Ad copy.

Don't apply now. There is no way to apply now.

Above is the ad that will appear in the upcoming issue of Free Drawings, a local free publication that is put out by Jesjit Gill. Free Drawings is also looking to be our newest sponsor for 2010, but more on that in the future.

Since Free Drawings aims to be entirely hand drawn, our faithful letterpress designer, Nicholas, decided to hand trace some proof prints. I think we are getting closer to understanding his designs for the year.

Want to support the Free Drawings cause? There is a big launch party happening for Issue #7 on March 5th at Double Double Land (on facebook here). It should be a rock and roll good time.


Finally in business for 2010.

Yesterday evening (at sunset, even), I made my first trip to the Trip Print Press to pick up actual stuff - our new business cards! Nicholas has by far fulfilled his May 1st deadline by delivering in February. It makes me feel like this project is fun and exciting for him. His happiness is a concern since designing and making the thousands of things we need to make the show happen is a lot of work. I've never had a designer ask for quantities before. Right. He's actually making everything.

trip print press 1b

I also got to check out some of his doodles and ideas for the poster, flyer and ad artwork. It is fascinating to watch a printer hash out design ideas. It involves some doodling, some notes, pulling drawers of type and lots of math. I didn't want to take pictures of his notes in case he moves in another direction with his design ideas but (judging from some of them) flags and scissor are not only out but possibly "done to death." Nicholas has been talking about design directions that source themselves in the themes of City of Craft (crafts, hand-making, cities, Toronto) but move from there into abstraction. It's a process that I am really enjoying watching. No promises, but it looks like handmade type and geometry might be involved. Well...I guess geometry is always involved in typesetting. But, really this time. More news to come as it unfolds...

trip print press (4)

trip print press (5)




Fond (slight) farewells...

In the name of complete communication, it is time to announce some changes at City of Craft.

The event and organization was founded in 2007 by three ladies, Leah Buckareff, Jen Anisef and myself (Becky Johnson). Now three years later, we are getting older and our lives are taking us in new directions. For 2010, this means saying goodbye to Jen and Leah as Co-coordinators.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Leah is moving across the world, Jen has to pare down projects in the hopes of achieving some very exciting goals of her own and having one person at the helm makes the show (almost) financially sustainable.

It's only kinda sad because the girls are not vanishing entirely. The Toronto Craft Alert (Jen's baby) is going to remain as a major sponsor. This change might even see Jen moving from administrative work to more creative partnerships with City of Craft. Some dreams include big interactive and installation programs - a far cry from the emailing of yesteryear. Leah will also remain around to help from afar with financial matters in her usual quiet and brilliant way. She is moving to Berlin, by the way, to be famous with her doom metal band, Nadja. Dreams in her direction include cross-Atlantic programming and residencies.

In those realms of expansion, we are all still just throwing around ideas. But it is pretty safe to say that this change does not mark the end of their presences in City of Craft programming. They might just spend less time chained to their laptops (yeah, right) and I might spend more (not possible).




2010 Dates Announced!

Photo by sweetie pie press - Penant Banner by Rosalyn Faustino

It is true. the incredible folks at the Theatre Centre have shaken our hands earlier than ever to help us secure our 2010 dates.

Drum-roll please...

Saturday and Sunday, December 18th and 19th, 2010.
(We are still hashing out hours).

The astute citizens among you will notice that this is later than ever before, too. That's cool. This last weekend before Christmas might insight some pandemonium, but since when have we ever shied away from madness?

It should also be said that our incredible relationship with the Theatre Centre involves us demonstrating flexibility around their existing bookings and residency play development schedules. It is very exciting that our partnership keeps managing to squeeze itself into the calendar. Everyone should keep their fingers crossed that the Theatre Centre never runs the Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol (this would be very unlikely).


Meet Cecelia Hayes!

