Thursday, September 30, 2010

Top Ten Reasons to Buy Original Contemporary Art

This post comes from Paula Lewis of Scorched Eyebrow Studio, as shared by Nick from the Handmade in PA blog.

"Free Flight", by SilentLotus Creations. Watercolork, and gesso on birch panel.

Top Ten Reasons to Buy Original Contemporary Art

10. Bring yourself into your décor. Surround yourself with art that speaks to you and of you. You are unique, so why would you settle for the PierWhatever/BullseyeBox carbon copy stuff?

9. Assure your place in civilization by supporting the Arts. Bonus: By buying from local (and there are fabulously talented people in your community) artists, you stimulate the local economy directly.

8. Develop your own collection. Art is lots cooler to collect than stamps or coins and when you collect contemporary art, you can collect artists as friends- and we are a very cool group.

7. Make your neighbors jealous. All of them will wish they had your self-confidence and sense of style!

6. Connect with your deeper self. Buy original work that speaks to you emotionally, not because it matches the couch. (NOTE: It’s okay if it happens to match.)

5. Feel less like a cubicle-dweller and more human by surrounding yourself with art born of real live passion and creativity – art made because the artist was moved to do it, not paid by the brushstroke.

4. Tap into the mystery of the muse. There is something magical that happens within artists that often pushes them beyond their initial vision; share that wonder.

3. Learn something new. Exercising your mind is healthy and realizing you are developing your eye for quality, style, talent while you’re having fun looking at art is a real kick.

2. Honor your inner creative spirit. We all have the need to express ourselves. Twitter, Link’d In, board meetings, and lawyers are not sufficient. Express yourself visually by living with art you love. Get back in touch with your own creative self.

1. Delight in the presence of art that “you get” and realize that the art “gets you!”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Steel Town Etsy Member Feature: Alicia Kachmar

Alicia Kachmar, with her Etsy shop Eternal Sunshine, creates some of the most adorable and original crocheted creations you can imagine.  Her crocheted pierogi have quickly become a favorite item in the The Travelling Pittsburgh Craft-O-Tron Machine and her new book will soon become a favorite among crafters and Halloween fans in general.

 Instead of the usual member feature, this will focus on her new book: Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cute Toys, Magical Treats, and More!  First, Steel Town Etsy would like to extend a hearty congratulations to Alicia for having a book published!  She's co-editor of the book as well as a contributor of four of the projects featured within.  The projects are all adorable, original, and the well-written instructions make them all seem easy to replicate.

The book is available in Pittsburgh at Barnes and Noble (their display is pictured above) and Borders, as well as from

Our favorite project?  Why, the ruby slippers on the cover, of course!  They're modeled quite fabulously by Alicia herself.  Other favorite projects are tiny, edible jack-o-lanterns created from tangerines and oranges, freaky finger food, and creepy crocheted bones. 

Cooler Fall temperatures bring out the desire to bake, create, and decorate.  While this book doesn't include Halloween decorating tips, it has plenty of ideas to indulge your desire to create, both in the kitchen and at your craft table.  Some of the projects would also make adorable additions to your Halloween decor.

If you're a fan of Halloween, as many of us on the team are, or just looking for inspiration for some unique projects, please take the time to check out Alicia's new book.