Saturday, June 21, 2014



In the US, the Pollinator Partnership is celebrating National Pollinators Week, so I thought I would share some bees and butterflies. You've probably heard about the plight of the bees and the declining populations of pollinators in general. Pollinators are vital to our ecosystem and even if we are to be purely self-centred, our own food supply. I made these prints for a show on the biodiversity of bees. As I've mentioned before, there are some great resources for fostering our own local native bees on Resonating Bodies as well links to Sarah Peebles' sound and installation bee art.

I've noticed that my flower garden is attracting bees daily and I'm looking forward to luring more! I got the Bee Friendly Garden Seed Set from TEST member, printmaker and organic farmer Laura of cubits at our Spring Marketplace.

In other news, I lent some artwork to a science outreach program, planning an event on a vital topic... more on that later. Also, much to my surprise, I'm working on some logos for a cafe in Saudi Arabia.  Some sort of theme this week...

Happy summer solstice (or winter, if you happen to be south of the equator)!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Etsy: Made in Canada
Along with my fellow leaders of the Toronto Etsy Street Team, and our colleages at 416Hustler, we've been planning a massive 100+ vendor show at Etsy Canada's home, the MaRS building in Toronto at College and University, for this September 27! Our show will be one of more than 30 simultaneous shows from coast to coast, complete with a nation-wide media campaign. We're really excited about it. 

If you are a Toronto-area vendor, you should apply to our show! Follow news about the show on our event page. If you are an Etsy vendor elsewhere in Canada, check out Etsy's portal to all the shows here

If you are an artist (or vintage collecting maven) whose been toying with the idea of opening a shop (ahem, you know who you are, yeah you, I'm talking to you) now is the time! Here, you can even use our promo code to get your first 20 listings free and if you sign up for Etsy Newbie Bootcamp, we'll walk you through everything you need to know. Plus, you can then apply to be part of our awesome show.

Maybe I'm still thinking about my little baby freedom fighter, but to borrow the words of John Lennon, "Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it now."

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A message from Baby Monkeytoes, for Father's Day

baby power
'Baby Power' by Ele Willoughby (aka minouette), 9.5" by 12.5" (24.5 cm by 32 cm)
three colour linocut on Japanese kozo paper

cornerThe sentiment is our son's, though I helped him express it in linocut form. I'm afraid I haven't quite done him justice. He's much cuter in person. His uncle asked whether he was a 'sock nudist', and yes, like most tiny people I've met, he's no fan of socks. He really does hold his fist up like that and always has, from when he was only days old. I've always joked it's his 'baby power' salute, as he cries 'freedom for the babies!' Perhaps I should not be surprised, knowing his parentage, that our son is the sort of baby who thinks he should be in charge, and free to make decisions. Thus, was inspired RJH's father's day gift. We looked at a lot of propaganda posters from the thirties, and the Anti-Fascist Songbook, cause that's the way this baby rolls. He's grown up (to his now advanced age of 6.5 months) seeing his father's photo of Nelson Mandela every day. Apart from snapshots, the only photo of a person we have hanging in our home is RJH's first front page news photo. When he was very young, he got himself an internship at our national newspaper, and took this photo of Nelson Mandela, during his first trip to Canada after being released from prison. It's a great photo of a great man, and it hangs in our dining room. My image of the framed photo doesn't do it justice either. (I wanted to write about this image when Mandela died, but Monkeytoes was only days old and I never found the time.) I hung the photo kittycorner from my 'Raccoon Greetings' linocut, with the raccoon giving a high five, so that the two images would connect to one another. One of our neighbours came by and said, "Ah, yes, I see, the raccoon is high fiving Mandela" and I was surprised that someone else saw it the way I secretly did. Regardless of whether it's the images he sees, or the music he's heard prior to and since birth, or innate, our little Monkeytoes strikes me as a baby freedom fighter and resolutely anti-socks. So I thought this might make an apt first Father's Day gift.

RJH also got a tie pin stamped 'Gabriel's Dad', though he rarely wears ties, I thought he might need to brag about this role at speacial occasions which call for ties from now on. We had bacon, eggs and pancakes for brunch. I helped Gabriel with that too. Then we went out for a nice long walk before RJH had to go to work.

So happy Father's Day to all the Dads and honourary Dads out there. I hope you're enjoying nurturing the next generation, sockless rebellion and all.

p.s. I made 12 prints in the edition, so there will be other sockfree rebels available soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June so far

Swallowtail and lilac It's been a busy week for us so far. On Saturday, it was the TEST 5th Annual Spring Marketplace. RJH dropped me off at the show and then took the baby for some men's only time. There were all sorts of garage sales on the Danforth, so they wandered around and got some loot. Our neighbour found a free second-hand ExerSaucer (it's a little baby gym, in which he can stand, supported... something my sister-in-law likes to jokingly call the 'circle of neglect' because it keeps babies occupied long enough to try and do something) which she kindly hauled home for little Mr. Monkeytoes.

