S P R I N G 09
The f irst ONE!
a magazine for the creative and curious
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Type: Compendium Alejandro Paul Umbrella $99 [A Veer Exclusive] © 2009 Veer, a Corbis Corporation Brand. All rights reserved.
Say it simple, set it fancy. With 9,000 faces from 23 brands, Veer’s collection of expressive type gives you everything you need to say it your way. Plus, there are hundreds of exclusives from small foundries and independent designers, with new additions every month. Readers of UPPERCASE magazine’s premier issue get 10% off their next Veer type order. To redeem, call toll-free 877 297 7900 or visit veer.com. If you’re ordering online, fill your cart with any amount of type and enter offer code UPPERCASE at checkout. veer.com/type Offer is valid between April 1 and June 30, 2009. Applies only to your next type purchase. One offer per customer. Offer valid only in North America.
hello! Welcome to the f irst issue of UPPERCASE!
Meet remarkable people and read inspiring stories from our Calgary home to a Wisconsin forest treehouse; a swim in the Great Lakes to an imaginary film set in Argentina; virtual spaces to the big cities of Toronto, Madrid, Helsinki and Moscow.
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A message from Janine Vangool
Thank you for your amazing assistance and support in the launch of our magazine. We couldn't have done it without you!
#204 - 100, 7th Ave SW Calgary Alberta Canada T2P 0W4 403-283-5318 firstname.lastname@example.org uppercasegallery.ca uppercasemagazine.com
We’re inquisitive: learning from other artists, illustrators, designers, photographers, filmmakers and musicians, whether they’re upstarts or icons, famous or shy, verbal or visual. We’re inspired: enchanted by great ideas and strange inventions; by colour and pattern; things fancy and frugal; the charm of vintage in a modern life; the ridiculous and the sublime. We’re adventurous: traveling to destinations both real and imagined, peeking into creative spaces and discovering magnificent people and memorable places.
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Contributors Meet some of the people involved in the first issue
Subscribe How to support the magazine through subscriptions
20 The Workroom Big City Craft An Interview with Karyn Valino 34 Treehouse Life Atop the Branches Essay by Deidre Martin Feature illustration by Julie McLaughlin 42 Creature Dark Surprise An Interview with Animal Sculptress Darla Jackson by Glen Dresser
14 Jen 11 Eleven artists named Jennifer
We’re eclectic: curating souvenirs, collecting treasures and celebrating the extraordinary in the everyday.
15 Books by UPPERCASE Learn about the books we publish
We’re playful: delighting in visual amusements, intelligent distraction, entertaining wordplay and sweet indulgences.
16 Recommended Reading Stocking the bookshelf
We’re UPPERCASE: a magazine for the creative and curious!
18 Makeover Designs by M.S. Corley, Janine Vangool and Courtney Dolloff
UP P E R CAS E
Four years ago, I opened UPPERCASE gallery in Calgary, Canada. It has been an incredible outlet for creative expression, publishing and entrepreneurial adventure. Along the way, I have been privileged to collaborate with many talented people, developing a dynamic UPPERCASE community locally and online. The magazine is an extension of this community of like-minded artists, craftspeople, illustrators, designers and visual enthusiasts.
art and design
Cover Artist Blanca Gomez
10 Snapshot Laurence Martel Olivier 12 Blog Beautiful Behind the screens with Perfectbound 17 Typeface Whitney by Tobias Frere-Jones 28 Type Tiepography by Ed Nacional
58 Imaginary Film There Will Be Pugs Review by Buzz Mielke Illustration by Kyle Reed and Jen Hsieh 59 Cinema of Love The Heart of John Cassavetes Words by Deidre Martin
30 Sketchbook Irina Troitskaya, Moscow Interview by Mike Kerr
11 Covet Record Players Words and photo by Andrea Jenkins
36 Gallery Treehouse illustrations by our readers
64 The Wheatland Whirlers Square Dancers with Style Words and photos by Becky Van Bussel
46 Dynamic Duo In the studio with enormouschampion 74 The Work-in-Progress Society Finding beauty in unfinished works
52 Cantos Music Foundation A Curious Musical Collection 57 Rare Recordings New releases from Steve Martin and Matthew Herbert Big Band Reviewed by Dominic Fabrig 61 Northern Gallantry Tuning in to the Great Lake Swimmers Words by Greta Eden
68 Wardrobe Remix Piksi Perfection A chat with Heini Koskinen 72 Accessories Modern vintage flair
76 Postal Service Mail from around the globe 81
Tear-out Artworks Art by Charlotte Sullivan Photography by Jose Rodriguez and Danielle Biondo
10 Crush Three cheers for Viggo Mortensen! 13 Frugal & Fancy The humble paper towel 26 Craft Log cabin appliquĂŠ cup cozies Instructions by Karyn Valino 39 Places/Spaces Living the treehouse dream Suddenly it's Real with Ben Floeter and Natalie Wright 40 Collection Janine's vintage typewriter ribbon tins 50 Machines The Screw by Glen Dresser 71 Sweets More than Cupcakes Words by Lindsay Racher 75 Profile Meet subscriber Kari Woo 77 Play Do you know the ridiculous from the sublime? 80
Test Challenge your creativity quotient with our Rorschach Ink Blot test and Rebus wordplay
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Thank you for your amazing contributions!
In addition to collaborating on UPPERCASE magazine and its other publications and exhibitions, Deidre teaches film and visual culture at the University of Calgary. Her great loves include literature, foxes, joyriding and Fleetwood Mac.
Glen Dresser is a writer living in Calgary. His first novel was published in 2007. Glen is working on his next book, a graphic novel and a collection of erotic palindromes.
Dominic Fabrig is a Canadian writer and musician. He is presently working on various screenplays and ads for his portfolio.
Andrea Jenkins is a full time mama who lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two young children. She's head over heels in love with modern 6 / UPPERCASE
dance, photography, the written word and of course, record players. hulaseventy.blogspot.com
Mike Kerr is an illustrator with an affinity for sketchbooks. He also teaches students how to draw in them as an illustration instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design. www.wronghand.com
Ed Nacional was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He is studying at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. Independently, he works on various side projects such as his Tiepography. Ed enjoys working with both the technological elements of design like building and designing interactive websites, as well as more handmade forms such as screen-printing, illustration and collage. He also finds himself dabbling in other creative areas and is currently learning to sew and is constantly trying to improve his photography skills. A few things he canâ€™t live without are typography, flea markets,
stoop sales, book stores and mixtapes. He lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend and together they spend their free time walking around the city and eating awesome food. www.ednacional.com
Charlotte Sullivan currently works at a gourmet espresso bar in Northampton, Massachusetts. Previous adventures have included teaching forestry at The Farm School, letterpressing at Hatch Show Print, sailing in the Gulf of Mexico on the HMS Bounty, participating in John Bielenberg's experimental design program Project M, and paddling the Mistassibi River in Northern Quebec. Accumulating a widearray of life experiences is critical to Charlotte's creative process. www.hybridfloaters.com
Jose Rodriguez and Danielle Biondo are a husband and wife creative team living on the California coast. Jose attends the University of California, Santa Barbara, and spends his small
amount of free time reading or finding interesting people and places to photograph. Check out his work at flickr.com/ photos/9452493@N04. Danielle recently graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and designs costumes and makeup. Visit her at ghostswaltz.blogspot.com.
Becky Van Bussel is a visual communicator specializing in printmaking, photography and graphic design. Vintage greeting cards, optimistic people and striking hats help to keep her inspired.
Lisa Schindel loves all things mid-century modern and taking photographs with toy cameras. She lives with her husband in Calgary where they dream of one day owning a cat named Pebbles.
If you'd like to become a contributor to our magazine, please email email@example.com
Support the magazine!
By subscribing to UPPERCASE magazine, you are helping us in many ways. By having a steady core of supporters, we can operate effectively and publish on a regular schedule. This magazine is a labour of love, and our hope is to make it a sustainable endeavor. The magazine will not be available on newsstands, but through U PP ERCASE and a network of like-minded shops and booksellers. Your subscription is a vote of confidence, a pat on the back and a high-five rolled into one. Our goal is to gather a few hundred loyal subscribers over the next couple months and to continue to grow our readership slowly and steadily over the next year. Another benefit to subscribing is that we will get to know our readership more personallyâ€”enabling us to collaborate directly with you. We know that many of our subscribers will be friends and colleagues and we look forward to including you in the editorial and creative aspects of the magazine. We welcome your participation, contributions and suggestions. To find out more, go to uppercasemagazine.com and click on "participate."
Please subscribe online at
www.uppercasemagazine.com magazine subscriptions four issues
book & magazine subscriptions
The next issues of this quarterly magazine will be released in Summer (July 2009), Fall (October 2009) and Winter (January 2010).
If you're a fan of all things UPPERCASE, then this option is for you! We will send you our two upcoming book publications as they are released, as well as the quarterly magazine. The first book is Jen11 ($25 value) and the second book about Swedish illustrator Camilla Engman is in the works ($35 value). Prices include shipping costs.
Due to mailing costs, magazine subscriptions vary per location. Local Subscriptions: $60 Canadian Pick up your magazine in the Calgary store and save! You will receive a subscriber's card that can also be used on First Thursdays to get 15% off your purchases. If you prefer that your magazine be mailed to you, please select a Canadian Subscription.
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Pick up your magazine and books in the Calgary store and save! You will receive a subscriber's card that can also be used on First Thursdays to get 15% off your purchases. If you prefer that your items be mailed to your home, then select a Canadian Subscription.
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Canada Subscriptions: $72 Canadian
distribution network UPPERCASE is thinking small in order to think big. We don't need to be in newsstands everywhere, we just need to be accessible to the people who want us. Traditional magazine distribution encourages overproduction, resulting in wasted resources and pulped magazines. With intelligent content, beautiful design and high production values we hope to entice you to keep and collect each issue. We intend that our issues will find loving homes either directly through UPPERCASE, or via a network of independent shops and booksellers. If you are a retailer interested in partnering with us, we'd love to hear from you. Our thanks to the following shops where you can find UPPERCASE magazine. We will list new network partners online at uppercasemagazine.com. The Workroom Toronto, Ontario theworkroom.ca The Curiosity Shoppe San Francisco, California curiosityshoppeonline.com Composition Lakewood, Colorado shopcomposition.com Buy Olympia Portland, Oregon buyolympia.com
advertising You will notice that we have just a few select advertisers per issue. The small number of ads will make each more effective for the advertiser, and targeted to the interests of our readers. Ad spaces are available in affordable sizes to make them accessible to small creative enterprises such as Etsy sellers, online shops and professional portfolios. Subscribers can also place ads at discounted rates. Please email Janine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 403-283-5318 if you are interested in advertising in upcoming issues.
USA Subscriptions: $150 Canadian International Subscriptions: $200 Canadian
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UPPERCASE is thrilled to feature the artwork of Spanish illustrator Blanca Gómez on our first cover. Blanca studied advertising and graphic design in college and began her professional career working in a design studio. “But there was something that I somehow missed," says Blanca. "So I began to draw by night, and at the end, this night drawing has replaced my daily job.” We love this Monsieur character in these illustrations. What was your inspiration for him? Thank you! The origin of the Monsieur is funny, I think. I drew this character a long time ago, and people around asked me if he was inspired by a very close friend of mine. If he was so, I wasn't aware of it, but maybe he was. The thing is that, at that time, I didn't make much out of that character: I left it aside and forgot about it. Then, in my last day at the graphic studio I was working at, I found it inside a drawer. I took it up again, and, feeling optimistic about my future, I completed the illustration, adding the colour drops, balloons and bubbles. Monsieur and me have become really good friends since that moment. When do you feel the most creative? What inspires you? Probably at night; I often start drawing when it is time to go to sleep. I suppose that I get inspired by a lot of new things you can find everyday—all that good artwork that can be found browsing the Internet. However sometimes you must switch off your computer and wander around the city, as there are many unexpected things that can inspire you more in the real world. What is your favourite creative tool?
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I love gocco print. It's easy, small and funny! And pencils, and sketchbooks... and paper.... Cosas Minimas means little things... what are your favourite little things? There's a poem by Bukowski that says that it's not the large things that send a man to the madhouse, but the continuing series of small tragedies, like a shoelace that snaps. I totally agree, yet I would add that the little things can make you happier, too. So I try to change my favourite little things everyday. Here are two pictures of my favourite little things in the last days: a match box from the 60s that I found in the street and a little mouse I have kept since I was a kid. Blanca is part of the Goodfellas Network, a unique international creative team of independent designers, photographers, web developers and illustrators. Members share commercial projects and collaborate on personal ones. www.goodfellasnetwork.com www.cosasminimas.com Prints of Blanca's artwork are available on Etsy: blancucha.etsy.com
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SNA P S H OT
Laurence Martel Olivier Laurence may be just fifteen, but she is a sophisticated and skilled photographer producing poignant, thoughtful images. Follow her progress on her Flickr photostream: www.flickr.com/people/laurencephilomene
Viggo, Viggo He’s our Crush Makes us think, makes us gush Hails from Denmark, Yes, he’s the King Raised on a chicken farm in Argentina, Drove a truck in Esbjerg, All before he learned to act & sing. Viggo, Viggo He’s our Crush The sight of him, it makes us blush A tall lithe idol of the silver screen, Cronenberg makes him look awfully fine & mean As Aragorn, oooh, he was one gallant, swashbuckling dream. Viggo, Viggo He’s our Crush His creative zeal gives us a rush Runs a press named ‘Perceval,’ Towards independent artists, he is kind and merciful. It’s no wonder Viggo turns our hearts to mush He speaks Spanish, paints and takes amazing photographs— My heavens, they are lush. Viggo, Viggo He’s our Crush Makes us think, makes us gush. Viggo, Viggo, Veeeee-go!
