ABC Bees: An Urban Honey Experience

 

When my pal Jolene invited me to attend an ABC Bees Home2Hive bee tour with her I said yes right away. I love learning about how things are made, especially if they’re pretty much in my own backyard and who doesn’t love honey!?

bee-icon.pngBee Fact: There are three kinds of bees in a hive: Queen, Worker and Drone.

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Alberta Flood: YYC artists give back

As you probably know, last week Southern Albertans experienced something that is now being called the worst flood in Alberta’s history. A totally unexpected chain of events that has suddenly changed the lives of thousands of people. For many the clean up process is just beginning and for others, like those in High River, they are still waiting to return home to assess the damage. I live in Calgary, a few blocks from the Bow river. Luckily my apartment wasn’t affected but I know many peoples who were. Even for Calgarians for whose homes were not touched by flood waters, the ramifications of this disaster are still felt. Calgary is a whole and the people who live here have come together in a huge way to show support and help get the city back on it’s feet.

Downtown Calgary flooded.
from avenuecalgary.com

If you want to show support to the parts of Southern Alberta affected by flooding but aren’t sure how here are some amazing Calgary Artists who are giving back the best way they know how. These super creative folks have decided to offer some great products with most or all of the proceeds going to help with the relief effort. I’ve come in contact with most of them at various events around the city and they are all amazing people who care greatly about this community. What a great way to show support to local artists and know your donation is going to help a very worthy cause!

Click on the photos to link to their sites!

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Cinder & Sage designer and creator, Lindsay Saunders, makes vintage and vintage inspired jewellery. If you want one of these stunning necklaces you better act fast! She’s selling out quickly and I can see why!

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Amy Victoria Wakefield is a photographer who makes all her beautiful artwork by hand. There are 8 different Alberta magnets to choose from. I bought one for my mom for Christmas and she loves it!

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Melissa McKinnon is an artist who creates large scale textured acrylic paintings. She is auctioning off these two stunning paintings inspired by the ever-changing beauty of our Alberta landscape as well as the resiliency that Albertans are known for. Aptly titled ”Together We Stand” all proceeds from the auction goes to The Canadian Red Cross Flood Fund and bids start at $300 and ends July 3rd.

Mandy Stobo is the Artist behind Bad Portraits. These quirky gouche and watercolour paintings are so bad they’re good. Well actually they’re great! And now you can buy this one of Calgary’s beloved Mayor Nenshi on a shirt! In Scuba gear no less! 100% of profits going to the Red Cross and if a shirts not your thing you can also buy a print! Note: Flood my heart is the newest t-shirt design but scuba Nenshi prints are still available.

HELL OR HIGH WATER UNISEX T-SHIRT

Stampede is a big part of Calgary and this seems to be the unofficial slogan for this year. Or maybe since it’s on a shirt it’s now official? Either way you can pick up one of these black tee’s from the Calgary Stampede store and know that 100% of the cost is going to the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Floods Fund. While supplies last, of course.

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If you can’t get enough of Nenshi (and who can?) or the Stampede here is another offering. These shirts are from Frontier Metropolis, a clothing brand started by 2 guys based in Calgary. $5.75 from each shirt sold goes to the Red Cross Flood Fund.

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And last but not least… If you live in or around Calgary and want to keep tabs on all the fundraisers that will be happening check out the Calgary Culture website. They’re put together a list of artist driven flood relief fundraisers and are adding to it everyday!

conclusion

There are so many heart warming stories coming out of this tragedy. So many volunteers and people doing whatever they can to help out. I LOVE ALBERTA!

Wandering Whales and other creatures

  

I love local markets and craft fairs. Without them I don’t think I’d own any cool things made locally. I bought the 2 prints above, Aurora Borealis and Mooswa Nebula, from a market in Calgary. They hang on my wall in frames I found on my buildings “take it or leave it” table and I love them.

The artist, Andrew Olivier, lives in Edmonton and seems to have a passion for art, animals, and science. All the illustrations below come from his Polymorphism series that focuses on channelling scientific exploration into artistic form.

