Monday, June 30, 2008


Here is the second instalment in our Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition artist interview series.

Lee Meszaros

Interview by Amy Borkwood


What draws you to work with textiles?

I think I've been drawn to working with textiles for quite a few important reasons. The one that immediately springs to mind is the versatility of fabric as something to work with creatively. It allows such a variety of methods to work with- printing, machine sewing, hand sewing, painting, embellishment, felting, knitting, weaving.... It's a really good material to work with for me, since my attention has the habit of being yanked in many directions at the same time.

picnic purses
Picnic purses

I've always had a love affair with drawing, but was always a bit frustrated with the final product of work on paper. That was all it could be to me, was work on paper. But a work on fabric can have so many different possibilities after its created. That's one of the other main reasons I love textiles- That they can be beautiful, as well as serve a purpose beyond that beauty. It's the functionality of fabric that's always held my interest.

Can you tell me a little about your Merit Badges?

The idea for the badges came from a shopping trip I had at a
Halifax thrift store in my last semester at NSCAD. I found an old brownie sash with all of the badges still attached, and was immediately struck by all of the work that went into earning those badges, and how wrong it felt to know that someone thought of them as disposable. I began to think about what may be more important to me than tasks completed or techniques masters- I came to the conclusion that I value emotional triumphs and failures far more dearly.

Be Proud Badge Series

I set out to create something that people could take real pride in giving and receiving, not just because it was cute or nice to look at, but because it held some kind of emotional significance to them. I looked at brownie, cubs, scouts, and Girl Guide badges for inspiration, and I really liked how most of the images on them meant nothing unless you knew how it was earned- random tea kettles, dogs, girls holding hands, cakes, frying pans, magnifying glasses, hobo sacks, books. I adopted that idea as part of my badges- I like that if the meaning is truly personal, it won't be given away by someone just seeing the badge on your shirt. It gives the person who wears it the option of keeping the meaning a secret, or sharing the experience and telling their story.

I also thought a lot about what makes a textile object more precious to me, and I decided that I value visible qualities that show it was made by hand- that's how I decided it was important to hand paint and embroider them all. Even if it's just a small stitch detail, I feel like it's important for them to be the opposite of mass produced badges- hopefully that makes them more dear to people.

I read about an artist book which you put together: Double Dutch, which deals with the "fragile relationships that exist between humans in search of love". Can you tell me more about this project, as well as your work within the book arts?

Double Dutch was my graduating project while I was at Sheridan College studying textiles. For a few years before that project, all of my textile work relied heavily on storytelling. I suppose my work still does, though it relies a bit less on entire stories, more just phrases now. I love to write, and have always worked with writing and text in combination with illustration.

Double Dutch consisted of one large book with eight sections- (It's pretty complicated to explain, but I'll give it a go!) Each section contained one large page picturing a two people involved in some kind of relationship together, some were ending, some were just beginning, and some were at a crossroads. Surrounding that couple there was a small story describing their situation. All of the large pages had secret flaps, pockets and passages containing pieces of the story. I was inspired by old children's books with different interesting places text could be hidden. On the opposite page to each couple were two small books, one for each character. The small books told of experiences, thoughts, character traits, and secrets each character experienced outside of the relationship. I thought it was important to individualize the characters for each other and from their relationships. I liked the idea of stories within a story, and of a very large book juxtaposed with the 16 small books within. That's where the title came from, was the idea of two stories being told at the same time, like the two ropes jumped in double dutch.

The large book was silk screened on a variety of fabrics, and paper. The small books are made entirely out of silk screened cotton, and are bound by machine stitching in gold thread. I hadn't had any experience with book arts until then, and basically taught myself rudimentary book binding techniques as I went. The clothes on the characters were collaged fabrics with silk screening over top. The book was made in an edition of three, and I donated one of the editions last year to Sheridan for an auction they have annually to raise money for awards given to the current students.

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Lee’s work will be on display at the upcoming Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition from July 11-13 at Nathan Phillips’s Square. Her badges are also available through Souvenir Shop & our very own goodEGG industries.


Amy Borkwood is a bookbinder and freelance arts-writer living in Toronto. Her bookworks can be found at her online shop, Nightjar Books.

CRAFT SHOW/VENDOR CALL: Fall 2008 Clothing Show (Sept 26-28)

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September 26, 27 & 28, 2008
Fri 3pm-9pm / Sat 11am-9pm / Sun 11am-7pm
$8 on-line, $10 at the door.

Shop from over 300 booths of the most inspiring new label, vintage, streetwear, locally designed and brand name clothing and accessories!

New MEN’s & ECO sections!
Century of Fashion Exhibit
Best Dressed Vintage (public) Competition
2000 linear ft. of local art exhibition
Win a $1000 shopping spree
RUNWAY Fashion Show Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday!

For VENDING opportunities –

EXHIBITION/SHOP CRAFTY: Keep Six Contemporary Eco-Bag show (until July 13)

Keep Six Contemporary

After finding the place we were planning to eat closed for the holiday weekend, I was wandering along Bathurst just north of Bloor in search of food and was thrilled to come upon Keep Six Contemporary, a gallery, mini-shop & and project space. I had heard about shows at Keep Six, which opened in December of 2007, but being a bit of a downtown brat had not yet ventured northward to check it out. Anyhow, if you are ever in the neighbourhood, you should be sure to pop in and see whatever show they have going on, check out their collection of great independent art books & multiples for sale (like Otherworld Uprising feat. The works of Shary Boyle), or even get your hands to making at their periodic Franken Jewellery Swaps.

