Big Plans for Shopping Small for the Holidays

by Metalwerx on November 24, 2020

The holidays are upon us again. How did that happen so quickly? So much of this year has either been charging forward or at a stand-still. Today is both yesterday, tomorrow and seven months ago. Someone mentioned to me the other day that March is only four months from now. The year mark of where we started the pandemic journey is only a few months away. Before we reach that milestone: the holiday season.

This year, the holiday season will be different. A pandemic will force many of us to spend the holidays at home with members of our own household where we otherwise would be traveling and seeing family and friends. Of course, there is a downside to this, but there are many upsides too. There is no stress with dealing with travel or traffic, or whether or not you will get to your destination at a decent time, lines at the grocery store or having to put on real pants. You can see and enjoy family members from afar via computer screen and in the comfort of your own home, pants optional.

While gift giving isn’t the main focus of the holidays, we should give it more consideration this year. Small businesses are closing because of the pandemic, and unless we want to see big box stores be the only prevailing businesses when the pandemic is over, we have to take the time to support artisans and the small shops that make American commerce delightful.

When I think of the holiday season, and specifically holiday shopping, I think about perusing stores trying to find gifts for family, friends and coworkers. Items that they would want, need or enjoy and otherwise would not buy for themselves.

Instead of perusing stores this year, perusing online craft shows and art markets is a great way to not only buy something unique and handmade, it also supports small businesses that have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Many artisans who rely on craft fairs and markets to sell their work have had most, if not all their in-person events and chances for sales cancelled. Some have reshaped their business to allow for online commerce, but many have struggled to embrace the abrupt changes. Many of those small business rely on holiday shopping as a main source of income for the year and are unsure as to what this holiday season will mean for their business and their future.


Sharon Stafford Weaving

Featured above: Gold Solstice Star and Red Wove Medallion by Metalwerx Studiomate Sharon Stafford. You can see more of Sharon’s work here.

Online markets and fairs are not only a safer way to shop, they also allow you to explore and learn about makers and artisans, much in the same way you would by going to your local holiday sale. Online shows may actually expand events and participating artists, since there are no spatial limitations and can often include more vendors.

Monique+EarringsAstrophylliteKeumBooEarringsfrontoptFeatured above: Oceanic Dangles with Labradorite by Monique Rancourt. Astrophyllite Keum Boo Earrings by Wendy Jo New. You can find more of Monique’s work by clicking here. See more of Wendy’s work by clicking here.

What we should think about is the future and keep high hopes that in a short amount of time, we will find a vaccine and the world will reset and begin building its path back to normalcy. In the meantime, I want my local baker, coffee shop, toy store, salon, pet groomer, artisan, and of course, our local metals and jewelry school, to make it through. Our communities are not based around big box stores. They are built, strengthened, and enriched by small, local businesses who make them unique.


Featured above: Carved Band Rings by William Vanaria. You can see more of Will’s work by clicking here.

Many craft fairs and markets are going online this year. We’ve included a list below of just a few places to shop small both in person and online. Try finding a local fair near your or researching places that may have shifted to an online event. If you are shopping at in-person local stores and/or craft markets, please be safe and kind to others.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Metalwerx is also a small organization that is working hard to keep our doors open during this difficult time. We rely on support from our students, friends and instructors to keep our community connected and creative. Please consider making a donation, no matter how big or small, or purchasing a gift certificate for a virtual workshop for you or a friend!