I find these “animals” very thought provoking. This style merges a natural tribal flow with industrial and mechanical elements. Some of the lines are very sharp and harsh while others are soft and circular. There is a push in pull, nature against science, which in the end comes together to create something amazing.

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If you live in Edmonton your in luck! Andrew will be at Tribal Nation Saturday May 4th selling his paintings and prints and on May 25th you can check him and other local artists out at Harcourt House for an Art market in the Gallery.

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5 Questions with Andrew Olivier

1. What is your favourite colour?

That is an incredibly hard decision, and changes often. I more appreciate color palettes and combinations. Lately I’ve been loving soft blues, coral together.

2. Polymorphism is a biology term. Do you think in nature fact is stranger then fiction?

Well, Polymorphism is a term to describe the infinite variation of characteristics that exist with any given species. For instance, each butterfly has the possibility of infinite variations for the patterns of its wings. they never repeat. Always experimenting and inventing new colors and details never seem before. Life is stranger then fiction if your looking closely.

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3. If you could be a ‘morph’ of any animal which would it be?

Definitely a whale. They are mythical and peaceful creatures, most have no natural enemies, and the whole ocean is their playground. what more could you want.

4. What is your favourite medium to work with?

A 0.5mm pen will always top that list. however lately, I have been liking good old standard house paint too.

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5. Where is one of your best loved places in Edmonton?

The River Valley, and more specifically Hawrelak park. great big pond to ice skate on in the winter

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Andrew is a recent grad from the design studies course at Grant MacEwan University. Check out his website to see more illustrations, digital, and web design work. http://wanderingwhale.com/

And you can also follow him on Facebook! www.facebook.com/thepolymorphist

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conclusion

Being able to see the world in a different way is a good thing. Being able to share your view and have it respected by others is what makes a cultured society. Yay for art!

Wreck City: See it before the demolition ball does!

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When I looked out my window on Saturday I saw a grey cloudy day with a skiff of snow on the ground. Not ideal weather, but that wouldn’t stop me from heading down to the community of Sunnyside to check out Wreck City.

“Wreck City: An epilogue for 809” is a group of local artists who have taken nine houses that are slated for demolition and turned them into temporary art, instillation, and performance spaces. 8 artist/curators and 100+ extremely creative individuals have worked very hard to bring this together and I was super excited to see the results!

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“Enter at your own risk” is posted at the entrance of each house as well as the names of the artists who contributed to that space, but don’t be alarmed, everything inside is secure. Here’s a tip: for the optimum experience wear clothes you can move around in and stable shoes. Also forget the big purse or tote, it will only get in your way. The spaces are amazingly hands on and remind me of a real life snakes and ladders game. There are things to climb, crawl through, peek in and slide down, but only if you want to, and believe me you’ll want to! Thank goodness I was wearing thick tights!

This is truly an experience for all your senses whether it be sight, touch, smell, sound, or taste (fresh baked cookies anyone?). Each day also features different performances. Click Here for a schedule. I had a fantastic time immersing myself in these houses and chatting with the artists. The following photos are only a tiny sample of what you can expect from Wreck City. If your going to be in Calgary this week you would be missing out if you didn’t venture down to Sunnyside to check it out!

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Wreck City is free and open to all ages, everyday until April 27th.

visit their website at www.wreckcityproject.wordpress.com to find out more!

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Yes, that’s a slide and yes, that’s a railing. Safety first!

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Going down! Side note: I was just talking about Light Brights at work and how much I wanted one. After seeing this one now I want one even more, sigh.

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conclusion

This is a great example of how when people come together, they can take something that one might deem worthless and transform it into something extraordinary. Have I piqued your interest yet?

Terrariums: A wonderland in miniature

 

*This is the first in a series of posts about artists, designers, and craftspeople in Calgary and Alberta that I think are amazing and want to share with you. Stay tuned for more!*

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This is my terrarium. I absolutely love it. It only needs to be watered once a month. This is the perfect plant for me. It’s small, cute, needs only minimal care, and looks like miniature animals should live in it!

