Friday, October 24, 2008

Metropolitan Postcard Club

New word of the day: Deltiology - the study and collection of postcards

I know I should be getting ready for bed soon since we have to get up at 3 am but I just had to share my latest discovery - the International Fall Postcard Show this weekend at the New Yorker Hotel put on by the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York.

The Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City 'carries on the traditions of the old Metropolitan Post Card Collectors, the oldest continuously run postcard club in the United States since 1946. Not only facilitating the exchange of postcards between collectors and dealers, the club is dedicated to the free exchange of information and ideas to further the understanding of Deltiology'. (Source: Metropolitan Postcard Club)

Who knew that such a club existed?! As many of you know, my passion for paper does not discriminate. In fact, a large part of my collection is dedicated to ephemera so this discovery is very exciting to me and since we'll already be in New York City...why, it wouldn't hurt to stop by, would it? :)


On Wednesday evening, I attended a workshop at the Paper Place called, Shameless Self Promotion - Custom Presentation Enclosures. We began the workshop by selecting an oversized piece of Nepalese paper and an 8.5x11 sheet of Chiyogami paper. From these pieces, we were given ideas on how to create various sized envelopes, a presentation folder and as an added bonus - a quick lesson on taking the folder one step further to create a pamphlet stitched folder.

There's something very satisfying about creating handmade envelopes and folders. Much like card-making, it's simple and provides instant gratification. There's also something reminiscent of childhood days during the act of cutting-and-pasting and really, I love any excuse to touch/handle paper. :) Since the workshop, I've gone on to purchase four full sheets of Nepalese paper in various patterns and colors to make a batch of envelopes at home. ♥

Zombie Walk

Last Sunday was the annual Zombie Walk at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto. Unfortunately, I was busy that day so I was unable to attend and take (lots of) pictures (save the one above). I did, however, manage to interview one of the participants for the latest post on What's Your Story - a certain Princess Peach zombified.

[Pictures on my latest What's Your Story post are courtesy of Super Mario Zombie himself. Sadly, my camera was out of commission after taking the above shot.]

Pumpkins, apples and children of the corn

Here are some shots I took Thanksgiving weekend while we were in Kingston...

One more sleep

Guess where we're going tomorrow?
[I feel giddy!]

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's Your Story? GelaSkins

I love my Mac and the sweet little GelaSkin protecting it ('Peeking Under Leafs' by Jeremiah Ketner.) For whatever reason, I had this notion that GelaSkins were produced either in L.A. or New York but when I discovered they were a Canadian product (and from Toronto, no less!), I just had to interview the brainchild behind the company.

If you aren't familiar with GelaSkins, they are removable covers for protecting and personalizing your portable devices including laptops. I love the concept - they remind me of stickers for big kids! Their designs come mainly from contemporary artists around the globe including Nanami Cowdroy, Alex Noriega and Audrey Kawasaki (to name a few) but they also carry some designs by artists such as Kandinsky, Escher and Van Gogh. They've recently branched out to include the production of (giclée) Bamboo Fine Art Prints, as well.

The company is housed in The Junction district of Toronto and the work environment is just as cool as the skins themselves - it's full of energy, vibrant, filled with music and extremely busy.

Jamie, along with his business partner Drew, dreamed up GelaSkins after they noticed a lack of products in the market that showcased decent, original art. They wanted to make a product that didn't add any bulk and protected portable devices, as well.

To read Jamie's interview, please read the latest post on What's Your Story?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

What's Your Story? Makeup and Spirituality

I saw Mario from a distance as I was passing by a MAC store on my way to the TTC. He had on a black pashmina, a hat and looked just stunning. I had to go in and find out what his story was.

As it turned out, Mario was the sweetest, gentlest and dare I say, one of the prettiest people I've ever met. (His eyes were absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing.)

For his interview, please visit the latest post on What's Your Story?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're in Kingston right now enjoying a beautiful weekend - sun, warm temperatures, family and too much food! During the day, we went through a corn maze, picked gourds and pumpkins and went to an antique market to search for treasures. Tonight, we're going to Fort Fright at Fort Henry to search for ghosts! And tomorrow, apple picking!

Hope you're having a good weekend. To those of you celebrating this weekend, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Melty Kiss

I decided to take a break from Meiji's chocolate covered almonds to try Melty Kiss. The box stated that the chocolate, "Gently melts in your mouth like a snowflake" - as if I could resist! They're absolutely delicious and reminiscent of those icy squares but with green tea/matcha chocolate on the inside with a dusting of powdery chocolate on the outside (and a 100 times better!). I ♥ melty kisses!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

These ads make me feel frisky

Oh no you di'n't

"Ah, say it ain't so, Joe..there you go again. Blah, blah. Doggone it". Her folksy speech is the stuff of nightmares.

Lovely day

I've been listening to this song a lot lately. It makes me happy and reminds me of my lil' family. Wishing you a lovely day.

