Sunday, February 22, 2009

REMINDER: Please update your feeds & links!

A lot of traffic has still been coming to this old blogger site at at the mo' we can't redirect it, so kindly unsubscribe here & resubscribe to and if you've linked the TCA on your site or blog, we would be much obliged if you could change the link to It's waaaaay more fun over there, promise.


Monday, February 02, 2009


Well guys, it's been a long time coming, but check it out, we've relaunched the Toronto Craft Alert in a stylish and oh-so-functional new format! You can find it at Please check it out, change your bookmarks & let us know what you think.

Also be sure to to visit the Toronto Craft Alert Forum, where you can connect with other crafty locals about your projects, small business issues, crafty classified, and so much more. [note: we're having temporary issues with the forum, but it should be up and running shortly]

This was a huge job that could not have happened without the creative genius and blood sweat & tears of web designer Curtis Townson, graphics gal Natalie Do, TCA vet Angelune Des Lauriers, creative advisor Danielle Anisef & our tireless TCA interns. Plus of course generous funding from the Ontario Arts Council! Heartfelt thanks to all of these peeps for making this happen.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

CRAFT TORONTO PICS: Bathurst Station by Derek Watson

Bathurst Station
, originally uploaded by Derek Watson.

Cutting orders for Time-lapse video featuring the process can be seen here:

Look at the fantastic things that find their way into the Craft Toronto photo pool on Flickr. The Torontoist link (above) is totally worth a visit. Be careful with that speedy picking, though, Mr. Watson. You cut poke a finger off!

CRAFTY HAPPENING: Soft City at WinterCity (January 31, February 1, 7 & 8)

The Soft City will be exhibited and workshops will be held at City Hall this weekend and next.
The WinterCity Festival is a city-wide celebration of Toronto's incomparable diversity of spirit bursting with culinary experiences, a hot blaze of free entertainment and a showcase of this city's vibrant arts scene.

: A Celebration of Culture, Creativity and Cuisine runs from January 30 to February 12, 2009.

The Soft City installation will be on display all day in the Toronto City Hall Rotunda both weekends.

There will also be
Soft City workshops in the Toronto City Hall Rotunda on Saturdays (Jan 31 & Feb 7) from 2 – 7 pm and Sundays (Feb 1 & 8) from 2 – 6 pm. This is an opportunity to discover Soft City, a whimsical plush mini Toronto created by hand with felt, fabric, stuffing and your imagination. Kids can join in workshops to make their own mini creations to take home or add them to the growing cozy, architectural wonder. Try your hand at creating mini city blueprints, or send your friend a postcard from the Soft City.

EXHIBITION: Housepaint Phase 2: Shelter (now-July 5)

Works (left to right) by ELICSER, EVOKE and EGR.
The ROM's Institute for Contemporary Culture presents Housepaint, the first exhibition on the subject of street art in a major Canadian museum.

Drawing attention to issues of poverty and homelessness, this ground-breaking exhibition is a collaboration between ten street artists in memory of the former residents of Tent City.

Each artist has painted a colourful canvas house in their personal, exuberant style. In addition, five artists will respond to the previous installations by creating an original new work in the gallery over the course of the exhibition.

Curated by Devon Ostrom of, Housepaint is on display until July 2009, at which point the canvas houses will be auctioned, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.

For more information, updates on the exhibition, to register for the auction, or to add your own comments, please visit

On now until July 5, 2009.

Institute for Contemporary Culture
Roloff Beny Gallery, Level 4

Friday, January 30, 2009

EXHIBITION: Come Up To My Room (February 4-8)

I attend this every year and it's always a good time. Tip: if you want to actually see the work vs. party with arties be sure to pop back during the day to see the show - I've found Sunday aft to be a good time.


Come Up To My Room 2009
Thursday February 5 to Sunday February 8, 2009
RECEPTION Saturday Feb 7th 7-10pm 2nd fl
Feat DJ's NEP & TODD

Now in its 6th year Come Up To My Room is an alternative design show focusing on the diverse practices that work outside the norms of traditional design: multidisciplinary, independent, emerging and self-taught. Temporary room installations fill 11 exhibition rooms on the hotel's second floor. Public space projects are featured in the hotel lobby, stairwell, and second floor reception gallery.

Gladstone Hotel 1214 Queen Street West Toronto ON

Room Installations:
Bruno Billio& Matt Nye
Matt Carr & Joyce Lo
David Chang, Andrea Chin & Amrita Takhar
Derrick Hodgson
Andrew MacDonald
MADE presents Eric Mathew & Andrew Ooi
MADE presents Jeremy Hatch
Erin McCutcheon, Einav Mekori, Annie Tung
& Andrée Wejsmann
Mauricio Affonso & Liz Wolf
Studio Junction
Motherbrand presents "Penny Smash" a Souvenir Shop project featuring exclusive new work from Douglas Coupland, Marian Bantjes, Burton Kramer, and more.

Public Space Projects:
Bakery Group Founding Members: Marcin Padlewski & Anissa Szeto
Evan Bare
Nicholas Bruscia & Patricia Schraven
Pietro Gagliano & Peter Wehrspann
Adam Harris & Parimal Gosai
Andra Hayward, Shannon Linde & Christina Ott
commissaries presents Kwangho Lee in collaboration with Ministry of the Interior

Laura McKibbon & Jasna Sokolovic
Derek McLeod
Eric Quebral
Maté Szemeredy
Grace Yang
Plus selected chair projects from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture

PREVIEW: Thursday February 5th 4-8pm
Exhibition Hours
Friday February 6 12-8pm
Saturday February 7 12-10pm
Sunday February 8 12-5pm

LoveDESIGN Party: Saturday February 7th 10pm 'til late - Gladstone Hotel Ballroom
Feat DJ's Cozmic Cat + Jamie Sin FREE ADMISSION

PANEL DISCUSSION: The Origins of the Designer!
Sat Feb 7 11am-2pm | Gladstone Hotel Ballroom | Free Admission
Join us as we try to answer the big questions: How do you bring yourself into designer "existence"? How do you survive as a designer when you're competing for limited sources of work? Is it dangerous to believe in Social Darwinism when it comes to the design ecosystem? Are you master of your own destiny?

