Sharing a single art studio with 65 other artists, while inspiring, can get a bit crowded. So when the owner of the renovated factory building in the South End decided to renovate another nearby building, bead crocheter Andrea Garr put her dreams of opening her own studio and bead store into action, and Bead + Fiber was born. Wielding multihued beads, a fine selection of specialty yarns, tools and jewelry-making materials picked up from her travels around the globe, Garr sells her creations as well as those of the other teachers and instructs students on how to make their own, whether it's a pair of elegant earrings for a wedding or a retractable necklace for a fashion-forward pet turtle. A lifelong artist, Garr revels in the rhythm and meditative vibe of crocheting beads as well as the seemingly endless possibilities of making your own jewelry.
Aldrich Robinson was a young woman in 1970's Bristol, England when she took up knitting. She did it almost entirely on her own, much in the way some people hack into DMV computers to change their recorded height. Aldrich sought only the help of her two aunts as she learned how to knit and purl. But it wasn't long before the novice evolved into an expert and when she relocated to the U.S. in the '80s, she even debuted a line of designer knitwear. Two decades of pouring her heart and soul into the line finally culminated in a boutique on Newbury Street in 2004—Newbury Yarns.
Much has changed since Aldrich picked up her first set of knitting needles, yet she remains a bastion of knowledge when it comes to trends in knitwear. She supplies customers with high-quality yarn and natural fibers so they have everything they need to make this season's hottest trends, from infinity scarves to colorful berets. But after all that time, she still hasn't forgotten how frustrating the first steps of learning to knit can be. That's why, as her aunts once did for her, she and her staff teach newbie crafters the basics at knitting and crocheting classes. For more experienced fiber artists, they hold biweekly knitting circles where participants can exchange tips and feel greater sense of community.
Every year just before ski season opens, the Boston Ski & Snowboard Expo gathers representatives from the sport’s foremost gear manufacturers and destinations under one roof for deep discounts and an unveiling of the latest models. Visitors can slalom from booth to booth, where they’ll be able to check out shiny new skis by Völkl and Salomon, take advantage of season-pass discounts from resorts across the country and the Northeast, or practice their shadow puppetry while wearing gloves by Marker. Meanwhile, interactive exhibits invite audience participation, and live demonstrations aim to wow onlookers.
Now in its 32nd year, the 2013 Expo also includes a massive sale of East Coast Alpine skis and snowboard and a beer garden brimming with beer from Long Trail Brewing Co. Killington Ski Resort looks to regale guests with acrobatic antics during the Flying Aces! Trampoline Show, and WBZ News Radio plans to operate a Kids Snowpark and Learning Center where youngsters can get ready for the winter without standing in front of an open freezer for days on end.
Even though the shelves are stocked with more than 250,000 books, prints, and ephemeral items, it isn’t hard to find that rare, needle-in-a-haystack kind of book at Brattle Book Shop. That’s because the proprietor, Ken Gloss, is an expert in all things literary, his resume studded with stints spent appraising books for Harvard, the FBI, and Antiques Roadshow. What's more, Brattle Book Shop has been in his family since 1949, allowing him to guide customers through the three floors of books as though he was showing them around his own home. The rarest and most unusual finds are typically found on the top floor, and include first-editions, collectible tomes, and leather-bound books gathered across the shop's 188 year history. In addition to serving avid readers, the shop also caters to those who want to add an upscale touch to their own home library by offering eye-catching antique cloth- and leather-bound sets that confer an air of gentility atop any shelf, mantle, or broken-down TV set.
Fast Frame originated in Europe and now has more than 300 locations worldwide. With the understanding that people are prone to changing their minds, the teams at these 300 Fast Frame stores back up all their custom-framing projects with a 30-day design guarantee, giving patrons a month to decide if they want to swap their memorabilia for one of more than 2,000 other frame styles, paying the price difference if applicable. For each project, a team with more than 60 years of combined experience performs the work onsite, generally completing designs in less than a week and sometimes on the same day. In addition to photos and diplomas, customers can commission shadowboxes or framing of bulkier items, such as jerseys or baby’s first rap sheet. For all finished projects, Fast Frame secures its craftsmanship with a lifetime warranty.
A silver mannequin stood in the window at Black Ink, drawing customers’ eyes to a display of trinkets and paper goods at her feet. But, then, something peculiar happened: she moved. A live sculpture might seem out of place in any other store’s front window, but shoppers at Black Ink have come to expect the unexpected. In 1994, owners Susan and Timothy Corcoran started their business as a paper and stamp shop, naming it after their favorite stamp medium and color of octopus kiss. As the years passed, their inventory grew to encompass an eclectic mix of products. They still carry stamps, though they’ve added Japanese knickknacks, paper clips, greeting cards, and Tin Tin books to their repertoire. They’ve also added a second location in Cambridge, where a larger space allows them to sell gifts and the paper to wrap them in.