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I have taken on a major project and as a result the gallery will be closed until sometime in late June. The Etsy shop will stay open and I will be a vendor at the Niagara Falls ComicCon, June 3 to 5.

See you in the summer!

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I will be in the Artists Alley at Fan Expo Toronto so the shop will be closed from the 3rd until the 6th. I will probably be in the shop for the holiday Monday, but may not stick to the full hours so please drop me an email or phone call if you’re thinking about stopping in!

We will be closed from the 17th of August and re-opening on the 22nd. While I won’t be around for framing discussions, if you want to stop in the shop, feel free to call and set-up an appointment during those days.

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In garden news, for the first time since we put them in a few years ago, we have plums! Both trees have set small amounts of fruit, but the Pipestone had more and they ripened faster than the Toka. That was a surprise, since we expected the Toka to come in much earlier. The pipestone plums have been a bit bigger than a large egg, perfect and shockingly delicious. The flavour is much more complex than any regular ones, even from the farmers markets. While home-grown is usually better, we had no idea there would be such a marked difference. We’re just not sure if it’s an issue of freshness, them being able to fully ripen on the tree, or if it’s just the varietal.

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IMG_6723Working with the stuffies, I’m always on the hunt for quality pieces in good condition. At times, I come across known characters that qualify. The problem with using them is they are often a bit too identifiable for just parts. Because of this, I’ll often just leave them behind, but it’d hard to resist when I come across a great one in pristine condition. When I got my hands on a group of vintage trophy supplies, I was able to try an idea I’d had for a while. I don’t agree with hunting for sport, so real trophies are a bit icky, but I did like the macabre humour of doing it with stuffed animal heads. Making them was fairly simple, I just took off the head, sewed the neck closed, to give it a more finished look, and altered the back slightly so it would sit properly against the plaque. Some even got engraved plates, if there was room. I’ve got a few others made so far, but Ernie is my favourite. As a child, I sympathized much more with Bert and had a few snickers at the thought of him finally snapping and Ernie ending up as TaxidErnie!

IMG_6940It has been quite a while since I made a new batch of masks. I shouldn’t have taken so long a break, but kept getting distracted by stuffies and jewellery, since those are the bulk of what’s needed for shows. At any rate, a new group just got finished! They were done to use up the last of the edging lace. It makes beautiful crowns and is the best accent for the feathers I’ve found but, because it was salvaged, it was in limited supply. All the full crown masks made with it had found homes, so I decided it was time to just go ahead and use what was left. I stuck to most popular colour combos so there is one gold and black, (pictured), a gold and white and one silver and brown. The silver one also used up the last bit of the long natural coque feathers. It’s always hard to reach the end of a favourite supply, but I should look at as a chance to do something different. Either way, it’s going to be hard to see these ones go.

IMG_6683A few years ago we put in a group of haskap berry bushes. They were sad little sticks when they went in but have done extremely well. We got our first good round of fruit this year and while they are not quite as sweet as blueberries, they can be swapped in for them in any baked good. (the photo is one I took just before picking this spring) Being so happy with them, we had added a few more this spring, but kept the numbers low since they can be a bit expensive. That’s why I was pleased to find a group of them in an end-of-season clearout for a local garden centre. We had been thinking about opening up a new bed for strawberries and finding enough haskaps, at a great price, to finish filling in the row means no more waiting to move them. There were enough to give us a final count of two dozen, and to run the length of the bed to the east of the house. So the strawberries will be shifted to their new bigger home, and we’ll have full rows of both for next year! (and I’ll have to find a few more recipes for using our crop)

tentafterThis is the last of this group of altered paintings and was the one that I felt a bit bad about using. It is the strongest of the group and I think it might have been a students piece or study. I even did some googling of the signature, just in case they had gone on to become a known name, but nothing came up. At any rate, it had come into my hands and was fair game for being “improved”. My first thought had been to alter the people but decided the better option was to explain their situation a bit more. (and putting clothes on him would have made it far less funny) Now they have something to look at and the painting has much more of a narrative going on. It was also the hardest to match the brushwork style of, but I think I got very close. The reflections were especially challenging, but worked out. The colour mixing and paint texture also matched so well that the fact it was altered is surprising most of the people who’ve only seen it in this state. It’s acrylic on canvas, and nicely stretched, so I opted not to frame it but to simply go with the black wrap around the outside. Keeping it down to only it’s modest original size should make it easier for someone to find a spot for this bit of slightly creepy fun. (and that person might be me since I really do love how it turned out) tentbefore

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