factory made

August 3, 2020

I am wild about this sculpture by Anton Alvarez. He created it using a sculpture-making machine that he invented himself. “Alvarez questions the role of the artist in the creative process and allows his machine to take artistic control.” Beautifully tactile, his “alphabet aerobics,” as the series is called, sort of reminds me of a marshmallow twist. A machine for making art. What would Willy Wonka say?


August 1, 2020

I’ve not counted the days. I just know it’s been a long time. Today, I popped into the studio to pick up some things, and I took a look at my shelf. On it, were all the things I was working on in March, as well as a few bowls my Mum had made on her last visit. My Mum’s bowls were wrapped in newspaper and plastic, just as she had left them. Who could have imagined that that day –– her pinching away at a pot, me painting blue lines on an oval vase, tea from the cafe next door –– would be my last day there in months. I felt a small surge of emotion; sadness, because I haven’t seen my Mum in so long, and because I likely won’t see her for some time to come. And gratitude, because we were fortunate to have the time that we did, both in Toronto, and later, on the Gulf. There was comfort in seeing her vessels perched alongside mine. Throughout this whole time, we’ve both found freedom and respite in clay, she at her kitchen table, me at mine. A shared passion on both sides of the Atlantic. That’s been lovely. Every few days, she sends me a photo of something she’s made –– something she’s proud of, something that’s cracked or a vessel that’s gone awry. She’s not fired a single thing in months. And yet, she persists. Here is her outdoor table, on her terrace in the mountains. Those wisps in the top left are her grey hair.


July 31, 2020

This moving film, directed by Jan Vrhovnik and shot on Italy’s Mediterranean coast, is steeped in nostalgia. We meet Giovanni Mancusou, a simple Calabrian man, and travel around in his Fiat Panda as he picks up fresh fish from the local port, and tomatoes off the vegetable truck. He sings and smokes, swats flies and shells beans in his hillside home. “I wish you’d appreciate the small things which we take for granted,” he says. “Because they are small, we may don’t see them. So, if you don’t see them, we are not going to appreciate it.” The film ends with a simple, yet beautiful al fresco dinner –– with five friends eating pasta, tomatoes, sausages and olives at sunset.


July 31, 2020

What a delicious thought; mounds of plump strawberries, fresh basil and melt-in-your-mouth Burrata. I’m not sure what else one needs out of summer meal. Maybe a crunchy, white baguette to scoop it all up with. Think of it as the savoury version of strawberries and cream.

green stripe

July 30, 2020

I came across this painting today by Russian artist, Olga Rozanova and I was drawn to its elegant simplicity. It amazes me that someone can create something so compelling out of a line and two colours. This painting made me think of a plaque on a tree near my children’s school that reads, “where the grey light meets the green air.” Where the grey light meets the green air; coming up for air after a period of challenge. There’s something in this fresh, green line that echoes the hopefulness of those words.

pool party

July 28, 2020

I’m not gonna lie –– I have more than a little envy for people with pools. I’d be swimming lengths daily if I had one. And floating around on a lilo at sundown. Along with my tome on loos, I could happily write one on pools. I’ve studied them enough. My dream is single lane, Olympian in length, and tiled in a Majorelle blue. Salt water, of course.


July 27, 2020

Of all the elegant trees at the nursery, it was a stout Gingko Dwarf that I came away with. It was Angie‘s idea. Angie has worked at the nursery for 25-years, and her enthusiasm for the little Gingko won me over. “See, I’m covered in goosebumps.” “Me, too.” I responded. Enthusiasm really is contagious. Angie had long acrylic talons, lots of tattoos and her skin was the colour of caramel. “I’m out here every single day. Here, or on my boat.” The tree was a gift for our landlady, who is as passionate about plants as Angie is. Yuen wrote to us last week to say that the tree is happily planted in her garden. With so many good memories of that home, it makes me happy to know that we have a permanent place in it. Good luck, little Gingko –– grow strong.

under the sea

July 24, 2020

I find Kurt Arrigo‘s underwater images quite mesmerizing. “From the Mediterranean to the Galapagos, to the Himalayas, remote South Pacific, and icy waters of Norway, Kurt’s majestic images capture the world’s natural beauty from above and below the ocean’s surface,” reads his bio. I love his images of whales and deep sea divers, but it’s the sea horses that took my breath away. There’s something mythical, otherworldly about them.


July 23, 2020

I came across this illustration today by French artist, George Barbier today and it made me wistful for lake life. On these very hot days, I like to imagine myself swimming like a trout in an ice cold lake. One of our favourite summer day trips is to the bluffs in Prince Edward County. The beach is all rocks and driftwood, and the water is bright blue, and invigoratingly cold. Very often, we’re the only people on the beach. We’ll get there this summer, I’m sure.


July 22, 2020

Just look at these charming, little baskets of berries. Have you ever seen a prettier display of fruit? The pastry looks like it’s woven from willow. The image is from a croissanterie in Melbourne, Australia. According to the New York Times, Lune makes the best croissants in the world. In Toronto, Pain Perdu makes perfect croissants. A guest brought us a box of them today. I’ve always had a soft spot for the croissants from Harbord Bakery, even though they’re not nearly flaky enough to be French. I love to slather salty butter on a warm croissant, you know, for buere on buere.

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