The Devil is in the details

Tonight, I went to a wonderful workshop at The Paper Place to learn about konnyaku.

Konnyaku is an interesting thing - it's derived from a plant known as the Devil's Tongue Root and is best known as a foodstuff in Japan which usually takes the form of a tasteless, gelatinous slab or noodle-like item. Because it has no taste and is composed mainly of water, it's an excellent addition to dishes that are saucy as it really absorbs the flavor of whatever it's placed in. For the purpose of this workshop, we learned about konnyaku as a treatment for paper - the beautiful textures that can be created, the added strength and durability that result, and the way to get these effects. In Japan, konnyaku has been used for centuries to make kamiko (paper clothing).

Devil's Tongue Root starch is added to room temperature water and is stirred for about 20 minutes. In this time, you'll see the amazing transformation as the liquid goes from thin to a very thick gelatinous paste. If you're not using it right away, you should place it in the fridge and revisit it every two hours or so to stir it. (It keeps for about a week but you'll know when its gone bad - it gets even smellier than it normally is).

Basically (keeping in mind this is just a two-second description from a newbie), you brush a thin coating onto each side of your paper. Wait until the glossy sheen dries before applying the paste onto the other side. We hung our sheets up on a clothesline to dry with teeny tiny clothespins. When the sheets were dry (but still pliable), we began working with them. The resulting paper is momigami. Judith, the manager of The Paper Place who is also an artist, facilitated the workshop. She shared some really wonderful tips on how to create different textures and offered project ideas for the lovely papers (including ones which involved stitching).

It was so much fun to 'play' with the coated paper and such a tactile activity (albeit a bit stinky). We were all busy scrunching our papers and wrapping them around paint brushes to see what kind of effects would produced. In the end, we all became disciples of konnyaku thanks to Judith's wonderful guidance. :)

Here are a couple of photos from tonight. If you look closely, you can see some of the different textures that were created. I can't wait to try this at home and introduce it to my fellow paper-luvin' peeps!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vintage computer ads


I received an email from the talented printmaker, Akemi of Kozo Studio (257 Broadview Avenue), regarding an exciting upcoming event that she and a group of others has been working towards for the last year:

Contemporary International Japanese Woodblock Printmaking
October 3 - November 15
The Japan Foundation

The Japan Foundation Toronto and JUN /KEN ARTS Collective, present a unique gathering of work by eight contemporary artist printmakers including a selection by their former teacher, artist Akira Kurosaki of Kyoto. Countries of origin include England, Ireland, Japan, Australia and Canada. These artists have flourished in individual directions, while they continue to work as printmakers employing Japanese woodblock or mokuhanga.

Keizo Sato, Master Japanese Printer, will be doing a demonstration on Wed. Oct. 8th from 7 to 9 pm at the Japan Foundation.

Akira Kurosaki, world renowned Japanese Printmaker, will be giving a lecture on the development of Modern Japanese Printmaking on Thurs., Oct. 9th from 7 to 9 pm at the Japan Foundation.

Carol Dorman and Elizabeth Forrest will be giving a lecture on Mokuhanga: Past and Present on Fri., Oct. 24th from 7 to 9 pm at the Japan Foundation.

For more information, please visit Mokuhanga Toronto.

If you aren't familiar with Mokuhanga, Canadian artist Elizabeth Forrest provides a wonderful description (courtesy Mokuhanga Toronto) :

What is Mokuhanga?
An appreciation

In Asia and Europe, woodblock printing developed into separate, but in some ways, parallel traditions. To inquire into woodblock printing is to collide with some impressive contributions to cultural enrichment in various regions of the world: the invention of paper, moveable type and the printing press, leading to the spread of literacy and all that implies. Buddhist practices in China and Japan, before 1000 CE, saw the relationship between repeating stamped images of the Buddha on an unfurling paper scroll, and the prayer rhythms of the mantra. Later, gradual secularization in Europe and mercantile prosperity in Asian societies enabled woodblock prints to become an inexpensive mode of disseminating images for pleasure and connoisseurship.

The evolving technology and social roles of Japanese woodblock prints lead one into all manner of resonances that can be revisited in contemporary work. For some artists especially printmakers, the fascination leads inevitably to the medium itself.

Speaking as one who came from far to research Japanese woodblock in Kyoto, the fascination lay not only in the technical learning experience, there was also a rich process of acculturation. Like the other foreigners in this exhibition I began with a temporary commitment which then extended into years. This kind of commitment also meant developing a facility in the language and daily customs. It meant responding to a hothouse of contemporary, as well as richly preserved, artistic activity in Japan. After a time, ordinary objects, architecture and art, became fraught with history, meaning and inner logic. As one caught up in the struggles of becoming a social being in a foreign land, the rituals of Japanese woodblock printmaking provided a profound key to understanding this strange universe.

This intense immersion experience may account for the passion that accompanies working in a medium that remains challenging, exotic and most importantly, capable of creating moments of the sublime, in the process itself.