Monday, January 31, 2011

freshly pressed.

press pass (6)b square

press pass (9)b square

press pass (12)b square

press pass (17)b square

i just finished this little design side project for press pass, a socializing and networking night for local toronto media folks. my friend nadja sayej started the thing up. i know her from my earliest days in the toronto zine scene. since she wanted four different looks i played pretty fast and loose with the colour correcting here. the photography is pretty rough and tumble, too. i was charged with making something a little more crafty and organic than normal logo design, so i like these qualities. i am nothing if not flawed.

the clever among you will notice that i made the whole thing out of security envelope scraps. there is a lot of extra material from that project which i am now trying to find other uses for. this little deal seemed like a good fit. the even cleverer among you will know that it only takes five characters to spell 'press pass'.

press pass (2)b

press pass (8)b

buzz thrill.

buzzer board (1)b

buzzer board (2)b

stealth late-night diy mirth-making. i will share the results tomorrow.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

new neighbour face.

shannon sale (13)b

shannon sale (14)b

shannon sale (15)b

shannon sale (16)b

studies in the faces of my new downstairs neighbour:
1. candid.
2. listening to scott.
3. posing for the camera.
4. trying to make his face look like my face.

empty nest.

shannon sale (2)b

shannon sale (7)b

as the last splash in her process of moving downstairs from me, shannon had a little studio sale in her emptied-out apartment. it was my kind of happening - deep discounts, candied ginger and apples. i really liked looking at work in an empty, residential setting.

willy had the kitchen as his own gallery. he was even kind enough to pose for some paparazzi pictures with his work. what a gentle soul.

shannon sale (4)b

fogged out (or my attempts at design week).

capacity (3)b

last night leah (just in from berlin) and i made a brave attempt to dip into some design week activities by going to the capacity opening at bookhou. it was totally packed and steamy. the work looks lovely, but it was stressing me out to watch people lean on/eat over/grab at/jostle the installations. i am going to go back and take it all in at my leisure while the show is still up. really, the work on display looked wonderful, but the party vibe is not really my thing. i found the prettiest solace from the outside...

capacity (4)b

capacity (6)b

capacity (10)b

we also spied this amazing piece by grant heaps in the gallery or cafe next door (i am sorry, it was cold and i wasn't paying very good attention to the storefront name).

grant's deer

after that, we managed to sneak into made for a look around and rounded out the evening with some subdued chat at the magpie. yes, we left before the saturday night bar crowd kicked into full gear. is my lack of raucous party keeping me back from full art scene integration? probably. but there's no way i can hack all the little black dresses and elbows. i'm a happier peeping tom.

the last bits of design week warrant some less-crowded revisits on my part. it's so nice to see design blossom onto the streets during these cold, bleak days.

Friday, January 28, 2011

a dusting.


i have been cleaning and tidying (or trying to) this week.

in a similar way, i have also been accumulating dribs and drabs of news that you need to hear about.


1. shannon's big crazy art clearance sale is happening sunday. check it out on facebook here. she told me that things that are normally $100 will be $50 and things that are normally $50 will be $10! crazy!

2. ray's new book is out. you can get it here as well as seeing the two wonderful preview videos he made. videos of visual idea jokes = good. he also has a show about to open at katharine mulherin here in toronto. i will be at that opening for sure!

3. the toronto craft alert is coming back to life on monday and i am a contributor! what have we been doing in the months without it? i've been busy getting listings and little pieces together for the relaunch. start buzzing, toronto; this great resource is being reborn.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

post to post.

mini postal board (7)b

i just got back from another laser-filled afternoon at the workroom where karyn was helping me make these new mini versions of the canadian postal measuring devices. in truth, those two slots are the most important part of the whole deal. i also included the maximum measurements and weights for standard and oversize lettermail beneath their corresponding slots. with this and a tape measure, you are pretty much in business. i think these little guys are a pretty good improvement on the big model. they are much more portable and, most importantly, more affordable.

this last batch was made from some pretty plywood. it's going to take more sanding on my part to finish them up but i find the grain on them quite fetching. i may also do a few in masonite. these should pop up in the etsy shop next week and will be available for purchase at the love and rummage trunk show - with charming little ribbons in their hanging holes, naturally.

mini postal board (9)b

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

climbing geometries.

hexagonal pot holder

zook hex sign

as i sort through my office (in accordance with my resolution to do so), i keep finding objects that were important enough for me to collect on the road. sometimes the way things fit together is very clear to me and sometimes it takes a while to figure out. i have been thinking about this a lot as i work towards my week as guest author on the four for the day blog.

these guys may or may not figure into my fours. there is no shortage of fours-of-things around here. but they really go me to thinking about my impulses to collect. i did not buy the pot holder in that louisville thrift store because i wanted to use it as a pot holder. i bought it because it is crocheted, because it is a hexagon and because the progression of colours just slayed me. it seems more at home with this decorative souvenir hex sign (also thrifted) than with the kitchen utensils. so what is this - this impulse to reorder already ordered sets of things? whatever it is, it comforts me. as i brush away the settled junk that does not speak to me these equally unimportant objects (by economic standards) get some space around them. i have to wonder why they hold so much importance and beauty to me.

