Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thoughts and Lists

The fashion show and exhibition opening were a great success. People are actually buying my craft. I gotta say, it is the best feeling in the world.

I love what I do.

I really do.

A new chapter of my life is about to begin.  Post college. I've spent the past two years learning copious amounts of information relating to textiles, art and craft, design, and entrepreneurship. It's been a lot of hard work, and sometimes when I think back on it all I can't believe I survived. Knowing that I did indeed make it to the end, makes me feel so proud though. I often refer to myself as being weak, I'm not sure what I mean exactly when I say it, but I do know that when I reflect on the past two years, I feel strong, strong and accomplished. I think that's confirmation that what I'm doing is right.

“if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” - Who even said that?

I have a sweet story to share with you all now...
When I was a little girl in the second grade at St. Augustine's Elementary, I really looked up to my principal Mrs. Hallett. Roberta Hallett I believe. I just thought she was so sweet, kind, and pretty. She always smiled at me and I would smile back at her.

One day, because I liked her so much, I drew her a picture of a dog and brought it to her at her office. She began raving over what a great drawing it was and how I was so talented. She said to me, "You should be an artist when you grow up!" To which I replied, "But, artists don't make very much money." Haha, oh my, I wonder where I heard that from? Anyways, Mrs. Hallett proceeded to tell me about her son Bob, who was a musician. She explained that he played in a band and didn't make very much money, but he loved what he did and that's what matters in life. She told me things like God gave each and every person a special gift and that money doesn't lead to happiness.

I remember the feeling of my little mind being blown. I remember replaying the conversation a million times. There literally hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about it.

She changed my pessimistic outlook, and made me feel like I could achieve absolutely anything in life. I'll always be so thankful to her for believing in me, and taking the time to explain what happiness truly is to my 7-year-old self.

By the way, her son Bob is Bob Hallett form Great Big Sea. Although they weren't playing many gigs back in 1995, they've certainly turned into a big success. I love this part of the story. :)

So.  Now that school is nearly done, what do I do? Where do I go?

Well, some things have been decided for me.

- My application to the Craft Incubator was unsuccessful, at this time. I've been encouraged to reapply at the end of the summer. I've got to improve my game between now and then, I have to get one of those studios.

- I won't be going to NY to do the millinery course I have been talking about for the past year. I didn't get the grant I was banking on to make it possible. Although the tuition is paid for, I can't afford to get there, live there, and miss out on an entire month of income. I will reapply for the grant every year until I get it.

- I'll be back at Blue Moon Pottery this summer. This will be my third summer there, and possibly my last. I am really hoping to be working at my business full-time by next summer.

I have a lot of little goals and things to look forward to this summer!

- graduation

- traveling to Toronto to see Roger Waters perform The Wall!

- ordering lots supplies

- experimenting with new design ideas

- producing, producing, producing!

- dyeing with local plants, lichens, mushrooms

- working on my Incubator application.

- a trip to Bonavista and Corner Brook

- camping at every available opportunity

It's going to be a good summer I think!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Behind the Seams

We're almost there! It's hard to believe that in just 54 hours my classmates, teachers, family, friends, and I will be at our graduation fashion show! Where has the time gone?!

I'm going to save all the sappiness of how much we've all grown and for when we've actually graduated.  :P

For now I will entice you to go to our Behind the Seams Fashion Show with pictures that show the details of our intense work. 

Heather's silk-screened jacket lining...

Katelyn's studs that were used as a stunning embellishment...

Chelsie's dyed and devore top...

Katlyn's naturally dyed dress....

Machine embroidery on Chantelle's coat....

Krystal's reversible dress...

Jasmine's knitted skirt and legwarmers...

Robyn's dress mid-drape....

and a sample of my rust dyed dress and leather bustier...

It's this Wednesday, May 23rd, at the LSPU Hall. Get your tickets here! There aren't many left!

Quoted from the LSPU website: 

" College of the North Atlantic’s graduating Textiles: Craft and Apparel Design students invite you to join us for a peek at what’s been happening “Behind the Seams!”
On Wednesday, May 23rd, be a part of our graduation celebration as creativity, passion, and dedication take over the runway! Apparel Design students Krista Burton, Anna Clarke, Chelsie Coles, Katelyn Dobbin, Heather Jenkins, Carol McCall, Krystal Randell, Kayla Snow, Robyn Vardy and Katlyn Westcott showcase their original design lines while Chantelle Anderson, Carissa Mercer and Jasmine Paul infuse the show with specialty garments in knit and weave. Inspired fabrics with original screen prints, innovative dye techniques and wild surface embellishments truly place these fashion lines far above and beyond the scope of everyday clothing. With over seventy individual pieces movin’ down the runway to a live DJ, it promises to be an amazing and memorable event! "


Monday, March 26, 2012

A Machine Embroidered Little Man

Back in the early Fall I learned a few machine embroidery techniques in my Surface Embellishment class. It's probably my least favourite technique I have learned. I don't have much of a kinship with machines. I'm never 100% confident while using them, I can't trust them like I trust my hands. When sewing with my hands I have complete control over every movement and I'm able to move at a pace that I'm comfortable with. I also just prefer the look of hand-embroidery. However, you can produce some really amazing embroidery by using a machine. Check out out local textile artist Judy Cooper's blog for some great examples of machine embroidery.

Although I had frustrations with machine embroidery. I was inspired enough to make an embroidery of my cat, Little Man. His nose is made of silk thread and so soft to touch.
This is the image I drew my design from.

These are some of my favourite photos of Little Man. He is such a little angel.

Here's a two-minute video of LM being his sweet self while playing with a bit of wool.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Turtle Mug!

Happy St. Patricks Day everyone!

Hope you're all having yourselves some responsible fun this weekend! I have spent my weekend working The March of Mugs at Alexis Templeton Studio. We're featuring a variety of mugs made by potters all across Atlantic Canada.

I've had to stop buying pottery until I come home from New York at the end of August. I've had to stop buying a lot of things actually, I have a lot of money to save for that trip so living like a mouse is what I need to do. If you're a pottery lover like me, it's very difficult to look at new work and not buy it all! More than difficult, it breaks my heart!

THANKFULLY my parents are the sweetest ever and offered to buy me the mug I had been eyeing when they popped by the studio today!

It's a turtle mug! Isn't he AWESOME?! My boyfriend has named him Larry David, hahaha!

This mug is made by Potter / Sculptor Candy Gallant of Sweet and Sour Gargoyles and Crooked Pottery Barn. She lives and works in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island.

This lady has a wild imagination! Here are some more photos of her work from Alexis' Studio..

They are just the coolest. Come check out these mugs, and many more, Alexis Templeton Studio will be open from 11 - 6 tomorrow!

75 Quidi Vidi Road ( near Belbins )


Monday, March 5, 2012

The Tale of the Missing Rusty Triangles

I'm more than a little frustrated this morning! But I can't start the story there, oh no, it goes back about a month ago.....

I had planned to to make a silk dress for one of my final projects, it was to be dyed with a combination of rust and natural dyes. My vision was to create a pattern on the silk with the rusty metal bits (they would leave behind a black colour). I initially bought a few packs of metal washers but quickly realized they were galvanized and would not rust. I attempted to return them at Canadian Tire but had lost my receipt, so I was out nearly $20. 

After a conversation with my instructor and some knowledgeable friends, I decided to purchase some sheet metal and cut out triangle shapes to rust, so I did. I went down to Jenkins and Puddicombe (ya know the place on Water Street west with the Tin Man in the window?) and got me  four square feet of sheet metal, it was a bit much but I figured I could use it for other projects at some point in time. I picked up a set of pricey tin snips from Crappy Tire and slaved for two hours cutting that sheet metal. It was damn near impossible, every attempt at cutting just got me a few more millimeters. In two hours I had less than a dozen triangles, this was not good. I figured it was the tin snips fault so I went out once again and bought a $5 pair that cut like a dream ($5?!?). I spent one evening sitting on the floor of my living room blasting my tunes and cutting triangles. I pumped out 100 that night.

The cutting of the metal caused the triangles to curve so the next night I spent some time hammering them all flat (I would need them to lay flat on the silk to get the effect I want).

Now it was time to start the rusting process. I kept the triangles damp in a bin for weeks occasionally sprinkling salt and putting them outside to to get oxygen. They were rusting very well and were about 90% rusted last night. I wanted to start the dyeing process over reading week (it takes several days) so I thought I should speed up the last of the rusting by putting them outside one last time.

I had a late night of working on a proposal and playing Super Mario Bros. 3. As it was nearing 5 am and I was finally ready to hit the hay I remembered about my triangles and thought that I should bring them inside. It had been raining and snowing for quite some time and my bin with the triangles was no where in sight. Panic began to set in. I had spent so many hours making the triangles and so many weeks rusting them and I hadn't even started the dyeing or construction of the dress. I HAD to find them. I threw on my coat, gloves and boots and grabbed a flashlight to start my hunt. I was relieved to find the bin upright behind the shed, but not a single triangle was inside! It must have toppled over on it's adventure to the shed, which is about 20 feet from where the bin was first placed. I dug on my hands and knees with the flashlight in my mouth through the fresh inch of wet snow all around the area where I found the bin, no luck, it was very hard to see. I went back inside to dry off and wait for daylight. I returned at 6:15 am with a shovel in hand and spent an hour and a half shoveling every inch of our back yard. Every possible route that bin could have taken. I got down on my hands and knees again and felt every bit of that earth hoping to find at lease ONE triangle. I saw an orange tinge in the snow multiple times but was disappointed to find clementines time after time.  I walked through the neighbours yards and at one point caught a man staring at me from his kitchen window. My neighbours must think I'm insane. At around quarter to 8, I decided to give up, not because I wanted to but because I was soaked to the bone and freeeeeezing cold.

I just don't understand it. I had put that bin outside before, many times leaving it over night, the back of my house is never windy. I guess the few hours of rain and snow was enough to take it on a ride. But it really didn't move very far, and was upright when I found it. How on earth could 100 metal triangles completely vanish?!? 

Boggles my mind. 

Breaks my heart.

I don't even know what to do now. I was so set on this design idea, that it's very difficult for me to even consider anything else. One things for sure, I definitely don't have the time to redo the whole process. Why oh why did I have to put them outside one last time, they were fine the way they were...


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bacon and Egg Pancake Cups!

Happy Pancake Day People!

Instead of making your ordinary chocolate chip or blueberry pancakes (not that there's anything wrong with those!) for supper, I searched the internet for a more interesting and filling recipe. I stumbled upon these bacon and egg pancake cups and thought that they were GENIUS.

They're fantastic with maple syrup!

Here's the recipe... :)


- 6 strips of bacon 
- 6 eggs
- your favorite pancake mix

The pancake recipe I used calls for:

- 1 cup of flour
- 1.5 tsp of baking powder
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 egg
- cinnamon


1. Mix up a small batch of your favorite pancake batter. About enough to serve 2-3 pancakes. 
2. Grease 6 molds of a muffin pan.
3. Put a thin layer of pancake batter at the bottom of each mold. This layer must be very thin (about 1/4 inch); thinner than when you normally make pancakes because the pancakes will rise when cooked and you want room for your eggs.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the pancakes in the oven for about 3-4 minutes, until the batter is almost completely cooked.
5. Cook strips of bacon in a pan until they are about half done.
6. Line the bacon around the inside of each muffin mold.
7. Crack an egg and pour it into the middle of each mold. If you are using large or extra large eggs, leave out some of the egg white, or else it will take too long for the egg white to cook and you may overcook your egg yolk.
8. Bake at 400F for about 8 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your desired doneness.

YEAH! They were pretty freakin' amazing. I ate three in one sitting!

If you have any great pancake recipes please share them, I'd love to get some gems to add to my recipe book (a folder on my desktop :P)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The ACTS Show!

Myself, five of my classmates, and two of my instructors traveled to Halifax last Thursday to attend the Atlantic Craft Trade Show. This event showcases many varieties of craft produced in Atlantic Canada to potential retailers. It's a wonderful opportunity for both the craftspeople and retailers. There was everything from pottery to clothing, glass to leather, metal to wood. The College of the North Atlantic, New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and NSCAD were lucky to have student booths, giving us the opportunity to get a taste of how these things work and network with some really fabulous people!

After arriving late Thursday evening we all went straight to bed to rest up for the following day. Friday we got up early and walked to Spring Garden Road to tour Dalhousie's Theatre Costume Studies department. It was neat to see all of the equipment that they use, and get a rundown of the courses that are included in the program. Their sewing room has a glass wall that looks onto the attached shopping center.

 After the tour we had lunch at Pete Frootique's! The equivalent to our Coleman's, only with many more delicious treats and a large produce section. I had a spicy Pakora and a cheery flavored 7up!

When our bellies were full we trotted down to Marginal Road to tour NSCAD's woodworking, metalworking, and ceramic departments.

Sweet knitted icicles


 Giant kilns

We had to walk back towards our hotel to tour the Textiles department on Grainville Street. The department was a collection of really old buildings connect by stairwells and ramps. We saw some fascinating stuff like a jacquard loom, a laser cutter, and a 3d printer!

While I was touring NSCAD I saw this poster....

