hamilton maker

Jacob and Christine of Bearded Nomad

 
Jacob Daisley with Bearded Nomad products

Jacob Daisley with Bearded Nomad products

 

"We began creating beard products when Jacob was unsatisfied with the option of beard products in our city. Some barbershops had them but were ridiculously overpriced and could not find scents that Jacob found stimulating. He began doing some research and playing around with some concoctions, like a mad scientist trying to find the antidote for Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hide. It took a long time to develop the scents and a wax and balm that would withstand the elements. Then one day, Jacob emerged from the darkness of the drab kitchen with the beard and moustache wax, balm and oil that we present you today. We are so pleased to introduce you to our products. Do you live your life by the seat of your pants? Are you always up for adventure and mystery? You may just be a Bearded Nomad. Life is wild, but your beard doesn't have to be. Our products help tame your man-mane so your lady won't complain!"

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

Well we have always been a creative people, we started out making reclaimed furniture out of pallets. After working in that a bit we noticed a trend taking off...BEARDS! from there we began doing research and developing a brand that people can stand behind, since then Bearded Nomad has taken off and we haven't looked back since.

What do you like to listen to while you’re working?

Its always different to be honest, we usually throw on Spotify. Some favorite playlists are: essential indie, good times great oldies, psychedelic rock and 70's smash hits, to name a few.

Outside of your medium, what other types of art/design/etc are you inspired by?

Jacob loves anything made out of wood but loves reclaimed furniture made from barn board, live edge wood and reclaimed pallets. Chris is a knit and Crochet-aholic and loves anything to do with yarn.

If you couldn’t be an artist/craftsperson, what would you love to be?

Jacob would love to be a historian. If Christine had it her way she'd be traveling the world as an archaeologist.

Beard Oil and Beard Balm in Grapefruit, Birch and Cinnamon

Beard Oil and Beard Balm in Grapefruit, Birch and Cinnamon

Where is your studio located? What’s your favourite thing about your city?

Our workspace is based out of our house, we have a little shop set up that allows us to create our products right from the comfort of our home. Our favorite thing about the city is the resurgence of new artists, shops and events being held here. Hamilton has truly made a 180degree turn in the past 7 years.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

New Zealand has always intrigued us, they even have a town called Hamilton there. we'd love to visit one day!

What do you love most about Canada?

We love the outdoors and love the vast wilderness that lies beyond the city lines. There is always something to be explored or discovered, even in our own backyard.

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

There are so many talented local artists and artisans out there it's hard to choose one. I would have to say that Singularity_with_cheese is coming out with some really cool themed artwork. Make sure to check out his IG for some really cool stuff!

A variety of Beard Oil scents - available at Black & Smith Country General

A variety of Beard Oil scents - available at Black & Smith Country General

What’s one thing you hope makes it big?

Uber's flying cars.

Do you have a favourite book?

Too many greats to narrow it down.

What do you like to do with your “down time”?

Christine loves knitting and crocheting, and even dabbles in her own yarn dyeing. Jacob loves to enjoy time outdoors and going on hikes.

What’s one goal you’re working towards right now?

Christine is currently planning to open her own hand-dyed yarn business, while Jacob recently worked towards raising $1500 towards men's health for the month of November.

What’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?

Our favorite thing to do during the holidays is spend time with family and friends, taking part in traditions such as cutting down our Christmas tree and having some hot apple cider. We also love attending local craft shows prior to Christmas.

Amber Aasman from Wild Blue Yonder

 
 

" (Amber) began crafting jewelry from wood back in 2014 - simply because I wanted a wood pendant and couldn't find anything I liked. So I began experimenting with found wood, lichens, and epoxy resin. As I wore my handmade pieces, friends and family began asking for similar ones, so I happily obliged. Pushing my craft and expanding my networks has allowed my to begin my own company, Wild Blue Yonder, in the spring of 2016. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, my jewelry is available in several stores, and is displayed regularly at events throughout the region. 

WBY jewelry is created using reclaimed materials, unused lumber scraps, or fragments of wood, bark, and lichen found on hikes and travels through the forest. Little details, often unnoticed in nature, are readily on display in my pieces. My jewelry is designed to inspire its wearer with a love for nature, and all the intricacies that lie therein."

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

I had been looking for wood jewelry for myself – and couldn’t find anything I liked. So I started making a few pieces, which friends noticed and began requesting them. Over a couple of years, my practice and craft was refined, and early in 2016 I decided to take the plunge, and start the business full time.

What do you like to listen to while you’re working?

I alternate between comedy podcasts (This is That, Because News, No Such Thing as a Fish) and French- learning podcasts. Once in while I’ll add some music in the mix too: Indie folk/rock, or old school jazz and blues.

Outside of your medium, what other types of art/design/etc are you inspired by?

I love pottery in all its forms – so earthy and interesting. In a second life I would try to be a potter.

If you couldn’t be an artist/craftsperson, what would you love to be?

Hm. This is genuinely the first time I have thought of this possibility. Can I pick music teacher? Because that’s my second job and I love it.

Where is your studio located? What’s your favourite thing about your city?

I do most of my work from my home studio, in Hamilton near Gage Park. It’s the attic floor of an old century home, with a big skylight, creaky wood floors, and I absolutely love it. I also sublet woodshop space off friends who run a carpentry business (Circle A Carpentry) where I do most of the rough cutting and sanding.

My favourite thing about Hamilton is…

The small-town feel, with big-city amenities. Particularly in the arts scene, it really seems like everyone knows one another, while also being really receptive to new faces. It’s a unique blend actually – and I have really been lucky to find a place in that community, despite being at the beginning of my creative career.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I would move to Whitehorse in a heartbeat – we visited there this summer and it was so beautiful.

What do you love most about Canada?

Our abundance of untouched wilderness – you would need a lifetime of lifetimes to get to it all.

What's you favourite thing to do with your “down time”?

Baking or cooking things for the first time, camping, canoeing.

If you could go to dinner with ANYBODY, alive or dead, who would it be?

I would want to have dinner with Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday – two amazing women making art in a time when both their gender and ethnicity were immense barriers – and yet that didn’t stop either of them from creating beautiful music their whole lives long. Inspiring for women and minorities today to keep working & creating unapologetically and boldly.

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

I love the brand of resin that I use! Art Resin is a company in Burlington, ON (the proximity is total coincidence, they ship worldwide) and it is a no-VOCs, crystal clear and super durable resin. I swear by the stuff – and the company is full of awesome people!

What’s one thing you hope makes it big?

Call me biased, but I’d really love to see wood jewelry take a mainstage in the fashion world. I am obsessed with the possibilities, despite it being an unusual material for jewelry. Wood is warm, durable, and can be easily recycled/reclaimed. I’m not much of a gemstones fan so it makes it’s easier for me to happily forsake the diamonds for the lovely opalescence of certain types of exotic hardwood.

Do you have a favourite book?

I finally read “The Orenda” which was very compelling. Tough to read, but deeply informative and moving.

What’s one goal you’re working towards right now?

 

Get through this Christmas season with a healthy balance of busy-ness/success with relaxation and the peacefulness that this season is *supposed to* bring. We’ll see if I can nail it this year.

What’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?

My favourite thing to do is spend a few days up at my family cottage near North Bay – it’s so peaceful there, and very special to me, since my grandparents built it in the 70s and my family has spent a lot of time there since. It can get so cold up there (a couple times it’s hit -30 or lower) but with the wood stove going, it’s the most delightful place to be.

Dan Shannon from Bellowing Timber

 
 

"There's a profound satisfaction in starting with a raw piece of wood - something that grew right out of the earth - and cutting, milling, shaping, sanding, and finishing it into something beautiful.

The whole process is important. Skip a step or make a wrong assumption, and you will be lucky to have things not end in compromise, or maybe even heartbreak.  But if you take the time and energy required, if you give it all of your heart, and your mind, and your body, you can end up with something special.  Something that reveals all the previously hidden beauty of the material itself. Something that brings the user pleasure to touch, manipulate, and look at. Something useful that will outlive its maker.

