Best of Etsy: Material World

[Japanese Kokka Fabric from Miss Matatabi]

The entire Covet Garden team has fabric hoarding tendancies. This is one of the reasons we love Grant's place in the current issue so very much: Touring his home gave us the chance to luxuriate in textiles. It also inspired us to make things with our own stashes of material. Jessica made dresses. Lynda crafted a carrying bag for her pup Lily. And Rhonda recovered her couch cushions.

[Blue Bird Dress from Leah Goren]

[Curls print fabric from Stitch In Dye]

[Vintage George Snowden for Memphis fabric from Merit and Worth]

Now that we've reignited our passion for fashioning things out of cloth, we've turned to Etsy to find handmade and vintage supplies (and new project inspiration). If you are looking for fab fabric finds, we've made a curated list called Fabric Hoarding to help you start or add to your collection. As always, we will keep adding to our treasuries as we uncover more amazing materials, so follow our boards for updates!

[Marimekko Kanteleen Kutsu fabric from Otto Bag]



Art's Generation Next

Recently, the Covet Garden team visited the EQ3 store in Liberty Village for the launch of the Winnipeg-based company’s second Generation Art capsule collection. Created in partnership with the Michaëlle Jean Foundation (, the line not only raises money to help fund arts programming for youth across Canada, it also features the designs of seven artists from across the country. 

Over 200 artists submitted designs for the collection, which consists of décor accessories including pillows, bean bags, ottomans, napkins, mugs and serving platters. The youngest, Andrew Lee, is only 11 years old.

“I really believe that art can save lives,” says Jean-Daniel Lafond, who is co-founder and co-chair of the Foundation alongside his wife, The Right Hon. Jean. “I was born in France at the end of the war. "During the rebuilding, when I was between 12 and 14, I believed that I had no future. What saved me at age 14 was that I joined a small theatre company. I studied the texts and learned the importance of culture. And although I went to school for philosophy, I paid for my studies making art.”

“Today I could say that what my wife and I are doing is repaying the gift of culture,” says Lafond. “It is the best treasure we could give.”

This year, artists were asked for designs that celebrated diversity. We were especially taken by the pastel kaleidoscope patterns by Toronto’s Selina Wong and the bold black and white unity circle design by Winnipeg’s Melanie Kane.

Peter Teilman, EQ3’s president and CEO adds that working on Generation Art also gives the company a chance to acknowledge both young and established artists. All proceeds from sales of the Generation Art collection also go directly to Foundation. Basically, it’s a gift that keeps on giving, says Teilman.  “We invite you to purchase products with meaning for the gift giving season.”


October Giveaway: Sandra Dionisi Immortals Print

[Sandra in her living room from Issue 11, photography by Donna Griffith]

We like to stay in touch with the folks whose homes we have featured in past issues of Covet Garden. And this month we wanted to share an update on illustrator Sandra Dionisi.

When we featured Sandra, husband James and son Luka’s house back in Issue 11 (June 2011), she told us about a collaboration she was working on with the glass artist Jeff Goodman. At the time she could only hint at the project, but the plan was to etch Sandra’s images from classical Greek mythology onto glass vessels. 

Although Goodman passed away in 2012, Sandra continued to work on the series, eventually creating 12 amazing silkscreens depicting the gods of Olympus with finely etched details and carefully observed symbolism. “Because I come from the editorial world I want the images to have some meaning,” she says.

She calls this series The Immortals. “It took a couple of years to create,” says Sandra. “I had never done anything like it. The technical part of etching is similar to silkscreening in that you have to create positive and negative images. I spent a lot of time talking with Jeff and the people who worked with the studio and I discovered that I could do more than what I thought I could do. I liked the results that came from the remove between the first generation [the drawings] and third generation [the printing].”

We love them too! Currently, you can buy the prints from Sandra’s online shop. She also has work at the Lucky Penny Café on Shaw Street and will be taking part in a group show at MADE in November.

We’re also thrilled to announce that Sandra is also giving one Covet Garden reader a print from this series. Visit Sandra’s shop and check out the collection. Then tell us which immortal you’d like in your home at contest @ covetgarden. com for a chance to win a limited edition silkscreen. One winner will be selected at random. Contest is open to Canadian residents only. All entries must be received by October 31st at 11pm EST.


Issue 50 is Now Live!

[cover photo by Ashley Capp]

Last month Covet Garden celebrated its fourth anniversary. This month we're going to keep the party going with our 50th issue and specifically, textile artist Grant's amazing abode. Anyone who loves fabrics as much as we do won't be able to resist the colours, patterns and tactile wonders of this Little Portugal home, the way he has assembled his treasures has also taught about the true meaning of that over-used word "curation." His collections have context which creates a dialogue between the objects in the room, which in turn tells a story about history, the house and the man who put it all togther.

As always, we took inspiration from Grant's space to bring you projects and inspiration to help you tell your own story. This month, we've got a fun graphic chain stitched cushion cover DIY, A honey-sweetened beverage and fantastic, fabric-influenced fashion and decor finds.

Step inside discover your own favourite places in Grant's space.


Tea with Bluebellgray's Fi Douglas

Yesterday, the Covet Garden team sat down for a delightful conversation with Fiona Douglas, the Glasgow-based designer behind Bluebellgray—a company best known for its painterly, floral print bed linens, pillows and furniture.

We've been following the five-year-old textile company through British design mags and blogs for a while now, so we were thrilled to learn that the Hudson’s Bay Company has brought the brand to Canada in an exclusive partnership—and to get the opportunity to meet Douglas and members of her team in person.

Why do we love Bluebellgray so much? It makes us happy! “I want to give that little bit of happiness to people,” says Douglas. “It’s hard to be sad when you’re surrounded by flowers and colour.”

One of Douglas’ earliest memories is a teacher telling her to colour within the lines, which of course, she did not want to do. While she was studying painting in art school, she found the fine arts department drew a similar line between art and craft. “A friend was in the textile department and said, ‘Fi, you’re a textile artist, I just know it.’”

Douglas’ friend was right. “For me textiles is a way to take painting and pattern and colour and interpret it in a different way,” she says. At school, she was also able to experiment with the modern medium of digital printing, which allowed her to bring her delicate watercolours to life on traditional materials such as linen and wool. “It’s freedom! It allows so many possibilities because there are no restrictions in the form or the process.”

Douglas gets so much joy from bringing happiness to others. But she also loves to travel, create DIY projects and spend time with her husband Phillip (who helped her start the business at their kitchen table) and 14-month-old son, Archie. Where does such a busy lady get her inspiration? “Open your eyes and take things in and appreciate them,” she says. She uses Archie as an example. “He loves to walk down the driveway and pick up every pinecone and examine it. He gets this expression on his little face that’s pure amazement.”

Another reason that Douglas is such a kindred spirit to us is that she believes that people are happy when they surround themselves with things that have meaning. Every Bluebellgray print or pattern starts out as an original painting. The things the studio creates aren’t meant to be seasonal or trendy, she says, rather “it’s about mixing them in with what you already love and then building up over the years.”

We also love the fact that even as Bluebellgray spreads its recipe for cheerfulness globally, they have made an effort to be conscious locally in their collaboration with The Hudson’s Bay. For example, the cushion designs are printed in the UK and are sewn locally in Canada. The two furniture pieces in the exclusive Hudson’s Bay collection, a tufted headboard and accent chair (pictured at top), are also manufactured in Canada. The Bluebellgray line is available online and in stores now at the Hudson's Bay.