They currently have a fun show featuring Eco-bags with original illustrations & other embellishments by international artists riffing on global environmental issues. Read on for deets…

International Eco-Bag Exhibition
June 26 – July 13, 2008

Artists: Steve Wilson, Harvey Chan, Fiona Smyth Pat Butler, Fumiko Ozawa. Jeff Sude, Renji Misugi, Shohei Kimura, Masako Inose, Miho Kinomura, Renshu, PESU,
Makiko Toya, Kunihiko Kimura, Akiko Ray many more

In midst of the global environmental issues, we believe taking initiative on what we can do locally, around our personal surroundings is the step towards solving the global issue. The hand-made eco-bag, Decorated Eco-Bag (DECOB) will be shown to international audiences in effort to raise awareness of environmental issues and call to take initiatives

Artist from around the world have been invited to participate in this exhibition by using these bags as a canvas to express their thoughts about the subject.
All original works will be for sale.

Also available limited edition print bags by artist Jade Rude, Typotherapy and Keep Six

This exhibit will travel to the following cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, London and New York

You can also submit your design at


Keep Six means to keep all your senses and intuition alive and on alert. We showcase works from national and International talents at all levels of their career in art, design, fashion, music, literature, performance, film and video.

HOURS:Tuesday-Sunday 12-6pm
938 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Canada(647) 436-6594
ask at

CROSS COUNTRY CRAFT CHECKUP: Montreal Craft Digest (July 2008)

A short but sweet crafty news update from our Montreal correspondent Pamela Grimaud:


The Pomme-Pomme Craft Fair will take place on July 12 and 13th at La Salla Rossa on Saint-Laurent. Pomme-Pomme is a unique craft fair in showcasing over 30 crafty vendors. The event is organized by Amy Johnson from Atelier Woodenapples and Tom Devlin from Drawn and Quarterly. It's too late to apply as a vendor, but do spread the word and get in touch if you're game to volunteer. Goodies are in the offering!

And a word from Puces Pop for their Fall show:

We're now accepting applications for the best Puces Pop ever! Visit the site for all the information. Application deadline July 24th 2008. Get to it!

EXHIBITION: Shadows (July 3- Aug 16, reception: July 3)

This upcoming show at MADE sounds pretty magical....

MADE presents – Shadows
An installation by Don Maclennan and Cali Balles,
July 3rd to August 16th, 2008 @ MADE 867 Dundas St. West, Toronto ON
Opening Reception Thursday July 3rd 7pm - 9pm
867 Dundas Street West


Don Maclennan and Cali Balles have collaborated to create “Shadows”, an installation of multiple blown glass light sculptures. The forms, free and organic in nature, take on an anthropomorphic quality. The variety of size and mass of the individual forms alludes to the wide diversity of the inhabitants of the city.

The large scale, free blown forms are worked in clear glass and then sandblasted to create a room of multiple soft, shadowy figures. Maclennan and Balles made each piece from their shared hotshop space. The still malleable forms were passed back and forth between the two glass artists, each imprinting them with the decisions of the making process.
Playing with scale and sharing a more intimate process of construction; the makers found that the nature of the forms determined the installation in the form of social groupings or communities.

Each piece is individually signed and independently serves as a functional light that varies from it’s neighbour.

CRAFTY HAPPENING: Stitch 'N' Pitch 2008 (August 5)

A note from Haley of Knit-o-matic about everyone's favourite sports & craft mashup:

Stitch 'N' Pitch 2008


Fellow fibre arts enthusiasts,

It's time again for Toronto's annual Stitch 'N' Pitch! Stitch 'N' Pitch is a fun fibre arts event which gives needle arts enthusiasts a chance to practice our art while cheering for the Blue Jays. A group of tickets in the 200 level are offered at a discount of $20 (from $26), and the first 1000 people will get a free Blue Jays tote bag filled with yarn and needlework materials valued at $40. You'll rub elbows with famous Canadian fiber arts designers, authors and bloggers like Amy Singer and Stephanie Peal McPhee, who is throwing out the first pitch! Even if you aren't regular Baseball fan you'll find that it's really enjoyable, not at all boring, when shared with friends and colleagues. It's like going to a party where you don't know anyone and having a great time because you have a lot in common with everyone there! Its also fun for spouses and children to attend (plus you can keep their freebie bags for yourself!).

Where & When?
This year's event will be held on Tuesday August 5th, at 7:00 pm, when the Blue Jays host the Oakland Athletics at the Rogers Centre (formerly Sky Dome) in Toronto. For directions on how to get to the Rogers Centre visit their website.

How Do I Buy Tickets? PLEASE NOTE: If you want to sit with your friends from your fibre arts guild, group or Stitch 'n Bitch you should purchase tickets through your local fibre arts store!

1. Purchase tickets at your local fibre arts shop (knitting, crochet, quilting and other needle arts). They will collect $20 in cash from you, take down your contact information and contact you when the tickets arrive in the store. If you are located outside of Toronto ask your local yarn store store is they are organizing a bus or group excursion to the game. If your local store is not already selling tickets to Stitch 'n Pitch you can ask them to contact Rita Gramsch, Phone 1-888-123-4567 or e-mail

2. Purchase Tickets online here. Don't forget to input the promotional code GP-SNP08 to receive the discounted ticket price, tote bag of freebies and to avoid the regular processing fee.

3. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets directly by contacting Paul Rabeau at 416-341-1670 or

Online Resources
Toronto Stitch 'n Pitch Blog:
TNNA Stitch 'n Pitch Website:
Blue Jays Stich 'n Pitch Website:
CRAFT magazine's Stitch 'n Pitch Projects:
Ravelry Stitch 'n Pitch Group:
Facebook Stitch 'n Pitch:

EXHIBITION: Walls of Hope / Walls of Sorrow (July 14-19)

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Walls of Hope / Walls of Sorrow
Dates: Monday July 14th at 1pm - Saturday July 19th at 4pm
Where: Metro Hall Rotunda, 55 John Street, Toronto ON
view map

Youth from across the GTA came together and with the help of artist Claudia Bernardi created an organic, multi-arts installation. Through sound sculpture, painting, dance, theatre and video documentation, the installation explores global poverty, human rights and building a community through art.

Catch the installation starting Monday July 14th at Metro Hall! Come for a public reception with entertainment, people and, of course, beautiful art. Installation will be up for a week till the 19th of July at Metro Hall and then from August 13th to the 17th at City Hall!

Find out more about the artists and the project visit

VENDOR CALL: 2008 Cabbagetown Festival (September 6th & 7th)

2007 Cabbagetown Festival

Vendors of all varieties are welcome to come and participate in the Annual Cabbagetown Festival!!

Date: Saturday September 6th and Sunday September 7th.

Location: Parliament Street, Toronto

For a Vendors Application please contact Marianne at or (416) 921-0857.

More information about Vendors at the Festival can be found at:

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: One Inch Punch - The Button Show (deadline: July 21)

ONE INCH PUNCH!!! The Button Show

We are inviting you to submit your design for a 1" button.

Submission deadline is JULY 21, 2008.

For complete submission guidelines see the attachment and go to:

ONE INCH PUNCH!!! is back with another one night stand of original artwork on one inch buttons. Send us your design for a one inch button and the top 50 will be displayed in our gallery show in one of the most unique events of the year.

It's free to submit your artwork and free to participate in the show if you're chosen. In fact, if you're one of the artists chosen for One Inch Punch!!!, we'll give you five copies of your button for free!

The night of the show we welcome you to come and see the hottest button designs where buttons will be available for purchase in random packages of five. Didn't get the button you wanted? Feel free to trade with other button pushers at the show. Last year, trading was fierce, so brush up on your bargaining skills!

Please feel free to forward this email to any of your friends who might be interested, and whether you submit or not, we'd love you to come to the show on Friday, August 8th, 2008 at Lennox Contemporary Gallery (12 Ossington Ave).

SHOP CRAFTY: Harbord Street Sale (July 19)

Jodi of Jodes Jewels sent along this notice for a street sale in a couple of weeks:

harbord street sale 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

VENDOR CALL: One of a Kind 2009 Spring and Christmas Show (November 27 to December 7)


One of a Kind 2009 Spring and Christmas Show and Sale Applications Are Now Online!


Christmas 2008 – November 27 to December 7

Spring 2009 – April 1 to April 5

Christmas 2009 – November 26 to December 6

All shows will take place at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto.


Since 1975, the One of a Kind Show is Canada's foremost marketplace for quality art, craft and design. With over 200, 000 qualified and loyal shoppers attending our events annually, One of a Kind is an excellent platform to strengthen your profile, to expose your work and to expand your customer base.

Additionally, One of a Kind is committed in showcasing the diverse talents of our exhibitors. We put together a multifaceted advertising campaign that spans print, radio, television and the Internet. We also reinforce our marketing strategies with a full time publicist working directly with the media to secure press coverage for both the Shows and Artisans!


Download your application to both the One of a Kind 2009 Spring and Christmas Shows at For more information, please contact Valérie Roy at 416-960-4514 or


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SUPPLY YOUR HABIT: Craft-tacular Lawn Sale (June 28, rain date: June 29)

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Saturday June 28th
425 Brunswick Ave
9am - Mid Afternoon.
Rain Date: Sunday June 29th

Jennifer of All Things Jenuine will be having a lawn sale next Saturday (June 28th) at 425 Brunswick Ave with TONS of quality craft-related goodies that she is forced to get rid of because she is moving. Whatever your craft of choice, you'll probably find something that suits you.

Look out for:

-Over 60 craft books on all types of craft
-Lots of wool
-Scrapbooking Supplies
-15 Bags of Beads and Findings
-Origami Paper
-Needlepoint "how-to" Kits
-Knitting "how-to" Kits
-Bags of wire
-Paper craft supplies
-Crochet supplies
-Kids craft supplies

And lots more!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Bookmark Project 2008: Insert (deadline: Oct. 1, show: Oct. 30 - Nov. 10)

The Bookmark Project 2006: Epoch (showcase detail). Photo: Isaac Applebaum.
The Bookmark Project 2006: Epoch (showcase detail). Photo: Isaac Applebaum.

