Wow, it has been a while since I have posted - is anyone still out there?  I am not quite sure where to re-begin, so I will tread on familiar ground: a jewellery store on etsy.  This one, notTuesday, has solidified my desire to just get some damn clay already, and make some jewellery.  These are gorgeous, and I love, love love her colour combinations.  I urge you to buy directly from Rachel Wightman, and not try to mooch her ideas like some unscrupulous idea-mooching bloggers out there... (although I figure I am safe because I never actually get around to acting on said mooched ideas...) Or you could just peruse her store and enjoy the lovely colours and the beautifully simple styling.  Or both!

P.S. If you are reading this, thanks for sticking around during my absence!

Hue Fielding winner

Apologies for the radio silence over here on the blog, but I have been enjoying an amazing visit with the in-laws in Canmore, Alberta.  I will have some photos soon!  However, I wanted to drop in and announce the winner of the Hue Fielding give-away: Comment #2 - Shannon!  She chose a stylish vest for the baby-on-the-way in the comments - I am sure he/she will be quite the fashion plate. :)

Thanks to all who entered.  I encourage you to check out the other adorable items in Hue Fielding's etsy store.  And, I hope to have a few more posts up in the next couple of days so don't give up on me! :)

Hue Fielding Giveaway!!

One of my many creative and talented friends has recently opened a shop on etsy - HueFielding - with the cutest one-of-a-kind numbers for the fashion-conscious boys and girls in your life.  Yes, I said boys!  Having a son and a daughter, Frances was amazed by the lack of cute clothing for boys, (I completely agree) and has made a point of always having lots of cute options in her store.  She makes the patterns and clothing by hand, trying out combinations on her two little sweeties.  She is also branching out to include some home products, and I am loving her rainbow of salt cellars, done in collaboration with ceramicist Carol Hahn.
Frances has very generously agreed to give away an item to one lucky Wicked & Weird reader (can I enter on my own blog?...).  Should you have the winning entry, you can chose from:
1) one of the adorable vests - they can be for a girl or a boy and will be sure to spice up any ensemble for fall;
2) or a sweet gingham skirt with a polkadot pinafore - rock it with a t-shirt and converse for a funky twist!
To enter the draw, complete any or all of the following steps:

1) Leave a comment below with your choice of prize - skirt or vest?
2) Visit HueFielding and come back here to let me know what you think of the shop;
3) Tweet this contest and leave me a comment to let me know you did so;
4) "LIKE" Hue Fielding / Hugh Fielding on Facebook and come back to let me know you did so.

Leave a separate comment for each one of the above so you have more chances to win!

Winner will be drawn next Wednesday, August 17th.
Help support a new local start-up hand-made shop and head on over to HueFielding!

Purple Popsicles

'Tis the season for cool backyard treats, and I happily jumped on the homemade popsicle bandwagon this summer.  My ever-eager kitchen assistant was a fantastic sous-chef, measuring, pouring, and of course, taste-testing.  Our first attempt was blueberry-yogurt pops, the recipe for which came with the moulds (rocket ships - of course).

I don't have the recipe anymore, but here is practically the exact same recipe, from The Gracious Pantry:
2 cups non fat yogurt
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup agave (honey is okay too)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

1) place your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
2) pour carefully into each more
3) freeze overnight

The real fun of course comes the next day when you get to eat them!  Or, since they are rocket ships, fly them with much noise and commotion until they drip down your arm.  Your choice, really.

Now to be honest, these didn't turn out as well as the kids let on.  I think my frozen blueberries were too old and dried out, making the popsicle too dry as well.  But I did not give up, and recently, thanks to this great article by Blake Eligh, made some Greek Yogurt and Strawberry pops as explained by Cup of Jo.  They are much better, and some may disappear while the kids are napping...

Are they worth the effort when I could pop over to the store and get some already made?

I think they are because 1) I know what is in them, 2) it is a great activity for the kids on a hot summer day, 3) it teaches them that some things are worth waiting for, 4) when they eat them they can proudly explain "I made these Mummy!" (maybe I was their sous-chef?) 5) they taste waaaaay better.  But there is certainly room in my life for corner store freezies and ice-cream truck delights too!

Do you have any fun summer recipes or activities to share?  Seriously, I am running out of ideas...

New Brunswick Artists: Herzl Kashetsky

After spending an afternoon at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, I knew I had to add Herzl Kashetsky to my list of New Brunswick artists.  My parents have a couple of his works and I have always loved them. The first is a cityscape and the second is a sketch of his family that my parents got years ago for a song.  I love the detail of them, the fact that the hand of the artist is so visible in the final work.

