Thursday, April 27, 2006

creative sewing and needlework festival

This thing looks huuuuuge! It promises to be filled with supplies for crafts that range from digitizing embroidery to heirloom sewing, experts to answer your most esoteric questions, as well as demos, lectures, fashion shows and mini-workshops galore.

I generally shy away from these mammoth trade events when looking for supplies as they tend to be geared towards a mainstream crafty audience, but from Thimble's account of the Fall show, it looks like there are goodies for all tastes to be found. Plus skills are skills, right?

The Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival
Friday April 28 - Sunday April 30th
International Centre, Halls 1 & 2
6900 Airport Rd. Mississauga

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

get outta town

I've been thinking about escaping the Big Smoke (as much as I love it so) this upcoming weekend to explore a small city or town outside of Toronto. I was born & raised here but in typical urban dweller fashion know very little about the larger area that surrounds me. Apparently Ontario is Mine to Discover, so I figure I should get on it.

The thing is, I've been at a bit of a loss as to where to go, so I was happy to spy the poster above (created and hand printed by Thomas Dannenberg) at
The Paper Place, literally pointing me to Grimsby for the 28th Annual Wayzgoose Book-arts Festival (see below for Festival deets). I may also trek over to neighbouring Jordan, which apparently has a bunch of antique shops, galleries, cafes and the like.

I would love to hear some suggestions for future trips and for others interested in exploring the hinterland - especially places that have art/craft stuff happening like galleries, workshop/studios, or thrifting/antiquing options.

Festival info:
28th Annual Wayzgoose Book-arts Festival
Grimsby Public Art Gallery
Saturday April 29th
10:00 to 5:00
Fair features private press binders, papermakers, book-binders from across southern Ontario, and so much more!
Be sure to get your copy of the Annual Wayzgoose anthology, a compilation of work by many creative and talented artists and artisans. Past years' anthologies are still available.

Friday, April 21, 2006

you are invited to a TORONTO CRAFT ALERT fabric and clothing swap

Hasn't it been awesome out? If you’re like me you are feeling that spring urge to clean out unwieldy drawers and closets to shed dusty winter layers in favour of spring lovelies. As a fabric hoarder I am feeling the same way about my stash: out with the old and unused and in with the new and inspiring.

So I propose a fabric and clothing swap, open to all TCA readers. It will happen on Sunday May 7 starting at 2pm - please arrive on time-ish for smooth swapping. This is a completely free event (though snacks for sharing are most welcome).

Just in case any of you are new to this concept, you will need to bring a pile of your unwanted (but possibly awesome or useful to someone else) clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. and if you’ve got, fabrics and sewing notions that you can bear to part with. Then you get to root around in other people’s loot for things to take home. Left over items will be donated to a charitable organization (suggestions welcome).

In order to keep things from getting out of hand, please email me to confirm your attendance and get the contact info. If you would like to bring a friend, pretty please include that in your email.

Hope to see you there!


get on the art bus (and catch a terrible beauty for free)

If you haven't caught the gorgeous bugs-on-the-walls show at the Textile Museum of Canada, here's a pretty awesome opportunity to see it for free, and to make it out to some galleries outside of the downtown core that you might not get to ordinarily (via Akimbo):

Sunday, 30 April 2006, 12:15 - 5:30 pm

Join us for free guided tours of Stan Douglas: Inconsolable Memories at The Art Gallery of York University; Blue Republic: Nostalgia for the Present at the Koffler Gallery; Return, Afghanistan at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto at Scarborough; and A Terrible Beauty: An Installation by Jennifer Angus at the Textile Museum of Canada.

Tour begins at 12:15pm at the Textile Museum, 55 Centre Avenue. Seats are limited. To reserve please call Allyson Adley at the AGYU, 416.736.5169 by Friday, 28 April.

(Act fast though - there's already a waiting list!).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

ask crafty: four more

Some new ask crafty questions for you to chew on. Spout your crafty wisdom in the comments to this post, or email me with your response.

x"Where can one find wool felt in the city?" - Tara
x"Where in Toronto can I find Japanese Craft Books? I've seen some(ribbon-related) Japanese craft books at Mokuba ribbon shop on Queen West at Portland. Is there anything else? I'm looking for Japanese crochet books"
x"I am trying to find out more information on how to solder; I make jewelry and REALLY wanted to add that to some of my styles but NO idea what it entails. Is there a simple variation of this technique?" - Viki
x"I just ruined a beautiful vintage sweater with indelible stains... stupid stupid, but I didn't really love the colour to begin with, so I'm thinking about dyeing it... any suggestions? It's all wool." - Day

