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handmade nation

handmade nation

listen up vancouverites:  handmade nation is coming to town! check out the western canada premier of this fantastic, and often sold out film thursday july 9th @ the rio on broadway. seriously peeps, this is an event not to be missed.  a craftivist convergence.

the doc tells the stories of a whole bunch of cool cats, including houston’s clandestine crew, knitta.  heart. them.

assuming my words may not be enough for you, check out this plug:

“Tagged as the ‘Ambassador of Handmade,’  Faythe Levine has traveled 19,000 miles to document what has emerged as a marriage between historical technique, punk culture, and the D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) ethos.” –Raincoast Books.

get your tix now.  did i mention the 14-artist craft showcase?  and if you bring your own DIY treasure photobooth will snap your pic and post it on flickr. i mean really.  so good.

DIY renegades

renegade craft fairchicago + 2003 + craftivist convergence = birth of the renegade craft fair. now in its 6th year, this rock star of do-it-yourself events is one that has risen to the top of my must-experience list.   having just missed the Brooklyn gathering (*so sad*), the next possibility is July 18 & 19th in San Francisco.

crafters. they are just so cool.

city of glass

georgia viaduct

georgia viaduct

i love my city. it’s big and busy and noisy and growing like gangbusters (even in the midst of what is apparently a global recession).  these factors don’t lend themselves well to a lot of things that are important to me – like affordable places to live for everyone – but they have certainly played a role in the growth of the arts and culture scene.

as a pretty peripheral scene-type gal myself, my total go-to source is definitely Chalked Up.  the mag is fab for music, arts, food, and general indie anything.  it also act as a great aggregator of a bunch of other cool sites and even has an interactive venue guide of the city.  what else do you need to kick off another incredible west coast weekend?

taking the plunge

IMG_2140

turkish drop spindle

a few weeks back i took the big plunge. i learned to spin my own wool.  well, to be clear, i started the process of learning to spin my own wool.  and friends, it’s harder than it looks.

i learned on a turkish drop spindle my best friend gave me.  i love the simplicity of its design and practicality of its use.  and the wood is delicious too.  it was made 30 km from where it was bought,  as all things should be, really.

the drop spindle class was held at my favourite vancouver wool shop, three bags full. I can’t walk into that place without walking out lighter in bills and heavier in fiber.  my plan B is to open a shop of my own one day.  or maybe it’s simply my escape fantasy of choice right now.  hard call.

this past weekend my bf ramped up all things wool and loaned me her spinning wheel. spinning wheel talk about upping the anty.  i’m a- gunna need to spend some *serious* time trying to tame that little princess.   since re-assembling said wheel, i have been nosing around the the old you-tube which has saved my knitting ass more times than i can count.  so far i think i have the basics down.  now i just have to step into the ring with the band of roving crazies they call “spinners.”

Speaking of you tube, check this out for the best interview with a spinner – by a tween – ever.

Be_liveone of the very cool gifts of urban life is street art. discovering new pieces in random locations resonates with me on a bunch of fundamental levels. super creative people making the city their own, sharing it with the rest of us if we are conscious enough to notice.  everything from stickers to graffiti to stencil to paper and on… the act of civil disobedience inherent to the process of bringing (uncommissioned) street art to life.

VPL container

the dark

i definitely have my favs.  i can’t get enough of the paper roll ups which were around more last summer than now. anyone remember the boys with scooter heads on the abbott side of the woodwards site?  my fave was the old man who showed up on the back of the wooded side of 1000 parker.  i am not certain, but i think it was the work of the dark. i love that guy’s stuff. genius. unfortunately, all the pics i had of that time were destroyed recently, but here is a shot of the dark’s commissioned work this winter at the VPL.

lately it has been all about office supplies incorporated.  OSI is totally on a poster bender.  feels like i can’t turn a corner without finding another gem.  the latest was down on alexander, though my crappy blackberry camera refused to capture that particular photo, here’s one from just off main & 8th:

office supplies incorporated

office supplies incorporated

OSI was also generous enough to donate some fantastic pieces to the ‘It’s Yours Take It! free street art event at the Vancouver Art Gallery a few weeks back.  IYTI! was conceived in 2008 in the spirit of creating art and sharing it with others in a spontaneous way.  how freaking fantastic is that?  the flash mob of street art.  having taken place in cities like chicago, belfast and sao paulo, the organizers are already working on the next vancouver event set for august.  The theme is going to be re-used and recyle (trash to treasure).  can’t wait.

hampster wheel

yesterday was election day in my fine province.  i had no real hopes that things were going to change radically. this is rather ironic considering an essential part of my job was to attempt to influence the outcome.  the depth of our 2-party partisan wedge First Past The Post system makes it almost impossible to imagine anything other than a hamster wheel configuration.

the thing is – we are the ones to blame.  the cogs, the people, the complacent, lethargic citizens who fear change and love to be spoon fed our opinions and beliefs, hold the critical analysis and self reflection please.  i know i sound bitter, but i guess i really am.

i woke up this morning to a world that is essentially the same as the day before.  only 48% of eligible voters even bothered to cast ballots. so much $ and time and energy put into a process that may see a turn over in faces, but politically it is the same moonscape as far as the eye can see.  and the future?  it ain’t so bright, friends.  not for healthcare, not for housing or the homeless, not for education or childcare – and certainly not for folks who are living in poverty and had hoped they may one day be paid a living wage to do the work we all take for granted each and every day.

being engaged in the political has for a long time been part of my own creative outlet.  It is something i will likely never stop doing.  but i got to say, not sure i am down with propping up the status quo one more second.  blech.  moments like these make me desperately want to exit stage left.  to quote the brilliance of metric, “burn out stars, they shine so bright.”

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stories

in my mind, the purpose of grad school was to learn more about the world i lived in in order to be more affective in the process of changing it.  i had all sorts of weird ideas for thesis work, none of which seemed to fit with any of my professor’s interests or research.  eventually i was nabbed by the crazy radical planning professor whose prestige had been built on collecting people’s stories.  stories of their experiences in their cities and communities, in their politics, in their identities, class, race, gender and in the intersections therein.

pump house workersi really dig people’s stories.  i didn’t dig so much that my thesis advisor had built her personal wealth compiling her student’s and friend’s personal tales and publishing said compilation under  her name…. but  i suppose i am just as guilty,  her books provided an inspiring read. Continue Reading »