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: World of Threads Festival 2009

From the World of Threads Festival website:

"For seventeen days we showcase traditional and contemporary experimental approaches to fiber, including wall hangings, sculpture, installations, quilting, hooking, lace-making, knitting, weaving, embroidery, crocheting, paper-making, felting, stitched canvas, mixed media, soft sculpture, wearable art, recycling materials, plastics manipulation, basketry, conceptual work and performance."

This sounds like a craftstravagaza for fiber arts lovers. Carpool anyone?
There are a number of calls for entry on the website, for specific exhibitions and for the show at large. Here's some more info they sent along:


World of Threads Festival 2009
September 18 - October 4 2009
Oakville´s biennial celebration of Fibre Arts
Quilting,Spinning,Weaving, Knitting, Hooking, Tatting, Embroidery

Oakville is proud to present once again our local, National and International forum for the Fibre Arts.
Calls for entry for Common Thread, nine lives are now available online.
Guilded Threads and Salón des Refuses will be also displaying works from our 6 local fibre guilds.
Visit our web page and sign onto our facebook to share interests online.
Also in our web-page, find out about past works, Award winners from Festival 2007, press reviews and much more.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Spring One of a Kind Customer Shopping Bag Design Contest (deadline: February 16)

Janice from OOAK wrote to encourage you all to submit to their Shopping Bag Design Contest:


We would like to invite all of our One of a Kind customers to enter the Spring One of a Kind Customer Shopping Bag Design Contest!

The winning design (with your signature) will be printed alongside our logo on the reusable shopping bags. The winner will also receive a $100 shopping spree at the Spring 2009 show in Toronto!

If you want to see your design on this year’s OneofaKind reusable shopping bag, here is your chance!

To submit your artwork:

- Your design must fit within a 25.4cm (10") length x 25.4cm (10") width square.
- Artwork must be done in ONE solid colour only (no tints or shades). Your design will be printed in white ink to our pink reusable tote (picture)
- Your design must be 100% original, no copyrighted images can be used.
- Digital artwork must be size as, at 300dpi (or higher), or in a vector format.
- One design per person please.
- For more info, along contest rules and regulations, please visit:

Please forward your entry to or via postal mail no later than Monday, February 16, 2009 at 5pm EST. Please be sure to include the following information: your name, email address and telephone number.

Send hardcopy artwork to:

OneofaKind Show
Public Bag Design Contest
c/o One of a Kind Show
10 Alcorn Avenue, Suite 100
Toronto, ON M4V 3A9
Attn: Janice Leung

Thursday, January 29, 2009

GET SCHOOLED: Felt Gnome Workshop (February 7)

with Kathie Young

Saturday February 7, 2009
10am - 3:30pm
$85 per class/includes materials

To register:

Kathie Young
33 Harbour Square

SHOP CRAFTY: The Other Art (now open)

Take a look inside of The Other Art...

Come to share a warm moment this winter in downtown
if you looking for something unique to someone special this Valentine's Day.

Contemporary jewelry sculpture, painting, handcrafted objects

155 Harbord Street, Toronto

CRAFTY CONTEST: IDS09 Window Contest (Deadline: February 5)


The 2009 Interior Design Show is coming up next week (Feb 5-8), and they run an annual competition that asks participating stores to design a window that creatively communicates a design theme. The IDS 09 theme is INSPIRATION.

One of the stores chosen to participate this year is FLOORWORKS/Relative Space who's current window features an installation by our very own Susan Rowe Harrison! If you've never been, they are located on Dupont, West of Spadina - worth a gander as their window displays are always arresting.

The winner is decided by vote, and by voting for your favourite (FLOORWORKS/Relativespace, duh) window you will be entered for a chance to win Opening Night or weekend tickets. The contest ends on February 5th.

Check out the contest here & cast your vote.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FROM THE DESK OF TCA: Toronto Craft Alert Event Calendar

Don't let the cold weather give you the blues. There are so many amazing creative happenings and events in the city - especially in winter! So, don your touque and grab your gloves - then check out the Toronto Craft Alert Event Calendar for all the cool, crafty things to do in T.O.

Don't forget - if you're a crafty designer, you can also stay updated on all the coolest shows in your area, and get your apps in on time! Just look for the "Application Deadline" calendar dates.

If you have any other local craft shows or fairs, please email your tips to us at More information and local show dates will be added as they become available!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: donations to WORN's Heartbreak Karaoke Fundraiser Swag & Raffle

worn valentine

An indecent proposal...

On February 14, WORN FASHION JOURNAL will be holding a Heartbreak Karaoke fundraiser to help us continue producing the local fashion magazine your customers love - and we're currently looking for donations of soul-soothing swag for goody bags and raffle prizes.

So you give and you give...
WORN events tend to attract crafty types, fashion connoisseurs, and vintage enthusiasts.
We are giving out 25 early bird bags of small and sweet items, coupons, and gift certificates. Raffle prizes can be single larger items that will set hearts racing. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.

