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.

Blue Cloud Gift Gallery, Ball Square, Somerville USA

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By Melissa Glick of Hacker Creations

Between the Powderhouse rotary and McGrath Highway in Somerville MA is an eclectic  strip of stores and restaurants frequented by Tufts students and neighbors.  Ball Square is a round peg in a square hole. It’s a locale you probably wouldn’t go to unless you had the insider scoop….. brunch at Sound Bites or cakes from Lyndell’s. 

I’ve spent a bit of time in Ball Square because my best friend lives there, the Nave Gallery is nearby and it’s where Blue Cloud Gallery is located, at 713 Broadway, on a busy thoroughfare next to a coffee shop and across from 2 excellent eateries. It is run by one of the sweetest most supportive people you will ever meet.

The first time I hung out with Betsy Lenora was at the Trash Bash in Union Square where I was displaying my Hacker Creations. Betsy was set up next to me selling “Memory Stick Men”, little figures made from old computer RAM and pipe cleaners. Having the recycled technology in common, I struck up a conversation only to learn it was the work of an artist she features in her gallery. That is the kind of dedication and generosity Betsy is known for.

Betsy gives emerging artists a break and often says things like “You are under valuing your work! You should charge more!” Last Spring, Betsy hosted a wine tasting event to encourage business during the post holiday slump. She invited 6 of us to demonstrate our craft in the already packed to the gills shop.

Interview with Betsy Lenora of Blue Cloud Gift Gallery

How did you come to be running Blue Cloud Gallery? A long, long time ago…I met and made friends with BCG’s original owner, Patricia Wellenkamp. I was working at the time at Cambridge Artists’ Cooperative, the award-winning craft gallery in Harvard SQ on Church St. I worked there for a total of 15 years, 7 of which were as manager. In the economic downturn, I was laid off. Patricia helped me out by hiring me to work one day a week, a situation that lasted about a year. She then informed me she was closing Blue Cloud Gallery and offered to sell it to me. In April of 2011, I became the proud new owner just in time as my unemployment was running out! It has been a dream come true as I love supporting the artists and helping customers. I have always thought of myself as a facilitator.

How do you find, choose, the work you sell? At last count, there is work by 140 artists in the gallery. Most of them are local (meaning the Metro-Boston area). A handful are either from New England or states further away. When I first started, I asked many of the artists I knew from the Cambridge Artists’ Cooperative since I had a relationship with them. I then put out a Call for Artwork via the Somerville Arts Council and got quite a few that way. Since then, I get the majority of new work from being contacted directly by artists. I choose the work based on 3 criteria: uniqueness, quality of workmanship and do I think it will be a good match for my store – for my customers.

What sells the best?  Jewelry – specifically earrings – and pottery – specifically mugs. And cards! I have the largest selection of locally made cards than anywhere else that I know of. Half the people who come in my store come to buy cards.

Who shops at Blue Cloud Gallery? I am supported primarily by the neighborhood that’s around my store, which is made up of young professionals, families, some students (from Tufts) and older women who appreciate creativity.

Will you share a story that occurred at the gallery? There are several heart-touching stories involving children in my store. Yesterday, a little girl I’d guess around 5 years old came back in with her father and went directly to a little fabric mouse living in a fabric ‘can of pumpkin’ and holding a tiny broom; she had her heart set on giving this to her mother, her dad said. (They had been in the store briefly the day before.) While dad starts to pay, little girl pipes up loud and clear that her birthday was April 12th (3 days hence). Hmmmm. She was so cute – wearing a long, white multi-ruffled layered dress that she opened her coat to show me. I have another customer with a young daughter who’s been coming in since she was 3; every time they buy a finger puppet for mom who must have 20 or more by now!

Anything else you would like to add? The world of art and craft is not an easy one to survive in. As an artist, one needs to be talented and skilled at their craft AND be skilled at marketing their craft. It is my mission to support artists in what they do by presenting their work the best I can, marketing my store the best I can. Customers, artists and sellers are in this together; I believe we can support each other in making local, selling local and buying local!

