Do you have an Etsy store that you'd like me to include on my Etsy pages? Tweet your shop name and url to @uppercasemag or leave it in the comments below.
New Craft Coalition was founded by three enterprising women crafters, Kari Woo, Laura Sharp and Natalie Gerber. "We are makers, moms, entrepreneurs and firm believers in the power of art, craft and design to change not only our communities, but the world. Our current mission is to bring a carefully curated collection of independently produced, Canadian art, craft and design to the people of Calgary twice annually, with other plans unfolding all the time!"
Laura Sharp, above, creates her wares under the name White Owl Ceramic Studio. Her work is distinct with her graphic black and white, hints of turquoise and love of birch motifs. "I mostly attend art and fine craft shows and sell my work to an audience already won over by the greatness of handmade objects. I enjoy meeting all the people who have invested in my work, their feedback, encouragement, and support has been absolutely priceless. I look forward to many more years of growing, developing and dreaming."
Kari Woo's jewellery is a study in simplicity and quality. Kari used to co-own INFLUX Jewellery, one of my neighbours in the former Art Central. She has since moved to Canmore with her family and makes things from her home-based studio.
"In 1993 the I found the art of jewellery making, literally by accident," says Kari. "While recovering from a serious snowboarding injury I enrolled in my first jewellery class on a whim. It was love at first make! Now, two decades later, I am still at it and I still love it. My aim is to create substance and meaning through design. Patrons know my work through two distinct collections of sterling silver jewellery that offer the wearer versatility, comfort and simplicity."
Natalie Gerber designs home wares and hand bags using her own surface pattern designs. You might recognize her from the UPPERCASE Surface Pattern Design Guide (issue 21) and I also photographed her and her studio back in issue 13.
"As an artist, designer and maker I am inspired to create functional design for everyday living. While craftsmanship is important to my creative process, so too is function. I combine my love for illustration, surface design, clean lines and hand-printed fabrics with conscious material choices and in-studio practices.
My South African background influences my aesthetic, while inspiration is drawn from styles that include Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern design. From detailed sketches to mark making and loose line drawings, I explore the above within my work and transfer the imagery onto textiles through silkscreen printing."
The show opens today at 4pm at the Festival Hall in Inglewood. I'll be there with the latest issue of UPPERCASE plus some good deals on back issues and other print products. See you there!
I am interested in pottery with personality, beauty, and attitude. The marks of process, the slight distortion or off-round from a gentle hand, or the fingerprints on glaze and slip are all a part of the language with which my pots exclaim, "I was not machine-made, I was not mass-produced, I was made by fingers and hands, in a small studio, by an artist listening to music, dreaming and making." Because in a time of mass-production, consumer culture and waste, the handmade object brings us back to the intimacy of human nature.
Kalika Bowlby is a ceramicist living in Nelson, British Columbia who will be bringing her wares to Calgary for the New Craft show. (How perfect is her name, for a potter?)
"I love living in a small mountain town but visiting big, bustling cities. I wish I could ride my bike every day, make every meal feel like a celebration and that each thing I make would be better than the last.I feel blessed to be both a mother and maker, to use my hands to make and share objects that become part of others lives. Hopefully, these objects will survive the ebb and flow of life because I think that things get better with age, use and understanding."
Juliana Rempel is another ceramicist showing and selling at New Craft Coalition this Friday and Saturday. About her work, Juliana writes:
Recognizing ceramics undeniable connection to life, the home and to the mundane activities of our everyday, I look for potential in these objects as registers of information and as the archetypes of our lives. We are comfortable with ceramics as both a material and as an object, allowing permission for it to become part of our personal space. This established relationship we have developed, holds the potential to be taken out of a comfortable home context and disjointed, dislocated and to be re-introduced as something other then utilitarian.
In a gallery, ceramics becomes a representation of the objects that are the silent bystanders of our lives, the symbols of our day. By dislocating our expectations of them, questioning our understanding of them and utilizing them for their symbolic value I introduce these objects in a gallery context, ultimately questioning our understanding of ceramics and bridging the gap between art and life.
From a young age, I developed an appreciation for materials and an awareness of how things were put together. I grew up around handmade objects, in a culture where things were used and re-used. Materials were recycled to create something new. Fences were mended, sweaters darned, old shirts and dressed made into quilts. When I travelled through third world countries I was always struck by the innovative ways things were repaired and everyday materials were re-purposed to extend the life of something that would otherwise be discarded.
One of the constants throughout my practice has been combining print-making techniques with ceramic processes, primarily pattern and imagery. Recently I have been bringing mixed materials into my pieces, particularly re-used materials. In both cases I am particularly interested in components that have had a past-life or for the narrative quality they construe. In addition they add texture and richness to the pieces. Re-contextualizing these elements also gives them new meaning and elicits new appreciation from the user.
The forms I use are usually wheel-thrown. The surfaces are developed by building up layers of print including basic mono-printing techniques when the clay in wet, in-glaze or laser decals after the pieces are glazed and repurposed commercial decals to finish off the piece and provide one more layer of complexity, beauty and nostalgia.
I have a 'thing' for following ceramicists on Instagram. I love seeing all the works lined up pre and post-firing. Follow Cathy here.
From Carole's website: "Her line of functional work explores narrative and whimsy. Inspired by the chaos, the noise, the blur, the wonder, and the creativity of life with two small boys at home. She started making dishes for her first son as an aside to the functional pottery she was already making and now years later it plays a huge part of her studio practice. The dishes illustrate storybook images that can insight smiles and memories for young and old alike."
How cute is this face? It's a creation by Erin Weiss from Saskatoon, who will be heading to Calgary this week for the New Craft Coalition show.
"I have always been creative — I love drawing, design, painting, rearranging my house, crochet, cutting and pasting, you get the idea. My mom taught me how to sew when I was was young, but I specifically remember balking at the idea of using patterns — I always wanted to make my own version of everything. Sewing machines came in and out of my life, and along the way I made a lot of oddly constructed fabric gifts for friends and clothes for myself. But I was learning to love fabric — the patterns and colours and the fact that a good trip to the fabric store could totally make my day. It all started to come together when I was first introduced to the idea of soft sculpture while in school for a Fine Arts degree. I saw it as the perfect way to bring my drawings of little people and wild creatures into something you could hold.
After my first child was born I began making and selling children's clothing, and I called my little business boolah baguette — after a favoured childhood doll that was named by my dad and I. With this new creative outlet I let myself experiment once again with cloth dolls and plush creatures of all sorts. I both smile and cringe when I see those original dolls - eyes and arms at odd angles. In my fourth year of doll making I feel like I have come a long way. I take in all sorts of inspiration and the dolls change with the seasons and with my creative needs. It is what I love best about what I do.
I love making these dolls and it is a huge part of my life. At this point boolah baguette is still a one-woman show, and I make each unique doll in my home studio. My time to create is short and sweet, in the middle of raising a young family. I am drawn to natural fabrics like wool and cotton, but I am also quite fond of a super plush fleece or luxurious faux fur. I create by feel and can't stop until I feel like I've finished something that falls into the 'ridiculously cute' category."
Kristina was the cover artist for issue 15 a few years ago. Here's an excerpt from our article:
This is no ordinary production line: skewers of freshly painted wooden beads pierce magazine stacks and finished necklaces hang from any available hooks or frame corners of the room. It is awash with vibrant colours, almost as if someone had popped open a fantastical bottle of champagne, its bubbles filling the room with pictorial joy.
Beyond the immediate sensory overload, one rapidly notices the subtle elegance behind each colour combination. There is not a single faux pas as colours marry each other and respond to each other but never clash with each other. This is a delicate exercise in assembling the right shapes with the right hues, one that Kristina Klarin excels in.
Born in Belgrade and now living in Milan, Kristina has always been a colour enthusiast, and her experiences with cultural cross-pollination have helped shaped her take on it. Her home country, Serbia, was historically located at the crossroads of different cultures, and it is there that she believes she gained the ability to use colours in bold, unpredictable ways, as well as appreciate “the beauty from spontaneously mixing different aesthetic influences in a more casual way,” she says. On the other hand, her Italian education and professional experiences urged her to focus more on details—“on perfection,” she muses. “I started designing when I was very young. My passion for it brought me first to study textile design at high school and then drove me all the way to Italy where I graduated in fashion design,” she explains. “It’s indeed in Milan that right after my graduation I started working as a fashion designer. Over the years I saw myself shifting from sartorial and elaborated pieces of clothing to more basic, neat designs with a strong focus on their graphical composition and a flair for striking and eloquent details and accessory.”
The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair will be happening in Manchester this week, from October 9 through 12th. I was introduced to the Fair by an UPPERCASE reader, Cherry Chung, who will also be exhibiting her work at the Fair. Cherry is a basket weaver who incorporates ceramics into her basket-making process. She also creates amazing willow outdoor sculptures that I look forward to learning more about... I'll be featuring her work in the winter issue of UPPERCASE. (You never know where one simple email with lead!)
The event website presents images and links to all the exhibiting artists, which is a benefit for us unable to attend. I'm bookmarking a lot into my idea files! I'm sure the Fair would be amazing to see in person, so if you're in the UK, please go enjoy it on my behalf.
The highlight of the Creative Stitches show this afternoon was meeting Lisa Griffiths from Envy Camera Accessories. I was immediately drawn to her booth—her display of the colourful strap designs caught my eye and I had my (heavy!) Canon 5dmkii slung around my neck. I've coveted a more stylish camera strap and thought someday I'd make my own, but that's so far down on my to-do list, I might as well forget about it. Lisa to the rescue!
Made with pretty jacquard ribbon, each strap is reversible with contrasting or complementary designs. She has various kinds of straps and harnesses and wristlets for a variety of cameras and uses. The patterned part of the straps can easily be clipped on and off, so if you want to change straps to suit your mood or outfit, that's easy to do.
Lisa's a mom of three and also runs a day home, so she gets her sewing done in the evenings. Her straps were inspired by the need a photographer friend and she likes that she's able to make them fairly quickly—important since she has limited time but wanted to launch a creative sewing-based business.
Envy Camera Accessories is local (based in Okotoks) but if you want to be the envy of your friends, Lisa has an online shop (free shipping in Canada.) She'll be at the Creative Stitches show on Saturday and then some holiday fairs as the season approaches.
Some details of things that caught my eye at the Creative Stitches and Crafting Alive show continuing tomorrow at Spruce Meadows in Calgary. The scrapbooking Carnival is part of this larger fair, so you can satisfy paper and fabric needs.
Celebrate paper crafts at the 7th Annual Great Canadian Carnival in Calgary this week: Friday and Saturday, September 26 & 27th! Join the Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine team and friends at the interactive market place with technique-rich make-and-takes, classes and, of course, shopping! (The Creative Stitches and Crafting Alive show is happening concurrently at the same venue, so lots to fuel your creative fire.)
Thank you to Katherina Doyle of Canadian Scrapbooker magazine, a fellow Calgary-based publication, for her support of UPPERCASE magazine through a purchase of a Calling Card. And shoutout to my friend Crystal Reynolds who is the designer for Canadian Scrapbooker magazine of the fall issue, pictured above.
Lemonni always has such nice things! Designer Annie Chen writes, "I love creating things with my hands. All the paper goods are designed and handmade by me. The whole production – from printing, cutting, folding, assembling, to packaging – happens in my studio. I handmade my textile products as well. The fabrics were printed with eco-friendly, water-based pigment inks. I'm a pattern fanatic. I'm always drawn to bold colours and interesting colour combinations. It's fascinating to me that the same colour can appear quite differently when paired with different colours."
I'm looking forward to Inglewood's Night Market tonight! First on my list is going to my favourite yarn store, Stash. From 6 to 9pm, there will be additional fun such as vintage wares, the jewellery of Jennea Frischke and sewn goods by Leave it to Cleaver.
Stash will be offering a 10% discount off of your total purchase all evening long. Store owner Veronica says, "We will also be releasing some of our newest fall and winter products for you to fondle. And there will be giveaways and door prizes. Be there or be square!"
UPPERCASE reader Bari Zaki makes these gorgeous books using traditional European and Japanese techniques. In addition to blank books, box-making, she also binds photography portfolios and photo albums.
I have been a hand-bookbinder for 25 years and so your recent newsletters had a particular resonance with me. My career began with a simple yet intense curiosity; I saw a blank book that was made by hand and it sent my heart into a pitter-patter of delight… How do you do that, I wondered?! I went in search. Since then I have made literally hundreds of books and have several stacks of them in my home, which have become permanent fixtures.
"Many people say to me that they love my books but they are too special to write in… I hear that a lot in fact. I thought about scribbling on the first page as an ode to making the first mess, so to speak." Whether they are left blank to be admired for their integral beauty of form and construction, or filled with sketches and notes, Bari's books live up to the ultimate goal of any book: to inspire.
Visit Bari's shop to see more.