Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dining vegetarian

Jane Tomlinson blogs about the difficulty of dining out in the UK if you are vegetarian. As a vegetarian myself and being married to a vegan, I can sympathise totally with her situation. And apparently the situation has gotten worse in the eleven years since I left the UK.

I remember being told in one pub in Yorkshire to try such and such, "it doesn't have much cheese in it". They obviously just don't get it do they? For some people, being vegetarian is on a par with having a religion. It is not something that can be waived for special ocassions.

We have had so many bad experiences here in Nova Scotia trying to get a meal that we no longer even bother trying to eat out, except at a few places where we know we can get something to eat. One is Subway (hardly a fine dining experience, but at least one option when we are out for the day) where they do a vegetarian sub, but even then we have been disappointed because they are out of the few types of bread that Pat can eat. Ponderosa has a salad bar which is always a safe bet. And when Pat had to spend a few days in hospital she ended up eating fruit - the 'dietician' didn't even know that Jello is not vegetarian.

Now, the point is that there may well be some fine restaurants that would cater to our diets, but we have run out of energy trying to find them. We don't want to have to pour through menus and interrogate the staff about the ingredients. Would it be so hard for each establishment to have at least one vegetarian and one vegan option clearly identified on the menu with some comforting words to show that they haven't sneeked in something with gelatin, honey or whey in the recipe?


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Monday, July 31, 2006

PEI Artist's Retreat

Celtic and Jazz singer tereas Doyle is appearing at the deCoste centre in Picto this week, and while checking out her website I discovered that she runs an artist's retreat on Prince Edward Island. Rock Barra currently only offers day time workshops but Teresa hopes one day to be able to offer accommodation. There is a nice studio there, built for the filming of The Ballad of Jack and Rose in 2003.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

BBC Radio on the Art World

Alvin Hall debunks the myths of the art world, as he takes a journey from the artist to the gallery, the collector and the critic.

Follow the links to listen to each episode. The first is online now (skip the first minute which is the end of the previous program), and looks at how the London art scene has changed in the last few years. "Now it is all sales and no ideas"

The next program is on Tuesday 01 August 2006, and I think there are five episodes in total.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Bluenose II comes to Pictou

The Bluenose is in Pictou this weekend. Read more in the Evening News. Come visit Pictou this weekend and see this historic replica of the original race winning schooner.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Designer crafts and art collecting

Toni Sikes, founder of The Guild, reports that young artists working in craft media today are seeking respect for their design skills rather than to be recognised as an artist. This is going against the trend of the 80's which saw craft moving into fine art. The blog post is illustrated with 'Leaf Clocks' by Emi Ozawa. Personally I much prefer Emi's "Pendulum Box". It has a really neat idea for making the lid of a box.

The Guild blog also has a link to The Intrepid Art Collector Blog. Artists; be sure to list your exhibitions on this blog's monthly bulletin board. Lisa's new book, THE INTREPID ART COLLECTOR: How to Find, Buy and Appreciate Art on a Budget, will be published this October. Although writen from a collectors perspective, I think it will be a useful read for artists too as an aid to marketing.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Summer Sounds of Nova Scotia

Last night I went to the deCoste Centre in Pictou to catch the first show in the season of Summer Sounds in Nova Scotia. John 'Spyder' MacDonald hosted the show and was joined by fiddler Fleur Mainville, guitarist Ross MacVicar and multi-instrumentalist Mark Haines. In this ceilidh style presentation all the musicians stay on stage throughout the show and often join in with each other's tunes. I had a terrific evening, and it was enjoyed by visitors from as far afield as the USA, Alberta and Scotland.

You can catch this show every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening throughout July and August. It's a must see if you are in the area this summer and an experience not to be missed. Every week there is a different line-up of musicians, and I will be going back at every chance I get. Next week the line up is Jimmy Sweeney, Alycia Putnam & family, and Ardyth & Jennifer.