Blue Cloud Gallery recently started selling on line at:  www.shoptiques.com

For complete article with photos, go to: http://bostonartmakers.org/2015/07/10/blue-cloud-gift-gallery-ball-square-somerville-usa/

Thanks for writing such a good article, Melissa! It’s not a bad thing to toot one’s horn once in awhile.

Fondly yours, Betsy

FACTS AFTER THE FACT

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Hello All My Wonderful Readers!

You missed it. You missed another fabulous Event held at Blue Cloud Gallery. And I missed you which makes me feel sad. It was a lot of fun as usual. It was successful which can’t be predicted as easily. But because you missed it, I am going to share the facts which are also my memories. I hope by sharing the news of an Event that’s already over, it will entice you enough to attend the next one I have.

BCG Betsy and Wine

That’s me! The Event was a Wine Tasting / Craft Demonstration held on Sunday March 29, 2015 . A selection of 3 different wines were recommended to me by Kate from across the street at Ball Square Fine Wines (free tastings every Friday!) and were a delicious, fruity yet dry white Bordeaux Sauvignon-Semillion that was the crowd’s favorite, a yummy Pinot Noir from an inland vineyard east of Monterrey, CA called “Route 152”, and a deep red juicy Carneiros from Chile. See what you missed?!

1-BCG MG and Dan

Artist Melissa Glick of Cambridge, MA answers Dan’s questions about her talent and technique for making artwork out of old computer parts. Blue Cloud Gallery sells her sculptural wall-hangings, clocks and jewelry.

1-Naomi P

Naomi Ellenberg-Dukas of Belmont, MA is demonstrating how she makes bracelets out of guitar string wire. She made and sold an especially beautiful one decorated with multi-colored beads to a young woman. I was deeply envious.

3-BCG Todd Demo

Here’s Todd Easton of Somerville, MA pounding designs into leather to make keychains and barrettes. I love his dyed laser-cut bracelet cuffs which I also sell in my store.

1-Todd P

He’s scoring the leather now while his daughter and a friend look on.

2-Todd P

Melissa and Dan P

Outside, Melissa King of Somerville, MA has her easel set up. She paints illustrations, mostly of dogs and cats. I wish I’d shown more of her painting and less of Dan!

Jan P

Jan Willett of Monkeyshine Studios!!! She showed us how she gets started, proceeds and finishes making a Sock Monkey from scratch. I found it a little disconcerting seeing the disembodied arms, legs and tails but she wove her special magic into them over the 2 hour period and soon we had lively monkeys jumping around the store again.

BCG craft demo monkeys and MG

Lyn Brown P

Lyn Brown, another artist from Somerville brought some handmade books which she demonstrated binding. You will notice a stack of baskets in the foreground – those are made of paper and are collapsible. A pretty neat trick! I sell Lyn’s beautiful, one-of-a-kind paper lampshades and light switch plate covers.

BCG Lyn and Raj

Lyn chats with Rajiv Ramaiah, another of my artists from Somerville. Raj is a graphic design artist; I sell his fictitious subway map posters and cards. You should see them!

4-BCG Todd craft demo

I added this because of the poster in the back; can you see what it says? “Don’t Make Art, Just Make Something”.

2-Melissa P

Melissa Glick and her ‘junk’.

3-Melissa 2P

Awesome junk!

4-BCG MG Demo

Working it…

2-Naomi P

Naomi Ellenberg-Dukas answers a question. Besides guitar wire bracelets, she makes a variety of jewelry. I sell her beautiful trellis yarn necklaces.

3-Naomi P

Making a guitar wire bracelet…

BCG Betsy Demo

And finally, back to me! For a small space, we managed to fit in quite a few guests. The sunny weather was much appreciated.

A good time was had by all, and that’s a Fact!

Next time you’re invited to an Event at Blue Cloud Gallery, mark it on your calendar and don’t miss it. I want to see YOU in one of these pictures with a glass of wine in your hand!

Thank you.

Betsy Lenora

photo credits: Betsy Lenora and Michelle Driscoll

Shopping Online with Blue Cloud Gallery

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Hello All My Wonderful Customers!