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Perceval Press We recommend Viggo's cd Time Waits for Everyone which features contemplative piano solos improvised and recorded on pianos in Hungary, Germany, Poland, and Russia. Visit Mr. Mortensen's website to order his books and music. www.percevalpress.com
Andre Andreev & Dan Covert
Photograph & writing by Andrea C. Jenkins
Never Sleep Upon graduating from art school, we found there was little material that prepared us for entering the profession of graphic design. The books at the time were written by people who had graduated over 20 years prior and their advice was bland and outdated. There was a large void, so we tried to do something about it: we wrote a book on the subject, began teaching at the Pratt Institute, started lecturing on the topic and created a website. www.funislearning.com www.dresscodeny.com www.de-mo.org
Record Players It's the summer of 1977 and life as we know it revolves around three things: grape popsicles, long afternoons in the park and a record player. Evenings start off with a fat pile of old 45s. Me and my brothers, we sit around the small boxy record player. It smells musty like dark closets and old clothes and it is everything we dreamed it would be. We play record after record, over and over again. We love the way the records slap down, the way the needle automatically knows where to go. The sounds of Chuck Berry, The Coasters and Van Morrison spill out of the second floor window and into the night. We play until the adults can't take it anymore, until we're told to turn it off. We go to bed thinking of these three things: popsicles, parks, record players. Not long after this, my parents
purchase an enormous brown stereo. Easily larger than any other piece of furniture we own (and quite possibly capable of swallowing our entire house), it comes equipped with a deluxe turntable, eight-track player and am/fm radio. This stereo, it is not kidding around. We know this the moment it lands on the rust-colored carpeted floor of our small split-level home. We marvel at the plastic faux wood exterior, at all the musical options it offers us. Initially, we are taken by the novelty of the eight track player but that doesn't last long. The turntable is what we fight over most. Our favorite records to play are K-Tel disco compilations though twenty years later and I will not be able to hear Elton John or the Bee Gees on the radio without thinking of our beloved big brown stereo. And now I wonder, where did it end up? Is it buried in a landfill? Is it sitting in a thrift
store with a small orange price tag on it? Does it play records for someone else now? Do they love it as much we did? Probably not. We loved that stereo in a way that cannot be put into words. These days, my record player can be snapped shut and carried around like a suitcase. It's one of my favorite things. My love for it runs deep. Sure, there have been others along the way. A small red cassette player, a giant boom box, various CD players and now, a tiny black ipod. But nothing can (or ever will) compare to the sound of a record player. Nothing sounds as good on a Sunday afternoon as the quiet hiss and occasional crack and pop of vinyl. Nothing is as lovely as a stack of albums waiting to be played. And of course, music never sounded so sweet. hulaseventy.blogspot.com U P P E R C A S E / 11
BLO G B e a u t i f u l
Behind the screens: Julie & Kathryn
Perfectbound perfectboundstudio.blogspot.com Julie Doan and Kathryn Carnegie are both graduates of the graphic design program at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. “We met on the first day of art school and have been best friends ever since. We've taken everything from drawing, ceramics, photography, letterpress, printmaking, graphic and environmental design – all of which, have lead to a shared aesthetic in design and in life.” Julie graduated a year ahead of Kathryn and it was during that time that Julie discovered “the blog world.” In this world, Julie and Kathryn saw a community of like-minded creatives thriving on daily inspiration and encouragement. It was a community that they wanted to be part of, and so Perfectbound was formed. Although they each have other jobs—Julie in a photographic print shop and Kathryn in a sign shop—they hope to someday collaborate on a creative business venture. Blogging was a relatively instant way to start sharing ideas. Their intention was to create a visual diary, a virtual ‘meet and greet’ space to share their love of paper, design, decor and thrifting. In the relatively short time since they published their first post in November 2007, Perfectbound has gained a dedicated following. On a daily basis, over 800 fans admire its refined yet fresh site design (punctuated with their now-signature pink and turquoise accents) and thoughtful link recommendations. Even though they are roommates, they write and photograph their posts individually. Even so, their similar interests and tastes result in a singular editorial voice. But what 12 / U P P E R C A S E
sets Perfectbound apart from most blogs is the original still life photos that Julie and Kathryn shoot for each post. The vignettes of carefully placed objects are often taken from above with a close crop on a tabletop scene. The use of simple textiles as backgrounds has become part of their signature style. The items are culled from their personal things, often thrifted treasures discovered in Value Village. Their intention is to highlight the beauty found in regular items—an orphaned teacup, a colourful scarf, favourite books and papergoods as well as a few ribbons and bows. By interacting and playing with the objects through photography, one understands why that particular thing is interesting and appealing. “It is a rediscovery of what you already have,” says Kathryn. “You appreciate the history of an object. What kind of life did it have?” To their surprise, Julie and Kathryn often receive inquiries about their photographic techniques. “We just pick the room with the best light, preferably by a window.” They use uncomplicated digital cameras and the success of the images lies in their simplicity. The topics of their posts are mostly unplanned, spotlighting the everyday. Items are gathered spontaneously— perhaps a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows or the morning bowl of cereal becomes the starting point for an image. “It’s all about how you see it,” says Kathryn. “And hopefully the readers can see that they can do it too,” Julie agrees.
de i n ss i g n pir ati
Fr ug al & fa nc y
ts h i Wit e elpl d sim ce an n a s, eg tho e e DIY of th one rring u rec fs in i mot RCASE E P â€™s UP ine z a mag gn is i c des lassi c the bel. la
humble paper towel Julie and Kathryn of Perfectbound are fond of taking things from around the house and using them in photographs. With nice lighting and good composition, even the lowly paper towel can make an inexpensive and pretty backdrop to still lifes. Maria Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes are fond of documenting the everyday. For the cover of their recent book, A Year of Mornings, graphic designer Deb Wood takes inspiration from paper towels and features a subtly embossed dot pattern on the front cover. It's a nice textural addition to the book, making this book as much a pleasure to hold as it is to look at.
