Tuesday night we were excited to go to the opening reception for The Gardiner Museum‘s new exhibition, True Nordic: How Scandinavia influenced design in Canada. Curated by Dr. Rachel Gotlieb and Michael Prokopow, we are honoured that our Garden Works collaboration with Anderssen & Voll is on display.
From the press release: Scandinavian design initially reached Canada’s elite consumers and style-makers via museum and gallery exhibitions, showrooms, small retail shops and articles and advertisements in popular decorator magazines. However, it was the dynamic influx of émigré craftspeople from Scandinavia who both affirmed and vernacularized the aesthetic in Canada and who shaped profoundly the country’s design and craft movement from the 1930s onward. What was broadly known as “Danish modern” became synonymous with ideas about good design, and “comfortable and gracious living.” Capitalizing on the market opportunities presented, Canadian manufacturers added Scandinavian design to their conservative repertoire of colonial and historicist offerings and called these lines, Helsinki, Stanvanger, Scanda and so on. The culminating section of the exhibition will ask why Scandinavian and Nordic aesthetics continue to resonate with so many contemporary Canadian designers and artisans at work today.
The exhibition was designed by friend of the shop Andrew Jones Design / Graphic design by q30 design inc. Loved the Alto-esque paper room divider and the intimate wall colours.
During the Q&A discussion, there was a bit of talk about how a lot of the designers were married couples. Naturally we like this dynamic a lot!
In the contemporary designers section there are a lot of local designers and artisans, such as Castor, Sean Plaice, MSDS, and Bookhou. It was nice to see everyone in the same place.
The exhibition book was a nice surprise, containing some essays and the exhibition catalog. The fire tools pictured are from a project we have been working on with Winnipeg designer Thom Fougere (to be launched in January).
Please go see this show at the Gardiner Museum, running until January 8.
Last summer I (John) hosted a documentary series called City of Makers. Produced by Andrea Orazi for Narrative Pictures and directed by Scott Abraham, the series examines the people who shape a city’s creative identity.
Ive been meaning to share this on the blog once the episodes became available, so very sorry for my delay. Having a store that specializes in goods from Scandinavia and Japan we aren’t well-known for carrying Canadian made things, but you might be surprised how many things we have that are made right here in Toronto. When Scott and Andrea approached us to be involved in their documentary series, I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce our friends whose work we really love and respect and who we feel are on an international level of quality but just so happen to live here in Toronto.
I hope you enjoy this first series!
Click here for the City of Makers website.
Alissa is a ceramicist who mainly produces sculptural commissions, including work for the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Alissa also produces the Sucabaruca coffee set for Design store and gallery Mjolk.
Brian Vu – Latre Art and Style
Brian runs his own store in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. Brian uses the ancient dye indigo to colour his clothing, his designs are influenced by his love of military clothing.
Sarra Tang – Hoi Bo
Sarra is a designer who makes bags, clothing and accessories for her company Hoi Bo. Sarra is known for bags made from her unique hand processed dry wax material.
Lubo Brezina – Lubo Design
Lubo is a furniture designer who works in wood. Lubo’s recognizable style combines substantial timber with Japanese joinery techniques.
Last week we visited Black Creek Pioneer Village for the first time. It’s an open air museum located just a short drive north from us. We go all in for this sort of thing, and it being close to Christmas I figured it’d be extra nice with the holiday decorations.
Broom making house. Love the paint colour and shaker style rails.
Again with the lovely paint colour, and benches.
Chasing light in the town hall.
Afternoon winter light in the bedroom.
She really just wanted to see “the animals”.
Seeing the loom was of interest, as we have been reading Pelle’s New Suit (thank you to the customer who gifted it).
They actually sell all the things that are made in the various building, like weaving, tin lanterns and decorations, children’s bonnets, etc. Kind of clever as they teach while making.
In the doctor’s waiting room, waiting for us to stop taking photos.
The one benefit to having our weekends during the week is avoiding crowds.
The horse happily trotted over to say hi, and upon discovering we didn’t have any treats, proceeded to give us some shade.
Spoons hanging by the fireplace.
One day we’d like to do a tour of Shaker museums in the US. This will have to do for now!
Has anyone ever toured the Shaker museums in the American NE? Would love recommendations…
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.
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!
It’s been too long since we’ve been able to do much blog posting but things are simmering down now that Howell is 5 months old. Also, we’re shifting gears from running to and from the cottage every week to staying in the city, which makes for a less chaotic week.
Now that Elodie is two and a half, we’re ready to engage more with the city and its surroundings. I am looking forward to creating new traditions for our family! The first one is apple picking!!!
Several friends recommended Avalon Orchards, a no frills organic orchard about 45 minutes from Toronto in Innisfil. Originally I was going to take us to one of those places that has tons of things to do (corn maze, playground, petting zoo) but then we talked about it and figured a two and a half year old can only handle so much, and since apple picking is the main attraction, it made sense to keep it simple.
Avalon has a little shop (above) where we picked up some apple cider.
Elodie picked out the wagon – as you can see, she’s very inspired by the “Little Red Wagon” song. There were only a couple of this type and she bee lined right for it.
It was wonderful being able to pick the fruit right from the tree and taste it. They had Freedom, Nova Mac and a few Pricilla’s ripe for the picking. Not the sweetest selection, maybe these types come earlier or later?
Rare family portrait of a mother and her two kids.