Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Mighty MacFAB

Rita Zekas has written an article this weekend in the Toronto Star about one of my favourite fabric haunts in TO, MacFAB or MacDonald-Faber as it used to be known. There is always something new and exciting in their stock and it's definitely the in place for buttons if you are looking for something different or one of a kind. It's a treat to shop there and you always find more than what you came for! The staff are wonderful to deal with and will go overboard to help you find what you want for a special project. Just don't mention Annie Lennox to Cameron or he'll get excited and lose all sight of what your shopping needs are! He's a humongous fan and will talk about her til the cows come home! He's never missed a Toronto concert. Let's hope they don't print her on fabric or he'll have BOTH windows covered!
In all seriousness, it's nice to see MacFAB get some good press.......

Here's their web site too:

Thursday, February 07, 2008

New major project almost under way.

I have been working on a long range plan for a personal project. It's been three years in the design stage and I think it's about time I MADE time to actually start the hands on work . I think I have secured the needed fabrics and beads for the project with a couple of exceptions that are still in the design works and that I am still collaborating on with a couple of friends.

This project, which is to be a tryptich, was inspired by a tiny Japanese dancer, Mari Osanai, a one of a kind performance artist,trained in classical ballet and modern dance ,who interweaves Noguchi taiso, yoga, tai chi and hip hop into her performances. She has her own unique style of complex movements, twisting her body so easily you'd think her bones were made of jello.
She wrote and performed a solo piece entitled " Sea Watching" and I was so entranced by her that I returned four times to see her at the London Fringe Festival. In fact, her performance was so magical and mesmerizing, I had to take my son, who has an appreciation for dance and a good girlfriend along because Mari defied description and seeing was actually believing!
I confess I did in fact see her perform this piece FIVE times as on the fifth occasion she teamed up with Xiang Bang Fu of the Toronto Chinese Dance Theatre at the Toronto Dance Festival and they turned Sea Watching from a solo performance into a stunning duo performance that kept the audience spell bound. Such is the magic of creativity and the dedicated artists who give their all in the delivery of it.

Once in a while, someone like Mari touches your soul and you carry around the memories of that moment for a very long time. "Sea Watching" has now manifested itself in the guise of a textile piece that excites and stimulates me more than I can put into words. During my design phase, the working title of the piece has been " Earth, Sea, Sky" just to facilitate naming the myriad files I have been accumulating but I think I shall have to come up with a more worthy name in time.
However, I will be starting this project soon and will blog my progress on it so I can spotlight the lampwork artists and fibre artists whose work I have carefully selected and hope to incorporate into this labour of love.
Just this past week, I received a lampwork bead from Jenny Friske-Baer of Divine Spark Designs. Jenny creates amazing beads of the most superb colorings and stylings. I already had the beautiful batik fabric selected for a portion of the earth segment and when I saw Jenny's bead I knew I had to have it. Oh wow, am I a happy camper with this combination! The colors blend beautifully.

It's like camoflauge - can you spot Jenny's spree?

Chinese New Year greetings

Artist: ayako fujioka

As a family, we have always had a soft spot for Toronto's Chinatown, which is located right next to the heart of the textile district. It is a delightful area that is bustling with humanity and the air is always electric with sounds of street vendors shouting out and encouraging people to shop in their stalls etc., the many different chinese dialects and other languages, the street sounds of trolleys and delivery trucks. Walking through Chinatown makes one feel so alive and happy. There's almost always a constant air of excitement and joy for life there.
I always take time to visit the area of Dundas and Spadina , as an extension of my textile consumerism. I have a couple of special vendors I visit there who deal and love to bargain with me for their exotic beads and stones. I always seem to walk on air when I leave their premises with a bauble or two stashed in my pocket and I then go to my favourite green grocers and pick up fresh produce to take home. This time of year is especially enjoyable in Chinatown with fresh branches of cherry blossoms for sale in the shops, the splendid shocking pink and green colors of the exotic dragon fruit, the heavenly smells of pork buns wafting from the bakery and vibrant red New Year decor everywhere.
This year our Chinese friends celebrate the Year of the Rat and it's a special year for me as I was born under this sign. Jasmine tells me it is lucky. I think she is right if the bargain I struck with her sister for this antique jade is any indication. Gung hay fat choy for this happy little rat!

A very special xie xie to my friends and suppliers and all best wishes for a happy and
successful year ahead!

Fun with Elvis quilts

Julie over at Big Horn quilts sponsored an Elvis Quilt contest and has posted the results in a gallery on her site. There's some innovative pieces there and you can vote for your favorite before February 15th.
Also check out Julie's amazing fabric inventory - it's the best and I have had very good service from Big Horn! No affiliation - just like to share good dependable sites with you.

Here's the link to the Elvis gallery and voting procedures: