Thursday, May 31, 2012

Made in Canada Series - Francie Vee a.k.a. "Sister Valentine's"

We met Francie earlier this year as she came by our store to offer her assistance with the setup and execution of one of our store events. We then learned that she is also a maker of wonderful crafty objects and want to use this page to introduce you to her work. Here is Francie's story....
P.S. oh, and by the way, Francie has the most exquisite handwriting, totally fabulous and award worthy!

I've always been creative throughout my whole life with all sorts of media. In highschool it was mostly mixed media, photography and fiction writing. In the winter of 2008 I launched an art, accessory and small batch production line called “Sister Valentine's” wanting to finally put my creativeness out into the world, mostly concentrating with crocheting.
my table set up at a craft sale, handmade crocheted monsters, silkscreened monsters and brooch pins.
After kind of accidently going through the wrong program, I felt like I could be doing so much more with my crafting and saw positive feedback from people with the things I had made. When I enrolled in the Textiles program at Sheridan College in Oakville, I knew I had found my calling and herd for that matter, I was introduced to a great group of creative and wonderful people in my class and program. Oh, and bucket loads of textile processes and materials that could be used in many ways too.

a project from 2011, hand felted, hand beaded brooch pins of the phases of the moon. Each about 3” x 3"
Throughout the three year program I gravitated to hand embroidery, wet felting and kept strong with my crochet love. Now a graduate of that program, I am mega excited to set out on my own in this pretty exciting career in hopes to one day open my own studio/consignment store.
I've definitely perked up my ears as a fiber artist to listen for what my voice is and it can be seen in both my art pieces and my functional pieces; a little fun, a little imaginative and narrative and of course with a whole lot of heart and sentiment.

shot of my basement workshop, where the magic happens!
One of my favorite parts about my craftlife is every creative process to each project. From a single word all the way to the final piece, my heart pops through the whole ride. I take inspiration from everyday things and human emotions for my pieces and functional line. I dive into the unknown worlds of space, deep sea life or taboo cultures and my own imagination. I want to tap into the something that I think today's society is forgetting: how to be human.

two leather handbags and coin purse with hand painted pigment based on the Ona tribe of southern Chile. all materials reclaimed, except for thread.
I am fully aware that any industry these days can have a certain amount of waste from a final product. I like to use mostly reclaimed and recycled materials in most of my pieces. It's great brain exercise to pick up a funny patterned vintage dress and see what you could make out of it or see how you could revamp a lamp. More often than not, I stray from buying new materials for my projects unless it's necessary and try to stay as natural with processes as I can like natural dying.
The great thing about finally being done with school after six consecutive years is that I have the time to do exactly what I want to. The problem: I don't know where to begin!

still in production, envelope iphone/ipod cozies.
I'm really tickled by playing with light and will be doing some lighting pieces eventually but currently I am working on a small batch production of vintage style envelope Iphone pouches and envelope clutches. They'll be completely handmade by me in a cotton linen and cotton canvas material, dyed with coffee to give it that aged paper look. The stamps are done with machine embroidery and the stamp designs are embroidered by hand so each in absolutely unique to the other.
This first batch will be sold at a craft sale I have lined up at the Sheridan Trafalgar campus during the Rib-fest weekend starting June 22nd. However many pouches and clutches survive will be sold on my online Etsy shop soon after. I'll also be part of a gallery exhibit with a few of my classmates at Gallery 1313 in Toronto come June 27th which I'll be sure to blog and tweet(@sistervalentine) about.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Made in Canada Series - Meet Twiss and Weber

We met Twiss & Weber a few years ago at a Toronto "craft" show. They were a bundle of hilarious energy when we needed it the most. They started by selling their lovely wool hats with us and it just spiralled and gained momentum into some fun, unique, and very comfortable clothing. Here is there story ...