Sunday was our first wedding anniversary. Though it was a bit cool and overcast, we all went to Ward's Island. We showed the baby where we were married and had a lovely picnic. It was a great day!

Since then, RJH has been spending his week of vacation busily working on replacing the horrid insulbrick on the back of the house. He went and bought some cedar shingles (from the maritimes of course). There were some discoveries: the wood beneath my studio window was completely rotted, and has now been replaced. Dad came by yesterday to help stain the shingles - on both sides- before installing them. We have a rain warning today, so RJH is staining shingles in the garage. He hopes to be able to complete this project by the end of the week.

On Monday, I sent off a large package of prints, and a couple of handprinted pillows, to Ambergris Gallery, on Block Island (also known as New Shoreham), Rhode Island. They're hosting a show called 'From the Depths' this summer, so my sea creatures will be exhibited by the oceanside!

I did get to take a bit of a walk with the baby Monday too. We spotted that lovely swallowtail butterfly on a large lilac while we were out.

We just finished our Spring show, but our Toronto Etsy Street Team never sleeps. We're already working on preparing for the fall show. Etsy: Made in Canada Day will be September 27, at MaRS, at College and University streets, here in Toronto. There will be simultaneous shows in at least 30 other Canadian towns and cities and we're planning on a national promotion campaign. Our own show will be a big one: we're thinking of hosting 100 vendors!

Biggest news personally on the artistic front: I'm going to be selling at the One of a Kind Christmas show this year! I'm going to have a 5' by 10' booth from December 2 to December 7. This is a huge show. I did their spring show last year, but wasn't up for either the Christmas or spring show since. Little Mr. Monkeytoes was born during the Christmas show last year, and was too small and in need of too much attention during the 2014 Spring show, but he'll be one (one!) by December, so I'll be able to get some help with the childcare. In the meanwhile, I have to plan and build my booth and gather a lot of stock. There are tens of thousands of visitors, so I'll need a lot of items. This is a big investment too, but I think it will definitely be worth it. Wish me luck! I'll let you know how my preparations are going.

Right, nose back to the grindstone. ;)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Year of the Salamander, Talk and Hearts

Axolotl linocut
Axolotl, linocut on blue Thai paper with a deckle edge, 8" by 10", (or 20.3 cm by 25.4 cm) by Ele Willoughby

My Axolotl linocut is currently part of the Year of the Salamander show at Art.Science.Gallery in Austin, TX, which runs through to June 21. Gallery founder Dr. Hayley Gillespie is an artist/herpetologist, who specifically studies salamanders, so this exhibit and working with Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) to raise awareness of salamander conservation issues are clearly a perfect fit for her. If you are in Austin, not only can use see how 22 international artists interpreted the salamander theme, you can even attend her lecture or take Herpetology 101. Get your art and science all in one place! The the amazing axolotl, by the way, known as the Mexican salamander or Mexican walking fish, is an endangered amphibian which originates in lakes near Mexico city. Unlike other amphibians, they do not usually metamorphise and develop lungs. Rather, they remain gilled and aquatic. Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate limbs, and in some cases, portions of their brains! They appear to have crazy hairdos, with their three pairs of external gill stalks (rami) which come out behind their heads and are used to move oxygenated water.

June 18th, I've been invited to speak about balancing art and science careers (or, what I've gleaned in my quest to be a modern-day Renaissance woman), by the Neighbourhood Arts Network as part of their 'Making A Living Making Art: Creative Business and Social Media Strategies for Artists' series at the Lakeshore Arts Gallery. They asked me to give them my Top 5 Tips which they've published on their site. If you are in the city, you can join us Wednesday June 18th, 2014 at Lakeshore Arts Gallery, 2422 Lake Shore Blvd W at 6:00 PM and hear me and Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou speak. I'm quite flattered to learn that NAN, which is part of the Toronto Arts Council, had me on their radar, knew I am both artist and scientist and captain of the Toronto Etsy Street Team.

I also noticed that my shop things from secret minouette places  hit 2400 hearts today! I really do love the ♥s.  Honestly, I harbour a possible absurd fondness for them. A second round-number milestone, I hit 900 Etsy followers. So, I'd like to take a moment to thank each and every one along with 960 twitter followers, 2077 pinterest followers, 633 fans of the things from secret minouette places fanpage, and last but not least, anyone who follows this blog!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Toronto Etsy Street Team 5th Annual Springtime Market

I will be selling, and in fact have been busily helping organize the Toronto Etsy Street Team 5th Annual Springtime Market, June 7 from 11 am to 5 pm at the Church of St Stephen-in-the-Fields at Bellevue and College, in Kensington Market. Please stop in, say hello, and check out the latest minouette wares. 
I can tell you the selection process wasn't easy. We have some talented people to choose from. Seriously, check our our Spring 2014 LookBook here or peruse our Etsy Page!
Hope to see you there!