Kate Bingaman-Burt has been making simple line drawings of everything she buys. This enduring project is entering its fourth year. obsessiveconsumption. typepad.com
d at Foun llar do the re. sto
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Reinterpreting book covers
The Harry Potter Series I am a huge fan of Penguin's book covers and recently purchased their Penguin By Design book around the time that I was seeing an online art trend of redesigning videogame box art to look like Penguin covers, or movies in the format of books with the same Penguin feel. Instead of doing something like that, I figured I would try my hand at it staying in my preferred realm of literature, just redesigning not-so-old books, like the Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket or Spiderwick series. I plan on doing a cover set for the Golden Compass series, and The Chronicles of Narnia, and perhaps even Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet series. For each series I am trying to give it the feel Penguin had during their 1960s crime books, utilizing a variation of Romek Marber's grid. For my Harry Potter Series I tried to think of one standout scene or thing that happened in the book that I could represent on the cover, without necessarily giving away the plot unless of course you have read them and know what happens. The hardest part was trying to find a relevant photograph to incorporate into each cover, and choosing which color looks best for each one. Some were no brainers, Red for the Hogwarts seal on the letter of Book 1, Gryffindors orange for Book 2, Blue flame for Book 4. The others were a stretch but I think they turned out quite fitting. In order, it is nearly a complete rainbow, which was a happy accident. Overall I am happy with how the set has turned out, and it makes me excited to keep trying a new and slightly different style for each series I plan on making. M. S. Corley. mscorley.blogspot.com
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The Tao of Pooh
3/4/09 7:18:18 PM
Omniscience (Correction Road) The working title of my husband's first novel was Omniscience. The story follows three main characters—and one all-seeing rat narrator. In recognition of the momentous feat of finishing the novel and sending it off to publishers for review, I designed this commemorative imagined book cover design and framed it for his office. Happily, the book was published by Oberon Press in December 2007 under the title Correction Road. Janine Vangool Glen Dresser www.glendresser.ca
The Tao of Pooh was required reading in English Class during my freshman year of high school, and it always resonated with me. Using the stories of Winnie the Pooh to illustrate the principles of Taoism struck me as being a really creative and effective concept. The problem I see with the current book design is twofold. First, it’s packaged as a children’s book, and second, it’s located in the humor section. And while The Tao of Pooh employs the humorous stories of children’s book characters; it is actually quite an academic book. So my thought was to repackage the book to attract more of a serious, adult audience. My goals were to simplify and modernize the design, reference Taoism in some way, and minimize the presence of the Winnie the Pooh character, while still holding on to some of the story’s playful nature. Courtney Dolloff www.designworklife.com
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big city craft Karyn Valino creates a community for craft in her Toronto store, the workroom.
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What is your background?
feel like I've done a bit of everything! I went to Ryerson University for Media Arts and majored in photography. After I graduated, I went to New York City to work for a colour trend forecasting company, called The Color Association. It was while I was in New York that I learned how to sew clothing and got involved with teaching sewing. I have also done visual merchandising, marketing, PR, and production management. Have you always been a sewer and craftsperson? Who taught you to sew? I grew up in a very creative house, where my mom took lots of craft classes like tole painting and making porcelain dolls and my dad drew and gardened. My brother and I were always encouraged to take classes and try different things. Mostly I was involved with photography, collage and bookbinding when I was younger. Along the way, I've also dabbled in stained glass, wood working, jewelry making, silk screen and neon sign making. It was only a matter of time before I made my way to sewing. My earliest sewing influences were my mom and grandmother who made me wonderful halloween costumes and clothing. There was always a sewing machine in the house, so I don't ever remember not knowing how to use one. But, it wasn't until I was working in New York in the garment district that I really learned what I could do with a sewing machine. It seemed impossible to ignore all the amazing fabric and trim shops. Plus, everything I loved in all the indie boutiques was so expensive, it seemed like a great way to save some money and still have new clothes. I started taking classes and immediately fell in love with the thrill of making my own clothing.
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How did you come up with the idea of the workroom? Did you ever expect you would be a shop owner? I've always dreamed that one day I would have my own business, but I was never sure I would figure out exactly what that business should be. I had so many interests and never felt like there was just one thing I was really good at. The concept for the workroom started brewing when I heard about a sewing cafe in Berlin. The idea of a fully equipped open studio intrigued me and I had already been thinking about teaching sewing classes here in Toronto. After doing some research into the local craft scene, I quickly realized that there was nobody in the city selling cool printed fabrics, sewing patterns, embroidery and quilting supplies. All these ideas seemed to fit perfectly together. When I moved back to Toronto from New York City, I knew it was because I wanted to do something in my hometown. I never would have dared to imagine I would have a shop and school on Queen Street West, but now I can't imagine doing anything else. It is a huge undertaking to open a shop, representing a large commitment of time and finances. How did you manage it? The biggest hurdle was allowing myself to believe that having my own business was possible, especially financially. The idea of quitting my full time job to start something new didn't seem possible or responsible. Once I stopped letting that be a barrier, I just threw myself into planning and researching. I rarely make decisions spontaneously and I love researching things to death. I spent months researching similar businesses, fabric companies, the local and global craft scene and compiled a business plan. There are lots of great government programs in Canada that help young entrepreneurs through this
phase of planning, but I did it on my own using my past experiences to guide me. The more I researched, the more I refined the concept of the workroom and the more I felt sure that it was a viable business. When I told my parents, I had already been working for months on my idea, so I think I was able to respond to their concerns. While they certainly worry, my parents have always been incredibly supportive once they realize that I'm set on something, even if they don't quite understand it in the beginning. They are always the first ones to offer to roll up their sleeves and pitch in however they can. Having that kind of support from friends and family makes dreams like this possible and I certainly never would have gotten this far, without their enthusiasm. For those of us not from Toronto, please describe your shopâ€™s neighbourhood. The workroom is located in the west end of Toronto on Queen Street West. The neighbourhood is called Parkdale and while it is a bit rough around the edges, the community of people that live there is incredible. I specifically chose Parkdale because of this sense of community and it has only continued surprised me with how vibrant and loyal it is. When I opened the shop, all the local business owners dropped in to say hello and wish me well. the workroom sits beside a jewelry shop called Made You Look where half the shop is filled with benches where the jewelers create their lines and do custom orders. Across the street a new yoga studio had just opened called Yoga Queen. A couple months after I opened, Shop Girls opened up on the other side of me. They promote Canadian design talent. Many of these new business owners are young women and there is a wonderful feeling of growth in the area.
