On the last day of January I saw a post about an upcoming Valentine’s Handmade Market in Denver. Initially, this bummed me out and I contemplated moving back to Denver, where there are always events like this going on. I only felt this way briefly, when I realized I could set one up right here in Colorado Springs and save some gas money.
The folks at Fifty Fifty Coffeehouse (though they sold the business a few days after this event), were always up for hosting events. In fact, they previously hosted a Handmade Marriage event featuring Small Room Collective, Stitch and Saw and The Long I Pie back in September of 2014. I reached out to them and after a few days of discussing details…it was on the calendar.
There are a surprising number of talented people running creative businesses in Colorado Springs and coincidentally, I ran into a few of them over the course of the weekend and all agreed to take part.
And best of all, a ton of people showed up and bought handmade goods from local businesses!
This year, Stitch and Saw has grown quite a bit. A large part of that growth has been thanks to a side project of mine called Handmade Marriage that began as video interviews of married couples working together in creative fields.
Handmade Marriage has been inspiring me and I hope it can do the same for you. I have some awesome things lined up for this project in the new year and this Gift Guide is a preview of some of what is to come. I encourage you to check out all of their shops (links below) and support the artists directly through your gift purchases this year.
After a long hiatus, the Stitch and Saw shop is up. It is now a fully functioning shop running on Big Cartel (longer post about that after the holidays).
I will be taking holiday orders until Tuesday, December 2nd or until they sell out and all orders will ship Wednesday, December 10th. If you want to talk about any pendants you do not see for sale in the shop, please contact me directly at email@example.com
Putting my work out there in the Martha Stewart American Made contest last year has continued to open up new opportunities for Stitch and Saw. One of the best things it did in 2013 was catch the eye of Kristina Drury at Tythe Design in Brooklyn. She reached out and ended up showcasing my cross stitch pendants at the stopTHINKshop popup in the Lower East Side of Manhattan this past December. It was a popup shop dedicated to makers who create an impact by either producing sustainable, ethical or local goods. Since all Stitch and Saw wood is reclaimed or from the scraps of others I fell into the sustainable category. Although I was unable to attend, I was able to follow along via social media (@TYTHEdesign) and the web (one of the coolest things I found was the kickstarter to design and build a space for the popup shop along with a few other events).
Another humbling aspect of the shop was having my work alongside some amazingly talented makers’ wares such as Caitlin Wicker (whose website is my favorite ever), Peg and Awl (a prolific married couple out of my birthtown of Philly) and Yana Rodin (her knitted necklaces are an inspiration and take me back to my days of braiding friendship bracelets with my cousins).
The event was also professionally photographed and I have shared some of the photos with you.
Stitch and Saw has been kind of quiet the past few months since moving back home, buying a house and welcoming a brand new baby girl (Lucy) to the family. The good news is that I have continued making things and had big plans for the fall and winter.
Monday August 26th begins voting for Martha Stewart’s American Made contest. And to celebrate I am having a giveaway at my wife’s blog Anecdotes and Apple Cores. Head over there to enter and if you get a chance, check out the other great nominees for American Made and vote for me!
Having a creative side project taught me a lot about business and more importantly, how to live a life where imagination plays a larger role. When I started Stitch and Saw in January of 2012 there were a variety of contributing factors that gave me the momentum necessary to take on the endeavor. The most important were location, access to resources and flexibility. As my wife (Monet) and I recently moved home, I am trying to continue to pursue Stitch and Saw while balancing work, family, building a new community and adjusting to new surroundings.
Living in Austin, TX during a time when it ranked as the fastest growing American city for three years in a row had it’s advantages creatively; there was never a shortage of new talent and ideas pushing everyone to produce something unique. Everyone had their side projects and seeing what others were doing inspired me to push my boundaries of what I thought I was capable of making. One of things about Austin being home to so many talented individuals meant that their were great resources available. With classes at places like Creative Side and social enterprises like Hour School around, there was always the opportunity to continue to learn and develop. Learning new skills is imperative when taking on creative projects. If you aren’t pushing your self and learning about the world around you, there are fewer opportunities to make new connections. Making these connections of ideas enriched my life in ways I did not know was possible. Not only was I in the right city at the right time but I had a job perfect for pursuing side interests. It was low pressure with a flexible schedule. I knew exactly what was expected of me and I outperformed expectations which opened up even more flexibility. If I had to sand and stain the wood backings of my embroidery hoop pendants and it required being at home in the middle of the day, I could work from home and take care of it in between phone calls and emails. When I took a silver smithing class in the morning, I could go into work late and extend the work day into the evening. Once I realized that anything was possible I tried to make it happen. It was challenging but it was also fun and rewarding.
