Writing Spaces

The time has come to say good-bye to one of my favorite writing spaces: my armchair. I’ve had it for 20 years. It started out as just a piece of living room furniture when I used to write at a desk chained to a desktop computer. However, once I got a laptop and wi-fi, I was free to sit and write anywhere in the house: the dining room table, the Continue reading

Mural Fest in Montreal

I managed to hop over to St. Laurent Boulevard last week to catch a glimpse of the MURAL festival of street art.

Mural Fest (17)

It was a beautiful, sunny day and St. Laurent was crowded. I wandered up and down the street checking out the murals and the sidewalk sale. I didn’t grab a brochure detailing the names of the artists and some of the ones pictured here may not officially be part of the festival, but you can check them out here. Continue reading

Paper Fortune Cookie Tutorial

Here’s a neat idea for a Chinese New Year party from the blog Feels Like Home, paper fortune cookies!

 * * *

You won’t believe how easy it is to make these paper fortune cookies. They’re inspired by the Silhouette machine template below, but you can make them almost as easily without a machine.

When I saw these paper fortune cookies in the Silhouette store, I had to make some.

Read more: http://www.feelslikehomeblog.com/2013/12/paper-fortune-cookie-tutorial/#ixzz3QjlufkXJ
Follow us: @TaraZiegmont on Twitter | FeelsLikeHome on Facebook

 

Fabergé: Jeweller to the Czars

The Fabulous Fabergé Eggs

I saw the exhibit on the Fabergé Eggs at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this week and they are an excellent example of this week’s Photo Challenge: Endurance. They are stunning pieces of art and craftsmanship that have endured over time. Carl Fabergé also created other jeweled and gold encrusted items such as frames, dishes, umbrella handles, cane handles, and carvings, but it’s the famous eggs that caught my imagination.

Continue reading

Street Stopping Art

There are a lot of street closures and detours due to all the construction going on in Montreal, but you may want to take a look at a street closure of a different kind. On the corner of Sherbrooke Street and Musée Avenue is a work by Claude Cormier made entirely out of temporary overlay markers (TOM). It is a tribute to the work of jeweller to the Czars, Carl Fabergé, whose work is currently on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

Claude Cormier

Claude Cormier

 

Mirage - TOM III

Mirage – TOM III a tribute to Carl Faberge

The Fitting Room by Cheryl Sim

Chinese Fever

Looking for some free things to do around Montreal? Head towards Chinatown and take a look at a couple of exhibits by local artists.

Cheryl Sim

Cheryl Sim

La Cabine d’Essayage (The Fitting Room) by Cheryl Sim is aptly located in a small corner of a shopping mall in Chinatown amid clothing and accessory boutiques.

Sim examines the cheongsam, which according to her, is a dress that has become an internationally recognized symbol of Chinese cultural identity. She asks Canadian-born Chinese women how they feel about the dress and if they have a desire to wear it. You get to listen to their answers through headphones and feel as if you’re a part of their conversation. Also part of the exhibit is a video-sculptural work that evokes the classic Chinese screen on which photos and videos showing the evolution of the cheongsam are displayed, and a transparent, plexi-glass fitting room which projects clips from Hollywood films onto the visitor’s body.

Continue reading

Digging for Chinese Treasure…in a Museum

Karen Tam

Karen Tam in front of Qing dynasty Alcove Bed at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

When my friend Karen Tam, told me earlier this year that she was the artist-in-residence at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, I asked her two questions:

1) Do the statues come to life like in the movie A Night at the Museum?
2) What was she doing there?

So maybe my imagination is fueled by movies including Indiana Jones and more recently, Monument Men, and maybe I was disappointed that the answer to my first question was “no,” but I found Karen’s project to be very intriguing.

I met her again on the last day of her residency, this time at the museum, to find out exactly what she was working on. She had spent six weeks exploring their archives and learning about the history of the museum’s collection of Chinese art and artefacts. It was late Friday morning, and we sat on a vinyl bench on the third floor where only a handful of people were perusing the display cases.

Many of the objects she examined came from antique dealers in New York, Boston and London, two of who obtained valuable artefacts because of major historical events. Goods belonging to Japanese-Americans who were interned during the Second World War wound up in the hands of Yamanaka Sadajirô and his company Yamanaka & Co which dealt in government confiscated goods. The other one was C.T. Loo.  Treasures that once belonged to the Chinese Imperial Family fell into his hands as they sold what they could in order to flee China before the fall of the Last Emperor and the Japanese invasion. Accused of being a thief and looter of China’s national treasures, Loo defended himself by saying he was actually saving the art by selling them to collectors.

