meet the makers

Flora & Fauna: Featuring Lesley Bergen

 
Lesley Bergen

Lesley Bergen

 

When describing Lesley's artwork one might use words like energetic patterns, lively colour and detailed dot work. Lesley's subject matter varies, but mainly consists of creatures of the forest, both feathered and fur.

Lesley's love of nature came to her as a young girl living on a hobby farm surrounded by acres of forest in Northern Ontario. She often would forgo Saturday morning cartoons to instead explore the woods around her home. In those early years drawing and art were always a favourite pastime and have continued to be till present day. Today living with her husband in Calgary, Lesley still finds the same inspiration from frequent visits to nearby Banff and Kananaskis regions of Alberta. 

LesleyBergenGreenBird
LesleyBergenBirdPurple

When creating her dotted acrylics Lesley enjoys working with different support mediums, not limiting herself to any one type. These include canvas, paper, wood panel, wood cut-outs, carvings and most recently papier-mâché. Influenced by the bold, bright cartoon colours of her early animation years after art college in Vancouver, Lesley likes to think of her current work as a fusion of folk-art and contemporary-pop. Her other artistic interests include sketchbooking, digital drawing, and the needle arts. She enjoys swimming, running, hiking and spending time with family and her dog Scarlett. You can follow Lesley and her studio practice online @lesleybergen

Lesley is one of nine Canadian artists invited for our Spring Exhibition Flora & Fauna. Exhibition runs April 12 - 26, 2019

 
Lesley’s studio space in her home of Calgary AB

Lesley’s studio space in her home of Calgary AB

 

Xenia Taler

Xenia and Steven, and their studio space.

Xenia and Steven, and their studio space.

"Xenia and Steven's tiles have been sold and collected for over 15 years and are available in shops across North America. Their work has appeared in various media and has been featured in four books, the most recent being, Print and Pattern by Marie Perkins, Laurence King Publishing, 2010, and Olivier Dupon's The New Artisans, Thames & Hudson, 2011. Their distinctive images have been licensed to create products for companies such as Barnes & Noble and Urban Outfitters."

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

 

Steven's mother managed an upscale tile store so when I couldn't find work after graduating from film school she suggested I do custom tile painting for the store. I started in our apartment kitchen but pretty soon I got a kiln and a studio. By then Steven got into it too and he became very involved in learning all about glazes and tilemaking and developed the technical side of things while I focused on designing.

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

Most days I'm at the computer doing administrative work so I find listening to anything distracting. When I'm helping with production or designing I listen to music. Steven listens mostly to lectures. My music taste runs to folk/rock and Steven is more into high energy stuff like early punk although he's the one who introduced me to most of the folk-y artists I like.

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

All the decorative arts, sculpture and painting, garden and landscape design, fashion, film. Literature is important to me too -it doesn't inspire me directly - but it keeps my mind occupied and gives me a lot of pleasure.

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

I don't think I would love anything else. If I had done something else, I would probably always dream or brood about being an artist. In fact since I do so little creative work as a result ofrunning this business, I brood and dream about that already.  But I might like being a therapist.

Where is your studio located?

North York

What’s your favourite thing about your city?

I love cycling through the ravines and emerging downtown or just exploring on my bike. It's made me re-discover Toronto.

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

Somewhere by the sea or Barcelona.

What do you love most about Canada?

It feels safe.

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

It's always changing but right now I'm very interested in the work of Isamu Noguchi and want to learn how to make lampshades.

What’s one thing you hope makes it big?

Peace

Do you have a favourite book?

Chance by Joseph Conrad, also love Moll Flanders (Daniel Defoe ran a tile factory) and Moby Dick, except I haven't actually finished it. It's just sitting there half-read on my night table. It requires a lot of concentration and I need to take breaks with Agatha Christie.

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

Tinker and doodle and just waste time - it's the ultimate luxury to feel like a kid with no time restrictions.

Porcelain moon ornament

Porcelain moon ornament

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

James Marshall the writer and illustrator. Or Kurt Vonnegut or Christopher Dresser or Halldór Laxness.  But really I am fine with just interacting with them through their art. I think I'll just go to dinner with my family.

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

For the last 4 years or so (with many interruptions) Steven and I have been working on a book. Its a novel for children with over 40 chapters that Steven wrote and that I illustrated. We're doing the final edit now before we hand it off to the designer. We're aiming to have it published as an e-book in the new year. There's an IG account for it where you can follow for updates and see some of the illustrations @theamazinganimalcavalcade

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

Read, sketch, watch movies and a little hiking.

Ali Harrison of Light and Paper

 
 

"It was a fateful day one December when, in search of a unique Christmas gift, Ali decided to try a new craft. Using a borrowed box cutter and her kitchen cutting board, Ali created her first papercutting. After falling in love with cutting paper, Ali armed herself with a sharper blade and an actual cutting mat, and Light & Paper was born. At first, all Light & Paper items were handcut originals - but when it was near impossible to keep up with orders, Ali decided to begin lasercutting her designs.

Preferring a blade to a pen, Ali first creates her designs by cutting paper by hand. These intricate, unique patterns are then transformed into a variety of fun lasercut housewares."

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

I first tried out papercutting when I was looking for a unique Christmas gift to make for my aunt. I fell in love with the craft and a few months later started Light & Paper.

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

Podcasts! My favourites are This American Life, 2 Dope Queens, and NPR Politics.

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

Lately I've been so inspired and amazed by embroidery artists and the gorgeous work they are creating!

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

Something with animals - full time puppy cuddler? 

Ali in her studio.

Ali in her studio.

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

My studio is located in Toronto's West end. My favourite part of my city is Chinatown and Kensington market - it's right around the corner from my home, and I love walking through on Sunday mornings for dim sum, fresh produce and coffee.

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

Amsterdam! My family is from Holland, and Amsterdam is the most lovely city in the world.

What do you love most about Canada?

The weather! I know we all like to complain about our winters, but I love having four very different seasons. I can't wait for the first snow of the season (but I'm sure I'll be regretting saying that in March).

Advent Ornament Calendar

Advent Ornament Calendar

Favourite thing to do with your “down time”.

During the busy holiday season it's spending time with my partner, my dog, and my television.

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

Gertrude Stein! (In Paris of course)

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

I love the new items this season from our friends at Gotamago! Can't wait to get my hands on one of their new calendars!

What’s one thing you hope makes it big?

Our new ornament advent calendar! It was one of the toughest products to conceptualize, and seeing it come together has made me uncontrollably happy. 

 
Merry Christmas Wreath - Lasercut Wood

Merry Christmas Wreath - Lasercut Wood

 


Do you have a favourite book?

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and On Beauty by Zadie Smith

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

Surviving the holiday season ;)

Lastly, what’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?

Drinking eggnog and watching Love Actually on Christmas Eve - our family tradition!