Friday, December 19, 2008

Wise Words

Text written on the first page of my agenda from 2006:

What's the biggest obstacle you've overcome in your life?

"Feeling that I ought to be doing something very important all the time. To feel that way is a source of energy, but the difficulty it presents is that it leads you to undervalue the time when you're apparently doing nothing. That kind of time is equally important in that it's a kind of dream time that allows things to get sorted out and re-shelved."

-Brian Eno

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dirge II

Here are some pictures of the Dirge II installation at League of Lovers and Thieves, taken late yesterday night. The installation is a part of this year's incredible City of Craft programming. City of Craft is happening tomorrow from 12-8pm at the Theatre Centre, so do come out if you can! Otherwise, my installation will be up until mid-afternoon Sunday, so if you haven't already checked it out, scoot over tomorrow at some point...

For more info on City of Craft, click here.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wangechi Mutu

Wangechi Mutu on the weight of beauty, from a recent interview in Border Crossings magazine:

"...But we would have discussions about art (at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art) and one of the worst words you could say in class was 'beautiful.' What in heaven's name is wrong with the word and why do people get a rash whenever they hear 'beauty' or 'beautiful'? I went from questioning to resenting why no one was willing to discuss why we wouldn't utter the word. I believe the reason is because beauty was actually available to them, their culture decides for the whole world what is beautiful, how beauty should evolve, where it begins and ends. So they were rebelling against the very thing that protected them. They didn't want to use the term beauty because they owned it."

"Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.”

For more, see here.

City of Craft

Only one week away! Here are the full details:


Come forth crafty citizens to City of Craft 2008 - an innovative craft culture event where craft shoppers & makers come together to celebrate the handmade spirit. No ordinary craft fair, City of Craft 2008 features free workshops, craft-based installations, and outreach by community arts groups & studios, all alongside a curated craft fair of modern handmade goods.


WHAT: City of Craft 2008
WHO: 50+ craft vendors, community groups, installation artists, workshop leaders & satellite participants
WHEN: Saturday December 13, 2008, noon-8pm
WHERE: Theatre Centre, located at 1087 Queen Street West at Dovercourt

Some show highlights to get you excited:

*FREE STUFF ALERT: the first one hundred visitors will receive swag bags printed by Studio XIX filled with coupons for the show, plus fantastic goodies from indie publications and local & international craft artists.
*AWESOME STUFF ALERT: Check out amazing handmade goods on offer by more than 40 talented makers:
*NEIGHBOURHOOD CRAFT CRAWL: City of Craft takes to the streets with crafty programming in local businesses and galleries. (Those of you with a sweet tooth should not miss out on cupcake decorating & knitting activities at the Knit Café.)
*CRAFTY-COOL INSTALLATIONS: Stop by the window of League of Lovers and Thieves to check out Tara Bursey's installation of hundreds or origami shoes made with tea bags, or have a Victorian silhouette portrait taken by Danijela Photography, featuring a papercut frame by artist Li Sui. Get lost in a landscape of fibre, photography and sound by Lynn Harrigan, Scott M2 and dreamSTATE.
*MAKE YOUR OWN HANDMADE GIFTS (FREE!): Workshops include origami star books by the Paper Place, fabric covered magnet sets by The Workroom, recycled felt ornaments by Mr. Sköna, and screen printed cards by Kid Icarus.
*AFTERNOON TEA: Eat treats from Yummy Stuff & sip tea by Tealish between 2-4pm

So there you have it, there is really no better place to be on December 13th, 2008.

Visit the show website at which is being continually updated with more details.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dirge II

My installation for City of Craft! Be sure to check it out!

an installation by Tara Bursey
at League of Lovers and Theives

1156 Queen Street West

December 6-13, 2008.
A part of City of Craft 2008.

is part of a body of work originally inspired by the idea of the Chinese bound foot shoe as a metaphor for the ways individuals can be bound similarly by traditional and contemporary facets of society, particularly from a female perspective. The work explores and juxtaposes imagery relating to foot binding with ideas and materials which reference mass-production and the role of the body in industry and manufacturing. At the root of the work is an interest in visually and materially exploring past and present forms of oppression and de-mobilization.

is comprised of hundreds of origami shoes made of jasmine and green tea sleeves. The use of origami alludes to comparisons between hobby-craft and manual labour/assembly line work. The use of packaging is also central in it's allusion to package and product, garment and body, and the use of both the garment and the package as a cover or false front for what is truly contained.

