Friday, September 27, 2013


Tomorrow, I'll be selling minouette prints at the Shop Cats Pop-Up store for the Scadding Court Harvest Festival! Along with the harvest festival, there will be a number of pop-ups in repurposed shipping containers at Bathurst & Dundas. Come check it out!

This evening the Toronto Etsy Street Team is having a social media summit & pot-luck, so today, I'm gathering supplies for the show and goodies for this evening. Thinking ahead a little, I thought people will want to be prepared for Ada Lovelace Day (ALD13) this October 15th. So, now you can get my Ada Lovelace linocut on tee shirts (or totes, cell phone and laptop skins as well as art prints)!

ALD13 is the 5th annual international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology, science and math. I'm sure you'll all recall, Ada, brilliant proto-software engineer, daughter of absentee father, the mad, bad, and dangerous to know, Lord Byron, she was able to describe and conceptualize software for Charles Babbage's computing engine, before the concepts of software, hardware, or even Babbage's own machine existed! She foresaw that computers would be useful for more than mere number-crunching. For this she is rightly recognized as visionary - at least by those of us who know who she was. She figured out how to compute Bernouilli numbers with a Babbage analytical engine. Tragically, she died at only 36. On October 15, in Ada's name, people around the world are blogging about women in science and technology, whose accomplishments have all too often gone unrecognized or unacknowledged.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Art for Kids

I had a pleasant surprise this morning. I often check the Etsy blog every day, but this last week RJH took a vacation and we've been taking some time to make sure we're prepared for the baby. He's done a huge amount of work building furniture, and we made some purchases. Somehow it seems more real, now that we have a car seat and stroller. Decorating and preparing the nursery is an on-going project, of course. So, this morning I was particularly interested to see the Etsy blog article Art Scouting: Picks for Kids thinking I could gather some more ideas. I love that cover shot and spent some time contemplating how the T.Rex image was made. I scrolled down and was delighted to see my own 'Sailing Ship IV' featured! It and another in the series are already packaged to go to the post office this morning, since they sold yesterday (though I didn't clue in that my print had been mentioned till this morning). I do love the idea that art for kids can serve as a starting point for bedtime stories. RJH has been advocating bold, simple works for babies and that maybe the multimedia work will be better a little later (once the baby's vision is more fully developped.... after all, they can barely focus more than a foot away when they arrive). He might have a point, but I confess, I'm looking forward to the magic of imaginative bedtime story telling - and more complex art too!

There's still several ships in the series, by the way, and reproductions of a couple of the sold one of kind prints in the series are available too. There's some fabulous prints by fellow Printsy members; Cecca's Crocodile Tea Time has been in my favorites for a long time and I love Natalia the Winged Lion's prints as much as her imaginative handcrafted jewellery, as well as some artists who are new to me.

Find minouette in the Supply Room at the Art.Science.Gallery

This is a gallery I'm really excited to be associated with! I only wish they were closer to home. Very soon, you'll be able to find minouette prints in the Supply Room gallery shop for the Art.Science.Gallery, an Austin, Texas "art gallery and science communication space dedicated to art-science fusion of all kinds" and the first US gallery "to feature exclusively science-related artworks!"

You can read more about their philosophy here, and check out their exhibitions here, find them on Facebook or twitter. They are run by fellow artists/scientists and I love that this makes me feel like it's maybe not an eccentric or unheard of career path.

I sent a series of insect related artwork, including my bee series of linocuts, to coincide with an upcoming entomology-themed exhibit. I also included some general science, history of science and scientists prints.

A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

Friday, September 20, 2013

minouette in the Etsy Showcase at the Fall Home Show!


Schroedinger's (Disappearing) Cat Linocut


I'm really pleased to be able be tell you that there will be things from secret minouette places in the Etsy Showcase at Fall Home Show, October 3 to 6, 2013! This is a huge show, held at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place. The Etsy Showcase will be in Booth #328; it will contain a carefully curated living space decorated with handmade Canadian Etsy goods, selected by HGTV! The selected Etsy sellers will also be featured on the HGTV website. If you're going to the show, be sure to visit and get special deals in all the shops represented.

