What is on your Christmas list this holiday season? Perhaps a new sweater? Could it be a new mug from your favourite local potter (wink, wink). Are you planning a tropical getaway to escape the harsh Canadian winter? Possibly, you are just looking forward to all the delicious home cooked meals and goodies that you will be indulging in when visiting friends and family over the holidays. Whatever is on your Christmas list this year I am sure you deserve it! And, I hope ALL your wishes come true!!
But let us step outside of our own worlds for a minute and consider the heartbreaking reality for many people in our community this time of year. What does a Christmas wish list look like for others? For many people in our community their list reflects a desperate need for basic necessities: food, warm clothes, a place to sleep; help paying rent and bills; someone to drive them to and from doctors appointments; diapers for newborns and formula to feed their growing infants. This list goes on and sometimes it is even hard to imagine, especially when we are coming from a place where we have all that we need, and we can make lists based on our wants and desires.
Let's make a difference this holiday season! Let's give to our community and help a person or family in need! Any gesture will go a long way and will be appreciated more than we know. So, when you visit shed this November & December bring your canned goods, gently used clothing, food and toys for children, and cash donations. Anything that you think could help, will help! I thank-you, Community Care thanks-you, and most importantly the people receiving your donations THANK-YOU!!
Wishing everyone an abundance of joy, good health and happiness this holiday season!
A message from Community Care:
This year we want Christmas wishes to come true! Community Care requires significant support to deliver the programs and services that will assist those in the community who struggle to make ends meet. As temperatures become colder and everyday tasks become more and more difficult we respectfully ask that you please consider giving. We can make sure everyone experiences a little joy this holiday season...
Have you ever visited Citrus Boutique?! If you haven't, you must! I am not exaggerating when I say it is the one and only place I shop for clothes, (clothes, that I can wear outside of my studio). It's a lovely little boutique located in the Ridley Plaza, on Fourth Ave, in St. Catharines. This wonderful shop is where I met Chloe, several years ago. Her mother, Caron, owns Citrus and Chloe helps her to run it.
Over the years I have enjoyed going into Citrus to talk with Caron and Chloe. I find their shop a sweet little spot for a burst of inspiration. Chloe and Caron have a natural flare for designing warm, creative, well-staged window displays, and they continue the vibe throughout their store. Recently, I noticed these beautifully woven dream catchers hanging in their windows. They were bold in detail and size, and soft in texture and hues. Some were adorned with vintage lace and others were strung with a beautiful web pattern.
I was absolutely inspired, and not at all surprised to learn Chloe was the artist behind these dreamy creations. I was, however, surprised to learn she wasn't planning on selling them, or turning this passion into a small business...not yet, anyway. They were so unique and well-made, who wouldn't want one!?
But Chloe was bashful and modest, not really certain what the next step was for her and her dream catchers. Eventually opportunity presented itself and the demand for her work was too overwhelming to ignore, and it was then, that Dreamt By Chloe was born.
I am excited for you to meet Chloe at the shed and Friends Open House in December. This is her first show! I have been following her obsessively on Instagram to see the progress of her pre-show prep and I encourage you to do the same!
Here's a pic of a small collaboration involving shed and Dreamt by Chloe. My mother commissioned Chloe to make a dream catcher for a new born baby girl.
Dream catchers are a Native American arts and crafts tradition believed to confuse and catch the bad dreams in its web, and let the good dreams pass, allowing us to follow the wisdom of our dreams and guide us through life.
A word from dream catcher artist, Chloe Leigh Blom:
I am so fortunate to have grown up in a creative and supportive family. Textiles, painting, pottery, graphic design, needlework, music, woodworking, fashion the list of what my family can do is endless. Everyone has their own distinctive style and I wasn’t sure what mine was until now. Dream catchers were not the plan, just a project to fill a window display at Citrus Boutique, the shop my family owns. My Mom suggested I create bohemian style dream catchers to fill the store for a spring display and next thing I knew people were trying to buy them. For months they weren’t for sale until I realized the organic opportunity that had presented itself to me. I had quite a bit of free time and was looking for a way to express myself creatively, Dreamt by Chloe was the answer.
I enjoy discovering materials that make my work unique. I search through craft shops, used clothing, handmade yarn, vintage lace & my grandparent’s homes. I’m also guilty of coming home from every walk with sticks and leaves to incorporate in my work. I am inspired by different techniques that help me evolve daily. Fiber art has always come naturally to me, I can pick up fabric or string and tie it into something beautiful. I have explored looming, embroidery & knitting. I am always learning.
