Archive for the 'introducing' Category


Holiday 2011 Window

I like things pretty simple. Plain, even. I have a hard time ‘layering’ clothing, choosing bright colours over grey tones and the phrase ‘ with wild abandon’ doesn’t usually apply to me. But, I do like to mix it up and I definitely like to challenge myself when I can. You’ll notice that the holiday windows at the workroom this year are all about that.

This year’s holiday window was put together by the fabulous Tiffany Pratt of Glitter Pie Studios. Tiffany is all those things that I am not, in the very best way, so I knew she would create a window very different from what you would normally expect at the workroom. I had one little request for ‘glitter stars’ and I left the rest up to her.

Tiffany arrived at the shop armed with the hugest jars of glitter and mod podge that I’ve ever seen. She gathered cardboard from our recycling pile, scraps of fabric and put us to work. (or rather put us to ‘play’) Painting and covering things in glitter is FUN. This is really what Tiffany does best. Her Art Studio in a Box (we have these at the workroom!) is designed to get the recipient to be creative using all the fun bits and bobs found inside. I love checking out her YouTube videos. You will also find her doing fun DIY segments on the Steven & Chris show.

Debbie, Rosalyn & I had lots of laughs putting the window together with Ms. Glitterpie and those glittery stars in the window cheer me up every single day.

p.s. Check out Tiffany’s super cute button down vest that she made in our class!

Holiday 2011 Window

Holiday 2011 Window

Holiday 2011 Window

Holiday 2011 Window

Holiday 2011 Window

Holiday 2011 Window

Button Down Vest

Holiday 2011 Window

Holiday 2011 Window


The Little Paper

Tomorrow is the Kids Trunk Show! Although I’m not a parent, I imagine that trying to find interesting, engaging things to do with your child would be a real challenge if something like The Little Paper didn’t exist. Started by local mom, Vicki, The Little Paper organizes and lists activities, groups, events, classes and local business that are relevant to young urban families. It is an incredible resource that is passionate about family time. The Little Paper can be accessed in print version at locations all across the city or via their email newsletter, so you’ll always know what’s happening on any given day to delight your little ones and yourself.

Pick up a free copy of The Little Paper tomorrow at the Kids Trunk Show!

How and when did The Little Paper start?

Vicki : The Little Paper began as a last ditch effort to avoid returning to work in an office. I’d been home with my daughter for two and a half years and had officially run out of money. I didn’t want to leave her and I couldn’t imagine going back to work as I had known it before she was born. So, when my dad gave me $2000 to put into our falling down house, I used it to start The Little Paper instead. Nobody had ever told me that magazines rarely survive and never make money so I just jumped in and worked really, really hard to build a great independent resource for city families.

I had come of age reading Eye and Now but after I became a parent, I couldn’t find anything that spoke to me as an urban mother and I knew that there must be a lot of other parents in the city in the same position… people who wanted to live vibrantly in their communities, experience big and small culture with their children and who could really use a modern, relevant family guidebook to the city. The original tagline of the paper was “What Do You Want To Do Today?” It was pretty apt.

We published 2000 copies of the first issue of The Little Paper in December 2003. It featured a grainy picture of my daughter Lily in High Park, 16 pages of 12 point type, 14 ads and an astonishing amount of information about events, activities, programs and classes for West End families. Gillian Anderson, whom I’d met about 3 weeks earlier at a drop-in, had keyed in all the listings and we put it all together on a four year old imac G3 and a borrowed copy of Quark.

A little over five years (and a second daughter) later, we’re printing 10,000 copies of a month, run about 54 pages with 80 or so regular advertisers and have reduced the type size to 8. Most importantly, we’ve got almost a dozen moms working for us, carving out their own part-time jobs around the needs of their families and bringing extraordinary creativity, commitment and intelligence to each issue.

Have you found that the focus or needs of your readers has changed since you began?

Vicki : The one year maternity leave program started shortly before the paper began and has really helped families (and mothers in particular) spend time with their children and explore the resources in their city and their community. Making it easier for families to stay home for the first year creates a ripple effect of positive changes. When families have time to be together, they are better able to participate in their communities and this supports local business, safer neighbourhoods, greater resources and helps create strong relationships among neighbours. Another big change is the desire for greener alternatives. Having a child is a huge incentive to create a safer, cleaner, healthier planet and families are seeking out products, services and activities that celebrate and sustain the environment.

Are there any new local groups or businesses that The Little Paper would like to share?

Vicki : Absolutely! The filtered family beach at Sunnyside, breakfast sandwiches at Nicole’s Belly Catering in Parkdale, wonderful independent clothing at Sara’s Planet Kid on Roncey, Nature walks with Katie, Jon, Sara and Diana on Wednesday afternoons at The High Park Nature Centre and our friend Chris Reed will launch Small Print , a program of stories, music, crafts and sing a longs with independent Canadian authors and musicians, in October.

With two young girls of your own, what activities/events are they interested in doing this summer?

Vicki : Sewing has been huge in our house this summer. We found a brilliant old cotton sheet set covered with violets and made dresses, a skirt, a halter top, head scarves, stuffed animals, bags for carrying stuffed animals, little purses for stuffed animals to carry… it’s been really fun. We’ve also been spending a lot of time on Ward’s Island, swimming, canoeing, eating picnics. Probably the coolest thing we’ve done so far though was driving up to the old U of T observatory in Richmond Hill and staying up late to watch the Perseid Meteor shower.

What is your earliest crafting memory as a child?

Vicki : Its difficult to remember a time when we weren’t making something. I baked and sewed with my mom, made flower fairies and fairy villages in the woods at my grandparents cottage and spent the entire summer of 1970 finger-knitting. I think the memories I most cherish though, are those of the Saturday afternoon trips my dad and I made to the lakeshore. We drew pictures, climbed rocks and collected stones and driftwood, sea glass and feathers to make sculptures. He had a workroom in the garage that smelled of all the good smells… sawdust, gasoline, wood, paint, turpentine and glue and he was trusting and patient and generous with his tools and time and interest. He made me feel like the artist I was. Still does, actually.

The Little Paper : website

Planet Kid

Story telling


Introducing : Aprile Elcich

I love collage. Moving bits of paper and imagery around on a page until the magical moment when they make sense. I used to daydream that one day someone would hire me to make collages in my visual diary all day long. I still think that would be a pretty awesome job.

Local artist, Aprile Elcich, moves bits of paper and imagery to create dreamy pieces of art. Many of them are small and affordable, especially considering the joy they are bound to bring every time you look at them. I have yet to see Aprile’s work in person, so I can’t wait for Sunday’s Kids Trunk Show. I predict one of her pieces will be going home with me.

Why collage? What is it about paper that gets you so excited?

Aprile : Well, I have always loved books and been completely surrounded by them, and I was—wait, still am!—a packrat with them. But I think where actual technique is concerned, I’m a bit impatient. I used to love drawing and painting but they take so long! Collage is something I can enjoy in my spare time (what little I have of it) and I don’t have to worry about anything but glue to dry…

What are your favourite places to scout for materials for your work?

Aprile : I used to use magazines, but now I use all vintage materials. I love shopping for things at old bookstores (particularly Ten Editions on Spadina, which has a 50 cent ephemera section hiding at the back), antique markets, and libraries for their discards.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Aprile : An entrepreneur (really!) or a teacher. I used to always pretend I was in charge of things, haha. I was an only child so I spent a lot of time day dreaming about restaurants, cafes, bookstores, and art galleries I would open.

What is the best art-related advice anyone ever gave you?

Aprile : Umm, is “never give up” a cliché answer? Haha. Of course I’m drawing a blank now, even though there have been many supportive people in my life regarding my artwork, with plenty of helpful things to say. I can give a piece of advice that I certainly learned, which is to always feel good about what you’re doing. Art is so subjective that there is always going to be someone who doesn’t like what you do. The only important thing is that YOU like what you do. Then you will be happy forever : )

What is your earliest crafting memory as a child?

Aprile : My Nana and Papa (grandmother and grandfather) were hugely impactful on my creativity. My Papa did carpentry and fancy woodwork as a hobby, and my Nana was into all kinds of crafts. I spent a lot of time there learning all there was to learn (and making all there was to make!)

Aprile Elcich : blog / etsy / another blog

Introducing : Aprile Elcich

Introducing : Aprile Elcich


Bespoke Uprising

I’m a new fan of Bespoke Uprising. I only discovered Roisin Fagan’s work at our last trunk show and I promptly treated myself to a pair of her paper airplane screen-printed tea towels. (They hang pretty in the workroom’s blue bathroom) Roisin’s subject matter are beautiful, everyday things like mason jars, ferns, power lines, and nasturtium. For me, her prints alone would be enough but Roisin then turns her printed fabrics into wallets, buttons, pillows, reversible dresses and more. Be sure to browse her lovely goods in person at the Kids Trunk Show on August 23rd.

Roisin also has a new venture with Arounna of Bookhou called, “repeat“. They’ve only just set up shop, but I already want everything. I’m especially excited that repeat will be selling fat quarters of their printed fabrics.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Roisin : When I was very small, I wanted to be a unicorn. I used the watch the movie, ‘The Last Unicorn‘, over and over. Then I wanted to be a teacher, and finally i settled on an ambition to be a scientist. I think I’ve fulfilled the scientist in my small self, as I use plenty of chemistry in dyeing and screenprinting.

Who is inspiring your work these days?

Roisin : Anni Albers has been an inspiration since high school. Her sense of colour and pattern are wonderful. The printed textiles from the Arts & Crafts movement are also a favorite. I had a very enthusiastic Craft history prof at NSCAD that really piqued my interest in William Morris’s textiles, Liberty textiles, and the tilework of William de Morgan. Currently, I’m loving the work of Julia Rothman – her patterns often have a strong narrative content, like mine.

What is your favourite product that you’ve designed and why?

Roisin : My favorite things to make are my reversible garments. They involve a lot of problem solving, which, while often frustrating, is so satisfying to work out in the end. The ruffle dresses are the most elaborate thing that I make and took me so long to figure out! I also love the new caps that I’ve done. I have started using an organic linen in my work and these were the first thing that I made with it.

What is the most challenging thing about having your own business?

Roisin : The most challenging this is definitely the paperwork! I like to do everything myself, including my taxes, and it takes up a lot of my time.

What is your earliest crafting memory from childhood?

Roisin : I was always crafting as a child, my mom and dad were very big on encouraging creativity with my brother and I. One of my earliest memories is making a card with my best friend Sarah – I think we were about five. I had asked to sleep over at her house, and my mom said no [must have been a schoolnight]. We spent the afternoon in my room, writing things like ‘pretty pretty please with a cherry on top’ in Elmer’s glue on construction paper, and then pouring on sprinkles to make big, sparkly words.

Bespoke Uprising : website / blog / etsy

Bespoke Uprising

Bespoke Uprising

Bespoke Uprising


Introducing : Patouche

I first met Kessa in one of the first classes we did at the workroom, the ‘Quilt-as-you-go-tote“. I remember Kessa pulled out the most incredible selection of vintage fabrics for the project that made me rather envious. She then proceeded to make the most adorable little tote bag with her ‘scraps’. It was not at all surprising when she had started making kids clothing from re-purposed fabrics for local craft fairs. It’s incredibly inspiring for me to see how she’s built her company and developed her playful designs since then. Not only is everything produced in small batches right here in Toronto, but most items are made to grow with your child by including generous armholes, roll up cuffs and expandable waistbands. Brilliant!

Patouche will be one of our lovely vendors at the upcoming Kids Trunk Show. Though the show is themed for kids, it’s really just an excuse to have some extra fun with decorations and goodies to eat. I guarantee there will be lots of things for everyone.

Tell us about the moment that Patouche was born. What made you decide to take the plunge?

Kessa : Patouche was born after an inspired trip to the workroom. I went to the craft swap, I think the first one soon after you’d opened, and returned with a bag full of scraps of fabric. After the kidlets went to bed that night, I got out my old sewing machine and worked on a little dress for my daughter. It turned out so cute, I hung it up on my kitchen hutch and it hung there for about a week. It made me smile every time I saw it: I was so pleased with this “something” that I’d made from “nothing”. I’d been looking for a creative outlet that I could work on from home (I was staying at home from with my two little kids at the time after working as a scenic artist and designer for the ballet and theatre). Once I started I couldn’t stop. I signed up to be apart of a show at the Gladstone took over the kitchen for two weeks to make as much as I could for the show. After my hubby found a pin in his dinner, we figured I needed to make room for a studio in the house.

Is there a story behind the name, ‘Patouche’?

Kessa : Patouche is what my sister and I used to call our little brother. I’ve also learned that it means “little feet” in Quebecois and your friend Natalie told me at the last Kids Trunk Show that in Arabic it’s what you call a baby so cute and chubby you just want to eat them. I hope I remembered that right.