maybe i am just working towards making my own nonsense string of mythological symbols - like led zeppelin did.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

new toronto shop - kid icarus.

kid icarus (1)b

it is a ridiculous that it has taken me this long to get my stuff into kid icarus. i have known mike and bianca for years now, am a big fan of their work and think their kensington market shop is just perfect. the latter is one of those tiny spaces that is crammed with goodness while never looking crammed - a small feat. this same magical skill is translated into their design work. map wrap. 3d geese. c'mon.

i am also entirely amazed that the little rack and table behind the counter is where all of their work gets done. really, it has to be seen to be believed.

a nice tidy collection of the artist button sets should be out on the shelves by the end of the week. i couldn't be happier to be in such a great space and such fine company.

kid icarus (3)b

Monday, January 24, 2011

filled (finally).

opening3 002

opening3 011

opening3 014
photos by leah buckareff

the wunderkabinet finally gets its fill - pieces of a wall and jars of shredded canadian money. enjoy, berliners!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

the empty shelf.

opening2 025
photo by leah buckareff

this just in from berlin: my shipment of goods to the wunderkabinet missed the opening party by a hair! aparently, my package was not alone in being tardy. a few other folks had shipping lags, as well. leah ingeniously replaced all the missing pieces with in-absentia black and white photographs.

and look, there it is! my shelf for the show!

the entire show looks completely lovely. i have nothing but congratulations for leah and can't wait to see it for myself. i can't wait to see leah even sooner. she's going to show up on my couch tuesday! tuesday also happens to be the next day the wunderkabinet is open. my pieces and shannon's giant aloe (shipped together) will all make their german debuts then.

for more images from the opening, check out leah's photo set here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

stocking stuffer.


i managed to avoid the outside world entirely yesterday (with much help from cramps). today can not be the same. i have to run out for my daily mail run and perform tonight.

so it's a good thing that these two new pairs of tights arrived in the mail today from the west coast. thanks for making the dream a reality, mama! and just in time for another cold snap.

i don't care what all the complainers say, give me some wool blend tights and felted insoles for my shoes and i can conquer the perceived terrors of a winter wonderland. okay, and a scarf and a pea coat. and mittens. you get the idea.

gourd face.

gourd face

this is the bottom of the gourd from which aitor sips maté.

this level of anthropomorphism always make me think of missy.

winter mantle.

mantle show

i have mentioned the spaces that aitor and i set aside in our home for rotating display in the past. currently there are two - the kitchen shelf and the mantle. and i have hogged both! don't worry, the kitchen shelf is being turned over to aitor any day now and i have to find a new (hopefully permanent) home for my portrait gallery.

above is the winter display i made as a mantle show. in it, i spy work by shannah burton, sarah mcneil, holly procktor, margie oomen & summer hamel.

i finally decided to photograph it because i made that little crocheted heart bunting last night during an hour of late-night television half-watching.

mantle show hearts

the hearts and chain were made from this super-luxe wool and cashmere fingering weight yarn i have for another project. it was really enjoyable to work with and i think it all turned out quite nicely.

here are a few more detail shots of my altar to the bleak months:

mantle show detail

mantle show arrangement

Thursday, January 20, 2011


skype with leah trimmed cleaned

sometimes the gossamer pixelation of a trans-atlantic skype conversation is just right. i took this screen capture of leah because of the pink walls and the blue sweater and the squared-up translation of the gold toof button she is wearing.

leah is getting ready to open the next instalment of the wunderkabinet tomorrow in berlin. my contribution is, sadly, still in limbo. although the canada post tracking suggests that the package is there, we are still keeping our fingers tightly crossed that it finds it way into her hands by tomorrow night. apparently, germany is riddled with bureaucratic confusion.

leah even made me my own special shelf for the 'pieces of a wall' - and she bevelled the edges. i want it filled for the opening!

whether my stuff makes it in time for tomorrow night or not, you should check the menagerie if you live in or pass through berlin. the online shop should also kick back into gear at some point after that.

i am really excited that i get to see the tail end of this showing. and i get to see leah even sooner!

heart attack!

crochet hearts (1)b

thanks to a request from michelle, i spent a little time last night fooling around with crocheting hearts. using this ingenious pattern, i had a great time playing with different options and a few mild variations of my own. i also finally got to learn the easy and gratifying magic ring technique. if there is some level of interest, i may make a few variations of this for the love & rummage trunk show. either way, they make great valentines.

botanical magic.

botanicals (2)b

botanicals (3)b

here's a little peek at the new botanical artist button set my matt "matty 8080" cipov. more info to come, but i thought the world deserved a taste.