FYI, a topical ask crafty archive has indeed been added to the sidebar for future ref (look to the right and scroll down a bit).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ask crafty: consignment, machine-embroidered labels, buttonmakers, and cheap purse handles

Thanks a load to all who replied with tips for the last batch of ask crafty questions. Here's a handy dandy consolidation of your responses plus a bit of additional research (an archive of this info will be compiled shortly):

x“I'd love to have a list of stores in Toronto that take handmade things on consignment” - Laural aka Thimble
Here are some stores that accept items on consignment or buy wholesale:

Freedom Clothing (contact: Jenn)
Toronto Woman's Bookstore
skirt (contact: Jamie)
left feet
red pegasus
frock (contact: Cathryn)
Distill (contact: Allison)
Fleurtje (contact: Nicole)
Propaganda (contact: Regina)
Made You Look (contact: Sarah)
Pink poppie (contact: Scott)
Art Metropole
itsmade (opening in May, contact: Karen)
Mothership - 831 Queen West, 416.535.8618
Tellulah Twig - 1662 Queen West, 416.532.0110
STORM - 292 Queen West, 416.340.8579

Iki - 19 Kensington, 416.598.0790 (contact: Sheri)
Silver Indie Shop - 703 Queen West (opening soon)

The Rage - 13 Kensignton Ave (contact: Sarah)

x“Where do I find lovely machine embroidered cloth labels or tags the kind with "made with love from grandma" but personalized to use with my products?” – Kim

-For custom labels: Laven Industries in Markham. They do woven labels as well. Decent turnaround time and pricing.
Here’s a list of Canadian label manufacturers to check out from toronto fashion incubator.
-If you can’t find one in town,
here are some “grandma” cuties available online.

x“Does anyone know a place in Toronto that sells button (badge) makers? I have seen some on the internet, but I wanted to avoid the shipping costs etc. and just buy one in person." – Robyn

-If you only need a few, they sell kid-friendly button makers at your local Toys R Us. Otherwise, try
Craig’s List or Stille Post and ask the same question of some local indie bands. Everybody's got a 1" button these days.
-It may not be cheaper to buy one in Canada. Many dealers in Canada are selling them for more than you would pay online from the states, anyway. Ordering from the states is a crap shoot - you may be charged duty or you may not.

-Macaron Canada- out of Montreal- superior machines but $$$, can also get parts from them- deliver overnight.
- have good customer service and ship using USPS, which is important. UPS and FedEx charge huge brokerage fees. With this company you will only have to pay shipping, then GST and PST to customs, no duty.

x“Where in Toronto can you find CHEAP purse handles but also in a variety of styles, colours, and materials ie. wood, plastic, metal etc.? I have been searching everywhere for this and up and till now I can only find good suppliers online.” – Jill

-You can find amazing purse handles and other fabulous findings at John Bead. To shop there you have to have a business number though, and there is also a minimum purchase amount (about$200). Once you get in there its not hard to spend $200. If you are just looking for yourself and you do not have a business number, you can find handles at the usual fabric stores and craft stores.
-Another really good resource for purse handles are places that specialize in leather. You could try Leather & Sewing Supply Depot at 7 Vanauley Street or Capital Findings at 160 Tycos Drive.
-Cheap wood and bamboo ones at Plaiter Place on Spadina & Baldwin.
-Lewiscraft @ Yonge & Bloor definitely had some opaque coloured plastic ones at 30% two weeks ago.
-Fabricland at Yonge and North York Centre and all their purse handles were at least 40% off. Quite a good selection and some pretty beaded ones. If you're a member, you save 25% every time & sometimes extra during sales.
-Handles can be found at several fashion-oriented suppliers along Queen St. West between Spadina and Augusta Ave. (near Arton Beads, diagonally across from Kentucky Fried Chicken)

Monday, April 17, 2006

weston craft society

If you live in the Weston area, are hot on needlecraft, and are looking for people to craft with and learn from, the Weston Craft Society invites you to come on by. Here are the deets, courtesy of the Society's president, Sandra Fioroni:

who: weston craft society
when: monthly meetings (3rd sat of the month, 10am-12pm)
where: Weston Lions Arena, meeting room
why: needlecrafters get together to trade supplies & patterns, help one another with projects, spread the news about shows & sales
what else: along with meetings we take part in events like the Weston Farmers Market and Westminster United Church's xmas sale
what: free membership

For more info, contact Sandra at: (416) 249-7682

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Evening Canopy and the Sunset Hour

This sounds incredible, and Karen Azoulay makes lovely and magical art, so I have no doubt it will be incredible. Catch the opening tonight...

