Friday, December 30, 2011

hands. shop. vanishings.


a) i would like to thank for supplying me with some kick-ass photos.
b) store news! i have a new slick shop via big cartel. check it out.
c) as you have probably noticed, i have been quite absent lately. there is lots of work and family stuff to deal with at the moment. i hope to be back in the new year (and hopefully a bit more relaxed).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

crunch time.

work desk (1)b

if a messy work space indicates a troubled mind then what does the above picture say about me? that heap indicated the dishevelled state of all of my home, mind and schedule these days in preparation for the impending city of craft weekend. at least i have been getting lots done, though!

there will be both new and old stuff on my table for the show, too. i just got some long out-of-print button sets returned from consignment in rural saskatchewan, so there will even be some rare old chestnuts on offer.

speaking of which, i should get back to everything!

see you on the weekend.

Monday, December 5, 2011

city on the horizon.

City of Craft 2011
city of craft 2011 poster by sandi falconer

this week i am all city of craft all the time - organizing, plotting, planning, emailing, blogging and, of course, making stuff to stock my own table. if you don't come out next weekend you are missing some serious magic!

Friday, December 2, 2011

my imperfections are your deals.


who likes deals? you. who makes a lot of mistakes? me.

i whipped up this batch of super deals especially for tomorrow's handmade holiday show. if you don't mind the odd ink smudge, fluff bit or prototype, then this is the deal for you. get 'em while they last . these packs are a perfect way to secretly cheap out on your stocking stuffers or office gifts (just remove packaging).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

socks appeal.

darning socks (4)c

darning socks (5)c

these socks are troopers. also ground zero for my experiments in various darning techniques. i thought i would share these evolutionary images of their continued frankensteinification.

happy friday!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a handmade holiday.


this weekend will be my first fair of the winter season - a handmade holiday. it will also be my second-to-last, as i scaled back considerably this year to make time to work on running city of craft.

run by the amazing mike, bianca and jordy at kid icarus there isn't enough time or space to express how great this show will be (or how great they are as artists and humans). just check out the vendor list if you like to be wowed.

just to keep things interesting, i have set aside a few products to be fair exclusives at each show. for a handmade holiday there will be deep discount multi-packs of buttons and some of my mystery loot bags (while supplies last).

plus, i will have my all my button sets (including the newest ones) available at both shows!

handmade holiday arts & crafts show
saturday, december 3rd 2011
11:00am – 6:00pm
st. stephen-in-the-fields
103 bellevue ave
(college and bellevue)
$5.00 with a mystery bag
12 and under free

Friday, November 25, 2011

sweater weather cometh (or time to fill in holes).


vest close

i am just about to head out to make a mountain of pom poms, but before i do i thought i would quickly share last night's mending project. above is a favourite woollen sweater vest that had gotten a little chomped by moths while we were away this summer. not wanting it to unravel completely i laid into it with some pretty lace weight yarns. expanding upon the swiss darning technique i have become some entranced by, i was extra proud in this case to actually mend holes (swiss darning is usually just use for reinforcement or decoration). i don't currently have time to explain the whole process here but basically, i made loops where there were none and pinched them with my fingers until i came back through on the next row up. thankfully, these particular moths were not too hungry. i also reinforced the weakest, most eaten parts by doubling over some sections (in a different colour for reasons of pure aesthetics). i say if your mending can't blend entirely, make it show!

aitor says it looks like a video game from the 80's.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

no wrist for the wicked.

wrist rest

2011 has been a long, strenuous and daunting year with no end in sight. in fact, it seems very likely that 2011 will still be happening well into 2012. carpal tunnel syndrome is not on the to-do list, though. that is why one of my lone personal craft projects this month was to crochet a duo of wrist wrest for myself and my sweetie. made with scrap yarn and stuffed with scrap fabric, they are basically a free solution to a growing problem we were both lamenting. and they work like a charm (so we can keep working like beasts of burden). it is amazing how much gets done in the current world at the flick of the wrist.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

pom pom power.

pom poms

i spent a few hours yesterday laser cutting little stacks of hardboard donuts at the workroom. why? well, to use as template for pom poms, of course. the city of craft decor is going decidedly pom pom this year. what's more? you can help! we are hosting a little mixer and craft party next friday to generate the massive heap we need to adequately decorate our two venues this year. you can read more here or see the event posting here.

puff it up, friends!

pom pom templates

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

city of craft & other distractions.


no, city of craft is not really a distraction; it's a focus. either way, it has certainly absconed with my time of late. with just days over one month left before the show, i don't see that changing much. and with kickstarter rewards to catch up on, orders to ship and my own stuff to make, the blog has certainly fallen by the wayside. i miss it.

