Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Storms and coffee, raccoons and books

Oh, poor neglected blog! I'm sorry I've been so busy. I spent much of August travelling through New England and the Maritime provinces and I'd love to share some photos (as soon as I have some more time and can get them from my husband's computer, where we dumped the data while on the road). After that, it's been non-stop Etsy: Made in Canada planning! We've been working on it since January and now it's practically here. Please do come out and see the show this Saturday, September 26th, 10 am to 6 pm, at the MaRS Centre Atrium at Collge and University if you're in Toronto. If you're not, you can find 33 other shows at cities across the country.

Keeling and the Keeling Curve I've even failed to mention other shows. My portrait of Charles Keeling was in Art.Science.Gallery's show about climate change, 'From the Mountains To the Sea'.

I have a coffee-themed linocut which will be exhibited as part of the Coffee Art Project at The New York Coffee Festival from September 25th – 27th 2015. The Coffee Art Project is a competition and sale, with proceeds going to Project Waterfall which brings clean water to coffee growing regions in the developping world. (If you're in NYC and want free tickets, drop me a line. I can't use mine.)

Last weekend, I participated in my first outdoor show, the DECAF show in East Lynn Park (bit of a coffee theme here...). Saturday was, frankly, terrifying. RJH encounted some difficulty as the advance party, sent to set up my borrowed 10' tent

(thanks to some unsolicited but well-intentioned "help" we ended up with a broken frame).  I was managing okay with our jerry-rigged set-up until after lunch, when the light rain turned to violent, gusting wind and a sudden storm. It was the sort of weather where all sane people go inside. I was there by myself and called RJH for help. I didn't even have proper walls; we had suspended tarps. We ended up with the two of us holding the tent down, so it didn't fly away with the baby in the stroller in the middle of the tent to stay dry and safe. When the rain let up a little, I ran home with the baby and called my mother for help. She was able to babysit, so I could return... but by that point everyone was closing for the day and all I could do was mop up the mess. While I had to go through all of my prints and dry them off, damage was minimal because they are sealed in plastic envelops. It was just nerve-wracking. My friend Queenie said it was her first and last outdoor show. Maybe the risk of weather just isn't worth it for those of us who make paper goods. Luckily, the Sunday was beautiful. RJH re-jigged the tent with new and more thorough tarps. Hilariously, I had a raccoon visitor in my tent, presumably there to check out my raccoon high five prints.

After Etsy: Made in Canada I have one more thing to do before I can relax, and take a break. Next Monday, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) will be in Toronto at the Elizabeth Bader Theatre to discuss her highly-anticipated new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I'm going to be there as part of the Toronto Etsy Street Team pop-up market before and after the event! Penguin Random House Canada sent me an advance copy and it's really great. I enjoyed it much more than I imagined I would. I'm always a bit dubious of the bestsellers or blockbusters, because sometimes wildly popular means less than challenging, or middle-of-the-road and I haven't read Eat, Pray, Love. I also didn't think I needed a pep talk about welcoming creativity, but I think now that even those of us driven to create can learn to be more gentle with ourselves and open to creativity. We're also likely to enjoy thinking about the very concept. Big Magic reads like having a frank, free-wheeling discussion about creativity and what's she's learned about being an artist (both before and after acheiving fame and financial success). It's also a sort of caring, empathetic manifesto for why and how you should do everything to welcome creativity into your life. Her experience with creativity is as a writer, so she writes a lot about writing, though she defines creativity quite broadly and includes examples of everything from ice skating to ecology. I love the idea of celebrating a book about creativity by hosting a hand-made market at the book reading. It promises to be a interesting night. The reading is sold out, I'm afraid... but she's got some great things to say. You can catch some of her take on the creative life today on the Etsy Blog.