You recently went through an entrepreneur program to help you start your business. Which one was it and what were the most useful things you learned from it?

Kessa : I was lucky enough to be a part of the OSEB (Ontario Self Employment Benefit) program at the Toronto Business Development Centre. It was amazing being in a group of such diverse cultural, socio-economic and work-history backgrounds. The one common element we shared was a desire to create our own company. One of the most valuable lessons I learned is the value of networking. You never know where one conversation in passing will lead to and the resources you already have within your circle of friends and acquaintances.

I’m sure your two kids are your best product testers. What are the things/details they seem to love most about your clothing? Anything they’ve specifically requested or nixed?

Kessa : All of my boys wear is inspired by the fact that my son thinks he’s a pirate. When he was three everything in the house turned into a sword and shield. It was freaky. He tried carrying his various bits of weaponry (back scrubber, wooden spoons, knitting needles) in his pant’s belt-loops or waistband. I fought it at first, but finally gave-in. I made a pair of pirate shorts for him, complete with a little loop on the side for stashing his swords and added a little treasure pocket on the side. He wore them for three straight days and when I finally snuck them in to the laundry, he cried. Now he only wants to wear Patouche clothing. If there aren’t any pieces clean, he strolls into the studio in the morning requesting samples.

My three year old daughter is a little harder to please. At my first One of a Kind show this past spring, she walked in to my booth and asked, “Where’s the purple? Apparently she was not impressed with my color palette for spring 2009. Oh, and now she thinks she’s a mermaid. So, thank goodness for Heather Ross.

What is your earliest crafting memory from childhood?

Kessa : I remember being at a festival of “olden days” while on a camping trip with my family. There was a woman there making corn-stalk dolls. I remember watching her for hours (while the rest of the kids chased each other around with snakes). Finally she let me make one myself. I brought her home and accessorized her with a little head scarf, just to modernize her look a little. She’s probably still in a box at my parents’ basement.

Patouche : website : etsy shop

Photos by Lisa Kannakko

Introducing : Patouche


Kid Icarus opened in the summer of 2007 in Kensington right when I was scouring the city for a location for the workroom. I was thrilled to see such a great concept for a shop open up and even started looking at spaces in Kensington so that I could be in the same hood. It wasn’t until just a few months ago that I actually got to meet the duo behind Kid Icarus – Bianca and Mike. They are married, run two businesses, Kid Icarus & Studio XIX, and are just the nicest people. Bianca and I discovered that we went to the same tiny high school in Scarborough, so my admiration for them is firmly sealed.

Kid Icarus will be joining us at the Garden Party Trunk Show on Sunday along with twelve other awesome vendors. I can’t think of a better way to spend the first day of summer.

I’d love to know how it all started. What came first the business, your relationship? How did it evolve from a screenprinting business to a retail shop?

Bianca : We met back in Spring 2002, we knew each other through the art scene but never really thought we would be working together five years later, We have now worked with each other for two years full time. But for five years prior, I had been helping Mike after work and evenings, so it feels like we have been partners for years. It takes two really strong, open minds to work and live together but we won’t have it any other way.

Our line of Kid Icarus product has been growing over the past year. This not only includes greeting cards, but also stationery packs, wrapping paper and gift boxes. All our products are hand printed, folded and wrapped in our studio by hand.

Michael : Studio XIX is our custom screen printing shop. I’ve been screen printing for bands and visual artists since 1999. I found that many people are unaware of what screen printing really is. There’s a fascination by the lack of machinery, and the whole handmade process that goes into this type of printing. In 2005, I decided I needed to expand onto a retail level. I wanted to be able to display what we were creating, and open the studio for the public to see. This is how the storefront/studio concept all started – to share my passion for screen printing in a public environment, and stock it full of things that myself and others had created by hand. In May 2007, Bianca quit her full-time job and we turned into a husband and wife work duo. Kid Icarus opened June 1st, 2007, and we haven’t looked back since.

Bianca, can you describe Michael with 5 nouns? Michael, same question.

Bianca describing Michael
Ok here we go….

1. Robot
2. Arcade
3. Pasta
4. Neo-Luddite
5. Luddite

Michael describing Bianca

1. pica ruler
2. pocket organizer
3. pillow
4. measuring cup
5. orchid

Tell us about your neighbourhood, Kensington. Why did you choose this spot on Nassau for your shop?

Michael : I cant imagine this store being located anywhere else besides Kensington Market. It’s often hard to explain to others what the store truly is, and in this eclectic part of the city, it blends in beautifully. Nassau Street is like a growing branch off the old Kensington path. Plus, with the cloud of gentrification looming over Kensington these past few years, it’s the only affordable place left in the market!

Bianca : People who don’t know about the store easily miss it completely. We really love the ones who stumble upon us while walking around the hood. You can see the excitement build as their eyes widen and usually a conversation about what we do ensues. That’s when the neighbourhood and what we do is put into context, and it all makes so much sense.

You represent tons of great local artists – who are the newest to your roster?

Bianca : We are extremely pleased to have Old Weston‘s beautiful casted birds and acorn necklaces in our store. Her vintage bird necklaces has been one of our best sellers this spring.

Lee Meszaros “Be Proud” Merit Badges. We can always find the perfect badge for all our close friends.

We also have Dave Murrary’s “Kensington Market” hand printed silkscreen poster for sale at Kid Icarus. This poster is a visual word mark interpretation of Kensington Makert.

Michael : And lastly we have to tell you about our newest line of “social emergency cards”. They are sold individually or in a box of 10 cards. The five cards are “Happy”, “Thanks”, “Sorry I…”, “Congrats” and “My Dearest”. It’s a multiple choice response card, where the sender can choose the best phrase for their particular situation. It’s incredible how many “Sorry I” cards we have sold.

The Garden Party Trunk Show is the first day of summer. What do you love most about summer?

Bianca : We love having a cup of coffee and sitting on our porch in the warm morning sun to wake up. Although it seems like we are always on the go, owning two businesses keeps both of us super busy all the time. We love the last Sunday of every summer month which is Kensington Market’s Pedestrian Sunday. We have been setting up a tent outside our shop and enjoying the festivities all day long.

Michael : Swimming, bocce, Toronto Island getaways, going up north (and I don’t mean Vaughan). There is no way I can choose what I love most. Bianca’s answers are high in the list though.

KID ICARUS – 75 Nassau Street in Kensington Market


I’m not too sure how we ended up in the middle of June so quickly, but the official start of summer is this Sunday! Which coincidentally is also the date for the Garden Party Trunk Show. We have some familiar faces and also quite a few new vendors at this show. I’m excited and I’ll be on the lookout for a bunny of some sort to add to my collection.

We had the pleasure of having Krystal Speck and her colourful ceramics at the Love & Rummage Trunk Show and it’s a treat to have her back. I just love the folkloric imagery and saturated colours she uses. With wedding season upon us, I think her lovely vases would make a beautiful wedding gift or perhaps just a summertime gift to yourself.

You took both textiles and ceramics at OCAD… How do you feel that textiles have influenced your ceramic work? Do you still do textile-based work?

Krystal : Textiles have played a huge role in my life…my mom’s fabric collection was the greatest discovery I made as a child. I think her gloriously patterned fabrics were what originally inspired me to be artistic! Clay came into my life much later. As a result, I can’t seem to paint a pot without looking to textile patterns first for inspiration.

I still sew whenever I can find time, though my sewing machine is angry at me right now for neglecting her. I hope to eventually incorporate textiles into my product line, and have my two loves come together again: clay and cloth!

You wrote a great post on sustainable ceramics. As an independent artist, have you found it challenging to ‘green’ your practice? Have you been able to incorporate any changes that you are particularly proud of?

Krystal : Yes, you would assume that as an independent artist it would be easy to make your art practice very sustainable. But I’ve discovered it really depends on your chosen medium and your financial situation. For example, I would love to own a solar-powered kiln but this isn’t a viable option at the moment (for both monetary and geographical reasons). There are some small things I’ve been trying at my studio such as: collecting and filtering my used water to remove glaze ingredients that would otherwise be poured down the drain, reclaiming my slip (liquid clay) and bagged clay to be reused, and firing full kilns with work I’m pleased to fire into permanence.

I know you’ve recently started an entrepreneurial program. What is the most useful thing you’ve learned so far about business?