Deadline for Submissions: October 1, 2008

The Bookmark Project 2008: Insert

Part of FLEX… an ongoing program of site-works and interventions
organized by the Koffler Gallery of the Koffler Centre of the Arts

October 30 to November 10, 2008

Guest Curator: Liya HyunJoo Choi
Held in conjunction with the Koffler Centre of the Arts 32nd Annual Jewish Book Fair

About the Bookmark Project

For the seventh year in a row, the Koffler Gallery is organizing The Bookmark Project, an intervention of artist-designed bookmarks concurrent with the annual Jewish Book Fair organized by the Koffler Centre of the Arts. This year's theme, Insert, explores the interplay between the reader and the bookmark in the act of reading. The reader inserts him/herself into a book, activating it with their emotions, memories, and thoughts. When the reader pauses, the act of inserting a bookmark tangibly signals a temporary exit while simultaneously indexing the point of re-entry into the text. As an insert, the bookmark becomes a place holder for the reader's hands, eyes, and thoughts, marking territory and preserving their intimate relationship with the book. Denoting the reader's absence, the bookmark's presence echoes their memory inside the book. Upon returning, the reader once again replaces the bookmark in order to immerse back into the text. The act of reading therefore proceeds in the continual interchange between the reader and the bookmark, initiated and sustained by the process of 'inserting'.

Both unique bookmarks and multiples created by fine art students and practicing artists will be introduced into the 8,000 books on display during the Koffler 32nd Annual Jewish Book Fair held from October 30 to November 10, 2008. The event draws an attendance of approximately 10,000. The bookmarks will also be on display in the Koffler Gallery showcase through November.


Bookmarks for the intervention should be functional and should not damage or scratch the books on display. Artists are requested to submit two original bookmarks: one for the public intervention that will not be returned, and one for display in the showcase. Artists whose bookmarks are selected for this project will receive a nominal artist fee, determined by the number of participating artists and issued by mail within 30 days of the close of the exhibition.

Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2008

Results will be announced shortly afterwards.
For more information, please see
or contact Liya HyunJoo Choi at

NERD CRAFT: InterAccess Summer Workshop Series (July-Sept dates)

Some very cool sounding workshops from InterAccess. For full listings see their website.


Registration is now open for the InterAccess Summer Workshop Series

InterAccess's Interactive Art Workshop Series provides artists with the tools needed to begin exploring the creative uses of technology. Participants gain a solid technical foundation for realizing their artistic vision. This summer, we are happy to introduce a new type of workshop to our roster: our $19.99 party nites! Pay only $19.99 for these workshops, plus you get a free drink to help cool you off on those hot summer evenings. With a combination of our staple workshops and our workshop party nites, there is something for everyone. Here's to a summer of cement floor studios (i.e a cool place to hang out), fun projects and of course, a little bit of learning!

Pinhole Photography with Control: Low Tech, High Science ... and a little bit of Math
Date: Thursday, July 31, 7-10pm
Cost: $45 (member) $60 (non member)
Instructor: Dave Kemp
The ultimate in camera hacking, pinhole photography allows you to make cameras out of just about anything and frees you from the limitations (and costs) inherent in using a manufactured camera.

Circuit Etching
Date: Thursday, August 7, 6-10pm
Cost: $60 (members) $75 (non members)
Instructors: Jess Brouse and Luis Hernandez
Bring your newly-created circuit artwork to life with green bubbly acid! Mmm, bubbly!

DIY Projector
Date: Thursday, August 14, 7-10pm
Cost: $19.99 plus a free drink
Instructor: Jess Brouse
Build your very own LCD projector for a pixel of the price! Turn an overhead projector into a video projecting machine in this fun and quirky workshop.

Atari Punk Console
Date: Wednesday, August 20, 7-10pm
Cost: $19.99 plus a free drink
Instructor: Rob Cruickshank
This is an ideal workshop for those who have know some electronics, but would like to pick up some fabrication skills. We'll learn how to solder, and along the way, we'll build the classic Forrest M. Mims circuit now commonly known as the Atari Punk Console.

Frame Frame
Date: Thursday, September 4, 7-10pm
Cost: $19.99 plus a free drink
Instructor: Stan Krzyzanowski
Have some fun making animations with simple stop-action and time-lapse techniques, using images from digital cameras, scanners and screen captures.

Date: Saturday, September 6 and Sunday September 7, 12-4pm both days
Cost: $120 (members) $150 (non members)
Instructor: Jessica Field
Get in touch with your sensitive side, and learn how to incorporate motion, light, touch and other sensors in your works. This course teaches students how to use sensors in their media works. The course is designed to help students to overcome the intimidation of electronics by encouraging a playful attitude to help deal with the pitfalls of dealing with the medium.

To register, please contact Jennifer Cherniack at jennifer(dot)cherniack(at)interaccess(dot)org, or call her at 416 599 7206 ex 25. Fees are to be paid in CASH, CHEQUE or through PAYPAL only. InterAccess reserves the right to cancel or reschedule workshops with a full refund.

