Hey everybody! Just thought, in the absence of an interview, I could share with you a Holiday decorating idea that I used on my very own X-Mas tree, a finger knitted garland chain. You need no needles, just four fingers some festive-y colored yarn, and a bit of holiday spirit!
1. First begin by taking the end of your yarn and laying it across your palm between your thumb and pointer finger, like so.
2. Now, take the yarn attached to the ball and weave it between your fingers going under the pointer, over the middle, under your ring finger and over your pinky.
Go back the other way under your pinky, over the ring, under the middle, over the pointer. Repeat step two again so end up with two loops on each finger.
3. Beginning with your pointer finger, take the bottom loop lift it over the top loop and totally off your finger. Do this for all four fingers.
Once you're done that repeat step two weaving more yarn between your fingers so you once again have two loops on each finger. You are then ready to repeat step 3 again. Do this until you have a chain you feel is long enough to wrap around you tree!
4. Finishing off your chain is quite easy. When you have just one loop on each finger, take the loop on you pinky, lift it off, and place it on your ring finger. Lift the bottom loop, over the top. Take that loop and place it on your middle finger, and lift the bottom loop over the top. Move that one to your pointer, pull the bottom over the top. Take the last loop off your pointer finger and pull on the end of the yarn so your chain is tight. Last step is cut it loose from your yarn ball and knot off the end.
That's it! It's a pretty fast process that's great to do while watching TV, listening to the radio, or waiting for your holiday cookies to finish baking.
As most of you may know, Craftland started out as a holiday pop up store. Our founder, Margaret Carleton and her friend Johanna Fischer looked around Providence in 2002 and noticed an abundance of creative people making interesting work, but no central place to buy from these artists. Craftland was born in a glittery burst to fill that void. From 2002 - 2008, Craftland would pop up every December, in a different part of Providence and continue the tradition of selling handmade work to a growing group of loyal shoppers eager to avoid the mall and buy handmade. We are so grateful for those loyal shoppers. They are who helped Craftland grow each year, and they are the reason we were able to open as a year round store in August 2009 in our current Westminster Street location. All of us at Craftland want to make sure you shoppers know how thankful we are that you continue to shop at Craftland and have given us the opportunity to grow and keep on providing you with amazing handmade work from independent artists. We also couldn't do this without our incredibly talented artists, and for that we are bursting at our handsewn seams with gratitude. Thank you, thank you!
With our roots as a holiday pop up, we get extra excited this time of year to get our holiday sparkle on and we have some amazing things planned for this year! For starters, we brought in 75 additional artists and the shop has taken over the Craftland Gallery. The shop looks amazing and starting on Friday, the 29th, we kick off holiday shopping by extending our store hours.
Holiday Hours are:
Sunday: 10am - 6pm
Monday: 10am - 6pm
Tuesday: 10am - 6pm
Wednesday: 10am - 6pm
Thursday: 10am - 8pm
Friday: 10am - 8pm
Saturday: 10am - 8pm
Saturday, November 30th is Small Business Saturday and our whole neighborhood has some fun planned. The crew over at InDowncity is offering shoppers a chance to win a Golden Envelope. All you have to do is make one of the first 20 purchases at a participating store and with that purchase you'll receive an envelope with a surprise gift inside. One of those envelopes will be the Golden Envelope and will contain a $200 to that shop! That seems like an excellent reason to me to get out of bed Saturday morning and start your shopping at 10am! For more details and to see which stores are participating, please click here.
And since you'll be shopping on Saturday already, make a stop across the street at Grant's Block to visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their North Pole friends. Every Saturday between now and Christmas, they'll be at Grant's Block from 12pm - 4pm. One elf in particular was never very good at toy making, so has been transferred to the photography team. He'll be there with a Polaroid to take photos of your kids with Santa. Want more details? Click here.
Still have your calendar out? You'll want to add a couple more dates.
Friday, December 6th we're throwing a holiday kick off party! From 5pm - 9pm we'll have snacks provided by Whole Foods, drinks and DJ Rockdapus spinning the tunes. The first 50 purchases will get a goodie bag full of surprises and this will be the party that gets you in the mood to tackle the holidays. RSVP here for that event. (Don't you just love this year's holiday artwork done just for us by the lovely Jen Corace?)
