Thursday, August 31, 2006

a craft instructor you should know about

TCA reader Krystyna thought y'all might like to know about the classes taught by her craft instructor, Evelyn Bouma.

Evelyn runs "creativity classes" in upholstery, sewing and lampshade making, and according to Krystyna, she is truly awesome.

Sez she:

On September 19 , at John English Middle School, in Etobicoke, Evelyn will hold an Orientation Day for new students for the fall classes. It's a great opportunity for everyone who is interested in taking any classes to come and see the exciting projects some students created, as well as to learn more what to expect.

Evelyn Bouma is a regular Exhibitor and Instructor at the bi annual
Creative Sewing and Needlework Festivals held in Toronto. During this year's Fall Show (October 19-22, at the Metro Toronto Convention Center) Evelyn is one of a few exhibitors supporting SickKids Foundation. At her booth (#181) Make'n takes people will play with mosaic tapestry collage puzzle pillows, fabric roses & corsages to add elegant finish touch, or designer buttons.

To learn more about Evelyn and her creativity classes go to

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

volunteer knitters & crocheters wanted

Sasha is seeking knitters and crocheters to join her Wednesday afternoon knit and chat group. Her group makes squares for blankets that they then distribute to the homeless and to shelters in Toronto for moms, families, kids, and even animal shelters. They are having some trouble finding new members and are trying to get busy right now with the cold weather rapidly approaching.

The group meets weekly on Wednesdays from 1-3pm in the Pape/Riverdale area. They are also willing to travel to do groups and classes elsewhere. If you prefer to knit at home or donate some of your yarn stash, they are happy to pick up donations of squares and wool, etc.

If you are interested in finding out more, visit or email Shawna.

another artscape artist retail studio for rent

Artscape Artist Retail Studio for Rent
The Case Goods Warehouse,
Distillery Historic District
55 Mill Street (One block south of Front St. E., between Parliament and Cherry Streets)

There is one retail studio available to rent in the Case Goods Warehouse, located in the Distillery Historic District. Artscape's Artist Retail Studios offer a unique opportunity to enterprising visual artists and craftspeople that enjoy interacting with their customers in their workspace. This studio was designed for artists who would like to sell their work from the space they create it in, offering ground floor visibility at an affordable price in the heart of North America’s largest and best preserved Victorian industrial site and Toronto's most promising new cultural and entertainment development.

This studio is intended for either an individual or collective of artists and is ideal for the production of work and sales and can be used to conduct small workshops. Tenants have 24-hour access to their studio but are also expected to maintain regular business hours for public access, Wednesday to Sunday 11am - 6pm.

379 useable square feet
Ground level, private studio
Exterior and Interior doors
Southern exposure
Display windows within the building
24 hour access
Rent is $749.21 per month, all-inclusive

To express interest or for more information please contact Kelly Rintoul: or 416.392.1038, extension 27.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ATC contest

TCA reader Heather alerted me to a contest for ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) as part of the upcoming fall Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival. The cards can be in any medium, as long as it's the artist's original work.

The top prize is a Janome sewing machine valued at $999!

Go here for details.

Monday, August 28, 2006

scooped by the yanks: coe & waito on design*sponge

It turns out that American design blogs are fantastic sources for Toronto-based designers (see bookhou post). Head over to design*sponge for a profile of the adorable/serene ceramic work of coe & waito.


Friday, August 25, 2006

cheap yarn opp

Heads up from Leah of Coldsnap Bindery and Toronto Church of Craft:

I came accross this site: after seeing a bilboard on Dupont - wierd. But they have tons of cheap yarn. It also seems that they have a rotating inventory - stuff sells out quickly and new stuff comes up all the time. If you haven't already discovered this place, it might be of interest to knitters and crocheters gearing up for the fall...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

popfuel screen printing workshops

Via Akimbo:

popfuel WS

Popfuel, the Toronto-based membership-supported screen printing studio, is holding their next monthly Weekend Workshops on Saturday, September 9th and Sunday September 10th.

The workshops run from 10am to 6pm and cover the entire process of producing your own designs, from initial drawings to finished products such as t-shirts, posters and buttons. The $150 fee includes all materials. Each workshop is limited to only 5 attendees per day, so sign up early as space is limited.