Please describe the workroom and how you conceptualized the workspace and store design. Your website and emails are also beautifully designed. The workroom is in a beautiful heritage space with high vaulted ceilings and large bay windows that open out to the street. Along one wall there are shelves filled with bolts of fabric sorted by colour. Along the opposite wall there are sewing stations with Bernina sewing machines that face towards the front of the shop. A huge cutting table sits in the middle of the shop and there is a smaller one at the back of the space. Most of the fixtures and furnishings are vintage with an 'old school' or 'industrial' aestheticâ€”an old apothecary cabinet from a high school, large globe lights from a church, mismatched wooden school chairs, metal stools from a factory, a vintage couch and a chalkboard wall. My goal was to create a space that was warm, relaxing and welcoming. Students and customers are encouraged to make themselves at home and many of them have told me that they never want to leave. There's always a jar of cookies and a selection of delicious teas for people to help themselves to. The logo and all the graphics for the workroom are designed by my boyfriend, Andrew Cloutier. He works U P P E R C A S E / 23
as a design director at an ad agency and has won dozens of awards, so I'm very lucky to be one of his 'clients.' He's amazing at what he does and somehow he perfectly interpreted what I wanted the workroom to be into an identity that is classic, feminine and a bit quirky. I give him carte blanche to do what he likes with the graphics and I love seeing the things he comes up with. Even the simplest things like an event flyer or class calendar are always flawless. What is a typical day in the workroom? In the morning I walk to work with my dog, Maisy. It's usually a brisk walk and it takes us a half hour. This gives me time to let my mind wander and to roughly plan my day. When we arrive at the shop, I make a cup of tea and check the phone messages and email. Often there are registrations for classes that need to be taken care of. Jerisse, one of the girls who works with me, will often arrive shortly after and start by tidying up the fabric shelves and sewing stations from the day before. On a really good day, a shipment of fabrics arrive. It still feels like Christmas when the UPS guy walks through the door with boxes. After we open up the boxes (often squealing with delight) and check that everything has arrived that we were expecting, I'll take photographs of each of the bolts to put on Flickr. Fat quarters are also cut of any new fabric that arrives to go into our fat quarter shelf. Shoppers will wander in and out of the shop during the day. Often times people are discovering the workroom for the first time and wondering what exactly the space is all about. Someone may drop in to use the sewing machines by the hour to work on curtains for their apartment or to repair some clothing they have. After a bit of lunch late in the afternoon, I'll start to prepare for the evening class which starts at 6pm. The evening class might be a beginner class that goes until 9pm. I'll close up and end my day the same way it started by walking home with Maisy. What has been the reaction of the local Toronto craft scene? How do you foster a local community of crafters? The response to the workroom has been overwhelming and so wonderful. I feel very gratified that people love and support the workroom they way they do. Creating a sense of community was one of my top priorities with the workroom. I have a few monthly open studio sessions where people are encouraged to drop by to sew, quilt, knit, crochet and just socialize. I also organize small craft fairs with a local group called, "City of Craft". We call them trunk shows, since our vendors display their wares in suitcases. These have become fun events that everyone in the community supports. What are some of your favourite moments from the workroom? My favourite moments from the workroom are when it is filled with people whether it's one of our Stitch n' Bitch 24 / U P P E R C A S E
nights, Quilt Sunday or a trunk show. Witnessing the relationships that have grown within this space make me feel like the workroom is truly a positive part of people's lives. Of course, there is also that very special moment when someone finishes a project in class and they are filled with delight and pride. Helping this spark of creativity grow in people is incredible. As a business owner, you are responsible for many tasks from stocking inventory, customer service and marketing. Do you have assistants? How do you manage your time to allow for personal creativity? When I first opened I worked alone and did (or tried to do) everything myself. That was really hard. One of the best things I've done is to hire help. I've got a wonderful trio of girls who help me immensely in the shop. Having other people around makes the business more productive, the days more enjoyable and helps me remember to stop and have lunch! Some people might imagine that I spend my days crafting away in the shop, but this is not the case. I don't usually allow myself that free time while I'm at the workroom. There is too much work to be done. One of the big reasons I decided to start a blog was to force myself to not neglect my own need to make things. It has really helped me to examine and to share with a wider audience all the things I do that are creative, whether it is cooking a new recipe or learning how to hand quilt. Having an audience motivates me set aside this time for myself and to honour all the things I make, no matter how small. Do you live near your shop? Do you also have a crafting space at home? What do you like to do with your time away from the shop? I live quite close to the shop. Since I knew that I would be spending so much time there, being close to home makes my long days easier. My crafting space is my dining room table. I've never had a permanent spot for my sewing machine at home. I think this is one of the reasons that I felt having an open studio space like the workroom would be so appealing to people. Most people don't have that kind of space and often times your crafting space might be secluded somewhere in your house. I love being in the middle of the house, close to the kitchen and the television. Some of my favourite nights are having the television going late into the night while I work on the sewing machine. I haven't had a lot of free time since I started the business, so I often find myself on my laptop when I get home to try and get more work done. One of my goals for myself this year is to start giving myself more time off. I really love gardening and I didn't spend that much time with my garden last summer. To be honest, as soon as I finish this interview I'm going to jump on my sewing machine and make a new smock top from one of my Japanese craft books.
The workroom and your blog, Make Something, are very much about teaching others about the joy of creativity. As an educator, what has been your most valuable lesson? I think it really important to know, as a teacher, that you can never know everything. I always feel like there is always more to learn and hopefully this makes me a good teacher. People learn in different ways, so I'm always trying to present and explore other ways of doing things. It's so important that people find a way to work that feels comfortable to them. I hope that my unending excitement to try new things inspires others, even in the smallest way. Do you have any mentors or people that inspire you as an entrepreneur? My friend and former boss at the Color Association, Margaret Walch taught me so much during my time with her. She isn't what you would consider a typical business woman. Margaret is in her sixties and is one of the coolest ladies I've ever known. Working with her closely every day for five years, I learned the value of kindness and generosity in business. Margaret never missed an opportunity to help someone out or to share her knowledge, contacts and insights. She encouraged me to explore my interests where ever they might take me - through classes, museums, trade shows and theatre. There were no boundaries on my job description, so I learned everything about running a small business with her. She created such a nurturing environment in the Color Association for anyone who entered it whether you were an intern or a client. I've never known a workplace like this and working in traditional offices with specific and narrow tasks was very difficult for me after I left. What are your creative inspirations? I've learned over the years to pay close attention because inspiration can come from anywhere. A ticket stub, a magazine clipping or a vintage pencil sharpener. These days, I am most inspired by other artists or makers. I'm always amazed to discover amazing local talent. Toronto is filled with great shops, galleries, craft fairs and design events. Being able to support this local community and learning their stories inspires me every day. When selecting fabrics, what do you look for? Have you noticed particular trends in what your customers like? Choosing fabrics is one of my favourite parts of my job. I might look at hundreds and hundreds of fabric prints in a sitting and my first edit is to remove anything that I don't like at all. This is usually 90% of what I look at. My fabric choices are very much based on what I love personally. Fabric is one of my first points of inspiration when I'm sewing, so I look out for collections and specific prints that excite me. I try to keep in mind what I currently have on the shelves and keeping a full assortment of the colour spectrum.
All of the Japanese imports from Kokka, echino and Daiwabo always fly out the door quickly. Their prints are so unique, cute and charming that they are hard to resist. Amy Butler fabrics always seem to appeal to everyone. Specifically prints with robots, cityscapes, maps, text, birds or animals are always a hit. What are your most popular classes? The beginner class, Sewing Machine Essentials is one of the most popular. It's a great way to get refreshed on how to use a sewing machine or to introduce yourself to the sewing machine for the first time. I've got a great group of teachers who each have their own specialties, so I still get to take classes myself and learn new things. One of our new classes is an Underwear class which is so much fun. We also offer beginner upholstery classes, such as the Box Cushion and Upholstered Cube which are perfect for people trying to do some redecorating on a budget. Quilting is one of the things I really wanted to learn myself, so it is wonderful to see how much people are loving all the quilting classes.
theworkroom.ca makesomething.ca 1340 Queen Street West Toronto, ON M6K 1L4 416-534-5305
What are your future dreams for the workroom? For the immediate future, I dream of having a webstore. I get emails from people from across Canada who are hoping to buy my fabrics since there isn't really a source on this side of the border yet. It's a huge undertaking, but hopefully that will happen this year. the workroom also has a sizable backyard that I hope to landscape this year and create an outdoor space for classes and events. Of course, I've got quite a few ideas in my back pocket that I'm not ready to reveal just yet. U P P E R C A S E / 25
TIP: A N" seam allowance is very common in quilting. You can get a special 1/4" foot for your sewing machine or with a ruler measure out from your machine's needle and mark the N" with a piece of masking tape as a guide.
Log cabin appliqué cup cozies We keep a bin of scrap fabrics at the workroom from the classes. I'm constantly rescuing tiny scraps of fabrics I love and looking for ways to use them. Making these little log cabin blocks is a really fun way of experimenting with colour and using up the small scraps you have in your stash.
For each log cabin block you will need one centre square piece and eight fabric strips. Traditionally, the centre square of the log cabin was red to represent the hearth. Play with using contrasting colour strips to create different visual effects in your log blocks. NOTE: I like to use a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat to make all my straight cuts quickly and accurately. You can also use a ruler and tailor's chalk to mark straight lines and cut everything with a pair of scissors.
You will need: • N metre wool felt 60" wide (Wool felt can be hard to find, I like to use sturdy wool coat felt. This amount of felt will make approximately six cozies.)
Take a centre square and lay your first strip of fabric face down on top of it, matching the edges. Sew down the edge with a N" straight seam. Trim the excess fabric off the strip to match the length of the centre square. Finger press the fabric strip open with the seam allowance flat behind.
• pile of colourful cotton scrap fabric pieces • spool of neutral coloured thread • embroidery thread • hand sewing needle • scissors • tailor's chalk
Cut a selection of O"-1" wide strips out of your cotton scraps. Cut out a 1 K" centre square for each of the blocks you'd like to make. I keep my strips sorted in piles by colour. The more strips you cut, the more spontaneous you can be when your are sewing your block together.
• rotary cutter • acrylic rotary cutter ruler • cutting mat • straight pins • cup cozy pattern from makesomething.ca/tutorials-diy
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Take your second strip of fabric and lay it face down across the first strip and the centre square, matching the edges. Sew down the edge with a N" straight seam. Trim the excess fabric off the strip to match the length of the block. Finger press the fabric strip open with the seam allowance flat behind.
Make Something with Karyn Valino
Download the tea cup cozy pdf pattern. This pattern was designed to fit the Ikea Pokal glass, which makes a generous cup of tea or hot chocolate. Cut it out and test it on the glass you'd like to make the cozies for. The ends of the pattern piece should overlap by K" - 1" when wrapped around the glass. Adjust the pattern in height or width according to your glass.
needle down into the felt, lift up your presser foot and pivot the fabric around the corner. Lower your presser foot and continue sewing. This way you will sew the block on with one continuous seam. When you are done, turn the felt piece over to the back side and pull on the two loose threads to bring the loose threads from the front to the back side. Knot all four threads to secure the block.
Wrap your felt piece around your glass and use a pin to secure the edges in place so that you have a snug fit.
Continue rotating the block, sewing on the strips, trimming and pressing the strip open with the seam allowance flat behind until you have sewn all eight strips onto your block. Using your final pattern, cut out your wool felt pieces to match.
Thread your sewing needle with some embroidery thread and knot the end. I like to sew little "X's" to secure the overlapped felt edge together. Bring your needle up from underneath the felt into the left side of the felt edge. Cross over the edge diagonally up and down on the right side of the felt edge. Bring your needle up through the felt on the right side of the felt edge, just below your last stitch. Cross over the edge diagonally up and down into the left side of the felt edge. Continue making the "X" pattern up the edge of the felt, securing the entire edge. Knot your thread at the end.
Iron your completed log cabin block to flatten all the seams. Trim away all four edges of your block to square up and clean up the edges.
Centre your finished log cabin block on a wool felt piece and pin into place. Set your sewing machine to a wide zig zag stitch. To applique the block onto the felt, you will be stitching the zig zag stitch over the edge of your block. The left stitch (the zig) should stitch into your block and the right stitch (the zag) should stitch into the felt. Sew along the edge of your block. When you come to a corner, put the
Slip your finished cup cozy onto your glass and enjoy a hot drink!
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TY P E
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Sketchbook Irina Troitskaya “My sketchbook is a safe haven where I can discover, experiment and dream, with no thought of pleasing others…”
Can you tell us about your background, where are you from? Originally I’m from Izhevsk, an industrial city deep into Russia. Faded colors, huge plants, bedroom districts where all the houses look similar, electronic music festivals and Finno-Ugric cultural roots. It’s good to slow down there, but it’s hard to start something. I’ve always felt I need to feel more energy in the air. That’s why I moved to Moscow to find a job as an illustrator six years ago. What is your educational background? I studied Arts and Crafts for about 10 years in general (a school of arts plus university). However it gave me nothing, but weariness. After I graduated drawing was my abhorrence and I quit it for several years. Sometimes I regret about it, but it seems I needed some rest and time to organize my mind.
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Interview by Mike Kerr
How long have you been sketching in your sketchbook?
Why do you keep a sketchbook?
I’ve been sketching nonstop for about three years. Because of that gap I mentioned previously, it was really hard to start from the beginning. Drawing is very similar to practicing scales. You miss several days and your hand listens to you a little bit worse—not to mention several years. I had to get my hand in at any cost, but couldn’t force myself to start. Then I decided to outwit myself. I asked the man I love (he’s my husband now) to be my manager and to insist on a drawing a day. In the beginning it wasn’t very efficient, but it was unbearable for me to see his upset face when I didn’t draw any, so I had to do something to avoid it. Exercises were just scribbles at first, but it helped me to start moving. You need to draw every day to see progress.
I do it for my own pleasure first of all. Secondly, I care about developing my skills. I need a place to record my inspiration and try new things. I save my old sketchbooks; they can jog my creativity years later and provide a record of my development. They might inspire somebody to take up a drawing pencil after all. What do you put in it? Do you typically draw from life or your imagination? It depends. Sometimes I draw a familiar subject to focus on the medium. I make notes or rapidly sketch the scene. As a rule my sketchbook contains both drawings and bits of personal history and observations.
