Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Article in the Maine Edge: A kitschy, retro, new and unique shop for Bangor.

A kitschy, retro, new and unique

shop for Bangor

By Jenn Wayboer
edge intern

BANGOR - Jodi Renshaw has turned her passions and her dreams into a new store for Bangor. This Handmade Life and Studio 36 opened earlier this month downtown at 170 Park Street. The shop is full of all kinds of wonderful art and handmade products, and the studio provides a professional space for local photographers to meet clients and expand their work.

This Handmade Life started out six years ago as an online shop on the popular online handmade marketplace, Etsy. At the time, Renshaw and her husband were looking for a way to make the money they needed to adopt their son, Isaac. The concept came about because Renshaw wanted to create as handmade a life as she possibly could.

"You're the author of your life, so create your best life" Renshaw said. And it was this ideal that made her want to know who created, by name, all the products around her instead.

Everything in the shop is handmade by someone in the United States, but not necessarily in Maine. Etsy has become a great resource to pull products from around the country into the shop. The goal is to support local and creative economies. Currently, the shop's selection includes paintings by local artists Lyndsey Marston, creator of 3 Legged Dog Ink, and Jim Lagasse, whose art is also being showcased in the Bangor Public Library, along with photography by Michele Barker and Tom Grogan. There are handmade gifts such as the journals/scrapbooks that Renshaw makes herself out of Golden Books, along with tote bags she sews, and her own photography, both serious photography and some done by posing action figures and older generation toys.

"The journals are a way for adults to play with kids' books, to play with the books we grew up with," Renshaw said. "And I like to play with toys and I'll do anything to have the chance to play with them. I want my shop to really be different and fun...and maybe a little bit silly."

Soon the shop will be receiving handmade sock monkeys from Tennessee and the original Harry Potter puppets from the popular potter puppet videos on YouTube.

The upstairs of the building houses Studio 36. Currently there are four local photographers in the co-op, but the space is available for any photographer who needs a professional space to rent. For only $25 an hour, a photographer gets use of the studio, all of its backdrops and props, lighting and dressing room area. The studio was previously on Hammond Street and was established when Renshaw was looking to rent a space to do her own photography and found out that no such place existed. It has been a success from the start and has already helped some photographers get a jump-start on their careers.

The studio will also be a place for people to come and pick a photographer to do the work that they need done. One of the rooms will showcase work done by the co-op photographers and have portfolios of artists' work. There will also be portfolios of models so that the studio can act as a liaison for them as well.

This Handmade Life and Studio 36 will both be fully up and running by the double grand opening that will take place on March 18. Both make great artsy additions to downtown Bangor.

Stop in and talk to Renshaw about either business, or check them out online at You can read Renshaw's blog at Both This Handmade Life and Studio 36 also have Facebook pages.

THANK YOU JENN & BANGOR METRO! Article can be seen in their online newspaper by clicking here.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

That Mysterious Ticking Noise --- comes to Bangor!

I LOVE this video! So much so ... that I have been wanting my own set of Harry Potter puppets ever since I saw this ... about 3 years ago. And finally, I have found a lovely young lady who makes them ... AND is willing to sell them in my shop!

Here are some examples of her work ... and of the goodies that will be making their way to the shop ... via Owl Post ... asap ...

Please drop in sometime to see them for yourself! AT ONLY $25 each ... they are a wonderful, handmade in the USA product that is also quite economical & totally ENTERTAINING! Heck - you can even make your own videos with these guys :)

Check out more videos from the Harry Potter Puppet Pals here on YouTube. Perhaps there is a future for you in creating similar videos???

See you soon,


Monday, February 14, 2011

3 Legged Dog Ink - at This Handmade Life shop!

Meet Lyndsey Marston ... and her belated and beloved dog, Enza. Lyndsey is one of those amazing people whom you meet and absolutely fall in love with within minutes. She is kind, modest, interesting, interested, vivacious, inspiring, and just plain lovely. Oh - and did I mention, talented!? Very! Her work literally gives me tingles.

Not too long ago, Lyndsey found out that her canine buddy, Enza, had developed cancer. In order to give back to Enza as much as Enza had given her, Lyndsey took some time off of work in order to be there for her dog, and provide the best end-of-life care possible (see what kind of wonderful person Lyndsey is?). During that time, Lyndsey worked on some art projects that helped her through this process ... and that served as a loving tribute to Enza.

And they amaze me. Truly. So simple, yet so incredibly brilliant and striking.

Well, after a few online and in-person conversations, Lyndsey has decided to sell her work at our shop: This Handmade Life in Downtown, Bangor. And I seriously could not be more excited! She not only is going to sell some of her original work (including pieces such as the one shown above) ... but she has generously offered to sell some prints of her original work! From 8x10 to 18x24 prints ... to greeting cards and postcards. All printed on heavyweight matte surfaced papers.

Drop by and see her work. It is so much more emotional and compelling than anything I could possibly show you here. And I guarantee you will want to take something home with you.

For my part, I would love to fill my home with her work :)

Here are a couple pictures of her non-Enza work ... but please visit her website to view more.

Thank you for learning more about all the offerings of our new shop. It is important to us that you KNOW who our artists are - and what inspires them.

Please stay tuned for more information about our other artsist, including painter Jim Legasse.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean - AGAIN!

Hooray! This summer we will be able to see Captain Jack Sparrow again on the big screen. I know I can't wait ... (though I must admit that I will miss Will Turner) ... check it out ...

So, now I am swooning over my upcoming date with Sparrow (May 20th) ... and my enthusiasm for the film has inspired some crafty goodness ...

Pirates of the Caribbean Fabric Banners ...

... for parties, bedroom decor, the office, etc.

Want one? I can custom make one or more for you. They are about 4 feet long ... well sewn ... washable ... and so much fun. Just $15 each plus shipping. Or come by The Studio (170 Park Street in Bangor, ME) to pick one up!

Want a different theme? I can do that too :)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And so we begin ...

... turning dreams into reality. A marriage of both my passions ... in the same location. The photography studio ... and the handmade retail shop. One upstairs and one downstairs ... in a gorgeous downtown building.

The shop (downstairs) carries all sorts of wonderful art and goodies. The studio (upstairs) makes it possible for area photographers to rent a professional space in order to meet their clients and create wonderful portrait work. All good. All fun. All perfect for downtown.

Come visit soon. We are still growing ... but we are on our way.

Soon, we will be offering various photography and handicraft classes. More info to come. And be sure to make room on your schedule for our grand opening ... the weekend of March 18-20th!

SO looking forward to becoming a fun part of our thriving downtown.
Hoping to see you all soon!

Open Wed - Sat: 11am - 7pm.