Tara Bursey
is a recent graduate of the Toronto School of Art's diploma program, and a former student at Ontario College of Art and Design. An artist whose practice encompasses sculpture and installation as well as drawing and craft, Tara's work is characterized by its use delicate sculptural materials such as eggshells, garlic skin, found garments and paper. During her studies at the Toronto School of Art, Tara was the recipient of TSA's Barbara Barrett Scholarship (2004) and Matthew David Stein Scholarship (2005). In the past two years, she has exhibited extensively throughout the city in a diverse range of venues, from storefront window installations and telephone poles to the Textile Museum of Canada, the Ontario Crafts Council, and in group exhibitions in Halifax and Copenhagen. Tara's most recent projects include co-ordinating The Portable Library Project and working as one-third of the Toronto Zine Library Collective. In addition to her work as a fine artist, Tara also operates actively within Toronto's independent music and small-press communities as a DJ, illustrator and designer. She was born and raised in Toronto, Canada.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Iris Haussler- Honest Threads

A project by the amazing Iris. Check out the Koffler Centre website for more details and the project application form for contributors.


Share your story and the shirt off your back in this art project by Iris Häussler

Iris Häussler: Honest Threads

January 22 to March 8, 2009
Curated by Mona Filip
Presented at Honest Ed’s by the Koffler Gallery
581 Bloor Street W, Toronto

Deadline for contributions: December 19, 2008

The Project
In a crossover between visual art, literature, and theatre, Toronto artist Iris Häussler creates immersive environments that reveal personal histories, real or fictional. Responding to the Koffler Gallery’s invitation to develop the first project in a new off-site program, Häussler chose Toronto’s famous landmark, Honest Ed’s, to host an installation that engages the GTA public in sharing real life stories.

Honest Threads will display garments and the memories they carry. Lent by Torontonians, each item holds a personal story revealing a glimpse of the many threads that weave our identity over time. Visitors will be able to borrow the garments and wear them for a few days, experiencing both literally and psychologically what it is like to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” At the same time, they will add new layers to the clothes’ history. Trading experiences on both tactile and narrative levels will enrich our collective perception of the place we call home. As pieces of a vast puzzle, these individual stories will render a fragmentary portrait of the city, attesting to its complex history.

The Place
With its overload of celebrity photographs and eccentric sales items, Honest Ed’s is no ordinary store but a museum in itself, blurring the boundaries between commercial, public and exhibition spaces. The place equally attests to the inspiring story of its founder, Ed Mirvish, the son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and Austria, as well as his impact on Toronto’s cultural scene and on the community through philanthropic gestures. Spotlighting Honest Ed’s significance as a haven for newcomers to Canada, Honest Threads positions the store as the meeting point of individual Toronto stories of immigration, survival and childhood dreams, entwined with the city’s cultural history. Among the participants you will also recognize local celebrities.

And You
This is your opportunity to bring out the cherished jacket your father wore on his clandestine journey across the ocean, the sari you inherited from your grandmother, or the shirt that made you look cool in your high-school band. We would also like to include in the display a photograph of you or the original owner wearing the garment. Share your stories and lend your unique voice to a project that brings together the many faces of Toronto’s identity.

To contribute your garment, story and photograph, please call Mona Filip at 416 636 1880 x270 or email

About the Artist
Iris Häussler was born in Friedrichshafen, Germany in 1962 and immigrated to Canada in 2001. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and has exhibited widely throughout Europe. Her exhibitions and site-specific installations include: Therese (2004) at the Triennial of Contemporary Art Oberschwaben, Weingarten; Time and over (2003) at Gallery Huber Goueffon, Munich; Monopati (2000) in residential apartments in Berlin and Munich; Paulina (2000) in a residential house in Bonn; and You do not return from the place that does not exist (1999) at Hotel Franziskaner, Zürich. The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach (2006), curated by Rhonda Corvese and conceived for a residential house in downtown Toronto, is her most complex off-site narrative installation and marked her first major show in North America. Häussler currently lives in Toronto and teaches at the Toronto School of Art.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Zine Party at the Toronto Zine Library!

A note from the Toronto Zine Library:

To celebrate new Friday night zine library hours, we are having a Zine Party and Fundraiser! Come hang out, read zines, drink beer, listen to music, meet the collective and indulge in our yummy bake sale with vegan and non-vegan treats galore! Door prizes courtesy of This Ain't the Rosedale Library and the TZL Collective! Whoa! All proceeds go towards funding future events and TZL projects! Awesome!

Come join us on:
Friday, November 28th. 6-9pm
Toronto Zine Library at the TRANZAC Club
2nd Floor Rehersal Hall
292 Brunswick Avenue, south of Bloor Street

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tara, Patrick, Suzanne, and Danielle.
The TZL Collective

Call for Submissions: DIwhy?

This will be a great show! I am so glad their call for submissions deadline was extended to December 1st!


A Juried exhibition presented by the OCC and Toronto Craft Alert

Show dates extended to January 20 – March 1, 2009
Deadline for Entry: 5 p.m. on Monday, December 1, 2008

One of the fastest growing and contested sites of contemporary culture is the DIY movement. Broadly speaking, DIY is a socio-political stance enacted through the processes of creating. In reaction to multi-national corporations and modern industrial society’s basis in mass-production, DIY stresses the importance of thinking globally and making locally. At the same time, each community practicing DIY has its own approach, and consuming less as a political statement is often found in tandem with aesthetic concerns.