Once you've completed the workshop, you have the option to become a full member - which allows 24 hour access to the studio - for only $145.

Alternatively, if you're an experienced screen printer looking for a professionally equipped studio space, drop us a line and we can arrange an evening workshop that covers the use of the equipment without the hands-on component.

For further details or to sign up, visit our website at:
or call (416) 820-3025

Monday, August 21, 2006

looking for a button-maker?

I've received a lot of mail from people curious about where to find button-makers locally (to avoid brutal shipping and duty costs), and I finally have an answer for y'all. Check out Babble - a company created, owned, and fully operated by Toronto-based artists and musicians.

Here's their deal:

Babble offers Button Supplies (second only Authorized Badge-A-Minit distributor in Canada); Customized buttons, stickers, and magnets; Button Press Rentals; Button Press Workshops. Avoid shipping costs by picking up your order in Toronto!

Visit our website for details
or our MySpace at
or email us at

We offer the full Badge-A-Minit Line, including (but not limited to):
­ button presses (hand presses, bench presses, semi-automatic presses)
­ 1 ¼”, 2 ¼”, 3” pin-back sets
­ mirror-back sets
­ keychain (and mirror-back keychain) sets
­ bull-dog clips
­ lanyard sets

When you order from Babble, you will get the chance to have your website listed on our links page, have your items featured in our website’s gallery, as well as the opportunity to be a Customer Feature in our monthly e-newsletter!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

tea service at nathalie-roze & co. this sunday

Have you guys been to nathalie-roze & co. yet? If not, you must Go East and check out local designer/crafty fashion journalist/Crafternoon Tea organizer Nathalie-Roze Fischer’s exciting new venture – an indie boutique chock-full of local goodness (as well as handmade items from abroad). A supreme multi-tasker, N-R will also be hosting a series of creative workshops in the near future, as well as a periodic tea service.

In fact, the first tea service will be going down this Sunday, where you can sample gourmet scones, Devon cream, mini-sandwiches, cakes & cookies and yummy organic teas. It will largely take place in the backyard garden, though there will be a few tables inside if you prefer.

Note: everyone who comes for tea will be entered into a raffle for a gift basket of crafty/fashion & beauty goodies worth $200!! ALL tips will be donated to
NOAH (Nurturing Orphans of Aids for Humanity).

Tea Service
Sunday August 20, 12 - 4pm
nathalie-roze & co.
1015 Queen Street East in Leslieville
tel: 416.792.1699

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

it's time to apply for the one of a kind spring 2007 show

one of a kind
Via Akimbo:

Apply now to sell your work to over 58 000 qualified buyers in a gallery-style setting at the One of a Kind Spring 2007 show from March 28th to April 1st, 2007 at the Direct Energy Centre (formerly The National Trade Centre), Exhibition Place, in Toronto. The One of a Kind Visual Art Gallery presented by The Globe and Mail ensures you attract buyers with an appreciation of art and the resources to invest in it.

Benefits for Participating Artists:

*A $350 000 ad campaign.
*Targeted advertising appears in The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Now, Hamilton Spectator, Canadian Jewish News, Metro, London Free Press, Chum FM, Mix 99.9.
*Full time publicist for both print and TV coverage
*Direct e-mail blast program to over 90 000 One of a Kind customers
*12 000 direct e-mail blast campaign to designers, decorators and people in the industry.
*Face to face selling opportunity to over 58 000 qualified customers.

For more information and an application please contact Gordon Ivorra by e-mail at or by phone at 416-960-4514 or visit

call for essays on craft for anthology

This very cool call for submissions came through instant coffee:

Extra/ordinary: Craft culture and contemporary art
An anthology of critical writing edited by Maria Elena Buszek

Art historian Maria Elena Buszek is seeking proposals for contributions to the anthology Extra/ordinary: Craft culture and contemporary art. Proposed essays should draw upon and further develop the sense of meaning with which craft media have been imbued since the previous century, and articulate the growing role and recognition of traditionally denigrated craft media in the work of contemporary artists.

