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Good morning!  Ok.  24 more hours then The BIG THAW is on!  Yessssss.   🙂  This morning we’re talkin’ with Anna Low from Purplebean Bindery whose journals, sketchbooks and more are functional, colorful and affordable.  Check it out!
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Anna Low from Purplebean Bindery

How did you start making books?

I bound my first book in kindergarden but the obsessive binding really started in college with a great book arts class. I started working my way through all of the bookbinding instructions I could find and had to give away my little book experiments to make room for more. It’s grown from there into a nice ‘job’. I love making functional art. Every book I make is different and I think of all of them as collaborations between myself and whomever the book goes home with. I like that a hand-bound blank book might inspire someone to fill it’s pages with amazing sketches or writing…or something completely banal in a colorful cover.

Funhouse Blank Journal


What kind of goodies can our customers expect to see at your table at The BIG THAW?

I’ve got all kinds of funky and colorful goodies for The BIG THAW. I’ll have my customary Buttonhole Journals – nice books for journaling, list making, note taking, general musings. I love this binding because it’s both decorative and the books lay open flat. The binding also allows for lots of decorative paper and embellishments, so the books are cheery and user friendly. This winter (it was a long winter) I’ve been a recycling fiend in the studio, so I’ll also have a nice stack of books made with reused material, including some old school flash cards that I’m in love with and manilla paper that still smells of grammar school.

A Selection of Purplebean Notebooks

What textures/colors inspire you most?

One of the reasons I keep making books is because there is so much cool paper and fabric out there. I love colorful. But I also love black and white. And cheesy kitsch. It’s hard to narrow it down. I guess I should say, the next beautiful piece of paper is the one that inspires me the most?


What’s your favorite thing about Spring in Maine?

I love winter and snow but this year I’ve been antsy, antsy for mother nature’s big thaw. I love spring in Maine because it means gardening season is ON. I’ve got my veggie seeds started inside, I prowl the yard for signs of the bulbs I planned last fall, and if I owned a hair drier I’d be using it to melt the last chunk of dirty snow under the lilac. I also love that all the windows are open because 55° feels warm.

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Right on, right on!  55 DOES feel warm and hopefully we’ll feel that tomorrow, Saturday April 16th, the day of The BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage Sale.  10am-4pm at Mayo Street Arts Center, 10 Mayo St. in Portland’s East End (off Cumberland Ave between Franklin and Washington).  Look out for the signs!  Can’t wait.  🙂

Now we're talking!


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Clutch by Boom Chick-a-Boom

Oh my goodness!  Only four days left for us to create, stock up and pack up for The BIG THAW.  We can’t wait to see you all there – in the meantime, a little goodness from Molly Angie at Boom Chick-a-Boom:

 

Red Booties by Boom Chick-a-Boom

We caught up with Boom Chick-a-Boom tonight and were dying to know what was in store for her shop at The BIG THAW.  Molly’s been cranking out oh-so-soft baby booties, handmade printed baby hats, and linen tops and skirts for the ladies.  The baby hats are a collaboration between Angie and her friend, Kim Teret, who supplied the drawings.

 

Baby Hats by Boom Chick-a-Boom

When we asked what inspired her work, Molly said “My son, Javi, who is 19 months old. Also, all the beautiful fabrics at Z Fabrics.”  Yes!  We love Z Fabrics on Congress St., too, and are always amazed they can fit so many awesome fabrics in to one little shop.  And the our kids’ ability to teach us is endless, they keep it fresh and always hilarious!

While the weather gets warmer and warmer we asked Molly what she was looking forward to unpacking for her summer wardrobe:  “T-Shirts, for sure.

We’re with you on that one, lady!

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The BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage Sale will take place from 10am to 4pm at the Mayo Street Arts Center at 10 Mayo St. in Portland, ME.  We look forward to seeing you there!


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Leather and Horn Necklace by A New Heirloom

Happy sunny Sunday, everyone!  I am about to go out the door for some breakfast at Marcy’s, but in the meantime let’s ogle over some goodies from Ashley Tyler:  A New Heirloom.

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Ashley Tyler is a recent Maine transplant whose work in the fashion industry is bringing muchas cosas to the Portland, ME apparel opportunities available to fashionable women in these region.  At Picnic last December my booth partner, Kate, and I were set up across from A New Heirloom and I think we were slobbering and drooling at the prints, shirts, scarves, necklaces, ponchos for the entire two days.  Tyler’s work is inspired by Native American prints, customs and animals/nature — she says “it lights my brain up” which is just about the best way to describe inspiration I’ve heard in a long time.  This influence is clear in her design, but a deeper level reveals her love for space, stars and technology as well.  Her prints are modern reflections of ancient designs.

Black Printed Scarf by A New Heirloom

When you swing around the floor at Mayo Street next week you will find A New Heirloom stocked with her signature scarves, shirts, bags and necklaces with some sweet summer additions.  How’s about some Aviva t-shirts, tops and skirts, dresses and (drumroll, please…) braided bikinis!  I can’t even believe how awesome these are, and A New Heirloom will be selling them at a steep pre-season discount for all you Maine ladies who just can’t wait to get in to an ocean-state-of-mind.

A New Heirloom: Bikinis! Yes!

And if you’re worried about missing Ashley’s booth at The THAW, never fear:  you can pick A New Heirloom out of a crowd quite easily:  in addition to executing beautiful, luscious silk creations and soft and tactile leather work Ashley also happens to be a whiz out of making something out of nothing:  her craft fair booth set up is one of the most creative we’ve seen at the Maine fairs.  Flashback December 2010 and Kate and I are setting up our Picnic table — Ashley shows up (in wool plaid and jodphurs!) and starts setting up apple crates, towered high, on her table.  A rickety wooden ladder goes on top and garments are hung from the rungs to weight the apple crates which hold folded items.  Oh my gosh!  We asked her how on earth she came up with such a creative way of displaying her work that still did justice to her inspirations and materials.  Here’s what she said:

Just look for the awesome booth set up to find A New Heirloom at The BIG THAW

I’m so glad you liked my improvised booth set up.  I knew I wanted to do something tactile and unique and needed to figure out a way to utilize a small space w/ only a table without a rolling rack.  sooo I decided to use whatever I had around me: Our barn in Limerick is full of apple crates and old ladders so…I literally awoke one morning with the idea to stack the apple crates on the table and then put the ladder across the top of the crates to create a place to hang the garments and stabilize the crates. The end effect was a sort of ‘stage.’

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We can’t get enough of Ashley’s goodies.  See below for some more pictures!  Or better yet, see her next Saturday at The BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage sale at 10 Mayo St (Mayo Street Arts Center) in East Bayside, 10am-4pm.  One block down from the big Catholic church off Cumberland Ave/Franklin Arterial in Portland!

Ladies and Gents' T-Shirts

Braided Bikinis by A New Heirloom

Amazing, versatile Diamond Dove top from A New Heirloom

Tree Top in a spring ensemble from A New Heirloom

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