When I thought of doing this series of home visits to see Craftland items in their final homes, I knew that Kath Connolly would have to be featured. She's been one of our artists, and one of our most enthusiastic supporters, and has been a part of Craftland from the first of our pop-up days. She's seriously the best person in Providence, no doubt. I creepily invited myself over to Kath's house to take some photos, and because she's awesome, she said yes! Getting a personalized tour of all her artwork was so fun.
First up, some amazing pieces by Cody Thompson, from way back in our pop up days.
Who remembers the pop up year that there were the vending machines with art? Kath spent a lot of quarters to get a complete set of these Alec Thibodeau screenprints.
A more recent piece, a Pretty Snake kitty pillow.
And, another recent find, a piece by Ricky Katowicz.
It should also be noted that Kath has never missed a Craftland event, and has tasted every cheese ball. One of the reasons we were thrilled when she won a raffled off gift at our recent Reopening Party. Customers like her make it having a store in Providence the best!
You may have met our newest employee, Rocco! He helped us immensely get through our move and poured you all bubbly at our Grand Reopening Party. He's awesome!
For his first ever staff pick, he chose his favorite new soap that we just got in from Biggs & Featherbelle. The special Koala Bar has tea tree and spearmint oil, and is all natural and great for the skin.
We carry over a dozen different types of soap by Biggs & Featherbelle, as well as gift sets and body scrubs, and is the reason everyone who walks into Craftland tells us, "It smells so good in here."
This is the window to my studio. There are two more reading, “SEW” and “FLY” as well. They’re meant to act as reminders – but I rarely need to be reminded to eat. Below, you’ll see what it looks like when you look in. Nice, but also messy… which is just the way I like it.
If you look close, you’ll see books, an iron, and even a pretend birthday cake.
In here, I make things with the use of a sewing machine and a willingness to find ideas anywhere. In this spirit, about a year ago, I collaborated with my three year old on a special project for Craftland. Using her sayings, I made little wooden cameos.
I had realized that she is always giving me this genius wisdom, and I am always writing it down… so it only made sense to take those sayings and embroider them.
I begin with one of the above gems and proceed to my Brother “Project Runway” edition home sewing machine. Using crinoline (an industrial use fabric) and black thread, I carefully make lines using a freeform method. The resulting piece is partly made by me and partly made by the machine.
At a recent craft sale in NYC, a fancy lady asked me, “Who does your copy?” I was happy to let her know that it was this little bundle:
I just hope she never gets too mad at me for stealing her sayings.
To close, here she is describing what she would do if given the chance to take a unicorn home.
To keep up to date with Sparrow Sayings and other projects, please visit my blog here.
Thanks, and have a happy day.
Many people talk about knitting as a seasonal affair, like a winter sport. When the snow clears up, they pack away their knitting until the first icy breeze hits again. Not me! I am a year-round knitter and I think everyone should be too. In the summer, consider taking your knitting out to a picnic at the park, on a boat ride, and yes, even to the beach (but probably not your precious hand dyed cashmere silk yarn).
So what exactly does one knit in the summer? I'll tell you how I go about it. In June and July, I knit shawls. Not big bulky winter shawls, but lightweight fingering shawls with delicate designs. My picks this year were the Lida Shawl and Freesia. When they're finished, I carry one in my bag all summer for those air-conditioned restaurants and movie theaters.
By August, I'm ready to cast-on some socks. In fact, I have a ball of sock yarn sitting in my bag for when I finish the hat I'm working on. When that first chill hits, I'll be wearing my new socks while knitting up a big cozy sweater for the winter.
Toil & Trouble is the business of Ana Campos. She began to crochet at age 8, and learned to knit shortly thereafter. She believes that yarn is a manifestation of possibility, creating little pieces of possibility to share with the world.
Kim O'Brien is the lovely jewelry designer and maker behind K. O'Brien Jewelry. Over the years she has been one of our artists, as well as one of our most die hard shoppers. Not only does she shop herself, we've also had many other shoppers tell us that Kim had sent them to Craftland. When I started this feature I knew I'd have to ask Kim to be included so I could get a peek inside her home to see where all these lovely items now live.
Do you have a favorite item that you bought at Craftland?
This question is impossible to answer. I have so many favorite items I bought at Craftland from way back in the holiday pop up shop days up until about three days ago. Seeing that is over a decade of buying I will say that my favorite items are my first two purchases, a glitter belt from Red Thread Belting and button hair pins by The Littlest Bean. These first purchases started a collection from these two lovely makers and caused me to fall madly in love with Craftland. I guess it all started with glitter and buttons!
You're such a great shopper for gifts. Was there one gift in particular whose recipient was super happy?
There are many happy family members and friends who have received gifts from Craftland. (Me being one of them!) Crowns and Wands by Thimblewinder made my nieces delighted on their birthdays. I have gifted many felt flower bouquets by Kath Connolly and they were all well received. In fact, just the other day I saw a few I had given my aunt proudly displayed in her home. My parents have a small bouquet of them (which have survived seven grandchildren playing with them!) at the kitchen table. It is our gathering place and I just love seeing them there year after year as we meet for waffles and coffee. The next favorite gift is HeatherJeany's bike t-shirt. I bought four, one for each nephew at the time. The youngest is delighted to not have outgrown one yet as he keeps getting his brothers' shirts passed down to him.
Why is buying handmade important to you?
My favorite part about all of these purchases is they led me to collecting items from the small businesses. These collections may have started with a t-shirt, hair accessory or card I fell in love with. Once I get home with my new treasures I look up the artisan's website to learn more about the person behind the work, see what else they make and where they are making stuff. Often I have had the honor of meeting these makers in real life through Craftland parties, craft fairs, or starting a relationship on social media and planning a real life meet up. There are so many lovely makers I have met thanks to buying handmade. With most of them I have become fast friends and have loved seeing their craft expand as they explore new ideas, materials and methods of making. So, why is buying handmade important? Well, my handmade purchases support a maker, a person, someone with a vision and my support can help that artisan continue in their explorations and can help their business flourish and expand. Since most of my purchases have led to amazing friendships I can also throw all of the encouragement and enthusiasm at those makers that they can take and because they are such lovely people, they cheer me on just the same.