Cecelia Hayes graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2007 with a degree in Illustration. Since then she has been an art teacher to grades K through 12 among other jobs. Right now she lives in Buffalo with her husband and daughter while her husband finishes school at UB. Cecelia is bringing an assortment of handmade and vintage things. Handmade wares include hair barrettes, bobby pins, hand dyed rose pins, small artwork (drawings and paintings), prints, handmade valentines, hand sewn rings and jewelry. Vintage wares include perfect condition baby sweaters and a small collection of women's clothes.

What's one thing that really inspires you and your work these days?
I am really inspired by the idea of creating a little world from which the things I make come from... I love following people like Somethings Hiding in Here, Wrenhandmade and Wes Anderson (to name a few) where every little object contains the spirit of the world from which its from.

What do you like to craft for yourself or for close friends and family only?
I made a little bouquet of flowers for my mom once made of candy wrappers, egg cartons and all sorts of garbage and put it in an old spice jar. I want to make a little cardboard replica of our apartment for my husband for Valentine's Day (we'll see how this goes). I also like making little props to go with my displays that are not for sale, just for atmosphere.

What's your favorite thing about toronto?
I spent a year at U of T, but I do not live in Toronto currently. I love how you can end up in little pockets of places. I lived near this awesome greenhouse (which was free) and was so relaxing to go in during the winter. I love Kensington Market and that candy store there with the jars that go to the ceiling and the meat stores and fruit stands. I did a show at Model Citizen last year and these fire throwers showed up and were doing all sorts of dangerous things in the street. I also like all the theme bars, it seems like there are alot.

How do you deal with cold, cold winter nights?
Lately on cold nights I have been making popcorn on the stove top with oil and lots of coarse salt. It is the best popcorn I have ever had and I cannot believe that for the longest time I thought I needed some sort of machine to make popcorn. I really look down on microwave popcorn now, it's so dry! I have made some peace with winter though in part because I now own boots (I did not have any for years and would literally be in tears by February) and also because I have a baby now and I wear her on my chest so we are both warm.

Heart = organ or emotion?
Organ. Oh kidding, emotion too, duh. I really believe in loving what you make and that if it's there, that love shows.


Meet Melodie Kwan of Killside Krafts!

Melodie has been partaking in crafty endeavours ever since she can remember: From hand-sewing dolls, making decks of playing cards (yes, she cut and drew all 52 cards by hand!) and greeting cards for friends and family, to periscopes to spy on neighbourhood kids. She took an extended leave from the world of craft while at the mercy of higher education. Four years ago, while preparing for a weekend in Guelph, she realized she needed a new bag -- and the only solution was to make it herself. And hence Melodie and craft were reunited, and have been inseparable ever since. Her current projects include making impromptu paper puppets from wrapping paper, sewing, photography, and bookbinding. She is a member of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG).

What's one thing that really inspires you and your work these days?
Anything strange and unexpected -- from a piece of trash on the sidewalk to fine art at the AGO. Or trashed up High School Musical wrapping paper.

What do you like to craft for yourself or for close friends and family only?
I love making custom bags, greeting cards and planners/books for friends and family. Occasionally, I’ll make clothes.

What's your favorite thing about toronto?
Music, food, culture, community.

How do you deal with cold, cold winter nights?
I hide under a really warm down comforter. It's the cold, cold winter mornings that are difficult.

Heart = organ or emotion?
The scientist in me says it’s an organ; a really important organ.


Meet Krystal Speck!

Krystal Speck is a ceramic artist who loves color and pattern. Raised in rural Ontario and now based in Toronto, she studied both ceramics and textiles at the Ontario College of Art & Design, where she received her Bachelor of Design (Material Art & Design) in 2007. Since graduating, Krystal has built a growing studio practice in an inspiring cooperative clay studio, sold and exhibited her work locally and nationally, and launched her own ceramic business in 2009.

What's one thing that really inspires you and your work these days?
Oh, textiles...always. I’ve got my head stuck in a great book about folk embroidery patterns from around the world and it’s got me experimenting with new patterns on my ceramics. Lately, I’ve caught myself ogling the stained-glass windows of local churches, which I initially thought odd. Then I realized I decorate my ceramics in a similar way with that bold black line filled with bold shades of color. So, it’s merely a love for pattern, not a religious calling after all.