Since the Industrial Revolution began blurring the lines between industry and handicraft, as well as the upper- and lower-classes, artists have taken great pleasure in using such developments to similarly dissolve the centuries-old barriers that once separated the avant-garde and mass culture, masterpiece and kitsch, art and craft. In the process, artists have not only recognized the meaningful role of the ordinary in their art practices, but been drawn to media traditionally associated with handicrafts to suggest the power of these "ordinary" media-such as weaving, knitting,embroidery, ceramics, glass blowing, jewelry and woodworking-to create orreflect the kinds of profound meaning traditionally associated with the"fine" and liberal arts.

While the success of renowned artists from Jun Kaneko to Grayson Perry, Miriam Schapiro to Ghada Amer has demonstrated the degree to which galleries, museums, and patrons have been willing to embrace craft media as tools for creative expression in our expansive contemporary art world, art critics and scholars have done little to study or articulate the relevance of this fact. The anthology Extra/ordinary:Craft culture and contemporary art is an effort to fill this void. Essays addressing the following topics are of particular interest:
* Craft and conceptualism in contemporary art.
* Connections between handicraft and political activism.
* "Do-It-Yourself" (DIY) movements in popular culture and contemporary subcultures .
* The various legacies of Modernist philosophies on craft (from William Morris to the Eamses) upon postmodern culture.
* Scientific uses of and studies on craft media.
* Cultural or generational shifts/rifts in what constitutes "craft".
*Hybridization within traditional arts, crafts, and design contexts

Proposals should not exceed 600 words, and incorporate a 100-word author's biography.
Proposals may be sent as e-mail attachments in Word format to or to Maria Elena Buszek, School of Liberal Arts, Kansas City Art Institute, 4415 Warwick Blvd.,Kansas City, MO 64111. Questions concerning the project may be sent to Dr. Buszek c/o

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

fashion event: a fashion empire

Sunday, August 13, 2006

pre-fall sale: arounna and davis

I recently profiled Arounna's work in the bookhou designs post below. She and her very talented bro, davis (of lines by: davis.) are having a pre-fall sale in bookhou's studio. There should be some hot stuff indeed!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

anyone got a pocket mirror maker?

A TCA reader is seeking the services of someone who has a pocket mirror making machine (or 2.25" button maker). Here’s her plea:

“I'm looking to making some of those 2.25" pocket mirrors that you can custom design and print the backs of, you know the ones you can make with a 2.25" button maker machine? But before I sink $300 into buying the button/mirror making machine I was hoping to make a few to see how they look. Do you know if anyone has one of those machines and if so, if they'd be interested in making custom design ones for other people (like myself)?”

If you’ve got one of these (or know someone who does) and are interested in doing some work for her, then
email me and I’ll put you all in touch.

pre fall sale: rozanneh vintage clothing and textiles



WHEN: Sunday Aug 13 11-6pm
WHERE: 183 Bathurst Street (just north of Queen, on the East side) Downstairs.

Call 416.703.6818 with inquires.

woo - new scavenger.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

CRAFTY CRUSH: bookhou design

bookhou top

bookhou design is a partnership between Toronto-based textile and sculpture artist Arounna Khounnoraj and her husband John Booth, a painter, architect, and furniture maker. After seeing their lovely accessories and stylish home wear celebrated on no less than three American design blogs, I felt it was high time that Toronto Craft Alert get in on the bookhou lovefest. I visited the two and their new baby boy, Lliam in their Distillery District studio to chat about their work and ogle their stuff up close.

Upon entering their cozy studio in the Case Goods Warehouse, it becomes obvious that an impressive diversity of interests is being explored and actualized in John and Arounna’s workspace. Large oil paintings lean against the wall across from a makeshift steam-bending device for John's furniture. Knit pillows nestle linen ones below a rice paper sculpture. Above the screen-printing table, delicate watercolour diagrams are tacked to the wall.

bookhou 029

Over time, Arounna has come to believe that one's creative expression shouldn't be restricted a single medium. "I remember when I first started - you're always afraid that 'If you're going to be an artist, you've got to be an Artist', you shouldn't be making all of these other things. But if you're a creative person, you can just do whatever you want, it can go down all these different avenues, in all of these different ways.”

She points to American artist Kiki Smith as an inspiring figure: "What I like about [her] work is that she explores ideas and she's not afraid – she's not stuck in one material – she works with glass, she works with clay, she works with paper, and she does printmaking – she does everything. "

While some of Arounna's sculptural pieces entail esoteric processes such as salt crystallization, many involve craft techniques such as spinning, crocheting, and sewing. She enjoys this kind of handwork immensely. As she puts it: "I love to sew. A lot of my sculptures are all hand sewn and there's something about doing that little busy work that I find so meditative."

In describing her practice Arounna distinguishes between her artwork and her textile work, though she identifies an affinity between these two streams in that all of her work starts out as art first, and then moves in different directions, taking distinct forms. For example, her textile designs begin as, "kind of scribbles and ideas that just become the actual [printed] image." These "tiny tiny little scribbles" are blown up to a much larger size to become "looser and less refined". She sees her sculpture in the same way, where she has "small little ideas that become bigger".


The word "organic" is frequently used by others in describing Arounna's art and textile pieces. She agrees with this assessment: "I do see my work as organic, and I think even the thoughts and ideas behind it are organic. I think organic means something that isn't so rigid and isn't so mass-produced. I think organic is something a little bit looser in form – the shapes that I use in my sculptures are always sort of referencing things in nature – like sea pods or things that an animal may have created... Also a lot of the materials I use for sculptures... I don't paint them, I don't change them, I kind of just use them and appreciate them for what they are." John agrees that her work is organic on the level of both process and aesthetics, "your work... looks natural, and I think also your work [involves] a natural process, especially in sculpture because it's an organic way of becoming – one step might lead to another, it's not really imposed, you'll actually let it form itself organically."

Arounna has always been reluctant to impose or interfere with with the natural state of materials. Her original background is in ceramics and in school she found it difficult to add glaze to her pieces after they were fired. She explains, "I used to just like making the form and leaving it. And then I would always be told in school, 'It's not finished, you have to glaze it.' So I think when I use materials – like paper or felt or anything, I feel happy with that, because I can use it, I can make the form and then it's done…I like that simplicity".


She points out that a lot of her work is "white-ish" or "off-white" and admits to having a fear of colour, which she feels can act as a distraction from the true form of an object. "That's why I like doing textile work because then the colour of fabric is already there, the decision has already been made, and I can kinda let loose in that area. But even then, a lot of the colours that I use are earth tones, and when I do use red or another bright colour it kind of scares me. Greens and browns make me feel safe."


bookhou” is an amalgamation of John and Arounna's last names (Boo[th] + Khou[nnoraj]), which speaks to the collaborative nature of their artistic and interpersonal partnership.

bookhou 014

When asked what inspired them to join forces in their art and craft making, John explains, "Well, I guess we get along! Also, we were both in fine art but we were making fine craft things paralleled to art stuff. We were just trying to make sense [of how]…to collaborate together, even if we're not working together. So we collaborate on shows more than we do on the objects, but they tend to go well together, maybe there's ideas that we toss about."

Arounna and John would really like to work towards producing more joint pieces, but are currently overwhelmed with their own respective projects and are excited by future plans for their individual work. In the meantime, it is interesting to observe the mutual influence at play in their work, such as John’s spiral felt trivets, which fit right in with Arounna’s textile work, but are based on one of his steam-bent wood pieces. A similar harmony between their work can be seen in their upcoming show, “Layer upon layer”, where the structural lines of John’s paintings are echoed in Arounna’s wall art. Swing by the opening at *new* gallery this Thursday, August 10th to see for yourselves.

bookhou trivet

Layer upon layer
August 9 - 20 2006
*new* gallery906 Queen Street West
Opening reception: Thursday August 10, 6-8 pm

bookhou recommends:

Textile & other artists
Lotta Jansdotter

Kiki Smith
Rachel Whiteread
Anni Albers

Fabric sources
For linen in Toronto:
Designer Fabrics (upstairs), and several stores on Queen near Spadina.
Marimekko at The
Finnish Place
In San Francisco: Britex
In New York City:
Mood Designer Fabric , Marimekko Store

