Miniature Pet Paintings

09SeptScotlandCasscam 1015Every once in a while I get in to painting miniatures, as you may know.  I love the idea of having a small image of someone/thing you love that you can carry around with you.  Well, I painted a mini of my little buddy Mer looking grumpy.  I took it along with me to Scotland and it was an excellent totem and I think it brought us good luck, along with plenty of heather.

Later I decided to paint his friend at the time, Zeebee.  I thought that they would go along well with my pissed-off-settler portraits; Mer would be a grumpy settler and Zeebee would be nobly hopeful.

The Mer and Zeebee were a big hit, which prompted my aunt to request portraits of her furry family members too.



It was actually more of a struggle than I expected to paint at someone else’s request, and with a deadline!  I managed to finish them all and they were met with great pleasure.  The following are some process pictures and the final outcome.

IMG_20151014_163754552 IMG_20151007_160537461_HDR IMG_20151014_144401620_HDR IMG_20151108_155326102_HDR IMG_20151118_134403796 IMG_20151118_142644394





Weaving diamond pattern on four shaft loom

The Peterborough Handweavers and Spinners Guild have a fibre art challenge each year.  Mar19 386

This year, 2016, being the 60th Anniversary of the Guild, it was decided that the challenge would be “Diamonds”.

The challenge items are to be displayed at several events during the year, the first one being the Fibre Arts Show and Sale.  Of course I left it until about a week before the show, to decide what I was going to do.  I thought I would weave something with a diamond pattern.  With the help and encouragement of my daughter Cassie, I began the project.

First I made the warp.  I used a white cotton.  Because my loom isn’t built for uneven weaving, it was a bit of a challenge to get the weaving done.  I practiced with a couple of different yarns, in yellow shades,  that I had spun myself.

Then for my project … for the weft, I used a navy blue wool.  After a certain length… small rug size… I cut it off and hemmed the ends.  Then I could use this as my challenge item for the Fibre Arts Show & Sale.  Of course there was still quite a length of warp left so I used it up with a red wool weft.  For this rug, I left tassels on the ends.  They turned out quite nicely.  My cats loved them . . .







Lala’s Simple Shawl

08Aug2015 03808Aug2015 03607July18 122Cassie needed a project to use up the wool that she had spun using a drop spindle.  She had died it with Woad seeds.  We found a pattern on the internet for Lala’s Simple Shawl   lalasimpleshawl_eng-2 .  It is similar to the small shawls that we made before, but this shawl is much bigger and the pattern is a bit different.  I decided that I should make one too.  It seemed like a good way to use up some of the wool that I have spun and dyed.  I started out with a large ball of wool that had been dyed with onion skins.  Of course this ball ran out before the shawl was finished so I found another similar one.  It ended up that I had to use several different types and weights of wool with different intensities of onion skin dyes.

The finished sh08Aug2015 046awl has a striped look as each ball of wool was different.  I quite like the results.  The one picture shows Cassie wearing her blue shawl while working at Lang.  I thinkshe ran out of wool and had to spin more to finish.  Sammi also made her version of the shawl with wool that she purchased a while ago from Harrisville.  Of course she made hers in half the time it took me.  Candace has also started one with some lovely wool that she bought in Toronto.

08Aug2015 10108Aug2015 060

Paris Painting # 2

So I”m moving slowly, but I plan to do a bunch of paintings from various trips in my life. Here is my second from the trip to Paris with Candace. It is from a picture I took of a sad and lonely looking man on the brightly lit nighttime streets of Paris. I feel that it speaks of the loneliness of travel and the regular let-down of visiting places that were once lively with new ideas and human creativity, that are now just tourist traps.

Here it is, at least mostly done. You never know when I’ll change it up a bit… They guy I painted actually looks a little more hopeful than he should.  Maybe I will change it.


Bicycle refurbish at B!ke

Since living in Keene, I’ve had the dilemma of only having one bike, but often being in Peterborough while my bike is in Keene or vice versa. There’s so much enjoyment in cycling in and around the Peterborough area, but I also have the need to jump on my bike and burn some energy when at home. I also wanted to spend more time on my bicycle with my avid cyclist boyfriend, Hodge. We decided to undertake a full bicycle rebuild and found a couple sad-looking bikes online. We found this cute one and bought it for $35.00.

