Monday, December 17, 2012

Sometimes you just have to Shhhhhhh.

Really, you do.
You probably need to right now.  I know I did.  After over a week of lovely guests to my home, one concert, three holiday parties and the completion of an intensive holiday embroidery contract all on top of working through my second last week of retail my brain is flat out zonked.  This evening I was planning to get to work on my last holiday crafting contract (hooray people are still interested in hand knit garments!!!) buuut I found myself too exhausted to focus on work and too restless to nap with the cats.  So I turned to my two favourite activities for problem solving: wandering and cooking.  Both wandering and cooking seem to help me sort my thoughts and energize my body.  It makes sense activity + nourishment ='s yes I can complete the revised pattern tomorrow before I go to work!

What I wanted to share with you tonight is a recipe.  As food is one of those lovely places where art and craft unite I thought this post would be appropriate. This is a simple, simple, simple recipe.  I first experienced a version of it when I was a fourteen year old hostess in a restaurant in my home town.  It was a great job that started me on my long journey in the food industry where, by accident, I wriggled my way up from hostess, to waitress, to bartender, to cook, to finally assistant kitchen manager!  I could have stayed in food too...... But I didn't, I chose to finish university, and chose to live a bouncy life in many fields.

The ever healing soup du jour is a rendition of Leek and Potato.


2 cups of just larger than bite sized potato bits that have been roasted in the oven till golden
*please roast these in oil and salt

1 Bunch of Leeks- thinly sliced and well rinsed
1 bit of garlic- minced
1/4 c of butter (please use butter unless you are allergic or vegan- then use a cooking oil at 2.5 tbsp)
1.5 tsp of sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper-I love pepper if you do not then only use a little to taste
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp tamari sauce
1/4 c of fresh thyme rinsed and picked- don't chop it though the leafy appeal is nice.
6 cups of water
1 package of organic instant Mashed Potatoes- while this sounds a bit lazy it is actually amazy!

Ohkeh now with all that you do the following:

1-Sautee the leeks in the butter until they soften(8-10 minutes on medium heat), then add the garlic sautee for 5 more minutes.

2- add 2 cups of water, the salt, pepper and the thyme bring up to an even heat before adding the rest of the water.

3- once the rest of the water is added you may put in your pre-roasted potatoes.

4- once this is all consistently warmed up add in 1/2- 3/4 of the package of instant mashed potatoes, stirr it in with a fork.  Then put in the worcestershire and the tamari.

5- Let simmer on medium for the length of time it takes you to read a few interesting things via twitter.

6- take off of heat and allow some time to cool.

7- dish it out into your favourite bowl or cup, top with uncooked thyme.

8- eat and smile.

Now this is a hearty version, if you think you may be serving delicate (babies/very old/very wealthy) people you may want to follow your cooking by pureeing the soup so that it is smooth.

My suggested friends for this soup are : green beans with almonds, frisee and kale salad with shredded beets, little airy pouffy crackers, and a fireplace, bonfire, blanket or cat.

yep, it was delish!

ps. I am not a foodie I simply am familiar with eating because I like to eat most days and I really like the idea of the rest of the world doing so as well.  Please do yourself a favor over the busy holiday season and make some kind of soup to slow down with- it does a world of good.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baudelaire was Way Cool

"To be just, that is to say, to justify its existence, criticism should be partial, passionate and political, that is to say, written from an exclusive point of view, but a point of view that opens up the widest horizons."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Some fun in between the working and the progress.

It has been a busy fall for me.  In many subtle ways I am looking for balance in the simple completion of tasks (this week I sorted and cleaned and mended every sweater I own, case in point!).  Things I can accomplish in one sitting that will help me to feel empowered as I enter the next phase of applications/proposals that are just a little bigger than the ones I have previously applied for... New work cycle...

I am also reading a great deal.  All summer long I was sick with the desire to read and read and read.  I suspect this came from having next to zero time to sit and even look at words.  Looking at words is something we do every day, for many of us it is all we do all day, I hope to never take my literacy for granted again.  As a solution I am reading three books right now. Two are books of essays about Art and Craft, and the third is a densely written autobiography that I thought I should read because I do not often read autobiographies and it helps to keep the art/art theory dialogue in check.