Note: Photos my own and from the bookhou website (see website for more photos of their work). Embroidered bird piece (3rd from bottom) from a collaboration between Arounna and Julie Gibb.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

fresh ask crafty questions

Help a fellow crafter replies to these questions in the comments or email me with your tips.

x i am obsessed with trying these freezer paper stencils that are everywhere. where can i find freezer paper? - andrea

x do you know where I can find sheets of beeswax to make candles in toronto? and wicks as well. – Amanda

x I am looking for a mannequin-like head to block/display the hats that I knit. I've seen the glass ones (I'm assuming they are glass because it's clear...could be plastic) on other people's blogs. No clue where to find one in Toronto though…I was hoping your readers would have other suggestions for blocking hats if the heads are difficult to come by. - Natalie

ask crafty response: velcro & reflective tape, ribbons, tins, clear bags, jewellery/silversmith classes

x Please tell me where I can find coloured Velcro – bright or soft (vs. dark) colours would be best. And reflective/safety fabric as well. –Jen

-You should be able to find coloured velcro at Designer Fabrics in Parkdale. I've seen it on the first floor, near the ribbon section. They are located at 1360 Queen st W between Dufferin and Lansdowne.
-you can buy reflective tape and velcro at fabricland downstairs at the hudson bay centre on bloor.

x I am looking for aubergine ribbons that I would like to use for mywedding bonbonnieres ... any idea where I can get some in Toronto?other than the overpriced Mokuba?

-The best ribbon I get are at the rapidly dwindling old-school fabric stores on Queen West. You know you're in one if it's run by a grumpy old man. :-) They have tons of vintage dead stock from the 60's-70's.***

x I was wondering if you knew anywhere in toronto that I can buy small tins, [ much like the altoids tins ] I've only ever seen them online.- Amanda

-I think I have seen those tins at Solutions at Yonge and Eglinton. They also have a location at Dufferin Mall. However, if you need lots of tins, online might be a cheaper bet. Good luck!
-you might find it at a place that is similar to "solutions" in the beaches on queen st. east. i'm afraid i can't think of the name right now but it's right beside the store "ends" on the north side of the street. [The store is called "Binz"]
-Although these aren't the same shape as Altoid tins, you could try the watchmaker's cases at Lee Valley Tools:,43326

x I am on the look out for clear plastic bags that reseal and fold over for my greeting cards. The bags need to measure approx. 6 X 4 3/8 inches. If any one could help me on that account I would be sooo greatful! –

-Try Clear Bags for their packaging with adhesive seal (they have a free print catalog, too): [Kim found what she was looking for at this company]
-There's a packaging store called creative bag, and they have the tins, in various shapes and sizes. At least, they did when I was last there.
-The Retail Bag Store on Adelaide near Spadina sells lots of cello type packaging and I think they have the kind with the adhesive on one end for greeting cards.

x Does anyone know of any places that offer beginner jewellery/silversmith classes? –Stephanie

-i know i've seen a place on college across the street from from red peagasus. (someone here might know the name of the studio). last time i was down that way they had some nice pieces in the display window that had been created by their students, i think. i think "george brown college" has intro courses too. maybe take a look online to see if they offer them in the summer or you may have to wait until sept. if all else fails, ask at "made you look" on queen west in parkdale. without a doubt someone there will be able to help put you in touch with a someone.
-i happen to offer Beginning Jewellery/silversmithing classes out of my studio (nanopod) located at 322 harbord street. you can check out what students have been creating here: and view my list of upcoming classes offered here:
should you have any further questions with regards to my classes please feel free to give me a ring (647 219 0585) or drop me an email: or drop by the studio!
-For beginner jewellery classes you could try The Devil's Workshop on Queen West. I just took a class there and it was really fun!
-I've also heard that the classes at the Harbourfront Centre are great for beginner silversmith/jewelry.

***TCA note: Rachel’s question didn’t get much play – I pasted in a response from a
previous ask crafty – any more ribbon tips would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

crafty garage sale this saturday

Alley Garage Sale