Beginning the deconstruction...
Beginning the deconstruction…

The first step was to take check the condition of the bike overall with the help of the awesome bike mechanics at B!ke. We made sure the seat post was moveable and not permanently bonded to the bike frame. Next was checking the quality of the tires. They needed to be replaced as they were original to the 1987 Supercycle. Then we moved on to truing the wheels by adjusting the spokes two at a time. This was likely the most time consuming part of the repair.

Lindseed oil for the spokes!
Lindseed oil for the spokes!



Wrapping the wheel to cover the spokes



Sealing the tape with a hot poker to make room for the air valve
















From there we cleaned the bearings in each of the hubs of the wheels, cleaned the bearings in the bottom bracket and replaced one broken bearing. imageimage



Then we replaced the cables and housing for the brakes and shifters.









We replaced the brake pads and the chain.imageimageimageimage We fine tuned the shifting and the brakes, and, finally re-wrapped the handlebars.  And voila! a new-to-me 1987 sweet two-toned Supercycle!

Mini Settler Portaits


This summer and the last two I have spent working at Lang Pioneer Village. Sometimes when working in a historic village, you take a selfie. Sometimes when you are going through the kindling bin you find a piece of wood that makes you think of a project. This year the bin had a bunch of pieces that had been the ends of cedar shingles. As I was collecting kindling, I came across some of these ends which told me that they needed to have mini portraits painted on them. I knew I had a pissed-off pioneer selfie from the year before, and I felt that this was a good place to start. IMG_20150614_175733592

After finishing, I added a frame made from a branch that had fallen from my friend, the silver maple. I split the branch and sawed it up i to appropriate pieces, hot glued them to my mini.image

Later, I decided that it would be a good idea to make a companion portrait. Curtis had been looking like a stern settler lately, so I found a picture of him from my cousin’s wedding and painted a Curtis to matchIMG_20150708_211256211image

I think that the Curtis turned out a little better. The mini me was the first mini portrait I had painted in a long time and that bit of practice made a big difference for the outcome of the Curtis as well as sped up the process. Both are wonky, but I think it gives them a certain charm…

2014 Summer Sunday Music Series

2014 Summer City Music Series

2014 Summer City Music SeriesI’m running with my theme of ‘Curation is Creation’ and posting my lineups from previous years for the next little while.  Since my primary creative outlet is booking music, I thought it would be nice to celebrate that here.

It’s not often that I reflect on my successes, and I’m really bad at self-promotion, so it’s something new I’m trying. I’m trying to focus more on the things I take pride in than the various mistakes and mishaps that have happened with the various events I’ve worked on.  But really, these lineups are my pride and joy; I take a lot of satisfaction from looking back and surprising myself by how much I still love most of the musical lineups I’ve created.

Over the past decade, there’s really only been a year or so that I haven’t been actively booking music, and I found that year really dissatisfying and stifling.  That’s why I recently incorporated my small company, Secret Frequency, as a non-profit;  I’ll be pursuing arts grants and sponsorships, and working towards doing more and more autonomous booking at venues of my choosing.  The artistic freedom to book bands that I think are the right ones is important to me, and important to my work as an artist and curator.

Last month, I shared my 2015 Music City Summer Series, which is now underway in the Distillery District; this is the 2014 Summer Sunday Music Series, which ran June – August last year.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I like alliteration and assonance an awful lot.

Led by powerful vocalist Tamar Ilana, VENTANAS weaves in and out of upbeat Bulgarian dance tunes, Greek, Turkish and Sephardic love songs, and heart-wrenching Flamenco dances, leading captive audiences through windows into other lands and cultures. Fox and The Moon

An indie-folk-acoustic made up of two acoustic guitars (Chris Blachford and Kim Wexler), a mandolin (Stella Green) and wonderful harmonies which have mesmerized audiences from their first song together.

