a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Oct, 2005

Inspiration and art

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|File under crafty

After dinner on Friday Mark and I took the girls to the Enriched Bread Artists (EBA) open house. As a former bread factory the building combines just the right amount of creativity and decrepitude to make it really interesting. They don’t bake bread there anymore, (the girls were looking for crumbs on the floor) it was converted into artist studios.

I went last year, but this time all four of us went. Mark didn’t want to go at first. He appreciates art, probably more so than the average Joe, but I think he wasn’t feeling very motivated and secretly feared the hassle associated with bring a four and six-year old to a place that’s not exactly kid friendly.

But I insisted, and happily, I got my way. We don’t do nearly enough of this stuff as a family. Both girls are really creative, and I believe we should do our best to encourage them to witness art and other expressive forms of free thought.

Not all of the work at EBA is my cup of tea. My apologies to the artist, but last year there was a display of toothpicks stuck in a sheet of drywall. I’m sorry, but I just wasn’t sharing your vision that day, although I do appreciate the time and effort it must have taken you.

I can’t relate to all of the art at the EBA (or at any contemporary art gallery for that matter), but there is enough there to keep it interesting and make it worth a return visit.

This year there were more than a few things worth a closer look. My favourite was the art of Karina Bergmans. She had:

– a huge table and chair set made out of shredded notes taken during several years of psychology classes at Carleton.

photos from a street installation of grass

– and if these things interest you, you might also want to check out the mitten project. FYI – Her blog is here.

Another other piece I found really interesting was an old corset (sorry, artist name escapes me) hanging from the ceiling. It was decorated with thousands of artfully arranged stick pins… the kind with multicoloured heads on them. Wow.

There was a wall covered in photos that were taken while standing in one spot. It appeared to be many angles of backyard scene.

The other artist I really wanted to see was Amy Thompson, but somehow I missed her studio. Her website is here. To see her work click on “menu” in the bottom left corner. My favourite is the “Up to no good” series.

As I write this I realize that I find myself most interested in pieces (and artists) that defy the definition of traditional art.

When I see these installations I feel a rush of “I wish I had thought of that” mixed with an equal amount of appreciation and amazement for the artist who did think of it and actually went ahead and did something with that idea.

I have an artistic undertaking of my own, although it’s going to take me years to produce. (Henceforth my in-laws will think I’m a total nutbar, if they don’t already!)

I’ve found several interesting, small things around my neighborhood. None is larger than a Monopoly “Get out of Jail Free” card…. this is one of my things. Each item is packaged in a tiny ziplock bag. Once I collect enough of these “things” (really, these are a step or two above garbage, but my collection will not include shards of glass or bottle caps … unless they are outstandingly interesting), them I will pin them to a mat and arrange them in a frame.


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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