Need more info? Full course descriptions, including prerequisites, what to bring, material fees and instructor bios can be found at:

Monday, June 23, 2008

CRAFT SHOW: Kid Icarus at Pedestrian Sunday

A note from Kensignton cuties, Kid Icarus:


Kid Icarus is hosting a craft sale on Sunday June 29th during Kensington's Pedestrian Sunday from 12 noon until 6pm. Come out and meet some of our consigners and other crafty people from around the city.

If you are interested in selling stuff and have a spare fold-up table sitting around, send us an email and we can add you to the event.

We still have space for crafters to sell their crafty goods, Please feel free to contact us!

Mike & Bianca


The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is coming up in mid-July (as you may have read here) and over the next few weeks TCA will be featuring interviews with a few great craft artists participating in the show. This first one is with embroidery artist Katie Dutton, who spoke with Amy Borkwood about process and meaning in her work.

Katie at a show

Can you tell me a little about the process of your work?

I work primarily from photographs, so a big part of my work is collecting images. I have an ever growing collection of old snapshots, reference books and other random visual materials that I select from when I decide to start a new piece or series. Once I've picked my image and played with it in Photoshop I sew a thin outline drawing based on the sketch. Then I set to building up the colours and textures with layers and layers of thread, going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth with a standard sewing machine. Colour selection is a major aspect of my work, because - unlike painting, where you can mix whatever colour you need - my selection is limited to whatever thread I can find at my local fabric store.

Catwoman. Thread on denim, 12.5" x 16", 2007

How did you become interested in embroidery? What compels you to use embroidery within your work?

I learned to sew at a young age from my mother, who always had a sewing machine around. Later, while in University, I attempted to tackle sewing a picture of a moose, with texture and three-dimensionality on my machine. I wanted the moose to have the consistency of a patch, so I spent nine hours fussing over my first attempt, and I have been experimenting with the technique ever since. I really liked the stark quality and interesting texture of the image, which lends itself especially well to animal fur. I get inspired by my old girl-guide patches that have a single image like a campfire, or a fireman’s hat that represents an accomplishment and tells a story through a simple picture. My work tends to adopt this strategy - a basic portrait on a blank background - so that the viewer is free to create a story for the subject.

Rotary Club Tournament - Third Place. Thread on denim, 12" x 12", 2007

Some of your series are related in theme - Trophies, Top Prize, and Sports Heroes, among others. Can you explain your interest in the idea of the trophy, the top prize, the hero?

As I mentioned above, many of my images come from old snapshots that I find at flea markets and in junk stores. The people featured in these pictures are utterly anonymous - no one knows anything about them except that one day they had a picnic, or shot a deer, or went to a Christening. I think, then, that a lot of my work involves bringing these people out of obscurity, in a way, by making them champions of small things. If I met any of these people I would hope that they would say "thanks, you made my moustache look really huge". Of course, the conversation would more likely go like this: "oohhhh, I'm dead".

Along with traditional gallery exhibitions, you have also participated in art/craft shows alongside artists, artisans, and craftspeople. Do you find that your work blurs these categories - fine art and craft?

I think that the line between those two worlds is awfully blurry and I don't worry too much about which category my work falls into. I enjoy the fact that, because I work in a variety of media (painting, silk-screen, and embroidery), I get to straddle both sides of the fence. Craft shows allow me to experiment with smaller, more affordable pieces and connect with an arts community that can be hard to find after you leave school. I think it's becoming more and more common for people to do both arts and crafts, and that's gone a long way toward eroding the line between the two.

The Flash. Thread on denim, 12.5" x 16", 2007

View more of Katies’ work on her website. Her pieces will be available for oogling & purchase at the upcoming Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition from July 11-13 at Nathan Phillips Square.


Amy Borkwood is a bookbinder and freelance arts-writer living in Toronto. Her bookworks can be found at her online shop, Nightjar Books.


Another great interview by our Montreal correspondent, Pamela....

Ariadne Knits
Interview by Pamela Grimaud

Mary Jackson and Molly Ann Rothschild, owners of Ariadne

Knitting partners in crime Molly Ann Rothschild and Mary Jackson opened Ariadne Knits in December, 2007 in the hopping and historical St. Henri neighborhood, nestled just south-west of downtown Montreal, in December of 2007. Since then the shop has become a gathering place for crafty sorts and tea drinkers of all stripes. Store happenings range from scheduled classes and workshops to out-of-the-ordinary special events; the June calendar features a "non-wool yarn tasting" and knitting with a strawberry shortcake chaser later in the month. Visit the Ariadne blog for details, and always save room for dessert.

One of the first things that strikes me about Ariadne, both in its physical space and as a community resource, is how open and welcoming it is. Based on the bi-weekly Thursday knit nights I've attended, your shop attracts lots of wonderful, creative people, some beginners and others who are highly skilled and accomplished crafters. Your classes, too, boast instructors who have very diverse and impressive backgrounds. Was promoting the crafts of knitting, spinning and crochet, that is serving as a (place) to bring craft and people together in the community, something you aspired to in opening your shop? Come to think of it, what prompted you (and your partners? Name partners here, if so!) to open Ariadne?

