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K-12 Back-2-School Gift Guide

August 6, 2015 – 6:31 pm | 85 views

Well friends, it’s almost time. June and July have been whisked away by all of our Summer antics, August is upon us and September is fast approaching. That could only mean one thing…Back-to-School Shopping. Whether you’re reading this and thinking about your kids or thinking about all of the cool new stuff you want to make school a bit more fun, you’re already a step ahead by being here! Instead …

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Handmade Highlights Double Feature: Foreignspell & Kuro-Same Arts!

June 22, 2015 – 3:10 pm | 251 views

Recognize these names? It’s our resident Craftmaster Niki Baker of Foreignspell and Mouse Manager Matt of Kuro-Same Arts! Niki and Matt recently collaborated on a very special Wizard Sculpture for the Guest Artist Wizard Series, and Niki actually interviewed Matt for her Getting to Know You series on her blog. Seeing our artists working together like this is always a pleasure. With our  powers combined, who knows what could be accomplished from all of us working together? When it comes to these two though, magical wizards and bountiful information clearly comes about.

BLEU CLAIR, BRIGHT WIZARD

April 14, 2015

I’m proud to introduce Bleu Clair, Bright Wizard. Matt, of Kuro-Same Arts, started a very inspiring project: the Guest Artist Wizard Series. Matt hand-sculpts these magical wizards for various artist friends and we take over to make them our own. This art piece was insanely fun to make and I’d never done anything like it before. The wizard brims with character, so inspiration is easy to find. Along with whimsical flourishes, I used the song Do You Believe In Magic by The Lovin’ Spoonfuls to adorn the wizard’s cloak. If you are an artist and would like to try your hand at your own special wizard or purchase Bleu Clair, Bright Wizard contact Matt!

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via Bleu Clair, Bright Wizard — Foreignspell.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU:

KURO-SAME ARTS

May 28, 2015

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1. What led you to discovering your passion?

Which passion? Hehe. In regards to my jewelry, I started making my own pieces from a fairly young age. My mother inspired and encouraged me at that time to play with beads, making bracelets and necklaces to give away or hold onto just for fun. I started making jewelry with the intent to sell in 2011 or so, purchasing old watches and clocks to take apart and turn into wearable art. Taking stuff apart and looking at the insides, trying to figure out how interesting devices work, has always been very fun for me.

Photography is a bit more simple to describe I think. Anyone that calls themselves a photographer, I believe stems their love of the camera from the simple act of taking photos. We innately want to document our lives and (sometimes) everything around us. I began taking “serious” photos mid-high school, not being able to resist all of the wonders around me. I really enjoy capturing dark images and nature breaking through the concrete-clad society we live in, but there’s a lot that catches my eye!

Last one~ I started working with clay during my last two years of high school, but was absolutely terrible on the throwing wheel (and probably still am!). Working sculpturally became the immediate go-to for me due to that factor, so outside of class assignments, I started making figurines and oddball creations inspired by music I was listening to while working. I continued working with clay during my second semester of college, not being able to stay away, and that was when I really began to find my style. That first year of work saw the beginning of work that I have been doing ever since, including the Wizard Study and plaster-cast molds of my hands. I also made some pop-art shrunken zombie heads at that time that I still have, they’re pretty funny and almost became my bread’n’butter!

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2. What is the craziest hurdle you’ve had to jump and what advice would you have given to past you?

That’s a really good question. I think one of the toughest things I’ve had to come to terms with is a combination of the fact that I’m not destined for a traditional workplace position achieved from 4 years in college and am truly an artist in every aspect of my life. The thought of sitting at a desk all day and not making art frightens me, but we’re from a young age told that after high school we need to go to a 4-year college, get a degree and then go work with that degree for the rest of our lives. How many children (or even teenagers) are going to say they want to be an artist when they grow up? Playing off of that, nearly every level of primary education and society tells us that anyone that stays in the college system longer than 4 years that isn’t striving for a “real job” is just a slacker. Too many people view art as a pure hobby and not a lifestyle.

Hmmm, that may have dragged on a bit, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that the craziest hurdle I’ve ever had to overcome has been my own perspective on life, brought on by societal norms. Hope that makes sense!

3. When you aren’t focusing on your main hustle, what are you up to?

When I’m not making art in the studio or at home, you’ll most likely find me managing Modern Mouse in Alameda. We’re an independently-owned retail boutique that works with all local, handmade and independent artists. I one day would like to own my shop similar to the Mouse, but one with a gallery aspect and different types of artists. Other than the Mouse and art, I love making music, writing and anything that involves my other half (Mynto) or friends!

4. What is your favorite place in your city?

I have a lot of love for a lot of places, so we’ll do both! Oakland is my current home (+hometown), so some of my favorite places there are Portal (great bar), Awaken Cafe, the Roscoe Ceramic Gallery and (most-recently) Samurai Sushi near the Grand Lake Theater. In Alameda, other than Modern Mouse, I dig the Redux Studios & Gallery, Rocket Reuse (secondhand CD’s, vinyl, comics, vintage clothes, books), Yojimbo Sushi, Studio 23 and the Lucky 13.