Be sure to include your business card/website info – and we'll make sure our winners know who's showing them the love.

Is this a pick-up line?
If you feel you'd like to contribute to WORN's Valentine's Day fundraiser, please contact Meagan at prior to February 6th. For your convenience, WORN is happy to dispatch its fashion wagon/carrier pigeon to pick up any of your kind contributions.

And remember, whether you feel you can contribute or not, we'd love to see you at the event.

presents the Heartbreak Karaoke Fundraiser at The Cameron House (408 Queen St. West) on February 14, 2009. Doors at 9pm.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

GET SCHOOLED: She Can Create Creativity Classes & Coaching (March 2009)

"As a workshop leader, Lisa brings a sense of excitement and passion few can match. Her enthusiasm rubs off on the participants, now co-creators, in a world of movement and creativity carefully explored and unleashed in a safe, fun-filled experience. Lisa is both a masterful facilitator and a catalyst for stepping into the unknown. With such warmth and humour, she truly creates a joyous atmosphere in her classes and workshops."
- Beth Mairs, Director of Wild Woman Expedition

girl can create

She Can Create: Creativity Classes for Women

Join us for an experiential woman's creative group that meets once a week to play and create using a variety of different inspirations. Focusing on self-expression and the desire to bring more art to our lives we will use Collage, Storytelling, Movement, Doll making, Beadwork and Journaling to jumpstart our creativity and help create unique pieces of art and find ways how to continue creating after the classes are finished. Lisa will also talk about the overcoming creative blocks, taking steps to complete projects and letting the world know about your work. A sure fire inspiring workshop, register early to avoid disappointment as there is a limited amount of participants.

When: Monday Nights from 6:30 to 9:30
March 9, 16, 23, 30
Location; TBA

Wednesday Nights from 6:30 to 9:30
March 4, 11, 18, 25
Location TBA

Fee: $200
Early Bird, Register before February 10 for $175.

To register and place a deposit to hold your spot please email Lisa at or call 416-516-4925


One on One Creativity Coaching

Do you have a creative dream welling up inside? Or do you feel stuck by anxiety when you take a step towards your creative vision? Perhaps you simply want more art in your life.

As a creativity coach, I am interested in helping people discover their most creative, true and fulfilling selves. I bring over 20 years experience as a performance artist to my work and understand the practice of starting from an idea and moving towards creation. Together with clients, I aim to bring more art to their lives, work towards specific project goals and assist to make their creative dreams a reality. Together we look towards clarity, inspiration and realization in regards to all aspects of their creative life. Sessions are either in person or on the phone with additional weekly email support.

Single 1 hour session = $70 RED Letter Special $60 for January!
Two 1 hour sessions per month = $130
Four 1 hour sessions per month = $250

I am currently accepting new coaching clients. If you are interested in working with me please email me at with a short introduction. I look forward to hearing from you!

About Lisa: For many years Lisa has helped other artists when times were tough. It seemed to be a natural extensions of her work as an artist and curator. Lisa has studied with many great creative minds including author and creativity expert Eric Maisel, Art Therapist Jacqueline Gautier, dancer Lisa Nelson, singer Ysaye Barnwell, musician Babatunde Olatunji, storyteller Judith Black and many others! Lisa has taught at Rio Caliente Wellness Spa, Wild Women Expeditions and as an Artist in Education in the Toronto School Board. With over 15 years of working as a performance artist, writer and educator, Lisa is especially passionate about bring art, humour and creativity to lives of women, youth.

GET SCHOOLED: Flameworking with Nadia Tasci at La Perlerie (Winter 2009)

This note came through from Nadia & La Perlerie, a bead shop & gallery at Dundas & Jane:

Newsflash! We're very excited to announce that Nadia Tasci, a recent favourite from the One of a Kind Show is now providing flameworking Instruction at La Perlerie! Details available on our website class schedule. Please visit

la perlerie - nadia tasci

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SHOP CRAFTY: Wise Daughters Grand Opening (January 31)

Saturday January 31, 10am - 6pm
3079B Dundas St. West.
Afternoon live music by Endsville
Gift for 1st 50 patrons
Complimentary homemade baked treats

Located in the heart of the Junction, Wise Daughters carries unique locally handmade ceramics, knitwear, jewellery, silk scarves, soap, cards, folk art dolls, needlework, sculpture, wall tattoos, screen-printed onesies, purses and much more, plus original paintings and multi-media artwork. From the whimsical to the elegant, everything is 100% local and hand crafted with passion. Artists and artisans are welcome to contact owner Mary Breen about selling through the shop.

Wise Daughters also offers do-it-yourself workshops in our beautiful bright open space. Upcoming workshops include cardmaking, beading, journaling with paint, and storytelling. Workshop proposals are also always welcome. Thursday is Sit 'n' Stitch night – a chance to knit, crochet or whatever you like to do, in good company.

Wise Daughters Craft Market
3079B Dundas St. West.

CALL FOR SUBMISSION: Exhibition Assistance - Grimsby Public Art Gallery (deadline: January 31)

Applications for exhibition assistance grants are now being accepted. Applying artists must have an exhibition scheduled and confirmed in a publicly accessible venue. Grants can assist with exhibition costs, including framing, presentation and shipping. Application forms and conditions for entry are available at the gallery or by visiting the Ontario Arts Council website.

All applications must include 10 images (slides or jpgs), resume, budget, a letter of confirmation for upcoming exhibition, an artist's statement and description of the exhibition and a SASE with sufficient postage for return of all submitted material. All support material will be returned following the recommender's decision. Grant amounts range between $500 - $1500.