show time.

laugh sabbath (3)b

this has been a very button-heavy week. i've had a lot of outside orders to complete. first off, this batch up top is for (can you guess it?) laugh sabbath. laugh sabbath is a weekly comedy show in toronto and a collective of local comics of diverse practice (stand-up, monologue, video, improv, sketch comedy) who create a truly exciting string of shows and micro-bits. most of the associated funnies are also very good friends of mine. the rest are (equally funny) enemies. just kidding; there are some new folks who i do not know very well. if you are in toronto or visiting, this is one of the comedy shows i would easily send you to. it certainly fits into the "alternative" brand (whatever that means) so if you prefer awkward comedy and pathos to misogyny and frat ethos (as i do), this is your show.

trampoline vancouver (2)b

and trampoline hall has been invited to do a one-off show in vancouver again. since the show needs to present its entire package to those westies, the merch display is also being packed in a hanging folder box and crossing the continent, too. my old pal johnny b will be manning the table which will house the trampoline hall back catalogue of pinback buttons, the last of the comic zines and these new buttons made just for the vancouver instalment. i shifted the colours just for vancouver (to what i consider a sea-to-sky blue) and made the normal run of buttons to celebrate are the lecturers and lecture topics. will bruce willis be lecturing or will he be discussed? i guess you should go to find out. really, you should go. trampoline hall is one of my favourite things and its presentations out of town are becoming awfully rare.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

shipping news.

laser cutting

i just got back in from sliding around the icy streets of parkdale. i was out for an afternoon of prototyping with the workroom's laser cutter. lasering stuff is not my usual production method of choice (with an exception here and there) but karyn and i have been plotting this special project for a while now.

as a person who ships a lot of work through canada post as letter mail and small packets, i often have to trundle down to the post office daily to see if my bundles will fit through their special measured slots to qualify as small packets. those of you in the same position will know how irritatingly time-wasting this can seem. enter my own custom-made canada post standard measuring device.

postal board

karyn and i now have a matching pair.

of course, there is more information involved in shipping - stamps need to be placed properly, space needs to be left at the bottom for post office markings, rigidity is an issue and aspect ratio comes into play. why make it simple? but these measurements here cover the basics of letter post for most purposes.

let me know if there is an interest in these. the prototyping proved these to be a fairly laser-consuming enterprise, so the full boards would probably have to be priced in the neighbourhood of $40. if there is a demand, i could also make smaller, more portable versions with the two slots and measurements. those would be more cost-effective, too. if these items are of interest to you, please let me know by leaving a comment.

oh, and what trip to the workroom would be complete without some poking around? congratulations on the ceiling-teasing extension of the fabric wall, ladies!

the workroom fabric wall

the workroom birds

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

unassuming sale.

i am having an unassuming sale of mega-cheapness over at the etsy shop. two days only. 40% off everything. most zines ship for free with another purchase. you been eyeing something? it is now magically almost half off - but only for a heartbeat of time.

cleaning is all around. as i get set to make some new artist set releases, the shop and my studio need to clear out.

your discount code is: jan2011. use it to your hearts' contents, internet friends.

making spaces.

work desk


so, it would take a lot of work to turn myself into a minimalist but i have managed to dig enough space out in my office to start making in there again. obviously, there is much work to be done but this is a step. in the process of sorting, i have accumulated a nice big heap of craft (mostly sewing) supplies for the love & rummage trunk show. and there is much more to come. as cluttered as it may be, i am really happy to be back at my desks. work begets work and being in the mess makes me clean the mess.

this week i have a lot of buttons to make, too. trampoline hall, laugh sabbath and a new artist set from matty "8080" cipov are all there on the table working towards being squished, packed and/or sent out into the world.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


as i sift through my stuff and try to make order of it (and gleefully eject the things i don't want to cling to) i have, obviously, been rediscovering various little treasures of mine. these were not deep into the mess. no, those chasms are reserved for more mundane things like paperwork and receipts.

pictured here is 4/5 of my collection of memorial buttons. being a buttonneer has made me uniquely interested in the origins of my 'craft'. it is a little weird to call button-making a craft since it was not designed to be a skilled trade. instead, it is the imagery used on the buttons that required skill to create. making a button is just grunty labour.

these little artifacts represent some of the earliest days of pinbackery. politics and smoking also played their parts in the development of the ubiquitous pinback button but i have always been more drawn to these ghostly images. ever notice how smiling for photos didn't come into vogue until the 20th century was a little more underway? i particularly like that about these images.

i have been working on my own memorial button project off-and-on for years now but it just never seems to work. my standards are high and my vision clear. it is also hard to have a specific vision when it requires a skill set that you don't have. basically, if one of my pals out there has mad photoshop skills and a high threshold for working with nightmare artist-clients (with no money) i want to hear from you. i will hold my breath until the phone rings...without smiling.

Saturday, January 15, 2011