My goal is to create things that make people stop and really appreciate the beauty around them. The longer you look at one of my dream catchers the more detail is revealed to you. When you take the time to create something, you pour your heart into it. As an artist you hope people appreciate that about your work and are inspired by it. There is no quick way to really appreciate art, it must be digested slowly or you will surely miss the very best parts.
The first thing I want to tell you about Hannelore, is that she gives the best hugs! When you become Hannelore's friend she will undoubtedly greet you with a long, comforting, embrace. You will feel safe and loved. She gives the kind of hugs that make the world seem like a peaceful place; free from all evil and inhumanity. If only Hannelore could hug the whole world right now, then just maybe, everything and everyone would be at peace.
Hannelore and I grew our friendship through our encounters as fellow artisans at the HandMade Market. We were drawn to each other's work. Hannelore would often find herself in my booth, cupping her favourite bowl, and I would find myself at her booth, lost in wanting and lusting over all her handbound and re-bound books.
My personal favourite of Hannelore's work is her re-bound books. They are wonderful repurposed treasures of our past. Hannelore will often incorporate pages from the original book between the pages of her newly hand-stitched creation. Like her hugs, so much love goes into each hand made book. She hand-rips each individual page, creating an untrimmed edge, revealing the fibres of her eco-friendly paper. She uses a variety of paper styles, depending on the book you choose, but all lend beautifully to writing and drawing with pen or pencil.
Currently I have 4 books made by Hannelore that I use almost daily. I have 1 for journaling; 1 for my glaze recipes and combinations; 1 for customer information, and 1 for my wood firing schedules and notes. I couldn't bare the thought of having to use any other book, other than one made by Hannelore.
Hannelore will be here with the rest of shed's friends on December 3rd & 4th for the Christmas Open House. I wish you luck in choosing your favourite book by Hannelore. You may end up like me, and take more than one book home in order to satisfy your desires.
Hannelore Sotzek is a Niagara Region talent whose passion has always been for all things books. Her background in book publishing, and then being crafty by nature, led her from creating text to making the physical book itself. Hannelore now creates beautiful and durable handbound books so that others might be inspired to capture their own story. She uses a dazzling array of cover options—from exquisite Japanese silk-screened paper, hand-marbled paper, vintage maps and sheet music to adorn her books. Most striking is Hannelore's elaborate hand-stitching, which binds the books together and also allows them to lay flat when open. The hand-ripped interior paper just adds to the luxury and practicality of these gorgeous books.
Hannelore's Story Works
Wellington Court Christmas Market 2015 - Our Annual Selfie
If you have ever taken the time to read the list of lengthy hashtags beneath some of my Instagram posts, you may have stumbled upon one that reads: #shedgoeswhereprovisionsgoes. That hashtag has been the truth since Lori and I first met in 2013 at the Spring Handmade Market. I was a newbie on the market scene, I was still working my full-time job at the Good Earth Food & Wine Co., in Beamsville. Lori and I were placed next to each other at the market, and what I remember most, is Lori's giant display table! She used every square inch of her allotted space and that meant squeezing past my chair and rubbing against the back of my head and shoulders every time she needed out of her space.
It may sound like I am complaining, but I'm not! How could I!? Lori smoothed everything over by handing me some of her savoury shortbreads and chewy salted caramels. Mmmmm! Oh my, she hooked me instantly! I am not ashamed to say I ate the entire bag of caramels one after the other....I couldn't stop until they were gone, and then I was only left wanting more.
Lori and I chatted throughout the day, I learned that she had also worked at the Good Earth Food & Wine Co. She left the Good Earth and co-authored the Harrow Fair Cookbook with her sister Moira. In 2012, Lori went on to start her own business Provisions Food Company Niagara.
Since our first meeting in the Spring of 2013, we developed a supportive friendship and business relationship. We were both starting new businesses, and our products fit well together, so it made sense to marry our products and do what we could to help one another. Lori sells a selection of my wares on her website, and I sell a selection of her foodstuffs in my retail gallery. We encourage each other to participate in events and workshops and sometimes loosely base our decisions on, "well, if you go...I will go." Hence, #shedgoeswhereprovisionsgoes or, #provisionsgoeswhereshedgoes.
