Wednesday, 25 July 2012

An outdoor celebration of artistic talent

It is with arts & crafts as it is with food - both are best enjoyed outdoors! That was certainly the case last weekend, when Ash Creek Pottery hosted its 10th Annual Artist's Garden. More than twenty local artists displayed their unique pieces in a range of materials and disciplines; pottery, multimedia, wood, stone, iron, photography, glass and alpaca yarn to name a few. The backdrop: dazzling flower gardens, a quiet pond and a family of friendly goats grazing in the sunshine. All this accompanied by live music and a Tea Room offering seventeen different summer pies. What a great summer excursion!

Here are some snapshots from the event:

"My very own Picasso" by glass artist 
Norma Sanders, Trapped Glass.

These cute pots are by Wearable
Treasures from the shores of Lake 

Pottery by Tracy Thomas, Marvelous Mud.
Fun mugs by Rosemary Thomas.
Funky iron chair by artist, blacksmith
and jeweller Kathleen Atkinson-Hindle. 
Gorgeous quilt in a clean, fresh design by 
the North Bay chapter of Victoria's Quilts.
The organization donates handmade quilts to
people with cancer.  
The flower beds at Ash Creek Pottery are impressive
and inspiring. This one also features flowers that the
deer can't eat! By Pat Stamp, Ash Creek Pottery.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cardboard takes away the guessing

Imagine the following scenarios:

1) You have finally found the perfect dining table. The style and finish are right. The price is within your budget. The only thing you're unsure of is the size. Is it too big?

Well how about making cardboard mock ups
of these coffee tables?
2) You have been presented with a kitchen layout from your cabinet manufacturer. It looks good on paper, but will the island feel too skimpy?

In those situations, try the cardboard test. It's a hands-on way to get a feel for how a certain piece will work in your space. You simply make mock ups of the real thing using cardboard. It's relatively easy, free and will give you peace of mind. This is the procedure:

You need big pieces of cardboard. Appliance stores are a good source; they are often happy to get rid of packaging from their floor models. On the cardboard, measure up the sizes of the pieces you are considering. Cut them out with a sturdy pair of scissors. Next, try the cut-out pieces in the space. If you want, put supports underneath (existing tables of similar) to get them off the floor and at the right height.

Now you can go back to the store or cabinet maker and make a self-confident and informed decision. Just what you want when you're getting something new.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Vested Interest reemerges

A new location on Seymour Street and new items being unpacked every day... A visit to Vested Interest in North Bay is always a fun experience. These are some of the items that caught my attention:

Cool off in the shade in these colourful all-weather loungers.
If you want to introduce an 
organic vibe to your home, a
side table is a good place to
start. This piece combines glass
atop an intricate wood surface... 
...whereas this interesting piece
is made up of small tree branches.
This cute friend is made from banana leaf. 
Paddle shelves are a natural addition to any 
cottagy space. 
Break up all the hard, square shapes 
that are so common in our homes with 
a round, textured wood decoration.
Do you see what I see? The 
feminine silhouette of this root 
bench makes it especially unique 
and interesting.
Also for your cottage-style home:
a clean-lined, Ontario-made bookshelf.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Design impressions from overseas

An old movie theatre, transformed into an
ultra-modern furniture store in Malmö hosts
Scandinavian and international design icons.
A mecca of inspiration!

Full of inspiration I'm back in northern Ontario again after three weeks abroad (with limited internet access, hence the sporadic postings recently). Traveling is for me an ideal way to recharge the batteries and fill up on my never-ending appetite for slick design and beautiful environments. 

My recent trip to Sweden took me to such diverse places as an 18th century rural home, an artist’s house in the archipelago and a downtown city rental. All homes cozy and embracing the renowned Scandinavian design style highlighting clean lines, natural materials and functionality. 

Swedes still love their white environments and I can't blame them. Together with colourful glass and accessories, and carefully selected crafts and personal items, white spaces feel full of life. Here are a few proofs of that: