Monday, April 27, 2015

Truth and magic

"Love is the meeting point of truth and magic. Truth, as in photography; magic, as in ballooning.” 
Julian Barnes

(Photographer Jakob Wagner offers a birds eye view of Germany's agricultural geometry.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Boarding House Arts Incubator

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 studio residency at Boarding House Arts.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Artist in the Community

September always feels like a starting point for me. The excitement of a new school year mixes together with the cooler air and abundant root vegetables and something just clicks into gear. My energy levels soar and I start creating extensive to-do lists. And then September 11th arrives. What a buzz kill. Those pesky evil-doers sure know how to squash my momentum.

So yesterday I decided to distract myself with something inspiring; I ventured down to the West End Community Centre to see what Pearl Van Geest was up to. Her 'Territory of Sensation' project has been running all summer, and I knew that if I didn't pick up the pace, I'd miss it entirely. (if you hadn't heard,  this is part of the City of Guelph's new 'Artist in the Community' initiative) 

After reviewing an extensive blue print of the property, we ventured out to explore the naturalized area that sits just east of Fire Hall Station #4. Pearl and her daughter Ieva set me up with some paint, mylar, and brushes and off I went. I selected an area to focus on, pulling inspiration from the vibrant asters, goldenrod, and oak trees surrounding a large pond. 

On a day usually focused on deconstruction, what a dream it was to be amongst the flora and fauna, sketching, layering and creating. My piece below (along with the work of all other participants) will be pieced together, printed on three large plexi panels and displayed at the WECC. I'm thinking it'll be pretty darn fantastic.

(psst...there's still a few more opportunities for you to contribute to this collaborative art project! Workshops will be held on September 13,14, 26, 27 and 28 from 10:30am-12:30pm.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Celebrating excellence

A beautiful set of videos has been released to highlight the 2014 winners of The Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts. So incredibly well the tactile quality in this segment about Sandra Brownlee, and the sunlight that pours over her loom. These awards celebrate creative excellence, but also offer a glimpse into the mind (and in this case, studio) of an artist.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Victory Art Crawl installation begins

Eeekk! We have less than a week to install 300+ pieces of children's artwork! Planning reached a feverish pitch earlier today when one of our venues removed paintings from their walls because, in their words, it "isn't really the look we are going for'. Ahh, so sad for them. If only they knew that heartfelt creativity isn't about matching paint to wallpaper. We've really tried to emphasise the idea of community outreach with this project, which makes the actions of this anonymous eatery all the more disappointing. On a more positive note, the DGBA hooked us up with Jason at Skyline, and he offered us a fantastic space beside the newly renovated Gummer Building. We spent the morning unloading artwork into our soon-to-be kiddie pop up gallery. Tomorrow morning we tackle the Wooly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 2: Kandinsky

When the talented folks at Guelph School of Art presented their class outline to us, they ensured art history was one of the key learning components. Each class would first learn about one of the masters, and their techniques would then be applied as the students created their very own masterpiece.

Wassily Kandinsky is considered by many to be the founder of the abstract art movement, and his love of shape, colour and repetition is evident in 'Colour Studies: Squares and Concentric Circles'. What a perfect project for a kindergarten class! Here you can see a photo of my little guy, Ben, working away on his painting while Kaili Elmhurst illustrates Kandinsky's technique to the students at Victory Public School.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Victory Art Project: Day 1

After months of planning, the art project at Victory Public School has finally started! Back in January, four parents approached the school with an simple idea: bring a few hours of art instruction into each classroom, exhibit the finished pieces downtown, making them available for purchase with the money being donated to local charities.

We were thrilled when Guelph School of Art agreed to lead the art-making, and day 1 proved that they're not only a talented bunch, but endlessly patient and quick on their feet.

This project not only aims to provide fun and practical art instruction to students, but to also expand the children's understanding of 'community'. We can encourage our kids to be engaged, empowered, and creative...even while they're still in grade school. Below are a few pics from the day...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Guelph's Culture Map

Back in February 2012, I was hired by the City of Guelph to work on the Cultural Mapping Project. My past experience in developing the One of a Kind Show database became a huge asset, both in building the culture map's initial framework and in connecting with artists, businesses and cultural organizations. I was thrilled to be establishing new relationships within the community, but this time (finally!) on a local level. Working for the city and with Giant Goat was an incredible experience. For months, I was immersed in a world of occupational classification systems, data collection forms, excel spread sheets, keywords, and links to other wacky maps that I referred to as models to adopt...or avoid. Here are a few of my favourites that were collected/bookmarked along the way:

Thursday, November 01, 2012


This past June, Cadence Progressive Contemporary Ballet performed as a part of 2012 Guelph Dance Festival. Their outdoor performance was brought indoors due to rain, and my late arrival forced me to sit up front with the media photographers. I'm normally a 'back of the bus' kind of gal, but my prime location gave me access to the best possible vantage.  This photo was snapped on my iPhone using TiltShift Gen, a free and surprisingly impressive app that allows for saturation and contrast adjustments, as well as vignetting. One lucky shot was transformed into a complex study in light, movement and contrast. I'm particularily pleased with the composition and colour; how the warm textured floor plays against the cool, angular dancers. (and look at those legs!) "Perform" was selected to be a part of the guelPhonography exhibition at Guelph Civic Museum, which runs until November 18. You've got a bit of time...go have a look!

Monday, January 02, 2012

The year in review

For me, 2011 will go down as being one of the most educational...I learned oodles about non-profit board governance, estate planning, dementia, bookkeeping, home heating systems, and community politics...all far more exciting (and complex) than you'd think! I lost a few things (gallbladder, car keys, a few colleagues) found a few things (old photos, car keys, courage) and made a few things (a killer cassoulet, hand thrown pottery, friends, tshirts, knitted rectangles).

I'm most proud of my first ever published essay for the Powerplay: Surroundings exhibition at Thames Art Gallery, my work with the OCC and my time spent volunteering (both with the Guelph Arts Council and with my dad). I'm also really proud of some of the photos I was lucky enough to capture:

Monday, December 05, 2011

Bring Q to Guelph

Open letter to CBC Radio Q;
After 14 years living in Toronto’s west end, my lovie and I moved to Guelph in 2003. With nothing luring us here, it was a bold experiment in living better. We knew of Guelph and believed in its reputation as an arts-friendly town where musicians, painters, writers, craftspeople, dancers, actors, designers, chefs, visionaries and creative entrepreneurs lived, worked and thrived.  With lovely architecture, fantastic restaurants and an outstanding university, we agreed Guelph was the place we would like to call home.

Communities that foster this type of reputation aren’t built overnight. It takes decades of nurturing, hard work, expertise, innovative ideas and open hearts. It takes mountains of volunteer hours, boat loads of cooperation, and thoughtful collaboration. It also takes a great deal of generosity.

Guelph (or ‘G-Spot’ as we’re affectionately known) is a city full of heart that fosters creativity from the ground up. We have the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, Guelph Jazz Festival, the Festival of Moving Media, Guelph Little Theatre and the Guelph Symphony Orchestra. Guelph is responsible for producing an astounding 21 Order of Canada recipients including the beloved children’s author Robert Munsch and world renowned metalsmith Lois Etherington Betteridge…both of whom still live here today. Guelph is home to one of the oldest arts council’s in all of Ontario, and the legendary Ed Video Media Arts Centre. 

Our babies attend Nuit Blanche and our elders recycle goods at Hillside. Wander the streets and you’ll find studio tours, farmers markets, spoken word, Drink and Draw, Fourth Fridays and a city hall that credits arts & culture as their fourth pillar of sustainability. The town's mascot is a bronze sculpture named 'Begging Bear' often sporting a feather boa. Indeed, Bjork would feel right at home.

The Q team does a fantastic job of revealing elements of secret beauty that usually remain hidden. Guelph is the obvious destination for your next live audience show, yet if you Bring Q to Guelph, even you'll be surprised at the discoveries you will find.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fourth Fridays Guelph

Have you heard about Fourth Fridays? Think Culture Days meets Nuit Blanche meets the Jazz Festival meets the Studio Tour meets art on the street. But with restaurants, local businesses and downtown residents thrown into the mix. It's an urban cultural mash-up you won't want to miss! Visit for all the juicy details, and mark your calendars for the launch on Friday, October 28. Boo-ya!

Friday, May 20, 2011

CultureCamp Guelph

Waterloo Region has a number of really cool and creative community initiatives going on (check out Ideas Transform) and ever since I attended Culture Camp at Kitchener City Hall in 2009, I've been trying to think of ways to bring the same type of event to Guelph. As fantastic as we are, I think we can do even better.

I decided to bring the idea to a brainstorming session with a number of other local orgs, and to my pleasant surprise, my colleagues were game!

CultureCamp Guelph will take place on May 25 from 2-4pm at the River Run, followed by a few friendly beverages between 4-5pm. It's an ‘unconference’ – a participant driven workshop that brings members of the creative community together to engage, learn and collaborate. This event is meant to generate new ideas and uncover a shared purpose regarding the local arts community, and more specifically, for Culture Days.

Many thanks go to Brock Hart for providing both the inspiration and encouragement...and for allowing us to adopt the name. CultureCamp Guelph is a free event! Everyone is welcome! Bring your fresh ideas, your business cards and your enthusiasm!

Friday, April 08, 2011

col·lab·o·ra·tion [kuh-lab-uh-rey-shuhn]

noun To partner; cooperate; work together; recognize shared needs; work towards acheiving common goals. An understanding that the collective whole of the community is greater than the needs of the individual.

The Ontario Crafts Council recently partnering with CARFAC Ontario to see if we could collectively broaden our reach. As two provincial arts orgs based out of the GTA, we're both looking to expand our regional membership without increasing our workload so we decided to present workshops together to make a greater impact. (And on the practical side, we now don't have two organisations doing all the same hard work twice, which saves time and money. Non-profits really like that!)

The OCC will also be collaborating with the Guelph Arts Council, the City of Guelph, the Cultural Careers Council of Ontario and the Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre to host the very first CultureCamp Guelph. Based on Brock Hart's fantastically successful KW CultureCamp, we hope to gather all the creative thinkers of G-Spot to spark a few ideas, specifically regarding CultureDays. Stay tuned...details of date and location will be confirmed next week.

Earlier this week, I attended Guelph's Creative Spacemaking workshop at the River Run Centre. If I look back at the notes I scribbled down while Tim Jones (CEO of Artscape) was speaking, he identified their formula for success as being vision + diversity + critical mass + collaboration + development capacity = momentum. If the entire creative community is off making their own separate plans rather than focusing on how they can work together to achieve a shared goal, then all we will ever have is fragmentation. Tim Jones also stated that 'shared vision is the key to building momentum and sustainability' and 'artists spaces should not just be built for artists, they should be build for the entire community in mind'.

As Guelph moves towards solidifying our creativity in the form of a creative centre, let's all approach it in the spirit of collaboration.

Friday, April 01, 2011

About this time last week...

...I arrived at the Thames Art Gallery in Chatham, only to find the tallest ladder ever made in the history of the world. What was even more exciting, was the art being created upon, around and underneath this said ladder. Three Toronto-based artists -- Nahúm Flores, Erik Jerezano and Ilyana Martínez -- bring their improvisational skills together in the exhibition 'Zotz', running now until the end of April. For god's sake, go!

Monday, March 07, 2011

New Orleans

Last week I travelled to New Orleans with my lovie and the pickle for the biennial A&W Canada conference. My husband is an account manager at Flanagan Foodservice, so being a supplier, he had clients to visit, workshops to attend, and a trade show booth to oversee. Lucky me, I was simply there for the fun of it...aside from our group dinners, my five days in the Big Easy were schedule free.

Buskers on Bourbon Street
As a first time visitor, I proceeded with caution. Who knew what to expect post-Katrina, post-BP spill, post-recession and pre Mardi Gras? Would I be safe meandering downtown with stroller in tow? Were there streets/neighbourhoods to avoid? Would the entire NOLA population be bare chested, bead-infested and fallover drunk by lunchtime?
For the most part, the residents were gracious and welcoming, and the French Quarter and Central Business District (CBD) were completely walkable, accessible and safe during the day. Our evening excursions along Decatur, Royal, Canal and even Bourbon went without incident but after dark I'd suggest travelling in groups and assigning a semi-sober navigator for all evening excursions. I have no idea what the French Quarter is like during the rest of the year,  but there's a fair bit of madness the week leading up to Fat Tuesday.  Also, be sure to take a camera to capture all the hoopla, street musicians and fantastic architecture.

