Saturday 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas......Love, Mom & Pop

This arrived yesterday packed full of food and a couple treats. Need I say more?

Friday 3 December 2010

Pile Up...

This happens every December - no matter where in the world I happen to be. As much as I would love to deal with the snowy one happening outside my window, I first need to tackle the one in my schedule.

Over the past few years City of Craft occupied this space in my mind and with my leaving that city for my adoptive new home, it's been a little sad to completely sever the ties. I won't physically be in Toronto this December, but a few little pieces of me will be.

Leah's Plate

photo by Danijela Pruginic

City of Craft is organizing two exhibitions and I'll be in both! The first is For Keeps: A Mending Show, co-curated by Jen who picked up one of my sad, sad attempts to salvage a favorite plate when she came to visit me this fall. From what I've seen, this show might make you look at the cracks and holes in your own belongings with a new affection. The opening reception caps off a mending session with a dance party! Attending could only make you feel better about yourself.

photo by Anja Haering

The pieces I've submitted to Love & Money, curated by the so very talented Tara Bursey, is handwork I'm a little more proud of. I also feel pretty honored to share the gallery at Ontario Crafts Council with the other incredible artist-makers in the show. There were some sleepless nights involved in finishing these pieces and some pretty serious self-doubt after endlessly scrutinizing every thread involved; it actually felt nice to release them.

In the city and space I physically occupy, I've been really busy teaching bookbinding to those that want to english. La Bastellerie has me booked for two separate workshops each month from the easy postcard book to more intensive hardcover-making sessions. Of course, you could always take the easy route to gift-giving this holiday and just buy one of my books directly from me at La Bastellerie's annual holiday edition of the D.I.Y. Trunkshow! Come and get drunk on Glühwein then lay down some dough on the great handmade stuffs on offer.

This craft life of mine isn't complete until it's jammed full. My other baby, The Wunderkabinet will be open during the Trunk Show so that you could get your drunken paws on some lovliness brought to Berlin from far and away.

I had very little to do with the actual happening of City of Craft this year, but to not have my mind occupied while it happens 6 time zones to the west, saddens me to no end. That's why I've signed my sleepless self up to one more market in this markt-crazed city. Coldsnap will be sharing a space with La Bastellerie for Handmade Supermarket. We'll be there on Saturday in the amazing Markthalle in Kreuzberg.

So, to my sisters and brothers in craft I say, here's to a liquored and restful night's sleep after your final show and/or sale. Wherever it might be.

Oh yeah...something else piling up in my mind is posting about 3 weeks we spent in Australia and New Zealand this past October. This trip took a lot out of me and digesting it has been a struggle. It'll happen, I just need a bit more time.

Monday 13 September 2010

From the Vaterland to the Motherland

photo by Olga Talalay, also pictured: Marusja in black and Bobby in green

It's been a week since we returned to Berlin from a 4 day trip to Russia - more accurately, we've returned from 4 days in St. Petersburg and Moscow. As much as I would really love to see a little more of that immensely vast country, it just wasn't in cards this time. It's also taken me this long to get over the trip enough to archive it here. It's just oh so amazing and just oh so exhausting.

I really love the chaotic energy of the cities - particularly Moscow - I guess I also love that I get to leave. However, another trip east means another Russian making fun of me. Last year it was shirt I wore and this time I looked like a "math teacher from the country side" was super hot and super sweaty on stage and my hair (and face) is prone to do that in damp circumstances!

I will say that I got to practice my Russian a lot on this trip and that was pretty fantastic - that's right Mom and Pop, thanks for forcing me to spend the lovely Saturday mornings of my youth in Russian school.

Of course, a tour in Russia is not without drama, but I'd rather dwell and dream of returning sometime soon. So I'd really just like to thank Marusja for being a great friend and keeping us company in both cities; two Maxims and an Anton for feeding, housing, booking(!), chatting and setting us up with some great music; Sabine for her warm hospitality; and to super sweet and sleepy Sasha for not only putting on an amazing show, but putting us in a cab with the most amazing driver! It was terrifying trip to the airport, but thoroughly entertaining.

Oh yes, if you want to see more pictures, click on THIS.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Slightly Terrifying, But Big...In a Little Way...

Okay. So The Wunderkabinet has GROWN! To some of you with whom I've shared my big dream of spaces and future residencies here in Berlin, this is news of a giant step forward. Also, I'm taking this step far, far sooner than I ever intended.

What was a neato cabinet in a neato little shop, has now become a whole neato little room that I am now renting from the aforementioned shop. Legalities aside - who really knows? really(.) - The Wunderkabinet is a live and true THING!

Initially, this was a terrifying realisation at 4am - 6 hours after the meeting. Then the sun finally rose and I remembered all the great people involved on both ends. The final list is set to break over on the kabinet's page in the next week!

Okay, so still a little terrified, but pretty darn excited too.

Friday 6 August 2010

In the Realm of the Handmade

My life is spent floating between two worlds. There's that one where I strap on a bass - or accordian, or something else - and make (sometimes melodic) noise. Then there's the one where I run with a slightly different crowd. One where I spend hours and hours cuting, folding, and sewing hundreds of pieces of paper together making books. And one where I can't help myself but to start some new thing. It's in this other life where I met a photographer from Paris who sometimes lives in Berlin and happened to take a bookbinding workshop I was giving. She has a photo blog and took a few pics of the coldsnap home studio - look here!

I came from Toronto and a pretty darn incredible community of friends and makers so it's been an education these last weeks of how stuff works here. I think I'm pretty lucky to have found some people trying to make Berlin a great city for craft and as a result, this other life of mine is now pretty busy.

La Bastellerie is, itself, transforming these next weeks, but in the midst of that I'll be shilling Coldsnap wares out of a trunk - as the above image suggests - at their second trunk show in the shop. For a list of other makers and more info, check out their blog. I had a test run of selling in Berlin last weekend and I learned a lot! Enough for another post altogether.

Also, you may have already read it here, but my aforementioned 'thing' is called The Wunderkabinet and applications for unique handmade oddities are still being accepted for another week!

In further calls... dear buddies in the City of Craft (Toronto) are accepting applications for 3! amazing exhibitionary extensions of the show. More conceptual than craft? Apply to the interactive Midway! Are you inclined to fix what you've broken? Apply to the exhibition on mended wares! Do thoughts of money and art and survival consume you? Apply to the Love & Money exhibition!

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Last Fall

Just before we left the continent last September, Aidan and I made a short stop in London to decompress before heading back to Canada, play a show or two, and record a li'l somthin' at Southern Studios for their Latitudes series.

Oh, and that little brick house you see there? Well, that's the fabled Southern Studios - upon matching it to the address we were given, we had a small argument about who was going to ring the doorbell and ask the little old lady who answers if there was a studio in her front room. It was a confusing few minutes until someone came along, unlocked the front door (which is actually about 8 inches thick), and revealed to us the front room which was, in fact, a studio.

It was a nice day and this is what the result was:

If you want it, we have it for sale over here. We'll also be playing Creepy Teepee in Kutná Hora, CZ this Sunday! We'll have it with us there, too.

Monday 5 July 2010

Just, like, some stuff I'm doing.

As my touring schedule is minimal these muggy summer days, I'm filling my time by embedding myself in things handmade.

First up, I'll be flubbing my way through a workshop on some simple bookbinding techniques with German kids (and not-so-kids) at La Bastellerie(Lausitzer 13) for some crafty summer boot camp action. I'll be there on July 13, but they've got great workshops happening all week long so if you're in Berlin, make a pit stop at the bastel lounge before your evening beer and frisbee in Gorlitzer Park.

Further, in my need to shove my hand into as many pots and, err, bottles as possible, I've started a wee project with the support of the good ladies of La Bastellerie. It is The Wunderkabinet - in all it's Deutsche-English confusion and beauty. This is something of a bi-monthly, curated exhibition-installation that will be housed inside La Bastellerie's lounge. As the above image indicates, submissions are welcome from near and far! Pass it along.

Over the next few weeks I'll 'renovate' this cabinet:

...into one of wunder.

Wunderbar! Ja?

Friday 25 June 2010

Peeking out of Internet Exile...

I know, it's been months! However, it's been a rather exhausting and mostly-internet-free months. I've got SO MUCH to inform you - whoever you might be - of, I'll start by putting out this announcement.

For a while, Aidan and I have talked about taking advantage of un-employment-by-the-Man and starting something that would act as production and distribution for our various endeavors - mostly music, but also other stuff. So we've formed Broken Spine.

Other stuff is also in the works. I'll write more on that in the coming week when we've been promised to get our long-awaited connection to this world...

Tuesday 23 February 2010

How I Deal With Freaking Out

I teach myself to crochet a hexagon and then I formulate an afghan pattern. I assume that I could just collect colour-corresponding yarn on the long, long road ahead of me and make the hexagons in transit as thousands of miles of autobahn zip past me.

I know to some of you - particularly members of my family that may be reading - this may seem like a waste of precious time while I should be doing a million other things, but it's been a tough week and there's a lot to be said for the meditative power of a single action repeated thousands of times in order to alleviate intense pain.

Pain aside, I'm a little tense these days as we pack up everything we own, once again, and head off to our adoptive home of canals, parks, and cheap beer. I should qualify that I'm pretty darn excited to get back to Europe just in time for the entire continent to bloom, but we still need an apartment (for May 1, if you know of anything) and we'll get back to Berlin just in time to rest up a wee bit before we hit pavement with our friends OVO and Thrones for a record tour - well, for us anyway.

If you live on that crowded little continent, come say hello should we shove on through your town. Here's the list:

31 Mar @ Paradox, Tilburg, NL
01 Apr @ DB’s, Utrecht, NL
02 Apr @ Magasin 4, Brussels, BE
03 Apr @ 4AD, Diksmuide, BE
05 Apr @ W71, Weikersheim, DE
06 Apr @ Molodoi, Strasbourg, FR
07 Apr @ Sonic Ballroom, Koln, DE
08 Apr @ Noumatrouff, Mulhouse, FR
09 Apr @ Les Trinitaires, Metz, FR
10 Apr @ Peniche Excelsior, Le Mans, FR
11 Apr @ Les Instants Chavieres
12 Apr @ Grrnd Zero, Lyons, FR
13 Apr @ Milk, Genova, IT
14 Apr @ Spazio 211, Torino, IT
15 Apr @ Magnolia, Milano, IT
16 Apr @ Almagia, Ravenna, IT
17 Apr @ Centro Stabile di Cultura, San Vito di Leguzzano, IT
18 Apr @ Parco della Colonia, Osoppo, IT
20 Apr @ Postgarage, Graz, AT
21 Apr @ Fluc, Vienna, AT
22 Apr @ Kapu, Linz, AT
23 Apr @ PMK, Innsbruck, AT
24 Apr @ IVI, Frankfurt, DE
26 Apr @ Hafenklang, Hamburg, DE
27 Apr @ K4, Nurnberg, DE
28 Apr @ UT Connewitz, Leipzig, DE
29 Apr @ Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, DE
30 Apr @ Lades Kælder, Copenhagen, DK
01 May @ Skånes Konsförening, Malmo, SE
03 May @ Truckstop Alaska, Goteborg, SE
04 May @ TBA, Stockholm, SE
05 May @ Blà, Oslo, NO
06 May @ Utmark, Bergen, NO
08 May @ 1000 Fryd, Aalborg, DK

Holy radishes!

Sunday 31 January 2010

Last in Love

Okay, so that other big show is nearest to my heart, but Becky & Karyn's combined aesthetic and curatorial skills for putting together these lovely trunk shows are a definite spot of warmth in this cold winter city. I'm pretty lucky to spend my last show in Toronto in the company of this incredible list of people!

Saturday 23 January 2010

Static Winter Movement

How is it that I fill my time in Toronto so completely and still feel like I do absolutely nothing...all the time. My family certainly wonders. I think it's January's lack of daylight hours and my own lack of a good night's rest. I'm just floating through space and time working my way through an enormous to-do list...of what?? I'm not even completely sure. Finding an apartment in Berlin, learning German, making books, felting dolls, fretting about various inadequacies.

Maybe I'll just be thankful that I've got the time to do these things right now without the worrisome burden of finding the time to do these things.

Saturday 2 January 2010


I'm feeling a little unsure of things as the hammer comes down and there's no denying the new year. I think what to call it has a lot to do with it -- I don't like saying 'two-thousand-ten' and 'twenty-ten' sounds like it's over before it even begins.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not all down and out. Certain changes in the months ahead simultaneously buoy my spirits and terrify the crap out of me. Also, I'll feel a lot better when my calendars are in order for this mess of confusion we call time and space and 2010.