I bought this terrarium from Kyle Chow, the creative green thumb behind Plant, Distinct Terrariums, based here in Calgary. I had seen his table before at Calgary’s monthly Market Collective and longed for one of these little landscapes, but didn’t take the leap until last month. Now it sits on my counter and brings a smile to face whenever I see it.

                                                                                                                                                                             

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Kyle’s terrariums are really works of art and you can tell he really puts thought and care into the placement and composition of the tropical and succulent plants, rocks, moss, sand, bark, and other little bits of nature found in Alberta. Starting at $10 and up these terrariums are very affordable with most pieces in the $20 – $45 range. All sizes and shapes of vintage and new glass are used including vessels that can be hung and Plant does custom work too!

All photos below are taken from the Plant, Distinct Terrariums website.

 

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5 Questions with Kyle Chow

1. What is your favourite color?

My favourite colour is grey. I realize this is not much of a colour, but I am a big appreciator of neutrals. You’ll find white, black and every shade of grey in my home. I usually let any vibrant colour come from natural materials.

2. Where is you favourite place to display a terrarium?

I like to display my terrariums all around the house, but my favourite spot is usually a few feet from a window, close to where I can sit and investigate the miniature environment.

 

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3. What should someone NEVER put inside their terrarium?

My first reaction to this question is TOO MUCH WATER! With the terrarium’s care aside, I am a purist and like to keep my terrariums filled with only natural materials, but if you’re into adding dinosaurs or wizards, who am I to stop you ; )

4. Do you sing to your plant? and if so what song?

Unfortunately, I’d probably need a choir to sing to all my plants, however, a sing-a-long to Wilson Pickett’s, Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You never hurts.

 

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5. Where is one of your best-loved places in Calgary?

I love the River Park off leash area at the bottom of 14th Street SW. It has a great landscape, excellent view of the Elbow river, the downtown skyline and of course, our dogs love it!

 

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Check out the website http://plant-online.net/  where you can view and purchase terrariums. If you’re in Calgary they can also be found at The Uncommons in Inglewood. Follow Plant on twitter @PlantTerrariums And on Facebook!

 

conclusion

I could see myself with a whole collection of these. I could be the crazy terrarium lady! No cuddling but WAY easier to care for then 20 cats!

Amazing Alberta Artist: Alex Janvier

Last month I was in Edmonton and had the opportunity to go to the Art Gallery of Alberta. I had never been and having seen and admired the outside of the building I was very excited to experience the inside.

There are 3 levels of galleries to explore and we decided to start at the top and work our way down. This turned out to be a very smart decision as the exhibit on the third floor was definitely my favourite and was where we spent the most time.

The Confusing Council Meeting – 1973 – http://www.alexjanvier.com

Alex Janvier is the artist and that’s also the name of the exhibit. It’s a survey of his 50 year artistic career. Over 90 works are drawn from public collections as well as the artists personal collection. It includes works on paper and canvases that date from the early 1960’s to 2012.

Untitled – 1986 – http://www.alexjanvier.com

There are early pieces taken from sketchbooks and other awe inspiring pieces on huge canvases. Organized by date, this exhibit lets the viewer follow Janviers development and see his style change and evolve. This aboriginal artist takes inspiration from his culture and nature as well as the political issues that effect him and the native peoples in Alberta.

Tab Letters – Life’s Scrabble Series – 1994 – http://www.alexjanvier.com

These works of art struck a cord in me. They are beautiful, flowing, and passionate. I would recommend a trip to the AGA if you can get there. the exhibit runs till August 19th 2012 and the pieces are more magnificent in person. Check out the Art Gallery of Alberta’s website for a more in depth write up and Alex Janvier’s website for more information.

http://www.youraga.ca/exhibit/alex-janvier  http://www.alexjanvier.com/

Dogrib – Northern Athabascan series – 1995 – http://www.alexjanvier.com

Blue Flag – 2003 – http://www.alexjanvier.com

Friday Night – 2006 – http://www.alexjanvier.com

Untitled – 2010 – http://www.alexjanvier.com

conclusion:

I’m always happy and humbled to learn more about my Province’s culture and the individuals who bring it to life.