that artwork up there is by sandi falconer. each year at city of craft i work with a new toronto designer who creates an annual theme. sandi's been doing a totally bang-up job this year. her sense of space and balance blows me a way - i have to admit to some serious pangs of humility when i get artwork from her. not that i consider myself some hot shot design, but still...

speaking of poster design, i have started a small side project - a blog of posters from the indie craft world. i know, i know, if i am so busy why do i need another project? well, this one operates as a sort of latent activity. i started it with a big collection of poster files i found on my hard drive and already have a queue a few weeks long of daily images. now it's up to the world (you or someone you know) to submit more. i warn you, though, i did not set out to be comprehensive. as a latent side project it sort of serves to satisfy my end-of-day senses. in short: i am curating selections to my own whims and tastes. enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

happy hallowe'en!


from your favourite spooky pies. this is a photos taken by sandi at her awesome party saturday night. what fun! stay safe tonight, goblins!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

awards for something.

canzine awards

the folks at broken pencil asked me to make some custom awards for next weekend's canzine. they also gave me total free reign and, other than the fact that they should be awards, absolutely no constraints. so i made these. yup, three glorious inches of isosceles triangles. these is no greater meaning or rationale involved in these except that i like triangles and i like colours. what fun!

i also have to admit to being so swamped these days that i don't rightly know what they are for. i am sure you can win one, i just don't know how. pitch a book? pirate a zine? discuss mental health? regardless, you should come to canzine, do everything and feel like a winner with or without a big fat button.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

laugh attack.

laugh sabbath (2)b

laugh sabbath (3)b

this is another knuckle-busting custom order for my buds at laugh sabbath. if you come to their show on sunday, you will probably be able to sweet talk your way into one. they are generous that way. the design is by emma segal. she's great!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

craftstock rising.

poster by selena wong

have you been dying to get your hands on sweetie pie press goods, old and new? do you like to be cool and listen to live music? if so, then your are doubly in luck. i will be setting up shop at craftstock 3 this friday night. an effortless fusion of indie pop and crafts, this quarterly event reminds me so much of the craft/art/music mash-ups of my youth (r.i.p. pedal to the metal). i love shows like this because the back and forth between music and craft makes for an easy evening and because i am so uncool that i get exposed to wonderful new music without making any big effort. you can turn with cool with me, too!

craftstock 3
friday, october 14, 2011
8:00pm - 2:00am
kapisanan philippine centre for arts & culture
167 augusta (kensington market)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

night terrors.

brette gabel

oh, spookiness is in the air. on the way to the workroom's 4th anniversary party i managed to steal a quick peek at brette gabel's latest show, bad dreams, at gallerywest. brette has taken iconic images from scary movies and worked them into a series of quilts so that you can snuggle right into your nightmares (bigger image). although i don't know what movie it references (the omen?), my personal favourite was the black-on-black cross - creepy, subtle, cozy, cursed. eerily, the cross showed up red in my pictures but it didn't look that way in person. totally haunted.



fall is in the air, it is a bone-chilling 23 degrees celsius and the leaves would be turning and falling if it didn't feel like nuclear summer outside. that can only mean one thing - hallowe'en is right around the corner! i can hardly contain myself. for me, hallowe'en is the absolute best holiday of the year - it's all witchy and tricky and theatrical. so imagine my delight when i connected with sandi falconer this year over the city of craft design job and, in so doing, discovered a comrade in charms (you can see what i mean over on the city of craft website).

this set was created as an extension of our mutual love of all things superstitious. sandi selected five charms - a crystal, a rabbit's foot, two arrows, a wishbone and a watchful eye. not only will these charms protect you and keep you lucky but they also provide a comely set of accessories that you can wear to your next spiral dance or dark alley.

charms square

the charms sets are available in the etsy shop now and in person at all upcoming events. look for them in discerning independent shops near you sooner or later.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

chair repair.


this just in from the late night fixit files: tape your rotten old chairs up for fun and decoration!

i probably should have taken a before picture but tidying and fixing is so manic these days there is no time for such diversions. the point is this - chair + duct tape + washi tape = possibly temporary but nonetheless pretty repair solution.

this picture also illuminates the greater disaster that i am up against in my office. we use it as our storage room when we tour so there is always a pile of boxes being chipped away at for months after returning home. the mess is definitely adding weight to my psychic strain at the moment, but with non-stop city of craft tasks to attend to through december, i don't foresee this space being entirely clear until february. oh well, at least i fixed that holey chair aitor gave me! and i am back to work at the making desk.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

sneak peeks - new artist sets from andrew zangerle and sandi falconer.

maple, charms and sabbath

looky, friends! here are some special peeks at some buttons i have been working on - a set of charms by sandi falconer, a quintet of country homes by andrew zangerle and some to-be-punched custom buttons for my buds at laugh sabbath*.

i was excited to negotiate a few fall button set releases over my summer of touring. now that i am home, it's even more exciting to be back at my work desk watching them come alive!

i am hoping to have sandi's sets all packed and ready for sale after i get through this thanksgiving long weekend. drew's set should be coming out with another architectural set the week following. i love the newness. i also really love having such talented friends.

oh, and while you are waiting for all that stuff to get released, why not go grab some laughs on queen street?

