One of a Kind Spring Show's Soft Touch

[pouches with original silk-screened illustrations by Prints and Needles]

Even though Spring has officially arrived, it sometimes feels like we just can't shake the winter of 2015. Perhaps that's why we are so attracted to the so many of the warming textile objects at this year's One of a Kind Spring Show and Sale. Sometimes pictures speak louder than words, so here's a peek at some of our favourites.

The exhibition (which began on Wednesday and runs until March 29th at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place) features over 450 artisans and designers from across Canada selling an amazing array of handmade home décor, fashion accessories, clothing, jewellery, beauty, outdoor items, baby, toys, and food.

[upcycled fabric pillow by Stitch and Spoke]

[silkscreened napkins by Salvage Ink]

[children's dress by Yana Gorbulsky]

And just when you think you've seen it all, this season there are 177 new participants. That's a lot of homegrown goodness. And that's why we had to focus on fabrics. Head on down to the OOAK to discover something to pick up your place for Spring.


We Covet: Alice and Martin Provensen

[image from Funny Bunny by Martin and Alice Provensen, 1950]

While it might be a disturbing sign that I have too much stuff, I was delighted to discover a picture book illustrated by Martin and Alice Provensen in our library. Turns out my husband won it as a prize when he was a young schoolboy in Kenya (we never got books as prizes here in Ontario, although I have an awesome collection of "Participant" ribbons).

Martin and Alice Provensen are like the Ray and Charles Eames of illustration. They were from Chicago but met in California, where they were both working in the animation industry. They basically began their professional collaboration shortly after they got married in 1944, working for the Little Golden Books series of kid's lit. (If you scroll through out back issues where Heather, Val and Matt namecheck their tome "The Color Kittens" in Covet Garden Issue 4).

[image from Aesop's Fables]

Their work is angular, abstracted and absolutely modernist. But what helps it stand the test of time is Martin and Alice's sense of humour. My husband's book, Aesop's Fables, not only features playuful figurative animals acting out classic stories, the characters are constantly making funny remarks within the artwork. As their reputation grew, they began to write as well as illustrate children's books, winning the Caldecott Medal in 1985 for The Glorious Flight — a book about the aviator Louis Bériot.

Outside of the couple's literary works, Martin was responsible for the design of beloved cereal pitchcat, Tony the Tiger. But mainly they worked as singular artistic brain. In an article originally published in Publisher's Weekly after Martin's death of a heart attack in 1987, Alice said, "we were a true collaboration. Martin and I really were one artist."

Alice continues to be awesome and is still working to this this day. Her most notable solo book is A Day in the Life of Murphy (2006) which has everything we love about her work, including beautiful, irresistable, almost human animals.


Rhonda's Typography Trip To Berlin

Loyal blog readers may have noticed that the Covet Garden team has been doing a bit of travelling recently: Jessica and Lynda have visited the sunny climes of California and Mexico and I've been to Germany twice in the last four months (and I'm going again next week).

Berlin is one of my favourite cities โ€” it has a rich history of course, but having to rebuild itself after WWII and post-communism reunification it has the energy of a much younger town. There are many ways that this manifests itself visually in many ways โ€” you can pretty much tell where the Berlin Wall once stood by following the trail of amazing, contemporary architecture. Graphically the typography of signage says a lot. Looking through my snaps I realized that there was hardly a serif in sight.

Here are some examples from around Berlin. Above is an old school selfie machine (I kid, it's a pet peeve about people that call every portrait a selfie now). In former East German neighbourhoods like the Mitte, these old timey photobooths abound. Below, trash cans implore you to give them your garbage.

Fun fact: The influential typographer and designer Erik Spiekermann is responsible for much of the look of the signage you see in train and subway stations. I fell into a long Speikermann-based internet K-hole while researching this post, and discovered that you can buy limited edition

I don't know why Berliners love San Serif typefaces so much. Maybe there's something about their driectness that helps guide its citizens through a city that is still in many ways split into East and West. Maybe its a way of distancing the present from the Gothic lettering preferred by the Nazi past. I have no answers.

One thing that everyone can agree on is that letterform is important to the people of Berlin. There's even a Museum dedicated to it โ€” The Buchstabenmuseum. There was an interesting article in The Guardian earlier this week about how typography in the transportation system serves as an unofficial timeline of Berlin.


Raising aWEARness

The School of Media & Design at Conestoga College in Kitchener is presenting its fifth annual aWEARness performance and Covet Garden is pleased to be back as a sponsor of this one-of-a-kind runway performance for the third year in a row.

We love exploring creativity and discovering new makers, designers and artists, which is why we're always glad to promote the efforts of the graduating class of Visual Merchandising Arts students. This year's theme is movement throughout time, and each student will be designing a costume that represents their idea of motion. The designers are also working with Broadcast Television students to produce an original video.

The event is always an energetic and visual treat, so if you're like us and want to support young talent, we encourage you to raise your awareness of aWearness. The show is at the Conrad Centre in Downtown Kitchener. Tickets are $20 and you can buy them here or at the door.


Best of Etsy: One Of A Kind

[1. Etsy (CA)">Grey and Black Wolf, Little Bellwoods; 2. La Elefant dress, Tove Troll; 3. Walnut Server, Craft Collective; 4. Soy Candle, Campy Home; 5. Canvas Lunch Bag, Prints and Needles; 6. Hardware Sterling Ring, Esther Chabot Bijoux.

One of the highlights of Covet Garden's calendar is the One of a Kind Show. Like seeing a robin, it's a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

Once again, OOAK is featuring a special section of Etsy sellers at the show this season. This area will feature a treasure trove of handmade objects ranging from home decor to kids clothes. To give you a sneal peak of the some of the goodies that will be available, we've creatred a special Etsy treasury called One Of Kind to highlight some of the vendors who will be showcasing their wares at the show.

There will be much more to discover at OOAK. The next show is March 25th to 29th at the Direct Energy Centre. See you there!