Visit for more info or phone the gallery at 905. 945.3246

Next Deadline : Sept. 30, 2009

Grimsby Public Art Gallery
18 Carnegie Lane, Grimsby, ON. L3M 1Y1
Ph: 905-945-3246

GET SCHOOLED: New Year Knitting Class Schedule at Americo Original (January - May)

Here is the new class schedule for the remainder of the Winter and Spring 2009, featuring beginner favorites and a couple new challenging additions for our more advanced knitters.

Classes are still free, however, we ask that you drop by the store in advance to pick up materials and register your spot. Hurry, because seating is limited and classes book up quickly!!

Beginner 101

Take your pick from any of these original Americo patterns: the Walter Scarf, Simple Shawl, Lacy Llama Scarf or Slouch Hat. Perfect for true beginners who need to learn how to cast on, cast off and knit -- or anyone who wants to refresh their knitting skills with an easy new project.

2 hours (1 session)
Sunday February 1, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday March 8, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday April 19, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Skill Level: Beginner
Cost: Supplies only

Think Inside the Box

Step up your knitting skills by using simple straight-line techniques to create your choice of our Cashmere Sweater (sample in store), Waffle Ridge Cardi-Wrap (featured by Sandra Pittana on CityLine) or Portobello Shrug. New skills learned include purling, casting on and off between sections and picking up stitches.

4 hours (2 two-hour sessions)
Sunday January 8, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday February 22, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Sunday February 22, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday April 26, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Cost: Supplies only

Knit Inside the Round

Learn how to knit in the round using circular and double-pointed needles to create your choice of the Raglan Sweatshirt, Simple Cable Hat or Cable and Seed Cap. Additional techniques learned will include decreasing and cables.

2 hours (1 session)
Sunday January 15, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday March 29, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday May 10, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Skill level: Intermediate
Cost: Materials only

Felted Bag

Choose from many of our sophisticated merino and leather handbags using the basic knit stitch and felting your knitted piece. Finishing techniques, such as sewing and accessorizing with leather handles and details will also be explored.

2 hours (1 two-hour sessions)
Sunday January 22, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Skill level: Beginner
Cost: Materials only

Finishing Techniques

This is your chance to bring in a project from a previous class that you never got around to finishing properly. Get extra help on how to cast off, seam, sew in ends and adorn your work.

2 hours (1 session)
Sunday March 8, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday May 17, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Skill Level: All Levels
Cost: Supplies only

"That Vest"

Our best-selling reversible vests (featured by Sandra Pittana on CityLine) is a perfect project for true beginners, where you will learn how to cast-on, cast-off and the basic knit stitch. Wear it two ways -- long or short, right-side up or upside down. Choose from several different versions.

4 hours (2 two-hour sessions)
Sunday April 5, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday April 12, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Skill level: Beginner
Cost: Materials only

Tubular Cast On & Cast Off

Tired of messy-looking edges on your otherwise (nearly) perfect creations? Create a basic ribbed scarf using an advanced cast-on and cast-off technique to create a professional finish.

4 hours (2 two-hour sessions)
Sunday May 3, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday May 24, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Cost: Supplies only

As well, our new weekly Knitting Nights are on Wednesdays from 6pm - 8pm for any help you may need with projects along the way.

Also, check out out new online pattern catalogue and yarn catalogue with more than 100 original designs to choose from. Our patterns are still free with the purchase of yarn and kits can be ordered by email, phone, or in person.

Americo Original
456 Queen Street West

+ These images are reposted for news reporting purposes only.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

GET SCHOOLED: Beading with Rachel Nelson-Smith (February 2009)

Bead Junction is proud to present this exclusive set of classes with Rachel Nelson-Smith. For more information, click the link to each individual class.

Lekku Necklace turquoise
Lekku Necklace in Turquoise by Rachel Nelson-Smith

Shiloh Necklace Class

Learn to bend and embellish these sensationally simple wire components to make this sparkling necklace. Use glass, gemstones, or crystals or a mix of them all. Student must be able to create basic 20-gauge loops and wrapped 24-gauge loops unassisted.

Marquis Component Necklace Class

Copper wired and gold beaded marquis components are wired and linked together with bold chain, accented by sparkling dangles.

Lekku Necklace Class

Embellish with increasing beads over a netting base and learn to incorporate a small amount of basic wirework into beadwork for added stability. The combination of various techniques come together to form a beautifully draping neck piece.

Beon Freo Cuff Class

With the guidance of a master beadweaver, spend a whole day exploring the art of beading freely and answering the question "what if?". Bring your open mind and participate in explorative exercises to boost creativity and begin to think differently beginning with this project. Discuss possibilities for your piece including components and overall feel, assembly and finishing. Written directions for the base, fringe, and several components are provided. Knowledge of any variation of at least two of the following stitches is required: herringbone, peyote, brick and right-angle weave. Pre-work assignment which consists of creating the cuff base with any stitch you desire is provided in advance of class.

Link to class on Bead Junction site.

Ootheca Cuff Class

Bead weaving and a small amount of basic wire working come together in a stunningly cratered double-sided cuff. Student must be able to work right-angle weave and peyote stitch unassisted. Detailed, photographed step-by-step instructions included. Pre-work required, small section of right angle weave base required, instructions are available for both those who know right angle weave well and those that need practice.

Link to class on Bead Junction site.

Rachel Nelson-Smith recently been published in the new Lark book Masters: Beadweaving.

More about Rachel:

Friday, January 23, 2009

CRAFTY HAPPENING: Love and Rummage Trunk Show

I'll be hawking some of my junk - er - vintage items here, as well as the odd sewn goodie. Going to try to edit my fabric stash down a bit, so expect some scraps & more...can't wait to see what the other vendors bring!


