Posts from January 2020

all weather

January 24, 2020

Back in the Autumn, with Winter looming, I started to think about winter activities that would make the season more bearable. Should I take skating lessons, get into cross country skiing, buy snowshoes? One of the lifeguards at my local pool swims in lake Ontario all year around. That I’d never do. But I admire his sense of adventure. Passion. Discipline. I admire people, so passionate about something, that they’d endure any weather for it. And who find a way to embrace the elements, and weave them into what makes the activity fun, challenging and unpredictable. Variations in weather keep the activity fresh and exciting. I admire people who make the most of Winter. I’m still searching for my version of the lake swim. I used to run in any weather. And maybe one day I’ll return to it. In the meantime, I bought a pair of cheap salopettes. So, at least I’m warm as I walk the city’s snow-covered streets.

sand dollar

January 23, 2020

Sand dollars are so beautiful. I remember diving for them as a little girl in Bermuda. Sand dollars and sea cucumbers! It’s extremely rare to find an intact sand dollar washed up on the beach. We brought back several fragments from our recent visit to Anna Maria Island, but it’s a dream of mine to find a whole one. In the meantime, I am dreaming of this chaise, which looks decidedly like a piece of a sand dollar.


January 22, 2020

I am a collector of quotes, I have been for as long as I can remember. I used to scribble lines from poems, books and films in all my diaries. “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” was a favourite in my teen years. Gooey, I know. Then came the intellectuals. The big thinkers. Sophocles. Anaïs Nin. Rumi. I’d scribble their wisdoms on scraps of paper, with nowhere near the maturity required to grasp their meaning. These days, I’m more likely to quote Ellen than Sartre. And when I see a quote I like, I’ll still scribble it down. Atticus seems to be following me, or maybe I am following Atticus. And this Hemingway wisdom is a lovely reminder. “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”


January 21, 2020

Colleen Leach’s ‘lady faces’ are just charming. There’s a splash of Matisse, and a sprinkle of Klee in so many of them. I especially love Leach’s painted bowls; I see them filled with nests of Carbonara. They’d look equally fabulous lined up on a kitchen wall, watching over the cook as she tosses in the cheese.

screen time

January 20, 2020

I love going out for dinner with a friend. French fries. A Cabernet. Three, four hours of uninterrupted, juicy conversation. Equally, I love not going out for dinner. And not talking. Sometimes, movie dates, are the perfect date. Yesterday, my friend Maryam and I whizzed over to the cinema for an impromptu, late morning screening of the Susan Sontag documentary. We grabbed teas, (popcorn for me) and had five minutes to natter before the trailers kicked in. During the film, we giggled at all the same moments. A little dog yapping in the audience was one such moment. As we walked out into the crisp, cold daylight, richer, fuller and more educated for having seen the film, we threw some first impressions at one another. And then minutes later, parted ways. Sometimes, it’s nice not to talk. Sometimes, it’s nice to share an experience that takes us away from everyday life. A yoga class. A concert. A walk through a museum. An hour or two of one’s day. Where the focus isn’t on each other’s faces. But rather some other face, on a screen, on a canvas, in the sky.

personal statement

January 17, 2020

I spent the morning editing bios for an upcoming ceramics show I am participating in next weekend. What I found interesting, was the sheer variety of titles participant’s used to describe themselves. Some identified as artists, while others preferred potter. There were ceramic artists, ceramicists, craftspeople, designers, artisans and makers. It got me thinking about the much-theorized topic of what constitutes an artist, and whether a metalsmith, potter or pâtissier, can be considered one. I usually refer to myself as a writer and a potter. I’m ok with potter, in fact, I think it sounds charming and nostalgic. But I understand that for a lot of people, it rings lowly and old fashioned. Pottery is functional. Ceramics is art. That’s the distinction many people make. The word art comes from a root that means to “join” or “fit together” I read today. So arguably, anyone who makes or crafts things is an artist. How we choose to identify ourselves is personal to the individual, (training, credentials, years-under-your-belt, all inform one’s choice) and it just so happens that we’re alive at time where definitions and perceptions are more flexible than ever. I say, call yourself whatever rings true to you. Which judging by the diversity of personal statements I read today, is what people are choosing to do.

country kitchen

January 16, 2020

I like the earthy tones of this kitchen, the various shades of wood, and sand. The farmhouse sink is a lovely nude colour, so much more subtle and interesting than white. And that Lacanche oven! It’s all so rustic and warm, and yet modern. I imagine galettes and hearty stews being made in this kitchen. Served on ultra-minimal plates, of course.


January 15, 2020

I fell upon the beautiful work of ceramicist, Yasha Butler today. Each piece is made from coils, and has a look that is both minimal and ancient. The glazes make her large organic vessels look as though they sprung from the ground, after years of being buried there. And the forms, ultra fine and delicate, are decidedly modern. With their uneven edges, and sandy tones, Butler’s plates bring a sense of calm and contentment to the table.

scarf face

January 15, 2020

The bonkers thing is, that even though it’s mid-January, we could all get away with a silk scarf in lieu of a woolly hat right now. It’s a lovely, classic look, that most of us are reluctant to experiment with, lest we look like an old biddy. Let’s all channel Elizabeth this week! Bring back the carré.


January 14, 2020

I’m not wild about orchids, but in the winter months, I’m drawn to their longevity. I can pick up a plant at my local flower shop that with a little water and direct sun, will bloom for us for months. Brassavola orchids, the ones with white or greenish flowers, are my favourites. Orchids are epiphytes –– plants that grow on other plants without harming them –– and I find this twist in nature so intriguing. Our nanny, Marilyn was telling me about her Filipino mother’s love of orchids today. She’s cared for the same two dozen orchids for almost a decade. “She plants them in the husk of a coconut, and hangs them from the branches of the tree in her garden.” After a while, the orchids discard the husks. They’ve tethered themselves to the tree’s branches. Marilyn took our orchid home today. It had dropped its flowers, and she was interested to see whether she could get it to flower again. A personal winter challenge, she said. An homage to her Mum. In the meantime, I stopped into my local flower shop and bought a small plant, with five delicate flowers on it.

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