My one solo excursion sans toddler was to the Arts District, which was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel. Julia Street is a must-visit for their concentration of galleries, but be sure to check store hours beforehand. (My first three stops were greeted with locked doors.)

One big disappointment was at the New Orleans Glass Works & Printmaking Studio at 727 Magazine Street. Their retail store contained countless 'no photos allowed' and 'do not touch' signs yet all prices, artist names and bios were out of sight. When I asked the silent staff member about their pricing policy, he seemed slightly annoyed and assured me that all information was on file and available to those that asked. (alas, my retail experience tells me that for every person that asks, there will be at least 3 that simply leave the store) While those behind the scenes may have valid reasons behind their retail policies, I found it uninviting and snobby and I suspect their sales also reflect this. It's unfortunate...the work was absolutely phenominal. Had I been allowed to take a photograph, I would have posted it here on my blog.

Steve Martin Fine Art
My experience at Steve Martin Fine Art couldn't have been more different. Upon arriving, my questions were greeted with enthusiasm and I was encouraged to explore. 'Steve will be back in a few minutes. Have a look and please feel free to take as many photos as you'd like.' His bold figureative paintings were full of energy while his wire sculptures were far more delicate with the same grace as Picasso's line drawings. As Mr. Martin made his way up the stairs to the sales desk, he held out a bag and said 'You must have a cookie. I just bought them next door and they're delicious. Try one!' Clearly he's a business person who understands the importance of hospitality.

Galleries of note:
Ariodante Gallery, 535 Julia Street (contemporary craft)
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp Street (multidisciplinary)
Steve Martin Fine Art, 604 Julia (painting, sculpture)

Food, glorious food:
Cafe du Monde, 800 Decatur Street (cafe au lait et beignet = yum)
August, 301 Tchoupitoulas Street (incredible wine selection)
Nosh, 219 Canal Street (cheap n' cheerful homecooking...try the BBQ pork slider!)
Commander's Palace (outstanding service, unbelieveable cuisine and hand embroidered silk wallpaper. Try the bread pudding. And on weekdays, they have 25 cent martinis.)

Perfect for kiddies of all ages:
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, 1 Canal Street

Audubon Aquarium


Monday, January 10, 2011

Raising funds

Almost eight years ago, my lovie and I moved to Guelph because of its thriving arts community. The many painters, illustrators, musicians, designers, writers, filmmakers, chefs and photographers that surround us are the very 'creative class' that other cities crave. The Guelph Arts Council plays an important role in our city's success, and as a board member, I'd like to ask your support by purchasing a ticket to our annual fundraiser. 
'Fete Romantique' is now in its 35th year. This raffle not only offers over 25 chances to win, but each and every ticket purchase assists the Guelph Arts Council's operating budget.  As a non-profit arts organization, we make use of every single dollar by offering arts-related services, awards, by increasing awareness and developing artistic endeavors in the community.
The grand prize is a catered gourmet dinner for six served in a Guelph heritage home on February 12 (ergo the 'romantique'). Limousine transportation, onsite sommelier, and attentive wait staff add to the luxury and ensure the evening is flawless. The secondary prizes are (to me) even more appealing...Hillside Festival and Guelph Jazz Festival passes, KW Symphony tickets, gift certificates to The Bookshelf, Babel Fish Bistro, Carden Street Cafe, and With the Grain, just to name a few.
Tickets are $15 each or two for $25 and the draw date of January 27 is quickly approaching! If you would like to purchase a ticket, please contact me ASAP and I'll mail them directly to your door. 
For a full list of prizes, visit
On behalf of the Guelph Arts Council, thanks for your support!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jury Preparation for Visual Artists (and craftspeople too!)

Over the last few weeks, I've been working with the Guelph Arts Council to organize a panel discussion that would assist visual artists...but where oh where to begin? Marketing, sales, finances, health & safety? 

