One thing I am thankful for is that the people I follow on Instagram often post about places in Toronto that I have yet to discover (@fieldguided, @framestory and @blaisemisiek). The Centennial Park Conservatory is just a short drive from us in Etobicoke. It has three sections, tropicals, cacti and seasonal. Oh and it’s free. One thing I’ve noticed about having kids, it IS expensive if you ever want to leave your house and not go to a park. A day out can cost close to $100, between parking, food and admission. So it’s always such a delight when there is something to do that is simple and free. Of course, toddlers don’t go at the same pace as we do, so we were done within 15 minutes, but I can see it being a nice place to visit in the thick of winter, for a quick escape!
On the way home we stopped in a Ma Maison on Dundas West for a treat of croissants and lattes.
A much beloved member of many households, pets often get the short end of the stick when it comes to their personal effects. You’d think that they don’t care about all this stuff, but just as I enjoy coffee from my Teema mug more than the mismatched mugs at my local diner, our cat Isha also prefers certain materials. I used to have a weird random water dish for her and she never seemed to drink any water. I then switched it out for a nice ceramic one and the bowl is empty daily! Isha has spoken! The bonus of course it that we don’t have to look at an eyesore anymore.
Wild cherry pet bowl small
A wild cherry food bowl for a small dog or cat, handmade by Japanese wood artisan Shoji Morinaga for Kyoto based gallery Sfera. The cherry wood is very heavy, so the bowl doesn’t move when your pet is eating.
Oiled wild cherry wood bone chew toy (left)
A hand carved and oiled wild cherry wood bone chew toy (for small dogs) by wood artisan Shoji Morinaga for Kyoto based gallery Sfera.
Oiled wild cherry wood branch dog chew toy by Shoji Morinaga
A hand carved oiled wild cherry wood branch dog chew toy (for small dogs) by wood artisan Shoji Morinaga for Kyoto based gallery Sfera.
Talk porcelain water bowl for pets
“Talk” is a porcelain water bowl for a small dog or cat, handmade and painted by Japanese ceramicist Shin Murata for Kyoto based gallery Sfera. There is an unglazed “talk bubble” to add your pet’s name.
Humans can learn a lot from a dog like me. My name is Don, and I live in a flat with my master, Shigeo. It was empty when my master moved in, but he soon filled it with things that a dog needs. He bought tasty upholstered furniture for me to chew, carpets for me to wipe my paws on and curtains for me to tug and pull down. My master littered the floors with leather-flavoured shoes and sweaty socks, and made piles of chewable objects for me to get my teeth into.
My time as a puppy was a happy one, until the day my master came home from the pet shop with a bag of products. Some of them were functional, such as plastic containers, metal food bowls and rubber mats, but none reflected the tasteful décor and stylish objects we had at home. Rather than use pretentious pet products, I longed for simple objects made from the natural materials that belong to a dog’s world. I had often seen them when we visited the workshops of the artists and craftsmen my master knows. Even if many of them seemed too good for the average human, I knew instinctively that such objects were perfect for a design-conscious dog like me.
Even a loopy master like mine has redeeming features. Although he never gives me enough treats and often brings playtime to an abrupt end, he does understand my sense of style. Years of pulling on the lead have taught my master that I’m always a step ahead, and in matters of taste, he knows I’m top dog. So when I barked excitedly at wooden containers, eagerly licked the insides of ceramic bowls and nuzzled nice fabrics, he understood that I was making a style statement.
Thanks to my canine creative direction, my master enlisted the help of expert craftsmen to bring my vision for designer dog ware to life. The beautiful objects they created add a stylish dimension to the experience of caring for a pet. And it’s all thanks to me, a humble dog, with a bit of help from my obedient master.
We are thrilled to announce the launch of the much anticipated coloured versions of Sucabaruca. All of these coloured sets are made by Toronto based ceramicist Alissa Coe, who also made the prototypes for the Luca Nichetto exhibition we hosted earlier in the year.
What makes the colour so incredibly rich and vibrant is a result of the raw porcelain being stained by colour pigments. Each colour has to be mixed by hand in separate vats which is very labourous and time consuming so as a result we will only be producing 10 sets.
Each collection are hand numbered editions of 10 and come with a wooden gift box and complimentary book about the concept and production process of the coffee service.
(above) This is the Pastel version above sitting in our kitchen.
At the table pouring ourselves some coffee with Elodie.
A perfect pour for some cream from the CEREMONY pitcher.
Elodie giving us a hand by stirring our coffee.
Don’t worry, it’s just milk.
All of the lines on the cups and pitcher are carved by hand for every piece.
A special marble tray with ebony wood legs, a joint production between Italy and Toronto.
We had custom wood boxes made in Japan for the service. This is the same boxes used to hold precious ceramics for the Tea Ceremony, and we thought it would be a good idea to bring a ceremonious experience to purchasing the set.
Just peeking out for the photograph.
The two boxes also include a special book on the process of Sucabaruca.
you can purchase the pastel version here
The pop version here
and the trays here
Autumn is a time to get out and breathe in the earthy air. Lately a lot of people on my instagram/facebook feeds have been visiting the waterfalls of Hamilton, a natural wonder that I was completely unaware of (I guess Niagara Falls gets all the love in these parts, or so I assumed). Anyway, it’s totally a thing. I love it when places brand themselves “The Waterfall Capital of The World” too. I somehow doubt it but that’s ok! There is plenty to explore (waterfalls, Bruce Trail, Niagara escarpment)!