Working away in my little shop, what drives me is the hope that these things that I make will speak to people in some way that makes their lives a little simpler and more beautiful. I hope that these objects allow people at least a fleeting moment of peace and pleasure when they run their hands across them.  I hope they will become the 'little treasures of the past' of the future - and provide a personal, human connection from maker to user, right through to another generation"

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

Kind of on a whim!  I had always wanted to try it; always enjoyed doing art, design, and music projects, but hadn't actually even taken shop class in high school; back then I had always figured I'd end up in a science-related field. Eventually, after dropping out of university and doing all sorts of jobs, including a few years as a line cook, I took the plunge and enrolled at Conestoga in Kitchener.  When I started, I didn't even know the names of most of the machines and tools.  But I loved it and just kept going.  I find it really fulfilling in a lot of ways.

What do you listen to while you are working?

Lots of podcasts about fascinating things, like Canadaland and Radiolab, or comedy shows like Hollywood Handbook or Comedy Bang Bang.  Just whipped through the whole season of Mystery Show a couple days ago.  For work music, I usually gravitate to the stuff in my collection that's got real emotional power, so stuff like Father John Misty, Tallest Man on Earth, Ellen McIlwaine's funkier stuff- or Fela Kuti if I feel like dancing while I'm sanding.

Outside of your medium, what other types of art/design/etc are you inspired by?

Music and visual art.

If you couldn't be an artist/craftsperson, what would you love to be?

Maybe a columnist, or an audio engineer.

Where is your studio located? What's your favourite thing about your city?

I live in Hamilton, and my small shop space is in my basement.  I love Hamilton's progressive and working-class identity, and the art, music, and restaurant scene is really starting to take off.  Hopefully the inevitable gentrification that comes with that will bring positive things like better transit and affordable housing initiatives, instead of pushing people out as it often tends to do. I'm optimistic about that though, there's a lot of really active and socially conscious folks around.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I fall in love with just about everywhere I travel.  But Iceland might edge out the rest.  I got a sense that folks there need to have a really good understanding of both their built and natural environment, probably due to the sparse population and the long, cold, dark winters. There's also a real sense of camaraderie. I guess self-reliance and community support aren't mutually exclusive. Everyone we met was really interesting and very kind.

What do you love most about Canada?

I mostly shy away from anything approaching nationalism, but I will say: We are so lucky to be where we are, when you look at all the places we could find ourselves.  For the most part we live freely and without fear.  And you can go an hour or two in almost any direction and end up in wilderness.  We often have an overly-rosy view of ourselves, our role in the world, and our collective social conscience, but there's a lot of great things about Canada as well.

What is your favourite thing to do with your "down time"?

Writing and recording music that no one ever hears.  Usually a lot of it is electronic, since I can do that late at night on headphones, but I still have a bunch of instruments, and it's fun to use found sounds too.  I'm a terrible lyricist though, so that's usually why no one but me ends up hearing any of it!

If you could go to dinner with ANYBODY, alive or dead, who would it be?

A couple of people that come to mind are Amy Goodman and Ed Snowden. I really admire people like them.

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

I have trouble picking one thing!  Everything that I've heard from David Byrne is amazing.  Try to listen to his song "Glass, Concrete and Stone" or the Talking Heads track "Heaven" and not be moved to your core. Both tracks are best when you play them at a high volume!  And then for woodworking, there's a guy named Luke Hope in the UK that posts on Instagram as @hopeinthewoods - it's literally just wooden spoons, but taken to this exquisite, sublime level. I swear my heart skips a beat every time I see his work. They are really pricey, but someday I will own one and display it prominently in a humidity-controlled glass case or something.

What is one thing you hope makes it big?

I'm pretty sure this isn't the type of answer you're looking for - but I am going to say "the craft movement as a whole."  Here we are in this age of increasing automation, where it seems like more and more 'work' is either becoming machine-monitoring and button-pushing, or else it's manipulating algorithms for market trend forecasting so the next quarterly earnings report looks good for shareholders, or whatever, you know?  The craft movement is a big old wrench in that machine because it's something incredibly human and personal and caring.  It makes labour an art, not a resource. Which, to me, is so necessary and so valuable right now.

Do you have a favourite book?