To Our Metalwerx Community: Black Lives Matter

by Metalwerx on June 11, 2020

To our Metalwerx family and beyond,
Anger, outrage, disgust, grief – these are but a small portion of the myriad of nouns that can be used to describe our sentiments regarding the racial injustice that took place over a week ago during the killing of George Floyd, in an act of unspeakable brutality and misuse of authority. While our battle with Covid-19 continues, a spotlight has been shown on yet another facet of the national crisis – the jaded and malcontent face of systemic racism, prejudice, and inequality that has not only plagued this country since its inception, but in recent years caused the unnecessary deaths of numerous innocent Black Americans including Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Monterrosa, David McAtee, and many others not covered by the media. With sorrow in our hearts, we took this past week not to simply hear the Black Lives Matter voice, but to LISTEN to it.
To all the Black lives that have had to contend with racial inequality and cruelty in this country and beyond, we want you to know that we see you, we stand with you, and we know that words are not enough.
BLACK LIVES MATTER and we must act now.
As an organization, we need to do our part to not only amplify and support the BLM movement, voice, and message – that of BASIC human rights – but to actively uplift Black lives and other marginalized ethnicities through diverse hiring practices, broadened outreach efforts, focused scholarship opportunities, and wholehearted support of individuals and institutions currently rallying on behalf of all Black lives for a more kind, just, and racism-free future.
For decades, anti-black racism and racial injustice has run rampant and unchecked, silencing Black voices and oppressing countless lives. Unless we all speak up now, unless we all ACT now, the silenced voices of generations of subjugated people of color will not be heard! Metalwerx prides itself on elevating and supporting our community and we stand by our all-inclusive support and in solidarity with Black lives. Together, we can help make this world a better place for humanity, free of racial cruelty.
With wholehearted support,
Lindsay, Nick, Liz, Therese and Violet
The Metalwerx Team


COVID-19 Update

May 8, 2020

  We have taken these past few weeks to carefully think about our next steps. As businesses begin to reopen in Massachusetts, we are placing careful footing into reopening Metalwerx. After long and thoughtful consideration, we have reluctantly made the decision to cancel our summer programming until August. This decision includes the cancellation of all […]

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A Brief History of Color

May 5, 2020

Color is starting to spring up around us as the seasons change, and our creative prompt capitalizes on the color in the world, so I thought I would talk a bit about some notable historic pigments. This is in no way comprehensive, as there are numerous cultures and civilizations using many different pigments going back […]

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Gaudi’s Unfinished Masterpiece Sagrada Familia

April 28, 2020

Exterior of the Sagrada Familia  When talking about unfinished projects, like the creative prompt from last week, who better to talk about than Antoni Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia. Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) was a Catalan architect best known for his unfinished work Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, often shortened to Sagrada Familia, […]

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March 18, 2020

We understand that these times are uncertain. It has been a trying few weeks amid the COVID-19 crisis and we want you to know that Metalwerx is here for you in any capacity. We also want to ensure the safety and health of our staff, studiomates, and students. Metalwerx is working hard to define policies and […]

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Metalwerx Rocks Tucson!

March 5, 2020

This February, Metalwerx took our first ever group trip to Tucson. We were joined by board members, studiomates, students and friends for a three-day trip into the desert to attend one of the largest gems shows in the world: the Tucson Gem Show. Composed of nearly fifty smaller shows scattered around Tucson, the Tucson Gem […]

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Brie Flora on her Work, Guidelines, and her Upcoming Class

February 5, 2020

Brie Flora on her Work, Guidelines, and her Upcoming Workshop Interviewed by Violet Ita   Brie Flora is a contemporary jeweler creating playful and whimsical jewelry made from repeated patterns and powder coated pops of color. Recently, she started Guidelines, a contemporary jewelry project leading all the participants through a series of jewelry assignments with […]

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Clever Hand Gallery invites four Metalwerx Studiomates to exhibit in their new Guest Artist program 

January 30, 2020

The Clever Hand Gallery has invited four Metalwerx Studiomates to launch their new Guest Artist program.  Shing Hsieh, Sharon Stafford, Wendy Jo New, and Carol Miller will be exhibiting as guest artists at the gallery from February 3rd thru March 28th. The public is invited to an open house at the Clever Hand Gallery on […]

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Catching Up at CraftBoston with Bonnie Bishoff

December 30, 2019

Catching Up at CraftBoston with Bonnie Bishoff Interviewed by Violet Ita For those of your who are unfamiliar with the work of Bonnie Bishoff, she is an artist and craftsperson working predominantly in polymer clay. Originally making studio furniture with polymer inlays alongside her husband, J.M. Syron, she has since transitioned into making jewelry and […]

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