The Evening Canopy and the Sunset Hour by Karen Azoulay transforms
Mercer Union into a wondrous grotto, complete with shells and
cascades of water.

"...the true magic of Azoulay’s work is the alchemy of art, by which
ordinary matter can be transformed. Using homely materials and craft
techniques, the artist elevates her stuffs into something wondrous.
Papier-mache becomes a clamshell or a conch, painted paperboard
cascades of water, variegated yarn in blues and greens a waterfall.
Most marvelously of all, she transmutes a fabric-covered enclosure
with loops of dyed string, artfully hung from wooden slats like moss
or mineral deposits on a cavern ceiling, into a crepuscular and
immersive environment, surrounding us on all sides as if the evening
canopy lacked horizon or end. The hanks of string, arrayed by hue,
evoke the dome of the sky, but they remain always string, stubbornly
literal in spite of everything. Patent artifice is everywhere apparent
—and yet—and yet. Azoulay’s grotto stands at once quotidian and
numinous, and therein rests its mystery." - Joseph R. Wolin

April 13, 2006 - May 20, 2006
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 13, 2006, 7PM
Artist Performance: Karen Azoulay, 7:30PM

Via instant coffee

oooooops. Forgot to mention that this happened/is happening at Mercer Union
(37 Lisgar Street).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

popfuel screen printing studio call for members

"Popfuel is a Toronto-based, membership-supported studio specializing in paper and garment screen printing. We also provide equipment and services geared towards both students and professional artists. If you've been thinking of making your own merchandise for your band, or perhaps making screenprinted posters for your upcoming show, this is your opportunity!

We are searching for a new location for the studio, and in addition, we are trying to determine interest in membership by accepting a $75 deposit towards the yearly membership.

As an incentive, all early-bird members who provide a deposit will receive a full membership for only $275, a savings of $20 over the regular membership price!If you're new to screenprinting, we will be offering training as part of the membership fee.

For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the website at: "

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

dundas & ossington

If you haven't been to the Dundas and Ossington area lately, I highly recommend a weekend frolic - especially along Ossington between Queen and Dundas. In the spirit of west-end gentrification, fun and intriguing shops, galleries, and studios are cropping up weekly (many that I imagine would appeal to your crafty sensibilities).

Two places (among many) worth a gander are vintage bookseller
The Monkey's Paw and textile artist Virginia Johnson's studio.

Hours can be spent combing the carefully crafted collection of vintage books and pamphlets on offer at The Monkey's Paw. Luckily there are a couple of leather-bound chairs to facilitate a proper check-out of the Paw's awesome and eclectic selection.

Some fun/inspiring stuff I spied on my last visit - largely in the art/craft/design section at the front of the store:

x Fat Eaton's fashion catalogues from the mid-seventies
x Design books galore: art deco, art nouveau, pre-revolutionary Russian design, etc.
x How-to books on handloom weaving and vegetable dyeing
x "Textile Fibres and their use"
x Vintage cookbooks
x Silly-slash-genius vintage pamphlets for collage* (if you can bear to hack them up) including one titled "How to Improve your Trampolining" from the 1950s. The shop's owner claims to have a huge collection of vintage cooking pamphlets, which he plans to bring in to the store over the next few weeks.

The Monkey's Paw is at 1229 Dundas West (between Ossington and Dovercourt)

*As an aside, I happened upon
this amazing site when googling "vintage ephemera". Scroll down to the bottom for links to vintage image sources, art projects, and tutorials on working with vintage ephemera.

To counterbalance all of this wordy talk of books, I shall show you some images of illustrator and textile designer Virginia Johnson's work (from her website). Her block-printed prints are available at her studio (164 Ossington Ave) in the form of ready-made garments, pillows, bags, ovenmitts, napkins, and most excitingly yardage. Go here to read all about it.

p.s. Thanks to Tania for reminding me to write about VJ's studio.

p.p.s. I am feeling that stuff featured on the Alert is quite West-end heavy, and I encourage readers living in other areas to represent by telling me about events, shops, etc. in your hood.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

knit-o-matic april yarn sale

Knit-o-matic ( indie yarnshop plus at 1378 Bathurst) is having an April clearance sale. Here's what they have to say about it:

*Great yarns need good homes *Start your holiday knitting on sale *20 to 50% off

merino wool
multi-coloured yarns (scarf yarns)
virgin wool
sock yarns
fancy yarns

Thursday, April 06, 2006

ask crafty times four

Last week I introduced a new feature called ask crafty, where you can send in questions related to Toronto, craft, and DIY, and readers with advice to offer can do so. Thanks to those who responded to Mishka’s question about paper and ribbon shops in the dot!