There is no common definition for DIY, and as it becomes more mainstream, the act of distinguishing a particular mode of making according to “do it yourself”, is an issue that continues to be raised. Hosting a DIY exhibition in partnership between the OCC and Toronto Craft Alert is an attempt to bring so-called ‘fine craft’ into dialogue with DIY, and explore the ways in which they intersect and diverge.


  • 1 -2 press-quality digital images (see below requirements), with image information (title, medium, year, dimensions).
  • 1 copy of a current cv, artist statement and/or biography.
  • 1 minimum 300 word response to “What does DIY mean to you?”.
  • A $10 fee, payable by cash, cheque or credit card. Fees are non-refundable.

See the Call for entry for more details

JURORS 1) Jen Anisef 2) Michelle Rothstein 3) Allyson Mitchell

Thursday, November 06, 2008

City of Craft

So, my main project as of late has been preparing for both a vendor table and a big installation for this year's City of Craft. It is going to be an amazing event judging by last year's incredible vendors and turnout, so I'm kind of losing my mind trying to prepare goodies worthy of this stellar fair. The City of Craft website is now up, so check it out if you haven't already for vendor information, etc. I will be also be posting sneak previews of some of my wares as they're made here, so stay tuned...

City of Craft 2008
December 13th, 2008

The Theatre Centre
1087 Queen Street West
at Dovercourt Road

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Portable Library Project

The Portable Library Project Blog is now up and running! As they are returned to me, portable libraries will be documented and posted on the blog gradually for the next few months. Check it out!

The Portable Library Project is a multi-dimensional mail-art/book-making project involving the creation of small works exploring ideas surrounding archiving, journaling, libraries, ephemera, and incorporating an art practice into everyday life. The 27 participating artists span all artistic disciplines, from performance art to fibre-based art; from photo-based art to craft to sculpture and installation. Artists involved in the project are based across Canada, the US and are from as far away as Seoul, Korea.

Invited artists were sent/delivered an empty cigar box, roughly the size of a hardcover book. Over the course of a week, individuals were expected to create a 'book' a day reflective of each person's day-to-day activities and artistic process. Books were ideally made while on the go; boxes were intended to be carried with the participant, where books were to be added and collected each day for seven days.

In addition to an online archive, The Portable Library Project will take the form of a series of exhibitions (TBA), and components will be housed in a local alternative library for viewing and circulation. Keep an eye on the Portable Library Project blog for project updates, extensive photo-documentation of each portable library, and artist information.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shadow Box Auction and Exhibition at the TMC

I am participating in this year's Shadow Box Exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada. The exhibition is up now, and will be up until the evening of October 30th, when the gala auction is held. Ticket and gala info is below, but feel free to go to the exhibition, which is open to the public during museum hours, or check out the online exhibition here...

The BMO Financial Group Shadow Box Event is back for its 13th year. Don’t miss your chance to own original artworks from over 150 Canadian and international artists at surprisingly sensible prices.

Come and experience a high-energy evening with friends and help support the Textile Museum of Canada’s exhibitions and education programs. The BMO Financial Group Shadow Box Event is an excellent art-and-gift acquiring opportunity as well as a lively and sophisticated evening of delectable food and wine. Invite friends, or better still buy a block of tickets.

New this year, we are introducing an exciting theme to create a greater connection to the Museum’s activities. In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition The Cutting Edge, featuring fashion from around the world, and to celebrate the TMC’s vast South Asian holdings, guests are invited to come and enjoy a taste of South Asia with food and party atmosphere inspired by this richly diverse region.

Created especially for the TMC by talented artists, featured exhibitioners and well-known personalities Shadow Boxes are diminutive treasures, measuring eight inches square. Highly irresistible and collectable, they make great groupings.

Tickets on Sale Now: Tickets are $125; ticket holders can choose to receive $25 off the purchase of a Shadow Box. To reserve tickets contact 416-599-5321 x2230 or email

An evening of irresistible art, delicious food, fine wines and electric atmosphere awaits you!

Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2H5
t. (416) 599-5321
f. (416) 599-2911

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sticky Fingers Art Show and Auction

I will have a piece in the Sticky Fingers auction at the Boat this Thursday! Read on for more details...

October 16, 2008 work by over 20 exciting local and international artists will be up for auction at The Boat nightclub. Art objects on offer include ceramics, prints, textile art, bookworks, illustrations, and photography. The auction is silent but The Boat will be bumping late into the night with sounds from innovative musical acts Gravity Wave, Vowls, Southern Charles, and PDF Format.

A preview of selected auction items, co-presented by Methinks Presents is open for public viewing from October 2-15 at Project 165 gallery across the street from the auction venue. The reception for the preview will take place on October 7th from 6.30-11pm. If you can’t make it out, check out the artists and some of the work online on the Sticky Fingers webpage.

