Break the Rules.

By all means

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The Importance of Artist Dates

In her book “The Artist’s Way”, Julia Cameron talks about the importance of going on artist dates once a week in order to develop your creative muscles. I’ve always believed in artist dates, but am often to busy or distracted to actually take the time to invest in them on a regular basis.

One of the best things I’ve done recently is to get a membership for the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema here in Toronto. It is one of the leading documentary cinemas in the world, and home to the Hot Docs festival every year.

Until these past few weeks, I had never really stopped to reflect on how much I enjoy watching documentary film, but since joining the Bloor Cinema I find myself wanting to see many deserving films. Since Boxing Day alone, I’ve seen three amazing films:

2014 Cannes Lion’s Awards – The World’s Best Commercials. If you ever have a chance to see these awards at your local movie theatre, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen the Cannes Lion’s Awards several years now, and they never disappoint. It’s always fascinating to see the sheer genius and creativity behind many of these commercials, especially the foreign ones.

National Gallery. Although a bit long at three hours, this was a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the famous London gallery. Here is the trailer:

And today, I went to see Hermitage Revealed. Shorter than the National Gallery doc at a mere 1.5 hours long, it was a beautiful look at the history and the art inside this St. Petersburg gallery. It was especially interesting to me because I had recently read a few historical fiction books about Catherine the Great, who built up her collection to an incredible (and slightly insane) level. Here is the trailer to the film:

Seeing these films has without a doubt been inspiring for me artistically and creatively. What do you do to stay creative? Do you go on artist dates?

Springtime Activities

How I felt on this beautiful spring day! (Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

How I felt on this beautiful spring day!
(Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

After an endlessly long and frigid winter, spring was finally in the air yesterday. It was perfect road-trip weather – sunny but not too hot – so I hopped in my car and made my way to Grimbsy, about an hour’s drive from Toronto. The town was hosting its annual Wayzgoose Bookarts Fair, this year being its 35th edition. For a book- and paper-lover like me, it was hard not to spend my entire paycheck on beautiful handmade paper, letterpressed cards and posters, bookbinding tools, handmade books, and so many other lovelies…thankfully I was a model of restraint and only bought sewing needles and a few cool notebooks.

My new friend Hannelore of Hannelore’s Story Works was a vendor at the fair – we met last December at the Movies and Makers show and instantly hit it off. As she and I looked around the room at other vendors, we noted that it was interesting that although we (and many other bookbinders) work with similar materials (recycled maps, vinyl record LPs, old postcards and book covers, Japanese papers), each of our handmade books come out looking completely different from anyone else’s – we each have our own distinctive style.

I also had the pleasure of meeting master bookbinder Don Taylor. I’d been debating whether or not to take a week-long bookbinding course that he’s teaching this summer, and after a chat with him about the various projects made as part of the course, I’ve decided to finally go ahead and register. Since the aforementioned course is being offered in New Brunswick (my home province), I get to stay with one of my closest friends and hang out with him for an entire week (this makes me very, very happy). Creative vacations are the best!

Here’s a great video of Don Taylor talking about the art of bookbinding and book restoration:

All these thoughts of spring, beautiful weather, road trips, and bookbinding have inspired me to make…what else…travel journals:

Accordion Travel Journal

Accordion Travel Journal

Accordion Travel Journal - Inserts and Envelopes

Accordion Travel Journal – Inserts and Envelopes

I’ve also been having lots of fun working with spring colours in my art journal (you may remember it from this post). These are a few blank pages I’ve prepared ahead of time with acrylic paint, collaged papers and washi tape, so that I can simply add text the moment I feel inspired:

Art Journal - Prepped Pages

Art Journal – Prepped Pages

By the way, if you’re feeling inspired to learn bookbinding techniques – there are a few spots left in the Coptic-binding workshop I’ll be teaching on May 4! For more info and to register, visit wisedaughters.com/workshops.

A Few Things I Discovered This Week

1. Gin + tonic flavoured marshmallows are pretty darn yummy (even if they really taste like lime marshmallows).

2. Nadège Pâtisserie makes the most adorable and treats ever invented (see item #1). Here’s further proof:

Nadège Pâtisserie - Le Marie Antoinette

Nadège Pâtisserie – Le Marie Antoinette

Those macarons were about the size of a quarter. Seriously.

3. I love oysters – the raw kind! – after an amazing meal at Oyster Boy. For years and years I resisted eating oysters because I had a not-so-great experience 15 or so years ago. Not anymore. Bring. Them. On.

4. Watching live, professional basketball games is so much fun – who knew? After seeing the Toronto Raptors vs. Detroit Pistons game on Monday night, I am hooked. This is a sport that I could totally get into. Definitely.

Raptors vs. Pistons action

Raptors vs. Pistons action

5. Being a brunette isn’t so bad. It’s definitely an adjustment from being a blonde my entire life, but I’m kinda liking it:

The not-blonde me

The not-blonde me

Did you discover anything new this week?

This Week in Review

Reading… Recently finished reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (it’s like Harry Potter for adults) and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. Both fantastic reads – highly recommended. I’m now onto slightly easier reading: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Not exactly fine literature, but entertaining nonetheless. Scottish warriors – need I say more?

Listening to… Lots of music in French – it’s nice to go back to my roots. The music site 8tracks allows you to stream playlists that others have put together, and I’ve discovered lots of great music this way. One of my favourite playlists was created by…Nikki Yanofski, of all people. She’s compiled a list of her favourite French songs, and they’re all pretty awesome. Have a listen here.

Watching… Flight of the Conchords’ newest endeavour: a song they wrote to raise funds for a sick kids charity in NZ. They interviewed kids to get ideas for song lyrics (with brilliant results), and even reunited with Murray for a band meeting. My heart is so happy to see them together again.

Discovering… This great blog called 5 Things To Do Today. Appeals to the incurable list-maker in me, and tons of great ideas to boot. Very inspiring.

Learning… About emotional intelligence. I’ve been on two separate courses on EI this summer, which have helped me become increasingly self-aware of my emotions and how I react to people and situations. I definitely want to keep exploring this topic more deeply and meaningfully.

Loving… The fantastic new haircut I got last night. I feel like a million bucks.

Hating… The lingering hot and humid days – I want fall to be here NOW!

Feeling… Excited about a night out with friends tonight. It will include Bridesmaids (the movie), a tasty meal, cupcakes, and copious amounts of wine. It’s all good.

Wishing… I didn’t have to clean my loft this weekend, but it’s quite filthy. I know I’ll feel better afterwards, though…

What have you been up to this week?