Monday, September 27, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Chicken Lips

Fall has hit New England; the leaves are starting to change, and I'm enjoying some cooler temperatures after a really hot summer! Although I hate the fact that winter comes after fall, I love the colors and scents of autumn in New England. It's hard to beat this time of year! However, browsing around Etsy today left me uninspired. I searched "autumn" and "harvest" without much luck. Granted, I found some great items and shops but nothing quite up for a spotlight. I then searched "pumpkin" and happily came across a truly unique shop!

David is the artist behind Chicken Lips, my new favorite store. He creates unique and whimsical folk art using Papier-Mache and Paperclay. David admits that he has had a creative streak since he was a young child. Play-doh and finger paints were favorites, and he made his first art doll using dried apple heads at the age of 10. Before tonight, I wasn't entirely sure what a dried apple head art doll is. A quick google search will answer most questions, so check out this website for more details. I'm even more impressed that David was making these art dolls at the age of 10 once I saw what it was! I'll admit that I was still a pretty big fan of dolls when I was 10, but I certainly wasn't making my own. However, David kept perfecting his art, and today Chicken Lips is a successful business with its own flair.

David makes all of his creations completely by hand. He uses his skills as a graphic designer to shape his Chicken Lips creations. He does not use moulds to design any of his work and all items are one of a kind. As stated above, his art is made from Papier-Mache and Paperclay. Hand made wooden bases and legs give extra support. After the Papier-Mache is shaped and detailed, he applies a coat of Gesso before painting. Each piece is also coated with a sealer before it is ready for sale! David has a great video of this entire process on his website. Click on "About the artist", and you will find the video at the bottom.

I love the list David gives of what inspires him: his goats, chickens, and goose, and all things vintage. I admit it's an interesting combination, but it seems to work because the finished product is great! If you want to know more about Chicken Lips, you can also visit David's blog. And anyone in the Bloomington, California area should check his website for a list of craft shows in which he will be participating this fall! His store is ready for Halloween - shop early, so you can enjoy your Chicken Lips Folk Art all season!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Bear Paw Rustics

I typically feature shops with a lot of information in their profiles to help guide my spotlight. But I came across Bear Paw Rustics and decided to break tradition. In preparing for fall, I recently searched "autumn" in Etsy. One of the first items that showed up was a handmade birdhouse. My father, who sadly passed away two years ago, loved all of our backyard critters. His favorite birthday or father's day gift was a 25 lb bag of sunflower seeds. We never had many bir houses, but there was an endless supply of bird and squirrel feeders. I think we are the one family that doesn't mind if the squirrel manages to climb up the "squirrel-proof" bird feeder because there's always enough to go around! So Bear Paw Rustics hits a special chord in me. I also hold a special place for fellow Mainers! Although I've transplanted myself to Boston, I'm still a Mainer at heart.

This store owner does much more than create bird houses. Bear Paw Rustics also sells various types of art, stools, coat/key racks and walking sticks. All of the coat/key racks are made of salvaged items. Everything else starts in nature. Birdhouses are made with jute, hemp, pine needs, moss, sticks, deer antlers, pine cones, and other great forest finds. Each birdhouse has its own unique character to make it one of a kind! The owner includes a great picture of a bird nesting in a birdhouse in his own backyard.

I am equally impressed with Bear Paw Rustics' assemblage and salvage art. I particularly like the way he paints wood disks into flowers and trees and then incorporates them with sticks and other objects found in nature. It's such an interesting combination and creative way to turn nature into art! The shop owner uses antique and vintage hardware to make intriguing coat/key rack. And of course, each rack starts wood to bring each piece back to nature.

Also be sure to check out the hiking/walking sticks. Most are made from rock maple, but this store owner has turned a few weathered pool cue into hiking sticks. Each hiking stick has a wrist strap for easier travel. The store owner hopes that his line of hiking sticks will encourage everyone to get outside, exercise, and enjoy nature!

What is most impressive is that this shop owner carries his personality throughout his store. Each piece is one of a kind and has its own mark, but looking through the shop, you can see patterns and trends emerge. The shop owner does a great job keeping a consistent style. Bear Paw Rustics is approaching 300 sales, so we know he's doing something right! Be sure to show this great shop some love!

Peek a boo!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm back, and I'm spotlighting myself!

After a long break, I'm finally back to my blog. It took a while to get back in the swing of things after my wedding a couple weeks ago! Someone at work didn't get the memo about easing back into things because last week was absolutely crazy! But I promised a spotlight today, and I'm going to be a little selfish! Cooler weather is quickly approaching, which means it's time to stock up on hand-knit goodies!

I am having another giveaway, this time sponsored by The Funky Monkey. One lucky winner will win a $25 gift certificate to my store! Start shopping now!! I'm pretty excited about another great opportunity. The contest ends on September 20. And if anyone has just been dying to know more about me, Susannah has included a great biography of how I came to learn to knit.