Visit the webpage here
and facebook event here

EXIBITION: Allyson Mitchell: Ladies Sasquatch (January 29 - March 21, reception: January 29)

Worth the trip to Hamilton...


Allyson Mitchell: Ladies Sasquatch
January 29 - March 21, 2008
Curated by Carla Garnet

Opening Reception: Thursday January 29, 6 – 9 pm
Book Launch and Artist Interview: Thursday March 19, 6 – 8 pm

Neither a teddy bear’s picnic, nor a pack of ferocious beasts, Allyson Mitchell’s newest installation presents an epic gathering of figures, each one a monumental symbol of female brains, brawn and sexuality - a community of Lady Sasquatches. The freestanding, sculptural works by Toronto-based Mitchell marry feminist theory with the artist’s favorite material, fun fur.

In a new twist on the legend of the Sasquatch, a wild hairy creature consistently described as solitary and male, Mitchell has assembled a congregation of anatomically correct females. Standing upright at over 10 feet tall, they are beautifully crafted creations of fun fur, taxidermy glass eyes and various fake bear parts.

“This curatorial project presents the artist’s realignment of feminine representation in which she symbolizes the mythical feminine as something not easily captured or domesticated, or harnessed to sell, yet undeniably powerful and attractive,” says curator Carla Garnet. “Exhibited as a group she gathers strength from her society, she shifts the hierarchy and in as much essentially attempts to create a utopian feminist community.”

Allyson Mitchell describes herself as a maximalist artist working predominantly in sculpture, installation and film. Since 1997, Mitchell has been melding feminism and pop culture to play with contemporary ideas about sexuality, autobiography, and the body, largely through the use of reclaimed textile and abandoned craft.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals across Canada, the US, Europe and East Asia. She has also performed extensively with Pretty Porky and Pissed Off, a fat performance troupe, as well as publishing both writing and music. She recently completed her PhD in Women’s Studies at York University, where she also teaches cultural studies.

The McMaster Museum of Art is proud to be the first venue for this exhibition which will tour nationally to The Winnipeg Art Gallery, The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Peterborough.

This exhibition was generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

An exhibition catalogue including essays by Ann Cvetkovich, Carla Garnet, and Josie Mills will be available.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

EXHIBITION: Radiant Dark 2009 at MADE (February 5-8)

image: Sars - Carpet (detail) by Bev Hisey
one of 'Dirty Dishes' a series of carpets
based on petrie dish samples

RADIANT DARK 2009 - Elegant Corruptions
unit 201, 360 Dufferin st, rear
building off the courtyard.

Thursday February 5 - Saturday February 7: 11am - 7pm
Sunday February 8: 11am - 6pm

Radiant Dark is a modern, Canadian design exhibition featuring the work of 33 design studios. Julie Nicholson and Shaun Moore of MADE have conceived Radiant Dark as a series of independent, curated exhibitions. The 2009 theme of Radiant Corruptions is explored through the fresh vision of contemporary Canadian designers, makers, architects, artists and craftspeople.

A provocative exploration of the relationships between elegance and corruption is the vehicle for Radiant Dark's continuing conversation through design. This year the exhibition includes an informal discussion "Walk & Talk". The event is free to the public and takes the form of an informal guided tour as eight design studios discuss their work and practice. "Walk & Talk" features - Cali Balles and Don Maclennan, Lubo Brezina, Heidi Earnshaw, Jennifer Graham, Jeremy Hatch, Bev Hisey, Angela Iarocci, Tamara Rushlow.

* Exhibition is free to the public.

The complete list of participants can be seen at:

Walk & Talk - an informal guided tour and discussion of the exhibition - a public event.

Eight designers speak about their work.

Sunday February 8, 12pm - 1pm



CRAFTY HAPPENING: Dance Marathon (February 4-7)

Photo Credit: Nancy Paiva


February 4–7, 7:00 p.m.
Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West (map)

Tickets: $30.00 (Special pricing available for Students/Seniors)
Box Office/Info: 416-973-4000 or

Harbourfront Centre's highly praised World Stage 08:09 season continues with Dance Marathon, an original new work from the critically acclaimed and award-winning collective bluemouth inc. With elements of live music, multimedia, integrated live video, choreography and more, this stunning new work of participatory theatre is inspired by the physically gruelling endurance contests of the 1920s and 1930s. Dance Marathon is part of Fresh Ground new works, Harbourfront Centre’s national commissioning programme.

Single tickets and specially priced packages for Dance Marathon and all World Stage performances are on sale through the Harbourfront Centre box office at 416-973-4000, or through

It is well known that the dance marathons of the 1920s and 1930s were part legitimate competition and part contrived deception, as the organizers of these events would plant hired professional dancers as spurious competitors in order to control the outcome of the event. Under the pretext that Dance Marathon is a veritable endurance contest, bluemouth inc. uses similar themes to shape fully participatory theatre, wherein the audience members are also contenders in the midst of various integrated performances, and as such contribute to the outcome of the events by either advancing or being eliminated as the event proceeds. Eliminated competitors become spectators, framing Dance Marathon as both contest and performance.

"In a world where the public appetite for reality TV continues to grow,” said Lucy Simic, co-founder of the collective, “bluemouth inc. invites their audience to enter into the drama of the Dance Marathon [and asks] – just what level of experience are you willing to have?"

Well known for their site-specific work, bluemouth inc. will transform the Enwave Theatre into a fully realized performance space. The Toronto, Montreal and New York City-based collective embrace and combine all of the talents in their arsenal for Dance Marathon, changing roles throughout the incredibly ambitious creation that promises to vary with each night.

