Thursday, March 31, 2011

packing light.

packing light

in all the kickstarter hubbub circling 'round the campfire here, i have hardly had time to talk about my impending trip to europe. for the most part, it is not a craft-related trip (although i will try to find the time to take small side-trips and report on crafty happenings). i am going on tour to perform a string of dates with one of my improvised theatre collaborators, kayla lorette. you can find out more about all of that and our work together here.

phew! what a whirlwind of ups and downs this past few weeks have been. i can hardly believe the date of departure is upon us. as split as over-burdened as my multiple projects/lives can make me, i am sure am happy for the opportunity to travel so far afield and to perform with such an incredibly talented young lady.

to slovenia and beyond!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

vancouver's got craft will match your pledges!

got craft

a stroke of magic has befallen me today. i am a few days into my kickstarter campaign and have been offered an amazing push. the wonderful folks at vancouver's got craft? have offered to match all incoming pledges dollar-for-dollar up to $1000! that means from this moment (at $1085) until i reach $2085, andrea and rob will be there to match every dollar along the way. this is unbelievable news and

to further understand their collective greatness, all you have to do is behold the video below. not only do they run vancouver's biggest indie craft fair, they also have the artfulness and wherewithal (not to mention lighting) to make that brilliant time-lapse. i feel like half my life is spent in environments just like, going through the ebb and flow of pop-up events. what a beautiful glimpse behind the curtain.

got craft? runs its flagship indie craft fair twice a year (spring and winter) and the spring show is just over a month away. vancouver pals, i would go if i was you. it looks incredible. i will bring you more updates as the show draws closer, too.

i have posted a kickstarter update about this here and highly recommend you check out got craft's website here.

totally. amazing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

vernacular desserts.

dutch dreams (6)b

recent events have seen me making increased visits to my amazing mechanic, eric (who will have his own post here soon for being, truly, a prince among men). he is located up at st. clair and vaughan, an area i don't otherwise find myself in very much. these visits keep reminding me of one of toronto's most outstanding examples of vernacular/visionary/self-taught art, dutch dreams. an ice cream and candy shop, the flat iron-type building is festooned with all manner of cow, dairy and dutch themed hand painting and sculpture. my documentation here is pretty rushed and perfunctory, but i was having a rushed and perfunctory day. i had to pick up boris for the last time and was feeling distressed. i will have to go back another time (eric and i still have business so i am sure i will be there again sooner rather than later) and take some more detailed shots. at the very least, the sidewalk waffle cone making set-up made the entire intersection smell like a cloud of vanilla and sugar; this did a lot to soften my anxious mood.

anyone want an ice cream date in may?

dutch dreams (7)b

Monday, March 28, 2011

kick off (or consider helping get the 2011 summer tour off the ground).

kick frame

pictured throughout this post are stills from a video i made in support of a newly launched kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to launch the sweetie pie press 2011 summer craft tour. the video and page explain my unique need for start-up cash this year. basically, without my trusty steed, boris carloff, the travel costs have grown considerably.

but this is not just a plea for money. no way! i work with my hands and my brain and my eyes and i make things. through the kickstarter page, i have offered up a wide spectrum of these art, craft and design goods for your approval and consumption. my hope is that the rewards i have put together will fill needs and desires that you or your business might have.

a few highlights of the rewards include:
  • postcards from the road!
  • pin back buttons!
  • me writing or devising your name or message somewhere on the road, photographing it and sending you a print resolution copy (no postage/less fuel required for delivery!)
  • screen prints!
  • crafty combo packs!
  • sidebar banners on this very blog!
  • bulk button buying for retailers or pinback addicts!
  • huge installations that i will come to your home, museum or underpass and install!
and there's more, so go check it out. and feel very free to help spread the word, should the mood strike you.

kick frame

huge thanks are owed to bob wiseman for editing the video and making its music; to dusty parr for shooting the video and letting me use pictures he took; to christy petterson, bre pettis, raoul de la cruz and reverend aitor for letting me use pictures they took; and to sue daly for massive behind-the-scenes help.

kick frame

Friday, March 25, 2011

keep yer head up, kid.

hockey stick gate

spotted on ossington just south of dupont: this crafty front gate made from hockey sticks. to my mind, readymade canada now has a starting off point.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

snow day.

snow day

yes, i am sure that the fact that i work from homes has something to do with it, but i really loved today's snow dump. this images is from my daily postal drop on roncesvalles.

call for wunder zines.


okay, so i am super late on relaying this because my life has been overfilled these past two weeks but leah has a call out for the next instalment of the wunderkabinet in berlin - and she is seeking zines. zines to sell! zines to read! you can find out more here. heads up, though, the deadline to get in touch with her is tomorrow!

retail therapy.

reading frenzy (3)b
reading frenzy. august 2010.

well, it seems to be in the air. the past two years of gruelling recession that has made my favourite independent retailers tough it out has finally pushed a few to the breaking point. some have closed. through issues of cash flow and/or bureaucracy, others are doggedly struggling to keep their doors open. i honestly think that indie retailers are made from some of the toughest stuff on earth, and i urge you to shop locally wherever you are. these shops keep makers like me in business and keep the world filled with thoughtful, ethical, unique handmade goods and services.

in the past weeks, i have caught wind of a couple shops running campaigns to help them keep afloat - and they have online options to help from afar.

reading frenzy (6)b

reading frenzy (7)b

first up, reading frenzy in portland, oregon, just published a spring update here explaining their current situation and offering a bunch of brilliant packages, publications and prints to offset their current financial issues. reading frenzy is a wholly unique operation, housing a great selection of zines and book as well as hosting outstanding art events on their walls and in their windows. i feel like i first stumbled upon them while i was still in high school. it was certainly the 1990's. and believe you me, the city of roses was not quite portlandia yet back them. ready frenzy was a beacon. chloe has big plans for the future, too, and i would like to see them happen.

cranky yellow teevee
cranky yellow. july 2009.

secondly, david at cranky yellow in st. louis has become embroiled in some complicated municipal politics, fines, and hoopla. the stories of david and cranky are a tangle of intertwined and fascinating detail. who decides to open a shop at age 20? and who decided to open this shop? i can honestly say that i have never seen another operation like cranky yellow. the aesthetic is all their own and the ethos is staunchly idealistic. reading up on this current trouble (in a independent business feature that david has launched called small time woes) it is clear that mistakes were made on his part in starting up the business. he admits as much. but it also illustrates how little state and municipal bureaucracy create pathways for indie start-ups and how difficult resolution can be for smallies like him. david has gotten a little flack recently for using social media and openly 'complaining' about the problems he has been having. to that, i would point out that these tactics have garnered better results than going through prescribed channels (which often consists of automated phone systems). also, he is publicly voicing complaints that i have heard countless times in private from independent retail business owners across this continent. i think this is a story that needs to be heard and considered.

the programming cranky has brought to st. louis is astounding (bands, art shows, publications, cat circuses). the fact that david does not speak like a politician or a lawyer does not negate that. many of these projects (like their mail service) operate pointedly without money. of course this makes surprise costs (even in the hundreds of dollars) daunting. but this business is not so close to the line because it is failing. it is close to the line as a message and due to a generosity of creative spirit. it's just too bad that cultural capital can't pay garbage fines.

cranky yellow 009b

both the reading frenzy and cranky yellow shops (links back there) stock entirely wonderful and unique wares. just sayin'. if you have gifts to get in the coming days, these might be places to look.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

office space.

window (1)

window (4)b

working on tidying my office, i realize that the best i can hope for is organized chaos.

soft spots.


how is it that all my friends are popping out babies these days? this little crocheted bonnet has been submitted for the approval of little zora. we shall see if it ends up tossed into the montreal now or not. congrats to both baby and mum!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

boutique update.

maison kasini (1)b
maison kasini - hello from vermont show featuring taper with counterweight by alisa dworsky.

i am very excited to announce that i have finally secured two awesome montreal outlets for sweetie pie press commissioned artist button sets. first off, masion kasini is a gallery with integrated boutique space housed in the art-filled belago building on st. catharine in downtown montreal.

started by some artsy folks from vermont (who now reside in montreal full time), it was fitting that their current show, hello from vermont (partially pictured above), showcases artists from their home state. i was particularly taken with that central installation - taper with counterweight by alisa dworsky. it's not surprising given my fondness for crochet and organic business that comes from synthetic materials.
maison kasini (6)b
the view from maison kasini.

i also finally managed to drop some buttons sets off at the singulairly fantastic drawn & quarterly librairie/shop. it has been one of my favourite shops in montreal since the moment it opened, stocking graphic novels from their catalogue, literary and visual books from other publishers, small press and zines as well as a little art and design (mostly paper-based). i am very excited and humbled to have some buttons in the mix! look out for sets there by sara guindon, ray fenwick and myself.

drawn & quaterly (3)b

Monday, March 7, 2011


montreal snow day (4)b

so...we woke up to this today. it could have been worse. sherbrooke got 70 centimetres. still, digging the old guy out took a while, driving was slippery and parking was a whole new bag of tricks. these are the days when car ownership can feel like a reallt scary ball and chain. here's the beat in his new digs. he's going to stay parked until i feel like battling the elements again. hopfully, some of the elements will melt.

montreal snow day (6)b

freed from the shackles of automotive responsibility, we travelled out into the montreal evening in search of poutine. we heard the great news that la banquise added veggie gravy to their menu. what's more? on the way there every colour was in the air.

montreal snow day (10)b

montreal snow day (14)b

Sunday, March 6, 2011

final four.

pocket four

after some technical difficulties, i got the final post up to round out my week guest editing at four for the day. phew! it was hard to finish up on the road and my final collection was far less planned than my previous ones. maybe that's a good thing. this collection of objects found in my pockets was assembled and photographed on a piece of copier paper while tabelling at a craft fair - another testament to the internet's vast acuity for mythologies of omission.

i'd like to thank arden for the opportunity to share fours with the world. it was a new and wonderful experience!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

lis way.

puces pop (1)b

puces pop (7)b

puces pop (8)b

above are some images from day one at puces pop. from top to bottom: plants you can't kill by shannon, sandi's display and a cross-stitched pendant on one of karyn's wood forms by nea wear.

and the aftermath of a drive, a long day and a big meal from a jewish deli...

puces pop (10)b

massive thanks to rashmi for providing us with the most lovely place to lay our heads at night (and chat and make more crafts).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


i wonder (2)b

last night, i went out to see marian bantjes talk at ocad is support of her new book, i wonder, and of her show at the onsite gallery and spent some precious birthday money on a copy of her book. at first glance (which is all i have had time for yet), the design is stunning. i can't wait to dig into its real meat. it isn't going to be easy for my magpie brain, either.

speaking of substance, i found the talk interesting but a little light on the elements of bantjes' work i find myself most compelled by - namely, the transition from design to art and the integration of personal expression into graphic design. instead, her talk focused on material and technique. maybe this is because it was a talk at a school.

as mentioned, the book is beautiful.

i wonder (4)b

i wonder (5)b

i wonder (6)b

i wonder (7)b

i did find a little manufacturing flaw in the back end papers. i saw a few more copies like this, too. i really want to accept it as the wabi-sabi that makes the book even more perfect because of its flaws. instead, the perfectionist in me feels guiltily cheated.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

forcing it.


last night, i found a big hunk of wood with new branches and tiny buds sticking out of it outside my building. it reminded me that spring is coming and that it is time to force branches, if i so choose. the other one (in the vase by patrick fisher) is a twig i found in december. it has been slowly making green buds ever since. i don't know what either of these branches might do - i am guessing i am going to see leaves instead of flowers, if anything at all. but it is kind fo exciting to watch.

if any pals out there have branches that they know will make flowers, i'd be happy to collect a few. i haven't successfully forced flowering branches since i was little.

on the mend, again.


given that i laid out a serious list of resolutions this year, i am happy to report follow through on any of them. the office is still a mess (the clean-up having been hindered greatly by a month-long ceiling leak that just dried up), but at least i put a dent in the mending pile. i had to clear off the sewing machine table for this one - two old dresses repaired in their backs and sleeves. apparently, the women of yesteryear weren't quite so broad as i in the shoulders. or maybe i am not thrifting in areas that are doukhobor enough.

and my ever-mended slippers are getting another coat of darning. this time, i am using some safety orange wool that shannon gave me. this will, hopefully, prevent me from getting shot in the soles of my feet when i, inevitable, go hunting in my slippers. i wonder if and when i will ever give up on these guys.