Feed Sacks book exhibition

Thank you to everyone who came to the studio on Sunday, November 27 to celebrate the arrival of Feed Sacks: the Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric written by Linzee Kull McCray. All pre-ordered books have been sent out now—it is exciting to see them starting to arrive around the world! (If you didn't pre-order, the book is shipping from our fulfillment warehouses, but without the limited edition cloth sacks packaging.)

Brush Lettering Workshop

Lettering by workshop instructor Christopher Rouleau

Lettering by workshop instructor Christopher Rouleau

On Sunday, Calgary letter lovers were treated to a workshop taught by Toronto-based letterers Christopher Rouleau and Kyle Gallant. Organized by the Alberta South Chapter of the GDC, I volunteered my studio to be the venue. Chris is a multi-talented letterer and designer who also contributes frequently to UPPERCASE magazine. He and Kyle are co-founders of Ligatures, a club of type enthusiasts in Toronto.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending 8 hours dedicated to learning lettering and it was encouraging to see such an improvement in my understanding of how to letter thanks to great instruction and having the right tools to experiment with. I made a quick video, above. (I'm totally frustrated that I can't seem to focus my camera... even with bifocals and as much practice as I can... when I import the video and see it large, it's not in focus! Anyway... the video, above, blurry sections and all.)

Thank you to Spencer Goldade who organized the event for the GDC. There might be another workshop this winter if you missed out this time. If you're in Toronto tomorrow, there's a Ligatures meetup in Toronto called Type on Tap.

Awwww... thanks!

Awwww... thanks!

Brush Lettering workshop at UPPERCASE July 12

When I heard that UPPERCASE contributor Christopher Rouleau was planning a lettering workshop in Calgary, I offered him the use of the UPPERCASE studio if needed. Hooray! The workshop will be held in my studio! I look forward to taking the class and learning some lettering techniques from some really talented guys. The event is organized by the local chapter of the GDC. Here are the details:

Join Toronto letterers Kyle Gallant & Christopher Rouleau for a one-day intensive on the basics of brush pen lettering.

GDC Alberta South welcomes Toronto letterers Kyle Gallant & Christopher Rouleau for a one-day intensive on the basics of brush pen lettering. In addition to learning the fundamentals of letterform construction, participants will also learn tips & tricks for composition, as well as how to digitize your work. The workshop offers creative enrichment and helps participants with all backgrounds – beginners & novice letterers – develop their own unique lettering style, which can then be applied into their future artistic endeavours, at work and beyond.

This is a full-day workshop will be held Sunday, July 12 from 9am – 5pm at UPPERCASE in the Devenish building. There will be a one hour break for lunch. The cost of this full-day workshop is $165. This price includes a workbook and the supplies you will need for the workshop, all of which you get to take home at the end of the day.

Kyle is a multi-faceted designer, skilled in calligraphy, expressive lettering, and even graffiti. He is a self-described “compulsive doodler” and passionate about all things type. He has co-instructed several brush pen workshops with Christopher in Toronto, include a special workshop at the agency Sid Lee.

Christopher is a freelance graphic designer & letterer, with a love for alphabets, antique lettering guides and old hand-lettered signs. He is comfortable working in a variety of media, including pen, chalk, paint & ink. Christopher has taught workshops in Calgary, and also co-instructed his first workshop with Type Camp in New York City this past May.

Kyle & Christopher co-founded Ligatures, a Toronto-based typography interest group, in the fall of 2013. Since the club’s inception, they have hosted almost 2 dozen public events, ranging from film screenings, lectures, draft & draws, type walks, as well as their first curated gallery show, Swash & Serif, last October.

Sign up here. Space is limited!

New Craft Coalition spring sale Friday and Saturday

Please join me and a roster of talented Western Canadian artists and artisans at the New Craft Coalition craft fair this Friday and Saturday. 

Friday, May 22, 4-9pm
Saturday, May 23, 10-6pm

Festival Hall, Inglewood (1215 10 Ave SE, Calgary)
Admission $2

I'll have the current issue (with free printmaking samples while they last) plus back issues, books, papergoods and special offer: subscribe/renew and get a free issue!

I hope to see you there!

Show and Tell: thank you!


The ideas, projects and creative passions that were shared at the Show and Tell event at 3 Fish Studios on January 30 were outstanding. Not only was the evening really enjoyable and entertaining, it resulted in this week-long series of posts about the individuals who braved a few jitters to publicly present their work. I look forward to following along on their various blogs and sites and Instagram accounts and hope to meet these friends of UPPERCASE again the next time I'm in San Francisco. We may see some of the participants profiled in more depth in future publications!

Thank you again to Annie and Eric for providing the perfect venue and being so welcoming to all. If you've fallen in love with California, visit their shop and you'll find something fun or endearing to adorn your walls.

Show and Tell: April V. Walters


"Donuts of the Bay Area" is quite the best title I've seen for a calendar. Even better, it is filled with watercolour portraits of donuts (or doughnuts, if you prefer) spotted and, I assume, consumed in the San Francisco vicinity.

For more delectables, visit April V. Walter's Etsy shop, look through her website to get to know April and then read her entertaining illustrated blog post about 21 days served on jury duty. It's one of the best and original blog posts I've read in quite a while.

Show and Tell: Georgia Hodges


Ceramicist and multimedia artist Georgia Hodges presentation was heartfelt and memorable. She brought in some simple cups with earthy glazes as well as a large bowl with organic and draped textures. She spoke about life as process and finding satisfaction in the unfinished. From her artist statement on her website, Georgia writes:

My art and my daily life are fully intertwined. Life without a creative practice feels empty, and a creative practice without a purpose feels lost. A successful day is one that is rich with artful moments. Where all tasks feel relevant.