For further information about all World Stage, Fresh Ground new works and Harbourfront Centre events, please visit or call 416-973-4000.

HELP WANTED: sewing volunteers needed a.s.a.p.

from Arabesque Dance Company:

Arabesque Dance Company is looking for sewing volunteers!
We could use help a.s.a.p!

We have a production called "EGYPT" taking place March 5-8/09 at the Premiere Dance Theatre and are putting the final touches on everything.

Volunteers get:
- Written & oral references from Arabesque Dance Co.
- Free tickets to the performance
- Your name listed in credits of performance program
- Free copy of the performance DVD with your name listed in the credits
- To work with fun, groovy, creative people!

Please contact Deb Shaw:

More about Arabesque here.

*We are also looking for help with masks and props!

FREE STUFF ALERT: packaging and containers

Tracey of Anarres Natural Health wrote to let us know she has a bunch of containers/packaging to give away to anyone who can re-use it. Currently she has:

1" bubble wrap
30-500 ml amber glass jars, by donation or barter if cleaned & sterilzed
all sorts of plastic containers (think shampoo)
500-1000 ml plastic jugs and jars

However she always has some of this stuff to give away and can save it for anyone who wants to pick them up as they become available - just get in touch with her if you can use it - she'd love to pass it on to a fellow craft-ite.

If interested, contact Tracey at 416 535 9620 or

CRAFTY BUSINESS WITH LAURA-JEAN: consignment rates & merchandising

Laura-Jean has started a blog to archive all of her Crafty Biz columns for TCA. Check it out here:

crafty business with L-J

Hi TCA fans,

We have a winner for our crafty bizness contest! I got so many good questions it was hard to choose, but I thought this one from Stephanie Atkinson was a great one to address for people starting to try to sell their stuff in stores. Among the other inspiring questions were ones about keeping track of finances, and how to approach buyers, so I'll be answering those and more in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, I hope you like this column.

Q: I am concerned with the high consignment rates I have seen around Toronto. What is a fair consignment rate to pay and how can you ensure that your product is being marketed well in the venue? Where do your own merchandising opinions end and where does the store's begin? Help! - Stephanie

A. Many people are surprised to find out that stores keep 40-50% of consignment sales. This seemed outrageous when I was starting out. But now, having run 3 stores over a decade, I know that if I ran a shop strictly on consignment, covering the expenses and trying to make a living off 40%, I'd be sunk.

Take a look back at my pricing column to review the pricing breakdown. In a nutshell, 25% of retail covers the cost (materials and labour), 25% covers the work of getting it into a shop and other overhead, and 50% of retail goes to the retailer for all their work and expenses. If your pricing formulas are right, you should be able to make a 60/40 or 50/50 split work just fine, at least as a way of starting your business, getting your product out there and building some brand recognition in the public's eye.

(I've heard rumours that some stores in Toronto are offering less than 50% to designers, which I think is an arrangement just not worth pursuing.)

Store owners need to pay the rent every single month, whether the city is in a deep freeze, having huge snowstorms or heat waves. They have other expenses such as repairs, staffing, hydro and property taxes. Then there's the 24/7 worry in the back of their minds. I've had about 10 middle of the night phone calls because the alarm has gone off at my shops. Only 2 of these were false alarms. 8 times I flew down to the store at 3 am to find a broken window which cost between $400-600 to fix, and a wasted day the next day as I tried to catch up on sleep.

As well, successful store owners put in endless work staying in touch with their customers, promoting the shop, re-merchandising and working on window displays as well as totally unfun tasks like mopping up flooded basements and calling a repairman AGAIN for a broken air conditioner! My husband always teases me that I'm going to "sit around at the store all day" because he knows I almost never sit down! If I'm there, I'm folding, ironing, helping customers, making sale signs, marking down, changing mannequins and generally in constant motion on my feet.

All this is to shed a bit of insight and show that running a shop is a huge amount of work, risk and expense.

When I did consignment in the early years of my business, I did a 50/50 split with most of the stores. I felt it was worth the extra percentage to know the shop owner was motivated to sell my stuff, and helped the relationship stay successful over time. I had one creative relationship with a shop, where it was a 50/50 split most of the time, 60/40 when we agreed to mark things down, but as well, I worked in the shop for free on Saturdays in exchange for 100% of the sales of my product on that day. Some days I ended up working for free, but sometimes I sold 2 or 3 sweaters or more! The best part of this arrangement was giving me a home base to meet my customers on a regular basis and build up my own clientele, while helping to direct that clientele to her store. I was able to tell people to come in on Saturday for a custom order fitting, and just generally promote my line and her store all in one go. The relationship thrived because we both benefited so well.

Lately, when I think about what makes a business work, the word "relationships" keeps popping up. Every time you deal with another person, you start a relationship, whether it's a customer, a supplier, an employee, contractor or store owner. A business is a series of systems, that once set up, continue to function to serve the business's needs, and good relationships are the best systems out there!

Just like personal relationships, when one party's needs aren't being met, the relationship starts to break down. Similarly, your relationship with a store has to answer both your needs equally. To keep that system working, you need to put effort into finding out what your store owner needs to sell your stuff. Just listening is a huge part of finding out what you have that can help them. What you probably don't have to offer (yet) is a super sell-able product with a following and brand recognition.

