Sponsor Love: Camp Tech

We welcome Camp Tech as a Covet Garden sponsor because they love technology as much as we love interiors. Founder and lead instructor Avery Swartz wants to bring that love of knowledge to anybody who has every been flummoxed or just plain initimidated by tech speak.

While most classes are designed for beginners, you will leave with skills that you can apply right away. But you'll learn theory to help you understand how computers and the internet work so that you can feel in control of your website, blog or social media stream. Instruction is intensive—most classes are only one day long (and include a delicious lunch!)—making Camp Tech perfect for small business owners who can't invest the time and travel in going to a class once a week.

[Avery in action and the lovely classroom space at the Centre for Social Innovation at 215 Spadina Ave.]

Camp Tech classes are taught by working professionals who are up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in their fields. And, as the name suggests, it's not fluffy, but it's not a stuffy classroom setting either: Our Jessica attended a Camp Tech WordPress seminar last weekend and found the whole experience to be affordable, fun, friendly and very informative. Instructor Avery even scored discount coupons and free themes for some of the best WordPress theme sites out there and provided links to all kinds of amazing resources for the the attendees. It was also great meeting other students and learning about how they planned to harness the power of blogging.

Upcoming classes include Twitter, Email Marketing and Facebook for Small Business and the aforementioned WordPress for Beginners.


Blog Break

The Covet Garden team have lots of big plans for the future of our magazine. While we're so very fortunate to have had the support of an incredibly talented circle of photographers, illiustrators and interns, at the end of the day there is only so much that the Covey G three can do in a day.

In order for us to grow creatively (and to hopefully reach even more readers), we need to channel our creative into some new projects. But because we have a limited amount of time, we need to cut back in other areas. Which is a long way of saying that we are reducing the number of blog posts to once a week. We will still be keeping the online conversation going via our Facebook page, at @CovetGarden on Twitter or on Pinterest boards.

What are our secret plans? We'll let you know here in a couple of weeks. So stay tuned!


Issue 33 Is Now Live!

[cover illustration by Alanna Cavanagh]

We've been asking readers to recommend cool spaces for Covet Garden to feature and Michelle and Glen's Leslieville home kept coming up in the conversation. It's easy to see why, what with the clean white palette, the wide open spaces and the sense of playfulness and colour that abounds throughout the rooms. Our only regret is that we didn't get a good picture of their bathroom. It was dreamy. The sink was literally the porcelain equivalent of a smile. Unfortunately, we ran out of light. But every cloud has a silver lining and capturing this wonder bathroom gives us an excuse to go back one day.

Of course, if we hadn't mentioned it, you wouldn't have noticed. That's just how jam-packed with wonder this issue is. Not only do we feature the couple's to-die-for space, Michelle has also provided a cool 3-D card making project and we've used duo's unique look (and outlook) to provide the point of view for our Style and Inspiration pages.

So come on in and enjoy the April issue of Covet Garden. And remember, if you like it, share it with your friends and sign up to subscribe to our free newsletter so you'll never miss an issue!


Frank Lloyd Wright in San Francisco

On a recent visit to San Francisco, we made it a point to make a pilgrammage to see famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright's V.C. Morris Gift Shop Building. Why? Because is an amazing example of Lloyd's later work (and a rare retail environment).

[image courtesy Alexander Boardman]

[images from top: Rhonda Riche, Architectural Forum cover from here, via the Xanadu gallery, interior shot with circular window by Alexander Boardman, interior view from here]

Commissioned by the V.C. Morris Gift Shop, the structure was designed in 1948. For Wrightophiles, it is famous for being a precursor of the iconic spiral ramp in New York's Guggenheim Museum (though that project was designed before, but was completed after).

The building is definitely a hidden treasure. Housed behind a Romanesque brick facade in San Francisco's Union Square, the space is wide open but suprisingly intimate. As you climb the ramp, the perspective and scale of the room shifts. The space is lit by a ceiling of opaque cast white plastic bubbles, so that you almost feel as if you are ascending into the clouds!

The circular theme is repeated throughout the shop, with rounded, original built-in wood and glass furnishings and circular openings for display of illuminated objects cut through the curved concrete wall of the ramp. Basically, if we are in the Bay Area when the revolution comes, we are moving into this building!

V.C. Morris has long since gone out of business. But the building is still home to a shop — the Xanadu Gallery, which trades in museum quality examples of artifacts, textiles, and jewelry from Asia, Oceania, and Latin America. It is a rare oportunity to see some amazing pieces up close, and the antique art fits perfectly with Wright's modern sensibility.


Why We Are Excited About One Of A Kind

The One Of A Kind Show is a Toronto institution, and like all long-running endeavours, some years we are more into it than others. This spring, we are happy to report that we are super buzzed about the event. First of all, this season, the organizers are really focussing on making an emotional connection between buyers and makers. Visitors can take part in hands-on DIY Workshops (we're particularly intrigued by Custom Vinyl Toy with Rose Chang & Stephanie Drabik of Crywolf on March 30th from 9:00am to 11:00am) or vote for their favourite designers in the Bunny Rabbit competition.

We visited the OOAK Show this week and made a connection with several makers, including local screen printer Nicole Tarasick (pictured above). We also met Canadian creators from both coasts, including ...

....Claire Madill of Heyday Design from Vancouver who makes gorgeous porcelain containers.

And Graham Blair of St. John's, Newfoundland, pictured here with his hand-carved wood block prints.

We also enjoyed exploring the Rising Stars section and discovering new talents, such as...

...Heather Scott's Rock & Roll Romantic collection of printed purses....

... and these whimisical plates and mugs from Greg Voisin Pottery.

This season's show also features an Etsy marketplace with lots of extremely affordable handmade creations. We were particulaly taken by the handmade toys, paper goods, illustrations, accessories and lifestyle items from Morico by Chu Zhang (pictured here with her cute crocheted animals).

[images, Jessica Reid]

The show runs until March 31st. Admission for adults is $14 ($12 online); seniors and youth (aged 13-17) is $7; and children aged 12 & under are free.