Lori is a bubbly, gregarious woman. To meet Lori is to meet Provisions; you will fall in love with her and her food creations immediately. You will have the opportunity to meet Lori at the December shed & Friends Open House, and once you become hooked like me, you can visit shed year round to stay stocked on Lori's goods.
A short bio on Lori:
Lori McDonald. Founder.
Lori started Provisions Food Company in 2012 after noticing a need for finely made and beautifully packaged local foodstuffs in many of the local wineries. Since then the business has grown and her products are sold coast to coast at select fine food stores as well as Loblaw’s and Indigo. Provisions products have been showcased in Food & Drink Magazine, in Chatelaine magazine (online edition), and Rev Publisher’s Taste and Business magazines. Prior to starting Provisions, Lori spent her career in a variety of aspects of the food and wine industry, earning a BSc in Biology from Brock University along the way. In 2012, Lori wrote The Harrow Fair Cookbook with her sister, Moira Sanders which won a Canadian cookbook award and has gone on to become a Canadian bestseller.
In 2013, Lori was the recipient of the 1st annual Shannon Passero Women in Business grant. This grant ($12,500) enabled her to hire pivotal employees, invest in crucial equipment, and polish the packaging and branding of Provisions products.
Provisions focuses on products that are wine friendly, all natural, made from locally sourced produce, and relies on flavours that are classic as well as delicious.
For more information visit Provisions' website and follow @pfcniagara on social media for yummy updates.
Meet Garden City Essentials
Jolene Antle is the owner and product creator of Garden City Essentials. Jolene and I first met at the Handmade Market Niagara and we became fast friends! Jolene has a way of connecting with people instantly. She is a soft spoken, quick-witted, spirited woman. Her passion for her creating exceptional skin care products is evident in all of her work. Her product line ranges from natural deodorants (my favourite), soaps, facial serums, candles, lip balms, body butters and more! You can meet Jolene at the December shed & Friends mini-market and for future convenience a selection of GCE products are available year round at shed.
The Garden City Essentials Philosohpy
Our belief in the importance of holistic and natural self care, motivates us to create pure, effective and luxurious products that will balance and nourish the skin and the senses. Using top quality botanical ingredients, our products are formulated from scratch, hand blended, poured and packaged in small batches here in St. Catharines. Our ingredients are 100% natural and sustainably sourced, many are also certified organic and fair-trade. All of our products are minimally packaged and certified cruelty free.
To learn more check out GCE's website:
I first met Shanna in the winter of 2012. I was working full-time in the hospitality industry. Pottery-making was my part-time gig. I created a facebook page and posted a few pictures just in time for Christmas. Shanna was my very first customer. She found me online and met with me at my home to pick up her order. shed's retail gallery was non-existent at that time. That exchange marked the beginning of what would later evolve into a friendship and mutual admiration for each other's work.
Shanna joined me at shed for pottery lessons in 2014, (something I no longer offer). I was in awe of her natural ability to create beautiful pieces in all of her pottery work. We bonded over our country living and homesteading lifestyles.
Recently Shanna started sharing her new passion on social media; working with watercolours. And once again, I found myself in awe. I love her original style. The way she adds a splatter of colour for background interest and depth. I love her muses and her vibrant palette.
When I decided to host the shed & Friends Christmas mini-market, I thought of Shanna immediately! So to introduce you to her today, I asked Shanna to write a little bit about herself. This is what she had to say:
"I have loved the arts my whole life. Originally, pursuing a career in musical theatre, I studied at St. Clair college in the Music Theatre Performance program, and went on to form a three part harmony trio performing songs of the 30s and 40s (predominantly the Andrews Sisters).
I still love singing, but life moves on, dreams change, and that's okay! Now, living on our 10 acre hobby farm with my husband and our two beautiful children, I needed a way to express myself through the arts again. Growing up drawing and painting for fun, I decided to explore the world of watercolours. I opened up shop this past July 2016 and haven't looked back! I'm able to stay home with my little ones and that's a dream. I absolutely love working with watercolours and watching the water and paint dance across the paper. I get inspired by things all around me. My children, farm animals, nature, thoughts, and love of fantasy are just a few. You can follow my journey on instagram: www.instagram.com/shannaleepaintings or visit my etsy shop: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ShannaLeePaintings "