We know they need money, so consider a 50/50 partnership. But they may find fresh stock sells better, or signs that you make up in your own style make their store look cool and help communicate product info about your stuff to the customer, or a sell-off of your old merchandise (at a different split 60/40 or 70/30 depending on the price) brings people in and helps pay the rent in sleepy January. A special display you build with a gorgeous mirror that helps sell your stuff and make their store beautiful may be welcome. They may want to host a trunk show or fashion show for you, or be into you taking on the work of an amazing window display ( heavily featuring your stuff, of course.) They may love the idea of you publishing a newsletter for them (again, peppered with features about your product!) to give out at their store or email to their customer base. You could also give out the newsletter at craft shows you do, bringing in a whole new clientele to shop at their shop, and buy your stuff there as well.

It's important to be creative to make the relationship work! While there are standard ways a consignment arrangement works, it really is much more than that. It's a great opportunity to start a long term relationship with a store owner that will answer both your needs in ways you didn't see at the beginning.

You may think, "Ugh! I don't want to have to do all that!" but this isn't just more work for you! It's a fabulous opportunity to work on and grow your business! All relationships take time, effort and nurturing, but after a while you start to see the opportunities present themselves. For example, by stopping by your stores often, and staying in touch, you may notice the window display hasn't been changed in a while. By chatting with the owner, you find she doesn't have the time, and feels she doesn't have the knack for putting together a good display. The next time you come by, you could present a sketch, and ask if she'd let you try to make a great eye-catching display.

Once you understand the concept of getting successful systems started for your business, you want to multiply them. If you can bring in $200/month in consignment sales in one store, you want to find 10, then 20 to make the same systems work at. Then a new system comes into play; rotating your stock. It makes sense to spend a day contacting your stores to see what new stuff they need, then a day running around town to exchange your merchandise. Doing this every month or two is a great way to maintain the relationship, which is a big piece of the puzzle of making this work.

Like many things in life, you get out what you put in. Because I run the shops as collectives, I'm always concerned about keeping the members happy. A couple of years ago, two of our kids designers left our shop to open their own. Since then, I focused a lot of energy on the kids section, creating new products of my own to keep the one remaining kids' designer in a "nice neighborhood" and make the section attractive to customers. As it turned out, over time my own sales of kids' stuff quadrupled! And when this designer decided to move on anyway, I had such a strong, focused kids' line, I was able to take over the rest of the space myself. I really had put the effort in to try to have something to offer for her, and yet, it came back in big rewards for myself.

These good relationships mean a lot more than selling your stuff well at any given shop. You develop a network of people you can ask advice of, get help from on one project or another and generally rely on for a bit of camaraderie when times seem tough.

So keep an open mind and open ears to hear where they may be an opportunity to offer something. Be prepared to dig in and work even more, and take opportunities as they arise. You'll find when you look back over time, you'll be amazed at the advantages of having a strong network of good relationships, and at all you've accomplished.

Thanks for the question, Stephanie! Enjoy the book you won, and good luck with the growth of your business!


Start Your Own Jewellery Business is available for purchase at, where Catherine Winter is running a special for the month of January regular price is $29.95 - for this month the book is available for $25 including tax and shipping.

It is also available at (in their book section) for $29.95.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SUPPLY YOUR HABIT: Book and Music Swap (January 22)


Thursday, January 22
7pm - 10pm
29 McCaul Street (Beaver Hall Gallery)

Show up with all of the books, cds and records you regret purchasing, or have lost interest in, check out all the amazing (and hilarious) stuff everyone else has brought, enjoy the delicious snacks, and leave with lots of great new stuff!

All books, zines, comics, cds, records and other reading and listening material in good condition are welcome. No more than 2 magazines per person, though.

Admission is $6, or a mere $3 if you bring something you've created along with your swapping items - it can be your band's cd, a dj mix, a zine or comic you've created, book of poetry you've written - whatever. As long as it was made by you. Don't worry if you're not a musically inclined or writerly type - just make a super terrific mix cd, slap a cute homemade cover and sing list on it, and bring it along!

At the end of the night, everything that is left will be donated to the Toronto Public Library.


or join the facebook group

ECOCRAFT: Sustainable Ceramics (?) by Krystal Speck

I came across this thought provoking and very relevant (to all makers, not just clay slingers) post on Krystal's blog and thought it was worth reposting here. If you want to weigh in on the discussion, please head over to the original post and leave your comments there.

Via sweetie pie press.

ecodoodle by krystal speck

Most people think that the job of a potter or ceramist is a relatively green profession (we're talking environmentally green, not monetarily!). It's easy to understand why we might assume so, as many ceramic buyers, teachers and students I've spoken to like to believe that by using "earthy" materials, ceramics are also inherently earth friendly. However, anyone with their own ceramic practice who has felt that pang of guilt from washing glaze down the sink or firing a not-so-nice pot into permanence knows that just isn't the case.

I've had conversations with friends in the business, questioned my practices and theirs, seeming to only end up with more questions. As I searched the internet for "greener" ceramics, I was surprised to find very little online discussion on this topic from any respected ceramic magazines or suppliers. Where the discussion seems to be growing most is on (wait for it!) blogs. Some of my favourite ceramic artists have weighed-in on the issue, honestly examining the environmental impact that their ceramic businesses incur.

On Diana Fayt's blog, One Black Bird, guest-blogger Laura Zindel describes her own frustrations with ceramic producers who describe their work as completely sustainable. She writes:

"On one site, a potter making very nice copper reduction pots states on his web site ... 'No toxic materials are used in these ceramics, they are therefore maker, user, and environmentally friendly . The work is 'Reduction' fired in a 40 cu. ft. Natural Gas kiln to a temperature of approx. 1340 degrees centigrade (cone14). The firing takes about 24 hours to reach top temperature.'"

