Posts from May 2023


May 31, 2023

My studio friend, Amy lent me her sharpener today. It’s an excellent sharpener. And now all my pencils have lovely conical points. They’ve been dull for weeks, and I’ve made do. But working with a sharpened pencil makes the world of difference. I’m not sure why I do that, why I work with blunt pencils and paint brushes with splayed out bristles, why I let my tools get so rundown before I tend to them. Are they a sign of my hard work or laziness? I know the work is easier and yields better results when my tools are in shipshape, so why the neglect? And it’s not just in the studio. At home, my toothbrush has to look like wheat in a windstorm before I replace it. Here is what I know. A sharper pencil means greater control and a smoother finish. So, I’m getting myself a really good sharpener. As my favourite handman, Rawlie once said while painting our old wooden staircase white; “the work is only as good as your tools.”


May 29, 2023

It’s May, when concrete streets are coated in petals. Wisteria. Wild Crab Apple blossoms. Tiny white Spirea flowers. How often do we have the privilege of walking on flower petals? This morning’s gust of intense wind whipped up every chestnut flower in sight. As my children and I stood at the intersection of Dupont and Davenport, it literally felt like it was raining petals. I resisted the urge to pull out my phone and video the whole wild scene. Some things are better experienced with the eyes. Here’s the Horse Chestnut Tree through Van Gogh’s eyes.

light me up

May 29, 2023

I can’t remember the last time I saw a more fabulous way to light up a room. Made from papiermâché, Annie Strachan’s line of zany lamps are packed with personality. In groups, the lamps appear to be in conversation, like a gathering of brilliant and eccentric friends. I’m not sure that I could choose just one.

tree tops

May 29, 2023

I love these marble trees by British stone and granite sculptor, Michael Disley. No two trees are the same, and each one is carved from a different type of marble sourced from around the world. There’s a pear tree crafted from Italian Green Marble and a beautiful Oak with the inscription, “whenever you look up there I shall be.” I’m drawn to the simplicity of form and carving. The real beauty is in the material itself. And Disley’s trees are a celebration of that.


May 27, 2023

My dad owned a sky blue 1973 BMW that is by far the coolest car I’ve ever ridden in. I came home from the hospital in it, and so did my older brother. Our half siblings all came home in the same sky blue Beemer. I have a vivid memory of sitting in the backseat of the car with my new born baby brother in my arms. I was twelve. No car seat required in early 90s London. My Dad and stepmother were in the front seats and Tina Turner’s The Best (Live in Barcelona) was playing on the tape machine. I was there when he was born in the early hours of a Sunday morning after a curry dinner and mad dash to the hospital. And I was there when he came home, all squidgy and snail like. You’re simply the best, I remember thinking. Was he saying that to me, or me to him? When I heard about Tina, I thought about my little brother and I in the back of that Beemer. And David serenading Patrick, of course.


May 24, 2023

I’ve been making tulipieres for weeks now, in my head, at least. They’re an ornate vessel with multiple spouts that date back to the 1600’s. They were originally conceived as a a vase in which to grow tulips, a single bloom emerging from each spout. These days, the tulipiere offers endless possibilities for arranging any cut flower. The one I’m crafting in my head looks somewhat like the vintage one below, only it stands on a dainty pedestal and is painted in my signature blue stripes. I’ve made enough things in my mind to know they rarely look the same in real life. Eight small spouts? We shall see.


May 19, 2023

There are certain foods, baklava springs to mind, that several countries claim as their own. Armenia, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Syria, they all have variations of the syrup-ey, phyllo-ey dessert. As a child, I ate baklava the way American kids eat jello or Venezuelans eat Papitas de leche. We had as slice with every meal, three, four bites was always enough. And until recently, I’d never eaten Baklava as good as the baklava I eat in Greece. In April, my Bosnian friend, Ksenija hosted a beautiful fundraiser dinner for Turkish families affected by the earthquake and served a baklava made by her parents that was, and will forever be, the best I have tasted. I love that we are connected, among other things, by baklava. I love it when I visit my Turkish friend, Buket and she serves Dolma in her home, the same vine stuffed rice bites I grew up eating. My friend, Diana who’s Armenian, looks at our children, eyes as big as Kalamata olives, and says, “they all come from the same place.” It’s true, we do. And it’s the little things that remind us. A slice of Baklava, a taste so familiar, you could cry with every bite. Dolmades, just like you ate as a child. Eyes so big you could swim in them.

to mother, with love

May 12, 2023

It was the deep Ujjayi breath –– victorious –– that gave her away. Three flights of stairs is a lot for a pregnant woman in her home stretch. I took one look at my studio mate and felt nothing short of awe. It’s never not miraculous to me that women grow human beings inside their bodies. Earlobes, knee caps and brains with neurons and nerves and a hippocampus. The older my children get, the more miraculous it feels that they ever lived inside me. And it’s not just about scale. Yes, they wear sneakers the size of most newborns but it’s less about how big they are and more about how independent they are. “Teach your children to swim,” says the Torah. It’s what I’ve been attempting to do since birth, and not without great pain; teach my children to swim so that they can swim away from me. But what happens to the space inside our bodies that our babies once occupied? Do we channel that void into caring for them? Like limpets on a rock, they then spend the next several years glued to the outside of our bodies. Then what? Then begins the long, heart-wrenching, joyous journey, theirs and ours, toward separateness. In the beginning, we may not even realize it’s happening. Three, four, five wobbly steps across the kitchen floor; before we know it, they’re hopping on a train to Busan. If we’ve played our cards right, we’re on our own train to Cornwall. Or Talkeetna. But no matter how lightly we travel, we always carry a longing, a nostalgia, or what the Portuguese call, “saudade,” for what was once there. The baby that rolled around inside our belly. The child that spread out like a starfish on our back. My wrinkled naval and flaccid breasts are a reminder, as is the searing pain in my hip where all three children once perched. But the greatest reminder comes every time they swim away; what begins as a chasm gradually lessens in size to something so bearable that I almost forget it’s there. Until they swim away again.

flowers forever

May 9, 2023

For as long as I can remember, I’ve bought cut flowers. As luck would have it, I live in spitting distance of a mini garden centre that I count on for plump peonies in May, Dahlias the size of dinner plates in late August, and sunflowers and chrysanthemums in early autumn. All the classics. It’s rare not to find a tulip, or a sheath of gladioli at my kitchen table. I like to bring the outside in, plus a home can never, ever be too colourful. I was so taken with the delicate simplicity of Donald Sultan’s poppies, mimosas and camellias. I saw them, and couldn’t resist dashing to the end of the street for an armful of spring flowers.


May 3, 2023

To reach my new studio, I walk down St. George, past the food trucks and magnolia petals until I reach the bright, metallic blue sky that is the AGO. I then turn into Grange Park and find a young man chasing his Chihuahua while a a beautiful old woman hums and does Tai Chi. There’s a pale blue wrought iron gate with a pesky lock that I walk through to reach the front door of the old church rectory that on entrance smells like stale bread and paint. By the time I reach the attic, I’m a little our of breath. So much has happened between here and home. I’m very often the first one in and I relish the silence. After such a long stretch working at my kitchen table, I’d forgotten what a commute can bring about, a shift in mindset, an unfurling of ideas, a transition. It takes a minute to acclimate. I flick the light switch and turn the kettle on. As the water boils, I think to myself, what am I making today?

All rights reserved © La Parachute · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie