Saturday, May 31, 2008

FROM THE DESK OF TCA: Toronto Craft Alert Event Calendar

Looking to fill your calendar with crafty happenings now that the weather is nice? Let the Toronto Craft Alert Event Calendar keep you updated on the latest hip & happening shows, fairs, classes and exhibits.

Hey, designers! 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!

Friday, May 30, 2008


Interview by Pamela Grimaud, TCA's new Montreal correspondent.

This month's Q&A is with Luce Beaulieu, founder of two-year old POSCH, a Montreal-based design company that creates bags and gift wrapping fabrics from upcycled textiles. A portion of the profits from each POSCH purchase goes towards supporting the Piping Plover population of Quebec (one of which can be seen both piping and ploving on each bag) as well as Équiterre, a local NGO that aids citizens in becoming more earth-friendly. Visit the POSCH site to purchase your own nifty bag or giftwrap, learn which stores carry POSCH or check in on Luce's blog. Links below!

What constitutes "upcycled" fabric? Where and how do you find the material you use in your bags? Does it require special processing; if so, how do you do it?

Upcycling means to take something and to "lift" it out of the downward spiral which usually ends in the global dumpsters, repurposing it in order to further its useful life. In my case, upcycled fabric is basically vintage bed linen, which I find in places such as CERTEX, which is a buyer/reseller of used garments and accessories. But we are talking huge quantities here, think 2 or 3 football stadiums worth of used clothing. So I go through piles of stuff to be able to find the unsoiled, nicely patterned, not too frayed treasures which will eventually end up as bags.

You are committed to tackling one step at a time the huge problem created by the use of plastic bags. How did you go from thinking about eco-design as a solution to actually doing something to make it happen? How did you overcome the disappointment that comes from the trial and error process?

For me it was really about the challenge of taking unwanted fabric and making it into something useful. I created my eco-design brief from there, trying to look at the implications on the environment at every step of the life cycle of the product, from cradle to cradle (thanks here to McDonough and Braungart ) The trial and error part of it is actually the most exciting for a designer, as this is the phase when everything starts to get real, and you get to solve problems for a product that will imminently be marketed. To me, the selling and marketing phases are way worse.

Your bags were launched two years ago at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in
New York and made a splash at Paris' Ethical Fashion Show: how did you learn of these events, by research or word of mouth? Can describe the process and experience of showing your designs and meeting prospective vendors? What are vendors looking for in an eco-friendly product?

I found out about those two events through the Web grapevine, mostly because I'd been researching such events for a while, and studied how they cross-referenced with other blogs and websites. Through this process, I decided that they were good bets, and luckily, I was right. Showing designs is usually pretty easy, as I simply take them with me and demonstrate how they work to the prospective client/shop. Having done quite a few trade shows, you get to feel what people want to know about the product and you start building your pitch accordingly. Of course you accommodate the speech to the person in front of you...a young mother will want to hear about washability first and a fashionista will want to know that each bag is a unique piece, etc etc.

Since introducing your bags, you've created the hot-commodity "I Love
Kyoto" t-shirt, and last holiday season introduced the Biota line of wrapping fabrics. Have the fabrics done well? Are they also produced by upcycling – the t-shirts as well?

Yes, everything single POSCH product has 2 things in common: they are made from upcylced fabric and they are made/printed here in Montreal, by hand. So the Biota line is made from vintage silk scarves, and the tees are all made from repurposed t-shirts. unfortunately, due to production difficulties and the fact that I've started an eco-design non-profit called Perennia, I've decided to not pursue the t-shirt project.

How much does the creative process need to be tempered by business practicalities – at what point do you know a creative idea is worth taking a chance on – or not?

Fairly early on, and it really depends on your angle for your company. Some designers want to go one-offs and strictly unique, but for me this wasn't a viable business option, as the market here is very small for eco-luxury one offs. Still, I wanted to offer consumers a certain degree of uniqueness and so I tailored the process to introduce some randomness (pattern combinations, colors, etc). Also, being a graphic designer, I don't have all the usual graphic design and marketing out of pocket expenses, so its a lot easier (and cheaper) for me to, say, introduce a new printed graphic on an existing bag design than it is for a fashion designer to introduce a new cut. Its really linked to your core competencies. In that way, its essential to be multifunctional.

Have there been any surprises, pleasant or otherwise, while steering a creative enterprise based on deeply-held ethical beliefs into a successful business venture?

Oh, yes. Although I never really thought that I would make a living, let alone a lot of money doing then POSCH products, I wasn't ready for all the time-consuming demands that you must put into a line in order to make it successful. The time spent writing and sending press releases, doing PR, calling stores, taking orders, designing the website, maintaining the blog, organizing fashion shows, traveling, doing trade shows (and preparing for them), folding hang tags, keeping score of stocks, searching for the fabric, having it sewn, designing new models or new products... etc, etc. It never really ends. The fact that I wanted to keep production in Montreal makes the product about 300% more expensive on average, and since I also wanted to make them fairly affordable, I really make no profit to speak of, considering the hours put into marketing and promoting them.

What advice can you offer starting-out designers who want to move beyond designing just for family and friends? Aside of creativity, what other traits does a designer need to be a success?