I think this is a great opportunity! I've been taking it easy this fall and am not planning to do many shows in the lead-up to the holidays. I was really flattered to be accepted to sell in the Rising Stars section of the One of a Kind, but I had to regretfully decline, since I'm expecting a baby during the show. They were very understanding of course. I love that this is a way to participate in a show on a similar scale, without having to be present, selling all of the time, and without having to have huge amounts of stock prepared, all of which might be a bit too gruelling right now. So this opportunity turned up at just the right time for me!

I'm also pleasantly surprised that the works selected by HGTV are all seriously sciencey (that's a word, right?). I had imagined they would want works which make for pretty home decor or strong graphic design- and not that science-themed prints don't - but I didn't expect that they would particularly select interactive, colour-changing, thermochromic prints about quantum mechanics, or organic chemistry, or genetics.


Psst... there is also a sale on society6 - if you would like to get any minouette products, follow this link to get FREE Shipping when if you order now through Sunday, September 22, 2013 at Midnight Pacific Time (9 PM Eastern).

Saturday, September 7, 2013

g for giraffe

gForGiraffe001 G is for Giraffe of course!

This 'g' monogram linocut features an elegant giraffe. It's standing on the tail and peeking through the loop of the 'g'. This is an open edition print in brown ink on Japanese paper, known as washi. It is available in a variety of colours! Each sheet is 14.8 cm or 5⅞ inches square.


Hearts milestone: 2000

scan of multimedia valentine If you read this blog, you know I love getting hearts. It's gratifying, encouraging feedback from the invisible people who actually find and appreciate my work. Today I have 2001 hearts on things from secret minouette places! Etsy now calls them 'admirers' but we all know these as ♥s. So, I'd like to take a moment to thank each and every one, as well as the 791 Etsy followers, 844 twitter followers, 1215 pinterest followers, 591 fans of the things from secret minouette places fanpage, and last but not least, anyone who follows this blog! I love that 2001 people have seen my art, let alone added it to their favorites, so it's really encouraging and appreciated.

I remember reading kozyndan stated that 2000 real fans could support an artist (and they are a two-person team). I don't think that everyone who adds a ♥ to things from secret minouette places would meet their definition of a real fan (which I gathered was more of a close follower, liable to purchase something whenever you come out with something new), but it still feels like maybe it might suggest that interest in what I create is getting to be the right order of magnitude... which is quite amazing to me.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

I seem to have fallen out of the habit of regularly reviewing books on my blog. I used to be more disciplined about it, and there is a series of reviews on the minouette blog (and here), including the one below for one of my favorite books of the last several years. I've also mentioned The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet on magpie&whiskeyjack, comparing the whimsical maps and scientific illustration of everything incorporated into the work of artist Simon Evans with those of the more strictly empirical modern-day Humboltian cartography protegy Spivet. If you, like me, are inspired by the fertile intersection of art and science, this is a novel for you. You should go read it right away, because as I was very pleased to read this morning, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (director of Amelie, or Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain in French) has adapted the novel for a movie to be released in France (filmed in English, with French subtitles) in October.

