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One of a kind stained glass. Competent in various styles from traditional to contemporary.
All manner of shapes and sizes of scarves, for fancy dress or every day. Clothing by request.
Handmade soap in small batches. Every batch is unique. Beer soap will be on tap for 2015.
Seasonal annuals perennials, herbs and edibles. Each year will offer something new.
Canada Day 2015
Happy Canada Day!
The last couple of months have been varied and full. The studio required a retrofit. The older, dirty work studio, is slowly sinking into the ground. It will need to be rebuilt. Until that happens, it will need to be slowly emptied, hence the addition of shelving and reorganization of the newer studio. This work is ongoing. It has also lead to the finding of some buried treasures – stained glass boxes, panels and lamps, stored for the summer market season.
The garden has also taken it’s rightful place in priority. Planting, weeding and watering are daily tasks that cannot be put off. The vegetables are underway, as are the new perennials for this year’s Market on the Green. Speedwell, cone flower, delphinium, bergamot/bee balm, anise hyssop, among others are all doing well. The wet that we’ve been experiencing has provided some wonderful floral displays this year. Including some visits from busy bumble bees.
With the first cloudy days I’ve been thinking about spring cleaning indoors. The cats don’t seem to mind the drizzle, but it makes for muddy efforts in the garden.
One of my winter wishes was to reupholster our dining room chairs. The chairs made about 1930, by the Canada Furniture Manufacturer, had the original straw and loose cotton batting under more modern layers of cover ups. This, of course is what made them so darn uncomfortable. The webbing, so dry and worn could be ripped out by hand. The sag, so pronounced it felt like you were sitting over a hole.
As happenstance would allow, I was in the local sewing center about another project, when I thought to ask if they had any upholstery supplies. When surprisingly they offered a class. I contacted the instructor, Victor Baylea, of Get Stuffed Upholstery and planned the activity.
Since the class did not have a full roster, I decided to pay for studio time and instruction at Victor’s Ahmic Harbour workshop. We’ll be starting day three, next week. The chairs are starting to look amazing.
It took longer than expected because I decided to clean the wooden frames, before the six new layers of upholstery. The cleaning oil and super fine steel wool really removed the 85 or so years of grime, without harming the original finish. The wood is nourished, clean and feels warm to the touch, the way real wood furniture should and was the perfect start for the new seat covers – that I expect will last the next 85 years.
Under Victor’s guidance, I was shown how to safely use the special equipment and how to modify the seat cushion, to be more comfortable than the original. I added webbing, new heavy felt, fresh cotton batting, long lasting high density foam, the polyester mesh called dakron, before the final fabric, a tomato red ultra faux leather, which is brilliant in color and soft as butter, but fully cleanable, since these are kitchen/dining room chairs that will eventually meet a spill or two.
Victor had let me do all the work until yesterday afternoon. It’s never as easy as it looks to be in someone’s else shoes. I appreciated the freedom to work on my own, to really have the tactile experience and was also extremely grateful when he saw me starting to weary and make mistakes, at the end of day two. When you jump into the deep end, doing tasks unfamiliar to body and mind, it’s not uncommon to loose focus and stamina. Victor was extremely gracious, so we worked together to complete the first chair.
Next week, after a good rest and time to absorb the new techniques and what is required to finish the project, I’m hoping to be working on my own. The last step is both the most satisfying and the most stressful. This is what the finished seat cover will look like. Finding centers, reducing puckers, setting tacks, maintaining the line, not damaging the fabric or wood makes for a real time juggling act. The first chair is done and looks wonderful and is a joy to sit on. Only five to go!
First warm Day
Finally, a day to work outside and not be bundled up. The garden is revealing it’s winter tragedies – broken branches, decay and death. However with the sunshine as delicious as it was today, the shy crocus and determined tulip, breaking ground, makes the cold and bleakness of winter, a distant memory. Under the protective shell of the greenhouses, last year’s garlic is boldly pressing into the light.
Should have a wonderful crop this year. The raised beds are also needing some TLC and soon will be fully recovered from the harshness of winter. Soon they will be hosting the indoor started tomatoes and pumpkins. With the lilac buds still small, we’ll have another week or so before the black flies make their seasonal appearance.
My parents arrived separately from Europe, met and fell in love in the most recent immigrant ghetto of the late 1950’s Toronto.
I learned a good work ethic from them. Work hard, live clean and play fair. Add a healthy dose of parental respect, obedience and new world invisibility and you get a creative child, full of fanciful ideas, without a supportive network. Yet, enough of the spark and fire that had encouraged my parents' independent departure from a homeland of friends, family and security, fostered a creative rebel in me.
In grade thirteen, I answered a skills exchange ad and learned about stained glass. I got a job almost immediately in a small stained glass store. When I picked up and followed my boyfriend to Vancouver, I did glass there. I also took the first computer courses at BCIT. I continued with interior design, travel bookings, silk painting, typing and CPR. I believe a gal should be well rounded. Cross training works well for athletes, and diversity in training and education broadens the artistic mind.
After nursing my sick boy friend, who had developed Hodgkin disease, for about four years, he got well and we broke up. I travelled Australia for six months, enjoying the art and culture of this amazing land and it's unique stained glass. I came back to Vancouver, worked as a nanny, until I could afford to travel again. I went to live in New Zealand for a year. All kinds of work, life experiences, cultural overlays and always, including something creative or stained glass work.
When I arrived back in Toronto, my parents felt connecting with my ancestral roots might slow me down, so they took me to Germany. Well, that didn't quite work as they expected. I was at loose ends for a bit, teaching and creating stained glass trying to answer the big "What's life all about?" question when I was given a bottle of lavender essential oil at a pivotal birthday and I was drawn down an entirely new path.
I studied massage therapy, reflexology, shiatsu, aromatherapy, became interested in non ordinary healing modalities. What was it about the awe inspiring colour of cathedral stained glass that made people change in it's presence? I delved into ancient religions, cultures, and went on pilgrimages. Sacred space is so much more than the architecture, the stained glass, the incense and prayer. Though when these elements come together in harmony they transcend the mundane, even the most hardened heart will be changed. This is what I try to capture with each piece of work I create.
When I met my future husband, we almost immediately left the city and landed in the great white north. The family cottage our retreat, until we purchased in Seguin. Surrounded by amazing forests, a dazzling array of fresh water lakes, seasons that remind you what it's like to be Canadian, this is our home now. Every day is a gift, be it a glowing sunrise, an unexpected snow day or warm summer rain, our cats, good neighbours and plenty of summer excitement, with seasonal visitors are the cyclic treasures we enjoy year round.