Saturday, 18 December 2010


So... I did a couple of things I'm not so proud of today - but as is life sometimes (sigh). One of the things I found along my travels was the most AMAZING surprise piece of artwork outside of the MACM. I was talking to my mom on my mobile as I was doing some Christmas shopping, and I stepped outside and heard a funny crunch, not the crunch of snow, but one of great fragility. I looked down at my feet - and that little crunch was that of beautiful regular white eggs... but not silly old regular eggs - eggs filled with the most glorious gold glitter. I stood there for a little bit afraid to move, but mostly in awe of this wonderful interactive piece. I went back later that day and played with the glitter a bit - it was such an absolute surprise... A delight - I only wish I knew more about it. I have looked on the internet to no avail... I might have to even call the museum and find out - oh how much wonderment it brought me, and gave me a tiny bit of hope for beauty and surprise that might be possible for me (maybe just maybe). If I find a picture I will definitely post it, but you will have to imagine it - on a frigid day in winter - hundreds of little eggs, some whole and some cracked, with gold glitter all about, and is now still on my snowboots - a little memory from a bit of magic on a strange day in December.

UPDATE: I spoke with the people at MACM - and the piece was made by some students from UQAM, but they don't have anymore information than that - it was fantastic, and I wish I had a picture to share.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Andere my love

So I've not been doing my posting very religiously... but those who know me know I'm not very religious.

So another segment of my Friends & Neigbours... This one is about the dearest Andere Monjo. This week a stunning music video she directed for Catalan Folk-Rock Songwriter Bikimel came out. It is a stunning piece of work which is so telling of Andere's sensitivity to light and composition.

Take a look at more of Andere's work on her website here...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

I got run over by a car... and I blame it on design

So, as I'm sure most of you who are my fb friends know, I got in a car vs. bike accident on Sunday (me being bike). Definitely not fun. So how do I blame design, well... this is not the first accident I've been in, its the second, and the first one was at the very same intersection. So first of all I blame the weird signs that no driver seems to notice at every intersection on the bike path:
The next thing I blame, is the damn tourists - this time for real, not because they are clogging the sidewalks, but because I screamed at one for cutting me off this week when they were trying to park (have you heard of a signal light?), and then because it was another car from Ontario that was the one that was the cause of this accident.

So let me tell you the whole thing. I had a weird morning, and decided to forgo my initial plans to take a bixi up to the market, and then over to work from the north. I needed to stop downtown to get some supplies for work (both our double needles broke the day before during my Serger class), so I went downtown at around noon. It was raining, but more sprinkling than raining, so I didn't worry too much about the rain, I usually only stop biking when its so bad my glasses get too wet to see properly. So I decided to take the bike path (aka the death trap), because I was too lazy to go up the hill to Sherbrooke, and Sherbrooke had been filled with Ontario drivers all weekend (parent's weekend at McGill I think). So I continued as per normal, and went straight, and I was running a bit behind schedule, so I was bootin' it. I had about 3 green lights in a row, so I had a bit of speed, and I was coming up to my 4th, when the driver turned left in front of me. I slammed on my brakes, but the less than 5m wasn't enough to stop, and I ended up hitting the back of the guy's car and falling on the pavement, and hiting my head on something in the process (which I only knew because I have a nice big dent in my helmet - Thank You Helmet!!!). The guy was beside himself upset. Initially I was alright (shock and adrenaline is my guess), and we traded contact information, and I went off, made a couple of hysterical phone calls, and went to work, and taught the weirdest workshop (sorry everyone, but I hope your zipper skills are good, and if you need any help ask again, and I will certainly help!). I started to feel it at around 8pm, just tenseness... and I woke up with some severe nausea and dizziness, so spent the wee hours of the morning in the ER, and was deemed alright, and have spent the majority of the days since in bed, still rather sore...

So how could have design fixed this - better bike lanes for certain. Left turns only on a signal light would work too, and I would be dreaming, but a whole street without cars, but a safe haven for bikes in this city.

For now, I will refrain from biking until I feel better. And then I'll continue to ride across the city on Sherbrooke (a 2-way street), at least cars are paying attention there.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Book Report Time!

I know, where the heck did I go? Well, lets just say there have been quite a few changes since June, and I'm back to the reading of the books... design books/sustainability books/theory in general books... YAY!

So I read "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald A. Norman last week... good book overall, I really loved the section on design frustrations, and how we blame ourselves in situations where bad design is more often to blame. The funny part, was I was in a car accident while reading that section (I wasn't driving and reading I SWEAR!!!) - how fitting. The crash was truly an accident(a small fender bender in the parking lot - we were pulling out and he zoomed in right next to us), and the other guy's car got SOOOOOO much more damage than ours (bad design both in the car and the parking lot)...

Its a slightly older book (originally published under the title of "Psychology of Everyday Things" in 1988 - its interesting to see how many things have changed in the world of design, and makes me wonder if a great deal of change in regards to user centered design, and interface design can be attributed to this book.

