MARCH ARTIST OF THE MONTH

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Tamara Major, graphic artist of Medford, MA is my ARTIST OF THE MONTH. With each AOTM, the artist donates something they made for a raffle. This month we’re  giving away a set of Tamara’s cards of local scenes.

Tamara's cards (1)

There is no purchase necessary – just stop in BLUE CLOUD GALLERY and fill out the raffle slip, put it in the box.

Tamara’s cards & prints of local Somerville scenes are pen & ink depictions of popular locales that also speak to her personally.  She uses bright colors & creates them quickly, trying to capture the dynamic personalities of different parts of the city. Most recently she has been focusing on acrylic paints & watercolors. The brushes & paints take her to a more spiritual place. Tamara tries to capture the reflective, quiet experience of observing nature which always provided a sanctuary. The sights & sounds of nature she feels as mysterious, magical, healing, poetry. Growing up in the Midwest, her family spent summers in Florida, gleefully finding shells & ocean life in & on the beaches … the skies with their dramatic sunsets, the streets lined with brilliant flowers & trees… all influenced by what she finds fascinating & still finds inspirational today. Now that she lives in New England, she finds similar themes to paint. Walden Pond & Great Meadows have been some recent subjects.

Craftstyle

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via Daily Prompt: Craft

I just created the word, “craftstyle” in response to the Daily Prompt. It’s obviously not a word since spell checker has red-lined it. That’s great! I created a new word and now get to create a definition that no one else has created! So, “craftstyle is a lifestyle based on handcrafted goods. That is, living a life that is based on either making handcrafted items, selling handcrafted items, or purchasing handcrafted items.” Craftstyle!

As the owner of a small retail store, I sell gifts handcrafted by 140 local artists. Therefor, I help support the artists’ craftstyles. And my customers bring a little of that craftstyle into their lives when they buy gifts for family and friends, promoting craftstyle to those they know and love. My job is living a craftstyle!

Do you fit in the definition somewhere?

FEBRUARY ARTIST OF THE MONTH

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stained-glass-copy

Some People Drink, She Cuts Glass.

Jennifer’s father was her first stained glass art teacher when she was about eight or nine years old.

She took stained glass in college and continued to learn after she moved to Boston.

She uses a lot of imperfect glass from Blenko in Milton, West Virginia. Jennifer doesn’t focus on finding perfect colors, she focuses on colors that she likes and thinks look nice together. She generally creates her own patterns, but looks for inspiration everywhere.

She has never cut herself so badly where she needed stitches!

“I don’t believe that art must have a deep meaning to be considered art. It simply needs to make someone happy, either the artist who created it, or those who stop to admire it.” Jennifer and I invite you to stop by Blue Cloud Gallery to see a selection of her stained glass art creations. And you can sign up to win one of her stained glass stars – no purchase necessary!

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Monthly Featured Artist

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When I first opened my store (handcrafted gifts made by 140 local artists), I featured an Artist of the Month. It lasted about a year and for no reason passed by the wayside. Six years later, I am reconstituting the idea, with an added feature of raffling off an item made by the Artist of the Month. Anyone can stop by the store – anyone can stop by the store ANYWAY! – and sign up for the free raffle, no purchase necessary. Depending on who the Artist of the Month is, there may even be a workshop held sometime during the month, depending if the artist makes something that can be taught. Below is the first artist I am featuring. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

The Artist of the Month is

ANNE SHUMAN
anneSpirationZ!

Anne is a fiber artist and designer. She loves to use yarn and fabric as a medium to create all sorts of interesting, beautiful, and whimsical things to wear. Anne has been exploring the concept of recycling and reusing materials. Using odds and ends of scrap yarn, she knits them into hats, scarves and sweaters. Anne came up with her idea to make T-Skirts out of a bag full of old favorite T-shirts. Her over-dyed T-Skirts have elastic waistbands and come in 2 sizes: small/medium and large/XL. There are 2 designs: flared or tiered. Normally sold for $125, at Blue Cloud Gallery they are $79.

Warm fleece wraps and ponchos are another of Anne Shuman’s specialties. She embroiders them and decorates them with bits of yarn. When the cold winds are blowing inside or out, you’ll be snugly warm with one of her creations wrapped around you. They are enough to chase your winter blues away! And at $79, you can buy one for mom! One size fits all.

