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Archive for June, 2011

I finally finished my custom series of Elemental masks.

Air mask from the Elemental series

The last one to be done was Air. (Fire was completed a while ago but I still have to take some pictures of it) This set was made to worn at an event, so they not only had to represent each element, but do it in a way that works while being viewed in motion. The client these were made for is local so I wasn’t bound at all by considerations of shipping and that let me run a bit wild with the design. I went with a fairly standard bird form. The centre plume is a large ostrich wing feather in a soft sky blue. It’s flanked on each side by a cluster of long tendrils from another plume in a slightly more grey blue. The rest of the sides are edged in another white plume that was split to create a fringe. All of the feathers are soft and fluffy so they follow any movement or breeze with an incredible float and flow. The beak is silver and the base of the face is white. I decorated it with hand-drawn swirls in a range of blues and glittery white. I also used a new technique on it as well. The white and blue, swirl edged v-shape, in the centre of the forehead, was covered in a layer of fine clear beads. This gives it shimmery effect. It’s just like the paper-backed material I use for my Copper Hawks and Owl, but it can be applied over any surface. The finished mask is rather soft and subtle in it colours and finish but still has a ton of dramatic impact and looks just amazing in motion!

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I’m trying not to be bitter. This spring, on the west side of the driveway,

Saskatoon berry shrub, June 2011

we planted some new things to replace the battered spruce tree that was there. One is a sour cherry tree and, in front of it, we also put in a pair of saskatoon berry shrubs. There are a bunch of things I love about the saskatoon. It’s a native species, so they are more than hardy enough to handle the winters and, since they aren’t grafted, you can let them grow from the bottom and form a nice, full shrub. They also have pretty white flowers in the spring that, most importantly, develop into blueberryesque fruits. Both of the ones we planted were chosen because they are fruiting varieties and both have set fruit, even though it is their first year here. I’ve been keeping an eye on them, since they typically ripen around the beginning of July and it looked like we should have been able to get enough for a batch of muffins or pancakes. That was the hope up until yesterday. That’s when I did my regular check to find that the birds have beaten me to them. As far as I’m concerned, they aren’t fully ripe yet, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping the birds and they’ve managed to almost clear both bushes! I had thought we’d be safe since they don’t bother with the red currents much at all, (not that I’d mind if they did) but I’m guessing they agree saskatoons are tastier, even when under-ripe. We’ll have to wait and see if this happens again next year or if they’re just hard-up since it’s been a late growing season. We may have to end up wrapping them to protect our crop!

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There is one more new shop in town, (that I know about anyway)

inside the Perfect Piece, Shakespeare ON

and it opened sometime in May but I just got over this week to take a peek around. It’s on the north side of the street, just west of the lights. It’s called the Perfect Piece and they are the bright and roomy space that was occupied by Mezzo, until last year. Recycled and repurposed items are a big chunk of their offerings. They also have some great authentic mid-century modern furniture in the shop. There is a chrome and formica dining set that is in just stunning condition. I doubt it will be around for long. I also loved their line of candles

Mid-century modern style at the Perfect Piece

made from wine bottles. (A group of them is showing in the top picture) They also have some original works from a few local artists that have a very modern style. They have a great space and are using it to show different ways that their types of pieces can fit in a mix of decors. They also have a nice wide range of prices so there is something for every budget. I’m looking forward to seeing what else they find!

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There have been a number of new shops that have opened this year in the village.

Mother's Place, Shakespeare ON

I finally got a chance to go over across the street, and check them out this past week. The first new store is called Mother’s Place and it has moved in to the location that was Funky Junk. (We’re all sad that Funky Junk is gone but the owner of it had to take a break for her health. She may continue in an on-line format and if she does, I’ll post the link) The space was empty by the end of May and the new place opened up just over a week ago. She’s focusing on resale clothing. There are also a number of great children’s items and vintage books. It’s still early in the set-up process, even though it is open to the public, so I expect there will always be a wide range of new things coming in.

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On Time

Art is a difficult concept to define. I’m fine with acknowledging

framed collage, "On Time"

that most of what I do falls on the side of “craft” more than “art” but there are some pieces that I really do feel rise above. This is a small collage that was a gift for a friend. The concept is something that came out of a number of events and an upcoming milestone birthday. The background is made using a vintage print and it wraps up the insides of the shallow box. The clock face is an antique enamelled one and the roots that come out of the shell are faux, but wonderfully realistic. (the shell is real but has the surface sanded back to expose it’s mother-of-pearl so it has a beautiful shimmer to it) The partial watch case, in the upper right corner, has a wire spider web in it’s centre and I decided to paint it white so it would

detail of "On Time" collage artwork

show better against the darker colours of the background. The text was cut from somewhere around ten different sources. (and considering how time consuming I found it, I am clearly not cut out for a life of crime) The text is most of the section “On Time” from Kahlil Gibrans “The Prophet”. I always find his work to provide the perfect expression of sentiment. The whole thing was designed to go in its vintage frame and it is glazed, but with museum glass so it’s protected but the depth is still strongly visible.

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The summer has been slow to get going, but we went off to market

fresh strawberries, June 2011

this morning in the hope of some fresh produce being around. Typically, at this time of year, the strawberries and peas are in full swing and that was what we were after. We went to the St. Jacob’s market, since it’s open on Thursday mornings and a number of their vendors send stuff up from the Niagara region. We got lucky and found some lovely fresh pod peas that are bordering on a little young which is just perfect for us. There were also quite a few strawberries and, as you can see, we brought some home. I had a few with lunch and while they are juicy and ripe, it hasn’t been hot enough to give them that candy-sweetness typical to the local berries. (not that it was a surprise since they didn’t have that distinctive cotton-candy scent)They are still wonderful and we’ve been aware that the weather wasn’t helping matters. Hopefully, the ones closer to home should be starting to come in shortly and we can get to work on making some jam!

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I don’t often get as much time to look around in town as I would like.

Soyuz Tm-33 window from Jonny's Antiques, Shakespeare

Jonny’s Antiques is the store that the rest of the town built up around and they always have so many lovely things. Visiting his place is like going to our own local museum, since there are many items on offer that I’ve seem examples of (and in some cases, not in as fine condition) in real museums like the Gardiner, in Toronto. Generally, I’m happy enough to just admire from afar but this recent acquisition has inspired a deep and desperate level of covetousness in me. It’s an actual window from one of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft! It went up in 2001, so it’s not technically an antique, yet, but it is immensely cool. I love how it’s displayed as well, it’s simply mounted on a two-support stand that perfectly shows off the wonder of industrial design it is. You can see it’s engraved registration marks and there is a substantial scratch on the glass that I expect happened either in space or it was grazed by some junk on re-entry. It’s steampunk styling just adds to the appeal. Sadly, it’s not in my budget but I’m glad I got to see it before some lucky person of good taste takes it home.

edit: I realised I didn’t mention it’s price: $8500 CAD.

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