Well, thanks! Absolutely my partner (Mary Jackson) and I really wanted to promote community in the knitting world, and the best way to do that was to create a space where people could feel free to come and hang out. I’m a big proponent of the idea that there is no wrong way to knit, and that knitting is a skill that one will never totally master. I’ve been knitting for more than 25 years and I still learn new things regularly—and what better way to learn new things than to spend time with other people who are doing the same kinds of crafts.

Why open a yarn store? We felt that there was a place in the market for yarns that weren’t available in Montreal and so we brought them in and found a place to sell them. Also, both of us had come to the conclusion that we weren’t really happy having a boss to report to every day. Now we’re our own bosses . . . and we fire each other regularly just to keep us on our toes.


I am curious about how you've you come to learn about the talented folk who teach, offer workshops and design for Ariadne? Is there a Montreal knitting grapevine that led you to them, or vice-versa? I'm particularly smitten with Jennie Eveleigh Lamond and her stuffed zoo creatures patterns...

Mary and I met through the Montreal Knits Yahoo group, and that’s where we met Jennie and most of our designers and instructors. Others kinda found us . . . which is the benefit of having a store where people feel comfortable coming and hanging out. We like to teach and design too, but there are only so many hours in a day so we’re more than happy to share.

You grew up in Vancouver. What brought you to Montreal, and what made you choose St. Henri as a location for Ariadne?

The two things aren’t really related as it turns out . . . I came to Montreal in 1987 to go to McGill (a lifetime ago, now) and just stayed. What’s not to like about Montreal? (Or, rather, what’s not to like that can’t be smoothed over by a really good Montreal meal?) After I graduated, I worked in the film industry for 11 years before Ariadne was even a twinkle in my eye. In there I took a hiatus from knitting, and about four years ago now I reconnected with the craft and found the knitting community in Montreal.

Mary and I opened the store in St Henri mostly because when we were looking around for a location we liked the space. It just feels good in this store—it has good energy. I know that sounds flaky, but it’s true nonetheless. I’ve been known to just hang out long after the store is closed to knit or spin or even read here. It was a grocery store at one time, and we found an old enamel Red Rose tea advertising plaque from the ‘40’s under about eight layers of paint on the inside front door. More practically, the location is close to both main metro lines, and it’s fairly close to where we each live.


How do you determine which products to carry in the shop? How much do considerations such as brand popularity, price point and local availability factor in? How much as trial and error helped in determining which products and services you wish to offer through the shop?

We’ve determined which products to carry based on three major principles: What can we bring in that isn’t otherwise available here, can we find products that are free-trade or organic, and what do we lust over and want to have for our own nefarious purposes. We’re still in the trial phase, I think, so it isn’t obvious what errors we’ve made. No doubt we’ve made one or two, and at some point will be sitting around remarking on what idiots we were.

With the internet, brands are important because people can read blogs or look at Ravelry and find out what other people are knitting with—that said, I won’t stock something that might be popular but isn’t a quality product. We try to bring in a range of prices, but it’s hard to offer really inexpensive yarn without sacrificing quality. In terms of classes, we’ll just keep offering them, and if people are interested we’ll keep offering them. We’re brainstorming some new ideas for fall classes now.

You've been in business for less than a year, and I imagine the learning curve is steep. What have been some of the biggest challenges, delights and surprises of starting your own business? Any words of wisdom to share with those dreaming of doing the same?

The learning curve is indeed steep, but we’ve taken it one step at a time. The biggest challenge so far was honestly at Ikea, trying to choose furniture and load it into a mini-van in the rain with a bunch of professional Ikea-mover guys watching us and not offering to help. We’re still working through the best ways to organize paperwork, display inventory, etc. etc. etc., but the one issue at a time approach is good for us. Mary and I talk a great deal, and have a really good working relationship. If either of us has a concern or a problem or whatever we make sure to bring it up, get it out in the open and work it through.

The best and by far the most rewarding part about opening this business has been the sheer niceness of people in the neighborhood and in the knitting community at large. It’s very rewarding to teach someone to knit and have them come back and learn new skills, come to the knitting meetings and meet other people.

Surprise-wise? I still don’t really feel like a grown-up. Also, I didn’t really believe that one day it would be my job to take pictures of a knitted giraffe. Live and learn!

I’m not sure I have a lot of advice for those who wish to do what we’re doing, actually. Don’t go crazy buying stock, and choose a location you can both afford and want to spend time in. Make sure you choose a good business partner and talk about EVERYTHING before you spend any money.


What are your hopes and dreams for the shop down the line, from the mundane to pie-in-the-sky?

Our mundane hopes are simply to make a decent go of Ariadne, to turn her into a money generating enterprise. Realistically we don’t expect to get rich doing this, but I think we can totally expect to make enough to run a great store. Of course we’d like to continue building community in Montreal, and bringing people together to learn new skills and have a good time doing it.

Crazy pipe dreams? A craft complex. Like a small and selective Michaels plus a small and selective Jo-Ann’s, but higher-end. In a fabulous Victorian mansion, with store space on the ground floor and offices and studios upstairs. And a manservant to make the tea and do the accounting.

What is your favourite ice cream?

Gosh, I don’t know if they have it this year, but Meu Meu on St. Denis made this caramel with black sea salt last year that was so good I couldn’t believe I was eating it. I’m all over the salty and sweet right now, so when in doubt a chocolate peanut-butter does nicely.