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

Reading this novel I thought, yes, this is what I want to do all the time.  Why can't I just get paid to read books like this? I would be happy  doing this indefinitely. Of course, are there books like this one? That  is a harder question to answer. Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet (best. name.  ever.) is a gifted prodigy in cartography at 12 years old. He lives on a  ranch near Divide, Montana, with his mother, stalled entomologist, Dr.  Clair, his teenage sister, Gracie, who would love to escape their small  town and peculiar family, and strong-silent cowboy father T.E. Spivet.  His brother Layton, has died, and we slowly learn more. T.S. keeps  different coloured notebooks for maps of people doing things:  zoological, geological, and topographical maps; and insect anatomy  (should Dr. Clair ever call on his help), respectively. T.S. learns  he has won the prestigious Baird Award from the Smithsonian, for his  incredible mapping and scientific illustration work, and his adventure  begins, as he decides to accept in person, but being 12, he sees his  best means of transport as to hop on a freight train and hobo east. In  this beautiful, whimsically illustrated book, T.S. maps everything  from the Continental divide, to beetle subspecies, to cowboy moves, to  facial expressions, to geology, to how McDonald's "penetrates my  permeable barrier of aesthetic longing", to concentration of litter in  Chicago, to his family history, to a many-worlds interpretation of  quantum mechanics and what this might have meant for his family. This  book is beautiful, in terms of the sensitivity and originality of the  story (Wormholes of the Midwest! the hobo hotline?), the love of  knowledge expressed, down to the layout of the text and images on the  page. Maybe we will be lucky enough to be recruited into the Megatherium  club. The manner in which this child's mind breaks up the world is a  reminder of why science is wonderful and the joy of unfettered thinking.  The story is also interwoven with that of T.S.' ancestors, including  his great-grandmother the early geologist. We get both 'when science was  young' and 'the young scientist'.

Maybe I'll go reread it myself now.  (cross-posted to magpie & whiskeyjack)

Monday, September 2, 2013

wearing minouette prints


I love how my customers sometimes tell me their really interesting reasons for purchasing my prints. I've had people tell me about how all their grandparents worked on the Manhattan project, or how they consult for NASA, are scientists, are beekeepers, or have an arts background and find my prints a great gift for the budding scientists in their lives. Recently, a customer told me that she thought my Raccoon Greetings would be just the thing for her urban environmental history class; I love that a more whimsical print could be used to inspire students, rather than say, a history of science or strictly natural history print. Anyway, she wrote back to say she'd placed the print at the front of the class and they're adopting it as a mascot, which is awesome. She wanted to know if there was a way students could get the image printed on tee shirts.

I've been asked before about clothing. I'm really pleased to be working with a company to license some artwork for them to print on tees, but I've shied away from printing my own tee shirts; I feel that's a whole other business, and it isn't easy to screenprint in your home. I don't think my water pressure is up for cleaning screens! I can use a group printmaking studio, like Open Studio, but right now, I'm avoiding exposure to any unnecessary chemicals (think photochemicals, VOCs in some inks and the solvents used to clean them). So, the idea was the impetus I needed to open a minouette shop on society6. They make quality reproduction Giclée prints, tee shirts, hoodies and other things like laptop skins on demand. They handle the printing and shipping, and pay the artists directly. The artists retain the rights to the artwork. I like their model and have been impressed with the products.

Previously, I only let my friend Fuzz (the raccoon whisperer) get a raccoon tee printed, cause he asked nicely. But, now you can have one too in a variety of colours- or a hoodie, tote, or Giclée print. I'll list some other prints too; let me know if you've always wanted to wear a certain work!

D is for dragonfly


I made another monogram yesterday: d is for dragonfly. I had been thinking maybe I should do a dragon - after all, I already have a mermaid and a unicorn, so this collection isn't strictly natural history, but then again, I could make a kimodo dragon. Then, it hit me that a dragonfly would be just the thing. Since my ulterior motive is the baby quilt, I like to include things which quietly allude to the parents, and RJH has long used one of his macro shots of a dragonfly as his laptop background image. Plus, I'm gathering insect prints at the moment, so it works for that project too.

I also made a wee baby kimono, cause now I have an excuse to buy the cutest fabric (though, I seemed to have other excuses previously and have a bit of a fabric hoarding habit). I used this somewhat too succinct tutorial, which I thought would be easier, but it was deceptive. The kimono was more challenging than the coat, which seems backwards. I think I'll make some easier things next. I gather from seeing what is truly useful for my nephew, that what parents really need is a whole bunch of fabric rectangles (receiving blankets, burp cloths, changing mats, play mats and so forth) and rectangles are about as easy as sewing gets. I bought terry cloth and I have the aforementioned cute fabrics, and figure that one cannot have too many burp cloths, so rectangles it is.

froggy baby kimono topfroggy baby kimono top