I think creativity is about 50% of the story. You need to be business savvy - learn Excel and don't think you can get away with it if you can't add numbers! - and it's crucial to learn to cost your concepts very early on. It’s also very important to set your strategy and your angle very early in the game. Will you be an eco-conscious designer who produces their designs locally but uses new fabric? Would you rather work with recycled? Do you want to go the fair trade route and ship production to a coop in Africa or Mexico? Do you want to get certified by a third party? Also, its a good idea, before starting, to make sure that what you love designing (say, eco-chic ball gowns that double as cocktail dresses) is something that the public craves and if so, how much they are willing to pay for it. This will orient your business plan, and then your company. As well, its always a plus, after writing your initial you are talking about and that you don't fall into the greenwashing trap!

What other ideas are in the Posch pipeline?

None right now that I can speak of. ;-)

How is the fight to save the Piping Plover going?

I haven't dropped in on my plumed friend in a while, I'll need to get back to you on that. But my intuition is that he ain't doing so good since I last saw the stats. Even though it seems on the surface like there is a lot of awareness on all things green, it still remains that climate change, ice caps melting and starving polar bears are very real, and the planet is far from saved. Every little bit counts.



After thirteen years in the United States and one brutally expensive master's degree from New York University, Pamela Grimaud returned to her beloved Montreal, where she works as a costume historian, college instructor, researcher, independent lecturer and writer. She is currently reading everything she can get her hands on regarding the field of ethical fashion, is a fervent admirer of all things crafty and considers herself a junior knitter. She blogs about all kinds of things at Oh, Little Bird!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

GET SUPPLIED: Knit-o-matic Birthday party and Yarn Swap (June 1)


You're Invited To a Yarn Swap Party!
Happy Birthday Knit-O-Matic!

We're Holding a Yarn Swap!
Happy Birthday!
To celebrate Knit-O-Matic's 4th birthday and our owner Haley's 35th Birthday we're holding a yarn swap party! Refreshments will be served and yarn fun will be had by all. Attendance is FREE and you don't have to partake in the yarn swap if you don't want to.

What is a Yarn Swap?
A yarn swap is a big eco-friendly redistribution of yarn, needles and craft supplies. Bring in the crafty stuff you never want to see again and deposit it in one of our baskets. Poke around at all the other donations and take whatever you like. If you don't have any yarn to bring that's ok, you can still take whatever you like. Don't be embarrassed by the quality of yarn you bring, whatever is left over is donated to charities like Street Knit, Sistering Toronto, Women's Shelters and the Hospital for Sick Children, most of whom prefer acrylic!

Where & When?
Sunday June 1st, 1pm to 5pm ~ Drop In
Knit-O-Matic, 1378 Bathurst St, Toronto ON M5R 3J1
(416) 653-7849

Since there is currently construction on Bathurst St please consult our MAP for traffic free routes to us!

Contact Us
phone: (416) 653-7849

CRAFTY HAPPENING: LuminaTO Streetscape events of note (June 6-15)

LuminaTO’s StreetScape, in association with the Art Gallery of Ontario and in collaboration with Manifesto Community Projects, re- imagines urban space as Toronto becomes host to some of the world’s best large- scale wall painting, drawing and street art.

From June 6-15, top street artists, wall-painters and boundary-pushing multimedia creators re-imagine Toronto’s post-industrial waterfront, housing communities, and urban spaces in the midst of revitalization as monumental canvases. Large in scale, bold and beautiful in content, these transformed regions of Toronto will become an inspiration for public creativity, as cutting-edge contemporary art moves onto the streets in a celebration of colour and light.

Housepaint Flyer_final
Click here to enlarge

Over the final three days of LuminaTO, June 13-15, ten canvas houses will be painted live by top Canadian street artists including CANT, CASE, DIXON, EGR, ELICSER, EVOKE, HVW8, LEASE, and OTHER. Housepaint at Parliament Street slip subtly calls attention to the industrial history of the site upon which it stands and highlights the realities and future of urban Toronto. Arrive in final Sunday hours for free art work.

Living Space flyer_final
Click here to enlarge

Another Luminato exhibition worth checking out during this time is Living Space at Regent Park Living Space, which attempts to reflect the people and activities of Regent Park. The process-driven installations aim to confer importance on the residents as individuals and to celebrate the life that makes up Regent Park as a community. It involves massive projected photography and video on building walls, 18 foot tall black and white posters by Dan Bergeron, and murals by Evoke/ Style in Progress, etc.

CRAFTY BIZ: new stuff at the workroom


the workroom has been very busy expanding its crafty offerings. We've recently acquired a second button press. You can rent either a 1" or a 1.25" button press by the hour to make buttons for your band, your friend's art opening or just because you love buttons! the workroom sells all the button components and provides circle cutters, as well. It is possible to do an overnight rental if you want the button press for your child's birthday party or if you just plan on making hundreds of cute buttons. Please get in touch to reserve time on the button press - In addition, there are also lino block printing supplies, bottle cutters, needle felting tools and a Gocco printer on our current equipment list.

Everybody loves Amy Butler and so does the workroom! We now carry Amy Butler fabric (the new Midwest Modern line is on the shelves and it looks amazing!), the entire Amy Butler sewing pattern line and both of her books. We are also carrying a growing range of sewing patterns (oliver + s, My Favorite Things, The Apron Lady) and crafty-related books (Doodle Stitching, Sew U, Lotta Prints). We've also just brought in an awesome new fibrefill that is eco-friendly, 100% nature-based, hypoallergenic and washable. This fibrefill from Eco-craft is made from renewable resource corn and feels so soft! Check out our flickr site to browse all our new offerings or drop by the shop (1340 Queen Street West). If there is some craft-related item you're looking for, let us know and we'll try to find it for you!

CRAFTY HAPPENING: spOtlight: Ontario's first Celebrate Our Artists weekend festival

Thanks to Natalie and Elena for bringing this event to our attention...