I Escamilla

Quique Escamilla was born and raised to a family of six in the warm, tropical southern lands of the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Today, Quique Escamilla is multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and producer living in Toronto. Since his arrival in 2007, he has rapidly become a rising star on the Canadian music scene. In 2011, he was discovered by a CBC radio producer and has since become a favourite on popular CBC Toronto shows such as Here and Now, Metro Morning, Fresh Air and Big City Small World. He won a JUNO Award in 2015. 440

Eh440 is a mix of 5 people from 5 very different backgrounds and musical genres. Joe’s been a low bass singer his entire life, Luke’s an urban beatboxer, Janet identifies as a country/pop singer, Stacey’s soul/pop, and if that isn’t confusing enough, Mike’s even more of a musical chameleon who cites blues, folk, and “anything with a good groove” as his influences.Together they form “an unforgettable combination of crazy beatboxing, sassy rapping, killer harmonies, and fresh, urban, RnB-influenced compositions”. Payne

Part velvet, part gravel, Melissa Payne’s voice stands out – her playing on fiddle and guitar a demonstration in passion and graceful restraint, her songs stomp and holler like a heatbeat leaving audiences enthralled.

I Conway

SEAN CONWAY is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist currently residing in Peterborough, Ontario. An avid musical explorer, he effortlessly blurs the bridges between the classic sounds of 60’s-era country music, early Brit-pop and doo-wop rock n’ roll with his delicate eye for detail, all the while embracing his spontaneous nature as an entertainer and musician – constantly challenging himself as an artist and performer. Newland

“His songwriting—which celebrates the basic, small-town, homey pleasures of things like bare feet on a gravel road, strawberry season, and autumn leaves—while universal, is precise and beautifully integrated into the music in a way that seems inevitable.” – Barry Hammond, Penguin Eggs

http://clairemorrison.bandcamp.comClaire Morrison

Folk songwriter Claire Morrison was born where two rivers meet, and makes music because she must. Spurred by a fierce devotion to beauty and tempered by sharp realism, hers are songs characterized by both light and dark, sweetness and melancholy. Breaking onto the scene in 2010 with Winnipeg-based duo Fire & Smoke, the 22-year-old poet delivers haunting solo numbers with fearless intimacy. Her rich, resonant voice can take you away and bring you home, her words can cut you deep and lift you up. Whatever the case may be, this Manitoban songstress offers up spare, stormy folk with a lot of heart. Jane Scouten

A traditionalist at heart, Sarah Jane shows her signature flair for the roots of roots music, ranging from Western-swing, honky-tonk, Cajun and Appalachian string band music and a hint of the Maritimes. With respect for these roots, she writes from her own perspective, rather than taking on a persona or copying a style, and only writes about what she knows profoundly. Schmitt and Her Special Powers

Kristine’s songwriting somehow manages to sound both vintage and immediate. Brand-new tunes with an old-time urgency, you’re never quite sure if what you’re hearing was written last week or whether it’s a tune that’s been around the block a few times.

Quick Post–Another Fox Present for Candace

Just a quick post, as Candace informs me that it’s my week.  I01Jan09casscam 033 painted this little guy up for Candace for Christmas.  I knew that I wanted to paint something for her and foxes are a theme we’ve been going with for her.  I searched online for a photo of a fox I might paint from and found a sweet little sleeping fox.  This is how it looked after one night’s painting.  I wanted to leave the background, but of course white paint mysteriously showed up on the edge.



01Jan09 115I added a simple background and a little more detail…



imageLater Candace had it framed.

2015 Music City Summer Series

2015 Music City Summer Series

2015 Music City Summer SeriesI’ve been a music booker for a long time – about half of my life – and I’ve always considered booking music an art.  When I work on a festival or music series, it uses up all of my creative energy in the same way that writing or acting does; it satisfies my drive to create in the same way.

I never really had the right words to describe it to people until someone – I can’t remember if it was Elizabeth Fennel or Fynn Leitch – said something in an online conversation that really resonated with me: “Curation is Creation.” In those three neat words so much of what I do as a booker is explained.