The first book, Barbara Caruso's 'Wording the Silent Art', is currently on the top of the stack as it recently fell into my hands and I don't want to put it down.  I really enjoy the way she neatly presents her ideas, and how she offers insight that is both critical and reasonable.   I will likely have more to say on the book when I complete it.  Right now I am impressed and wish that she were still around so I could follow her on twitter, and re-tweet the intelligent things she would have to share with the world.
Reasonable, somehow I think that all her tweets would be very reasonable.

The second book is another collection of essays published by YYZ in 1998- I was still in high school when 1998 happened!!  Hooray for YYZ!  Maybe if you aren't doing anything with your life tomorrow you will read this and decide to visit them, I hope you do.  The book is called 'Material Matters, The Art and Culture of Contemporary Textiles'.  I found it in a thrift shop and decided to get it because the topic was so close to my heart, that and there was a creepy super weird picture of a child in it that I could not help but want to own and wonder about.  I have been thrilled with this find as much of the writing is useful to my own work/research on the language of craft.  It is nice to have a reference for the work that has come before me, mostly to help me not feel alone and second mostly so that I may have a small foothold of support theoretically.

The autobiography, is Gandhi. I thought that because I did not often read autobiographies that I should start with a big, good one.  Then I was gifted a chapters gift card. Then while in the store I realized I had enough money for two whole books!!  Soo naturally I decided to pick 2 biographical books and compare the individuals lives and values.  The other person in my comparative study is Coco Chanel.  I am going to discover if there are any common things between Gandhi and Coco, judging by both of their followings today, I think I can!

Well now that you have read all that I will thank you with some juicy new pictures I have been playing with in my spare time.  I am really just making pretty things that I would later like to reproduce in other media. So enjoy them now for the sake of enjoyment.  One of them is a self portrait. Can you guess the one?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ghost Hole IV

Yes, yes, yes, darlings and delinquents.  An awesome spooky time is just about upon us. 
Come see some great art, hear some music, and get friendly around a bonfire with the smart and lovely people of Ghost Hole IV.

I cannot even begin to tell you how cool and different this art event will be.  

For a great night mingling between art, and the other side........
If you are lucky I will be packing my Tarot Cards.

To get you primed I will now link a video for one of my favorite Toronto musicians.
I cannot get enough of any Timber Timbre album, to learn more about why visit HERE!
or here.

Thanks for visiting!! Hope to see you in the future.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Back to the Beginning

Again. After much success of the Pom Pom Project (Thank you HFC!). I begin again to develop a new project to add to my body of work.  I had been thinking on this for a while now and today I finally sat down and got to business working out a sample.  I hope to have the first edition finished for the end of november.. If I can swing it. We shall see.  I must remain diligent at my work as I step towards winter and back into a standard issue retail job ( baby's gotta pay the bills!!)
Today things looked like this:

This project involves all that you see here plus a little pizzazz and a great deal of handiwork!

On other fronts I am excited to mention here that I get to be in a whole new show with my little herd of Craft Witch Houses!!! Hooraaaaaaay!!!  It is called Ghost Hole IV, and it takes place on Toronto Island!  Are you excited my pals?  This means that Toronto will get it's very own personal look at the houses and all sorts of other great art!  This time the very spooky nature of the work will be highlighted.  So maybe you want to bring a buddy just in case you are the nervous type.

I will post more on this next week, but for now: Ghost hole: October 27th : Toronto Island: Be There!

Here this will help inspire you!  BOO!

Friday, October 5, 2012

How to make a POM POM

Ok for those of you who know me, you will already know that I LOVE POM POMS!!

For my next project, tomorrow, I will be working with a zillion kids to make a giant pom pom sculpture for the HarbourKids Folk Festival.

If you can't make it this weekend, or if you simply need to brush up on your pom pom making skills I have included my diagram for pom pommery.

Monday, October 1, 2012

All the writing and thinking before, during, and after production..

Results in thoughts like this.........

