ArtFire Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people will go to when inspired. After watching a television program detailing the horrendous living conditions of children in Ghana, Africa, eight 14-year-old girls decided to take action. They formed a charity dedicated to feeding impoverished peoples with the profits from their handmade crafts business. With that, One is Greater than None was born.

Now I don’t know about you, but at age 14, I generally didn’t think much about impacting the world. I was more concerned with school and maintaining social life than I was about starting a charity organization. But these girls must be more mature than I was. For more than year, the girls of One is Greater than None have been making and selling jewelry to feed children across the world. They work closely with the International Organization for Migration, which offers supplies and food to individuals in inhumane conditions. The girls even send their handmade brackets packaged with educational materials to villages in Ghana. Each bracket holds eight beads, meant to represent each of the girls.

With help from the IOM, the girls were able to support 8 Ghana children in January of 2008. Their hard work when to ensuring these children had plenty of food and a warm place to sleep for an entire year. While this may seem like a an exceptional, One is Greater than None have shown no inclination to stop now. Instead, they are working to give that opportunity to 25 children by January of 2009.

Click here to learn more or donate to One is Greater than None.


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ArtFire Monday, September 29, 2008

Last week we discussed the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s new green expansion. The eco-friendly addition to the century old museum made it the greenest in New York City. Well today, we’re going to talk about what is known as the greenest museum in the world.

The recently rebuilt California Academy of Sciences opened last weekend in San Francisco, reports to National Public Radio. Located in the hills of Golden Gate Park, the museum is made up primarily of recycled or organic materials. From the roof garden to the recycled blue jean insulation, the academy is said to be the greenest museum in ever built.

According to Italian architect Renzo Piano, the new museum is meant to serve three purposes: display, education and research. When the original Academy of Sciences building was damaged by the 1989 earthquake, the institution had the opportunity to get rid of the old fashioned exhibitions and displays. Piano designed the museum to be completely different from the museums of old, with no dark corridors and dusty dioramas.

Instead, the walls are made almost completely of glass, so it is possible to see into all areas of the museum at one time. The roof garden, consisting of entirely native plants, helps moderate the overall temperature of the museum. Skylights and solar panels offer lighting to the academy while letting in and out in warm or cool air.

The Academy of Sciences’ overall goal is meant to encourage visitors to take better care of the natural world by showing them its beauty. To that end, the museum is teeming with life.
So if you’re in the San Francisco area, check out the greenest museum in the world!


ArtFire Friday, September 26, 2008

Witness the effects of climate change—literally! To raise awareness of global warming, two newspapers in Sermitsiaq, Greenland have placed a camera on one of Greenland’s largest inland glaciers, Ilulissat. This camera allows viewers to witness the slow melting process as if they were present on the glacier.

According to Nasa’s Grace satellite, 239 km3 of water melt off the 110,000 year old glacier every year. That’s a lot of excess water! But no need to fear, Greenland isn’t letting it go to waste. Instead, the government is bottling it for sale in other countries, where it is extremely popular.

Although for some people, watching the glacier melt on a website isn’t enough. Greenland has recently experienced a surge of tourism as people across the globe journey to watch the glaciers disappear before their very eyes. It’s kind of like a car crash—you know it’s you’re witnessing something terrible, but you just can’t look away.

More than 80% of Greenland’s surface area is covered in glaciers, taking up 1.7 million km2 of land and holding 2.8 million km3 of ice. While only Ilulissat is showing serious signs of melting, may speculate it’s only a matter of time before Greenland faces real difficulties with all of their ice.

Click here to see the live webcam of Greenland’s Glaciers (don’t worry, it’s in English!).


ArtFire Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy National Comic Book Day!

Today marks the celebration of National Comic Book Day across the United States. While comic books might not be as popular as they were decades ago, they are nonetheless an influential part of society.

Comic books inspire people with bizarre storylines and superheroes. They allow people to use their imagination to deliver them into worlds unknown—but always with the promise of a happy ending and good triumphing over evil. Today, comic books continue to touch the public with blockbuster hit movie and television show adaptations.

Comic book superheroes offer protection to everyday people while fighting for justice. They punish the wicked and help those in need. Such ideas are hard not to fall in love with. But most people express the basic qualities of a superhero in their own lives. While they many not leap tall building in a single bound, but they manage to juggle a full time job, family, and hobbies on a daily basis. This is especially true for crafters. Many artisans somehow manage to work a day job while still finding time to craft and sell their handmade goods online. Such abilities should be applauded alongside x-ray vision and super strength. On this day honoring comic books, honor the superhero in you. Feel your artisan powers raise up inside you, get out there and craft!


P.S. Did you know that we at have our own comic book series? We call it Crafty 2.0, and yours truly handles the drawing. It’s modeled after the comic books of old, complete with villains, superheroes, and cheesy dialogue. The style fits more of an manga look rather than an old fashioned comic book, although it is nonetheless action packed and full of delightful characters. We currently have three editions in the works for publication in October. So stay tuned for a chance to get acquainted with the evildoers Betsy, Eboy, Planet of Good, PayBuddy—and of course our heroes, Art and Faia.

ArtFire Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It’s really amazing the difference a little creativity and time can make. In an effort to go green with respect to the arts, one children’s museum is taking steps to become environmentally efficient.

The new section of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum opened its doors to the public last month. According to Interior Design Magazine, The next addition received a silver rating by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building rating system, making it the greenest museum in New York City.

It seems only fitting that the first children’s museum in history would also serve as one of the first environmentally friendly museums. The expansion will double the 109-year-old museum’s size to more than 100,000 sq. ft, adding new second floor exhibition galleries, a kid’s café, lobby, more classrooms, library, gift shop, and extra administrative offices.

Designer Rafael Viñoly kept LEED’s standards in mind while creating the building. Many of the new features were made out of recycled or rapidly renewable materials. This includes bamboo or recycled rubber flooring, geothermal wells for heating and cooling, energy-saving light sensors, and solar electricity.

So there are green homes, green living communities, and now a green museum. What’s next? Well, Viñoly has no plans to stop now. Plans to construct his next project, the city’s first LEED-rated police station, have already begun.

To learn more about the green expansion to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, visit


ArtFire Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Day Crafters,

We are now up and running on brand spanking new servers. This means Art Fire is faster than ever before! We now have faster uploading, navigation, and downloading. We can handle much more traffic, with room to grow as more members join. Everything many still look familiar on—but you can feel the difference on the front page.

Our programmers were up late into the night, working hard to convert the old site onto the new equipment. We installed new servers to better improve your Art Fire experience. No one likes a slow website, and we wanted you to be able to smoothly browse our site, without delays or difficulty.

These new servers will also guarantee little to no downtime on (unlike some trading sites, who’s servers seem to go down ALL THE TIME). We’ve installed racks and mounts on the servers so if there is a hardware problem, we will be able to fix it without closing the site. This means sellers have their items displayed all time, while buyers get access to a 24 hour virtual store filled with handmade goods.

So hurry down to now to check out our new and improved servers!


ArtFire Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes you just can’t get it right. You work on a project for hours, but you just can’t seem to make it work. Or worse, you just can’t seem to get started on something. You know you want to craft, but you don’t know what.

This is something I call ‘artisan block’ and it happens to us all. It can be especially difficult if you’re an online seller, and designing handmade goods is part of your livelihood. But don’t despair, and most importantly, don’t give up. Listed below are some tips from my personal experience to help with artisan block.

Tip #1

When I’m looking for my artisan muse, I take a long, relaxing walk. Try doing something to get you physically active and clear your mind. It will calm any frustrations, and get you away from the workshop.

Tip #2

Try just diving in. Choose your medium and start. Go with what feels right. This doesn’t always result in a masterpiece, but it generally is a lot of fun and relieves frustration. And sometimes, just sometimes, you can get something brilliant.

Tip #3

Browse other artists’ work. It can be intimidating, but it can also show you what they’re up too. Visit a museum or just surf the internet to see what other artisans are doing; it can be inspiring and insightful.

Tip #4

Try a different medium. It may feel wrong to temporarily give up your chosen art form, but when you expand into other areas, you have the capability to express yourself in different ways. I’m not asking you to give up your original medium forever, just try something different for a while. If you like painting, try pottery. If you make jewelry, try sewing. It will broaden your horizons and allow you to better appreciate your favored medium when you’re done.

Tip #5

Sleep on it. Watch a movie. Go out with friends. Just do something to separate you from the piece. Don’t look at it—don’t even think about it—just sit back and relax your creativity. Then, after some time has pasted, revisit your craft studio. The inspiration will come to you when the time is right.

Tip #6

Put on some inspirational or unusual music. I prefer tribal music. Sew, bead, draw, paint, or sculpt to the music. Let the music guide your art. Allow yourself to let loose and go wild. There are few things as artistically stimulating as music.

Tip #7

Think of a book or movie you felt touched by. Let the movie inspire your artwork. Paint a picture about something about the story that inspires you. Try crafting a piece of jewelry or pottery from the book or movie. Make a sculpture about the scene. Take whatever it was that moved you and make it your own. It doesn’t matter that the idea isn’t original, you’re changing it with your art and making it unique. After all, every idea comes from somewhere.

Tip #8

Never underestimate the power of snacking. How can you do art on an empty stomach? When you feel stuck on a project and need to find your muse, look no further than your refrigerator. I’m not telling you to overdo it, but a healthy snack break from your artwork many provide the inspiration you need.

I hope these suggestions helped. Remember, the world needs crafters, so kick that artisan block and keep on crafting!