It seems that the museum also played a small part in history. In the 1940s, the museum held three exhibits by Chinese artists of which one was to raise money for China’s Nationalist Party and another for China’s Communist Party. However, all three exhibits were held when Canada’s Chinese Exclusion Act (which banned Chinese immigrants from entering the country from 1923-1947 )was still in force. Canadian society, while appreciating the art and culture of the Far East, did not hold the same appreciation for the people who created it.

The museum’s Chinese collection holds many stories, but as Karen’s residency ends her interest does not. She is holding talks with the museum about the possibility of holding an exhibit based on her discoveries. In the meantime, her next installation will be at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon as part of the exhibition “Convoluted Beauty: In the Company of Emily Carr,” at the end of June. Her subject will be Lee Nam, a Chinese immigrant to British Columbia, who was a painter and a friend of Emily Carr. In collaboration with Montreal-based painter, Lui Luk Chun, a senior artist in his seventies, she will re-imagine what Lee Nam’s studio looked like in the 1930s.

You can read more about her experience as artist-in-residence at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on her blog Pumpkin Sauce. Check out her portfolio at http://www.karentam.ca.

Click on the link to learn about the artist’s residency at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Genevieve P.M. Roy and her nail polish art collection

Nail Polish Art: Inspiration in a Small Bottle

There was a gathering at Galerie V-Trimont in Westmount on Friday, October 18th for a unique art collection that might be the first of its kind in Canada or even in the world: paintings done entirely with nail polish.

Festival of Lanterns

Festival of Lanterns

This beautiful art collection was created by Genevieve P.M.Roy, a local Montreal artist of French and Chinese heritage who I  met when I joined a Dragon Boat team a few years ago.  Roy greeted guests who sipped wine and munched on appetizers as they viewed paintings inspired by her passion for music, acting, and singing. The evening was definitely a family affair. Her mother, Quee Ying Wong, helped organize the evening and her father, Michel Roy officially opened the evening with a speech while her aunt, Jennifer Wong, sold raffle tickets at the door.

The paintings began as gifts to friends. It was while she was working on one such painting when she realized her nail polish was just the color she was looking for. She experimented with products from different companies and created works featuring vibrant color and glitter.

The vernissage was also a fund raiser. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the paintings and a souvenir book will be donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children which plans to open a new facility in Montreal in the fall of 2015. 

Roy is also a blogger and cultural reporter for Mountain Lake PBS. Visit her web site at http://genevievepmroy.weebly.com/index.html

 

Creativity, Inspiration and Fun at Montreal Comiccon

When I was a kid, one of my favourite comics was Superman. While other kids fantasized about having x-ray vision and being able to fly, I idolized Lois Lane. I mean, I knew I would never, ever have super powers, but I could, maybe someday, be a writer and have adventures like Lois. After all, she covered Superman’s adventures for the newspaper, so she was right there with him as he fought the bad guys, and even saved his life a few times. Lois Lane was undoubtedly a strong influence when it came to my career choices.

So when the annual Comiccon convention hit Montreal this past weekend, I bought a one day pass and went with my friend and copy editor, Virginia Modugno. A must-see for us was the Q&A with the cast of Battlestar Galactica. The lineup to see Edward James Olmos, James Callis, Tahmoh Penikett and Michael Hogan was really long, but they were worth the wait.

There were so many events for gamers and fans of horror and sci-fi: comedy skits, movie premieres, screenings, a video game room, and the Q&A with celebs. We also saw Felicia Day and Christopher Lloyd as eager fans took turns asking questions.

The exhibition hall had tons of memorabilia, collectibles, costumes and comics. What would Comiccon be without tons of comics? Or without the autograph sessions and photo-ops with the celebrities who created such memorable characters? Besides the ones I mentioned above, Gillian Anderson , George Takei and Lou Ferrigno among others were set up at one end of the hall to meet their fans.

And how did they get there? Well, parked at the other end of the exhibition hall was the Ghostbusters station wagon, Dr. Who’s phone booth, the DeLorean from Back to the Future and the hovercraft that a young Luke Skywalker raced in a prequel. There was literally alot of ground to cover at the Palais des congrès, but undoubtedly, the day belonged to the fans. Just seeing the costumes, the creativity and feeling their enthusiasm was worth the price of admission. I don’t know the names of all these characters, so if anyone recognizes any of them, let me know.

Since it was my first time, it was all a bit overwhelming, and when it ended at 7p.m. I was exhausted. It was loads of fun, and maybe I’ll go back next year. Maybe I’ll even shell out the extra bucks for a photo-op with a celebrity.

I didn’t see anyone there dressed up as Lois Lane, but I suppose it could have been me. I was there with my camera, taking it all in as Lois would have, watching the superheros do their thing.