"Just about everything in this statement makes me so mad I don't even know where to start. First we have silica, then copper, then reduction, 40ft cu kiln, and end with Natural Gas I think, are you tripping. This is the kind of stuff that is really going to confuse someone that does not know about ceramics. It confused me, and I know a thing or two."

Many potters and ceramic artists may never have considered their industry to be a contributor to the pollution of our water and soil, industrial mining or global warming. If they do ponder this fact, it isn't always so easy for independent ceramic businesses to over-haul their production processes and re-design their wares (and aesthetic choices?) to be less harmful. This could mean switching clay bodies, changing firing temperature, buying or trading for a new/different kiln, using a limited range of glazes and producing batches upon order with no excess inventory. At the most extreme, it could mean choosing not to make art in any non-biodegradable or toxic form (I'm interested to hear what these might be). These are all possible changes, but I think most people refrain from doing these things because of mental blocks, not to mention financial costs.

In her blog entry on the subject, Emily Murphy writes:

"I think my aversion to actually writing this post [on green ceramics] that has been in my head is the same thing that stops many of us from creating greener lives. I wanted this post to be epic, to have all of the answers. It was going to be very complete and very satisfying. But that is truly an impossible task. When I think about all of the environmental changes that I want to make at home or at my studio, the ultimate goal is overwhelming and paralyzing. The only way to get past the paralysis is to stop for a moment, and break it down into steps. The steps will get you closer to your end goal, but they are much easier to conquer than taking a gigantic leap."

If you would like to learn practical ways of making your ceramic studio more sustainable, I highly recommend reading more of Emily Murphy's blog post, "A path to being a greener potter," which is linked below. She lists some very practical ways art studios can reduce their ecological footprint.

Of course, if you have the space and the dough, there are solar powered electric kilns! And I've heard discussions online about artists outfitting their studios with solar panels that power their kilns (this power can also be recycled to heat your studio/home). Check out Steve Harrison's solar studio set-up and his suggestions to help reduce your eco-footprint:

Links for you:

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Luminato Box 2009 (deadline March 6)

via Akimbo

Call For Proposals: Luminato Box 2009

Deadline: March 6, 2009

Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity seeks proposals for artworks to be exhibited in the Luminato Box. Luminato 2009 is June 5-14.

Urban infrastructure is comprised of contrived spaces that people occupy while the external environment changes, degrades, and fills with traces of daily life - traffic moves, currents drift, communication signals float. Communication | Environment is an exhibition that provides artists the opportunity to mediate between interior and exterior space and lend perception to the imperceptible elements of communication. Artworks by Canadian and international artists will transform the thoroughfares of Toronto's downtown core and alter perceptions as unsuspecting viewers traverse their familiar environs.

The Luminato Box is a temporary experimental gallery extending the theme of communication that will be constructed in Sam Pollock Square, Brookfield Place. In this simple white room, a new artist or collective will be presented each day of the festival (ten artists over the ten days of Luminato). Participating artists will be selected by the Luminato curatorial team led by Robert VanderBerg, Associate Producer, Visual Arts and Public Installations, and will receive $1,000 towards the production of the artwork.

Luminato is calling all artists, designers, architects, and creative people to submit proposals for artworks and other creations in all media to be presented in the Luminato Box.

All proposals must relate to the exhibition theme of "communication."
Each successful
applicant will receive $1,000 towards the production and presentation of the

Selected artworks must be installed and removed by the artist or creator on the same day of exhibition (installation: 6:00am - 8:00am; removal: 10:00pm - 11:00pm).

One technician will be supplied to assist with installation and removal.

All proposals must conform to the restrictions of the box:

Dimensions: 26' x 26'
Power: 1 (one) 15 amp circuit

Submissions should be emailed to Robert VanderBerg, Associate Producer, Visual Arts and Public Installations, at and should include the following:
- A brief description of the concept (300 words max.; DOC file format or PDF)
- Up to 4 images or sketches of the proposed work or images of relevant previous works (1 MB max. per image; JPEG file format)
- Current CV or résumé (DOC file format or PDF)
- Production budget (if in excess of $1,000 please indicate sources of additional funding)
*In consideration for the environment no hard copy submissions will be accepted. For alternate delivery please contact Robert VanderBerg at (416) 368-3100 ext. 234.

All submissions must be received no later than 5:00pm on March 6, 2009. Submissions received after this date will not be considered. Selection of artists will be completed by the Luminato curatorial team by Friday, March 27, 2009.

For 10 extraordinary days in June, the vibrant city of Toronto's stages, streets and public spaces are illuminated with arts and creativity. Luminato is an annual multidisciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, film, literature, visual arts, design, and more. Luminato 2009 is June 5-14.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CRAFT TORONTO PICS: cups+concrete by krystal speck

cups+concrete, originally uploaded by krystal speck.

From the Craft Toronto flickr pool. You can join too!

CRAFT SHOW: Artists' Flea Market by BOARD OF DIRECTORS (January 25)

Jewellery by Johanna Reynolds

BOARD OF DIRECTORS is hosting an ARTISTS' FLEA MARKET at our 1080 Queen West Gallery on Sunday, January 25th.

We will host 10 vendors at a time in our space, selling art, collectibles, craft, second-hand goods and food items.

This is a community-based project to create a vital space for both Queen West and the artistic community. It is also an opportunity to test out a market in the space. Depending on the success of the event, we may consider hosting regular flea market events at 1080 Queen West.

Vendors vary from week to week, as a way to offer more opportunities for participation and a fresh selection of goods.

Flea Market hours are 10-6pm.

Contact Katharine Mulherin at 416.993.6510 or if you are interested in participating in a future flea market.