Thursday, December 12th, we'll be taking the time to let our artists know they're the best. From 5pm -8pm we'll be hosting an Artist Appreciation Party. This party is free and open to the public, and a great chance for shoppers to mingle with their favorite artists. For artists only, we'll have special goodie bags with some treats and chair massages by the lovely ladies at West Side Wellness. Our sponsor, Zipcar will be on hand with a fun photo booth for you and some coupons and discounts just for you. PVD Lady Project founders will also be there. It's going to be so much fun! RSVP here to view more details.
Whew. That was a lot. Go fill in all those dates on your calendar, and then power off and go enjoy your Thanksgiving.
See you in the shop!
Introduce Yourself! Who are you, what do you make, and where do you make it?
Hi! I’m Michelle Phaneuf and I’m a graphic designer, ceramic artist and mom to two great kids. I make tableware that is a little less ordinary. I’ve been working from my Pawtucket studio for the last 13 years and am lucky enough to share the space with lots of other talented, smart, funny potters.
According to your Etsy, you are a Graphic Designer by day. What is that job description like and how does it inform your ceramic pieces if at all?
I specialize in identity development and print design. I spend most of my work day sitting at my desk, in front of a computer designing logos, stationery suites, brochures, invitations and the occasional annual report. I have great clients who understand that my kids come first and because of that I am sometimes not available in the middle of the day and work weird hours. But they also know that when there is a deadline, I will deliver on time. My job as a designer is a big influence on my ceramic work. Imagery, balance, color, negative space, even typography are all things I’m thinking about when I’m designing a logo and throwing a bowl on the wheel.
How did you get into ceramics, and how long have you been working on them?
In college I spent most of my days drawing, painting and designing. I would walk around my liberal arts campus with my business and psychology major friends covered with paint and my hands blackened with charcoal. Then I graduated and got a job designing catalogs at a greeting card company and my life became inevitably and sadly cleaner. So 17 years ago in an effort to get dirty again, I took a ceramics class at RISD. I’m too impatient and messy to be a hand-builder and unfortunately throwing clay did not come easily to me. I was really bad at it for a really long time! But something kept me going. I was determined! My skill level finally increased after many years, but the pieces I was creating were still not what my mind envisioned. It took a lot more time for me to find my “voice” in ceramics, and it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve really been happy with my work. I still want to develop more deeply as a ceramic artist and feel I have a lot more ideas to work through. I have a feeling that I may always be striving for better. Good enough is not good enough.
What drives you to create? Why not be just contented with the sole title Graphic Designer?
Making something useful that is also beautiful is my goal. It’s what drives me to do this. Being a graphic designer is great. Drawing pictures everyday is the best job! But, when I’m designing a logo for a client, I’m working to solve their problem and 95% of what I create ends up in the garbage. I’m being influenced by my client’s ideas, tastes, wants and needs. Which is how it should be. However, when I’m working at the studio, with my hands in the clay, it’s all about me. I get to be selfish and create what I want. As much as I want. In any color I want. It’s all about what I like and how I want something to look. I’m the only influence. It’s pure creative freedom!
If you're feeling stuck, how do you get re-inspired?
Anytime I’m feeling stuck or need to process a lot of ideas, I take a shower. There is something amazing about the calm of the water, the steam, the quietness I get in there that allows my mind to be more creative. I get my best ideas in there and then sketch them on the steamed up shower door.
What were some challenges you faced turning you craft into a business?
My biggest challenge is time. My fullish-time graphic design business and my completely-all-of-the-time mothering gig seem to get most of my daily hours. It’s so important for me to carve out dedicated time for my ceramics business, but it is often the one thing that gets pushed to the back burner. Well, really, cleaning the house is the thing that gets neglected. It’s seriously messy up in here.
Random Question: What is your favorite stay-cation spot?
My family and I are lucky enough to live a block away from the beach. A walk down there to have dinner, play in the sand and throw a stick around for the dog is great get-a-way. Another favorite spot is my friend Laura’s kitchen. She lives just a house away, and even ten minutes with her and our other friends that congregate there leaves me feeling happy and relaxed…and there’s usually wine.