See you there.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Art in a Flash

I just watched a program on CBC TV about an artist book featuring Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. They have set up a webpage with links to several wonderful Flash presentations: Artist Book

I found this interesting on many levels. First of all there is the art aspect of the book itself, a collaboration between three artists. Then there is the interactive presentations created for this website. They are wonderful examples of what can be done with Flash. They include graphics, video and audio.

Before getting broadband I was anti-Flash. Maybe because I had seen very few good presentations, and definitely because of the long downloads! Now everything has changed:) I'd be interested to know if any of you on dialup find these useable? I think that this style could provide a very persuasive sales pitch. Who wants to go to Gros Morne on vacation this year?

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Found art

Every now and then an artist finds a new way to present their art to the public. In April of 2005 Margaret Nicholson placed 100 pieces of her clay sculpture at spots around the coastline of Nova Scotia. Each one carries a tag directing the finder to the website where they can contact Margaret and tell her about their find. Forty six are still unaccounted for.

For those who don't want to search the whole coast, Margaret has created a CD with pictures of the sculptures and a treasure map showing their locations. The CD will be launched on Thursday at the St. FX Art Gallery in Antigonish.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

A private viewing

I am just back from a trip home to England where I had the chance to see some recent works of my friend Margaret Micklewright. Working in acrylics and inks, the works I had seen before were largely atmospheric seascapes inspired by her childhood home on the island of Arran.

Since then Margaret's work has broadened in style and subject. Perhaps her boldest new direction is the very colourful harbour scenes, such as Mousehole, a small village in Cornwall. Margaret has had an liking of horses for most of her life, so it was no surprise that she recently started painting them. White Horse is a beautifully dreamy painting in acrylic.

Having settled now in Somerset, there are many West Country influences in Margaret's work. Glastonbury Abbey - Study in Gold is one such subject in ink, one of many strong images of architectural subjects. Also in ink is Summer Wood, inspired by sketches and photos taken near my home town of Wells.

There are many more pictures of Margaret Micklewright's work at on her website. I was in awe at the diverse directions her work has taken since I last saw her work, and pleased to learn that her work is sought after in gallerys and at her website. I look forward to my next visit.

Monday, March 06, 2006

CBC Freestyle tag cloud

I have tried my best to get to like CBC Radio 1's new afternoon show Freestyle. Admittedly it does give me few chuckles, but nothing worth having to listen to nearly two hours of this inane drivel.

So here my tribute to Freestyle in the form of a Tag Cloud:

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Carnival of the Creators #2

Welcome to the second edition of Carnival of the Creators, a weekly round-up of blog posts from the arts and crafts community. Each week the carnival is hosted on a different blog. If you missed last week's edition you will find it at The ChipShop, my studio blog. Next week it will be hosted by Wendy Van Camp on Indigoskye Bead Fashions.

I'm going to start this week with a request for help from Alyson Stanfield from Alyson is writing a book and is looking for artists who either have a terrific newsletter or have a press release that needs a makeover. This seems like a great opportunity to get some print publicity.

There is another opportunity for a bit of publicity at Thinking About Art which hosts Artists Interview Artists. Interested artists have to provide questions that will be answered by another artist. In return they have to answer questions from someone else. This week's interview was with Roz Leibowitz.

Last week's carnival mentioned Edward Winkleman's suggestion that more art collectors should keep a blog. I'm pleased to report that Christopher has accepted the challenge and started a new blog, The Destitute Collector. I look forward to seeing more of his collection and learning about this collector.

John T. Unger works in many media using a wide variety of materials. "Odysseus: Scrapyard Abstract No. 6" is an abstract scuplture made in welded steel. I like John's use of his blog to promote works that are for sale in another gallery. It is very easy to sit back and let a gallery take all responsibility for selling one's work, but John's pro-active approach is a win-win situation for both parties. Maybe the gallery will see the benefits of internet marketing and blogging.

ArtMoCo points us to a more web-savvy gallery. "Hanging Puddles" is a series created by artist Al Taylor who currently has an exhibition at Haunch of Venison in Zurich. This gallery not only has a website, but also features select works from the exhibition and pages from the catalogue.

To round off this weeks Carnival of the Creators, let's stop at a few blogs that have some advice for artists.

Alisha Vincent blogs at Art or Craft and has some advice about seeking honest feedback about your work. Meanwhile Paul Dorrell offers some advice about making sure collectors don't assume they have any rights to publish images of the works they buy. I wonder how that applies to the The Destitute Collector I mentioned earlier?

Britt Parrott writes about Taking a Day Out as a defense against creative blocks. One idea is that "the less you pack, the more you experience". Similar advice "Consume experiences, not things" is found in Karimanifesto, which reports on Karim Rashid's fifty-point manifesto, a guide to life and design. (If you have time to play, take a look at Karim Rashid's website and point your mouse at the graphics at the bottom of the page. I don't normally like website gizmos's, but I do find this one quite engaging.)

That's it folks for another week. Next week's Carnival of the Creators will be hosted by Wendy Van Camp on Indigoskye Bead Fashions. If you have read or written a recent blog post about art, craft or any other form of creativity please tell tell us about it using the form at

See you all at the carnival next week.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Vote for the environment

Singer songwriter Sarah Harmer is using her art to highlight an environmental conflict in Ontario, Canada.

Escarpment Blues is a song about the planned development of a quarry on the Niagara escarpment. The lyrics of the song acknowledge the need for materials from such a quarry, but goes on to say 'The wild ones won’t have anywhere to go' and to ask 'Will the water in the wells still be ok'.

The song has been on CBC Radio's National Playlist for eight weeks, but last week dropped to #6. Each week the public gets to vote for their favourite song, and those at #7 to #10 get replaced with new songs suggested by panelists.

Now, the way I see it, the longer the song stays on the list, the more this issue will be brought to the attention of the public. Strong support for the song must be seen in part at least as opposition to the planned quarry. It is of course a great song in it's own right.

Listen to the listener pitch that got Escarpment Blues onto the National Playlist.

If you want to help keep the song on the playlist and help the cause, vote today for Escarpment Blues. Vote again everyday, and ask your friends and blog readers to do the same. Bloggers can make a difference!

Related links:
Sarah Harmer on protecting the Environment from TreeHugger
Celebrities from Green Living
Protecting Escarpment Rural Land
The Niagara Escarpment Plan

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Why vote Green?

This message just in from the Green Party of Canada:

Top 10 Reasons to Vote Green on Monday

  1. I want to feel good about my vote. I want to vote for someone, not against someone.
  2. The Green Party has the best platform. The Green Party platform has earned positive reviews in the media, has done well under analysis by non-partisan organizations.
  3. My great grandchildren will be proud of me. I want them to have a sustainable future, a green economy, and better democracy.
  4. I want my vote to have an impact on the legislative agenda of the next parliament. MPs will spend the next session trying to look good for the next election, so they will be looking at who they lost votes to. Vote Green and Green priorities will set the agenda.
  5. People are saying good things about the Green Party.
  6. I am nobody's fool. I refuse to let Martin, Harper, Layton or Duceppe think he can scare me into "strategically" voting for him just for not being the worst among them.
  7. Green Parties around the world get elected, govern countries, and make the world a better place.
  8. Whoever I vote for will get $ 1.75 in public funding, per vote, per year. I feel good about the Green Party putting it to good use defending my values.
  9. I am socially progressive, fiscally responsible, and committed to environmental sustainability - just like the Green Party.
  10. One hundred and thirty nine years of Liberal and Conservative governments. Albert Einstein said it best: "The significant problems of our time are not going to be solved by the same level of thinking that got us into them."

To see this list and more with background information visit 'reasons to vote green'.

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