Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quiet August, New Job

Hello Gentle Readers,

I just wanted to post a note to acknowledge how slow Greenjeans Blog has been lately.

It's simple, really: a few weeks ago I started a new job, and as with any new job it is taking some time to adjust. I work hard during the day and am tired when I am done. So for a little while longer, until I acclimate, I'll probably be a little quiet with the blogging.

The job is awesome: I'm a development (aka fund-raising) and communications writer for Millennium Promise, a non-profit organization devoted to meeting the Millennium Development Goals and eradicating extreme poverty. My job is to write enticing donor reports and grant proposals to keep the momentum going on the brilliant and impressively effective work taking place throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The field work puts into action economist Jeffrey Sachs' science-based "bottom-up" approach to international development, helping communities get their feet on the bottom rung of the development ladder and lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

It's a huge honor to be part of this work and to be surrounded by such brilliant people. And I love that I can work from home most days and then be a Midtown Worker Bee a couple days per week.

My passion for craft is still alive and well, it is just taking a summer holiday while I gain traction in my new job. Hopefully I'll be back in the swing of things in a couple of weeks, bringing you news and views from the craft world and beyond from my window seat here in Brooklyn.

Thanks for understanding, and for reading!


- Amy

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!

Hideous or Fabulous?

Posted: 21 Aug 2009 11:40 AM PDT

Londong-based artist Fabien Cappello is making furniture from discarded Christmas trees. I appreciate the idea, but not sure I'd love it in my house... (Via HAUTE*NATURE)

Sarah Applebaum's Knit Art

Posted: 21 Aug 2009 11:38 AM PDT

Seeing this all about the blogosphere today. Fun and wonderful!! (Via HAUTE*NATURE)

Etsy Moving to Dumbo

Posted: 21 Aug 2009 11:27 AM PDT

It's out with the old (location) and in with the new -- they'll be at 55 Washington (down the street from my house!) starting next week. Welcome to the 'hood! (Via The Storque)

Retailers Optimistic for 2010

Posted: 21 Aug 2009 11:12 AM PDT

Things are looking up, folks! (Via LOHAS)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!

Velvet Ribbon Belt with Rhinestone Buckle

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 08:15 PM PDT

I want this!! By bellebag on Etsy for $38. Etsy's blog, The Storque, is doing a great job covering the massive virtual craft and vintage sale that is Etsy. I'm loving what the various editors and guest bloggers are finding... (As soon as I get my first paycheck...!)

Make Roman Shades Out of Mini Blinds

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 08:05 PM PDT

THIS is what I've been waiting for: a do-able way to make shades for my windows using the fabric I want. Now to find some discarded mini blinds... (Via whip up)

Coverage of the Buyer's Market of American Craft

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 07:58 PM PDT

The summer BMAC is over in Philadelphia, but the organizer (Rosen Group) covered the show from the floor via their blog, Wholesale Matters. Nice for those of us who didn't get over there for it this year...

Cake Wrecks

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 07:45 PM PDT

I think this is a blog about crazy decorations on, maybe, supermarket cakes? In any case it's bananas. (Hat tip to Mason)

This Guy is Rad (click to see!)

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 02:19 PM PDT

Now THAT'S commitment to craft! [via Extreme Craft]

Robin Nagle Talks Trash

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 02:13 PM PDT

My former grad school prof Robin Nagle is the resident anthropologist of the NYC Dept. of Sanitation. Watch her awesome talk on how garbage defines us and the people who pick up after us. From the Gel Conference.

Old-school Handmade Athletic Gear

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 02:09 PM PDT

Super good-looking. By the Lineaus Athletic Company in Marfa, TX. [Via Cool Hunting]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alabama's Rural Studio in Metropolis Magazine

Tonight I finally got around to reading last month's issue of Metropolis magazine, and the interesting cover story about the Rural Studio in Alabama, a place where social justice and architecture meet. (You can read the article for free online: "Life After Sambo," July 2009.)

The article describes how Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee co-founded the studio in 1992, "determined to improve conditions for poor Southerners and teach architecture students how to make beautiful buildings. Soon, his devotees were schlep­ping three hours west to Hale County, Alabama... to sire 'shelter for the soul.' as Sambo would have said."

The Rural Studio's mission seems to resonate with that of Berea College in Kentucky, which produced the beautiful handmade brooms, umbrella stands, napkins, and placemats we carried at Greenjeans.

The article is an inspiring piece for anyone with passion for craft and social justice.

It also ties in nicely with tomorrow night's Salon with Bamboo Bikes at the American Craft Council, another socially-conscious craft-based project that I'll be reporting on here later.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image sourced here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Etsy's Luster Tarnishing

If you haven't seen it yet, CNN Money published an interesting piece about Etsy a couple weeks ago written by Jessica Bruder. Discussing it as a business phenomenon, it goes in depth about its growth, as well as the more recent backlash.

