Usually, I look down my nose at New Year's resolvers who clog up the machines at the gym and crowd the yoga studio. This year, I find myself at an exciting crossroad and am using the uncanny timing to reflect on the year past and look forward to my desired achievements for 2010 and beyond. I've done the requisite list-making and day dreaming, of course, and the main goal for the new decade is to live a connection between my heart and mind. I decided to make something that symbolizes how I want the aforementioned achievements and actions to feel like.

I started by creating a foundation: coating an old board in black, shiny acrylic paint. It's rough around the edges, because I do love my grit.

I found myself with lots of leftover pink paper that I cut into squares and rectangles, then folded them into little cones. Paper is so resilient: the little guys stay shaped like that on their own! (Update: I did end up using double-sided photo mounting tape on half of them.) I imagined I was rolling dozens of massive pink joints: for those of you who know me, I hope that makes you giggle as much as it I did while doing it. I digress...The pink is my heart: fun, playful and intuitive.

I painted a few symbols with black acrylic on white paper and again folded them into cones that illustrate strength and balance. (Lately, I've been viewing lots of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.)

Then, I pasted all my paper cones on the board in a fluid way, drawing on the flow I'll continue to tap into. I'm not exactly sure what I've ended up with, but I do know that making this and having it around is going to help me stick to my resolve of uniting my mind and heart.

If you look closely, you'll see little squares of mirror rescued from a smashed disco ball I found in a dumpster (long story). These have been kicking around since the summer and I'm so excited that they finally found their place! I used them here because I think they represent the small doses of reflection that we all need to help make life a little more potent.

Happy twenty ten!


Subway Sign Marriage Proposal

Makes my cold heart melt. If it must happen, this is a rad way for it to unfold...

Toronto artist Posterchild recently took a break from installing art in NYC phone booths to propose to his girlfriend. He popped the the question by appropriating a sign reserved for ad space above a Manhattan subway stop. Posterchild writes:

She thought she was just helping me out with another street art project; I kept this covered until after it was installed and after the unveiling I was expecting some kind of reaction- but it took a little while to convince her that this was a proposal for real, and not just some art project!

And she said yes! Congrats!

source of my puddle-heart condition: urban prankster


Escapes installed, check. Taken down, check.

The short but sweet installation Escapes went really smoothly this weekend at City of Craft. It was an exhaustive joy to finish the piece and see people interact with it. The most satisfying part was talking with strangers about work and understanding that the concept makes sense to outsiders, too.

The most fun was seeing the lovely community in Toronto where art meets craft. There are insanely talented and supportive people who occupy this space and I'm happy to be a part of it in a small way. The entire experience has given me even more fuel to keep producing.

The fly by the seat of our pants strategy that Laurie and I employed throughout this process worked really well for us! I was really proud of the results and even happier with how we reached the end product without a major catastrophe throughout the collaboration. In fact, the experience has given me lots of confidence to keep on.

And, even though the idea of cutting out another fire escape silhouette makes my hands hurt, I'm fairly certain that my obsession with fire escapes has not nearly been satiated. We'll see how it all unfolds.

Here are some shots of the installation. Trying to explain how everything was situated makes my head throb, but hopefully this shows a bit of how it actually looked. I saw many people taking photos of it, so hopefully someone got at least one shot that pulls the components together.


I ♡ my projector

Reasons why I love my overhead projector:
1. It makes a loud humming noise that reminds me of a plane flying high overhead.
2. It has an on/off switch the is really large and makes me feel like I'm using a kid's toy camera with all those extra large buttons for easy use.
3. It emits warmth (I'm always cold).
4. It feels really low tech.
5. It has a compartment where the cord lives when not in use (I hate power cords).
6. It projects with a rounded frame that reminds me of photos from the 1980s.
7. It only has one basic function: to project transparencies. There's something comforting about a piece of technology that is uni-functional.
8. It was free and delivered to my door by a loved one.

Here are some shots of my lovely projector doing it's job very well onto my pink paper.


Home and Away (and In Between) show

I can't tell you how excited I am about this particular happening! A small part of me thinks that during the opening someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and explain that they are very sorry but a terrible mistake has been made and I'll be escorted quietly from the premises. But, thankfully, most of me is just happy to be able to interact with other, wonderful artists.

There's something potent about deadlines, huh? Now to get to work to produce my piece for the show.
Image by Gillian Wilson

A thematic group exhibition brought to you by City of Craft

Opening Reception:

Friday, December 4th. 7-10pm

Exhibition runs December 3-13, 2009.

City of Craft takes place December 12-13th at The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen St. West


Cream Tangerine Café At the Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West, Toronto


Lizz Aston, Fiona Bailey, Amy Borkwood, Leah Buckareff, Marta Chudolinska, Heather Fagan, Meags Fitzgerald, Sara Guindon, Genevieve Jodoin, Serena McCarroll and Tyler Brett, Laurie McGregor, The Misanthrope Specialty Co., Jen Spinner, Gillian Wilson and more.

The Exhibition:

Craft processes and acts of making have a way of rooting people to their surroundings. People make or purchase craft items to enhance their domestic spaces and make themselves “at home.” Alternately, people take comfort in craft and art making when they find themselves in unfamiliar territory or when situated in transitional spaces such as on planes and buses and in waiting rooms. Home and Away (and In-Between) is an exhibition that strives to explore how the act of making enables us to relate to where we are.

Home and Away (and In-Between) is a thematic group exhibition of selected vendors, organizers and installation artists involved with this year’s City of Craft event. The exhibition also includes a few invited special guests artists. Home and Away will serve as a pre-fair party as well as a public preview of the wares in store at this year’s City of Craft. Please join us in celebrating our third awesome year!

About City of Craft:

City of Craft is a collective of craft-engaged locals who aim to build community in the Toronto craftscape, support independent craft businesses, and encourage the larger community to get involved with crafty happenings in the city. City of Craft is also a community-based craft culture event where community-arts groups, craft based initiatives/projects, studios, and other organizations are invited to do outreach to the public alongside a curated craft fair and craft-based installations. City of Craft is a place to buy, observe, experience, chat about, share and re-imagine all things handmade. This year’s City of Craft event takes place December 12-13th at the Theatre Centre. Don’t miss it!


My first interview!

My friend Laurie and I were recently interviewed about our upcoming installation at City of Craft. You can read it here.

Laurie and I wrote our answers in two parts and I think they reflect our voices really well. It's strange to tell people about all of this, but I figure that no one else is going to do it for me.

A part of me wishes that we'd sat down with an old tape deck and pressed record for an hour, then handing in the transcript, though what a verbose product that would be! You know when you read those rambling interviews between artists who are also friends? I love them because I always feel a part of their multi-layered relationship. I read one between the musician Bjork, and a creative director of Interview Magazine, Mathias Augustyniak. They discuss collaborations between Bjork, creative directors Michaël Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak, and photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin to produce any and all imagery related to Bjork's musical career, including album covers. Check it out here.

Do you remember this album? When it was first released I was enthralled by the cover and the alien-like music.
Bjork, Homogenic, 1997



Here's another...


Feeling the snap

Up until this weekend, I was feeling a bit bogged down and was not really making an effort to be inspired. I constantly view websites that showcase the work of many, many talented artists that often motivate me to keep working. But, there's no substitute for the authentic snap I feel when I find something wicked in the flesh.

I treated myself to these promotional booklets for an offset printer from the 1960s because they reminded me why I keep doing what I do. Even though the designs are bit dated, there's something precious about how much thought and care when into a promotional item such as this. Compared to present day where one can digitally print any old thing for a nominal fee, these booklets are works of art unto themselves.

Oh, and I like the pretty paper.

Man is a designer.

He designs for the betterment of his lot in the universe. He may design well or ill, feebly or powerfully. What he makes of his life depends on his vitality, his reason, his good will, his sense of responsibility to the whole and his individual integrity, his imagination and his spirit of adventure. The good designer, whether in art or architecture, engineering or advertising, will not be satistfied with the old moulds. He will be alive to all the discoveries and inventions, all the drives and ideals, of the contemporary world. Using the materials and methods of today, he will serve the needs of the world today, and he will lead the way tomorrow.

Understanding the past, serving the present, he will strive to see the patterns he creates as part of a larger greater pattern, the desing for living, the greater democracy, the richer, fuller life toward which all intelligent, responsible men are striving.

Pink escapes

I stumbled on fushcia craft paper on the weekend and completed my first large(r) scale cut out. I'm enamoured and also ready to roll up my sleeves and start cutting many more.


Received: one, much needed, kick in pants

After cutting out countless mini paper cutouts of escapes, hemming and hawwing over colour and size and talking incessantly about what I want to do, I finally starting cutting the larger escapes for City of Craft. (Side note: I'm in love with overhead projectors. Who knew projecting imagery onto a wall would make me giddy?)

As per usual, I'm way more interested in the other space. Consequently, the negative shapes created by the fire escape silhoettes are being carefully saved. For what? I think I know, but I'll have to see. Planning too much is just...lame.