*laugh sabbath logo by the incomparable emma segal.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

white night.

nuit blanche (2)b
harbinger by ryan livingstone

for those not from toronto, nuit blanche is an annual, city-wide (kinda), all-night art party. from sunset to sunrise, the city is encouraged to stay out and do stuff. some events are official and some are just chaotic ad-hoc happenings. it happens in the fall and usually i am away somewhere. but not this time! fresh back from tour, aitor and i decided to take in some night sights to welcome ourselves home. we both agreed that planning and research were recipes for disappointment and decided to just walk from roncesvalles east along queen street until we got tired of it and then come back. easy peasy!

the last year i was around for nuit blanche, i remember parkdale being a total wasteland. don't get me wrong, i prefer wastelands to club districts but it was really nice to find out about the parkdale bia's leitmotif cube van artist installations. the programming was all over the map as far as style, quality and realization (in my eyes), but i liked that about it. most pieces, even those with heavy concept, provided an easy entry point for observers/participants. a program that spans everything from white noise to a capoeira circle really expresses the community nature of bia activities. in this way, the vans provided a wide range of engagement to the actual community of parkdale, families included.

nuit blanche (3)b

nuit blanche (4)
brian's songs by caroline and gord langill

nuit blanche (7)b
infinity in the palm of your hand by quality slippers

nuit blanche (11)b
all night stitch and bitch at the workroom

nuit blanche (12)
chromatic high five by amanda browder

the vibe totally changed after we crossed dufferin. it no longer felt like the programming was for the community it was in, the streets were jammed with taxis, drunk people were screaming at aitor about his moustache and the 'art' felt like a thin decorative veneer over the normal drinking that goes on at all the bars that have overtaken the strip. in spite of all the really lovely things going on at the smaller galleries and spaces (like the knit cafe), the might of the big bars was winning out. by ossington, i was getting anxious and everyone was pointing cameras at aitor. our nice date was turning ugly. we strolled back along side streets and relaxed immediately upon crossing dufferin again.

the giant, flaming, bloody altar at queen and dufferin has progressed somewhat. a woman was now scrubbing the entire concrete seating area on her hands and knees, the foamy red spill-off trailing onto the sidewalk and into the sewer. everything smelled like lavender.

after bemoaning the growing night club culture of our neighbourhood, we found a party that was more our speed:

nuit blanche (14)b

nuit blanche (17)b
your special day by brette gabel

yup, brette gabel's your special day at gallerywest invited folks in from the street with balloons and signs promising an awesome party just for you. once an hour, the gathering became a surprise party for whoever walked through the door next - complete with sparklers, people singing, homemade cake, a pinata and a fresh-delivered pizza. up there is our birthday boy breaking his pinata. such a wonderful way to end the night - a party about people instead of posing and drinking. we went home beaming and said goodnight to the neon crow at the top of our block.

Friday, September 30, 2011

working in pairs (or the fabricate show at freedom clothing collective).

fabricate closing (2)b

this evening, i managed to stop by freedom clothing collective to catch the closing reception for fabricate, a show co-presented by freedom and meredith keith gallery. conceived from the current overlap of art, craft and design, the show paired makers of different disciplines into collaborations. since most of the programming was at the other gallery, i only got to see the collaboration between lizz aston and jen kneulman (the ghostly and structured woven pieces pictured throughout). i wish i had time to see the whole show. this particular discussion is a very interesting one to me at the moment. plus, the images i saw online of the other pieces communicated some great skill and curation. freedom's head curator, marsya maharani, wrote an interesting note about the origins of the show and how it fits into the overall complexity of the freedom project and contemporary art/craft/design interplay here. full show write-up is here. great work, everyone! man, it is nice to be back home.

fabricate closing (4)b

fabricate closing (6)b

Saturday, September 24, 2011

home run.