Local artists, musicians, and comedians Levi McDougall and Sara Hennessey have donated their time and works in support of City of Craft 2008 which will take place on December 13, 2008 from 12-8pm the Theatre Centre (100-1087 Queen St. W). Though the mediums of expression of fundraiser participants are diverse, all support the do-it-yourself spirit of City of Craft 2008, which features community outreach, workshops and interactive exhibits in addition to locally made modern craft goods.

What: Sticky Fingers Craft Auction & Show
When: October 16, 2008, doors 7:30, auction 7:30pm - 10:30pm
Where: The Boat, 158 Augusta Ave.
Cost: PWYC, suggested donation $5

Project 165 gallery (165 Augusta)
October 2-15, reception October 7th from 6.30-11pm
Hours: call 416.838.5730

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Website Updates...

I finally had the chance to update my website the other day. I've posted a bunch of photographs from my time in the Toronto School of Art's Independent Studio Program, as well as shots from the year-end exhibition. These are just a small sampling...for more, check out my page of 2007/2008 work.

Insecurity Blanket (detail)- shredded office documents (2007/08)
Braidwall (detail)- braided spaghetti (2007)
Under the Rug (detail)- Black moss, polyester thread, fabric trim (2007/08)

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Touch of Sinemania launch this Saturday!

I am thrilled to announce the launch of my pal (Doug Wright Award Nominee) Sophie Cossette's brand new comic! The launch is THIS SATURDAY at Babel Books and Music. Come by to get a copy of your very own and to join the festivities. It should be tons of fun!

Here's a note from Sophie's hubby Phil about the launch...

Hi there!
On Saturday, Sept. 27th between 7 and 9 PM at Babel Books and Music, a brand spankin' new comic book will be launched: A Touch of Sinemania, written and illustrated by Sophie Cossette!

This ain't no typical graphic novel;
A Touch of Sinemania is a collection of comics and cartoons bound to delight both comix and movie lovers! 84 pages paying twisted humorous tribute to some of the most eccentric and visionary filmmakers in movie history! It's guaranteed you won't ever watch these directors' pictures quite the same way again after reading A Touch of Sinemania! Sophie and I would be delighted if you make it to our launch party on the 27th. Come and get A Touch of Sinemania for yourself, hang out, peruse the other fine books and records Babel has to offer,listen to some terrific tunes, and sling back a beer or two. (This party is BYOB, by the way, 'cause we're basically too broke to supply refreshments:) Babel Books and Music is located on 123 Ossington Avenue (between Dundas West and Queen). The fun begins at 7:00 PM next Saturday night!

We hope to see you there!

A Touch of Sinemania
by Sophie Cossette

Comic Launch Party

Saturday, September 27th. 7-9pm
at Babel Books and Music
123 Ossington Avenue

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Toronto Zine Library at Ladyfest 2008

From the Toronto Zine Library website...come and take part!...

Danielle and Tara of the TZL Collective will be facilitating a workshop titled
Zinemaking for Social Change at this year's Ladyfest Toronto! In this open-format workshop/discussion, we will talk about the history of zinemaking within countercultural movements from the 1920 to the present, methods of making and distributing zines and pamphlets as well as the Toronto Zine Library and it's activities.

Ladyfest 2008 Workshop Venue:
St. Stephen's In-the Fields Church
103 Bellevue Avenue at College Street
North of Kensington Market

From Ladyfest Toronto's website:
"Ladyfest Toronto is a four-day arts, culture and music festival. We are a non-profit, grassroots, do-it-yourself collective who seek to promote urban feminism. We work from a framework that is pro-feminist, trans-inclusive, pro-diversity and anti-oppressive. We seek to build community among Toronto's feminist businesses, artists, activists and academic community. We believe that art is a powerful form of resistance and hope to incite dialogue about contemporary feminist issues in our city. We will be providing a venue for women to express themselves and showcase their work free of sexism, classism, racism, and homophobia; as well as other forms of oppression.

We believe that politics can be fun and hope to facilitate political action and create tools for feminist networking at our annual event. We will proudly showcase the talent and actions of both local and international women. Ultimately, we hope Ladyfest Toronoto inspires women everywhere to organize themselves and create similar spaces that allow women's creative works to be seen and heard, as other Ladyfests have for us."

For more information:

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Interview: Fiona Smyth

The following is an interview I did with Toronto artist, illustrator, comic artist, and all-round art renaissance lady, Fiona Smyth for the latest issue of the Toronto Zine Library Resource Zine...

Over the years, you have done comic strips for free newspapers, murals and public works, illustration, and have shown your work in commercial galleries. How do you balance all the aspects of your (diverse!) practice, specifically the "work for love" with the "work for money?" Do you view each part of your practice as separate, or as
one whole?
It's not a conscious effort to balance the different work. There is a sliding scale budget wise for "who is asking for what". Hopefully moneyed gigs keep everything else afloat. I apply for art grants every year. Also in the last couple of years I've been teaching at OCAD and selling paint at Home Depot. Regular money that isn't reliant on my art and personal expression has been hugely liberating. I would say everything informs the work in the end, all my experiences.