Things that are wild

What I loved: the muted colour palette, lack of pandering any particular demographic, voice actors, Jim Henson muppets, decidedly un-CGI (looking) effects, Catherine Keener looking her age (looking great, I might add) and Jonze's interpretation of a fantastical, beloved children's tale.

My favourite part? When KW swallows the king: The child hero is faced with death and his female counterpart saves him by temporarily swallowing him whole. It's a tension-filled scene that symbolizes the sheer uncomfortableness of genuine growth. True growth is often smelly, annoying and yet, incredibly surprising and comforting, all of which is conveyed from the perspective of being inside the beast's belly.


Working away at escapes

Things are truckin' along with the installation. I'm trying to document most of the process, because well, you're talking about a girl who still has relics sitting in her closet from childhood. Digital pack ratting is the best kind there is because storage is never a real problem. Here's another image that I worked on this week that I hope to incorporate into the larger piece. I'll record bits and pieces of the process here, but I don't want to reveal too much! My favourite work gives the audience credit and care: hold my hand to the water but allow me to drink it in when I feel thirsty.


Paper paintings

I'd love to one day see these in the flesh by the Brooklyn based artist, ELBOW-TOE because the insane details are lost online. These are not paintings, but collages. That's right: tiny pieces of paper glued together to create mind-boggling, traditional portraits. Most of his full figure subjects have strange finger configurations that remind me of cat n' cradle string games I played as a little girl.


DIY Chanel

I love this post that outlines how to make your very own Chanel logo tee. As I was reading it, I kept pronouncing Chanel as "Channel" in my mind like in that oh-so-bad yet oh-so-good movie (can't be called a film, really) Showgirls when Elizabeth Berkley calls her Versace dress "Ver-sas".

source theshapesofthings


Make something great. Tell people about it. Do it again.

Here's an excerpt from an article I just read about the evils of paying the internet to market for you. I should probably like tech talk much more than I do, but then I wouldn't be me. This talk makes me happy: I wish all tech articles could be so inspiring.
Make something great. Tell people about it. Do it again.

That’s it. Make something you believe in. Make it beautiful, confident, and real. Sweat every detail. If it’s not getting traffic, maybe it wasn’t good enough. Try again.

Then tell people about it. Start with your friends. Send them a personal note – not an automated blast from a spam cannon. Post it to your Twitter feed, email list, personal blog. (Don’t have those things? Start them.) Tell people who give a shit – not strangers. Tell them why it matters to you. Find the places where your community congregates online and participate. Connect with them like a person, not a corporation. Engage. Be real.

Then do it again. And again. You’ll build a reputation for doing good work, meaning what you say, and building trust.

It’ll take time. A lot of time. But it works. And it’s the only thing that does.

source Derek Powazek


Hurry less

I adore this one because I'm remarkably slow in my natural state. Hurrying upsets me. Hurry-less should really be a word, like fearless.

source To Do: #263

The Making of Decoding the Undertow

This documentary reminds me exactly how much plain, old-fashioned toil goes into making good work. The film shows strange and compelling performances that marries a style of dance called contact improv with skateboarding. The piece is performed by three dancers and three skateboarders and filmed in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Choreographer and creator Sally Morgan, who is also in the film, makes me want to dye my hair red.

Decoding the Undertow-Documentary

Colin MacKenzie|MySpace Videos


"It's a brave film to make."

Spike Jonze and Shane Smith talk about Where the Wild Things Are, my most anticipated Hollywood film release of the year! I usually could care less about big box movies, but this is a grand exception to the rule.

Who's with me on October 16?

source vbs.tv




Funny, that.

There's a question in The Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire that asks Which words or phrases do you most overuse? It's by far my favourite question in the questionnaire. For me, it would have to be "It's funny..." which is my inarticulate way to express fascination with one of my strange observations or thoughts, of which there are many (fascinations as well as strange observations).

A friend once called me out on saying "It's funny..." so often because she found herself using it constantly and could not for the life of her figure out where she picked it up from. I just looked at her guiltily. But, I secretly gloated: I'm usually the one who spongily starts talking like my friends, so knowing that it works both ways made me happy.

It's funny, then, that after a few weeks away from blogging (which feels like eons in blog time) that it is this very space that connects me to an exciting opportunity. I'll be collaborating with a dear friend, Laurie McGregor to produce an installation at City of Craft! My obsession with fire escapes continues to pay off creatively; Laurie and I will be using the escapes to explore links between craft and urban space. It's going to be a lot of work and also very exciting. Did I say exciting? It's exciting.