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!


so I got some crafty work done this weekend while gallery sitting for a friend, and even checked out the new Queen West Market Saturday morning. it's a great spot and i have a feeling it's going to be a pretty awesome little market when people start going every weekend, and since it's indoors, it will be there even over the winter.
i still didn't get any work done on my quilting project... oh dear...
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.

Friday, June 20, 2008

SHOP CRAFTY: Grand Opening of Queen West Market (June 21)

As if you didn’t have enough things you want to check out this weekend…


Grand Opening of Queen West Market
1100 Queen Street
Saturday June 21 from 10am-6pm.

Queen West Market is a new addition to the Queen West community (in the space above 69 Vintage & The Social where SPIN gallery used to be). It is a year round indoor market made up of over 35 vendors as well as a farmer's market area. The market will have a wide range of art, fashion, antiques, crafts, gourmet food and more!

Open every Saturday and Sunday, 10 - 6 all year round.


CRAFTY HAPPENING: Craftification at the Art Gallery of Mississauga (July 1)

A note from Leah, Reverend Mother of the Toronto Church of Craft:


The Toronto Church of Craft is teaming up with the Art Gallery of Mississauga for their Canada Day events. We'll be transforming the concrete landscape (or, a chunk of it) outside the gallery into a craftified 'green' space. Oh yeah, with kids!!

This'll include greening the concrete, hanging pennants, sewing, knitting, & crocheting cozies for surrounding metal poles and structures, and just allowing art to be created and placed in the landscape.

For those unfamiliar with the outdoors surrounding the gallery - it is located across the street from Square One Shopping Centre. Not exactly 'lovely'.

Come out, help out, or just show up and watch suburban kids realise that there's more to downtown than malls and cement.

This will all happen on July 1 from 10am to 2pm in front of the Mississauga Gallery of Art, 300 City Centre Drive. As mentioned, this is across the street from Square One Shopping Centre.

VENDOR CALL: Kids Trunk Show at the workroom (deadline: July 11, show: August 17)

Here's an opportunity to vend at a double trouble trunk show/craft fair hosted by City of Craft (at Good Catch) & the workroom...this call is for kid-focused makers for the workroom portion of the show. Please contact Karyn if you're interested.

trunk workroom
Spring Thing Trunk Show at the workroom

On Sunday August 17th, the workroom & City of Craft will be hosting a 'Kid's Trunk Show' here in the shop. There will also be a craft fair set up at The Good Catch General Store, kid's craft workshops and other fun kiddie-related events planned. We're looking for 15 vendors to sell their kid-related handmade items out of vintage suitcases at the show. Applications will be accepted until July 11th. To apply please email with your name, contact information, written description of the items you plan to sell and 3 jpegs of your work. Vendor fee for the event is only $15. Decisions will be based on how well your items fit with the 'Kid's Trunk Show' theme, quality and individuality of your wares and originality (we will be limiting the number of vendors per category). I encourage you to forward this information to anyone you know who makes kid-related wares or even kids who are making amazing crafts. I would love to debut a few young crafters at the show.

GET SCHOOLED: Vessels & Hollow Formed Beads workshop at TANK (September 13&14)

TANK fire + metal are offering a specialized workshop for intermediate & advanced glasswork students:

heather trimlet tank

Also very important, we will have one full scholarship seat available for this class - details about how to apply are on our blog.

Heather Trimlett has been teaching for almost 15 years and I can testify that she is a great teacher and really fun personality. She is extremely good at what she does and will be able to teach us all a thing or two! This will be Heather's premiere Canadian teaching stop and we're especially happy to have her come visit from sunny California.

Also this will be our first class in our new and improved space, yes we are moving... movin' on up! So every student in this class will also get a special goody bag of treats during class to help celebrate. In case you haven't herd the rumors we will be moving down the hall to a larger & brighter space as of Aug 01 2008, YAY!

TANK fire + metal
103, Bldg 74, 55 Mill St.
The Distillery District
Toronto, ON. M5A 3C4

Thursday, June 19, 2008

HELP WANTED: Volunteers for the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (July 11-13)

TOAE shot

The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is coming up on July 11-13 and they have a variety of volunteer positions available during the three days of the exhibition. These include working at the registration desk, information and merchandise booths, security/ traffic monitoring and exhibition section rounds.

Description of position:
The TOAE would not be possible without the generous help from numerous enthusiastic volunteers who provide information and support both to exhibiting artists and to visitors. For more information and a full description of volunteer positions, please contact the office directly.

July 11 from 10am-8pm
July 12 from 10am-7pm
July 13 from 10am-6pm

Time commitment:
Each volunteer shift is between 2 and 4 hours. Volunteers are welcome to sign
up for as many shifts as they wish.

Interested volunteers should contact Exhibition Coordinator Lauren Goldman by
email ( or phone (416-408-2754).

About TOAE:
Now in its 47th year, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE) is a juried showcase featuring contemporary fine art and craft that takes place on Nathan Phillips Square every July. The largest outdoor art exhibition in Canada, the TOAE offers a fresh-air alternative to conventional art shows and galleries. Approximately 500 artists participate and over 100,000 visitors attend the exhibition every year. Side by side, established artists, undiscovered talents and innovative students sell their work directly to the public.