Do you consider yourself engaged in "zine culture?" I know you have contributed to at least a few zines...what was the extent of your involvement with zines and zine-making in the past? Have you done any self-publishing recently?
I do feel engaged even if I don't have a table at Canzine every year. I used to do zines to go with my art shows as early as 1986 and I just did one for my last solo show The Virtuous at Spin Gallery (with a screen printed cover by Michael Comeau) in 2007. In the past I contributed to Babble, Trash Compactor, Fabulous Babes, The Social Drinker, Heavy Girl Press, Maow Maow. More recently, I’ve contributed to Paper Rodeo, Regal Beast, Milk and
Wodka, and Elevator.

What sorts of things inspire your work?
Film (Zhang Yimou, Hayao Miyazaki), comics (Idiotland, Kramer's Ergot, Rudy), comediennes (Sarah Silverman, Amy Sedaris) and travel, when I can afford it. And so much more, like crappily painted store signage and thrift store "art".

If I had to describe the girls/women you draw in one word, it would probably be POWERFUL. Is it (or was it ever) your intention to depict "empowered" women?
It's definitely my intention but it was born out of a subconscious compulsion. I realized over the years I was trying to empower myself and these images of women and girls were all aspects of myself. The work is really autobiographical and definitely feminist.

What are your thoughts on the idea of art-making (or zine-making for that matter) as a tool for self-empowerment? Or the empowerment of others?
Art-making is empowering all-round. And the fact that you can create a zine with little money and send it out and across the world is huge. It's great that the work can be out in the world and not languishing in an art gallery.

Do you consider your work for an adult audience exclusively? I ask because your drawings (and paintings) are so bold, inviting, and often playful. I could see children really responding to your work despite your interest in adult themes and sometimes racy subject matter...
Yes, my work is for an adult audience but its funny because a lot of illustration work I've done has been kid and tween age stuff. I guess my cartooniness and bright colours lend it to that material. More recent artwork has been a lot darker in colour and content, there's no question it's for adults. (In some of the more violent work, Child-like figures are imperiled).

Who are some of your favourite artists, local and otherwise?
I have huge ever-changing lists. Here is a teeny list (and I know I'm leaving folks out, sorry): Allyson Mitchell, Shary Boyle, Julie Voyce, Maurice Vellekoop, Michael Comeau, Marc Bell and the Psychedoolic crew, Vesna Mostovac, Lorenz Peter, GB Jones…these are all past and current zinesters. Ed Pien, Fastwurms, Casey McGlynn, Sandra Meigs. Farther away: Kara Walker, Jim Drain, Raymond Pettibon, Matthew Barney, Taiyo Matsumoto, Chiho Aoshima.


For more on Fiona, check out her website.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Zine Dream 1

I will have a table at the Zine Dream 1 multiples and small press fair this weekend at the TRANZAC. The Toronto Zine Library will also be open upstairs for exploration and lounging purposes. Be sure to come out and check out all the incredible stuff!!!

small press art fair, featuring over 40 local artists and zinesters!
+ All 3 rooms of the rooms of the Tranzac, with music and
performances all day! + Toronto Zine Library Open House,
come hang out and read zines! + there will be a bake sale!!

SUN AUG 24 08 - TRANZAC, 292 Brunswick Ave. 12 to 6 pm

+ with music by
-Peace Loving (from Jamaica Plain, MA -
-Doctor Matthew Dunn
-$100 lite (Ian & Simone -

-DJS Longhorn Grille + Orenda

+ performances by
-Lou Calabro
-Stephanie Wilkie
-Chris Locke


contact laura (lauramclaura at gmail) or jesjit (jesjit at gmail) for more info

Monday, August 11, 2008

Toronto Zine Library Upcoming Events

From the TZL Website:

Erick Lyle (aka Iggy Scam), long-time creator of seminal San Francisco zine SCAM will be reading from his new book On the Lower Frequencies: A Secret History of the City. Also reading will be Jeff Miller, creator of Montreal's Ghost Pine zine, and locals Joey Comeau and Cathy Crowe. This event will be hosted by This Ain't the Rosedale Library, and will be co-sponsored by the Toronto Zine Library. An exciting appearance by two accomplished zine-makers...don't miss this!

Tuesday, August 19th. 6pm
This Ain't the Rosedale Library
86 Nassau Street, west of Augusta Avenue

Kensington Market, Toronto

AND Please join us for Zine Dream 1, an enormous zine fair which will fill the entire TRANZAC Club! The fair will feature tablers, workshops, DJs and surprises galore! The Toronto Zine Library will be taking part, opening our doors as a lounge/reading room where collective members will be present to answer questions, sell memberships, and show you around the collection!