Much of his work is done is a magical realism style - an art movement within which everyday objects are depicted in an 'accurate' and intensely detailed way, which gives the objects new meaning and significance (so nothing to do with demon and warlocks...).  Kashetsky himself wrote: "It is not the quality of realism one should look for in painting; but rather the qualities (of life) which the realism expresses."

His paintings of beach stones are incredible and I think of them every time I see a rocky beach like this.
Give us this day our Daily Bread, 2008. New Brunswick Art Bank.

Self-Portrait with Words, Private Collection.

He also has a fascination with the written word and has done several portraits, self-portraits and even landscapes using his handwriting.  I love the one below - anyone want to loan me $5G?

Words in the Sky, Peter Buckland Gallery.

The amazing Glitter and Gloom exhibition of his sketchbooks at the Beaverbrook just blew me away - it was such an intimate glimpse into his mind and boundless creativity.    As their exhibition description states:

Best known for his meticulous high realist paintings, [Kashetsky] is a voracious visual enquirer for whom drawing has always occupied a central part of his life and practice. A constant and prolific draughtsman, he has filled 119 sketchbooks with 7,036 drawings over a span of forty years. These works, which have never been exhibited in a public forum until now, are not preparations for paintings, and were not produced to meet specific commissions or the demands of the market, but constitute a personal visual diary. Chronicling the age-old theme of the transience of life, they offer various revealing insights into the artist’s inner experience from 1965 to 2010. As a form of raw witness and unmediated expression, the sketchbooks have provided him with a way of seeing and thinking, as well as with a therapeutic process for living in and responding to an uncertain world of both hope and despair, the glitter and gloom of the human condition.

Forgive me crappy iPhone photos (they are publishing a book this Fall which I will definitely be picking up, hopefully it has better quality images!).  I was there for what seemed like eons looking at every little scrap, every note, every little bit.  It brought to mind Da Vinci's many notebooks, and certainly both seem like people who cannot contain their creativity - it spills out in pages and pages of notes.  One of Kashetsky's quotes from the show was "I am like a plant; my drawings, my paintings, are my leaves.  The more leaves I produce, the more complete I am, though I shall never be, complete."

I love the quote above.
I copied this one down too - it says: "You are the white canvas, I paint upon: you take my soul, and breathe meaning into it.  You take the transient moment and give it significance.  You bear my troubles, my doubts, my happiness, pain and love of life."

(It is possible that the reason I was there so long was that I was typing out quotes on my iPhone...)

 Love the rearview mirror sketch...

 And this one too!

And how cool is the image of the pencil drawing his self-portrait?

Herzl Kashetsky doesn't have a website or anything I can point you to - in fact finding information on him was a little tough!  However, he just recently won the 2011 Strathbutler Award for excellence in visual art in New Brunswick, so there are a few good articles to be found, including this one and this one. But if you are near Fredericton between now and September 11, 2011, I urge you to take a look at the show, and keep your eyes peeled for the book.

This post is one of a series I am doing on New Brunswick artists, which so far also includes photographer Freeman Patterson and ceramic artist Darren Emenau of MNO Pottery.

Unstyled: I love my kitchen

Inspired by Jules's "Unstyled Life" posts, I thought I would post my typical afternoon, getting supper ready in the kitchen while my kids play in the sunroom, the afternoon sun pouring in.*  The fan whirrs, the cicadas buzz, and the kids murmur their toy's stories.  Makes a girl's heart happy.
*Makes me think of that line from one of my all-time favourite Joni Mitchell songs: ...the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses...

Martin Reis in Montreal

One of the nice things about knowing some creative types is that my Facebook news feed is usually an interesting read.  When I saw these photos posted by my friend (and photo journalist) Martin Reis, I just had to ask him if I could share.  He has created a great series on street art he found in Montreal. (He also has sets for the G20 art, Rob Ford-related art, and a massive collection of Toronto street art on his Flickr page).  I have always been fascinated with street art/graffiti, and Martin has a great eye for finding the more interesting, arresting, and aesthetically-pleasing art, including the tiny stencils and posters that I would miss.

When I asked Martin for an introduction to the series, he wrote: "I have been documenting street art in Toronto and recently in Montreal for over a decade, and to me it's like reading newspaper - a more interesting one. I can get a sense of what people are inspired by and what they think about politics, love and life."  Plus, being a photographer, the shots are artworks in and of themselves, with great colour, perspective, and composition.  Here are a few from his Montreal set:

So what do you think?  Is street art ART?  Are photographs of street art ART?  I think some of these, blown up huge and simply framed on a feature wall could be amazing...