It’s the Simcoe Day (or Civic) long weekend here in Toronto and I managed to squeeze in a trip to ArtFest Toronto held at the historic Distillery District. Fortunately the threatening lighting and rain storm held off long enough for me to make a flying visit, snap a few pics and connect with some super cool artists and craftspeople I’d never met before. Let me share my trip with you….
First off, I met Ottawa-based contemporary artist Therese Boisclair http://www.tboisclair.com who offered beautiful paintings in various sizes and I was pleased to pick up one of her miniatures – like I had a choice…it just called my name so I had to bring it home with me!
Mural artist Arthur II was helped by kids and adults with his latest giant artwork painted live on-site. How cool is this? He had just stepped away when I visited but his assistant (pictured below) confirmed that Arthur would be adding more to the piece before the end of the 3-day exhibition.
Hamilton-base designer & craftsman, Ali Genc of Copper Art Canada had a stunning display of copper jewellery – earrings, pendants and great bracelets. Unfortuantely, Ali doesn’t have his website up yet but I do recommend checking out his affordable wearable art if you see him at future craft/artisan shows like this.
2014 has become the “year of the glass” jewellery for me – I’ve fallen in love with Murano glass and lampwork beads and I found several great exhibitors today including Kathy Steers of Creativity in Glass Designs. Her colourful, happy designs attracted a lot of attention and I had my eye on the blue pendant (bottom pic) as well as the stunning copper & purple piece worn by her charming friend from Indonesia who helped out in Kathy’s booth. Rats! I forgot to go back and pick up these 2 pieces so fingers crossed I can catch up with her later this week. http://www.CreativityInGlassDesigns.com
I then discovered S. Dias, a very gifted woodwork craftsman who carved this stunning rocking horse (complete with real horse hair mane & tail). His unique serving trays are actually made from wine crates and feature wood-burned labels from France, Italy and other int’l wine regions. No website but if you like his work, email him at email@example.com
Just as I turned a corner, the sun came streaming out and seemed to shine directly on a cute little booth, Colours by Chris, featuring stunning handpainted artware and fun little jewellery pieces, including stones & pebbles found on the shores of the Messenia region (Kalamata) of Greece. Chris (pictured below) has created dainty little pendants with sterling silver fixtures. No website yet but you can probably find her at the next ArtFest at the end of this month – same venue, same times.
Just next to Chris was ArtFest Toronto HQ where show producer & President Lory MacDonald (below) was meeting and greeting visitors, handing out show programs and answering all sorts of questions from the happy visitors. http://www.artfesttoronto.com
As a contributing editor and arts & entertainment columnist for The Rider (www.TheRider.com), Ontario’s “voice of the horse” newspaper, I was thrilled to meet Sarah Bohan of KOOL Designs – Sarah (in 4th picture) recycles equine feed bags & packaging and crafts them into fashionable totes, shoulder bags and purses, even insulated “equus” carriers for your cool drinks (see 3rd pic) sometimes using old bridle leather and reins as shoulder straps and handles. Her designs help keep the commercial packaging out of landfill so not only are they fashion-forward they’re also eco-friendly. Check out her page at http://www.Facebook.com/2KOOLdesigns and watch for a story on KOOL Designs in an upcoming Rider issue. Bravo, Sarah – my new “green” champ!
Artist Ivan Trotter brought some of the most colourful and charming paintings of Parisian street scenes and Tuscan landscapes to ArtFest – take a look at these gorgeous pieces painted on canvas and board. http://www.artbyivan.com
Hey, how about a unique, sturdy leather rhino in your living room? Or a moose…a buffalo….an elephant? Reiner’s Originals offers quality leather Ottomans which can support adults, not just kids. I just love the beige bulldog here. http://www.reiners.ca
There was a charming young folksinger with her guitar in the main courtyard singing one of my fave 60’s tunes “Look What They’ve Done to my Song, Ma” (originally by Melanie, then recorded by The New Seekers in the 70’s) so I stopped and sang along with her for a bit. Lots of fun.
“Pretty .. rocker .. chic .. accessories” is how Colleen Poitras (below) is described. Her accessories and jewellery designs are also available at Made You Look boutique. Her metal cuffs are stunning – my photo doesn’t do them justice – with delicate engravings and pressed designs. Check out her site: http://www.ColleenPoitras.com
Photographer Michael Hyman (below) was very popular and I snapped a couple of pics while he was busy wrapping artwork for customers.
I grew up in a home filled with lovely pictures of birds – English birds – and the minute I saw artist Marilyn Kutsukake’s booth Birds with Words, I knew I had to snap a few pics. Her daughter was minding the store when I visited (pictured below). http://www.marilynkatsukakeart.com
Next to the birdies, I found sculptor Irene Sirko whose stunning stone pieces are so tactile (feely-touchy) that I just had to! Loved running my hands over the green stone (I believe it’s fuchsite). https://www.facebook.com/Irene.Sirko.Sculptor
Then I found the lovely young folks at BravaSkin, a local soap maker presenting the most adorable soaps is shapes and scents for everyone. Eva Zhu explained how much fun she has designing all the cute cupcake soaps for bridal parties and tea parties, as well as the “rubber ducky” soaps for little kids (this big kid would love one, too!) http://www.BravaSkin.com
So all in all, I had a wonderful time at http://www.ArtFestToronto.com – there’s another event over the Labour Day long weekend (Aug.29-Sep.1) at the Distillery District so if you’re in town then, you simply MUST visit and support our local artisans and craftspeople. You’ll find affordable art, gifts and treats and the venue is such a fun place to hang out and take photos of the old heritage warehouses and buildings. But ladies, wear flat shoes as the cobblestones are hell on your heels! Enjoy a few more random pics… and do leave a comment – let me know how you like the story.