Spotlight e-blast banner

about spOtlight:
Details about spOtlight: Ontario's first Celebrate Our Artists weekend festival, Friday June 6 to Sunday June 8, 2008 are now available at or through the Ontario Arts Council website at More than 100 free arts activities will take place in Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener, Stratford and Waterloo.

festival launch:
Join us for the festival kick-off at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 6, in Kitchener's Victoria Park.

Aileen Carroll, Minister of Culture, will launch the spOtlight: weekend. Carl Zehr, Mayor of Kitchener will unveil and dedicate The Luggage Project by artist Ernest Daetwyler.

There will also be special opening welcome by Dan Secord, Anishnabe from the Mississauga Nation of New Credit, a performance by Blue Stone Cloud Drum group, followed by performances from Our World Festival of Music.

Throughout the weekend, experience the arts, learn more about the creative process, and meet the artists and arts organizations that make these communities and their neighbourhoods thrive.

Go to for details. Please note that some events have limited seating, pre-registration may be required.

CRAFT SHOW: Green Mom Show (May 31)

This weekend Bazant Unique Adornments will be unveiling new and innovative eco-friendly jewelry collections at the Green Mom Show.

Hope to see you there!


Lara Bazant
Bazant Unique Adornments

GET SUPPLIED: Paper goods at Crafty Designs

Here is a note from Made by Jacqueline tipping us off on a Canadian source for paper and accessories:

crafty designs

As handmade card maker and a scrapbooker - I would like to strongly recommend visiting Crafty Designs, an online scrapbooking and paper craft store that is proudly Canadian.

Online Shopping, Parties, Classes and more!!

Don’t forget to Sign Up for their monthly newsletter which contains product updates, industry news, tips & tricks, layouts, specials and so much more!

VENDOR CALL: The Purple Thumb is seeking designers/crafters


The Purple Thumb is a unique store concept designed around the aspiring and established designer. We have shelving units, clothing wall racks & display cases which we rent out to designers.

We also allow the designer to meet and have appointments in store with clients to do custom work or garment fittings. And the best part is you don't have to be there to sell your stuff!

The Purple Thumb is located in the very stylish neighbourhood of West Queen West, the Art & Design District of Toronto. Full of trendy shops, restaurants & galleries.

If you are interested in having your products in The Purple Thumb please contact the store owner (Jamie) to make an appointment at

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I am happy to introduce a new TCA contributor from Montreal: Pamela Grimaud. Pamela has generously offered to keep us informed about crafty goings-on in La Belle Province, which I’m sure will make our Montreal readers very happy and hopefully pique the interest of Toronto-based peeps and inspire some cross-provincial craft exchange.

Pamela will contribute periodic digests of Mtl. crafty happenings, and will do profiles on Montreal craft makers and shakers, with a special emphasis on ethical fashion & crafts.

A bit about Pamela:

After thirteen years in the United States and one brutally expensive master's degree from New York University, Pamela returned to her beloved Montreal, where she works as a costume historian, college instructor, researcher, independent lecturer and writer. She is currently reading everything she can get her hands on regarding the field of ethical fashion, is a fervent admirer of all things crafty and considers herself a junior knitter. She blogs about all kinds of things at Oh, Little Bird!

If you have Montreal-based craft news to share, please get in touch with Pamela.

Here’s our first

Montreal Craft Digest


Puces Pop Printemps!
(That's French for springtime!)

The first ever spring edition of the Puces Pop Arts & Crafts fair happens this May 31 from 11 am to 8 pm in basement of the St. Michel Church, 105 St. Viateur Ouest. Sixty-five talented artists and craftspeople will be displaying everything from fashion, to one-of-a-kind accessories, organic soaps, toys and lots more. Food will be served all day, lovingly prepared by church volunteers; a pancake brunch, and Polish-style dinner. (Puce Pop folk insist that their pancakes are truly the best in the Mile End, and their wild mushroom and home-made sauerkraut perogies promise to be fantastic) But wait...there's more! An 8 pm bingo game (with prizes, of course), beer and tasty eats crown the day's events.

Visit the Puce Pop site

Craft Mafia Montreal is seeking volunteers for its Fringe Bazaar, held in collaboration with the Fringe Festival, June 21-22. If you or someone you know is itching to be part of this crafty event, drop them a line: If you don't, you might just find yourself sleeping with the fishes.

The Craft Mafia "familia" has headquarters around the world. To learn more about the Bazaar as well as Craft Mafia's mission to support and connect local creative folk, and raise public awareness about the handmade community, visit:

Speaking of the Fringe Bazaar, Indyish will also have a presence at the Saint-Laurent street festival. Indyish is an independent arts network that plans monthly Indyish Monthly Mess' showcasing various kinds of art forms, from dancing to music to theatre. You can visit the Indyish Art Market on Thursday, June 19th, Friday, June 20th from 6-9 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, June 21-22. And if you're a crafter, you might still be able to nab your own table for the Thursday event. For the skinny, visit the Indyish site.

Felter Farha Dharshi of Lilou-Lilou is exhibiting her beautiful vessels in a show titled Wool Pods/Gousses de Laine; on view at Atelier Woodenapples, 5319 Parc Avenue through May 30th.

The Salon Nationale de L'Environnement takes place in the Old Port from June 13-15. Entry is free as a bird, and amongst the 165 exhibitors you'll find a number of eco-friendly artisans and crafters. For details, visit:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

CRAFT SHOW: The Spring Sassy Little Craft Show (May 31)

Thumbnail- sassy

Spring edition of the Sassy Little Craft Show!