Krystal : I’m currently taking part in Bizstart, an amazing eleven-month business incubation program started by YES (Youth Employment Services) which allows you to work full-time towards launching your own company. I think for creative business people, the most important factor is learning to price your work correctly and confidently. We all love to spend our time designing and making, but you have to sit down and “crunch” the numbers, as they say. For example, I see a lot of crafters selling great products for low prices. This is good when you’re starting out, but once you cross over in to becoming a business you have to make sure you’re paying yourself for your time and talent! Happily, I think people are gradually becoming more aware of the value of handcrafted objects and are willing to pay fair prices for handmade.

Sunday marks the first day of summer. What do you most look forward to in the Summer?

Krystal : I most look forward to eating big slices of juicy watermelon in Trinity Bellwoods Park, having morning coffee with good friends, swimming at Ward’s Island, and whenever I can muster it, visiting my family in Muskoka and swimming some more! (Can you tell I’m excited?)


All photos (except #3) courtesy of Krystal Speck


We just got back from Paris and amidst doing tons of laundry and trying to get back on track I wanted to post quickly about my favourite dog in the world. Monday was Maisy’s fourth birthday!

I thought I’d share some puppy photos. The top photo is the first photo I ever saw of her, in the background you can see her brothers and her mother’s tail.

I asked Maisy a few questions and here’s what she had to say…

What’s your background?

Maisy : I was born up near Ottawa in a pound near Almonte. My mom was part Collie and part Walker Hound. I never met my dad, so part of me is a mystery. It’s fun to hear what people think I am though. I was the only girl with about four brothers. I wish I knew where they went. I’d love to see them again.

What are some of your favourite things?

Maisy : I really like sandwiches, resting my head on the front window ledge of the shop, raspberries, all my friends at the workroom, running in the park, stuffed animals (especially my new beaver!), sleeping on the couch, lying in the sun, going to Home Hardware, finding something good to eat in the garbage and having a bone in the backyard.

What don’t you like?

Maisy : I really don’t like dogs that wear clothes, strangers who lurk in the doorway, baths, medicine of any kind and all the cats in our neighborhood.

Do you have any favourite tricks that you do?

Maisy : The usual. I’ll shake a paw (left & right), sit and lie down, especially if there are treats involved. I can also high five you with my nose and I know how to close the door when I come in from the backyard. I’m trying to learn to cut fabric, but it’s not that easy!

Now that you’re four years old, what’s next?

Maisy : Things are pretty great. I work customer service and security full time at the workroom, but I’m hoping to cut back on my hours for the summer and spend more time running around the park.


There’s a wizard working behind the scenes of the workroom that you likely have not met, but you’ve surely admired his work. Andrew Cloutier is the designer behind all the beautiful graphics and branding of the workroom. He is also the fellow who makes me laugh on a daily basis, cooks me eggs before I go to work on the weekends and watches Gossip Girl with me every week. This introduction is so long overdue!

A quick glance through his impressive portfolio and long list of awards show that while I’m certainly biased in my admiration of his work, I’m not alone. Everything Andrew designs is like music for your eyes. His attention to detail is incredible, every letter is perfectly kerned, every colour is just the right shade and most importantly he understands his client and delivers exactly what they need. I can certainly attest to this. I give very little input besides a bare bones brief of each project. If you know me even a little bit, you will know that all his designs for the workroom perfectly represent me, my style and the concept.

The success Andrew continues to achieve in his career is the result of incredible talent, dedication and understanding of his craft. Amazingly, he keeps getting better in everything he does. You should taste his nachos! Divine.

What is your first creative memory?

Andrew : Art day-camp. I was a terribly uncoordinated child. I showed no interest in any sports at all so my Mother sent me to an arts and crafts day camp. Think: macaroni sculptures, plasticine, and finger painting. I remember laying on my stomach on the floor of the gym at the local church, drawing an airplane.

What is the story behind the workroom’s elegant design?

The Wordmark : I’d been wanting to do a stencil-style logo for a while. This often happens… I’ll have an idea in my mind but no client to sell it to. I had to wait for the right client to come along. Sometimes these things take years. I think it’s perfect for the workroom. I’m glad I kept that one in my back pocket. The font I used for your wordmark was designed by my favourite foundry, Lineto, in Switzerland. Gorgeous.

The Typography : I set the type with an eclectic collection of my favourite typefaces. There are so many things happening at 1340 Queen West. One font just would not do. It ended up looking like a vintage letterhead that would have been set by hand, which is perfect for the space and the business.

The Pale Pink Box : The box is a workspace to write in, just as the workroom is a space where people make things. The pale pink represents you. It’s definitely the colour of you. I think all good graphic design work serves as a biography. I wanted the finished identity to be unmistakably Karyn.

You’ve talked about learning to make a quilt. What interests you about quilting in particular?

Andrew : Quilting is graphic design with fabric. It’s mathematical and grid based, which suits my mind. Dots of ink and pixels of light are the standard media in my business. The thought of fabric as a medium is super fresh. Plus, I like to sew. I like the sound of the machine and the little spotlight on the working area. It’s kind of dramatic. I’ll be making a pixel quilt in 2009. Ladies look out. There’s a new Sheriff in town and he quilts.

Most recent project – personal or professional that you are most proud of.

Andrew : I try to be proud of every single project I create. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. I have some crazy clients who have crazy demands who aren’t always blessed with good taste. To answer the question, I am most proud of the poster pad triptychs I designed for the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival with Joon Park, one of our talented superstars. The pads were hung all over the city last September. People could peel off a poster to take home, revealing a new one underneath, changing the overall image created by the 3 pads. Awesome client, amazing opportunity, and (I think) a cool idea.

What two random things do most people not know about you?

Andrew : Well I think most people don’t know me, so this question really becomes three interesting facts about me. Ugh I really don’t think I’m all that interesting but here goes.

1. I shave my legs. It’s a bike thing.
2. I was once a Sous Chef but chose graphic design instead.

If you weren’t a graphic designer/design director, what would you be?

Andrew : A chef. I love the sounds and smells of a bustling restaurant and the chaos of a busy kitchen. The pressure and the energy are exciting. Feeding people brings a special kind of satisfaction. I was very good at it. I often dream that I’m still working at the restaurant. I miss it very much. I used to work with a Scottish guy named Iain Duncan, CCC (Certified Chef de Cuisine). After work we used to get quite drunk in our chef’s uniforms and pick fights at the bar, sometimes with each other. He was my boss and one of my favourite people, ever. I remember when I was trying to decide whether to stay in design or go to chef’s school. He told me I could be a great chef, until one day I brought my design portfolio to work to show him. He said “F#ck cooking kid. This sh!t is good.” So here I am.


We were very lucky to have traveling artist, Sarah McNeil, at the Love & Rummage Trunk Show in February. The bunny brooch I bought from her is too cute for words, I love it so much. I’m so happy to say that Sarah will be vending at the Hunt & Gather Trunk Show on Sunday. I urge you to not miss out on seeing (and buying!) Sarah’s works in person before she heads off to other parts of the world.

In addition to all the lovely things she creates, I just learned that Sarah will do a commissioned portrait of your pet. That’s pretty damn hard to resist.

Continue to follow Sarah’s adventures on her blog, Everything.

What is your earliest memory?

Sarah : I was two and my Dad was dressed as Santa and helped me go to the bathroom. Only I thought he really was Santa.

I have heard that Toronto is only a temporary stop for you. When did you arrive? What/who/where have you fallen in love with here? (if anything)

Sarah : I arrived at the end of November. When I was just about here, looking down from the airplane window, there were multi-coloured reflections on the ground below. It was such a magical and different feeling. I loved the snow, the squirrels and now I love the spring birds.

I am also in love with poutine.

Where will your travels take you next?

Sarah : I’m off to Montreal at the beginning of May, then traveling around the US for a bit. Then I have no idea. I really want to start an art gallery in New Zealand, but I’m not sure if settling down should be too soon in the agenda.

Do you have a favourite way to start your day?

Sarah : Tea. Coffee (although I have been trying to cut down on that). Recently my hours have been a bit odd, waking up at 12pm or even 1pm, and then staying awake until 4am, but usually I like to wake up early(ish) and enjoy morning time too.

Is there anything you’ve been hunting for but have yet to find?

Sarah : Hmm… perhaps more good movies to see? I really like birds, and I haven’t seen a bluebird yet, or indigo bunting, or scarlet tanager, so I am kind of hunting for them with my eyes.

What will you be selling at the Hunt & Gather trunk show?

Sarah : Bird and animal brooches, drawings, prints, some sweaters that I can’t fit in my travel bag, a red beret, a black beret… a few other items too. I may or may not have time to make a few copies of my zine. I still haven’t decided what to bake for the “free delicious snacks” area either.