Friday night). A very important question was recently posed to me: Since this year (2012) Passover begins on Shabbat, could you use a (batik) challah cover that says Shabbat Shalom (Good Sabbath) for the Passover Seder?

I’m no rabbi, but I do have some thoughts on the matter:

If it’s a new cover, one that has never actually touched a challah, it’s ok to use it on Passover, regardless of what is printed on it. Unlike the challah, which is covered during the other Friday night blessings so it wont be jealous of being blessed/recognized last, the matzah recognizes it is part of a long Seder process. The matzah sits on the seder table alongside the Seder plate, full of ritual objects, all of which get pointed out at their right time. Matzah is a humble bread and ok with no big signpost to it’s existence.

If however, the cover was involved in some leavened activities (like covering a challah) from the period of its formation until the first night of Passover, it is not ok to use it.

If it is a cover that was made in Eretz Yisroel (the land of Israel) and bought in a sealed package, and only unsealed at the Passover table, it is ok to use.

If it is a cover made by young children in the Far East for only pennies, as part of a system that perpetuates their lives in squalid conditions and the growth of multinational corporations, it is not ok to use.

If it a cover made by a local artisan, it is ok to use.

Thanks to photographer Joe Driscoll, you can see photos of my matzah covers here, or pictures of his life, coffee habits and travels here.

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