Date: Saturday May 31st 2008

Place: The Victory Cafe
581 Markham Street (Bloor and Bathurst)

Time: 7pm-12:30am

We've got lots of fresh crafty vendors waiting to share their wares with you, so come by and take a look, have a drink, socialize and buy local! Hope to see you there.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: OOAK bag design contest (deadline: July 15)

Attention: One of a Kind Show and Sale Customers!OOAK Bag Contest

We want your design on our Reusable Shopping Bag

We would like to invite all of our One of a Kind customers to enter the Christmas 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 $250 shopping spree at the Christmas 2008 show. Please forward your entry to or via postal mail no later than Tuesday, July 15, 2008. Please be sure to include the following information: your name, email address and telephone number.

At the recent Spring show, our reusable shopping bags (featuring Jenna Rose’s winning design) were a tremendous success! The bags completely sold out by the second day of the show (with over 65% of our stock sold on the first day!), and our customers were delighted to find an eco-chic shopping bag to carry all their One of a Kind finds!

So, if you wish to see your design on this year’s OOAK reusable shopping bag, here is your chance! To get started, you can download the bag template here, and read on for the design criteria:

§ Your design must fit within a 35cm (13 ¾") (length) x 25 cm (9 ¾") (width) rectangle.

§ Your design must not employ more than two colours (excluding black and white).

§ Artwork should done in solid colours (no tints or shades).

§ 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.

Send hardcopy artwork to:
Bag Contest
c/o One of a Kind Show
10 Alcorn Avenue, Suite 100
Toronto, ON M4V 3A9
Attn: Janice Leung

GET SCHOOLED: Felted Tea Cozy @ Pheonix Art Group (May 31)

felted tea cozy

Felted Tea Cozy
Saturday May 31th, 2008
$65 per class, includes materials

Phoenix Arts Group provides a variety of classes for children and adults. The programs bring therapeutic benefits through artistic exercises that make use of four main modalities: painting, handwork, drawing & modeling. We also provide Corporate Art Based events, Parties and other group events that are both fun and educational.

Kathie Young
33 Harbour Square

Monday, May 26, 2008


wee! i spent sunday afternoon sitting in the park doing some crochet with friends. it was so nice for the weather to finally be nice enough to lay out in the sun and be able to do some crafts outdoors. did anyone else get to comebine the outdoors and crafts this weekend?

as part of the Toronto Craft Alert's goal to galvanize the city's craft community, we'd like to get a bit of a discussion going. discuss any crafty topic you like... we'll be re-posting this thread every monday morning, so that the discussions can continue in the comments section of this post.

CRAFTY BUSINESS WITH LAURA-JEAN: applying for a creative job

In this edition of Crafty Business, Laura-Jean offers some tips on how to think outside the box when applying for jobs where grey suits and cubicles are not part of the picture.

crafty business

I recently posted a job listing, and got a flurry of applications. I was surprised by how many of them were very "by the books" applications, like you might be taught in school. For a creative job like this, I just skipped over them, and when one applicant asked for follow-up feedback on her application, it occurred to me this might be a good topic for the Crafty Business column.

If you dream of starting your own line of something one day, getting a job in the industry can be the best starting point. You gain so much knowledge about running a small business: how to produce things efficiently, marketing, financial planning and you gain valuable contacts. My assistant Jessie is launching her own jewellery line, Sugar Rush and her involvement in Fresh Baked Goods and Fresh Collective is the best small business boot camp ever!

Here are my top tips on applying for a creative job:

1) This is a 'by the books' tip, but spell-check, and proofread! Typos and grammatical errors look sloppy, and in a fashion job, it makes me wonder if you'll do sloppy work like not noticing threads that need clipping, or not be able to communicate clearly to a customer. I was surprised by how many applicants didn't do this, while mentioning attention to detail as one of their strengths!

2) Maybe it's just me, but I don't like opening attachments. As well, some of them I just couldn't open. So, if the email cover letter didn't get my attention, I probably won't bother opening the resume and waiting while my computer checks for viruses and all that. I'd prefer to see the resume cut and pasted into the body of the email. You have to realize a creative, fun job like this gets lots of responses quickly (I got over 20 in the 8 hours that my ad was up!) so I don't want to waste a bunch of time reading each one. You have to catch the employers attention quickly!

3) Read the ad carefully. I asked for a creative response including pictures of things that people had made and telling us a bit about themselves. So many included none of these things, and although they may have had perfectly applicable experience, I felt like they were not following instructions already! How could I expect them to understand what I'm looking for from them on a day to day basis on the job? Others stated that they could only send one picture through craigslist, but I included my email address and website in the ad, so a careful reading and a bit of problem solving would have helped there.

4) I look for a certain energy and spunk. I have found that the best employees are the ones who are excited about the job and thrilled to be getting their start in fashion, so enthusiasm about the whole thing works on me. Since we're a creative and slightly wacky business, I respond to that type of tone in the application. Plus, part of the job is retail, so I look for a personality that will fit in to our style. I need a person who is confident when talking to customers, and sends out the right energy. On top of all that, I want someone who will be fun to spend the day with and who will fit into our workplace where we discuss pressing issues such as the latest episode of America's Next Top Model and start business meetings with the phrase, "You know what would be cute...."

*****Even in a plain email you can find a way to show some spunk and personality********

5) One time I hired someone who had impressed me by repeating and addressing everything I had mentioned in the ad. Even things that she didn't have she addressed, like "although I don't have fashion retail experience, I feel confident that my experience in waitressing has taught me to juggle a lot of customer requests at once without getting stressed, and think on my feet when need be. I loved showing my customers a good time and really realized that I love working with people! It's fun to put together cute outfits for myself, and am sure I would be great at helping customers find clothes and accessories that suit them. I look forward to learning more about fashion sales and learning the skills needed to blah blah....." That kind of thing. It made me feel that she understood what I was looking for and was willing to learn, work hard and grow with the business.

6) Any employer is going to love you showing knowledge about the company. Although it takes extra time to do this for each application, you'd be wise to check the website and then demonstrate some knowledge about the business. As well, match the tone of your application to the type of business. If you apply to Betsy Johnson, for example, a pink resume with curly writing and an opening sentence like "I started in fashion making dresses for my Barbie's and it's always been my dream to work at Betsy Johnson's!!!!" You need to show your personality and stand out from the crowd. And an application to Calvin Klein would be totally different, of course.

I'm always surprised at how many people apply with their totally standard resume, which states their career goals as "Using my skills to further the objectives of the company" or other such nonsense cliches. It makes me feel they'd be just as happy to work with me, or with Office Depot. They just want a job. Maybe that's OK for some jobs, but if you really want a fun, creative job, you just have to offer more than a live human!

7) Many applicants stated that they had co-op experience at various local businesses, which is great. Real work experience is better than any education in my books! Make the most of your co-op placement! So many students just do what they're asked and do the job, but this is your big "in" in a new industry! What are you interested in learning there? Step up and ask for more responsibility! The more initiative you show, the more likely your placement might turn into a job. And even if you don't get hired on there, you can take your successes with you. I had a lot of applicants say something like, "I worked at a co-op placement at Boutique X, and learned some sewing there."

I'd rather see something like this, "At my co-op placement at Boutique X, I started learning to sew. Although I had never sewed before, I found I really loved it, and practised at home. By the end of the placement, I had made a skirt and a top for myself and still continue working on learning more complicated techniques. I also approached the owner of the shop with some sketches and ideas for a window display. I was very excited that she put me in charge of three window displays, and I had a lot of fun planning and setting up the windows. I was proud that several customers commented that they liked the windows and bought the outfits right off the mannequins! I really enjoyed my co-op placement, and learned a lot, and look forward to being able to apply my skills to another creative fashion job." This tells me a lot more about what type of applicant I'm getting than just a standard resume listing the facts.

So, what did the successful applicant send in her email? I felt her tone got her personality across, and the skills were there to back it up. She had retail experience, good sewing skills, eagerness, and a sense of fashion. Actually, she didn't even send a resume, or have any fashion education other than grade six Home Economics. The pictures were worth a thousand words. Here's her letter:

Hi there!

I just came across your posting on craigslist and I really, truly, think that this is the perfect job for me! Seriously!

First, let me tell you a little bit about myself:

My name is Siân, which is pronounced 'Sharn'. It's Welsh and tends to confuse people so I usually just say that my name rhymes with barn. I'm twenty one years old and am living near High Park with my cat, Wesley Snipes. I love all aspects of the fashion and beauty industry. I actually work part-time as a makeup artist, but love clothing and fashion just as much. Perhaps even more, if you judge my overflowing closet!

I had actually considered a career in fashion design when I was in high school. I wanted to go to design school and then open up my own clothing store on Queen Street. I originally learned how to sew back in my 6th grade home economics class, and my mom has helped out with tips and techniques since then. I used to create my own one-of-a-kind outfits back in high school and made a couple of dresses, including my prom dress, which was this gorgeous bright fucshia ball gown.

I lived in New York last year, which was an amazing experience. While there, I ended up getting a part time job at an Urban Outfitters. It was a crazy, hectic job, but it really helped to develop my fashion and sales skills. I also worked on the merchandising team, and did some shipping/receiving and inventory.

I love putting unique outfits together and turning heads when I'm walking down the street. And it's a personal goal of mine to never wear the exact same outfit twice. My obsession with fashion magazines (my faves including Nylon, Zink, Strut, Lush, Paper, ID, Italian Vogue, etc) keeps me up to date on the latest trends also.

Lastly, I just want to mention that I've been a fan of Fresh Baked Goods and Laura-Jean, Knitting Queen for years. I first discovered your work when I was googling for local Toronto designers. It would be an amazing experience to be part of the team. :)

Sian included some pictures of the dresses she had made and some pictures of makeup work she had done. Overall, I just got a sense of what she was like, and already felt confident that she could represent my business to my customers.

I hope everyone out there finds this advice useful to help them land that first fun job that could end up taking you down the road to your own exciting creative business! Just remember to stand out from the crowd, let your personality shine through, and show that you have the skills, willingness to learn, energy and enthusiasm to offer to back it all up! Good luck!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

CRAFT TORONTO PICS: Green Leaf Baby Shoes by MaudlinMaudlin

Green Leaf Baby Shoes, originally uploaded by MaudlinMaudlin.

Nature-inspired baby shoes!
Spring has spring and so have these leafy green booties! From the Craft Toronto photo pool on Flickr. You can join, too!

Friday, May 23, 2008

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Artists T-shirts & Tops (Pins&Buttons) Show

C1 art space is announcing a CALL FOR SUBMISSION for their 2nd annual Artist T-shirts and Tops Show!
This exhibit will continue to feature originally designed artist t-shirts and apparel. From quirky and cute to witty and weird, we're looking for a variety of designs. This year we will also be including a section for Artists Pins & Buttons as well. The more designs the merrier.

Interested in exhibiting your wearable art?
*Please send in 2- 5 (low res) sample images or a link to your webpage of your designs via email
for review by June 30th.
Works accepted will be exhibited on a consignment basis. Contact C1 for more info.

Submission Deadline : (June 30th)
Show dates: (July 25th to August 31, 2008)
Reception: (Friday, July 25th at 7pm)

GET SCHOOLED: Sewing, printing & textile classes by Kate Jackson (May & June)

Kate & tote bag 003
How cute is Kate?

Upcoming workshops and classes taught by Toronto artist Kate Jackson

There are only a few spaces left! (maximum 5 students in each class)
To register: call 416.973.4952


Tote Bags - Saturday June 21st 10am - 5pm $145
-Learn silk-screening, sewing from and pattern, and embroidery.
-come away with your own super tote bag

Silk-screen - Saturday May 31st 10am - 5pm $145
-learn all the basics of silk-screening
-print your own designs!


How to Get It On! - Wednesdays 6:30pm-9:30pm May 28th - June 25th $245
-learn different ways of getting an image onto textiles
-silkscreen, embroidery, appliqué, heat transfers etc...
-FUN class! Learn lots!!

CRAFTY HAPPENING: Pop with Brains (May 23) TONIGHT

This cute event combines music with crafts. What better Friday night plan could you ask for?

Click here to enlarge

Friday May 23 @ The Rivoli

9:40-10:10 the schomberg fair
10:20-10:50 pink dead whale
11:00-11:30 the miles
11:40-12:10 invasions
12:20-END fox jaws

sweetie pie press (crafts)
misanthrope speciality co. (unflattering portraits)
louise ferguson (live illustration)
willow dawson (printed ephemera)
safari couture (jewellery)


POP WITH BRAINS is a bi-monthly event @ The Rivoli (334 Queen St.W) celebrating Toronto's best indie bands and D.I.Y. artists. Proceeds raised at POP WITH BRAINS are donated to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health -

CRAFT SHOW: Artisans at the Distillery (May 24 & 25)

If you choose to stroll around this Distillery market in the sunshine this weekend, be sure to stop in and say hey to Allison of Papersnake (her last show for months as she backpacks across the country), and Irina Rapaport who’ve reminded us about this show.

Visit the website here.


VENDOR CALL: Green vendors wanted for Leslieville Tree Festival (June 7)

A note from LEAF:

Lesliville Festival Stage 2007

Please join us at the 4th Annual Leslieville Tree Festival, Saturday June 7th in Leslie Grove Park. Each year this fun, family event has grown. Attendance last year was over 500 people. Tables for not-for-profit organizations are free. One table and two chairs will be supplied. There is a $25 per table charge for businesses/vendors.

Registering is easy! Just complete our brief online registration form at to reserve a table. Vendors must mail a cheque or call and pay by credit card to reserve a table. Food vendors must also complete the Food Vendor Package available online.

This year we are looking forward to a wonderful mix of tree and nature-related performers, children's art activities, food, games and more! LEAF will again be holding a native plant sale this year.

The park is located at the junction of Queen St. and Jones Ave in Toronto. The Festival will be open to the public and will run from 12 noon to 4pm. The event is being organized by Councillor Paula Fletcher, Parks, Forestry and Recreation and LEAF. Promotional efforts will include; content in community newspapers, a neighbourhood mailing by the Councillor, posters in local businesses, and a banner in the park 2 weeks prior to the event.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

FROM THE DESK OF TCA: goodEGG hatches!!!

goodEGG flyer

I am so happy to finally announce a project that I have been working hard on over the past few months in partnership with fellow Toronto craft blogger Laural of

goodEGG industries, an online webshop carrying the work of fresh Canadian craft artists and designers is live as of today! At goodEGG you'll find an eclectic yet curated mix of accessories, home wear, and art objects - this collection will be evolving with time to represent more Canadian designers - check out the shop at and keep checking back for added fun & loveliness.

Our goal with goodEGG is to support the Canadian independent craft community by bringing attention to the work of exciting & emerging craft artists and designers, as well as to create stronger links between crafters across Canada. I love working with Toronto-based designers here at home and am excited to get to know crafters across the country and more about craft communities in different regions.

So go ahead and check out the site and let me know what you think!


Just a last note: I'm sure there are tons of amazing designers reading that we would love to hear from – check out the submission info
here. We are expanding the site gradually, so we really appreciate your patience!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CRAFTY BIZ: Indie Collective Spring/Summer Shopping Guide

Indie shoppers rejoice! The 2008 Indie Collective Spring/Summer Shopping Guide has arrived, and it is the place to discover something new in indie style and fashion.

The 2008 Spring/Summer Shopping Guide showcases the talents of today's creative independent designers in a fresh & exciting magazine-inspired format.

With jewelry, handbags, accessories, decor, items for babies, paper goods, bath & body products and fashion, this is your chance to satisfy your hankering for your new, favorite "it" find. And with many designers offering great savings, you can score some fabulous indie goods on the cheap.

Make sure to spend some time reading the special Fashion Features in the Shopping Guide, with every item in each feature made from an up-and-coming indie designer. Whether you are preparing to head back to the beach; to pamper yourself with a little buff & polish; need some gear for guys; some goodies for your kids; or are just looking to pamper your pets, you will find a selection of awesome indie goods for everyone on your shopping list!

IC Style, the Indie Collective's editor's blog, will also be presenting featurettes on every designer in the 2008 Spring/Summer Shopping Guide.

If you are an indie designer and haven't listed your website in our Shopping Directory, what are you waiting for?! It's free, and a great way to gain exposure for your crafty endeavours! And we just might feature you in our blog!