What is your sketchbook for: do you view it as art, conversation, research? All and sundry. Sketchbook is a way of keeping track of ideas and getting in the habit of regular drawing. It’s also a useful resource for bigger works when nothing comes to my mind. It’s my playground. I like the sense of freedom it can give me. Sketchbook helped me to realize that not every drawing I do needs to be a work of art and heaved a load from off my heart. It’s a place for being myself. Do you do illustration assignments in your sketchbook? How does your sketchbook affect your work? Using a sketchbook on a daily basis furnishes me with an endless supply of ideas for my assignments and personal art projects. When I get an assignment, I usually make a research. For example if I need to draw a visual story (not just a single illustration, but a bunch of smaller ones, 32 / U P P E R C A S E
similar to a comic), I need to know all about my characters. I have to draw them down in different poses and moods. Working with double spreads in my sketchbooks I’ve trained myself to see the whole spread—it helps me to deal with editorial clients. When drawing in public, do others strike up conversations about your sketchbook? And if so, what are the types of comments/questions? I don’t like to attract people’s attention when I draw. I always try to do it without being noticed. Probably that’s why nobody asked me about it not even once. And when I see someone is going to me, I try to close the page I’m working on to avoid questions. It sounds unsociable, but I don’t want to hear any comments in the middle of my work. If the drawing is finished—ok then, there’s a chance for you to see it, but only if I’m ok with it. Sketchbook is
a private thing and need not be shared with everyone. Therefore, it’s useless to ask to flick through, unless you’re my close friend or my colleague, an illustrator. It isn’t a minigallery open to public critique, but rather a safe haven where I can discover, experiment and dream, with no thought of pleasing others. Do you have any preferences in sketchbooks (brand, paper, size)? The main rule is the cheaper the better. I don’t want to think something like “Oh my God! I need to draw a masterpiece, because this sketchbook looks so nice and costs a lot .” Also I’m saying “no” to perforated pages (it’s easy to turn over a page, but they tend to wipe off soft pencil’s marks) and to small A5 sizes (although sometimes they’re good for drawing in a subway).
How many sketchbooks do you have and how do you keep track of them? Right now I have about five on the go. I use them simultaneously. The smallest one is good for the subway to write down rough ideas and thoughts when it’s impossible to use something bigger. I also have a watercolour sketchbook, plus one for rapid pencil drawings and another one always stays at home—it’s too big to carry. And a sketchbook with colorful paper I tend not to use often. Sometimes I forget about at least one of them for months, but after a while come back to continue.
www.irtroit.com www.flickr.com/ photos/irtroit
If you could travel and sketch anywhere, where would it be? Any place with warm sunny weather and friendly people. A cup of coffee would be nice too. U P P E R C A S E / 33
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A chat with Finnish beauty Heini Koskinen
the street style sites on the internet and all the stylish people in them. I found out that you can really express yourself through how you dress. At the moment, vintage glamour style pleases me the most and I feel that I’ve now found the right style for myself. But of course my style develops all the time. I want to be open for influences even though I now know what I like and what I don’t like.
To view more of Heini's wardrobe remix photos, visit her Flickr photostream. www.flickr.com/ photos/piksi_
You are obviously a gifted seamstress in order to modify vintage clothes to suit you. Do you have training in fashion or sewing? Oh I’m not gifted at all! I can only make some easy alterations like narrowing but I’d love to learn more. I don’t have any training in sewing or fashion, I’ve learned by experimenting myself. I just love well-fitting clothes, and it’s easier to buy vintage pieces from eBay for example when you know that you’re able to alter them a bit if they don’t fit as well as you had thought (but of course I’m as precise as possible with the measurements when buying a dress without trying it on). How did you become interested in wardrobe remixing?
piksi perfection Please tell us a bit about yourself. I’m 23 years old and I live in Helsinki, Finland. I study veterinary medicine at University of Helsinki. I have a Flickr site where I upload my outfit photos, vintage finds, everyday pictures and such. How would you describe your personal style? What are your influences and inspirations? My style is feminine and old-fashioned. I love old-time glamour, vintage dresses, high-waisted skirts, bows and red nails and lips. I like styles from the 30s to the 50s the best. Grannies, many stylish Finnish designers, old photographs and street style websites inspire my style the most. How did you develop your style? Have you always been interested in this 'impeccable vintage glamour' or have you gone through other style phases? I wasn’t interested in clothes and style-related things at all when I was younger. I used to dress very differently than nowadays. I nearly always wore jeans, hoodies, T-shirts and Converse All Stars and never heels or dresses. I think I became interested in developing my style when I found
My stylish friend Riikka from Tampere, Finland, introduced Flickr’s wardrobe remix group to me. She had been uploading her daily outfits there and I thought it sounded and especially looked like fun so I began to post my outfit pictures, too. The group is full of inspiration, there are so many amazingly stylish people there. I’ve never been so much into checking out fashion show pictures—the looks of ordinary people are much better for inspiration. I’m very honoured if someone sees something inspirational in my pictures like I see in so many people’s photostreams. Since you began posting wardrobe remix photos to Flickr in 2007, how has your sense of style changed? Nowadays my style is more “vintage glamour” than it was when I started posting my outfits. I use more and more vintage clothes and less and less chain store pieces now. When I started posting outfits in 2007 I had a brightcoloured 80’s heels phase going on—now I like black, brown, cream, soft pink and bright red shoes more than blue, yellow or green. I’m still a bit of a shoe addict nonetheless, I like shoes more than bags. Now that I’ve found my dream bag (black and white cloud shaped bag by Minna Parikka), I hardly ever use my other bags. I very seldom wear trousers anymore in my free time like U P P E R C A S E / 69
I still did in 2007. I personally think my style has changed quite a lot despite the short time I’ve posted pictures to Flickr.
shapes and graphic punch. The contrast is lovely. Do you have any rules that you follow when shopping for new items for your wardrobe?
Does having an appreciative audience viewing your photos affect what you decide to wear?
Thank you so much! I only buy things that are really me, and I don’t follow trends. When shopping new items, I try to think with what I will wear them and if I think the garment doesn’t really go with anything that I already own, I’ll leave it to the store. If the fit isn’t perfect but the piece is really nice, I might buy it anyway because I can sew it to fit later.
