Guest Blogger Picks: Becky Johnson.

Okay, so this is a cheat. I am not a guest. I run this show now, but I didn't have anyone for today and thought I could use the slot to present work from our 2011 Vendors that illustrates some themes very dear to my heart and intertwined with City of Craft - cities and citizenship. Here goes!
Misanthrope Specialty Co
1) Misanthrope Specialty Co. : Good Morning, Citizens

Oh, the numbness, the mysterious high-up forces, the offering up of babies - it would take a collective of misanthropes to present citizenship in this soothingly oppressive manner.

Alternate Histories

2) Alternate Histories : Pittsburgh Zombie Outbreaks: A Map

Joining us all the way from Pittsburgh this year, Matt has made a business for himself by intervening in images of the past and rewriting history through his own twisted and pointedly destructive lens. I actually could have grabbed just about any image from his shop to illustrate his crumbling view of the cityscape. Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC - They have all fallen victim to his monsters, lasers and tentacles. What's more? He has promised some new Toronto-specific releases just for the show! Watch out!


3) Fidoodle : City Blocks Set

Kids these days, right? They grow up against all sorts of backdrops. That's why I think it is so brilliant that the folks over at Fidoodle have developed simple block sets for all of the city, the suburbs and the country.

Sara Guindon

4) The Pin Pals : Eileen and Minou Shadow Box Print

I love how cityscapes provide the backdrop for so many of the tiny moments illustrated by Sara Guindon of the Pin Pals. I love love what the city looks like through her eyes - the seediness isn't gone, but somehow all is safe and everyone is going to get tucked into their beds at night.

Raymond Beisinger

5) Raymond Biesinger : Edmonton Civic Crest Silkscreen Print

Also joining us for the first time and from afar (Montreal by way of Edmonton), Raymond Biesinger plays with civic identity here through the appropriation and artistic mutilation of the civic crest from his native Edmonton. Isn't it about time all of our cities got real about what they have become and updated their crests to include more weapons?

Becky Johnson runs this here City of Craft and also her own craft outfit, the Sweetie Pie Press. Sometimes, she speaks at conferences about craft-related themes, sometimes she curates things and still other times she makes up jokes on stage.


Guest Blogger Picks: Serah-Marie McMahon.

Greetings, Citizens! Following is the first in a new series of guest blog posts from a slew of local bloggers, writers and creative sorts. Throughout the series you will see tiny collections hand-picked from our vendors' collective output to represent themes interesting to these guests. Read on!


I always have an eye out to find new fashion items and makers at craft fairs. This City of Craft I'm looking for warm, cozy items to wear and love.

1) Supayana: Red Fox Dress (above)
Designer Yana Gorbulsky has been making some extremely charming pieces lately that make me think of fairy tales and folk stories. I imaging myself wearing this dress with thick wool tights and a sweet cardigan. I fell like it's something Emily Winfield would wear, and really my life is a lot about wishing I was Emily Winfield.


2) Broundoor: Sparrow Purse
I would die, not literally of course - the world uses the word "literally" incorrectly way too much. So I would die, figuratively, to have this purse. I've admired it from afar for quite a while and maybe it's about time to admire it up close. In my closet.


Deadweight: Hands Print
The only thing better than getting this print of gloves would be to get these actual gloves, because they are lovely. Alas, since these only live in the imagination of Deadweight's head, I'll have to resign myself to do the same.


4) Good Night, Day: Markham Alpaca Loop Collar
I'm very doubtful that this piece would do anything at all to keep me warm. However, it is gorgeous, and it makes me feel like I am embodying Amelia Earhart. Or at the very least the actress who played Amelia Earhart on that episode of Star Trek Voyager when they find the spot what was sucking everyone out of the Bermuda Triangle.


5) I (Heart) Puffy Love: Coconut Marshmallows.
Okay so this is not clothes. I know. But it IS a bag of crispy coconut homemade marshmallows. Do I really need to explain myself further?

Serah-Marie McMahon is the founder and Editor of WORN Fashion Journal, and a maker of fun things. She likes to mend, especially at WORN's mending circle - Thursday Night Your Stockings Needed Mending. You should go mend stuff with her. Or visit the awesome table WORN will have at City of Craft.


The Ephemeral City at Canzine (Sunday).

Paper City

Canzine is this Sunday and we hope you will come down to check it out and say hi.

This year's show boasts even more vendors than ever before (193 is the number I have heard bandied about) and a full bill of programming - panels, readings, death matches. You know, zine stuff.

City of Craft is really excited to be using our table space this year as a tiny installation venue. Above is the beginning of our display, a paper town, being figured and fussed with on my kitchen table. The houses up there are by Ian Phillips and Kid Icarus. Over the rest of tonight and tomorrow I will be adding work from Cecelia Hayes, Michelle Renaud, Tara Bursey, Reverend Aitor, yours truly and more!

It has been really thrilling to open attachments and envelopes to find the surprises within. Airplanes! Igloos! A whole block of Nassau street (by Kid Icarus, above).

So c'mon down, check out our tiny village, pick up some of the swanky new postcards that Sandi designed, say hello and check out our archive of merch from past years! Then check out the other 192 vendors and have your brains filled with indie goodness!

Canzine 2011
Sunday, October 23
918 Bathurst Arts/Culture Centre
918 Bathurst Street
(North of Bloor)
Toronto, ON
1pm – 7pm
$5 entry includes the fall issue of Broken Pencil
Tickets available at the door or online in advance.


Occupy Queen Street (or City of Craft gets a Second Venue - Thrush Holmes Empire!)

thrush holmes empire window

Citizens, I have some wild news to report - because we were bursting at the seams with talented applicants this year, City of Craft is going to explode out into a Second Venue on Queen West. True fact! This development is going to make the show bigger and better than ever!

We were lucky enough to secure the amazing Thrush Holmes Empire for the December 10-11 weekend. A city in an empire? What could be more fitting?

All the arrangements were finalized today and, I have to admit, I have been chomping at the bit to get this all nailed down, confirm some vendors into the space and start working on the exciting challenge of completely taking over Queen and Dovercourt for the big weekend.

We have already confirmed a full weekend of DJ services from The Vinyl Den and the whole staff is busily plotting strategies for linking the two spaces and filling that huge picture window. It's such a fantastic space. Oh, the possibilities!

With the Knit Cafe hosting an installation, too, it is starting to feel like we are building a little Empire of Craft. I, for one, cannot wait to take over Queen West West before spaces like THE are squashed by condos next year. Occupy Queen Street, indeed.

Big thanks to Thrush Holmes for working with us, to Katharine Mulherin for being so smart and to The Theatre Centre for constant and kind venue support.



Canzine 2011

That's right, Citiznes, the air is finally cooling (maybe) so it must be time for Toronto's biggest and baddest-assed zine culture explosion - Broken Pencil's Canzine!

We have been chummed up with BP for a while now - since very close to our inception, in fact - and we love them to pieces. Canzine is always extra fun for us because it affords us a rare opportunity to do outreach at a non-City-of-Craft event. Trust me, not being in charge is a real relief around here when it happens. In the past we have set up a one day general store, hosted a pinback button making station and generally chatted our faces off.

This year, as always, we are using the opportunity to do something altogether different. The City of Craft staff (and a few friends near and far) are working together to construct a collaborative table-top installation - a tiny paper city. Since we are all working on our own elements, even we don't know what the final piece will look like. How exciting! Keep checking here for previews as the big day draws closer.

We hope you will come down to check it out, say hello, dive into the other programming and support all the busy zinesters who descend on the city for the day.

Canzine 2011
Sunday, October 23
918 Bathurst Arts/Culture Centre
918 Bathurst Street
(North of Bloor)
Toronto, ON
1pm – 7pm
$5 entry includes the fall issue of Broken Pencil

What's more? This year, you can even buy tickets in advance and circumvent the line-ups! Just look in the BP store for options.


Holiday Multiples Fair at O'Born Contemporary.

Holiday Mutliples Fair
Just saw this call from O'Born Contemporary's Holiday Multiples Fair via Akimbo and it seemed like a noteworthy thing to post, not just because it is a timely call for a unique holiday sale but also because there seems to be much confusion in the indie craft world surrounding what art multiples are. So much, in fact, that I am removing the category from our applications - it was just being used so often by such a wide range of inapplicable products.

So here is my attempt at a run-down of what art multiples are:
Art multiples/Artist's multiples/Multiples are objects or prints, usually released in limited edition and usually signed that are made specifically for commercial purposes. They are designed and released to be relatively accessible. Their production is often semi-mechanized to support this goal. What differentiates these works from other craft fare is at least some amount of conceptual backing (ie. work that is purely functional and/or decorative probably does not qualify). With many things in our current indie craft world, lines are blurred and definitions are malleable, but these ideas can provide a starting point.

Below is one of my personal favourite projects in multiples, the Velcro Pins by Sandy Plotnikoff (circa 2004). In this image you can see how he has taken a very standard object (the pinback button) and transformed it into and unruly and interactive piece with endless sculptural possibilities. Existing between craft, art and commodity, I find this a really playful example of what multiples can become from a starting point very recognizable in our indie culture sphere.

velcro pins

Applications for the O'Born fair are being accepted through November 1. Full details and a downloadable call for submissions can be found here.