hometime (2)b

running doesn't even begin to describe how i hit the ground upon returning to toronto. the city of craft jury session was the afternoon after our late-night return to toronto. the jury session is a joyful slog. but returning home to a crazy mess is not. yes, after six years of exceptional luck with summer subletters we finally terminated the 2011 endless bummer tour with a rude awakening. tupperware used as ashtrays, broken bowls in the cupboards, tea towels burned right through, filthy walls and floors, spills, grime, toe nails, boogers, broken and missing art, trashed furniture - it was pretty disheartening.

i was upon until morning before the jury session just scrubbing the bedroom into a state that felt clean and clear enough to sleep in.

hometime (3)b

don't get me wrong, i am still really happy to be home. broken possessions and a general sense of thoughtless invasion are pretty nominal concerns on a global level.

after cleaning the bedroom, i began to establish it as our oasis while we work on the rest of the place (between work obligations). it was really satisfying to assemble a collection of art and objects from this trip and before in the hopes of creating some calm in the storm. pictured in this bedroom vignette are works by shannah burton, bernadette greule, tara bursey, gold fools, rcboisjoli and erin dollar (click on the images to find out who made what).

hometime (4)b

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

hammer time.

hammertown (1)b

so we cheekily planned the end of our tour to stop off in hamilton. why is this cheeky? in good traffic, it is only half an hour from toronto, especially with our west end home. it's like coming home from a night out and falling asleep on your front lawn. that said, our pals mike and jen bought a house there and moved in while we were away, so we wanted to visit. and it felt good to keep a one-day buffer between crazy driving days and crazy home time.

hammertown (4)b

while the boys sorted tomatoes and smoked pipes, jen and i got to have a little outing to eat on a patio, sip wine and then visit some of the sights on james street north. below is the vestige of the massive knit facade that the beehive collective made to cover the brain for the recent supercrawl. we also visited some awesome retail shops like mixed media and white elephant (way below). i hope jen and mike don't get sick of us because i totally want to come back to the hammer when my mind has cleared a bit to take in the lovely indie scene in a less dishevelled manner.

hammertown (5)

hammertown (6)b

hammertown (7)b

hammertown (8)b

hammertown (10)b

Thursday, September 15, 2011

it's alive!

photo by cortney heimerl

after all the hard work (and no small amount of picky photography by cortney), edition #001 of the awards for nothing project is now up and for sale in the printshop forever shop. i owe cortney a big debt of gratitude for figuring out how to release this huge edition. also, for being so articulate and complimentary in her release post about the project. thank you also to faythe and aaron for hosting our real-world awards launch, for documenting and for posting about it. also, big thanks to lish for posting on the craft: blog.

now, go and browse it up, buds!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

at last.


100 awards, all done, packed in a box and ready to jet off to milwaukee for full packaging in the morning. of course, i had to test out the packaging right away. that accounts for the two on top. it all works!

below are the last additions to the run. it is too bad that i only came up with the notion of ligatures at the end of the process. next time there will be more!

final awards

awards for nothing, edition #001 will be available in person tomorrow night at sky high gallery in milwaukee. as of september 15, the rest will be released for purchase via printshop forever.

home stretch.

awards four

last night i stayed up into the wee hours working on a few very picky awards made from vintage fabric. i can't even think about what my hourly is going to end up being on this project. it's probably right of the decimal, though. regardless of that, the experiments and risks turned out some pretty lovely results (says me). also used for this batch: tapestry yarn, ledger paper, labelling tape, price tags, baggage tickets, elastic, dental floss, aitor's misprints, coupons and dental floss.

and, in very exciting news i manged to chase a ups truck down the block and collect my backing card delivery sent from nicholas in toronto. they look great! i foresee a long night and morning of fevered packaging and taping and stamping and sorting. i can't wait to see them all done and carded. but before that, this delivery means it is time to battle the chi-town traffic and get to milwaukee. see you there!

you win

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

awards in person.

awards three

hey internet, you want to see the first edition of awards for nothing in person? if you are in milwaukee this friday night, then you are in luck! i will be setting up shop for the evening in conjunction with sky high gallery, printshop forever and the misanthrope specialty co.

my little pop-up shop will be piggy-backing on the opening of catherine ryan's new show, these things they do, at sky high. i am really looking forward to seeing her work in person. plus, with all of these projects and artists in one place, it's sure to be a raucous fun night.

friday, september 9
sky high gallery
2501 south howell ave.
milwaukee, wi

here's the link round-up for more details:
facebook event
sky high gallery posting
printshop forever posting

and those awards up there (pardon the glare) include materials like rick rack, cicada wings, my hair, wrapping paper, yarn, handmade paper, thread, seam binding, bio-rythm charts, topographical maps, price tags, moss & ttc tranfers.