This past December we left Austin and returned to Colorado Springs, CO and moving home meant my new found ambitions would have to transition somehow. Entering into a new part of life (new job, new house, new baby on the way) meant that I had to discover where all of this creative energy would fit in. In the midst of moving, living out of boxes, working a new higher pressure job and looking for our new home I still found time to play guitar, cross stitch every now and then and even sent a handful of necklaces to a small shop in Fayetteville, Arkansas called Four-Legged Bird which had its grand opening on April 12th. We closed on our house just about three weeks ago and I can see an opportunity to pick up where I left off in Austin. We are connecting with a young and vibrant creative community. The garage has a workspace that is the perfect size for my studio and the access to the mountains is unbeatable. I am looking forward to a creative life with my wife and daughter and being more connected to nature. And to help keep the momentum I have started a new project that I will be able to share in the next few weeks.
Last month my wife Monet and I packed up all of our belongings (with the help of some amazing friends who I am sad to have left) along with our two animals and moved home to Colorado Springs. Since returning, we both started jobs, have explored our old city with new eyes, reconnected with our families, started looking for a house to call our own, and have been preparing for a summer baby to be born. All of this has not left much free time to make things…yet, I have been almost dutiful about setting aside time to get some projects I have had in mind done.
Stationary and greeting cards have played a big role in Monet and I’s relationships with each other and friends. Love notes or expressions of gratitude accompanied by a sweet picture of a cat or letterpressed vegetables serve as a reminder that those we love are thinking about us even when we can’t be with them.
I knew that when we transitioned out of Austin it would take some time to get my workshop set up and tied in with an artistic community. In the mean time, I set out on a project that didn’t need much space to spread out. The result is the Foxy Kiss Card, the first in what I hope to be a series of greeting cards for all occasions. I hope that my cards will be shared with loved ones and that they hang on refrigerators and are tucked away in notebooks and tin boxes to be rediscovered long after first readings.
To celebrate the card’s availability I have marked down all of my Embroidery Hoop Pendant inventory up until Valentine’s Day. Take a look in the Stitch and Saw Shop and thanks for stopping by.
Right after The Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market Austin over Thanksgiving weekend, my wife and I begun the painstaking process of moving our growing family from Austin back home to Colorado. We are now getting settled back home and I have a little bit more time to share with you about Renegade.
The build up to the fair for me involved a whole lot of hunkering down, border-line antisocial behavior that frankly, I am not quite used to. Luckily, the event itself required two days straight of interacting with complete strangers and new friends. This along with getting to share my pendants with a larger audience gave me a ton of energy.
I shared a booth with Rally Made and we were right next to Renegade veterans Son of a Sailor who definitely drew a ton of foot traffic to our booths.
I tried a couple different setups over the weekend and it was really fun to be able to switch gears partway through the event. Getting to actually see people’s reactions to the tiny cross stitched pieces was priceless and I can’t wait to set up a booth in Colorado this Spring (more on that when the time comes).
I am stocking up for the Renegade Holiday Market. It is keeping me pretty busy, but I still wanted to let you know about some great folks you should check out when you stop by…or just check out their online shops if you won’t be in Austin.
Zoe makes silver/gold and porcelain earrings and necklaces and really adorable salt and pepper shakers among other things. The porcelain adds an element of fragile beauty while still holding up over time. She has stepped her game up even more since I saw her on the East Austin Studio Tour last year (she is doing it again this year); she has a new lookbook on her redesigned site and you can also find her wares at Take Heart in East Austin. She does not have an online shop just yet, so make sure you check her out on the Studio Tour or even better at the Renegade Market.
Graham’s paintings are whimsical, melancholy and imaginative. Whether I see his work at a local bakery or in a friend’s living room it always stands out as the most playful thing in the room. Last year I bought myself one of his plywood square paintings and it’s been keeping me company in my office.
Kate is one of the sweetest women you will ever meet and she has some courage too. She decided she didn’t want to work in a bank anymore and went back to school for graphic design at the same alma mater as Will Bryant (formerly/currently of Public School). Since finishing up school she has been hitting the craft show scene really hard and is returning to the Austin Renegade Craft Fair for a third time (counting the summer and holiday markets). I bought this print at last year’s fair and it’s also hanging in my office and shortly will be in my studio.
To be perfectly honest, I was nervous about signing up for Renegade without a planned booth partner. However, Sara from Schatzelein advised me to take a leap of faith…and I am glad i did! The fine folks at Renegade paired me up with Caitlin of Rally Made. Her collection of coin purses, totes and cases using vintage fabrics are amazing. She has an eye for detail and a penchant for re-purposing. Stop by our booth and say hello on November 24th and 25th!
It was at last year’s Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market that I scribbled on the back of a brown bag my idea for an embroidery hoop pendant. In fact, much of that initial design is the same. I found it fitting to make my craft fair debut at the market that inspired it all.
Be sure to mark your calendar for the weekend directly following Thanksgiving to come visit me (and a host of other great makers) at the Palmer Events Center. Check back in the weeks to come for some of the vendors I am most looking forward to picking up goods from for the holidays.