Archive for February, 2013

The Sketchbook Project 2013

Last July, my friend Pam invited me to an exhibition at the Gladstone Hotel.

As she explained the premise, my simple brain only heard:





The place was packed and there were people everywhere: standing in circles, gathered ’round tables, sitting on the floor.  All looking at sketchbooks.

Some books were clad in what I assumed was their original brown craft covers.  But there were plenty others.  One was thick and swaddled in periwinkle blue velvet.  Another was green and furry like a Muppet.


I have a 10-year old niece who loves glitter glue too.  I thought, she has to see this.


The Sketchbook Project, as I later learned it was called, is a traveling library of artists’ books created by thousands of people from all over the world.

And it was in Toronto for the one weekend only.


There were thousands of books, each different from the next.  I wanted to see them all.

I tried rapid check-outs, peeked over shoulders, talked with strangers, even sneaked a few quick flips through books in the box initially labelled “return books here” but with the later addition of “don’t touch please”.


We went on Friday and I brought my niece on the Sunday.  I remembered a few of my favourites* and checked them out again so she could see them.  She thought they were pretty cool.


On a lark, I asked her if she’d like to make one with me for next year’s tour.  She said yes!  So, we signed ourselves up and took home our brand-new, pristine sketchbook.

A label with both our names was printed on the back.  Her last name was cut short and it flicked off the tongue like a familiar nickname.  I watched her try it on for size.


The sketchbook came with its own sleeping bag.


For the following several months, we quietly and steadily worked away on our little project together.

In addition to our many “crafting” dates and field trips, we talked on the phone, we emailed, we FaceTime’d and discussed ideas.  It ended up being completely different from what we’d originally planned but I think we both learned to enjoy the process — and the surprise — of seeing the book slowly evolve and emerge.

Of course, neither of us had much skill, expertise or endurance to draw upon (she’s 10 and I’m a total amateur), so it definitely bears the clumsy marks of inexperience.

But in the end, we finished it and were pretty happy with it so that’s that.


One time, as we worked on the book, my niece said to me:

Wouldn’t it be cool to be in Brooklyn when the tour starts?

Yeah, it would be.

We should go.


I didn’t think we would go.

But as it happens, the tour starts on Friday.  And we are going to be there.


Pam also submitted a book.  It’s beautiful and she wrote a blog post about it here.


I didn’t take many in-progress shots but here are a few snaps I posted on Instagram:

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For those of you not in Brooklyn this weekend, don’t fret: the tour hits 7 other cities, including a return to the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, June 7 – 9, 2013.


*Speaking of favourites, one I loved was “bits and bobs” by Rachel Vater.  It tells a whimsical story entirely with cut-paper.  It’s in their digital library so you can see it here but the scans, unsurprisingly, don’t do it justice — it must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.




Last week, I had a chance to visit Barreworks — courtesy of one of my favourite clients, The Grid.



I’d already seen some gorgeous photos shot by my talented photographer friends, Raina + Wilson, so I was definitely keen to check it out.

The studios are bright and beautiful and everyone was smiling.  Meanwhile I’m crouching in the corner, taking photos, and feeling like a lazy sack of hammers (I haven’t worked out since never).

But I left feeling inspired!

Some travel is coming up (more on that soon) so now’s not exactly the time to start a new workout but, once we’re back, you’ll know where to find me (sweating in the corner, looking like a lazy sack of hammers).



The ethereal Pam Lostracco.

A week or so ago, I experienced a moment of synchronicity.

I’ve had this idea for a photo project floating around for awhile and, for whatever reason, now seems to be the perfect time to get started.  The idea, not to get it all crazy hyped-up or anything, is to take portraits of artists in their living and/or working spaces.  Very original, I know.  But whatever!

So, as I was wondering who I’d target ask first, my lovely friend Pam Lostracco came to mind.

She’s an artist/graphic designer/illustrator and lives in a sweet spot, just 5-minutes from mine.  Perfect.

Now.  This is the part where I check my phone and see that Pam just emailed.  She’s about to be profiled on this super cool website and would I mind writing a little paragraph about her?

Of course, I jumped at the chance because I:

(a) fancy myself to be a very accomplished wannabe writer, and

(b) would love to write something nice for someone nice.

Oh and since we’re talking, I’ve been thinking about starting this thing and how would she feel if I were to come over and take her portrait as well as some snaps around her home?  Oh em gee, she was already thinking of asking me!  Obviously there were plenty more exclamation marks in the ensuing rapid-fire exchange of emails but anyhow.

It was pretty cool.


Anyway, if you wanna see just one more reason why Toronto is Awesome, go on and check out their profile on my dear and talented friend Pam Lostracco.



Cocktail Wedding Receptions


I’ve been photographing weddings for (eek!!) over 12 years and of the many trends I’ve seen, one idea that I believe has real staying power is that of the cocktail party wedding reception.

For modern couples who want to break from the tradition of getting married earlier in the day and having a (some would say “inconvenient”) 3 or 4 hour break before the reception starts, it can be a great way to keep the flow of the day (and your party!) going.  Not only can you accommodate more guests if your venue has limited seating capacities (people take up less room standing up than they do sitting down), you also won’t have to worry about your out-of-town guests entertaining themselves at the local Tim’s all afternoon dressed in their finest evening wear.

The Wedding Co. (my local and favourite source for finding all those uber-talented wedding vendors in Toronto) wrote a blog post about cocktail-style wedding receptions, along with photos from Lindsay & Andrew’s cocktail-style wedding I shot at the Thompson Landry Gallery.  (Which, by the way, was a bangin’ party thanks to Husbo aka Greg of enjoi dj outfit.)

If a wedding cocktail party something you’re considering for your own wedding, head on over to The Wedding Co.’s blog to learn more.


Stef & Ian’s wedding on The Wedding Co. blog!



All this snow makes me want to do nothing but curl up into a tight bun and sleep until spring.

So, while sunlit fairies and butterflies dance in my dreams, let me direct you to the blog of our good friends, The Wedding Co.

My photos from Stef & Ian’s beautiful, sentimental & handcrafted wedding at The Waterstone Estates are online and you can read all about it here.







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