This past weekend was one of those wonderful Toronto weekends that is the stuff of blog dreams. I began Saturday morning early and ambitiously, with a jog. The grass was wet green, the dogs were out and the light was a dreamy golden blue. I boosted my endorphin high with a post-shower hit of caffeine from White Squirrel. I really think that heaven can’t be too far from sunning in Trinity Bellwoods Park with a hot flat white in one hand and a crumbly mundlebread cookie in the other. Bliss!
From there I biked over to The Drake where the hotel’s Spring Market was just getting underway. I was greeted by Nicholas and Robin, the terrarium duo also known as Take to the Sea. Their cactus creations were displayed proudly on the couples’ hand-fashioned wooden kiosk, which will take root this summer outside of Good Egg in Kensington Market. I couldn’t resist buying a terra treasure, which came with a collectable letter-pressed care instructions card! Robin was nice enough to wrap the thing in newsprint (horoscopes facing in). I packed the treat in my bike basket and rode it home to my windowsill before heading over to the OCAD U GradEx.
Caroline and I had helped mount the medal winners showcase exhibition in the school’s Great Hall earlier that week. Though the university’s GradEx is always overwhelming, I must admit that being familiar with the work of the school’s top students gives me the ground on which to find my footing. This year’s exceptionally exceptional were Erin Loree (Drawing and Painting) and Antonio Lennert (Graphic Design). Erin’s paintings are colourful, sensuous and controlled works of self portraiture. They’re stunning and exciting; and those of us who know Erin can testify to how far she’s come in a year. Antonio’s thesis project combined art and design traditions to explore the meaning of a potent Brazilian word, saudade. Photographs, projections, bound interviews and video worked together to create a layered and rich portrait of a single word, which has no direct English translation. Antonio’s multi-lateral approach shows a sophisticated understanding of design’s boundless potential.
Sunday was spent at TCAF, which took place at the Reference Library. I focused my browsing energies on Wowee Zonk’s small press corner on the ground floor, which featured such local notables as Alicia Nauta, Andrew Bailey and Katherine Verhoeven. I was especially chuffed to see Alexandra Mackenzie there with her new line of tanks, t-shirts and totes. Alexandra’s practice has such an exciting, electric energy and it’s hard not to get excited looking at her powerful, pulsating, oozing, meticulously messy illustrations, projects and designs. I walked away happily with a screen-printed tank held together by zig-zagging neon pink thread. Nicholas Robins of Take to the Sea also operates as an artist in his own right, and I was lucky enough to receive a stunning print of his as a friendly freebie. The work features a signature composition of pink, yellow, purple, blue and green forms. I love it, and it hangs out happily with my aforementioned terrarium.
Of course, another favourite table of mine was Ginette Lapalme’s! I swooned looking through her carefully considered display of covetable jewellery, zines and ephemera. I practically stole one of her well-known neon diamond pins, which she was selling at a ridiculously reduced rate. I am certain that the pin’s sure lines, bright colours and juvenility give me magical powers.
In fact, my whole weekend left me feeling full of magic; and Ginette’s pin will always serve as a wearable reminder of how much I love Toronto’s cosy, creative community. Thank you to all of the brilliant, committed artists and makers that made my springtime Saturday and Sunday so special.