Today is today

It's a quiet day with my to-do list, although my mind is pinwheeling against the forces of procrastination.

Not like last night. Last night I was laying down with peace of mind. I could see the night clouds traveling big and slow across the sky like migrating mastodons, or grey gypsies, a traveling circus full of magicians, illusions and strange faces.


Queen West Love-In

Gentle Readers! It's Saturday night. I'm finally getting around to sharing some pictures of our day at the Art Crawl. I got a ton of love at my table from people I've loved almost my whole life. Thank you for supporting me! Every couple of hours there would be a familiar face approaching my booth; it made my day when this happened.

Mr Man helped me run things at an even keel, even on Sunday when most of the Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood converged on the park towards mid-day, snapping up some of my favourite pieces too.

A lot of people's faces broke into great big smiles and wide eyes when, after approaching my table and looking at the pendants & pins on display they were told "you can wind them up you know - they are mechanical music boxes that you can wear." (Me and the mister joked about a drinking game based on my booth and the phrase "Ahhhh So Cute!!!")

This was my first show presenting my own work - I'm ridiculously happy to say "they love me! they really love me!"

I'm setting up my booth a few hours before the show

A vintage Japanese lacquered music box presents my business cards.
A ballerina music box holds my miniature creations.

Booth D27

My silent familiar looks on from her perch. "chirp"


Meet me at the Queen West Art Crawl Booth D27

I've been itching to announce that my work has been accepted into the Queen West Art Crawl show and sale happening on September 19th & 20 - two short weeks away. It's the arts event of the season featuring downtown artists and it happens in Bellwoods Park, nearby the Plucked Pins home and headquarters.

I live in an apartment in a converted Victorian house in my city's Little Italy. It's a good place to be. My favourite time to work is Sundays outside when everything is steeped in quiet and mild early morning sunshine, when the older people who live in my neighbourhood take their walks in twos with slow care. It's the time of day that requires no translation if you were a child in Italy once but find yourself now across the ocean in your 70's in Canada.

Of the different pieces I've been preparing for the show, I've really been enjoying filigree and floral themes the most lately. Here are a few examples in those styles that I'll be bringing to the Art Crawl.

These pendants have winding keys on the reverse side that operate the mechanical music boxes that they contain. The filigree pendant plays a song called Love Story. The sunny yellow pendant and the pretty pink one are decorated with vintage floral findings and they play You Light Up My Life.


5 Questions: Interview with Kim Chatel, author, fiber-artist, photographer

I recently came across the beautifully rendered work of the talented and prolific artist Kim Chatel. Do you know what caught my eye? Colourful, detailed creations that, as she puts it, "sing"! Kim agreed to answer 5 questions about her art.

"Why did you choose to integrate music boxes in your work?"

I have always been a crafter and I’ve dabbled in many different media. I was making gift boxes with my photography when I discovered needle-felting and fell in love with this unique art. Needle-felting is like sculpting with wool, and I’ve discovered that I can make anything out of wool. Like many crafters, I have oodles of miscellaneous supplies hanging around. I was looking for embellishments when I came across some crank-style music box movements I had bought, thinking to add them to my photo-boxes. I held one in my hand for nearly ten minutes, turning it and listening to the music, wondering if I could incorporate this into a felt sculpture. In the end I wrapped the music box movement in velcro so it would stick to the wool and began making felt music boxes! I’ve made dozens now—bears, toadstools, puppies mermaids, dragons and more. I like to let the music dictate what creature will be shaped around it.

"What is the most challenging step in your creative process?"

Needle-felting is not a craft for the impatient. Simply building the structure around the music box can take days. This used to be frustrating to me, but I’ve learned not to rush it. My music boxes are a labor of love. They are generally too expensive to sell easily at craft fairs. I make many of my smaller critters and ornaments for these. As a result, my music boxes are made just for me. I take my time and let them evolve slowly. Though I’ve sold many music boxes, I often give them away as special gifts.

"When do you know a piece is finished?"

As a writer, I appreciate the value of revision. However, with needle-felting, I could continue to poke and prod the wool endlessly. Eventually, I have to be satisfied with my product. I generally have an idea in my head, what I want the music box to look like, but I love to add fun details and when the creation makes me smile, then I know it’s done.

"Do you have a favourite piece?"

Needle-felting generally has a built-in cuteness factor, because it’s fuzzy and soft. Some of my boxes, like Peter Cottontail and Terry Terrier make me all warm and squishy inside. However, the one I am most proud of is Hailey the Mermaid. I started making her at a book signing and promised a little reader that I would name the mermaid after her. Hailey is the culmination of many years of practice and I think she is my most technically challenging piece. Plus she is whimsical and full of fun details.

"Where can we buy your beautiful things?"

My Esty store ( has all my current pieces (including Hailey). I can also make custom music boxes and ornaments.

Chatel Village
( is my website for children’s books and here you can find “Rainbow Sheep” my picture book illustrated with needle-felted art.

The Art Gallery in Chatel Village ( also showcases many of my past creations, including a video of Hailey the Mermaid as she spins and sings.


Related Posts with Thumbnails