Show and Tell: Jim Vanides

For Jim Vanides' Show and Tell, I will present in full his submission for the "I Love Notions" open call I had for issue 20. You can see the published version in the current issue. Jim read his poem for our event.

Jim is a technologist, educator, and photographer in Silicon Valley. As an educator, his passion is working with teachers to use technology to create powerful learning experiences for students—experiences that help more students succeed. As a photographer, he enjoys still life and landscapes, but most of all, capturing memories of children caught in the act of just being themselves...



Thank you for the invitation to think about notions! Who would have guessed that your invitation to would inspire me to stop and reflect on what really matters in life—and what it is that we leave behind. 

Perhaps it was no coincidence that we recently found our daughter’s first pair of baby shoes, and all 32 years came flowing back as if they were an instant. Or perhaps it was my grandfather’s pocket watch, sitting in our cabinet of family “treasures” (complete with the key to his tailor shop in New York, circa 1925) that prompted me to think about the real meaning of “treasures”. 

The feeling, all combined, was the unmistakable thread of time that linked my grandfather to my daughter—more significantly, the thread of love that will outlast time itself…. 

So thank you for prompting my memories and my conviction that “only love is timeless…” 

Warm regards from California, 

Jim Vanides 


Threads of Love 

Time is a thread 
That connects us to our past 
And leads us minute by minute 
To our Future 

Time, wrapped in Love, 
Is the greatest gift 
We can receive 
And share 

For all the gifts we give and receive 
Only Love is timeless 
Only Love will remain… 


A nice note: Jim's daughter is Joy Deneen, a talented calligrapher and the author of our Garbage Beauty article in the current issue. I didn't find out until later that two generations of a family are published in the same issue!

Show and Tell: Courtney Cerruti


Here's a face you've just seen on the UPPERCASE blog: Courtney Cerruti works at Creativebug appearing on camera as well as setting the stage for other artists and she does even more: she is also an instructor at the San Francisco Center for the Book, an author with a new book by Quarry called Playing with Image Transfers, she's active on Instagram, was formerly a display coordinator at Anthropologie... the list is so long that "maker extraordinaire" is the best all-encompassing description!

Show and Tell: Amani Weusi


Amani Weusi wore the jewellery that she designs — wire-wrapped healing stones that show us how nature can assist us and help us be the best we can be. Some pieces are for sale in her Etsy shop, Sourceolight. About the piece shown directly above, Amani writes:

"Two of the birthstones for the sun sign Sagittarius, both are energetic power houses.
Both have very powerful metaphysical and spiritual healing properties. Turquoise can, increase Intuition, wisdom, happiness, serenity, creativity; empathy, positive thinking and sensitivity. Onyx, connected to the earth and lower chakras, balances masculine and feminine polarities. Activates the memory and helps one understand the reality of the moment. Onyx helps one have self control. Black onyx is very helpful with focusing energy in positive ways."

Show and Tell: Anna Conti


Pretty amazing talent at the UPPERCASE Show and Tell at 3 Fish Studios last Thursday, don't you think? It was really a special event with an wonderful combination of people—different creative styles, different paths, but all with a common passion for their craft and the joy of sharing creativity with others.

Anna Conti brought in an original painting that is part of her Ship Spotting project. As she explained, there is so much activity and traffic happening out in the bay, but most people don't know what kind of boat it is or what its specific task may be. Anna aims to create a guide, similar to a bird-watching guide, but in this case it would be to identify the marine traffic on the San Francisco Bay. Get to know Anna and her work through this video portrait:


See more of Anna's paintings on Flickr.

Show and Tell: Frances England

Frances England is a singer-songwriter who RSVPd to the Show and Tell to just "watch and listen", but when I saw and listened to her website, I was bold enough to ask her if she'd like to share a song. I'm so glad that she agreed! Frances has a lovely voice with sweetly melancholic songs for children and families... and she has just released her first "grown-up" album as well. I was also impressed with the collage artwork on her website and on her album covers—that is her handiwork as well. I've posted her lettering for her new album "Paths We Have Worn" so that we can appreciate that she cut those out by hand (no photoshop).


It is wonderful to find out that UPPERCASE can connect creativity in unusual ways. In perusing Frances' website, I watched the video, above, about a boy who has a great friend in an oversized Donna Wilson creature. I emailed Frances to tell her about our mutual fondness for Donna's creations and Frances wrote back:

"I am such a huge fan of UPPERCASE and you are the reason I found Donna Wilson. I saw the feature you did on her last year and the minute I saw her "Big Ted" knit creature, the idea for my "Tell Me It All" video popped into my head.  And she was kind enough to let me use him for it—so thank you for that connection.  I'm sure UPPERCASE is responsible for plenty of those kinds of artistic connections!"

How lovely! Thank you, Frances for your beautiful singing and providing a lovely interlude at the Show and Tell.

Show and Tell: Cleomade


I was happy to meet Cleo Papanikolas in person: Cleo is one of the artists in Work/Life 3 and also created the great hat illustrations in our current issue. If you want to be astounded by her prolific creativity, spend some time on Cleo's blog: she has created a long list of intricately illustrated downloadable projects based around her paintings. Scroll through her Tiny Paintings Project, visit her Pinterest boards and purchase craft kits from her Etsy shop.