Saturday, July 08, 2006

Summer in the City (Toronto Out Door Show)

The Out Door Show in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square is an annual event that is in its 45th year. As always it is a zoo, a circus, a mishmash of everything and anything decorative. If you know what you like, have a plan, have stamina and don’t remove your blinkers because you cannot get in get it and get out in less then 4 hours. It’s a garish nightmare of colour, sound, crowded bodies and extreme heat accompanied by the smell hotdogs (the official smell of downtown Toronto Summer). It’s a dream and it’s a delight.

Wearable, hangable and huggable, fibre was everywhere, in jewellery, sculpture, even glass, not to mention apparel and fashion accessories.

Below you meet some of the fibre and textile artist in this year’s line up

This is Andrea Vander Kooij from Montreal who was awarded the "Best of Medium" as judged by Alison Mitchell for her embroidery on Vintage (1970's) printed cloth. If you didn't visit her booth visit her website . It is not fully developed yet but you can get a glimpse into the working mind of Vander Kooij. Her work will next be seen at the “Hand Face Body” exhibition at the Gladstone Hotel this coming October (which will coincide with the Tenth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America taking place at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre October 11 - 14, 2006).

To find out about the Textile Society of America and register for the symposium now go to their site

They are creepy and they are crawly. They are Fabricawakuwaku (translated 'excitement factory') and are a result of the creative collaboration between Ottawa (Canada) artists Adrienne Gibb and Pamela Lawler. They are new on the circuit and are selling stuffed toys, dolls, soft sculpture, fibre art, any product you chose. What ever you think they are, they are operating within an intriguing subcategory that seems to have grown out of a generation that had Cabbage Patch Dolls and Beanie Babies inflicted on them. Unlike the Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy or the proverbial sock monkey of yesteryear (unless of course it has been through the ringer one to many times) this new genre of stuffed creature has an “ugly” aesthetic. The inspiration for these dolls is an eclectic blend of the elegantly ghoulish characters of Tim Burton, the lovable monsters of Disney’s Monsters Inc. and a North American fascination with tribal fetish figures and voodoo dolls

The appeal of these objects has a bit of nostalgia for our lost bedtime companions along with that wicked enjoyment of 3 D versions of animated characters. And these days, thanks to Disney’s efforts along with the flood of Japanese Anime, cute is no longer cuddly.

Below is the now very familiar booth of Monster Factory

Monster Factory has been maintaining and building a "Brand” for the past few years. Their website is and contains a link to their Blog which will connect you to more Blogs featuring other artist/ object producers. And if you find this stuff enchanting you might as well check out the Magic Pony website

Interestingly enough, in sculpture category under which Monster Farm was listed the winner in the Best Sculptured category was Sarah Reynolds with her Ugly Bunny “Textile” soft sculpture. Ugly Bunny’s pigeon, squirrel, two headed bunny and fawn Purses aren’t pictured here but they are working on a website and I will post an image or two in the near future.

This is Hillary Webb. For more information on her read "In the View Finder" in fibreQuarterly volume 2 issue 3 Summer 2006 ( see sidebar for link.)

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