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Seattle, In a Cafe, in the Pike Place Market

Friday, Mar 11, 2011

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

It’s like I’m starting over.  Fifteen years ago, I came to what is now my favorite city to try to build Artist & Craftsman Supply.   
Now I’m back to start all over, again.
You know, it’s nice to come home, again. Even though my effort to open a store in Seattle was my virgin trip to Washington State, this always has been a HOME to me. It’s almost unfair that God endowed this territory so unfairly to the rest of us strugglers.
The greatest gift the American Northwest has been given is a strong and healthy love of all kinds of life.  Simple optimism, simply. Throw in an abundance of flowers, blackberries, lakes and mountains, and then the gift of soothing rain….this is Larry’s earth home.
And now, I get to start, again.
Through a gift of our landlord, David Hsaio, our store in Seattle has grown to 15,000 square feet. Now, that’s small for a big box, but we’ve always been a cigar box…o.k. …maybe a shoebox.
So, I’m going to try to learn the game of the big boys.  Here at home in Seattle, again.

0 Comments | Posted in Notes From Larry

A Brief History of A&C – Seattle

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013

Posted By Larry Adlerstein


Seattle, WA, established 1996

By Larry Adlerstein, Founder & President of A&C


Larry & Steve
The original explorers—many years later

Our second store was in Seattle. One evening I was visiting with my friends, John & Anne Beldon back home in Portland, Maine. I related how I felt a single art supply store would no longer be competitive—for I saw big money coming into our little trade.


Where would I open store #2? Seattle, I thought, because my marriage was difficult & the west coast was far away. My dinner friend John had a real estate brother in Seattle so a week later I was on the west bound plane.


Upon arrival I rented a car and headed to the University district, a likely place to set up and art supply. We (Steve and I—he is now my general manager but at the time he had been with me just a few years) looked at vacant stores. In one such store I heard my name called: It was real estate brother “Buzz.” He was researching on my behalf.


What a coincidence. Buzz was the only person I knew in Seattle and in fact, we rented that U District store more than 15 years ago.


That store was a difficult learning experience for me because it was my first attempt to do business remotely. And I had to learn a whole new language. In Seattlese every sentence starts with a Please and ends in Thank You. Not so back east.


But I’m learning.




0 Comments | Posted in Notes From Larry

Creativity Unmasked!

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013

Posted By Katie Wilber

It's not too late to create something awesome for Halloween. For us at Artist & Craftsman it's hard being around so many art supplies and not partaking in the creativity. 


Read below for how Deanna from our North Boston, Saugus store, created her mask from one of our paintable masks. Also check out a sampling of some of the ways our employees transformed their masks into amazing creations.


*NOTE: Not all blank mask styles are available in store and/or online. Click here for our online selection*


Things to think about when making your mask:

  • The ability to breathe, (making sure you have proper breathing holes is key)
  • The weight of the mask on your head, (you may not want it too heavy on your head)
  • Visibility, or making sure that you can see when you’re walking around.  

My masks always start with a sketch. I draw out what I want the mask to look like in three different ways: a front view, another is a side view or a three quarter view, and then a top view so I can get an understanding of what the form should look like as a 3-D object. It’s better to do this sketch in color so you know how to paint the mask when it’s finished. For this mask, I found a blank face mask from Artist & Craftsman that had the basic shape I was after in my sketch and one that fit my face properly. I bulked up layers of crumpled paper towels or crumpled pieces of masking tape, (you can also use newspaper or any other light material that you find), in strategic places to create desired facial shapes. I covered each mass with layers of masking tape to smooth out the bulks of paper towels, and to attach them to the mask surface. If the shape I made didn’t look right, I would edit the shape by carving or cutting into them; for instance, if the bridge of the nose felt too big, I would use a box cutter and carve out what I didn’t want. I would then cover the exposed paper towel or innards with more masking tape to prevent it from coming out or tearing.  Using these materials in this way allows me to sculpt unique shapes that change the surface and shape of the mask quickly, all while preventing the mask from getting too heavy, too quickly. It’s also pretty inexpensive, you don’t have to wait for a form to dry, and you don’t need terribly specialized tools.



Mask 2

At this point, you can paint it without doing anything more to it, but I like to get rid of all the lines that are left by the masking tape. For this mask, I covered the outside with a layer of Golden molding paste.  Doing this makes a great opportunity create a desired texture in the paste while it’s still wet, like a fur texture or wavy lines. It takes about a night to dry completely. I initially used Sculptamold, but the product became too heavy, so a lot of it had to come off. Once dry, I sanded the molding paste to a smoother finish. The remnants of the masking tape have disappeared, and I have a solid surface to paint on and beat up if I wanted to.


I know already what colors I will use to paint the mask from the sketch I did in the beginning. I use primarily Golden Fluid acrylics. Before painting, I cut out paper into the shapes I would use for the protrusions on the head and cheeks. Crescent moon shapes were ideal, specifically so they would pop up when I attached them correctly. I painted these first with initial coats of reddish, orange. I then cut translucent Sculpey in teeth shapes and baked the Sculpey at 275° F for 15 minutes in the oven. Then, I painted the rest of the mask with a coat of paynes gray and burnt umber before adhering all of the shapes. I used some Liquitex heavy gel to adhere the shapes on, and then proceeded to blend the shapes into the rest of the mask with layers of color. The Sculpey teeth were an added effect; they can be painted onto the mask with a paint brush or palette knife, but I wanted something extra. I painted the gums on to the mask and yellowed the teeth with a mixture of Golden matte medium with slight amounts of titanium white and Indian yellow hue.  Highlights and shadows were painted onto the facial features with, and I hit the whole mask with a mixture of iridescent bronze, iridescent gold, and mat medium. Golden gloss medium was added to the teeth after everything had dried. This gave the teeth a wet slimy look.


You can always create the foundation for the mask yourself with 14 gauge galvanized wire and masking tape, or even plaster. The combinations of materials are endless.






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