I inquired as to what falls were toddler friendly. This website gives difficulty ratings. We went to Tew’s Falls (#15 on their list, so those other falls must be quite something) and the nearby Webster’s Falls (the top photo), which was about a 15 minute walk down a trail that was doable but nicely challenging for a toddler and mama carrying a baby.
We were impressed. John thought I was crazy planning this outing but had to admit it was quite something. Elodie loved it but immediately wanted more, as one does when they are two and a half.
Some nice views along the trail.
I wonder how the fall colours are now, we went a couple of weeks ago. Would be spectacular.
On the walk back to our car Elodie became exhausted (YES! FINALLY!) and had to be carried. We thought we’d have to skip lunch and head home but we decided to head to nearby Dundas (town of) to maybe grab some takeaway from Detour cafe. The main street in this small town is pretty crazy busy, which struck me as weird but it must be a thoroughfare. We had trouble finding parking and then scored a spot right out front, and Elodie hit that second wind that then prevents her from napping, so we had a lovely cozy lunch, where no food was flung, nor tears cried. WIN! Here she is feigning sleep.
All in all, a day trip I’d like to make again!
This morning I was notified that Jurgen Lehl died in an unfortunate accident, and all day my heart has felt a great weight. We were graciously allowed to be one of the only stores outside of Japan to carry Mr. Lehl’s beautiful textiles and designs and having worked with Mr. Lehl for a couple of years we had made plans to come visit him in the New Year to interview him for our next book, and talk about a future exhibition.
I have been diving deeper into the Jurgen Lehl rabbit hole in the weeks before his passing, reading his books. Researching for the interview next year, and of course bringing in a much larger collection of his fabrics and designs than we have ever carried in the past.
My last correspondence with Mr. Lehl was letting him know I received his books, and our daughter Elodie was very interested in the book he did about rocks, and has asked to see it over and over. That was sent the day before he passed away. I hope the message made it to him, although the sentiment was simple I think he would have appreciated it.
A very inspiring man, who will be remembered for much more than his clothing.
If you are not familiar with his works I have compiled a small sampling.
On Thursday night we held the opening of the first solo exhibition of Quebec based potter Renaud Sauvé (Atelier Des Cent-ans). We had an overwhelmingly positive response, and many people said it was their favourite exhibition we have held so far. I think this exhibition had an emotional quality added to it. Renaud created an environment filled with moss, stones, branches from his property along with paintings, drawings and antiques providing a glimpse into the inspiration behind his work.
This show was more atmospherically considered than any other we have done in the past.
A calligraphy set including works for sale made by Renaud, as well as antiques.
A soapstone black glazed pourer with stand.
An antique Swedish cabinet with a folk art still life of flowers in a pot. Inside of the cabinet is a carved reversible bowl with turquoise base.
The exterior of the pine wall featured a collection of hand “tattooed” waves plates.
Detail of the waves motif.
The low display bench primarily featured the black glazed porcelain works.
On the left is talc, made from ground soapstone from a mine near Atelier Des Cent-ans–one of the ingredients in the black glaze the potter developed. On the right is a celadon glazed bowl of moss with a plaster head and brass feet, curiosities collected by Renaud.
A Chawan tea bowl, and matching tea container.
A hammered copper handle on a black glazed lidded pot.
Linen square with hand embroidery made by Renaud’s mother, along with a black glazed tray and antique arrow head.
Detail of a carved bowl.
Black and white plate collection.
A carved rabbit “candle snuff” and South American wedding belt.
Our table featured work with both white and black glaze. This series was made specifically for this exhibition.
A charcoal drawing of Stockholm made by Renaud’s pottery teacher.
Small bowls with painted animal motifs.
The detail of a small pourer on a rock from the river near Cent-ans.
The small size white glazed pourer with a celadon drip.
A white bowl with a rim of clay found at cent-ans.
A porcelain cover with carved turtle figure.
A bowl with carved rat figure at the bottom.
Another candle snuff.
A tall porcelain flower vase with moat.
Bowls inspired by hammered metal.
A gourd pitcher inspired by the painting behind, made by Renaud many years ago.
A carved bowl featuring both black glaze, and celadon rim next to a “beehive” inspired vessel. The framed picture behind is actually made from a wasp’s nest.
A small teacup with a leaf motif.
A white oak alcove made by Renaud’s partner Gilbert with a black footed flower vase, and a white bowl with black drip.
A small flower vase / planter.
A unique bowl on a antique Korean lacquered wood stand.
“Shiva” carved hanging bowl.
One of my favourite vase forms is the “Mei Ping”, so I asked Renaud to make one for the show. It is really beautiful.
White and blue pottery on the black library shelf.
Magnesium drip footed bowls.
A large serving bowl with a celadon glaze.
A lidded bowl with hidden pattern inspired by embroidery.
A blueberry branch with red leaves in a magnesium rimmed bowl.
An oak lecture stand with exhibition catalogs.
The opening reception was really lovely, and we had the opportunity to meet many of Renaud’s fans who haven’t visited our gallery before.
The restaurant Bricco which is only a few blocks away from us provided the meat and cheese for the evening and it was exceptional. By the end of the night nothing was left.
Thank you again for everyone who came to our opening!