The Nova Scotia Symphony Orchestra was performing Dark Side of the Moon and I was in town to see it! SO LUCKY.  Words cannot describe the emotion I felt while listening to this rendition. Every musician and vocalist was SO pro. I bonded with a older lady sitting next to me who was also a a huge fan of Pink Floyd. We rocked out together and exchanged emails. It was great. :D I could write a whole blog about this performance, going into detail on every song, but with midterms next week I really do not have the time. I'm hoping to get a recording of the show. Gah! So good.

This was the only photo I could get before they asked us to not take any photos. It really doesn't do the set-up justice.

I walked home in the bitter cold listening to Darkside on my iPhone. Smiling and singing out loud. There's something so liberating about being in a strange place. You can be exactly who you want to be, your truest, happiest self.

Saturday was the first day of ACTS. Katelyn and I attended an early morning seminar. The topic was "Exporting for the Craft Producer". It covered the basics of exporting your product internationally with a focus on America. It was very overwhelming, haha, but I learned a lot. There are so many issues with exporting that I didn't even realized existed. So, I think it'll be a while before I start to sell internationally.

This is me at my section of the booth :)

This is Katelyn's Self-Portrait Doll! I loved seeing Katelyn carry her mini-me on the flight wrapped up like a baby. It was hilarious! I'm sad I didn't get a picture of it!


These are Katelyn's hand-embroidered handkerchiefs inspired by the coastal women of Newfoundland, pre-confederation. 

Katelyn's naturally-dyed, embroidered and beaded pillow inspired by Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" 

Carol's dyed, felted and beaded broaches!

Heather's art-nouveaux inspired print

and her screen-printed scarves!

Chelsie's "Heart of Town" shirts. A screen-printed map of downtown St. John's designed to look like an anatomical heart.

 Krystal's conceptual knitting based on funding cuts to the arts.


and her knitted Canon camera

That afternoon a few of us ventured to the mall to visit the Mac Cosmetics store. We all stocked up on pretty eyeshadows and lipsticks, and then had a bite to eat in the food court. I had greasy ol' Taco Bell, mainly to make my boyfriend jealous :P. That night was the reception and the Craft Alliance Awards. It was a great night for Newfoundland!  Kings Point Pottery won one of the Top 5 retailer awards, the Craft Council's Anne Manual won the industry leader award, and Alexis Templeton won best craft producer!!! After the awards Heather, Chelsie, Katelyn and I got dolled up and headed out for a late dinner at Bistro Le Coq. Here we drank the cheapest wine on the menu, ate fancy grilled cheeses, flirted with our cute waiter, and talked about all kinds of inappropriate things, haha, it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

A had a bit of a coqtail flu the next morning, so I had a cheese omelet with bacon on the side at Sam's MacChiato to hopefully cure my headache, and it worked! Sam's is the café in the lower level of the Delta Barrington, I had iced soy mocha lattés there every day.

Sunday was spent working the booth, chit-chatting with the vendors and retailers, and shopping around in the bitter cold. I went to DeSerres, an art supply store, and got a lot of really neat things, I so wish we had one here in St. John's.  I'll have to write another blog about all the cool things I found...IF I have the time. Another highlight of my trip was this antique/collectibles store. It was in a massive building that used to be an old bank with really beautifully detailed moldings and windows. Here I found a coo-coo clock (YES, IT WORKS), a vintage silver clutch, a vintage costume necklace and an antique bell. <3 Anyone who knows me well, knows that this kind of place is my heaven. The hoarder inside of me was in her absolute glee!

Sunday evening we went to The Old Triangle for drinks and apps with the students from NSCAD and NBCCD. At this point I was feeling pretty under the weather and absolutely exhausted, I left pretty early and headed back to the hotel to pack and get some much needed rest in order to make the most of my last day.

I spent Monday morning and early afternoon shopping with Carol. We went to Taz records and I dug on my hands and knees trough old Guitar Worlds and Rolling Stone magazines to bring back some gems for Billy. Then we hit up The Black Market, where I found all kinds of treasure...earrings, necklaces, a dress, a tote bag, all very reasonably priced.  On the rest of my excursion I managed to acquire lots of jewelery findings, fresh water pearls, colorful tights and Steve Madden boots!!!

At two o'clock I went back to the trade show for my very last shift, feeling both relieved and sad that my trip was coming to an end. I was pretty run-down and looking forward to the comfort of my apartment and kitten cuddles...but was also dreading going back to reality and responsibility. I will most definitely return to the Trade Show in the future with my own little booth. :)

back at it!!!