Friday, November 21, 2014

Simple Gifts Part 2

WELLSVILLE: This series started because my mind is often on gifts and my hands are often making them or admiring things made by others. The goal is to encourage people to make gifts of objects or time during these overlapping family seasons.
Making things is a valuable use of time. A gift seems a double gift when given with the words, “I made this for you.”         
Have you made a gift for someone lately? If not, there is still time and here are other ideas to infuse holidays with simple gifts, simple times, social interactions.
Simple Gifts Series, Part 2 of 4
This proposal is about promises and coupons, kits and ideas.
          Our children always made coupons for us. Computer programs and websites make coupon design easy, or at the least possible. You might print your own holiday cards and send them to people with a coupon good for one dinner out together or for a New Year’s Eve hike in the woods with wine, cheese and a glorious sky.
            You might give a coupon for a lesson in making jelly, in canning tomatoes, in baking a pie with a fluffy crust, in wiring a lamp, in using a smart phone or in the fine art of drywall. Is there someone you could teach to knit or to even just to join for a day of baking things your mother baked?
          If coupons don't appeal to you, consider a kit. In searching the internet for kit gift ideas, it’s easy to be buried or at the least distracted, by the tens of thousands of ideas out there. Here are some websites that offer craft ideas – nestled among hundreds of advertisements are ideas – general crafts, foods, some special projects that would be one of a kind items - simple kid projects with instructions
          This website has many craft instructions. Print the instructions and gather the materials into a box or plastic bag and there’s a gift to go. has all kinds of instructions including a page of gifts-in-a-jar.
          If you aren’t interested in coupons or kits, make something with a friend.
          You might get a group of people together for a workshop at The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass. Have you ever gone there? You can schedule a group party to make a project, pay the fee and go for the fun of it. One all-ages workshop involves making a picture frame. Another is about 
sandblasting designs on a glass. See for more or call (800) 732-6845.

 (Here are some of the projects that one can make at The Studio, Corning Museum of Glass.)

          Did you know that Sarah Phillips is a marvelous teacher with a studio full of stuff and the grace and patience of a seraph? She has an open workshop on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-3:30. Bring your lunch and ideas and pay $5 plus some additional fees if you choose to use some more expensive materials. Sarah can give you more information if you call her at (585) 437-5225.

       Having said all that, if there is snow, forget it all, grab a carrot nose and get to work on Frosty. Use your own lawn or go to a nursing home and work in view of their largest windows or find the home of a fragile person and work there. You’ll get an audience and sometimes a cup of coca afterwards. Call ahead first.
          If you want handmade and some connection without doing the making yourself, find marvelous craftspeople and artists at Many of us have hours by appointment. Shop slowly and hear the story behind the work to get inspired to work yourself or to buy handmade.

            There will also be a show at the Community Hall behind St. Philip's Church in Belmont on December 12 &13. There will be things hand stitched, hand formed, hand carved, hand drawn, hand strung, hand hammered, hand woven, hand built, hand thrown and otherwise carefully hand made. Find makers, their stories and some great cookies. Call (585) 808-0385 for information on this Friday/Saturday show. Maybe you can talk a one of the people there into giving private lessons.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Simple Gifts Series - Part 1

WELLSVILLE: My mind is on gifts for the many celebrations of the winter season. Of course it is. My days are spent designing and making things and hoping that what comes from my hands will make people smile and be used for decades.
          Because so much of my time is spent making things, I feel the value of objects made by hands. I hold them, turn them, look at the seams and the colors and appreciate the care that went into the creation of handmade work.
          My mind holds strongly to the goal that gifts will be handmade, not necessarily by me, but by a real person working with hands turned graceful and strong by experience. It seems a worthy goal to encourage more people to make things so with that goal in mind, here are some ideas to reclaim the holidays with simple gifts, simple times, social interactions.
Simple Gifts Series, Part 1 of 4
          These handmade plans were sparked by the Allegany Arts Association when the winter newsletter started marching from blank paper to printed issue at Dave’s Printing. I’d asked Editor, Joanne Allen, to feature an article offering a gift workshop. We’d have a workshop in November and try to steer people toward handmade.   
          The Allegany Arts Association* is a conduit for learning to craft an object as well as for appreciating what has been crafted from objects, sound and movement. Most of their programs are for children in the summer and in February but they are flexible in their programs so are sponsoring a pair of workshops for adults.
            On Wednesday, November 19 at 6 pm put your heart into a handmade gift. These workshops are open to adults ages 18+ and generously hosted by the Town of Wellsville at the old Wellsville Community Center building on Main Street in Wellsville.
            Choose to make a clay bowl with Elaine Hardman, StoneFlowerPottery. Please bring as many of these things as you can: a rolling pin, one section of newspaper, a paper grocery bag, a pencil, a pair of scissors, 6 absorbent paper towels.
          If you can’t bring everything, that’s okay. Hopefully there will be enough of these things to share. There is room for 15 people and at the time of this issue, 6 are registered.
            During the 2 hours, you will make a stoneware bowl, safe for food, the dishwasher and your microwave. Call 585-808-0385 to register, bring your payment with you and be sure to be around a week later to pick up your finished bowl.
            Or you may work with Betsy Orlando, well-known fiber artist, doll maker and paper artist, to make a mini Christmas album during this 2 ½ hour workshop.
            Betsy asks that you bring these things to use yourself and extras if you can to share: 3 or 4 empty toilet paper tubes, holiday paper such as scrapbook paper or heavy gift wrap and trims such as ribbon, beads, buttons and stickers. (NOTE: THIS CLASS IS FULL.) 
            For either project, you must pre-register and make a donation of $15 or more to the Allegany Arts Association. This will cover materials with the remainder going to support the Allegany Arts Association. Betsy and Elaine are volunteering their time.
          Another option is to go to Alfred Knitting Studio for Knitting Nights. This is an open invitation to sit and knit or ask someone for lessons from 6-8 pm at the Alfred Knitting Studio. They offer a warm knitting area, cookies, tea, friendship and conversation in any of Frank and Lynn Bunke’s cozy chairs.

*The Allegany Arts Association is NOT part of the Allegany Artisans or the Wellsville Art Association or the Wellsville Creative Arts Center. It has existed since 1980 to offer free art workshops to children and to encourage exposure to performing arts in Allegany County.