It doesn’t really have an effect on my choices on what to wear. It’s been really surprising for me how popular my Flickr site has become, and I’m always really flattered when people leave all those kind comments to my photos. Who photographs you? Are the photos on Flickr representative of your day-to-day wardrobe or more of special occasions? My boyfriend Henri, with whom I live, usually takes my pictures. Sometimes I use a self-timer, too. The photos on Flickr represent my free time look very well. At the university I usually wear clothes that are suitable for work with animals so no vintage dresses and heels there :-)! You often mention Finnish designer Minna Parikka and her accessories which seem to have a retro quality to their shapes and colours... is there something particularly Finnish about this style or way of dressing? I love Minna’s designs and she’s such a lovely person, too. I would say that there’s absolutely nothing Finnish in this style! Finns tend to wear down-to-earth, practical shoes and clothes that are warm and comfy in our ever-changing climate. The most popular colours are black, grey and brown. Finns don’t really want to get noticed—when wearing Minna’s shoes or bags, you’re guaranteed to get some very long stares. Your colour palette is beautiful—I love how you combine pastel pinks or light colours with blacks and dark greys, soft 70 / U P P E R C A S E
I am surprised to see that you're in veterinarian studies, one would assume that you're in the fashion industry since you have an obvious passion for it. How do you reconcile the two interests? (It's funny to see the picture of cloven hoof care in your flickrstream, for example.) How do you incorporate your unique sense of style into everyday living and going to school? Many people are surprised to hear that I am studying to become a vet, maybe it’s because of I don’t look like a typical vet student, whatever that is. They’re even more surprised when I tell that my studies include working in a slaughterhouse, for example! I like to keep my free time look and my school look separated, mostly because of practical issues I already mentioned above. It’s not really professional to work with animals wearing clothes that are not suitable for a purpose. However, it would definitely be very amusing to see the farmer’s face if I arrived to the cowhouse wearing high patent red heels, a pretty dress and a stethoscope! Fashion is just a pleasant hobby for me, I’ve never been interested in it in a career-oriented way. What advice to you have for people trying to discover their own unique style? Dare to experiment and be confident! So unoriginal and clichéd but so true.
by Lindsay Racher
healing through baking
inding a creative outlet can be a powerful healing force for both the body and the mind. After a two year battle with cancer—a successful one I’m glad to report—I found myself faced with the difficult task of returning to normal life. In my search for a way to regain a connection with the world, I stumbled across a fascinating and surprisingly satisfying art form: cupcake decorating. The only limits are those of the imagination. From any variety of flower, animal, or ornament, to fun celebrations like football helmets for the Grey Cup game, or snow globes for Christmas, the possibilities are endless.
Besides being an outlet for boundless creative energy, this seemingly commonplace activity has provided me with a sense of accomplishment and a connection with a community that I have never known before. Unlike most other arts and crafts, cupcake decorating offers a particularly unique opportunity—your audience gets personally involved in your creation, literally eating it up! There’s nothing quite as satisfying as sharing your creations with another person. The question remained though, of what to do with the cupcakes once they’ve been made? Believe me, I considered eating them all, but finally had to admit the folly of that plan. So, having gained an intimate knowledge of the often scary cancer experience myself, I decided to start making a weekly donation of cupcakes to the local cancer centre. As I’d hoped, these interesting and often eyebrowraising designs proved to be both a treat and a welcome distraction for the patients. By bringing the fun and whimsy of creative expression into the realm of community service, I’ve discovered a path to both my own recovery and a way to share my joy with those who need it most.
U P P E R C A S E / 71
Vintage flair in a modern world
polka dots We’re seeing spots in this issue of U P P E R C A S E magazine—inspired by the classic polka dot, printing dots and moiré patterns. It’s also fun to dress dotty! Coat courtesy Goya Gallery, Art Central. www.goyagallery.com
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m br el l a
I live in a city where toques are more commonplace than umbrellas. I suspect that most people don’t give a lot of thought to their umbrellas—except for that irrational intuition that restrains us from opening them indoors. The umbrella I use to this day was both a fortunate and unexpected find, rescued from the trunk of an old convertible my father procured in exchange for an 80’s era PC, I’m sure was slower than my current cellphone. Apparently the deal seemed less lopsided at the time. After a little soliciting, I inherited the umbrella where I met instant affinity, falling in love with the hand-made Italian beauty that was reminiscent of an antique
parasol. At times it appears a tad superfluous with color matching an old Laurentian pencil crayon—the bright Sarasota orange one—but do umbrellas always have to be so beige, so black, so utilitarian? In a city that hardly sees a spot of rain, it’s far too easy to neglect an accessory that has been known and loved by so many people, over a long span of time and space. Regardless of their sporadic use, each umbrella likely has an interesting story to tell; may that be those of love or tragic tales of loss. Either way, it’s worth some thought beyond superstition. LISA SCHINDEL
For every occasion, every purpose, glamourous, distinctive specs accent your eyes, flatter your features and add the perfect touch of allure and sophistication. Old advertising images courtesy Regina Porter, a.k.a. Millie Motts. Visit her websites for more vintage fun! www.flickr.com/photos/milliemotts milliemotts.blogspot.com U P P E R C A S E / 73
T E S T
1 a. This looks like a monarch butterfly with a clothes pin as its tail. b. I see two cherubs smoking a hookah. c. An x-ray of the pelvis and vertebrae with snipped genitalia. d.
a. A mouse being crushed between two door knobs.
a. It looks like a gothic-style bikini. Very uncomfortable.
a. The gloved hands of an evil sorcerer.
b. It looks like two very robust honey bees with a conjoined heart. And they appear to be kissing.
b. This is some sort of mutant lobster that got run over by a car.
b. This looks like a double-sided gargoyle; a winged chimera atop his nest.
c. A friendly black bear looking my way.
c. This is a poisonous stinging mantis common to tropical countries.
c. This could be the crest or emblem of a crazed and somewhat artistic overlord.
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by Jose Rodriguez and Danielle Biondo
L G G <I:8J<
OU R S P R I N G 09
THE FIRST ONE!
a magazine for the creative and curious
W E t h ink
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L G G < I : 8 J < & 1
For this photo, Danielle and I were wandering the streets of San Luis Obispo, California, when we came upon Bubble Gum Alley. The walls of the alley, covered in the chewed gum of strangers, had an interesting texture, which made it an ideal setting for us. The colorful spherical balloons and bubblegum seemed to be a perfect juxtaposition with the dark geometric lines and rough texture of the alley.
bubbles by Charlotte Sullivan
The idea for the bubble drawings was originally conceived while washing dishes late one night in Greensboro, Alabama. Opposites are made to attract with these drawings—usually one uses soap to wash away ink. Here, they are blended together with breath to make unique prints and forms.
C ha r lo t t e Sull i van
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J o s e Ro d r i gu e z an d Dan i e ll e B i on d o
From your friends at
We s t e r n C a n a d i a n H a n d m a d e Wa r e s U P P E R C A S E / 83
in t h is issu e :
treehouses whirlers swimmers screws craftsters creatures remixers mellotrons umbrellas jennifers inkblots champions ISBN 978-0-9783268-4-5
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$18 C A N $16 U S D
Published on Jun 2, 2009
Here's a short preview of the launch issue of UPPERCASE, a magazine for the creative and curious. The full magazine is printed traditionally...