Ignite Craft Logo

Craft and Community in 5-Minute Presentations

Information on how to reserve a (free) ticket to attend, submit a proposal to speak, help spread the word, volunteer on the night of the event, or sponsor the event!

Another night of great inspiration, cool company, and new stories from makers in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and environs. For the 4th year, Common Cod is sponsoring Ignite Craft Boston, where up to 15 creative souls will share their passion for their crafts with a like-minded, crafty audience.

Around the world, folks have been putting together Ignite events to show what they’re doing. The Ignite motto is “Enlighten us, but make it quick,” so each speaker has 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds, totaling 5 minutes. At Ignite Craft Boston, we’ll get to see all sorts of amazing, eye-opening DIY in only 90 minutes. Tickets are free, but seating is limited, and traditionally we pack the space, so reserve your tickets soon.

Join Us

Come join the Boston area crafting community for the 4th annual Ignite Craft Boston

  • Ignite Craft Boston, v.4
  • Friday, January 10, 2014
  • MIT’s Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, Room 123, Cambridge, MA 02139
  • Doors open at 6:30PM, and presentations begin at 7:00PM.
  • The event is free; however, due to limited space at the venue, you must reserve a spot.


MIT’s Stata Center is located at 32 Vassar Street in Cambridge, between Main Street and Mass Ave. The closest T stop is Kendall station on the Red Line. Street parking is plentiful in this neighborhood, but you can also park in the 139 Mass Ave MIT parking lot after 4:00PM.

Help out

This event is run by an all-volunteer non-profit. Here are some ways you can help out:

  • Submit a presentation proposal — or mention Ignite Craft Boston to folks you know who have interesting crafts to share with an audience of kindred spirits!
  • Promote Ignite Craft Boston in your social networks using the hashtag #icraft (e.g., your office, Twitter, Facebook).
  • Print and share a flyer about the weekend.
  • Volunteer to help at Ignite Craft Boston on January 10 (contact guild@commoncod.com).
  • Help us find sponsors for refreshments for this event.
  • Buy a Sponsor Pass to Ignite and FiberCamp.
  • Donate to the Guild.

Submit a presentation

If you would like to speak, please submit a proposal here. All talks will be videotaped and posted on the Common Cod YouTube channel after the event. Please submit your presentation proposals by December 31, 2013. We will post descriptions of accepted presentations on this page as they are accepted.

Watch some Ignite Craft Boston Video from last year to get an idea about what these talks look like.

Here are some ideas for possible topics: knitting, crochet, LYSOs, weaving, spinning, sewing, quilting, felting/fulling, dyeing, painting, sculpture, print making, fine art, photography, book binding, paper arts, textiles, craft food/beer/cheese, ceramics, soap making, shepherding, farming, gardening, podcasting, blogging, other social media, designing, publishing, woodworking, 3D printing, jewelry, etc.

2014 Presentations

(This list will be updated as submissions are accepted)

Theatre Craft: Prop Making, Jeannine Mosely

Since 2001, I have been the lead Props Designer for the North Cambridge Family Opera. I will show some of my favorite props from past years’ shows and talk about the techniques, tools and materials that I used to make them.

Jeannine Mosely is the lead Props Designer for the North Cambridge Family Opera Company. She is also an origami artist specializing in abstract mathematical structures. She is best known for her designs folded from business cards and her curved crease designs. In addition, she is the inventor of “or-egg-ami”, origami made from egg cartons.

Anatomy of a Holiday Keepsake, Jesse Marsolais (Marsolais Press & Lettercarving)

Every December for the last six years I’ve launched into a letterpress printing project that showcased what I was learning or who I was reading at the time, culminating in a limited-edition keepsake to be given to family and friends during the holiday season. This December was no different, but since I also carve letters in stone I’ve been looking for a project that combined the two traditions in a single format. There is a seemingly unbridgeable gap in the methods of production employed by letterpress printing and lettercarving in stone: as a printer I can run off as many copies as I like for people to enjoy together or separately, however as a lettercarver I carve a single inscription that must satisfy the interest of all who see it. While the twain shall never truly meet, for this year’s keepsake I used an intermediary process that brought the two crafts closer together: the relief rubbing.

Inspired by a piece of ephemera I own printed in the 1930s by a press in New York, I had the idea to carve an inscription of raised lettering in a piece of marble and then rub the stone with wax over specially formulated paper as one would a gravestone. The rubbing was then folded and glued to letterpress-printed sheets, and then bound into paste paper-covered boards to form an accordion booklet. But wait, there’s more. Because I can’t resist the urge to complicate things up, I also printed a wrapper to house the booklet when not “in use” on a mantle, a dining room table or even in a Christmas tree. This presentation will take a look at every step along the way and hopefully prove that there’s a lot of life left in ancient crafts if you know how to use the tools.