“The act of hand embroidering is a slow process where each stitch can be measured in time.  The time and consideration put in to such work acts as a reminder of the potential and unknown effort invested in every object we live amongst.  These efforts may go largely misunderstood if we forget to practice making.  It is my goal to practice making, so that others can be reminded.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hanging Out Craft Niiiiiight

Hi Pals,

Tonight I will be hanging out at Needlework and having an arts chit chat session with the partakers in Needlework's Craft Night!!!  If you are in Hamilton this eve, stop by and say "Hi".  You can find out all about how and why I made this fleet of little Craft Witch Houses!  

It will be a good time because of the following reasons:

1- I will be there and I am nice and I love to talk about art and craft
2- you can bring a project you are working on and work with a bunch of other hip people who are also working on things
3- They have a very nice dog in the shop called Peggy
4- I am going to ask you some questions about what you think!!!!!
5- James street North is the place to be!
6- The spirits of ancient Craft Witches of the North will be present so if you need to communicate now is a good time
7- It will be better than sitting at home wondering where your inspirations/aspirations went

There.  SEVEN WHOLE REASONS TO COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neatto Mosquito!
See you there!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oh Ya!

BTW my friends, there is now a website for you to enjoy.
It is full of colour, so do enjoy:

Now time to finish resetting the studio, and preparing for the next round of work! 

Happy New Fall!  May your arts and crafts go well!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Pre Show, Show Homes!!!

A little one all lit up!

Hanging in a row, in studio, waiting to go.

I love the tiny ones, and am thinking to make more for sale....
Want one? Get in touch!

Craft Witch Houses love to fly at night.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

In the Dark

I took a bunch of pictures of the Craft Witch Houses in the backyard after dark tonight. 
Like how they glow?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shhh!!! Sneak Peek

Hey Folks this is a tiny little peek at the work I have been making in my studio this summer!
Hand embroidered houses that float in the air and light up.
They will be on display as of Monday September 10th, and up until the end of the month!
The project is supported by Hamilton Supercrawl!
(each time I say "Supercrawl" I feel like somewhere in the back of my head booming voices are saying "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!", and announcing a monster truck rally,)
You will find the whole fleet of houses at the wonderful shop/workspace called NEEDLEWORK!
Aren't people who make cool things, and help others make cool things the best?
I am totes excited for this one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Making Arts with Kids

Well Golly, didn't I have the best summer ever!

I just finished spending my entire summer working as a director for some cool children's arts programming.  In this situation I was permitted to prepare exciting and new arts and crafts activities for children.  I did my best to present them with activities they might not have done before, while revamping old favorites.  In the end I feel as though I have learned just as much as the kids about art making, perception and possibility. As my contract has finished I find that I am a bit tired, but heavily inspired.  

The following are some pictures of a few projects we completed.


A view of our Kusama inspired Sticker installation- we had to plastic wrap before stickering because the building people said so!  Our small project was based on the large and amazing one by my hero and yours Yayoi Kusama!

These two objects are actually time machines that a group of children made when given a random and rag tag collection of supplies, and told to go wild!

After being introduced to Andy Goldsworthy the children were lead outdoors to make their own version of earth based art.

In all I have been impressed and dazzled by the responses these children have had to the projects I shared with them.  It was not easy to explain certain moments in contemporary art to five to ten year olds, but in their own way they picked up the ideas and ran far faster with them than most adults!

Monday, June 25, 2012

something pretty from the sketchbook

As I step into some new projects, expect delays on updates.

The result will be a website, launched alongside the installation of something pretty for our friends in the city of Hamilton.  Look out September, here I come.

For now please enjoy this happy little drawing from my book!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Little Landscape Embroidery

While riding a bus past Bracebridge Ontario, I swear this is what I saw while looking out the window.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Surefire way to Turn a Frown Upside-down

I was a bit sad that my vacation was over until I remembered this little gem of a project that I did on a cool January eve.

The goal here was to draw 100 smiley faces in an act of self cheering.
It totally works.

Here is my sample, and I encourage you to do the same.

If you do do the same you should share it with others too.. or share it with me!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hey Halifax!!!

These charming little drawings from my New Canada collection will be available for viewing and sale at Eyelevel Gallery in Halifax. So if you find yourself in the area stop by the gallery during the month of March!!!

There will be a bunch of other Canadian artists showing there as well, so be sure to drop by and get your fill! It is going to be a great show!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Embroider for new Canada

This is a fun little project I completed last year while up in Burke's Falls helping a friend make maple syrup.
While up there we learned that if a sugar maple breaks a tiny branch during syrupping season, a tiny icicle forms off the end of that wee tiny branch. And if you are the right height to enjoy it, it is very worth while to take a bite of that icicle, for it will taste ever so slightly of maple.

Kathleen Edwards and I Have similar taste

After completing yet another series of Canadian Map alterations for an ongoing series called "New Canada", I decided to take a break from drawing by googling about for new music. I nearly fell over when I saw the new Kathleen Edwards album "Voyager".

The cover art is so similar to what I have been doing. Admittedly it is a strange feeling to see someone out there making something so similar to you, and at first I was a bit miffed by it all.

I think it is part of something we all go through as artists when we think we have found something so special, and so unique, only to discover it has already happened.
However as I gave it more consideration I found myself pretty happy to see this art gracing the cover of such an(awesome) album. It helped me to understand that I am not the only one thinking this way, and that perhaps there is a community out there wondering about Canada and Canadian identity here. In a way this image reinforces that I am not a crazy pants.

Yaaaaaay! Not a crazy paaants!

Anyhow I love this art work!!!!!!
And this album! I gave it a listen here while I continued to make more map drawings! I recommend you do the same.

Ps. if you meet the artist behind this work, tell them I want to be friends because obviously we've got something in common!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Lumps Awards

This one was made in Picton at Sparkbox Studio.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The rise of the Unicorn Prophet!

Ok, so you know how people sometimes claim to see Jesus, and the Virgin Mary in things like rocks, toast, dirt, eggs.. Well I'd like to know if shadows count for the witnessing of heavenly treasurey things, annnd instead of heavenly treasurey things, can Unicorns count?
Unicorns are special aren't they?

Duh... of course Unicorns are special!!!

I have really already decided YES UNICORN SHADOWS COUNT!! Seeing as this lovely unicorn appeared in the shadow of my hand as I painted out that little 'top notch' image.

What does it mean?

yes, yes.. you are top notch!

New cute illustration demonstrating a hairstyle that is now frequenting the top of my head.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

6 + 2 hours later =Studio Refreshed!

Really, it took me one day to sort and stack fiber, wool, paper, and tools. And two extra hours to do things like dust, sweep, scrub floor, and frame a few things.

At last my space is back in working order with only useful things I am using on the desks.

Now to proceed with research, and production!

Step one... dye cotton cording!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chair Repair with Embroidery

Here is the chair that needed repair.
Its stuffing was un-fluffing from its arms,
so I fixed it with embroidery and charm.

Currently seeking new furniture to fix up in this way.
Contact me if you have a chair that needs help!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Spark Box Studio!!!!

Have you ever been to Picton?

Well. Now you have a reason to go!!
This past summer-2011 that is- I spent a very happy week at Spark Box Studio.

Spark Box is a wonderful creative environment housed in an updated farm house that sits in the rural fringe of downtown Picton.
The super-duper-fabulous creators/artists/owners of Spark Box- Chrissy Poitras, and Kyle Topping have arranged the space in and around the house into studio space where visiting artists can set up and work.

The space there is ideal in every way, it is peaceful, comfortable, creative, inspiring, and in many ways it feel like home, without all the chores. They also have a lovely little pet called Rico, who is a dog that will charm any heart.

Spark Box was such a great place to be I felt very lucky to have been selected for a residency there! And I plan on visiting again at some point.

I felt compelled to write about them today as I discovered a post about them on Design Sponge.

But you should really just check out their site HERE and become a supporting member!!!! Or at least follow what they are up to.

I think every community could use a duo like Kyle and Chrissy.

Yay Spark Box!!!