Organization website:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

GET SCHOOLED: Summer Art Camp for kids (July dates)

Summer art camps 08

Click here to enlarge

For the entire month of July, LucSculpture is pleased to present Summer Art Camps 2008.

Please note that LucSculpture Clay Studio is open in August for kids, parents and all clay lovers.

Lucsculpture School & Studios
LucSculter Skol ha Studius (Breton)
416 461 7936
663 Greenwood Avenue
Second building north of the Danforth
Toronto Ontario M4J 4B3
Relief through creativity

VENDOR CALL: St. Clair Artwalk - various opportunities to show & sell your work (Sept. 27 &28)


The 2008 St. Clair ARTWALK will run September 27th and 28th. The expected attendance is 3000+, and rumour has it sales are great for artists at this show.

There are a number of opportunities to sell & show your work at this event. Please follow the links below for more info…

Call for Artists - St.Clair ARTWALK Art Market


Call for STUDIO TOUR Artists in the St. Clair West Area

Call for Emerging Artists for ARTWALK 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

FROM THE DESK OF TCA: Streetknit & TCA at BIG on Bloor (June 21) HELP WANTED!

Next weekend (Sat. June 21st) TCA will be doing outreach at the BIG on Bloor Festival alongside a whole bunch of neat-o arts & community groups and craft businesses (Table K18 in the block from Ossington to Shaw). We'll have some cute new TCA merch for sale, are offering a bookbinding activity courtesy of Nightjar Books at around 5pm, and have teamed up with the kids of Streetknit to present a Community Blanket Making activity and chat about housing issues from 2-3pm.

Knitters & other yarnsmiths take note: we could really use your help with this last activity as we have invited a bunch of politicians & community leaders to join us, and while some of them may be handy with the sticks & string, many will probably need your guidance in crafting a piece of the blanket. If you are interested in volunteering your knitting or crocheting skills between 2-3pm June 21st, please get in touch with TCA here.

Also, we need your yarn, needles & hooks! Please contact Ryan if you have stash you can spare.

Here is the full deal on the Community Blanket activity if you are interested in participating or coming to hang out:

Toronto Craft Alert and Streetknit present:

How is Poverty Unmade?
A Community Blanket Making.

Portrait of a Streetknit Knit-in by the People & Values knitclub at Maritz Canada Inc.

On June 21rst, between 2 and 3pm, Toronto Craft Alert and Streetknit will host a community blanket-making and informal discussion on Toronto homelessness, affordable housing and shelters at the Big on Bloor festival.

Our table K18 will be located on Bloor between Ossington and Shaw.

Community members are encouraged to come out, to knit a panel for our blanket, to be pieced together and donated to a suitable shelter or homelessness service provider. Don't know how to knit? No prob! People will be on hand to teach you how.

As part of that, we are inviting folks, knitters, community leaders, people with experience in issues regarding Toronto's homelessness-situation, affordable housing shortage and shelter-situation, to not only take part in the blanket making, but join us for informal, moderated discussion. We have invited many politicians and community activists, from the city, from community-based organizations, and some have already confirmed they will be on hand to answer your questions related to our continued crisis of homelessness in this city.

Many of us don't understand the exact tangle between the three levels of governments, and the various issues which contribute to the challenge in resolving the continued exacerbation to the living conditions of Toronto's most marginalized. We intend this community blanket-making and informal speak as a way of getting concerned citizens, sub-ideologically and respectfully, up to speed. There will also be media invited to take part.

One sees in the knitting community that it is an issue that concerns people across all stripes, we have seen knitting-drives in offices, in high schools, in churches, in knit shops, spanning age, ethnicity and class.

What do we need before the big event?

O, you gentle craftsperson:

1.) Volunteer knitting instructors!
Teach your provincial and municipal leaders what deft authority goes into a single stitch.

2.) Needles!
Currently, I have a lot of mismatched ones. Wanna unload your stash?

3.) Wool!
Unfathomably, we found a home for all those garbage bags full that you've donated to us over the year! Thanks o boundless sheep of basement and attic. And all of those whom we had to modestly discourage from giving us anymore: we'll take some now, please.

4.) Volunteer moderator!
Want to read some questions off a page, combining your budding community activist skills with your hard knitters stance? To be an MC among the clacking of needles? To ask those questions that burn the gentle weave of the mind? ok. thanks. Apply Within.

5.) Your questions!
Undoubtedly, there is will in the community to see change. Undoubtedly a lot of people are flummoxed by the character and colour of the problem. What do you want to know from your community leaders and homelessness-service providers about what's being done to alleviate the crisis with housing in this city.

Send us your questions, and barring incomprehensibility or totally a poison pen (we don't think you would, just letting you know the informal limits are for the discussion to be respectful), we guarantee them a reading!

6.) Do you have something to contribute to the discussion on poverty?
First hand knowledge of the field? Or, perhaps, firsthand knowledge of homelessness or, as we icily and euphemistically put it, living as marginally housed? Drop us a line. We'd love to have you on our blanket making panel (get it, get it!)

Thanks and we hope to see you there!


Toronto Craft Alert