After studying letterpress printing for six years with Master Printer John Kristensen at Firefly Press in Boston, and a brief grant-funded lettercarving apprenticeship with Nicholas Benson at the John Stevens Shop, I moved to the Worcester area to establish Marsolais Press & Lettercarving. On any given day I’m setting type for a wedding invitation, printing business cards or carving a memorial inscription. I rely on antiquated technologies to solve modern design problems, enjoying the fact that the tools slow me down long enough to do a better job than might otherwise be expected.

Crochet A Dragon — Or Six, Jami Osborne

Development and execution of a pattern for crocheted dragons, with examples in various sizes. This is a basic “How to Design a Stuffed Toy” talk, with the toy being a more complex design.

I am a wife, mom & grammy, artist and creative arts therapist who learned to knit & crochet before I could read. I have been designing clothing for family for years, usually working without patterns. 35 years ago I started making crocheted toys for my then-infant son. This Dragon was originally designed in 1978! The pattern hid for over 30 years, only to resurface in October 2013.

Starting and Running a Bean to Bar Chocolate CSA, Eric Parkes (Somerville Chocolate CSA)

A quick description of bean to bar chocolate making and its naturally occurring Somerville-outcome: a bean to bar chocolate CSA. Expect also a candid summary of the good, bad & ugly about the recently completed first chocolate making season.

An architect masquerading as a chocolate maker, I discovered the thrill of making chocolate “from scratch” during a trip to Costa Rica three years ago. By the spring of 2012 — with many pounds of chocolate under my belt — I decided that it was time for Somerville and its nearby suburbs to have a bean to bar chocolate CSA.

AFOL: A Glimpse into the World of the Adult Fan of LEGO, Mike Ripley

My presentation will provide a small glimpse into the AFOL community and the MOCs (my own creation) that adults build using only LEGO bricks.

I have been collecting LEGO sets my entire life, and about 14 years ago I read about a group of LEGO builders, the New England LEGO Users Group (NELUG), having a city/train display at a train show at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington. I went, met several of the members, and soon after became a member of the group. Exposure to others who enjoy building with LEGO the same as me began a process of building and creating more and more complicated MOCs, and got me more and more involved in NELUG and the greater AFOL community, enabled largely by communicating via the Internet. Today I’m a member of the 5-person executive committee that runs NELUG, I participate in many public displays, and I’m an event coordinator for BrickFair, a fan-run convention organization.

If You Can Make It Here, You Can Make It Anywhere, Willa Bandler 

I facilitate art classes in prison. This presentation is about the creativity of the women in those classes; though we have many restrictions on the materials we can use and the work that can leave the classroom, and though most people come to the class with no art experience or education, incredible art emerges from every single session. What is created is always a surprise — to me and frequently to the artist as well — and I want to share that spontaneous sense of creativity in the face of adversity.

I am an inveterate collector of new crafts, and new knowledge and tools in general. Whether it’s a shiny crochet hook or a shiny new craft technique, I want it! I’ve been involved in making things by hand my entire life, starting as a toddler when I tagged along with my mom while she built our house one adobe brick at a time, and that sense she gave me that it’s possible to create anything you can envision has stuck with me for life.

Bread Unbound: Getting a Rise with Sourdough, Roxanne Reddington-Wilde

Baking bread is easy and tasty…and even easier when using your own sourdough starter. See the basics of sourdough culture feeding and (ab)use. Taste the results after the presentations, along with other refreshments provided by Common Cod!

Roxanne has only been knitting for ten or so years, but she has been abusing sourdough for at least twenty! She uses her self-published cookbook, “Bread Unbound: A Relaxed Bread and Sourdough Cookbook” in her Cambridge College course, “The Social History of Food.”

Knitting and Pop Culture, Lauren McClain (LollyKnits Designs)

I was launched into the world that is the intersection of knitting and pop culture when I saw the trailers for the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. I was immediately struck by the gorgeous post-apocalyptic vibe of the costumes, particularly the amazing structured cowl that Katniss wears over a leather jacket. I became consumed with reproducing it, despite the fact that it was a woven piece, and I eventually created a pattern for people to knit it. The response was tremendous, with many people telling me that they’d never knit a stitch in their lives, but that they were going to learn just for this. Over 15,000 people have downloaded it to date, and when I posted about it on my blog, my stats positively exploded. People wanted to buy the piece, but they loved it so much that they were also willing to make it.