We enjoy providing one of the hippest resources for today's savvy shoppers, and look forward to introducing you to the innovative indie designers in our 2008 Spring/Summer Shopping Guide.

VENDOR CALL: BIG Festival on Bloor (event: June 21, deadline: June 6) REMINDER


Here’s a reminder from Erin, BIG Festival organizer, about an opportunity to vend at the show:

What: Giant street and community festival
Where: Bloor Street West (Christie to Lansdowne)
When: June 21, 1-6pm
How Much: $25/table (comes with 2 chairs). Tables are 8' long.

I'd like to put out a call to all Toronto crafters and designers to sign up for a table at the BIG Festival, taking place June 21 on Bloor Street West. The BIG Festival invites everyone to showcase what they "bring to the table". Anyone is invited to participate! Tables cost $25/each and participants can showcase and sell their wares all day long.

To find out more about the festival, or to sign up for your table, visit Deadline for application is June 6. To see the current list of participants, click here.

We look forward to seeing you on the BIG day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CALL FOR VENDORS: It's A Craft Sale (November 29)

From the organizers of the It's A Craft Sale:

Attention vendors! We are searching for creative "crafty" vendors to participate at our Christmas Craft Sale being held on November 29, 2008 from 10:00am - 4:00pm at the Vic Johnson Community Centre in downtown Streetsville (Mississauga).

Please email to receive your vendor package. Hurry!

Booth Size: 8' x 6' (approx.)
Booth Fee: $75.00

November 29, 2008 from 10:00am - 4:00pm

Vic Johnson Community Centre
135 Church Street (downtown Streetsville)
Map It!

More Information:

Shoppers, don't forget to add the It's A Craft Sale Event to your Google Calendar!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Art In The Park 2008 (show: July 26, deadline: May 30)

Art in the Park is back for 2008, and they are looking for artists and artisans for their outdoor community arts festival.
Event Details: Art in the Park is a juried one-day outdoor community arts festival held in the parkland surrounding the Scarborough Arts Council

Date & Time:
July 26th, 2008
10am to 4pm

Harrison Estate Park, 1859 Kingston Road, Scarborough
Map it

Application Details: Fifty artists will have the opportunity to connect with the community to sell their work and discuss ideas and practices.
Open to artists working in fine art and craft only: drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, printmaking (original prints), pottery, hand-crafted jewellery, glass, original textile and fibre arts.

The entry deadline for applications is Friday May 30, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. Download the application here:

If you want to be reminded about the application deadline, you can add the event to your Google Calendar by visiting THIS LINK.

Shoppers, don't forget to add the Art in the Park event to your calendar, as well!

CRAFTY HAPPENING: Art Whispers ’08 (June 1)

Suzanne Liska and Diana Groenendijk

Art Whispers ‘08
A One-Night-Only Live Exhibition!

Sunday, June 1st 2008
100 A Ossington Ave
Pay What You Can

Prestented by curator Sarah Henriques with the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council.

Come Witness A Multidisciplinary Game of Broken Telephone

As kids, we called it Broken Telephone - whisper in someone’s ear, have them repeat it to someone else, and so on, until the message is completely transformed. Who knew it was art?

The random alteration of form and meaning that emerges from Broken Telephone speaks directly to the relationship between creative impulse, accident and inspiration.
And it is the basis for our multidisciplinary Broken Telephone art experiment: a unique five-week creative journey in which 9 Toronto artists became links in a creative chain. Each artist (or group of artists) had one week to create their contribution to the project in their respective discipline, and then passed it along to the next eagerly awaiting participant.

It began with a poem that inspired a painting. The painting inspired a film. The film became the basis for a choreographed dance, which provoked the soundscape that resulted in the final installation: a theatrical performance. The theatrical piece was based solely on the soundscape, as the director has yet to see the dance, the film, the painting, or read the poem.

On Sunday, June 1st drop by the open studio to read the poem that started this creative procession, and witness how uniquely each of the five pieces turned out. Participate in a Q & A with the artists, meet curator Sarah Henriques the woman behind this entire project, and share in a magically interactive and inspirational experience.

Curator: Sarah Henriques
Poet: Emma Beltrán
Visual Artist: Norman Lup-Man Yeung
Filmmaker: Jeremiah Munce
Dancers: Diana Groenendiik and Suzanne Liska
Sound Artist: Thomas Ryder Payne
Theatre Director: Beatriz Pizano, with Actors: Carlos González-Vio and Laura Nordin.

CALL FOR VENDORS AND CRAFT SHOW: sprout Art Show and Fair (show: June 15, deadline: May 27)

Space for vendors is still available for this show. If interested please see the online application here.


sprout art show and fair
June 15 2008
St. Alban's Boys and Girls Club - 843 Palmerston Avenueat Bathurst and Dupont - in Toronto's Annex community.

sprout will feature up-and-coming, local designers. These emerging artists offer something that the "big" art shows don't - something new, different, original, locally made - at an affordable price!

The products and services offered by the talented and creative young vendors in the show include jewelry, greeting cards, bath and beauty products, textiles, knitwear, candles, buttons and much more.

Please join us - admission is free - and get ready to be delighted and inspired by the unique products created by artists in your community!

CRAFTY BIZ: Shared retail space proposal from MaRGie Jewellery Studio

If this retail concept proposed by Michelle of MaRGie Jewellery Studio sounds up your alley, please contact her at

margie studio logo

I'd like to open a retail store (my preference is Queen/Spadina area but I could be convinced otherwise) where approx. 4 other artists/crafters work out of. There would be a gallery space for selling artists work but mainly the store would be class focused. All the artists would have their own SEPARATELY functioning business but would share in rent, insurance (?), utility costs, working hours at the store etc. We would have to find a landlord that would be ok with the idea or at least someone who allows sub-leasing.