I am glad to see that people dig the idea and have burning craft questions that need answering. Here are four for your consideration – pretty please post a comment (or send an email if you prefer) if you have any words of wisdom. ask crafty needs answers to work!!!

Without further ado:

x“I'd love to have a list of stores in Toronto that take handmade things on consignment” - Laural aka Thimble

x“Where do I find lovely machine embroidered cloth labels or tags the kind with "made with love from grandma" but personalized to use with my products?” – Kim

x“Does anyone know a place in Toronto that sells button (badge) makers? I have seen some on the internet, but I wanted to avoid the shipping costs etc. and just buy one in person. – Robyn

x“Where in Toronto can you find CHEAP purse handlesbut also in a variety of styles, colours, and materials ie. wood, plastic,metal etc.? I have been searching everywhere for this and up and till now I can only find good suppliers online.” - Jill

textile artists take note: gladstone goes fuzzy

I came across a very exciting call for entries to "An Exhibition of Tactile Textiles at the Gladstone Hotel" via Akimbo. "Innovative and cutting-edge" Canadian textile artists whose work focuses on the tactile dimension of the craft will have the opportunity to show their work at the hotel (from October 11 to November 26, 2006) in a show called HAND-FACE-BODY.

"The jury will consider both professionally-trained as well as self-taught artists who dedicate their practice to a wide spectrum of textile media including commercial design, fine art, experimental and inter-disciplinary art, fine craft, installation and environmental works. " If that sounds like you (sure it does!), you should apply. An expression of interest is due May 15th. More deets here.

And !<<<Holy crap alert>>>!: This call for entries also indicated that Toronto will be hosting the Textile Society of America's Tenth Biennial Symposium from October 11th to 14th, 2006, which will involve a Toronto-wide celebration of textile art and design including textile exhibitions and events. Can't wait to find out more...

generated habitats

Heard about this show taking place in an apartment on Queen west a little while ago and thought you kids might find it of interest (it opens today with a reception this Friday night). Crafty dimensions include toys by Rhya Tamasauskas of Monster Factory, an installation involving a dress by Hitoko Okada, and printmaking by Reiko Shimizu. I am especially compelled to check it out by the kinda psychedelic felt blob piece by Rie Aikawa pictured here.

Here are some words from A Collection of Foreign Objects, the art collective putting on the show:

"Generated Habitats is comprised of fresh, vibrant works that compel viewers to question how they are affected by, and affect their own surroundings. Intentionally choosing the unique exhibition space of a vacant dwelling, Generated Habitats turns away from the blank, sterile cube of the traditional gallery, and towards an inspiring space in which traces of past inhabitants remain... Working within rooms designed for habitation rather than exhibition, the viewer is invited, lured, and guided through each artist's generated habitat.

United by a shared experience of Japanese culture and its influence, A Collection of Foreign Objects , along with selected Japanese and Canadian artists, will be producing works in the diverse media of sculpture, painting, printmaking, fashion and photography."

Opening reception is this Friday April 7 from 7-10 pm

Show runs April 6 until April 29. Hours will be Thurs to Sat, 12-6 pm
2-1022 Queen St. West (just west of Ossington Ave. )

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

rozaneh spring sale

Rozaneh Vintage Clothing is holding a second studio sale:

This Sunday April 9, 2006
183 Bathurst Street (east side, just north of queen) downstairs

11am - 6pm.
For more information, call Marylin @ 416.703.6818

New to you since the last sale:
-over 100 spring/summer dresses
-lots of "whites" (1900-1918)
More jewellery, gloves and added designer pieces
Textiles*, swing jackets and lightweight gear for spring.

*dammit, why am I doing this again?

Monday, April 03, 2006

there goes the neighbourhood

The opening of a Lee Valley around the corner from us has been *the* hot topic around my home over the past few weeks - and today is the big day. My dude is a woodworker and their catalogue his wood porn, with all kinds of fancy planes, scrapers, carving tools, finishing supplies, and some pretty cool victorian reproduction hardware. He's particularly excited about the seminars and workshops they'll be offering on various woodworking and carving topics. (The downtown store doesn't have any listed yet, but check out this one for a sample of what's to come).

For my crafty purposes I love love love the teensy rare earth magnets, watchmaker cases for storing things like sequins, rhinestones, and buttons, and other fun supply storage solutions. Though I have a brown thumb (black? whatever the colour of dead plants), you domestic and guerilla gardeners out there might want to check out their extensive stock of gardening supplies.

So go for a visit at 590 King Street West near Portland (just east of Bathurst).