Here are a few photos that will likely be incorporated in the installation. Did I mention that I'm excited?



This image is coming at me from a few angles and I had to share it. Simple enough; now live it.
source typecut.com


Now that you've learned how to speak, what will you say?

I found the above quote somewhere in the broad, murky sea, just off the shore of Internet-land via a blog called togetlost. I don't know who wrote it, but it stuck with me.

An interview with Ze Frank on Imaginary Audiences got me thinking about the purpose of being here in this space. He speaks of the nativity of creating only for oneself without considering audience, which I'm not completely on board with, but find intriguing.

I like to tell myself that whatever I choose to post here is complete self indulgence: I'm just regurgitating things I love in a way that's (hopefully) not too diary-esque but revealing nonetheless. And, maybe sharing some of my humble interpretations of my experience. Yet, I get a thrill when people tell me they like what they see here, or one of you leaves a comment. And, truthfully, if I didn't want to share, I'd stay cocooned in my own world. Revisioning my purpose here, I see that it's morphed into a sort of breathing. Once, I heard a street artist characterize her ad jams as breathing out: we breathe in messages everyday, consequently, her art is a natural reaction. It's impossible to estimate, but sources say anywhere from 150-3000 ads per day are read in some shape or form by the average Northerner.

Breathing out sounds better than self-indulgence, yes? Yes.


take picture dont steal

Here's a wonderful conceptual photography project by Matt Greenwood, a local designer and artist. If you find one of his installations around Toronto, consider yourself lucky. I won't take away from the project by blathering on, except to say that I love the simplicity of the idea and execution, so please go visit the website to learn more!


Archetypes / Insomnia

I'm inscribing these found pieces of wood with a story from Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales using vinyl letters and lettraset. These stories from around the world feature atypical heroines starring in tales with not-so-happy endings. The fairy tales I grew up with were gruesome and gritty in their own rite before they were Disnified. Sleeping Beauty? The prince is romancing a corpse. Snow White? The princess is living with what is reputed to be slaves. Little Red Riding Hood? The woodsman murders the wolf. These tales are rich with clues of a complex subconscious struggling to come to the surface. Tapping into our collective subconscious using stories that have been passed down through generations utterly fascinates me.


Ingenious pinhole mouth photography

I've been devouring the Art: 21 documentary series on DVD lately. Here's my latest crush.

Ann Hamilton
Pin-hole mouth photograph from the series "face to face"
Courtesy the Artist
Only “fair use,” for personal and/or educational purposes, of artwork is permitted: Art21 Copyright Notice



source Joie de Vivre

Brian Dettmer: Book Autopsies

This is incredible. I love the playful take on intended meaning that Brain Dettmer creates when he cuts away redundant paper to reveal multiple layers of beauty.
source Centripetal Notions


Exquisite corpse

A few weeks ago, in the middle of a heat wave, I had the distinct luxury of taking an entire week to work on collage with other artists who were interested in doing the same. As tends to happen, the results were nothing like what I expected; I thought I'd breeze in, learn a few techniques, finish an existing project or two, maybe finish a new one and in the end feel refreshed, renewed and leave everything in a neat and tidy, collaged pile.

Instead, I was introduced to insanely talented contemporary collage artists (famous, infamous and otherwise) who are making it. Really making it.

I was surprised by the comradery, generosity and support shown to me by my fellow classmates and instructor. I continued with current ideas that I think might take years to fully develop and explore. I recognized that yes, this is fun, but it's also work.

I was wowed by our collective talent and power to express. We completed a round of exquisite corpse collages. I played this as a child, all the time and once, as an adult at a dinner party. Invented by the surrealists, one makes a portion of a figure with the rest of the paper folded (hidden from view, save for the portion one is currently working on), then trades with the next person; the group keeps going like this until all corpses are complete.

When we hung all the corpses on the wall, I was overwhelmed with their simple beauty and amazed by how they seemed to be composed by the same person. This exercise demonstrates to me, proof of collective consciousness and the importance of play in artistic expression.

I've reproduced them all here as a photo collage, but please don't use this image for anything else because it really isn't mine. (Anyway, it's such low resolution that you couldn't do much with it if you tried.) The actual size of each piece is about two by four feet, so try to imagine their beauty, grotesque power and loveliness. Perhaps then you can understand why I got teary when I saw them all hanging together.


"Most people are much more unusual and complicated and eccentric and playful and creative than they have time to express."
—Oliver Herring

digital c-print photographs, museum board, foam core, and polystyrene by Oliver Herring
translation: amazing, life-size sculptures pasted with collaged photographs of the figures.