Sunday, August 24th. 12-6pm
at the TRANZAC Club
292 Brunswick Avenue, south of Bloor

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Portable Library Project

The Portable Library Project
is a project involving the creation of small works exploring ideas surrounding archiving, journaling, libraries, ephemera, and incorporating an art practice into everyday life.

Invited artists will be sent/delivered an empty cigar box, roughly the size of a hardcover book. Over the course of a week, individuals will be asked to create a 'book' (loose interpretations of 'book' welcome) a day reflective of each person's day-to-day activities and artistic process. Books are ideally made (mostly) while on the go; boxes are intended to be carried with the participant, where books will be added and collected each day for seven days.

This project will culminate in a web-based archive, an exhibition, as well as the inclusion of each Portable Library into a local alternative library for viewing and circulation.

Send all expressions of interest (with a bit about yourself and 1-2 jpgs of recent work) and questions to Tara at

Friday, June 27, 2008

Luke You at the Toronto Zine Library

Please join us for a talk with special guest Luke You of Melbourne, Australia, brought to you by the Toronto Zine Library Collective.

Luke You makes a free weekly paper zine called 'You'. He has published a copy every week since November 2001. The zine usually
takes the form of an anonymous hand written letter sealed with staples in a paper bag. The zine is produced in the city Luke You lives in - Melbourne, Australia. Luke has been publishing zines anonymously in Melbourne since 1994.

Luke is also one of the coordinators and one of the founding members
of the Melbourne zine store Sticky. Sticky is dedicated to promoting and distributing zines and artist-books and has been getting the zines to the kids since April 2001. His talk will cover his involvement in the Australian zine scene, his own zine 'You" as well as his involvement in the Melbourne zine store Sticky. This is the final gig in his zine world tour which took in Melbourne, Chicago, Bloomington and Toronto.

Sunday, July 6th, 2008.

Toronto Zine Library at the TRANZAC
292 Brunswick Avenue
2nd Floor Rehersal Hall
Toronto, Canada

For more information, contact:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WWS Coverage in MONDOmagazine

Here's an online article I found about the World Washi Summit that featured little write-ups of both events I participated in. The forth-mentioned origami shoes at TSA and crocheted washi scarf at the OCC are both mine. And congrats to my friend Yoko for getting a really nice mention in the piece...

Craftflash: Awash in Washi

World Washi Summit
June 7-15, 2008
35 locations in and around Toronto

By Amy Borkwood

How many ways can you possibly manipulate Washi — through folding, gluing, dyeing, painting, cutting, printing, sewing, etc. — in order to create something absolutely new? This is what the World Washi Summit seemed to be asking of its artists throughout this one-week exhibition of Washi (the Japanese word for traditional papers, made by hand for over 1400 years, from renewable, indigenous plants). Galleries (and restaurants, retail stores, and more) all across the city dedicated their spaces to the exploration of this traditional paper, featuring new and experienced artists, all working within the medium of Washi.

The hand-making and traditional uses of Washi — and this is applicable to fine craft and handmade goods in general — have drastically reduced with the use of machines in traditionally handmade goods and materials. The purpose of the summit is to draw attention to the traditional roles of Washi, through showcasing the creative possibilities of this medium.

The potentials of Washi seem limitless: at the Toronto School of Art exhibition, there was an exact replica of a newspaper, intricately hand-lettered and hand-drawn, next to an installation of origami shoes, spread along the entire gallery floor, which ended at a podium full of shakeable folded boxes (seeds and bells sounding inside). My favourite piece at this gallery was Yoko Nomura’s “Yozakura (Cherry Blossom in the Night),” which was really a study of the Washi itself: loosely layered sheets of Washi, made with Washi-petals inside the paper as well as on the floor directly in front of the piece, as if the petals had been falling slowly from within the paper over the course of the exhibition.

My boyfriend and I subwayed and trammed down to Propeller gallery, just to find that the show didn’t officially open until the next day — only to be let in for an early showing by a (wonderful) woman working in the gallery. Though the gallery wasn’t completely ready to be viewed — there were papers and rulers along the floor, notes on the walls about the placement of each piece — the work that we saw was stunning. One piece by Teri Donovan stood out: black-ink prints of houses on off-white Washi, with hand-embroidered root systems trailing from each house.

After Propeller we headed to the Ontario Craft Council gallery, where 13 artists had been working over the June 7/8 weekend to create gorgeous, innovative Washi works. Within two days, the artists collaborated or worked individually to craft mobiles, “paper cups” (glass cups overflowing with torn Washi), jewellery (a necklace made of large, egg-like sculptured Washi), multiple collages, and even a scarf knit from Washi and shredded office paper. The OCC exhibition, all crafted within the two-day deadline, is now being auctioned off to the public. Go to the OCC show if only to see the knit-paper scarf. Honestly, how is that possible?