One of my most prized possessions is my (later edition, but still somewhat rare) copy of the Codex Seraphinianus - if you don't know it, it's like a technicolor visual encyclopedia of an alternate-universe Earth, written in an imaginary language that no-one has yet been able to decode -- if it's even possible to. Even the page numbering is in "a variant of base 17", according to a geeky website devoted to the book.  It's so weird and wonderful, and somehow manages to comment really insightfully on our world and the way we perceive it. For fiction, 'Dune' was a really good recent read that comes to mind, and for non-fiction, Rousseau's 'The Social Contract' is maybe my favourite poli sci reading from my university days.

What's one goal you are working towards right now?

I mean, other than getting to the point where I can pay myself a living wage?  I'm still really trying to find my own personal voice as a craftsperson, to find ways to have a particular worldview come through in the work I do. It's a sort of ephemeral thing, and I don't know if there's a point when I will ever reach that goal.  But it's really important to consider and work toward.

What is your favourite thing to do over the holidays?

Every year my family will pull out the globe & mail's massive 2-page crossword and set it on the breakfast table, so while some people are cooking or doing dishes we call out clues and gradually chug through the whole thing. Just don't be the person with the pencil, since whoever's over your shoulder will be calling out answers faster than you can read clues.

Katie Cyr of The Monarch Tea Co

 
 

"Katie's first experience with tea comes in the memory of drinking Irish Breakfast with her grandmother out of delicate teacups.  Today, she carries the same reverence and passion for the art of tea into her day to day life. Katie founded The Monarch Tea Co. in late 2013 with the vision of bringing together the traditional eloquence of tea time with a modern twist."

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

Tea has been a passion of mine since a very young age. As I grew older, and my tea collection also grew, I started thinking about how neat it would be to make my love of tea into a profession. I drafted up different business plans, originally hoping to get right into starting a cafe. I ended up taking a step back and deciding that working on my Tea Sommelier certification, and selling in awesome boutiques and small businesses across Canada was more approachable to start with, while giving me the freedom to always be in new places.

What do you like to listen to while you’re working?

I'm usually playing my favorite band, Death Cab for Cutie, or some indie/folk. Depending on the urgency of the tea order, I've also been known to have EDM or drum and bass going though!!

Outside of your medium, what other types of art/design/etc are you inspired by?

I love pottery (go Emma Smith!) and oil painting.

If you couldn’t be an artist/craftsperson, what would you love to be?

I'm an avid yogi.. so I would be a yoga teacher and share that passion with others.

Where is your studio located? What’s your favourite thing about your city?

I live and work in the awesome city of Hamilton, Ontario! There is so much to love about Hamilton, but one of the main things for me would be the support and love of small business and artisans here. We have a free monthly art crawl, where people can peruse local galleries, and artisans set up and display their wares. A lot of the businesses here cross promote and help build each other up, so it is a very supportive atmosphere. There is so much growth andtalent in this city and it's an honour to be apart of it.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I truly love where I am now, but if I had to pick somewhere else it would probably be the Big Sur area of California.

What do you love most about Canada?

The amazing beauty and diversity of our people, geography and culture.

Favourite thing to do with your “down time”.

Get into bed with a mug of tea and my cats with a novel!!

Wax seal being put on a fresh bag of tea!

Wax seal being put on a fresh bag of tea!

If you could go to dinner with ANYBODY, alive or dead, who would it be?

George Bernard Shaw, a famous Irish playwright who passed away in 1950.

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

Ah! So many to choose from! I'm obsessed with Crown Point Candles, a local non-GMO soy wax candle maker in Hamilton. I also love Soup Girl, who makes awesome vegan soup mixes!

What’s one thing you hope makes it big?

I hope that the popularity and love of tea continues to grow. I also hope that the ritual and tranquility of tea time becomes popular, so it can show people how important it is to de-connect from all the distractions we have, sit down with a friend or by yourself and just sip and be zen!

What's your favourite book?

I LOVE to read (tea and books FTW!) so I can't pick just one. I would have to say some recent favourites would be The Girls by Emma Cline and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff.

What’s one goal you’re working towards right now?

Completing my Tea Sommelier Certification through the Tea Board of Canada, which should be finished by February 2017!

What’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?

I think one of my favourite things to do in the holidays is to get super cozy. I love having friends and family over and having a night of board games beside the fire, enjoying tea (or wine!) and spending time together. I also love getting outside and ice skating on a crisp winter night!