December 27, 2011

Inspiration from Life

Kazuko's birthday, December 25th

Dorian made drinks

Gem made paella

The band played

A good time was had by all

and a cello treat for the grand finale, impromptu by Fredricka

December 15, 2011

Back in the Studio!

for the winter season, our shearlings are

sold exclusively at

Yuta Powell

967 Madison Ave @ 76th St.

New York, N.Y. 

Happy Holidays!

December 5, 2011


We finish up the year in the chilly city of Boston,
where shearling coats are a necessity!

Get yourself ready, winter is around the corner.
We will have a nice selection in booth #613

The show is fine quality, set in the beautiful Cyclorama on Tremont St.

November 29, 2011

Over Two Rivers and Thru the Woods!

Packing up the shearlings to take to the show!
I have to say, an enjoyable show to see and shop,
with kind of a "something for everybody"
atmosphere, from our shearling coats
to gift shopping in all ranges

November 17, 2011

Craft Westport this weekend!

Come try on some silky soft shearling!
Booth B205
Toshiki and Maryszka

New pieces + some at "sample sale" pricing!

November 9, 2011

Toshiki and Maryszka, early work

When Toshiki and I met thirty years ago,  I was a weaver, he, a designer.
We immediately began using my fabrics to design and make jackets, slowly started trimming
them in leather, adding leather sleeves, and evolving from that.
If you had seen us at a craft show back then, these are some of
the pieces you may have seen. And a few of our "collectors" still have
and are wearing pieces from that era, the early '80's.

The red, black & white woven jacket with the black leather edging was our first collaboration.

November 6, 2011

Frank Mason, open studio

Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of being invited by my college friend, the artist Gregory Crane, to an open studio of who he considers his best teacher and closest mentor, Frank Mason. Frank's wife Anne was gracious 
in opening the studio in conjunction with the NYC premiere of 
at the Big Apple Film Festival. The studio, on the top floors of a building on the corner of Broome & Mulberry in Little Italy, is also the home of Cafe Roma. I was able to snap some photos, the studio much the same as it was in all the
years Frank lived and worked there. Frank Mason passed away on June 16th, 2009.

October 22, 2011


The Smithsonian wearable show kicked off last night with a preview event. Beautiful live models circled the floor and stood like mannequins on pedestals. Here is one wearing our long blue shearling with inverted whipstitched darts.
The well attended opening led into a busy Saturday, and Sunday is your last chance.
a benefit put on by the women's committe of the Smithsonian Institution
Held at the National Building Museum
401 F St
Washington DC
Sunday 10 am-5pm

October 19, 2011

Craft2Wear at the Smithsonian Institution

We have been invited to participate with this group of elite wearable artists in a major fundraiser for the Smithsonian Institution. Get a chance to purchase in real time from 
those creating our heritage, with proceeds from all admissions and portions of all sales
going to a Museum that preserves our heritage, one of our National Treasures, The 
Smithsonian Institution.  Thanks to the hard working Women's Committee who make this
happen every fall.

October 14, 2011

Westchester Fine Craft Show

On my way to exhibit our shearling collection at the only show of this caliber in the metro New York Area.

Go to

White Plains County Center


October 8, 2011

Shearling Coats in Bright Colors

With the evening temps at the frost level it is time to think about keeping warm, and we hope we have designed coats to accomplish this on a functional and emotional level. Come tell us what you think, booth 919, Paradise City Arts, Northampton this weekend thru Monday.

October 7, 2011

Paradise City, Northampton

On my way on this beautiful morning to set up the booth in Northamton Ma at a wonderful event. Please come see our shearling collection in booth 919.


September 20, 2011

Fashions Night Out

Finally getting to report on this years Fashion's Night Out, the third, and hopefully not the final. We began the afternoon at Bendel's, that did a lovely job hosting vendors from the Hester Street Fair on the mezzanine. Uptown loves downtown.

They also had work from their illustrator for sale, quite reasonably.

Just an interesting room.

Hopped a bus to catch a few things downtown, and on Lafayette St. someone had invested heavily in zip ties to colorfully wrap a pole.

First stop, Partner's and Spade, doing a Buddy Holly birthday party with the very cool eyeglass company Warby Parker, and a lot of good looking people.

The door"man" at Patricia Field's wouldn't let us in with tote bags, so we took turns to get in and get our interesting goodie bags.

Veselka, and East Village institution partnered with Patricia Field around the corner to launch their new restaurant on First Street, a private party, but we got in. Great herbal infused Polish vodka cocktails, waiters passing Borscht and hors d'oeuvre potatoe pancakes. Yummy, this was great, and I will definitely be a customer.

After a wait at Prada where the band was late, we left to go back uptown, because Bergdorf's windows were soooooo good last year. They did not disappoint.
It was all about clothes. The maid was hanging laundry.

The girls were knitting.

Someone telling fortunes among her threads, of the next trend?

Next to Louis Vuitton, the girls were marching

An artist was painting in the logo

Ended our night at a great party at the OC Concept store on Madison, where everything was Swiss, delicious and beautiful. Stay tuned, this is all just a snippet. I will add more on whim.

August 24, 2011

Shearling Pea Coat

New for fall, 2011. First showing this weekend. Toshiki and Maryszka shearling coats and jackets, booth 54 at the American Craft Expo.

American Craft Expo

We, along with over 150 of the best craft artists in the country arrived at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston Il, to set up our booths.
Tune in tomorrow to see the transformation from this scene.

August 9, 2011

The Importance of Craft

I think it was in 2008 a friend said to me, "I've decided all my purchases are going to be from business's I want to see continue...."      

I will leave you with a quote also from artisan Dianne Muller, and you can see more artisans perspectives on this page, and hope to see you at The Berkshire Craft Show this weekend.

Dick and Diane Muller
By purchasing something from an artist/craftsperson, one allows that person to continue in their field. This means they are in the position to inspire others to take up the same craft or at least be exposed to craft, which may awaken their “inner artist”. I have always been struck by the Japanese identifying great artists as national treasures…it seems to me we should be doing that here as well.

August 8, 2011

Shearling at The Berkshire Craft Fair, Tax Free Weekend!

Ok, you've been to Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow, Shakespeare & Co., Mass MOCA, The Norman Rockwell Museum, The Berkshire Scenic Railway've hiked and canoed, and eaten soooo much fresh good food...........but let's face it, we all love shopping therapy.

So have you been to The Berkshire (fine) Craft Fair?

It is happening this coming weekend, which happens to be TAX FREE! (sat & sun).
So now is a good time to support American hand made.

And Neel, the artistic director has just announced that there are 36 new artists exhibiting this year, so don't miss out!

I will be there with our collection of Toshiki and Maryszka shearlings, in booth 88.

The show benefits the wonderful Monument Mountain Highschool.

August 7, 2011

The Berkshires, so much to do!

It seems that those who come to this area of Western Massachusetts, come expecting to leave enriched culturally and well fed with excellent food. I know that the many customers who have purchased a Toshiki and Maryszka shearling at The Berkshire Craft Show are always telling me where they have been, and what they are about to do on their weekend, always with a twinkle in their eye!

So how to get the most out of your weekend? There are a number of blogs and websites to inform you. One is The Berkshires, and I was so happy to see that they had the show listed on their calender. Another is The Berkshire View.

Why not make it a weekend of fine craft, come to the show and then visit some of the local galleries that support various mediums in American hand made.

(They have a page on their site with lots of good information.)

And when you come to The Craft Show, don't forget to talk to some of the artists that live in the area, like Dick and Dianne Muller, Ann Brauer all from not too far away Shelburne Falls.
Word of mouth is alway the best way to get new ideas.
Any comments here are also welcome.
Spread the word on things you love in the area.

Berkshire Crafts Fair

Celebrating High Quality Crafts for 38 years

August 12th, 13th, 14th 10am-5pm Air Condiitioned $7.00 age 12 and under free

In Other News

Now in its 38th year, the Berkshire Crafts Fair will return to Monument Mountain Regional High School. The fair will showcase the work of 89 artists (36 new), carefully selected by jury for the quality and variety of their offerings. Visitors can expect a wide array of products and prices in each category of craft, from contemporary and traditional jewelry, to furniture, ceramics, textiles, glassware, and more. One hallmark of the fair is its breadth: the exhibition and sale draws master artisans from California to Florida to Maine. Visitors can see these artists at work on August 13th, or Demonstration Day, with thirty minute crafts demonstrations scheduled throughout the afternoon.

August 6, 2011

The Berkshire Craft Show

After a few months of gardening, swimming, and much work in the studio, we are packing up our shearling collection and hitting the road. Our first stop is a gem of a show in Great Barrington Massachusetts, home to such cultural institutions as Tanglewood (Boston Symphony summer home, + more), and Jacob's Pillow.
This small show which is a fundraiser for Monument Mountain High School, is in its 38 year and has been growing in importance in the fine craft scene. In a wonderful realaxed small setting you will be able to see some of the top talent in the country like basket maker Joanne Russo and clothing designer Sally Jones. Don't miss it!

July 21, 2011

Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show

Fall schedule is filling up and looking very busy, so keep posted as I update our show schedule page on the website, and here on the blog.

We are excited to be part of the Craft2Wear show at the Smithsonian Institution this year in Washington D.C.

October dates allow for timely purchase of your dream shearling coat.
It looks like a good group of artists, so if you are in this area, don't miss it!
You can follow them on Facebook for up to date info.

Advance Chance Preview Party: October 21, 5:30-8:30 pm

Show dates: October 22-23, 10-5

July 17, 2011

Ardis James, Quilt Collector, dies

My mother was a quilter and I have always been, as have many of my friends, a "fabric addict". I don't know why, but when we go into fabric shops, or in my youth the mill outlets in New England with my Mom, our hearts pound a little faster and the irresistable urge to come home with a new pattern or color and the tactile experience completely overtakes us.

So I enjoyed reading the Obit today of Ardis James in the New York Times. Not only was she a fabric addict but a collector who established the Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska. I can't wait to visit it!

Any of my modern quilt artist friends in her collection?

Below, Robert and Ardis James in a photo from the Times article

Chris Ma

June 30, 2011

The Highline

Last weekend I got to walk The Highline, and walk the newly opened section 2. The park is a wonderful New York experience, it doesn't seem like a it should be a big deal walking it, now from 14th st. to 30th st., but it is. It makes you stop and take in views you normally wouldn't. I remember somehow Toshiki and I gaining access about 30 years ago when it was an abandoned railway overgrown with weeds, and even then thinking it was magical.

We have had a lot of rain recently, and the wild flowers were magnificent.

Even the gone by ones, at dusk.

The birdhouses are sleek and modern, quite fitting to the neighborhood, but apparently still unoccupied. Must be the rent is just too damn high!

Unless you get there today, you will miss the first in this billboard series "Landscape with Path". This first piece by Joel Sternfeld, is a view of railroad in May of 2000.

Shadows of people walking The Highline on a building just east of it.

Another sunset, and we reach 30th as night falls, and Rainbow City, a place for kids to play.

June 15, 2011

American Craft Exposition

Again this year we will be kicking off our busy season by showing our new designs in shearling at The American Craft Expo, in Evanston, Il, a suburb of Chicago. It is a great show, benefiting a great cause, and cheers to the committee ladies who do a great job organizing it.

Here is a video that will give you a sampling of what you may see, besides our work,
at the show. Follow their blog for updates.

June 13, 2011

Savage Beauty

Fashion, art, performance, couture, philosophy, poetry.

Modern yet traditional.


It is once in a blue moon that an Alexander McQueen is born.

To be able to see a body of his work at the Metropolitan Museum of

Art, an honor, in inspiration, a humbling experience.

Jurors and committees that arrange shows of Fine Craft, heads up!

Look for this talent in our world, and make sure they are shown.

And to the public, don't settle for the mediocre when you come to

these shows; expect to be stimulated, to leave with more than you

walked in with.

June 4, 2011

Big Buongirono

I always try to catch shows on the roof of the Met, which is one of my favorite places in New York to be. The view changes with each installation. Last fall my childhood friend who is an avid hiker from Boulder Colorado came to visit, and it was a perfect place to take her.
I just read in the NY Times this week that the artists, Mike and Doug Starn, are doing it again over the Grand Canal in Venice for the Biennale. Wish I could go!

Here it was in New York.

And here is my favorite reflecting wall to fool around taking pictures of the art and me!