Such an incredible response got me thinking about how knitting has evolved in the last few years. It’s become a way to affiliate with a fan group, and uniquely express your identity as a part of a culture. Etsy is full of yarns whose colors are inspired by TV shows and movies. People have begun to create knitwear to reflect the things they love in a new and unique way. My brothers both got Lord of the Rings hats with flowing dwarf beards for Christmas (from me), and wore them with pride on their ski trip. This is not an uncommon thing, but is a recent development in the world of knitting.

Knitting has also become more innovative, and it has had to in order to keep up with all the new ideas. New techniques are being developed and borrowed from other arts. The neckline of the Katniss cowl is actually crocheted around rope that is heat-fused to form a circle, and that is only a small example of the many ways that knitting has begun to borrow from other arts to increase its scope. In addition, old techniques are being applied in new ways, such as traditional fair isle mittens with robots on them. Knitting has begun to firmly assert its role as an art rather than only a craft, and these are examples of ways in which that is occurring.

The unique new elements of knitting are drawing more people to it than ever before, and as creators, we should happily encourage that. If we make knitting more accessible to people, we are creating the designers of tomorrow. If we inspire people to create, we are empowering them, and this is important. Pop culture can be a way to make knitting accessible, or to provide a strong motivation for people to learn, and we should attempt to nurture that. Knitting shouldn’t be just for old ladies, or just for ladies for that matter! Knitting should be for everyone, and finding the nodes where knitting intersects with pop culture can be a way to show people that that is indeed true.

I am a Neurology researcher at Mass General Hospital by day, but knitting fills most of my time when I’m not working. I am a blogger, fledgling photographer, knitwear designer, and near-compulsive knitter. I came to Boston for school, and I fell in love and stayed. The cool falls and cold winters are just so good for handknits!

Gluten Free Baking, Susan Eiseman Levitin

I have learned so much about how gluten free baking differs from gluten baking. I will discuss the chemistry of gluten baking and what needs to change to make gluten free baking work.

Susan Eiseman Levitin is a fiber artist and homeschool mom. She was a very accomplished baker when she learned that she has celiac. Learning to bake gluten free was like learning to walk all over again. Susan dyes yarn and batiks and paints silks professionally. Her yarn can be found at ariotofcolor.etsy.com and her tallitot (prayer shawls) can be seen at tallitext.com.

Stitching from the Everyday, Joetta Maue

An artist’s presentation about their personal work and how one takes inspiration from the everyday. Looking at the banal and simple moments of life to make meaningful artwork. Looking at the labor-intensive and slow process of embroidery as a process of healing and understanding oneself and life.

Joetta Maue is an artist, curator, and arts writer. Her most recent body of work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy, love, and family. Joetta received her BFA from Ohio State University and MFA from the University of Massachusetts. Joetta’s work has been shown in galleries and museums across the country & internationally. Most recently, her work was seen in solo shows at: The Textile Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY and an upcoming exhibit at Uforge Gallery in Boston. Additionally, her work was featured in the exhibits Self-Fabricated at the Arts Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA and Hemmed IN at Milton Keynes Gallery in England and as a featured artist for the exhibit Threads at Dowd Gallery, SUNY Cortland. Joetta authors the popular textile arts blog Little Yellowbird as well as being a regular contributor to the Surface Design Association Journal and online journal Mr. X Stitch. She is featured in a number of books, journals and broadcasts. Joetta lives in Somerville with her husband, son, and 2 cats.


With your help, we can throw bigger and better events and bring more famous speakers and instructors. Remember, the CCFG is a 501(c)3 organization and your contribution is fully tax-deductible. We welcome donations of any amount.

Sponsor Ignite and FiberCamp

Ignite Craft: Boston 2014 is sponsored by our partners and your donations. Want to get your business or organization’s name in lights in front of 200-300 crafters and craft enthusiasts? Are you a representative of a company or community organization who wants to see Common Cod succeed? Pick up a Sponsor Pass!

This two-for-one pass lets you sponsor both of our signature events for 2014: Ignite Craft Boston and FiberCamp! You will also get two Ignite Craft Boston tickets AND two FiberCamp weekend passes for anyone you want to send to take or teach workshops. You’ll get acknowledgement on our website, in our printed material, and on our backdrop slide at Ignite and at the FiberCamp keynote and kickoff session.

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