November 10th, 2004

Sidney the elephant is on his way to work. He carries his briefcase which contains the following items,
1 cell phone
his lunch (which consists of 1 tomato and cheese sandwich with mustard and
1 container of milk)
today’s newspaper
Sidney works at a law firm where he is an expert at memorizing and retrieving case numbers. After work he likes to put on his p.j.’s, and eat dinner (tofu with peanut sauce), while watching his favourite show (Jeapardy).
Sidney was created using iron on transfer paper, the design printed (both front and back) then ironed onto cotton. The briefcase was sewn out of felt. the accessories have a little piece of velcro on the back and can be attached. approx. 9″ x 4″
Having made many of these pillow dolls in the past I find I am still working at perfecting the ironing technique. So far it seems the hotter the better. For me (someone with a short attention span), the method is fairly quick (once the design is complete), and I quite enjoy making accessories to go with the dolls. (For Hortence and Giles I made tiny skates out of felt, and scarves.)

August 2nd, 2004
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“Charles (Eames) was once asked how he would inspire an appreciation for the arts in a child.

July 21st, 2004
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I was walking through a beautiful neighborhood in Vancouver, (off of Commercial Drive) when I spotted a flyer that caught my eye. The bottom of it said “if you take this poster, make copies & pass it on! I like the idea of one person’s vision that gets passed on. Something that starts off as a small spark, a thought, that picks up momentum and grows exponentially over time. So here you are, if you like it make copies and pass it on.
How to Build a Community
turn off your tv~leave your house~know your neighbors
greet people~look up when you’re walking~sit on your front steps
plant flowers~use your library~play together~buy from local merchants
share what you have~help a lost dog~take children to the park
honor elders~support neighbourhood schoools~fix it even if you didn’t break it
have pot lucks~garden together~pick up litter~read stories aloud
dance in the street~talk to the mail carrier~listen to the birds
put up a swing~help someone carry something heavy~barter for your goods
start a tradition~ask a question~hire young people for odd jobs
organize a block party~bake extra and share~ask for help when you need it
open your shades~sing together~share your skills
take back the night~turn up the music~turn down the music
listen before you react to anger~mediate a conflict~seek to understand
learn from new and uncomfortable angles
know that no one is silent though many are not heard
work to change this
text: Syracuse Cultural Workers
I recently created a shirt design for the great sitting. ALL proceeds go the the Lance Armstrong Foundation, helping people living with cancer.

June 2nd, 2004
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A day of tying up loose ends, little things that need doing. Replacing cards from the wallet that got stolen while I was away, I believe while J and I were having dinner on a patio. I decided to make myself a new wallet out of old magazines and packing tape, since there is nowhere to purchase a wallet in town here, (instructions to follow). I did some laundry, had tea with Stu, Esther and Oscar, ate Chevdo, tried to get back into the colouring I am doing on the book. As always I am finding it hard to get motivated after a trip. But I’m sure the deadline will soon whip me into shape. If I can manage six pages a day I’m laughing. I am stocked up on tea, licorice, and new music so I am good for a week of late nights.
I spent a couple of days in Vancouver with my sister Jen last week. I had forgotten how much I missed her, how much fun we have together. My sister has this amazing knack for connecting with almost every human she comes into contact with. She has been like this since she was very little. It is so beautiful to watch. While having breakfast in a soulless Holiday Inn one morning she completely captured the attention of our waiter just by her ability to be in the moment and not take life too seriously. (I don’t know how to explain it better, she is not overly friendly but instead can make a stranger warm to her in seconds with her humour.) When she went to the bathroom the waiter said to me, “She is amazing!” Yes she is I replied. I told him about how I took her to see Howard Jones when she was only 13, and how in a matter of minutes she had made friends with our entire section, and knew what everyone was about and where they were from. My little sister, she has a gift. Life is more fun with her. She did this dance while we were waiting for the people mover. Hard to describe but basically she puts her arm up and shimmies and tries to non-chalantly check to see if her deodorant is working adequately. It makes me pee every time.
a quote:
“we’re going to have to get more and more courage to really go along with the principles, and have less and less fear of upsetting the tradition and the game, and be less and less afraid of those who are afraid.” -Buckminster Fuller
The following will be included in the new book, though I wrote it a while ago. It is quite a skill to apply the tape nice and flat, but it’s gets easiery the more you do it.

May 31st, 2004

I have returned. Yes. I will keep you in suspense no longer, my talk went wonderfully! In fact I would say it was one of the best talks I have done, certainly the one in which I felt most comfortable. I’m not sure what happened, it was like somebody else took over my body, no nervousness or fears at all. I began by taking off my shoes (and inviting others to do the same). I’ve learned that it is helpful to try and shift the context of a place if possible. In this case the “ballroom” I spoke in was much too formal and stuffy, so barefeet were helpful. I shared the story about my first year art school teacher who asked the class to get under one large table. We sat there for a few minutes and she came back in and started pounding on the table top. In an instant that classroom became a very different place. You never knew when you walked in what would occur. Just a little shift is all it takes sometimes. I felt a little more ownership of this fancy hotel walking around the marble floors in bare feet.

I’m not sure what happened with this talk, but I really felt something shift in me. I think it had to do with the fact that for the first time I gave myself permission to be terrified (with the help of a few loving friends). So when those scared feelings came in I felt like, “oh hey, I know you.” In the past I might have tried anything possible to banish them from my body. I think the other thing that happened is that I do feel deep down that I have something that needs to be said, (different than what we were taught in art school). It seems that the art schools are becoming more and more business-like, more strict in their approach. I want to tell people that there are no rules in this game, you really can try anything, try something you’ve never done before. do the opposite.

I did incidentally feel a bit like an imposter at times. My room had an actual boardroom table in it. I had my breakfast delivered to my room in the morning, sitting at the end of the long table I would call a meeting to order. giggling. For some strange reason the hotel had a bizarre “urn” theme. There were urns everywhere. In every hallway, in my room. I felt like I was surrounded by dead people. I was on a quest for some tape so I could subtly adhere little notes to them that said, “Uncle Ernie, 1932-1987, rip”.

So for those of you artists and designers out there who could not attend, I am posting one of the handouts here. From what I could gather it seemed that my talk was quite a different focus than many of the others, (read:anti business/corporate, non-traditional, slightly controversial). This to me is the highest of compliments, I wonder if How Magazine knew who they were hiring.

1. Document what you are responding to regularly. *journal/sketchbook, blog, listmaking, photo journal, bulletin board collage, internet bookmarks, Allow yourself to go deeper into an idea. Find influence outside of your field. Consider that you are ALWAYS working for yourself.

2. Start to challenge yourself on a regular basis to try new things, (not just for work. *i.e. new foods, colors, processes, classes, travel, become a guerilla artist, etc. Your hobbies are your greatest source of play.)

3. Go back to your childhood, (the formative years). What were your favourite things to do? In this lies some clues as to where you want to focus your energy as an adult. What makes you burst with energy?

4. Do something that is not for money. For your own enjoyment. (Your greatest work will come from here!)
-x-mas card
-product concept
-gifts for friends.
Design for yourself. *See handout on guerilla art.

5. Use sources that are based on your daily life. Your life IS your art. What are the things that are most important in your current life?

6. Become a collector. Collecting allows us to look at one thing in a contemplative & mindful way. Giving you new insights and perceptions. Examples: Maria Kalman -purse contents, Steven Guarnaccia -shoe sole
rubbings, Ian Phillips & Grant Heaps -Lost & Found pet posters, Mark Ulriksen (former art director) -misspellings of his name, Charles & Rae Eames -toys from other countries

7. “Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain.” Ignore what other people are doing. It has no bearing on your existence or vision of the world. The times we feel the most discouraged are usually due to the fact we are comparing ourselves to others. Most times reading awards annuals, and industry mags only serves to make us feel inadequate. Try cutting it out entirely. Designer Bruce Mau recommends not entering awards competitions. His reasoning, “Just don’t do it, it’s not good for you.”

8. Don’t promote to target your audience. By all means send things out into the world, but don’t think in terms of “promoting to get work”. Send stuff out because -you’re proud of it, -you want to share something with the world, -it’s fun to get mail, -to have good karma, -you want to spread your germs, -you like licking stamps. Try sending a postcard of something you made for fun, (i.e. directions on how to make a finger puppet). When thinking of subject matter for promotions look to your current life. If you deal with topics that are important to you a piece will have much more life to it.

9. Take a lighthearted approach (Don’t take yourself too seriously). If you feel stuck, you can always reinvent yourself, (re: try something else).

10. Study other artists or creators who followed their own vision. Research.

March 8th, 2004
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Guerilla art is a fun and insidious way of sharing your vision with the world. It is a method of art making which entails leaving anonymous art pieces in public places. It can be done for a variety of reasons, to make a statement, to share your ideas, to send out good karma, or just for fun. My current fascination with it stems from a belief in the importance of making art without attachment to the outcome. To do something that has nothing to do with making money, or listening to the ego.
My first experience with being a guerilla artist was in my first year of art school in a class taught by conceptual artist Shirley Yanover. One of our assignments was to create some form of graffiti in a public place (we were allowed to choose the were and how). We went out in groups of four, (two lookouts, and two painters), and proceeded to make our mark on various blank walls across the city. The experience made me terrified and exhilarated at the same time. I wrote quotes from various authors along the bottoms of buildings, on phone booths, and on the sidewalks. I remember the feeling of daring as we sprinted away from unsuspecting police officers.
Now I am not necessarily advocating that you do anything illegal or potentially life threatening. But there is something wonderfully sneaky about leaving some form of art in public places. I like knowing that at some point in time someone might receive a little surprise in the form of a random message from a stranger, or a doodle in an unexpected place. I remember there used to be an artist in Toronto who would bolt text books and old phone books to various things. It became a personal quest of mine to find them all, and I always felt so excited when a new one showed up just under my nose. Experiment with your own ideas.
Possible Formats
1. Sidewalk chalk
2. Sticker art
3. Flyers/posters (see “make a flyer of your day” at
4. Journals (pass it on)
5. Zines
6. Object leave behinds (money, gifts, junk)
7. Notes (slogans)
8. Graffiti
9. Book inserts (library)
10. Book leave behinds (
11. Letters (possibly love letters to strangers)
12. The age old ‘message in a bottle’, or a balloon. Or if you are really adventurous you might be drawn to carrier pigeons.
Potential Ideas for subject matter
-any form of artwork (drawings, collage, doodles, paintings)
-good luck charms
-variations on a theme
-many guerilla artist are politically motivated and find that being anonymous allows them to be more controversial or extreme with their message. Popular with activists.
Further reading:
The original guerilla girls
Mysterious figures show up on a campus.
Potato: Guerilla Art
Jeff Claassen

November 25th, 2003
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A new set of ornaments (or mobile if you prefer), featuring the ever popular Hortence & Giles. Happy cutting & gluing!

November 19th, 2003
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I have been asked to provide a list of links for holiday decorating. After pondering this for while I realized I have none. The reason for this is simple, I don’t usually buy decorations, but instead use whatever I happen to have lying around or things I have found in the forest. My favourite method of decorating is the “use what you got” technique. Why pay for decorations when there are so many interesting things at your disposal for free? So I came up with this short guide which documents the various methods I have used in the past. Each year is a different theme decided spontaneously once a tree is found. My main objective when decorating is to have as much fun as possible, and to not hurt myself. I have in the past spent a colourful night or two in an ER room {read: drunk tank}, due to stepping onto a rusty nail or having a run-in with some wire cutters). Oh, the lovely tetanus. Such is the cost of making art, but I digress…
You have heard it said before, when attempting to make an appealing display using one simple thing in multiples works wonders. As does a monocromatic color theme. Or you can ignore that all together as I did a couple of years ago and go crazy with color (using paper)! Just do what moves you. And remember…a little paint and some mulled wine goes a long way (just don’t mix them together.)

If you have any ideas to add please leave a comment! Us crafty folks will thank you.
In other news…
My lovely friend Stu gave me a Mates of State album. It makes me happy.
Our friend Kristan Horton has been working on an installation for Ydessa Hendles (the Teddybear Project), which was profiled on the radio tonight. He always has something interesting and possibly strange on the go. Yay Kris!

September 24th, 2003
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A little gift for you crafty folks out there…I’ve been experimenting with creating mobiles lately. To recieve the Fall Colors Mobile, just click on the “free mobile” patch on the sidebar. You might see some Eric Carle influence in this creation, (it seeps in without you knowing it.)

Also, I’ve started my first singing lessons. It is an attempt to a) try something new, and b) work more directly with my voice (for speaking as well). I’m not interested in becoming a fabulous singer (although I am hoping to improve somewhat), but rather to learn more about technique, breathing, and projection. What I’ve learned so far is it’s harder than it looks! After one hour of doing scales I am left winded and exhausted. We had our first group session on the weekend (usually the lessons are one on one), and it felt so great to just sing with other women. (And we learned a few great English pub songs to boot, so I now feel I could confidently travel to England and hold my own while stopping for a pint.)
In the past I never felt confident signing in a group, but being in the musical last year really changed that. On the few occasions I had been to church (weddings, funerals), I always sat in the back and mouthed the words. I think I’ve learned that if you do anything often enough it becomes second nature and the fear is dissapated. I’m hoping that this also applies to public speaking. I so admire people who are natural and comfortable in front of a crowd or a camera. Why is it that the presence of a lens pushes me into an instant state of panic?
One thing that has come out of the singing lessons is that I find I am singing all of the time now. I even do it in public places without realizing it, sometimes blushing in embarrasment. My goal is to do it regularly without blushing.

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