Clearly, there's a need to address all of the above, but we decided to start here:

Guelph Arts Council and MSAC present
Jury Preparation for Visual Artists

NEW DATE: Tuesday, February 22, 2011
MSAC Lecture Room
358 Gordon Street, Guelph

FREE (Pre-registration is mandatory. Call 519-836-3280 or email

I've sat on numerous juries and after being on the receiving end of the 'why didn't I get accepted' question, I thought a panel discussion on jury duty would be a great place to start. Let's dispell a few myths.  Let's address the questions that artists fear to ask.  Let's put the best of the best together to share their experiences and put artists at ease.  There's no reason why you shouldn't apply to a juried show or complete a grant application because of lack of knowledge or understanding.

We've got a stellar lineup of speakers and the workshop will be completely and absolutely free. Simply contact the Guelph Arts Council if you're interested in attending.

Artists and craftspeople from all disciplines are encouraged to attend this free and engaging workshop that will demystify the ever-so-fearful "Juried Application" process. Is my artist statement appropriate? Will the jury like my photos? Should my grant application contain the same information as my exhibition application?

Participants will hear from a knowledgeable panel of industry experts, and will have the opportunity to interact with fellow makers, share experiences and swap business cards. The following speakers will be present:

Greg Holman (Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition)
Greg is the Exhibition Coordinator for the TOAE. During his 25-year award-winning photography career, Greg produced international, national and regional advertising campaigns in Canada and the USA, and has exhibited his work in both Canada and Europe. Greg has assisted with key exhibitions including Ken Danby’s “Land, Water and Light”.

Lisa Wöhrle (Ontario Arts Council)
Lisa is the OAC’s Associate Visual Arts and Crafts Officer. She has also held positions in the areas of granting policy, administration and communication. Lisa has an Honours B.A. in Art and Art History from McMaster University.

Valerie Roy (One of a Kind Show)
Valerie is the Bilingual Exhibitor Relations & Recruitment Manager for the One of a Kind Show in Toronto. She deals directly with artists and craftspeople on a daily basis and has sat on juries for both the Spring and Christmas Shows, along with One of a Kind Vancouver.

Verne Harrison (Macdonald Stewart Art Centre)
Verne is the Gallery Coordinator at MSAC and an exhibiting artist. Verne was co-founder of the first student art gallery at University of Western Ontario, co-founder/coordinator of London’s Temporary City Gallery, co-founder/coordinator of AGOG Visual Arts and Media in Guelph, and has worked as the Education Assistant and Installation Supervisor of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto. He relocated to Guelph in 1992 to take the position of Preparator at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre which was then expanded to Gallery Coordinator in 1997, a position he still holds today.

Mary Calarco (Ontario Crafts Council)
I sit on the Board of Directors for the Guelph Arts Council and am the Southwestern Regional Coordinator for the Ontario Crafts Council. Before working for the OCC, I was the Marketing/Web Coordinator for the One of a Kind Show between 2001-2010.  I've sat on fine art/contemporary craft juries in both Canada and the USA. I'm an OCAD grad, artist and resident of Guelph and I'm thrilled to be acting as moderator for this discussion.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Renann Isaacs Contemporary Art

Earlier this week, an eblast courtesty of The Loop greeted me with some exciting news: Renann Isaacs, respected art consultant and former curator of the Alma Gallery, appears to be a opening new gallery in downtown Guelph.  The list of artists represented has me all aflutter and I can't wait to get my little self inside those doors.  Thank you, Renann!  Looking forward to seeing fine art and contemporary craft side by side on Quebec Street.

Friday, October 01, 2010


Culture Days at the Trafalgar Building was a big puddle of fun! Thanks to Pearl Van Geest for her inspiration, art supplies and glue-gun know-how.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Open letter to Guelph's creative community

Hello fellow Guelphite,
Yesterday, I spent the morning at Toronto’s historic Distillery District to attend the official launch of Culture Days, a cross-Canada celebration of arts and culture. Similar to the spOtlight pilot project, Culture Days will take place over the course of three days as a grassroots event that invites the public to celebrate and explore the arts in communities across the country.

Launch emcee Jian Ghomeshi reflected on his experience as a young musician, touring across the country and discovering big creativity in small towns. Smiling, he said he’s hopeful for the day when Tim Horton’s runs a commercial featuring proud parents sipping a hot cup of java as they watch their wee one perform at the ballet rather than the rink. If all goes well, Culture Days will be a “cultural Hockey Day in Canada” with just as much hoopla.

To date, I haven’t heard any mention of events taking place in Guelph, but I’d like to change that. I’m hoping that after reading this, you’ll forward it to a fellow artist, craftsperson, designer, musician, chef, actor, arts administrator, educator or policy-maker to ensure our community is buzzing with activity come September 24-26. There is no fee to register. You’re simply asked to give of yourself, share your creativity and offer a free, hands-on, interactive activity for all to enjoy. Guelph is an incredibly creative --yet strangely fragmented --city. It’d be great to see our community unified with a few unexpected collaborations along the way.

If you’re interested in registering an event or reading more about activities that are already scheduled across Canada, visit

Friday, March 05, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New year.

Dear reader,
It appears as though I've been neglecting my blog. It's been almost 8 months since I've posted and well over two years since I've composed or created anything noteworthy. I could easily blame my absence on Twitter. The thought of writing an entire paragraph now seems a bit daunting since I'm so used to pecking out no more than 140 characters at a time.
I could also use my return to work as an excuse. It was a huge shock to the system at first, but we slowly carved out a new morning routine that included the pickle. Turn off alarm at 5:45am. Get out of bed at 6am. Shower. Get dressed. Nudge husband. Pull the wee one out of his slumber. Change diaper. Select outfit. Inhale breakfast. Blowdry hair. Look for car keys. Grab purse. Throw on coat. Look for car keys. Sprint to car no later than 6:57am. Hit all red lights. Swear like a truck driver. Speed into station at 7:06am...just in time to board 7:04 train. Spend the next 8 hours wondering how to survive another day of self inflicted torture. Dash out of office at 5:12pm. Curse the TTC gods for making my life hell. Run though Union Station like a maniac. Board the 5:40pm train. Arrive in Guelph after 7pm. Speed home. Catch the tail end of dinner. Bathtime. Storytime. Bedtime. Make lunch. Eat dinner. Contemplate suicide. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
So I dusted off the old resume and started looking for a new job that would allow me to work closer to home. After 8 long years with the One of a Kind Show, I finally made the very tough decision to leave. It's so easy to become your job and for your job to become your life. Certain work environments teach you that you must work nights and weekends. You must work overtime. You must work grueling hours and you must do whatever you can in order to get the job done. When you love what you do, you're willing to loosen the slack and make a few compromises. I bought into this mentality for many years with the logic that I was simply paying my dues and eventually all of my hard work, dedication, passion and experience would bring me acceptance, recognition and of course a higher salary to make it all worthwhile. I'm here to tell you that that isn't always the case. Do what you love and follow your heart, but listen to your instincts. If you aren't conducting yourself like a well run business, perhaps it's time to do a little reassessment. You probably deserve it more than you think.
So here I am, six months into my fantastic new job with the Ontario Crafts Council. Working from home, travelling across the region, meeting other OCC members and organizing lots of fantastic programs to highlight their talent and improve their business.
But this still doesn't explain my absence online. Theoretically, I should have more time to paint, to create, to share. But I've found that since I've become a mom, my ability to be poetic and thoughtful and contemplative have all but vanished. I'm far too practical. I don't view snowbanks the way I used to. I don't consider trees as deeply. I haven't had the urge to play around in the studio.
Which leaves me wondering when it will all come back again...

Friday, May 29, 2009


Bring Your Own Burlap…or an old T-shirt, scrap of wallpaper or even a cherished love letter to use as materials in a collage. Collaborate with me in my home studio as we work together to build a composition with textures and colours. All participants will have their artwork featured on this website following the festival.

Who? Everybody who holds a love, interest or curiosity about artmaking.

What? Pardon?

Where? 463 Woolwich Street, Guelph. North of London and south of Division. 

Why? Because creativity is more fun than a barrel o' monkeys. And because it's free!

When? Saturday June 6 and/or Sunday June 7 between 10am-1pm

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Survey time

Guelph artists, where do you find your inspiration? UofG librarian Pat Eaves-Brown is currently working on a project to survey the information needs of practicing artists in the community. By completing the survey, you'll be assisting in the creation of an information website for Guelph artists.

Click here to participate in the research study

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The Ontario Arts Council's spOtlight festival website went live this week, so I thought it would be a good time to let you know I'll be participating this year! SpOtlight is free three day arts festival taking place in Guelph, K-W, Cambridge and Stratford. With over 200 artists involved, it's an opportunity for the public to learn about and experience the arts through various creative activities. More details to follow!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three Wednesday's ago...

...I found a seat on the crowded subway car, Yonge line southbound from Summerhill to Union. It was just after 5pm and the riders were anxious to get home. After a few minutes of sitting, I realized there was a scent in the air...familiar but distant in my memory. I finally recognized it as the scent of my mother. Not simply her perfume or her hairspray, but of her whole being. Like the waft of air that swirls between two bodies when someone gives you a giant hug. I breathed in the flour dust left on her apron after baking a batch of cookies. The smell of moisturizer that was kept to the right of the kitchen sink. The faint odour of cigarette smoke next to laundry detergent, dish soap and Fendi. The tarnished aroma of her gold jewellery. The unidentifiable smell of the garden mixed in with her happiness and optimism. I looked at all of the faces surrounding me, hoping to make some sense of it all, but nothing. Just a collection of blank stares and me with a giant lump in my throat. As soon as I exited it all vanished..

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rosalia Banet

By the time I reached grade 11 or 12, it had become apparent to me that I just wasn't like most kids. I had no interest in going to football games or joining the basketball team. I didn't listen to Bruce Springsteen or go to the SMH semi-formals. My friends and I wore black, hung out in the pool halls and listened to ska music. I'd go to the library to check out books by Leonard Cohen and Colin MacInnes. We weren't exactly viewed as normal. But things changed when I started going to OCAD. (or OCA as it was then known) I attended studio classes with women who wore tutu's. My peers preferred to their noses deep inside their sketchbooks than chat with the person beside them. Perhaps I was a normal human being after all.

Today I discoverd the artwork of Spanish artist Rosalia Banet (via Trend Hunter) and I'm once again feeling that there's nothing remotely unusual about me. In fact, I may even be a little bit boring.
On her blog Rosalia writes: "Last of all, I’d like to mention my most recent work, which under the name of “Carnicería Love” takes us to a butcher shop of human meat. The Carnicería Love (The Love Butcher’s) is a place where feelings are cooked. The women in Carnicería Love (in the photos, drawings and video) may, on first sight, appear to be preparing dishes with the bodies of other human beings. However, it is in fact, their own hearts that they pull out, chop, sauté and roast. In other words, they are cooking themselves."

Put your bib on and view one of her YouTube videos here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trial and Error

Welcome to day one of Trial and Error Day at the Calarco-Hurlbut household. My maternity leave ends in exactly 13 days, so lovie and I thought we should put our new morning schedule to the test. My alarm was set for 5:55am but alas, the internal clock for the wee one started to ring at a glorious 5:40am. I managed to shower, eat breakfast and get him up/dressed/fed by about 6:15 but I still had hair, makeup and wardrobe to visit. Sure, I may be able to get to the train on time, but it won't be a pretty sight. Anyone know if pajama bottoms are still fashionable?

I've been doing a few other things in an effort to get ready for work, like updating my Linked In profile, creating a Twitter account, getting my work email hooked up to my iPhone. So I'm starting to feel a bit more connected, but being back in an office environment will definitely be I even know how to communicate with adults for 8 hours a day? Will my interludes of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean' be frowned upon? Will I get funny looks when I refer to myself in third person? "Mommy found a typo! Naughty, naughty typo."

Twitter has turned out to be really refreshing, and while I'm still feeling my way around, I'm starting to discover interesting people that educate and entertain. Designmeme in particular offers a great selection of links about online marketing and social media. I found him by simply searching for 'Guelph' on TweetScan.

Friday, February 20, 2009


A grey February day in Guelph. The wee one is still napping so I thought I'd take a crack at posting via email.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tire tracks

So, it looks like I can snap a few photos with my new iPhone (thanks Santa!) but I can't upload the images directly onto Blogger. Sheesh! I guess I'll have to see if there are any apps out there...

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Finally, some midwinter warmth! Today was a glorious plus 3 so the pickle and I wandered out into the sunlight, both of us smiling and squinting as we tromped through the snow. Actually, I did all the tromping...he was stuffed into the baby sling...but it was worth it just to hear the drip-drip-drip of melting icicles onto wet pavement.

Speaking of drip-drip-drip, Gareth Bate sent me a link to his new video, "Urban Honey Installation". I can only imagine what the clean-up was like...

Friday, November 14, 2008


I've been frantically sewing and stuffing trees for my Artist Garden planter in Collingwood. My initial idea fell threw, since I couldn't find enough old garden tools to fill the space, but I'm quite happy with how the project has evolved. If all goes as planned, I'll be ready to install them on Tuesday.

They'll be in front of the Municipal Building until early March, so if you're up that way during the cold winter months, please take a gander and tell me how they're doing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gareth Bate

Ahhh, penance. Been there, done that.
But not quite as gracefully as Gareth...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stepping stones

So, I signed up for a quilting course. Not because I'm a quilter. In fact, I don't know the first thing about quilting and I'm not even sure I'm that fond of quilts. But I love pattern and I needed a creative outlet that was at least a few blocks away from zee bebe. (ever try painting with an infant around? No, me neither. There's barely time to fold laundry let alone mix paint or stretch a canvas.) So this was my sneaky way of getting out of the house to exercise my brain. And as I found out last Thursday night, my brain has been on a big, fat holiday for far too long. Who knew quilting was really math in disguise? We spent three hours standing, measuring and cutting. Ugh!

Greenwood Quiltery's 'Stepping Stones' class description reads as
"If you love batiks, this design produces a lovely quilt and is great for learning..." Shocker number two: not only have I never quilted before, but I kind of hate most batik fabric, so I opted to select my own with a great deal of help from the kind ladies on staff. We're going for something bright-cheery-modern that can be used in both the nursery and spare bedroom-studio-office. I'll keep you posted on the progression...

Friday, September 26, 2008

I vote for culture because...

...without it, we're no different than our pet gerbils. The Harper government has been on a bit of a hacking spree as of late, and the arts are feeling the pain. Shout loud, people. This one needs to be heard, and there are lots of ways to raise the volume as we near election day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


The wee one is teething, which means he isn't napping, which means I haven't really had any spare time to do silly things like surf the web. I used to spend hours online, hopping from one hyperlink to the next. Occasionally I'd stumble upon something bookmarkworthy like Stories From Space, Orisinal, Retrievr, or Whip Up. Most days I'd find something useless like the Acme Heart Maker but I'd still manage to get some enjoyment out of it. Now I look back at those days and it seems like I was conducting valuable research as a social theorist. I've got no idea what's happening 'out there' anymore. I didn't even know that 'Making Happy' had gone bye-bye. Sigh. Anyways, wee one currently sleeping and I've had the rare opportunity to do some stumbling:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Studio visit

This morning, the wee one and I took a stroll downtown for his 6 month check up. (Yes, six months already! Hard to believe...I'm due back at my desk in about 181 days. Not that I'm counting or anything) Anyways, after a lovely visit with the doctor and nurses, we popped into the Red Brick Cafe for a nibble (mmm...panini) and then walked over to the Trafalgar Building to chat with Pearl Van Geest. I've been a fan of her canvases for years now, and the other day it occurred to me that I may be able to rent a painting instead of gawking at four bare walls. So she showed me what was available and ta-da! She's going to drop off a painting tomorrow! If any locals are interested, the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre also has an art rental program. Perfect for those of us that are too darn afraid to commit.
Speaking of which...I also ran into Maria Pezzano who was busy working away on a new series. She'll be having a show at the MSAC show this February. Congrats to her!
Now if I could only get my butt in gear and do some painting...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Damn bird

The damn bird (and more importantly, the damn curtains) are finally finished. And what did I learn from this process, you ask? I discovered that I really suck at sewing. The finished product looks alright, but the process? Painful. If you'd like to give it a go, you can get the pattern at Spool Sewing or you can get inspired by wandering through the 'softies' patch over at Flickr.