Stop by Blue Cloud Gallery to enter a raffle for a FREE warm and cozy fleece ski band, your choice of colors, made by Concord, MA artist, Anne Shuman. 

Blue Cloud Gallery is offering a chance to win a FREE item made by the Artist of The Month – every month. This is a new tradition where every month, Blue Cloud Gallery will feature an artist and offer something they have made for free in a raffle. All you have to do is stop by and put your name and contact information into our raffle box.
No purchase necessary. 

Etched Brass Jewelry at BLUE CLOUD GALLERY

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I want to introduce one of my jewelry artists to you via this Blog. His son called me in September 2012 to ask if I’d be interested in carrying his father’s work. Always interested in looking at new artwork, he stopped by later with a quantity of intricate and beautifully etched brass earrings and necklaces. It didn’t take me long to agree; then came the difficult decision of which pieces should I carry!

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Necklace and Earrings by ZEV REJMAN

Valentin Zev Rejman creates distinctive handcrafted jewelry using silver, gold, bronze and copper toned brass, in unique and original patterns inspired by life and nature. He applies the latest etching techniques to create a palette of shapes and textures.

ZR earr brass silver

Zev founded Etched Vintage Art Studio, Inc., and helped in pioneering the chemical milling etching process on metal sheets. His designs are steeped in the historical evolution of countries from around the world. By integrating organic accents into the jewelry, a lush palette of shapes, hues and textures are formed. From start to finish, earrings and necklaces are created as a thoroughly well thought out composition of complimentary elements and color choices. With an emphasis on design, material, and effortless beauty, Zev’s jewelry offers a fresh and vibrant look that compliments every woman. Each piece is its own tiny work of art.

ZR round earr

Born in Argentina and raised in Israel, Zev found his passion early in the fusion of art and science. With a degree in Engineering and Public Communications from Boston University, his works embody technical expertise united with an aesthetic that are at once classic while pushing the imagination. Zev has worked out of his studio located in Eastern Massachusetts for over 20 years, constantly striving to produce new and innovative approaches to making art. Jewelry has always been his focal point, and what separates his line from so many others out there is Zev’s ability to transform his experience and passion with a skilled artistic eye into a contemporary jewelry design context.

ZR black silver earr

Besides the jewelry he designs, makes and sells at quality gift stores like Blue Cloud Gallery in Ball SQ Somerville, master etcher Zev Rejman founded Crafted Illuminations, designs that enhance life by enhancing the quality of light itself. A collection that includes sconces, overheads, focal pieces & lamps -each piece brings interiors to life with ambiance from the shadows they cast.  

ZR necklace

 

 

Support Your Local Gift Shop

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Writing a blog is like New Years’ Resolutions – easier said than done. Maybe if I just start writing then something will materialize. I like to write. It’s hard to do on demand, tho. What is my theme? I must have a theme. Can’t write without one. What’s going on at my store, you ask? I have a lot of cool, unique, interesting locally made craft and art and jewelry that I want people to come in and experience. I have a fun, interesting gift store; I love my store, I love my artists and I love my customers. When I have a busy day, the customers always mention how much they like my store. I can see that they genuinely do. It is gratifying that the things my artists make are purchased by such admiring and thoughtful people. I have had customers come back just to tell me that the recipient of the gift was thrilled. That has happened many times. I feel very, very lucky to own my store, to be part of a community that values the arts (Somerville) and to know so many wonderful people. I do not run my store with rules and regulations; the only ‘policy’ I have is to be kind and helpful. I don’t need much. I live simply. But. The “but” is that I need visitors to come to my store. I need people to come in and appreciate the hand-blown glass vases, bowls and tumblers, the hearts and stars and twists; the pottery mugs and bowls and dishes; the hand-painted silk scarves; the warm mittens, ski bands, wrist warmers and hats; the baby bibs, recycled cashmere baby hats, the onesies and soft toy animals; the original artwork on the walls from paintings to prints to photography; and so many different types of jewelry – mixed metals, dichroic glass, beaded, crocheted, sterling silver, chain mail, etc! With 140 local artists, I believe I’m the only store in the Metro Boston area with that many local artists.

So next time you are in the vicinity of Ball SQ  on Broadway near the Powderhouse Park and rotary, stop in and say hi. Check out the many fun and functional items made by my artists; get stimulated and be inspired by their creativity and accomplishments. When you leave, know that you have made my day and that you have discovered a new place to buy gifts for the special people in your life. Tell them Betsy sent you.