toronto maker

Kristen and Lora of Sun + Stars

Sun and Stars Co.

"sun+stars is the passion project of a couple of creative mamas, Kristen + Lora who have been friends for over 15 years. Drawn together through our mutual love of tiny donuts, cute cacti, 60's soul music and vintage clothing.

As long time veterans of the Toronto fashion industry (Roots, Club Monaco, Joe Fresh, PreLoved), and lovers of all things handmade, in the summer of 2015 we decided to join forces and create a line of our own.

Together we aim to design items that appeal to both kids and their parents; Pieces that add imagination to a child's bedroom or look playful in a living room. We believe in quality goods made from sustainable materials that will live in your home for years to come."

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

We both have backgrounds in fashion and have always loved making things for ourselves. After becoming moms, we came together and talked about starting a kids line, making printed decor and clothing with modern, simple graphics. We had a friend show us how to silkscreen one afternoon and we've been hooked ever since. We love the satisfaction of working with a new screen and raising it up to reveal our design.

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

We usually throw on a playlist with a 60's or 70's mix....sometimes some 80's and 90's creeps in there.

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

Kristen + Lora -Photography

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

Kristen- A museum curator or pastry chef.
Lora- A writer

Silkscreens by sun+stars
sun+stars co silkscreening

Where is your studio located?

Our studio is located in Lora's house in the west end of Toronto. We both live in a neighbourhood called the Junction.

What's your favourite thing about your city?

Kristen- Toronto rules! I love all the distinctly, different neighborhoods...the Junction, Roncesvalles Village, Parkdale and Leslieville are my faves. Each is special in its own way with beautiful houses, shops and restaurants.
Lora- I love how many parks there are in the city, you are always a 10 minute walk away from a park.

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

Kristen- Edinburgh or Venice Beach
Lora- I always thought I would live in a big old house in the country....somewhere in Canada I wouldn't want to take my kids too far away from family.

What do you love most about Canada?

Kristen- Our beautiful landscape and diversity
Lora- I feel lucky to raise my family in a place that's progressive and safe, filled with beautiful places and diverse people.

 
Freshly printed tree sun+stars co
 

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

Kristen- Right now I'm obsessed with "thief & bandit's" lingerie and "jb+dg's" beautiful wooden feathers
Lora- I love Jen Collin's ceramics and Korinne Vader's clothing, small fashion in natural fabrics.

What’s one thing you hope makes it big?

Kristen- There's a take out restaurant with a couple of locations here in Toronto called Urban Herbivore, I hope they make it big and open more locations...their delicious vegan food is the best.
Lora- I hope the tiny house movement gets bigger, we need to be realistic about the future of our planet.

What's your favourite book?

Kristen- I don't have any particular favourite. I like reading biographies mostly- "dirt" by motley crue and "then again" by Dianne Keaton are up there...
Lora- The little Prince...I love books for adults that read as books for kids and vice versa. I'm a HUGE Roald Dahl fan too.

 
Throw pillows by sun+stars co
 

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

Kristen- Watch Netflix and eat chips, guilty pleasures
Lora- I'm a do-er, I love going for walks, and DIY-ing

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

Kristen- David Bowie
Lora- Bette Davis, hopefully a night of too many drinks and fabulous one liners.

 

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!