I have big news for my store – soon I will have a way for anyone, anywhere to shop online for some of my hand-crafted gifts. I have teamed up with an exciting online shopping organization called Shoptiques.com or http://www.shoptiques.com/

Shoptiques.com is a one-of-a-kind online destination for discovering and exploring local boutiques across the world. And now I am included in that category! Imagine that.

It all started with a pair of shoes in Paris…” This company was started by a young woman named Olga who had the foresight to bring together many unique boutique stores from all over the country and the world on one online shopping site. Olga moved to America from Russia when she was 17. She attended Wellesley College. It was while attending Harvard Business School that she wrote her business plan for Shoptiques.com which she began executing upon graduation.

We have a launch date of March 15th, so look for further news of the event. Many people have suggested that I make the items in my store available to sell online but it’s a lot of work for one person to set up and manage. Shoptiques.com is a highly reputable company and is taking most of the work out of doing it for me.

I invite you to go to their site, http://www.shoptiques.com/ and check it out. Soon, you can find MY store listed under the “BOUTIQUES” tab and when you find it, please click on the upper right corner to indicate that you “LIKE” it. It gives me Brownie points!

In other news, my store WILL be open March 3rd thru March 8th while I am away on Sanibel Island in FL. (Nyaah nyaah nyaah!) My kind, generous, and funny partner Marshall will be holding down the fort. Please visit him while I’m away and bring him a treat. He’ll deserve it!

Ocean feet  Herring Cove

Above is a preview of my feet in the ocean. On Sanibel Island, all those stones will be shells!

Warmest Wishes – Betsy

Special Moments

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Hello All You Special People!

Really special things can and do happen at Blue Cloud Gallery. Like when artists and customers come together and create something that was not there before. What am I talking about? I’m talking about SPECIAL ORDERS.

Below, Tamara Major (painter) of Medford hands off a beautiful watercolor house portrait to Macy Coffey (home owner) of Somerville.

Tamara and Macy-1

For $325, Tamara will make a custom-painted 9×12 image in a 12×16 mat of your house. I wish you could really see what a fantastic job she did on Macy’s house painting!

Let me know if you have an interest in having a custom portrait made of YOUR house.

I put another customer in touch with one of my potters, Jon Baring-Gould of Newton for a SPECIAL ORDER of 12 creamy white 9″ bowls and 2 LARGE creamy white bowls that were made for a caterer. Everyone was delighted with the results.

The beauty of SPECIAL ORDERS is that an artist can make something unique and Special just for YOU. And don’t we all deserve that?

Especially Yours, Betsy

Hosting a Successful Craft Store Event

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GREETINGS ALL YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!

Last Sunday Sept. 28th, my store hosted a FREE Craft
Demonstration plus Wine Tasting Event.
I wanted to share with you that it was a SUCCESS! It was a SUCCESS! It was SUCCESSFUL! 
Five artists: Elizabeth Arnold – chainmail jewelry, Karen Chmielewski – needle felting, Kim McCullough – tile painting, Janis Thomas – quilling, and Sarah Beardslee – bead weaving demonstrated their techniques inside the store while I greeted, poured wine and rang up sales. Yes, SALES! In 2 hours, I made my whole days’ figures!
Most of the guests had never been in my store before. I can guarantee you that they WILL be back.
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When one is in business for ones’ self, victories are important. Choosing the project, situation or event that will give you one is never a guarantee. I added the wine tasting as an incentive though I may not have needed it. Sending out emails to social media, and again the day before as a reminder, choosing a day when parking was free and a time of day that was most conducive to peoples’ schedules was crucial.
 My small shop is chock-full of local crafts to discover so there was much to explore once people arrived, besides being intrigued by the different craft demonstrations. The logistics are very important. But I have a feeling that the success came because once here, everyone had a good time – the artists, the guests and me, the host. The atmosphere was relaxed, friendly, informative. Okay, so maybe the wine DID help!
I wish you successful ideas and visions!
Your Blog Friend,
Betsy Lenora
owner, Blue Cloud Gallery