The people must be established artists and business people and be hardworking, especially when it come to selling their own classes/products. And must be available at least on a part time basis to teach their classes and work in the store. Lazy people do not apply.

Any art/craft form is fine ie metalsmith, knitter, sewer, printmaker, ceramics, sculpture, classic visual artist, scrapbooker, screenprinter, soap maker etc. as long as there is some kind of class that can be taught. My focus is metal and glass jewellery.

I'd love to hear from crafty business owners about the idea: comments, suggestions, interest in participating etc.


CRAFTY HAPPENING: Imago Show @ Circa (May 22)

Imago Circa Flyer

Colossal Craziness
Circa Nightclub
126 John Street, Toronto
Doors open at 8:00 p.m., Show starts at 9:00 p.m.
Advance tickets $25 at,
$30 at the door, $50 VIP Deluxe Tickets

Expect an eye dropping and jaw opening performance when Imago Fashion takes over Toronto’s mega-club Circa on Thursday May 22nd. For those not aware of this fashion force, expect an assault of your sensory that mixes testosterone with estrogen.

Bed Time Stories – a couture culture of fashion fetishism and tantalizing performance theatre with mixed elements of punk, glam, medical fashion, and horror. Expect the unexpected as past shows have included a mix of ballet, opera, violins, rock stars, and performance artists of all types. The night will be hosted by Amazing Race hosts Kynt and Vynsen along with a cast of fashionista darlings such as Toronto’s diva Lena Love and Project Runway’s Evan Biddell. The performance will feature more than 30 designers including Ed Hardy, Irregular Choice Shoes, Killer Candy, and Morph Clothing. These do-it-yourself designers are styled by Sandra Roberts, Imago’s brainchild and Creative Director, who has the mandate to merge fashion, music and culture by supporting indie fashion labels, photographers, artists and musicians of all backgrounds.

Imago Zine is a hip glossy read that provides first hand insight into the real underground counter culture of today and showcasing what is tomorrow. IMAGO will take you from the red carpet, to the back alley, uptown, downtown and every stop along the way. IMAGO turns fantasy into reality. IMAGO can shock and entertain. IMAGO is both real and surreal. IMAGO is here and now.

Monday, May 19, 2008


i spent a belated mother's day weekend with my own mom. i took her to the cherry blossom high tea at the knit cafe, and re-learned to knit. this time i am going continental-style, since it looks like it's much quicker than english style. any one out there with experience in both? tips on advantages/disadvantages?water cooleras part of the Toronto Craft Alert's goal to galvanize the city's craft community, we'd like to get a bit of a discussion going. discuss any crafty topic you like... we'll be re-posting this thread every monday morning, so that the discussions can continue in the comments section of this post.

CRAFT TORONTO PICS: New purse design by loscann

New purse design, originally uploaded by loscann.
I *love* this pillowcase! I'm so tempted to keep it for myself!
From the Craft Toronto photo pool on Flickr. You can join, too!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SUPPLY YOUR HABIT: Chiyogami and Sidewalk Sale at the Paper Place

The Paper Place wrote to notify us of an upcoming Sidewalk Sale, and for the first time ever, a one day sale on Chiyogami papers taking place on May 24th:

Spring Cleaning Sidewalk Sale & Chiyogami Sale
Saturday, May 24, 2008
10:00am - 5:00pm

The Paper Place
887 Queen St. West

With renovations on the store moving along, we decided it was time for a little spring cleaning! The sale will include discontinued papers, cards, journals, books, and gifts. For those of you who plan ahead there are also lots of holiday items - cards, ornaments, and more!

In appreciation of our amazing customers we are offering, in conjunction with our Sidewalk Sale, a discount on our most popular paper ever. For one day only on May 24th our exquisite hand silkscreened Chiyogami papers will be 15% off. The discount applies to all in store sizes and special orders. Take advantage of this rare opportunity and stock up!

Friday, May 16, 2008

CALL FOR SUBMISSION: Artist Gardens Collingwood

Thursday, May 15, 2008

GET SCHOOLED: Kate McKinnon at BeadFX (May dates)

top left: toggle clasp class, top right: pmc rings, bottom left: shag carpet of pearls, bottom right: design workshop class

There are a few spaces available in these upcoming workshops by jewellery artist Kate McKinnon at BeadFX.

Kate McKinnon has been designing and creating jewelry for over 10 years. She fell in love with metal clay in 1997 and hasn't looked back since. Kate lectures and teaches internationally and is the author of several popular books on jewelry technique. In 2005 Kate won the prestigious Saul Bell Award for excellence in PMC.

Kate currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is working hard on finishing her latest book project.

WORKSHOP ONE: May 15th, 2008 today and the class is full but there are 2 more workshops that ppl can still sign up for.

WORKSHOP TWO: May 16th and 17th, 2008 - PMC Rings

WORKSHOP THREE: May 18th, 2008 - Shag Carpet of Pearls

WORKSHOP FOUR: May 19th, 2008 - Jewelry Design Workshop

To enroll in a class, please call 416.701.1373 or toll free 877.473.2323 (877.473.BEAD)
or email

BeadFx Location:
BeadFx is located in Scarborough at 128 Manville Road, Suite #9 -- in the Warden and Eglinton area.

For complete directions: