New Craft Coalition: Meet the founders

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!

New Craft Coalition: Sarah Pike Pottery

As you can see from my previous posts, there are some pretty talented ceramicists showing at New Craft Coalition this weekend. Sarah Pike will be visiting us from Fernie—you have to admire artisans who travel to shows with vehicles full of breakables!

Sarah writes:

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.

New Craft Coalition: Kalika Bowlby

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."

New Craft Coalition: Juliana Rempel

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.

New Craft Coalition: Rabbet

My friends Louisa and James Jensen will be at NCC this Friday and Saturday. Check out this great "about" page to get to know them and their company, Rabbet. They make "happy art for happy homes" with illustrated cards and art poster prints. Their art is cute and quirky, but always genuine—just like James and Louisa!


New Craft Coalition: Carole Epp

More cuteness will be in store for shoppers at New Craft Coalition. These functional ceramics are by Carole Epp, another artist from Saskatoon exhibiting this weekend.

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."


New Craft Coalition: Boolah Baguette

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."

Happy Thanksgiving

It's the Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada, so other than an hour or so of checking in on my emails and subscription requests today, I'm taking the day off! My folks were in town, so we had some time at Heritage Park this weekend—always my favourite getaway within in the city. It's nice to step back in time. (Check out this amazing wallpapered house at Heritage Park. Surface pattern everywhere!)


New Craft Coalition: Van Charles Art

This Friday and Saturday is the New Craft Coalition craft fair. I'll be there with the latest issue plus other paper goodies! Leading up to the event, I'll be introducing you to some of the artists and artisans exhibiting at NCC.

Van Charles: "I'm an artist with a crazy profound love for nature and being in the outdoors. As a kid I spent all my time running around wandering along the rivers edge, swimming in lakes and climbing mountains. Today nothing has changed. This video takes you on a road trip through the Canadian Rocky Mountains while describing my process as a visual artist."

See this artist at the New Craft Coalition in Calgary. Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18.

Etsy Made in Canada

The Etsy Made in Canada event was held at Symons Valley Ranch, at the city's northern outskirts.

The Etsy Made in Canada event was held at Symons Valley Ranch, at the city's northern outskirts.

Amy from Quadrophonic Image.
Heather from Cosmikgoo.

Heather from Cosmikgoo.

Sleepy Holow Leather and Beading.

Sleepy Holow Leather and Beading.

Carly of Folly a Tet.

Carly of Folly a Tet.

Sassy ladies of Bubblegum Sass.

Sassy ladies of Bubblegum Sass.

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Doors Open YYC: Traffic Operations Sign Shop


It's a fun weekend in the city of Calgary with lots of great events happening simultaneously. Today, my family and I went to Doors Open YYC to take a tour of the traffic operations sign shop. For the second year in a row, a news crew captured footage of Finley and his friend on a tour. You can see Glen and me in the background as well, I'm easy to spot in my yellow coat. Tours continue tomorrow at various sites across the city, but we'll be at Heritage Park's Railway Days!

I also went to Etsy Made in Canada this afternoon... photos to come after "bedtime routine".

Envy Camera Accessories

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.

Here's the lovely camera strap that came home with me! Thank you, Lisa!

Here's the lovely camera strap that came home with me! Thank you, Lisa!

Creative Stitches and Crafting Alive Show


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.

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The Great Canadian Scrapbooker Carnival

Katharina Doyle, co-founder and publisher of Canadian Scrapbooker is dressed to preside over the Carnival!

Katharina Doyle, co-founder and publisher of Canadian Scrapbooker is dressed to preside over the Carnival!

Letters always catch my eye... particularly here when they're glittered stickers.

Letters always catch my eye... particularly here when they're glittered stickers.

Jackie Ludlage, Canadian Scrapbooker co-founder and editor-in-chief strikes a pose with Katharina.

Jackie Ludlage, Canadian Scrapbooker co-founder and editor-in-chief strikes a pose with Katharina.

Crystal Reynolds, the art director of the magazine, is new to scrapbooking but has all the design experience. Here's a page in progress.

Crystal Reynolds, the art director of the magazine, is new to scrapbooking but has all the design experience. Here's a page in progress.

More type. What can I say? My eyes are always drawn to letters.

More type. What can I say? My eyes are always drawn to letters.

Carnival participants bring their own supplies to work on their books, but lots of vendors are close at hand to inspire ideas and tempt wallets.

Carnival participants bring their own supplies to work on their books, but lots of vendors are close at hand to inspire ideas and tempt wallets.