Twiss & Weber's collaboration began when they met at Wabi Sabi, and Ottawa knit shop, in 2009 and discovered that not only did they share a common background in fashion but they also shared a goal, a desire to make smart, well-crafted wearable art that is both stylish and straightforward to wear. Evolution, Twiss & Weber's third collection is the result of that meeting of minds.
As with evolution, the species improves itself. Evolution is a distinctive collection of ladies apparel and accessories in which one piece evolves naturally from another using a common vocabulary of texture and colour. A revolutionary idea in the fashion similar to the precess the great biologist, Charles Darwin, describes a ..."form so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Made In Canada Series - Kathryn Rebecca

Freedom has had the pleasure of carrying Kathryn's handcrafted jewels for almost two very glittery years. Our relationship with Kathryn didn't start in a conventional way. We first met her when she spotted Poppyseed's furniture and ordered a custom painted filing cabinet. One thing led to another and before we knew it her beautiful designs found home at our store. Find out from Kathryn directly how the lovely things you see in our store actually come into being.

Creating a piece from beginning to end is a process I never tire of.  Jewellery has always been a passion of mine, I love to work with my hands to make an idea I have come to life.  Here is a little look into my process...

My Inspiration...

First step is to create my vision in wax.  I cut each piece out carefully and form the piece rather slowly well looking at my inspiration. 

The next step is to invest, which is similar to cement - you put your wax within a flask and pour the investment over top.  The investment hardens overnight and the next day you put the flask within the kiln.  With the intense heat of the kiln the wax melts out of the investment and the shape of the daisy is left empty within the investment - ready for molten metal to take its place.  This part of the process always reminds me of baking!;)  

It's ready! 

The flask is placed in the casting machine and it's time to cast!  

The silver is heated to a liquid form and with centrifugal force it shoots into the flask as the machine spins.  It's an adrenalin rush every time!  :)

When the daisies first come out they are black due to oxides brought out to the surface from the intense heat.  

The daisies are cleaned and then ready for the next step.

The earrings posts are soldered on and the piece is polished to a high polish - then Gold plated!  

My vision comes to life with large daisy studs and removable lemon quartz drops!  

My favorite part - Seeing my piece on someone it resonates with!  

Come by my studio any time to learn more about the process of making jewellery.  I work out of Jewel Envy Studio,  which is a collective studio with 10 goldsmiths working out of it at 101 Spadina Avenue.  We would love to share more about the process with you as well we teach classes if you are interested in creating a piece yourself.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Made in Canada Series - Meet Lia from Mod Pieces

We met Lia a while back when she first started her lamp revamping business. Her talents paired with hard work have gained her a lot of exposure since then and her beauties have been featured in popular home decor and lifestyle magazines and TV shows. In the paragraphs below, Lia will explains why she does it and how she got to where she is today. Enjoy the read!

There's a shift happening. Many homeowners are starting to abandon the widely accepted fact that we live in a throwaway culture and instead opting to purchase high-quality, limited edition pieces by local artisans & designers. Choosing to surround yourself with one of a kind, handcrafted pieces, not only creates a home that's uniquely yours, but also allows you to invest in items that you'll treasure for years and pass down through generations.

After six years of working in the interior design industry and feeling unsettled by our willingness to consume cheap consumer goods, as well as being frustrated by the lack of cool & functional lighting on the market, I chose to switch gears and become part of the solution. Mod Pieces was born.

Visiting antique stores & vintage markets was always a hobby of mine. When I started too pay closer attention at these events, I noticed all kinds of vintage lamps that just needed a little bit of love in order to be cool again. Many needed rewiring, most needed new shades and some just needed a fresh coat of paint. 

Others passed them by, fearing that they would create a "time-warp" effect in their homes, but I was all to happy to scoop them up! Finding the perfect fabric to pair with each base became a welcome challenge. The result is totally unique lighting that has a sense of history and vintage edge, while also feeling updated enough to blend seamlessly into the modern home.

While I still keep a well stocked online store, the majority of my business is custom work. Homeowners are starting to pull those old lamps out of their basements and rethink the possibilities. Not only does this way of thinking grant you the opportunity to own something that no one else does, but it also allows you to reduce your carbon footprint. Win-win!"