Original article can be found here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Washi Lockdown and Auction at the OCC

So the Washi Lockdown is over and done with! It was pretty intense, but a really awesome experience. It was a real luxury being able to make work for 24 hours (almost) straight, with 12 (incredible) artists and craftspeople.

I didn't make it out to the auction, but I'm thrilled that two of my three pieces sold, and that the event was a great success for the OCC. My sincere thanks go out to Katherine McKellar, Janna Hiemstra, and the rest of the Ontario Crafts Council for organizing a really incredible event, as well as to all of my fellow participating artists.

For those of you interested in taking a look at the goings-on last weekend, check out the official OCC Washi Lockdown Blog, which lists the results of the auction, and features exclusive photographs of the two-day event: http://

AND...tomorrow is the last day of the World Washi Summit! Make use of the day and be sure to go out and see as may of the fine WWS exhibitions around the city as possible!

Pictured: Tara Bursey, Web, knotted washi and straight pins (2008)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Washi Lockdown and Auction at the OCC

Ontario Crafts Council Washi Lockdown & Auction

Washi Lockdown June 7th and 8th, 9am - 9 pm
Washi Auction Party June 11th, 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Ontario Crafts Council Gallery, 990 Queen Street West, Toronto

14 craftspeople + 1 gallery space x 2 days = infinite possibilities

Throw in all the washi paper they can handle and you get the Washi Lockdown & Auction in support of the Ontario Crafts Council In partnership with the World Washi Summit and the Japanese Paper Place, the Ontario Crafts Council is pleased to present the Washi Lockdown & Auction. Developed as a means to engage both our membership and the public in a new and exciting way, the Washi Lockdown was inspired by both the creative potential and beauty of washi paper and the pioneering efforts of the Emma Lake International Collaboration.

This weekend, June 7th and 8th, 14 craftspeople in all media from across Ontario will be locked into the Ontario Crafts Council Gallery together for 2 days. Pushing the boundaries of traditional craft practice they will create a series of one-of-a-kind collaborations incorporating washi paper that will be auctioned off the evening of June 11th. Stop by the gallery and peer through peep holes cut into washi paper covering the front window of the gallery.

Don't miss a rare opportunity to bid on truly unique collaboratively hand-made objects.

The Washi Lockdown brings together emerging, mid career and senior craftspeople, including Tanya Norman, Brad Copping, Marc Egan, Yusun Ha, Tiana Roebuck, Jess Riva Cooper, Tara Bursey, Andrew Curle, Emma Gerard, Joel Dunkley, Patrick Collins, Julie Laschuk, Kathleen Doody and Lubo Brezina. The live auction on June 11th, 6:30 - 9:00 pm, is your chance to get your hands on the one of a kind pieces of craft created during this unusual event. 100% of funds raised will go to support the Council’s programming and exhibitions schedule. All work created will be on display in advance of the auction at the OCC Gallery June 9th and10th.

For more information about the OCC and the Washi Lockdown & Auction contact
Katherine McKellar at 416-925-4222 ext.222 or To learn more about the World Washi Summit and the vast creative potential and importance of washi paper please visit

Friday, May 23, 2008

Shary Boyle- Otherworld Uprising at DM Books

I will be excitedly attending the launch for Shary Boyle's long awaited monograph Otherworld Uprising
this Sunday at David Mirvish Books. Shary will be signing books from 2-4 pm. The book will include a selection of Shary's more recent work, from her incredible Lace Figures series (see above) to her polymer clay sculpture, drawing and painting.

From Jessica Bradley Art + Projects website:

Shary Boyle’s
extraordinary book Otherworld Uprising, arrives mid-April. Published by Conundrum Press, Montreal, in collaboration with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, this full-colour volume includes over 100 illustrations, an introduction by Art Gallery of Ontario assistant curator Ben Portis and essays by National Gallery of Canada curator of contemporary art Josée Drouin Brisebois and award-winning fiction writer Sheila Heti. The artist will sign books at David Mirvish Books on Art, 596 Markham Street, Sunday May 25th.

For more of Shary's work, check out her website:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg R.I.P.

"A painter, photographer, printmaker, choreographer, onstage performer, set designer and, in later years, even a composer, Mr. Rauschenberg defied the traditional idea that an artist should stick to one medium or style. He pushed, prodded and sometimes reconceived all the mediums in which he worked."

Robert Rauschenberg, American Artist, Dies at 82:

Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he helped obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art — not to mention between art and life.

Monday, May 12, 2008

World Washi Summit

I'll be participating in at least one of the scheduled events of the first ever World Washi Summit. Galleries across Toronto and vicinity will be showcasing the work of artists working with Japanese paper as a way of honouring and celebrating washi and it's makers. Galleries such as Edward Day, Loop, Lonsdale Gallery, *new* gallery and several others, and numerous artists will be participating in the festivities. Keep your eyes peeled for printed schedules in associated galleries and stores, or check out the official WWS website (at the bottom of this entry) for all the details...

World Washi Summit
Art comes alive on Japanese paper

June 7-15, 2008
Toronto & Vicinity

What is washi? Washi is the Japanese word that refers to the traditional papers, made by hand from indigenous renewable plant fibres, which have been continuously produced and refined in Japan for 1400 years. With modernization, the future of this craft is endangered.

Why the Summit? For centuries, washi has been indispensable to daily life in Japan and each of the hundreds of types and sizes of Japanese paper has had a very specific use. Pure white paper for sliding shoji doors, persimmon-dyed paper as floor mats, lustrous gampi for court calligraphy: the special qualities of washi have been continuously employed to make life both more convenient and more aesthetically pleasing for the citizens of Japan.

Over time, speeded up during the 20th century, most of the many traditional uses of washi have lost their relevance and the papermaking industry has been decimated. At the turn of the 19th century there were some 80,000 families making paper by hand. Today there are roughly 320 individuals who carry on the tradition.

Though the domestic use of many types of washi has been drastically reduced, the discovery of the papers and their potential by creative people around the world has given new hope for the continuance of the craft. This has inspired whole new genres of art. Because of its special qualities - great wet and dry strength, translucence, malleability and absorbency, washi is experiencing rebirth in the hands of open-minded artists everywhere who are interested in “new” materials that expand their creative expression.

Goals of the Summit

  • to draw attention to the vast creative potential of washi
  • to underline its practicality and sustainability – for 1400 years - in a vulnerable world
  • to encourage the perseverant papermakers in rural Japan, to show them how artists worldwide are inspired by their paper
  • to honour artists from around the world who are discovering and using its unique characteristics in excepti


The World Washi Summit will be an international gathering of Japanese papermakers who make washi, those who distribute it, artists who produce art with it, curators who exhibit it and the art-buying public who are eager to learn more about it. Scheduled for June 7-15 2008 in Toronto, Canada, Summit events will honour quality craftsmanship, sustainability and artists’ creativity in Toronto and around the world.

For more specific information, please visit the official World Washi Summit website:

Friday, May 02, 2008

Pleasure-Purpose at the OCC Gallery

I will be participating in the following exhibition, Pleasure-Purpose, this month at the Ontario Crafts Council Gallery. Read on for more details...

May 8-June 6, 2008.
Curated by Janna Hiemstra
at the Ontario Crafts Council Gallery
990 Queen Street West
Opening Reception: May 8th, 5:30-8:30pm

Featuring contributing artists: Alain Belanger, Ann Mortimer, Anne Barros, Carolyn Scandiffio, Janna Burford, Keith Campbell, Kevin MacLean, Lily Yung, Maciej Dyszkiewicz, Michael Fortune, Peggy Mersereau, Roger Wood and Tara Bursey.

From Curatorial Statement:

"Craft is a slippery entity. Occupying multiple spaces, it is able to take full advantage of its flexible margins to play with materials, techniques and its creative rationale. Craft can delight, comfort, confront and satisfy in more ways than one.
At the same time, attempts to pin craft down often result in defined categories of materials, processes and uses. A common approach situates craft somewhere between art and industry - a place where craft objects are not quite required to accommodate the contemplative relation between form and content, but rather operate as either decorative or functional pieces.

Within this framework, craft is often associated with a creative skill developed in terms of specific materials like ceramic, fibre, glass, metal and wood. These skills and materials further include the notion of the ‘handmade’, which carries with it implications regarding craft processes and purposes such as originality and authenticity, locality as well as anti-industrialism. As an aesthetic discipline rooted in the arts and craft movement of 19th century Europe, in turn influenced by the industrial revolution, these implications are not surprising.

However, along with many other things in creative culture, borders have been crossed, and lines blurred. Contemporary craft easily negotiates the territories between functional, ornamental, sculptural and conceptual genres. One indication of this is the capricious category of ‘mixed media’ where materials converge, new materials like plastic are used, and found objects make an appearance. Craft can also be found across the cultural map in museums, galleries, schools, magazines, and the fashion industry; and is made, used, displayed, contemplated and discussed by a large and diverse mix of people.

In response to this seemingly amorphous area of making, PLEASURE-PURPOSE is an attempt to navigate craft and question its contemporary role; leaving space for the work to speak for itself, and allowing contradictions between different approaches to surface. With an array of multidisciplinary work by both emerging and professional craftspeople, different objectives and uses are contrasted to challenge boundaries and create discussion concerning the pleasure we find in craft and what we perceive its purpose to be. For all intents and purposes, craft is a unique embodiment of creative expression that needs to be explored."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shred Scarf

I am in the middle of crocheting a paper scarf (an odd project for spring...this past winter has scarred me, obviously...) made out of the same shredded documents as the Insecurity Blanket. Here are some details of it...more to come later.