It's interesting to see surface pattern designs in the scrapbooking industry and see how those trends relate to quilt fabrics (a hobby that I'm more familiar with.)

It's interesting to see surface pattern designs in the scrapbooking industry and see how those trends relate to quilt fabrics (a hobby that I'm more familiar with.)

The Great Canadian Scrapbooker Carnival is organized by Canadian Scrapbooker magazine and runs through Saturday at 5pm.

Etsy Made in Canada: September 27

Canadian craft vendors are exhibiting in events across the country on Saturday, September 27 for Etsy's Made in Canada. In Calgary, the event will be held at Symons Valley Ranch. Here's a list of vendors. For event details, click here.

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Big event this week for scrapbooking fans!


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.

See you at Stash!

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!"

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green graffiti & commuting beakerheads

photo by Neil Zeller 

photo by Neil Zeller 

Beakerhead is a new annual event held in Calgary each September. For 5 days, Calgary “turns into a giant laboratory” where Beakerhead visitors are entertained with public performances, contraptions built in people’s backyards, ingenuity competitions, and engineered art. Last year was Beakerhead’s first year and it was met with open arms by excited event-goers. "On the surface, Beakerhead looks like a week of spectacular fun every September. But it’s more than a schedule of mesmerizing events: it’s a time and place where engineers show their creative sides, and artists get technical, where science hits the street, and everyone gets ingenious,” say organizers. 

On May 23, Beakerhead organizers wanted to amp up excitement for Beakerhead 2014, so they worked with the City of Calgary and artist Michael Mateyko and Hans Thiessen, also known as Komboh, to develop “green graffiti” to paint on a Calgary underpass. The “green graffiti” is made of eco-chalk and is entirely environmentally friendly from the application to removal. 

Michael Mateyko is a Work/Life 3 participant and works and lives here in Calgary. I asked Michael a few questions about his participation with Beakerhead. 

photo by Penny Breedon

photo by Penny Breedon

What was your involvement with the "green graffiti" painted downtown? What was your role?

I came up with the commuting beakerhead(s) and designed the characters with feedback from the whole Beakerhead crew.

Who initially asked you and Hans for your help, and how did they know that you would be the right people to contact to help with this project? 

I was contacted out of the blue last year by Hanan Chebib, who is the Director of Creative Experiences over at Beakerhead. She somehow ended up with a poster I made and was pretty stoked on working with us on something. Our interests align pretty well; art, science, engineering, and trying to get people interested in the intersection between those three.

Had you heard of this "green graffiti" before you were approached to help? 

Not really. Originally the idea was to do a bit of pressure-washed reverse graffiti, but unfortunately (?) Calgary's underpasses are way too clean for that.

What do you enjoy about Beakerhead? What is your favourite "event" that you have attended? 

I actually didn't even get the chance to attend last year, but I'm definitely making my way down for 2014. I dig Beakerhead because it's really all about encouraging what by all accounts is a pretty conservative town to let loose and admit that we're all actually artists and engineers on the inside.

Did you attend the initial "green graffiti" event while the figures were being painted? If so, what was the experience like? What were passersby's
reactions to the graffiti? 

It was all being put up overnight, I believe around midnight or thereabouts. I had to do a TV interview at 5 in the morning the next day so I was trying to get as much sleep as I reasonably could and wasn't there for the install. During the photo shoot with the Mayor later the same day there was a pretty good crowd going and everyone seemed pretty pumped about it all. I received a lot of really positive comments from people that were just excited to see some public art that was a little weirder than usual. Also, Mayor Nenshi did his best to psychoanalyze each character in turn, so that was pretty fun too.

photo by Neil Zeller 

photo by Neil Zeller 

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NCC: Michael Hepher of Clawhammer Letterpress

Michael Hepher is the owner and operator of Clawhammer Letterpress. Michael creates letterpress printed posters, coasters, cards and notebooks using presses made in the early 1900s. 

After working as a graphic artist for a few years, Michael was intrigued by the art of hand-set type, and through a connection with his local printer, ended up with a large press in his garage. After getting his hands on an original operating manual for the press, Michael immersed himself in the world of all things letterpress. In 2011, Michael and his wife Anie opened their shop in Fernie, British Columbia. 

For more information on Clawhammer Press and hand-set type, visit their website

NCC: Leave it to Cleaver

Becca Cleaver is a librarian and quilter from Calgary. It was Becca’s first time showing at New Craft Coalition, and she even transported all of her beautiful quilts, bibs and booties to the show using this awesome bike! You can follow Becca on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes photos of her gorgeous quilts and bibs.