Clearly, I have a think for bars, reuse stores, sushi and art, haha.

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5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

These questions are always tough for me, because although I’m quite OCD, planned and scheduled in many aspects of my life, I view the future much more fluidly. Ideally though, I’d love to be participating in a steady stream of art shows and craft fairs on a regular basis, continuing my art focus obviously. I’ll have my Ceramics AA by then for sure, but maybe I can have my BA in Studio Arts as well? That would be nice, hehe. A studio of my own (and not just the Laney Ceramics Studio), some published poetry zines, completed projects and such would be awesome. Who knows, maybe I’ll even record an album by then? Haha. However things turn out, as long as I’m with Mynto and making art, I’m positive everything will come together in one way or another.

BONUS : What’s your favorite song right at this moment?

Hmmm, Master of Tides by Lindsey Stirling has been perfect at any point I play it during the day, that chorus glissando is just beautiful. Hehe.

FOLLOW HIM!
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Thanks Matt!!!

via Getting To Know You : Kuro-Same Arts — Foreignspell.

A Stache of Father’s Day Gifts!

June 7, 2015 – 4:28 pm | 296 views

Let’s face it folks, dad is rad! On the surface: calm cool and collected, perhaps a little crazy, but that’s okay because we love him and it makes him who he is. Underneath that Dad demeanor is a complex creature that cleans up well, while still knowing how to relax when the day is done or just beginning. He has that odd way of fixing everything, with or without duct …

Artist Profile: Sundrop Jewelry

May 31, 2015 – 3:05 pm | 278 views

I would like to introduce Tawny Reynolds from Sundrop Jewelry based in Berkeley, California. Believe it or not, Tawny makes her glass droplet jewelry by means of gravity, glass and the sun! Instead of the usual blown-glass forming methods, she uses a huge magnifying glass to melt recycled glass bottles and stained glass into fun new pieces. Now that is amazing!  Nothing better than using what’s around you to create …

Handmade Highlights: craft emergency via Feed the Fish Co.’s Crafterateur

May 24, 2015 – 1:20 pm | 297 views
I absolutely love small tins and seeing as how I have a bit of an Altoids addiction, I always save those tins knowing I’ll come up with a use for them some day. Erin Garcia of Feed the Fish Co is quite the inspiration, her Crafterateur blog being no exception to the latter as she recaps fun DIY events and shares her adventures in the handmade world. What crafty person

Artist Profile: Easy Growin Designs

May 18, 2015 – 6:45 pm | 287 views

Don’t think you have a “green” thumb? Fear not! As stated in their name, Easy Growin’ Designs will make it simple for you to own that succulent that you’ve been wanting. Based in Oakland, California, Kristen Naab and Brogan Honey King make waves with their wonderful succulent arrangements. Feel free to swoon over their designs, because they are just that lovely!

Easy Growin Designs’ Business Story 
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Celebrate Moms! – Mother’s Day Gift Guide

April 26, 2015 – 6:29 pm | 360 views

With another year under our belts (tails?) here at the Mouse, we’ve once again risen to the occasion and assembled a brilliant collection of items brought to you by all of your favorite local and independent artists! The ever-growing roster of amazing folks at Modern Mouse makes it easy to get mom and everyone in your life something different every time~

We’re looking at two weeks before Mother’s Day (that’s …

Artist Profile: Koco & Viking

April 19, 2015 – 5:12 pm | 310 views

Sometimes life is full of bumps on the road so it’s encouraging to know there is always someone who has your back. Why not show some love and encouragement to that someone with hoop art from Koco & Viking? Based in Pismo Beach, California, Jasmine Dexter creates meaningful hoop art with quotes such as, “Always remember you are loved” and “May my heart be kind, my spirit fierce, and …

Handmade Highlights: The End and The Beginning of Day of the Artist via Linda Cleary

April 13, 2015 – 6:42 pm | 343 views

We featured an Interview with Linda Cleary in an issue of Handmade Highlights during April of 2014, only a few months into her Day of the Artist project. This recap of her year came out on the 1st of this year and I’ve been saving it for a “rainy day” of sorts (its not raining, just really windy!), but more than that, I suppose I’ve just been waiting for

Artist Profile: Hearts and All

April 5, 2015 – 3:07 pm | 376 views

Remember when stick figures were the big thing when you were young? Well, they’ve stuck around through the years and found themselves in the hands of Mitchell Joe of Hearts and All! Inspired by life experiences, his stick figure art is sure to charm the butt off of you, possibly leaving you giggling and smiling. Hey, sometimes the best things are the simplest, right? :] Hearts and All art is …

Handmade Highlights: Things I Have Learned in 40 Years via Outlaw Soaps

March 29, 2015 – 3:20 pm | 338 views

Outlaw Soaps’ Danielle & Russ are the definition of an awesome power couple. Everything about their brand is simply amazing, rad and…well, awesome! The specific awesomeness I’m referring to though isn’t just their brilliantly crafted soaps (lip balms, lotions, etc), its the realness that they let loose in their business. There are some folks that are completely different people when they’re not behind their business name, but Outlaw Soaps seems