What do you like to craft for yourself or for close friends and family only?
For myself, I like to sew but rarely seem to find the time to actually complete a project. I horde vintage fabrics to make pillow covers or curtains, blouses, you name it...but sadly they just hide out in my cupboard. For friends and family, I like to make them ceramics based on their personality. My mom is a real fan of blue and white pottery, so I made her a porcelain tumbler with a pattern that I don’t make to sell, in blue and white. Mind you, it’s taken me several years to convince her to use the cup, not to just put it up on her mantle!

What's your favorite thing about Toronto?
When I first moved here, my favorite thing about Toronto was that it seemed to be the total opposite of my rural hometown. I loved the grey, the tall buildings, and the busyness. Now it’s a blend of the two. My favorite things in Toronto are the parks, the urban gardeners (and urban gardening movement) and the interest in greening our grey city.

How do you deal with cold, cold winter nights?
I wrap myself up in the blanket my grandmother made me, drink cups and cups of hot tea and try to steal body heat from my significant other.

Heart = organ or emotion?
My heart outwits my brain 10-1...so I make silly decisions with my heart all the time, and blame the consequences on my heart, even though I know logically it’s my brain getting me into all the trouble. Heart = my boss lady.


Meet Davis Khounnoraj of lines by: davis!

Davis has been crafting forever and through his company, lines by: davis. has been making handmade products from home decor to bags and accessories and now letterpress cards. He recently got to vend at this past years' City of Craft in Toronto for the first time and found the experience a love fest of handmade items and makers. Davis tries to vend and support The Workroom/City of Craft shows when he can and this time around he will be producing handmade chocolates and letterpress products. There will also be some lines by: davis. staples such as the eternity scarf and pouches. This past holiday Davis had delved into chocolate making and he's found it as therapeutic as sewing. "Hopefully I will spreading the Valentines Day spirit around with some good ol' fashion handmade chocolates. From what I've heard, they're delicious."

What's one thing that really inspires you and your work these days?
I am inspired by fashion, art, music and a combination of those things. I am a visual person so I like to absorb inspiration through images and everyday life. I try to pick up on certain colours, details and ideas while doing my own work.

What do you like to craft for yourself or for close friends and family only?
I am a wannabe knitter and I would like to one day finish my knitting projects and hopefully give them away to friends and family. I try to "craft" on my own because it's fun to do and make something that you're not used to.

What's your favorite thing about toronto?
My favourite thing about Toronto is it's love for coffee, coffee houses, cafe's whatever you want to call it. There seems to be a coffee boom in the city and I don't mind because I heart coffee.

How do you deal with cold, cold winter nights?
My down filled slippers, tea, ice cream, blankets and bad reality television.

Heart = organ or emotion?
Depends on what I am feeling that day.

Meet Becky Johnson of The Sweetie Pie Press!

The Sweetie Pie Press is the crafty outlet of Becky Johnson (one of the Love and Rummage Trunk Show's curators). Through The Sweetie Pie Press, Becky focuses on independently designed 1" buttons, art, zines, illustration and crochet. She also always has way too much stuff to bring to every show. Editing is an issue. For this show, The Sweetie Pie Press will have buttons (including some secret smutty ones), money jars, secret messages, crochet neck warmers and crochet elf hats for sure. Requests from The Sweetie Pie catalogue are generally entertained if shoppers want something special, too. As for rummage, there will be some vintage clothes (some verging on costume), craft supplies (stamps, fabric and polymer clay) and hopefully a big collection of suitcases. All of Becky's touring has made Sweetie Pie headquarters overrun with suitcases and some must be parted with in the name of floor space.

five (cropped)

What's one thing that really inspires you and your work these days?
Colour. Just plain colour and the joys that come from playing with it. I never went to art school, so this novelty came late for me. I am also thinking more and more from the materials up - trying to find less ecologically damaging starting points for the things I make (this is at odds with many colours). Materials can be very inspiring in the world of craft.