May 24, 2011

The Art Quilt Gallery in New York

The other day I was out getting supplies, and I happened upon a very nice quilt show at a new space, The Art Quilt Gallery on 25th St. The Inagural show of Daphne Taylor's "Quilt Drawings" was impressive. Come in soon, show ends May 28th, but by the taste and
quality of this show, this new gallery will be on my radar to watch.

May 20, 2011

Art on Air

This past tuesday on a very grey and foggy evening in lower Manhattan, I was able to attend the 6th face off in the Moral Kombat
musical challenge, to see which artist "wins" being the more Moral performer.
Held at the Clocktower Gallery, to be broadcast on Art on Air, this was a duel between sound artist G Lucas Crane (Nonhorse), and jazz virtuoso Daniel Carter, judged by "the machine".

Pondering the moment, artist Gregory Crane and son G Lucas

G Lucas and Daniel, face to face, pre duel

The winner Daniel, but in my opinion, one was as important as the other

April 27, 2011

Crafts at Lyndhurst

With spring already here and summer will go by in a wiz, fall is just around the corner and then winter already and you dread it because you never found a nice
warm coat that made you happy and warm. Last spring at Crafts at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown NY I met lots of customers in plan ahead mode, (even thou it was a 90 degree fluke weekend).
This weekend the weather will be beautiful, so please stop by our booth B201 in the
big tent, where we will be with our shearling collection, for orders made to measure, new stock, plus a spring sale rack!

Print this for $1.00 of admission.
(only one discount permitted, may not be combined)

April 22, 2011

Lynn Dell on Style

Accessories + a really beautiful shearling coat?
Last chance for this year, and I promise it will be worth your
while, Crafts at Lyndhurst,next weekend,featuring our Spring Sale!

April 12, 2011

The Smithsonian Craft Show, The Jury Process

It is the time of the year again for one of the handful of fine craft shows in this country, The Smithsonian Craft Show, that draws an attendance of people who come and BUY what they perceive is quality work, simply because it is being exhibited at this show, or shows like it, which can be a false perception. This also goes for prizes given at all shows, which may or may not be the best work, but those artists make sales based on this false perception of what is good.

Every year artists need to apply to be juried into these shows, by submitting 5 photographs of their work, and rely on the jury the show has chosen to be knowledgeable enough to make good choices, based on craftsmanship, integrity of design and so forth. This is difficult, as I have noticed artists that get in on 5 pretty decent looking slides, and then you go to their website and see shopping carts where you can purchase a bunch of stuff for $39 and you know they are not making it, perhaps even importing it. Yet it is perceived to be good work at fine craft shows, because it is there. Is this fair to the public?

And if you don't make the jury cut, your livelihood suffers tremendously, as the number of shows that attracts this kind of clientele is so few.

Sometimes the show committees puts a charge to the jury to find "new exhibitors", as they want a fresh show. This is fine if the work qualifies, but often times a more seasoned craftsman would be the better choice. Dianne Muller said it well in a comment on The Berkshire Craft Fair website.

"By purchasing something from an artist/craftsperson, one allows that person to continue in their field. This means they are in the position to inspire others to take up the same craft or at least be exposed to craft, which may awaken their “inner artist”. I have always been struck by the Japanese identifying great artists as national treasures…it seems to me we should be doing that here as well."

So of course, as leather designers running a small studio as we do, it is frustrating that we have only been chosen to exhibit at The Smithsonian 3 times in our 30 year career. The work we so carefully make is totally represented in the slides we submit, and am proud to say I think we do a pretty good job at our craft. Any challengers?

So what do you think? Should show committees, juries, prize judges be more accountable to let American Craft be truly represented if that is what their shows are selling?

Should the process be more in depth, going beyond the 5 photos that may be taken only for "jury slides"; such as studio visits, website visits? Have the jury take notes at the show to put in a national database, a "National Treasure" database, where all jurors of all shows can go for reference?

We are a young country, still developing our culture.
How do we want to be studied in the future?

March 31, 2011


We will be showing our newest work in shearling at craftNewYork which is debuting in New York this weekend. We are especially excited about a piece we have just finished, a long napalan coat, trimmed in gold and black tape, hood and cuffs edged in a curly shearling. Come try it on in booth D05!
We will be showing alongside some of the best talent in the country, and I have already had phone calls from out of town clients coming to this new important show, a quality in Craft New York has not seen before. Don't miss it!

CraftNEWYORK THIS WEEKEND! Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.

Show and Sale for the Benefit of CERF+
(Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists’ Emergency Resources)
7W New York, 34th Street at Fifth Avenue
Between 5th & 6th Avenues across from the Empire State Building

This Weekend!
APRIL 1, 2, 3, 2011
Fri. 3pm to 8pm • Sat. 10am to 6pm • Sun. 11am to 5pm

CraftNEWYORK has brought together 100 internationally renowned American Craft artists in support of a most vital charitable arts organization, CERF+. The inaugural exhibit and sale is a must see for anyone interested in the finest American craft being made today and will feature artists producing one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces. Net profits from admissions will benefit CERF+.

“These particular artists show us why America is at the pinnacle of the craft movement. In turn they continue the tradition, they set the standard, and they push the envelope.” Jeff Sobel, past president of Artrider Productions Inc.


CERF+ has received a generous matching grant from theWINGATE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION. The foundation will contribute $100,000 if CERF+ can raise $200,000. Your CraftNEWYORK ticket admissions and donations to BENEFIT IN A BOOTH will contribute to this goal.

Mixed media artist LAURA BALOMBINI has created a sculpture dedicated to CERF+. Laura’s innovative approach to polymer has spurred a rexamination of the media. The proceeds from the sale of this exceptional piece will go to CERF+.

Make sure to watch for the BENEFIT IN A BOOTH signs in select exhibitors’ booths. These artists have identified a piece in their booth that, if it sells, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to CERF+.

DAVID REVERE MCFADDEN, Chief Curator and Vice President for Collections and Exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design will present the BEST OF SHOW award on Friday evening.

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) foundedNYCreates to assist craft and folk artists and artisans in enhancing the income they receive practicing their art, thereby bringing greater economic progress to them and to their communities. It is modeled on HandMade in America, a highly successful project that has revitalized communities in rural North Carolina by assisting that region's many talented craft artists. NYCreates will have an informational booth and display of curated works from craft and folk artists and artisans from the five boroughs of New York City.

MORE . . .

The diversity and range of work will delight and speak to anyone interested in handmade, quality work that includes wearable art, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper and wood.

Visitors will have the chance to see studio furniture by Michael Puryear whose designs imbue “shibui”, the Japanese term for simple elegance; exquisite iridescent glazed vessels by Hideaki Miyamura; intimate bronze objects by Laura Baring-Gouldwho regularly works on large-scale public sculptures and ephemeral museum installations; sumptuous textiles byRandall Darwall, a studio fiber artist working with methods and dye techniques not possible in commercial production; abaca pulp paper lighting and illuminated sculpture by Riki Moss; contemporary Netsuke by Janel Jacobson; innovative beaded jewelry by The Art of Beadword author Valerie Hector; and Abstract Expressionist hand-dyed quilts by Judith Lazelere, among others.

7 West 34th Street, 11th Floor
Between 5th and 6th Avenues across from the Empire State Building

Friday, April 1 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, April 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15,
Seniors 62 and over are $12
Students and under 18 are free
Net proceeds from admission go to CERF+

Cash and checks only accepted for admissions

For a complete list of exhibitors and photographs of their work go to

CERF+’s (Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists’ Emergency Resources) mission is to safeguard and sustain the careers of craft artists and to provide emergency resources and services that benefit all artists. CERF+ is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization and is the only one of its kind in the United States. CERF+ accomplishes its mission through direct financial and educational assistance to craft artists, including emergency relief assistance, business development support, and resources and referrals on topics such as health, safety, and insurance. CERF+ also advocates, engages in research, and backs policy that supports artists’ careers.

Artrider Productions Inc. has produced arts events since 1982 and has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the craft and arts communities, raising thousands of dollars for CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists' Emergency Resources), the Guilford Art Center and more than $3 million for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In addition to CraftNewYork, Artrider produces CraftWestport for the Westport Young Woman’s League, the Guilford Craft Expo for the Guilford Art Center, Crafts at Lyndhurst for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and CraftMorristown.

Laura Balombini

Hideaki Miyamura

Emanuela Aureli

Michael Puryear

Starr Hagenbring

Leora Brecher

Ray Jones

Mark Del Giudice

David Bryce

Randall Darwall

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Woodstock, New York 12498

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