There are many reasons to love Etsy, not the least of which is the fact that it's like a 24/7 global craft fair; an amazing online source of advice, how-tos, and celebration of the handmade; and has singularly transformed the marketplace for craft and handmade work. But we know that already.

More interestingly, the article highlights red flags, including the fact that earlier this year Etsy's visionary young founder, Rob Kalin, "quietly took himself off the payroll" citing that the site "was very incomplete and not up to my standards." He is still chair of Etsy's board.

(Kalin is now starting a new venture, called Parachutes, a craft collective based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I've heard through the grapevine that this is a non-profit, but I don't know much else, and the website isn't filled out yet. As I learn more about this I'll report about it here.)

Another red flag is the fact that a major investor in Etsy is also on the board of Wal-Mart. Jim Breyer has felt the heat from Etsians, but stated last year, "It is possible to be the lead independent director of Wal-Mart and be absolutely passionate about art and crafted goods," he says. "Over time Etsy sellers, as well as Etsy shareholders, can do very well if we stay true to our mission." Seems like a double standard to me, but I don't know the guy myself.

Outrage over these issues and many others are voiced on blogs like Etsy Bitch which also lists online alternatives to Etsy such as Art Fire and Zibbet.

The article adds to the ire spouted in the piece that recently appeared in Double XX, which I blogged about in June.

What once seemed like a gleaming beacon of promise for craft continues to fade from glory. I don't think this has anything to do with the value or power of the handmade. Perhaps it's just a case that things that seem too good to be true usually are.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Great Programs in Portland (MCC + PNCA + NGW)

In the past two days, the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR, and their curator, Namita Gupta Wiggers, have announced two awesome programs that make me fantasize about moving to the Left Coast.

First, I heard the MCC has made free podcasts available of dozens of interviews, lectures, and exhibition walk-thrus. Listen to Otto Nazler, Glenn Adamsom, Denyse Schmidt, Mandy Greer, and many more. You can listen online or download them to iTunes, all for free.

This is a GREAT resource for the craft, art, and design worlds, no matter where in the world you live.

Then today I found out Gupta Wiggers, whom I admire a lot, is going to be offering a course this fall titled "History + Theory of American Craft" at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (which recently merged with the MCC). I would love to take that class, or at least hear the conversations it sparks.

(I'm not even sure if there's anything else like it in other U.S. colleges. If you know otherwise, please post a comment!)

The MCC has some really good-sounding exhibitions on view now, too, including Call + Response which "provides a rare platform for artists and art historians to engage with each with other in dynamic conversation."

I really like how the MCC is directly engaging with the need for different parts of the craft world to dialogue, and to reach beyond the realm of craft (i.e. art, design, academics) for important broader conversations.

They are also doing a good job of letting people know what they're up to through their newsletters and Facebook updates.

And even though I haven't actually visited (yet!), I am constantly excited and inspired by the work the MCC is doing. It gives me a feeling of gratitude and hope. I hope other institutions are taking notes!

ot that I'm counting, but this is my 700th blog post. Woot!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image: Namita Gupta Wiggers (l) and Fiberarts editor Marci Rae McDade strike a pose before Darrel Morris’s emboridered piece, Pointing (2002). By Heather Zinger via Museum of Contemporary Craft.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Passing Strange and Wonderful: Richard Saja's Shelburne Show Reviewed in ReadyMade

This morning, tipped off by a Facebook status update by embroidery artist Richard Saja, I started my morning with a cup of coffee and the online version of ReadyMade magazine (Aug/Sept 2009 issue).

Saja is the subject of an unconventional exhibition at Vermont's Shelburne Museum this summer, and ReadyMade's Jen Turner was there to cover the story (right here: "How to Catch a Cabin").

The show is titled "The Bright and Shining Light of Irreverence" and features a quasi-domestic site-specific installation of a variety of Saja's work in the museum's Kalkin House. Saja invited a number of other regional artists to help fill out the show. Writes Turner, "Surprisingly enough, it all adds up to a welcoming place where one could imagine spending summer nights sipping mojitos and discussing the weird and wonderful world of Richard Saja."

Quilts, motorbikes, and Lewis Comfort Tiffany are the subject of other exhibitions on view this summer at the Shelburne. I can't imagine a more flavorful weekend trip.

The Bright and Shining Light of Irreverence: Richard Saja and the Historically Inaccurate School
Shelburne Museum
Thru October 25

How to Catch a Cabin
by Jen Turner
ReadyMade (Aug/Sept 2009)

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image by Laura Moss for ReadyMade.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!

Chinese Opera Built from Legos

Posted: 01 Aug 2009 05:13 PM PDT

I think Lego craft is always awesome, but this is particularly extraordinary. I like how the artist used the mini Lego guys as the "actors" in the bottom of the piece. (Hat tip to Dennis Yuen of Cai'lun <>!)