What do you like to craft for yourself or for close friends and family only?
I will be honest, I make better hats and scarves for my friends and family. This is usually due to the time involved in making them and the intricacies of design. I am working on a hat right now in a small gauge crochet that I also dyed yarn for. It's a very fun process but would make me insane and homeless if I was making these to sell - unless $150 became the going rate for a simple wool hat.

What's your favourite thing about toronto?
Overload. Also, my least favourite thing about Toronto.

How do you deal with cold, cold winter nights?
Tea, late night movies, love, crochet, cat, slippers. You know...your classic spinster stuff.

Heart = organ or emotion?
I can deal with the figurative and literal coexisting. Sure. Both!


Meet Tanya Roberts of Snap & Tumble!

Tanya is the lady at the helm of snap & tumble, a letterpress line of small stationery goods. She found her handmade tribe by participating in the inaugural Toronto City of Craft in 2007. And she's been printing ever since. Knowing that she wasn’t the only one with ink in her veins, she started to offer workshops in the summer of 2009. The Letterpress Curiosity Workshops are now being run out of Tanya's small printery and it’s given her the opportunity to meet and share her love of letterpress with like-minded others.


What's one thing that really inspires you and your work these days?
It’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing. But, I often find that I could just work and play with my (increasing) collection of wood and metal type. The beauty of typography and the countless possibilities it offers always challenges and pushes me to create. The characters themselves are worn down from years of use from their previous owners. I often get inspired by thoughts of where my sets of type came from and wonder if they’ve been used to print vintage concert posters, old political propaganda , advertising leaflets, etc.

What do you like to craft for yourself or for close friends and family only?
Aside from the letterpress printed monogrammed stationery, I like to use found paper to create simple stationery. Assembling letters complete with envelope liners, writing notes on vintage ledgers and sending it through snail mail is my idea of a good time.

What's your favorite thing about toronto?
The TTC subway typeface.

How do you deal with cold, cold winter nights?
Stay in. Make a home-cooked meal. Follow with green tea and a page-turner.

Heart = organ or emotion?


Meet Ella Kohlmann!

ella's kitties

Ella is a 12 year old girl, and she started her etsy site 2 years ago. So far, she's been a vendor at three of the trunk shows at the Workroom, and can't wait to be a vendor at the Love & Rummage Trunk Show 2. In August of 2008, she was asked by owner of the Workroom, Karyn Valino, if she would be a vendor at her upcoming Kids Trunk Show. She agreed, and ended up pretty much selling out by the end of the day. She was ten years old, and had discovered her calling. SHE LOVES TO CRAFT!

What's one thing that really inspires you and your work these days?
I have three cats, and they were what I used to base my clay cats on when I started. Now, I really just base them on people and experiences. So if I meet someone who is a photographer, I think: "Hey! I could make a photographer cat!". Or if I get an iPod for Christmas, I think: "I could make a cat with an iPod!".

What do you like to craft for yourself or for close friends and family only?
I often make clay cats for them, based on things they like. So my mum likes cooking and baking, so I made her a little chef cat with a batch of cookies! I also have a set of watercolours and watercolour pencil crayons, so I make paintings and cards too.

What's your favorite thing about toronto?
My favourite thing about Toronto? I don't know, but I like the ROM and the Workroom. There are too many things to choose from! So many craft stores, and craft shows, and workshops... I can't choose!

How do you deal with cold, cold winter nights?
Hmm... Cold winter nights? Well, hot cocoa, a fireplace, and my big box of clay and sculpting tools comes to mind...

Heart = organ or emotion?
The heart's a muscle and an organ, and you use your brain to have emotions... well, the shape of a heart, to me stands for love, but the muscle/organ that pumps your blood, well that's important, but not an emotion. I'll have to go with both!