I’m not someone who likes booking a big headliner to end the show – I like a lineup that works like a long mixed tape, building a feeling, shaping a mood.  I believe that music can bring together a community, can create intergenerational and cross-cultural conversations and places.  I can and do book ticketed shows, but my preference leans heavily towards free shows in outdoor venues. ((Though I’m sometimes conflicted about that, as I think audiences should understand that art costs money.))

I love giving emerging artists an opportunity; I love introducing audiences to artists or sounds that they’ve never heard before. I love working with artists who are professional and pleasant, and I take care to book acts that will treat my crew, audiences, staff, and volunteers with respect.

The lineup for my weekly Music City Summer Series is something I’m very proud of; the brief was to book a series that spoke to the multiple distinct demographics of the Distillery District, and brought Roots/Country/Folk in counterpoint to the huge amount of Jazz and Latin American/Caribbean programming that we’ve got on throughout the rest of the Summer.

These are acts that, aside from being wonderful and very skilled, I also think are lovely people; it gives me a little thrill of pleasure to see the whole lineup laid out as it is below. So here it is, The Distillery District’s Music City Summer Series, 2015:

Music City Summer Series 2015 - The Double CutsThe Double Cuts
Wednesday June 3, 2015
Toronto’s most genial Western Swing band The Double Cuts draw from a timeless repertoire that sets audiences smiling and ready to dance.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Dirty DishesDirty Dishes
Wednesday June 10, 2015
Bringing a shine to every venue with their beautiful harmonies and extraordinary energy, The Dirty dishes have been touring the country breaking hearts and soothing souls at festivals and events throughout Canada.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  The Boxcar BoysThe Boxcar Boys

Wednesday June 17, 2015, 6pm
Delivering a veritable gumbo of old-style jazz and folk music, The Boxcar Boys are a joyous acoustic celebration guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Suzie VinnickSuzie Vinnick
Wednesday June 24, 2015, 6pm
When Saskatoon native and Folk/Jazz/Blues artist Suzie Vinnick takes the stage, she takes it from the footlights to the rafters and owns it. Her powerful presence and skillful playing has left a lasting impression on audience across the country.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Kristine Schmitt and the Lonesome Ace StringbandKristine Schmitt and the Lonesome Ace Stringband 
Wednesday July 1, 2015, 6pm
Kristine Schmitt is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter, specializing in material both drawn from and influenced by music from the early part of the twentieth century. Whether it’s a fifties country ballad, an old mountain tune, a salty twenties blues number, a swinging thirties jazz tune, or belting out one of her own, you’d better hang on tight!

Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Red Moon RoadRed Moon Road
Wednesday July 8, 2015, 6pm
Born in a storm on a wild Canadian lake, Canada’s most energetic and endearing folk trio brings masterful storytelling and a lush and lively take on modern roots music.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Miranda MulhollandMiranda Mulholland
Wednesday July 29, 2015, 6pm

Canadian virtuoso fiddler and singer Miranda Mulholland’s music has a subtle power and distinctive personality. Mixing Jazz, Folk, and Roots music seamlessly, she thrives on diversity. a member of Great Lakes Swimmers and Belle Star, her solo work reflects her skill and experience, bringing her own unique style to the fore.

Music City Summer Series 2015 -  The Young NovelistsThe Young Novelists

Wednesday August 5, 2015, 6pm
Through their rich-but-rustic sound, Toronto Roots/Rock outfit The Young Novelists deliver raw but elegant instrumentation and stacked, multi-layered harmonies.

Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Kaia KaterKaia Kater

Wednesday August 12, 2015, 6pm
An eclectic traditionalist, Kaia Kater offers a unique take on Appalachian and Canadian traditional music through banjo and voice.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Melissa PayneMelissa Payne
Wednesday August 19, 2015, 6pm
Part velvet, part gravel, Melissa Payne’s voice stands out – her playing on fiddle and guitar a demonstration in passion and graceful restraint, her songs stomp and holler like a heatbeat leaving audiences enthralled.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Patrick BrealeyPatrick Brealey 
Wednesday August 26, 2015, 6pm
Blending Folk, Country, and Blues, Patrick Brealey is filled to the brim with swagger, tenderness, and charisma. Whether through his clever songwriting or quick sense of humour, he captivates crowds wherever he performs.