Overall - I would say if you like design theory - read it, if you don't - don't bother... But as far as design theory goes - AWESOME... I wish I had read it 10 years ago.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Style vs. Ethics

In the world of fashion the term 'ethics' is seemingly most often used lightly and always with quotations around it. Most companies have CSR documents to which they send to their vendors and ask them to sign - and this is the extent of their investment. There are companies out there that try to do a little bit more, and then tout their small improvements as revolutionary.

I was faced with a dilemma today when walking down the street... To buy a new favourite t-shirt, or to leave it there. I have two of my favourite t-shirts - a raglan sleeveless number that has the perfect neckline... the problem is that they come from American Apparel. This 'made in the U.S.A." , "sweatshop free". They tout their labour practices as fair and equitable - but what may I ask is 'fair and equitable' about being subjected to sexual harassment at work? There have been several suits launched against Dov Charney (I am ashamed to call him a fellow Canadian), in regards to his treatment of his female employees. On the blog of the Law Offices of Peter M. LaSorsa there is an outline of some of the horrendous things he has said in legal depositions... According to Wikipedia article on Dov Charney, none of these lawsuits have been proven, but it is safe to assume that the Wiki page has been carefully edited by the staff at American Apparel or their PR firm.

Needless to say, I did not purchase anything - and will refrain from purchasing anything from them in the future - and will make my own new favourite t-shirt, and I'm starting with this awesome shirt from pixielink on BurdaStyle...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Green Products Innovation Institute

I wish the Green Products Innovation Institute was a real place where I could go and study... but I guess it is in its own way... Basically, its seemingly the next step in Cradle-to-Cradle in the creation of a more holistic design economy. It is seemingly being implemented in California in order to create a 'sustainable economy' (sorry for the quotation marks, but I had to - I believe everything to do with sustainability needs to come with quotation marks). Pretty awesome, and I can't wait until the toxicity database is ready to be perused....

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Emeline & Annabelle

So there is new store that has opened up in Montreal by my dearest Emeline of Cochonet Rouge and Annabelle of A Day in the Week. Named after them (Emeline & Annabelle), its a Sewing Lounge - so you can learn how to sew with one of the awesome classes, or if you already know how you can come in and hang out, drink coffee and sew. I'm working with them in the afternoons - so come in and say hi, or stay awhile and sew a bit with me, or sign up for a class on how to make some lovely projects. Do Check out their website here...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The problems of packaging...

I was wandering down the street the other day and I came across this bit of mess on the sidewalk. The bags lasted for about 2 blocks, and were blowing even further. For those of you who haven't worked in a retail store - each garment comes packaged in a plastic bag, just like men's shirts, then are grouped in usually 6's, and then put in another bag, and then put in a box (sometimes a reusable plastic box that goes back to the warehouse, sometimes not). Every day, when the new stock comes in, it is all taken out if its bags, security tagged, and put on the shelves, and when sold, put in a different plastic bag.

Hundreds of these bags are thrown in the garbage - as there is no daily recycling for this type of waste, and number 5 plastic (polypropylene) is not easily recycled in most places. This is a significant design challenge - is there a way to collect and reuse these bags? Can we find a better way to package things for shipping? Can we package things so that these bags can be used as a final bag at the cash? We all think we are doing 'good' for the environment when we bring our own bags to the store, but that's only the half of it it seems... so to the packaging designers and fashion companies out there - I'm calling you out in order find a better solution to this waste.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

I was away...

Sorry... I've been away in oh so many senses it seems. I was on the West Coast for the OLYMPICS and to be around for the birth of my nephew (whom I love and adore). While I was gone, I spent lots of time making things, but strangely I forgot to take pictures... or maybe not so strangely (how very much like me to forget to document). I did take a lovely little day trip to Salt Spring Island and was truly enthralled with the beautiful textures of the forest. The pictures below are a few I managed to eek out of my little camera.

Thursday, 28 January 2010


things to learn from Matt Edgar on Vimeo.

I'm working on the doing nothing part... maybe some good ideas will come out of it. Thanks SwissMiss for the link to this very sweet video by Christian Borstlap for Kinderpostzegels.

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Art of Telling a Story...

I have been taught that spinning a tale is one of the most important things we can do within design. What I have learned, is that I don't feel as if I am particularly good at that - and therefore I've decided to become the listener - as I hope I'm good at listening. I'm working my way through some of the TED talks, and looking how the stories of others are constructed, and that being an audience is as important as being a presenter.

A particularly beautiful story that I was listening earlier today can be found here, Devdutt Pattanaik's TED talk on "East vs. West - The Myths that Mystify".

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

A New Year for New things

so this is a list of my New Year's Resolutions... Now you all know them, so you can hold me more accountable.
1. Answer my emails more quickly as opposed to letting them sit in my inbox
2. Do more yoga and RELAX
3. Work on my creative practice - clients or no clients (remembering all things take time)
4. Create my own little bioplastic library (I'm well on my way to that one already)