Thursday, 29 November 2012

Easing into the holiday spirit

Nothing says Christmas more than candles... 
I love the soft glow from this electric advent
Fake or real? More or less? Same old or something new? I'm talking about Christmas decorations. Some of us unpack them after Halloween. Others wait until the day before the holidays. Whatever your preference, I'm sure that your home is taking on a festive mood.

For more inspiration and ideas, why not head out this Saturday to attend the first annual Christmas Home Tour? St. Andrew's United Church puts on this fundraiser, featuring five North Bay area homes. Buy your tickets at Century 21, Gulliver's, Leon's and From the Heart Flower Boutique. The organizers promise an exciting mix of styles and decorating tastes!

That event, plus tomorrow's Downtown Christmas Walk should put us all in a holiday spirit. Now it's official: Christmas definitely is around the corner! No more excuses; my own decorations are going up this weekend.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Clarion Christmas Show this Sunday

Come see me at the Christmas Artisan Show at the Clarion this Sunday, November 25!

I will be selling some of the products featured in my recent blog "Design that makes you smile"; cutting boards, tea towels, oven mitts, table runners and more. 

So unique, so playful, and so perfect as hostess gifts this season!

What: Christmas Artisan Show
Where: Clarion Resort Pinewood Park in North Bay, ON
When: Sunday, November 25, 2012, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See you there!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Artful displays

Toronto Star, Wednesday, April 24
2010 by Pete Smith.
Enter the 1930's period house on First Avenue in North Bay, and you are surrounded by deep grey walls. "They are the perfect backdrop for contemporary art", explains Joan Ferneyhough, the owner of the gallery that bears her name. "Dark walls give contrast to art, but they do require very good lighting".

She should know. Since 1996, she has highlighted fine contemporary art from a select group of Canadian artists, many with roots in northern Ontario. Their work includes paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture.

What should people think about when they buy original art? For Joan the answer is simple: "You really have to love the piece!", she says. "You should also know why you are buying. Are you collecting, or are you decorating? In either case, you have to consider the space where the piece is going."

Lori Grace-Johnson's installations are presently
on display at the gallery.
Joan firmly believes that contemporary art has a home in more traditional interiors. "You can put anything anywhere if it's done right. Art can be the bridge that pulls the two styles together. The framing or the matting can be changed to make a piece fit in."

But when it comes to buying art for somebody else, she is more hesitant. "I recommend gift certificates! Art is such a personal thing."

Whether you are buying for yourself or somebody else, the gallery's consultations, art "loans" and rentals should make the decision easier.

Linklichen,  Ed. 15 by Arnold Zageris.
Check out this selection of art by artists represented at the gallery.

And here are Joan's tips for displaying art:

1) Good overhead lighting is critical. Pot lights give a lot of flexibility.
2) Choose the right kind of glass to prevent deterioration of the piece of art.
3) Don't put fragile work on paper in the bathroom or other space with high humidity.
4) For wall sculptures: make sure the walls are strong enough to hold the piece.
5) Rule of thumb: The centre of the painting should be 54" - 58" from the floor.

Farmhouse, Route 12, New York by David Lewis.

Moon rising, sun setting by Judy Gouin.

Northland Water Garden by Michael Dobson.

PIXIE'S WORLD: SugarFree Violin by Marlene Hilton Moore.
Tree Column by Robert Game.

Looking West by Regina Williams.

Kipawa Profile by Susan Farquhar.

Outlook by Ted Fullerton

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Design that makes you smile

Humour and joy. That’s what my friend, Swedish designer and illustrator Lotta Glave wants to express with her creations. “I love it when people say that my designs make them happy!", says Lotta.

Her playful patterns, decorative every-day objects and illustrations have adorned homes since 1990.  That's when she and her designer husband Bengt Lindberg launched their company “Bengt & Lotta”. Their designs are now represented at museums and sold worldwide (also here in North Bay, see my previous blog!).
Animals, angels and people are the stars of Lotta’s designs. You find them on candleholders, tea towels, cutting boards, clothes hangers, blankets and more.

The inspiration comes from everything that surrounds her; her three children, travels and nature. There are also some creative genes at play. “My grandmother was an illustrator and a huge inspiration when I was a child. It’s probably thanks to her that I became a designer.”

Lotta's expressive and naïve creations add a touch of fun to a space, and more often than not a splash of colour. “A home with dots of colour becomes more personal", she comments. "I don't feel relaxed in too strict, impersonal homes where the eye doesn't have anything fun to rest on. I want to see that there are real people living in a home."

With Lotta's designs, bringing something fun into your space has never been easier. Just see for yourselves:


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Warm wool beats the cold

Soft, stylish, Swedish... Roaming fall storms might keep us inside, but now, at least, we can snuggle up in style. Gulliver's in North Bay carries these cozy blankets by Swedish company Klippan. Made from 100% New Zealand wool, they are sure to keep you warm this winter. They will also introduce a note of fun into your home, and be a design statement in your couch. Plus, what a great Christmas gift they will make!

Pick a colour that matches the rest of your décor, or choose a complementary hue that will give the room some punch. Have fun combining several throws, like in the photos below. Hurry out to get your favourite, and stay tuned for next week's interview with one of the designers behind the blankets.