Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Copenhagen: flower shops & gardens

blomsterskuret on Værnedamsvej, CPH; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
My friend Jen manages Centro Garden in Burlington, Ontario. She has a fine-tuned eye for detail and her home and garden inspire me. While in Europe, I snapped a few garden-related pics with Jen in mind. 
blomsterskuret on Værnedamsvej, CPH; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
I would love a shop like this, with its gorgeous sidewalk display and green roof in my shopping district. Værnedamsvej was one of my favourite streets in Copenhagen. It felt like a warm, welcoming community.
Mant on Læderstrædet 30, CPH; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
It looks like zinc boxes are the new garden accessory.
Mant on Læderstrædet 30, CPH; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
Corten steel garden edging; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
Corten steel garden edging offers a clean, contemporary finish to a public garden.
Corten steel garden edging; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
Corten steel garden planters on Vesterbrogade; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
I could see a few of these corten steel planters in my garden.
Pallet planters; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
During dinner one evening, we spied these pallet planter beauties from our second floor perch in an inexpensive Thai restaurant.
Zinc planter on Olufsvej; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
Tivoli topiary; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
Normally, I do not like amusement parks of any sort. I was the odd kid who disliked Disney World. My hubby wanted to visit Tivoli, and since we had free tickets, I agreed to take a peek. The grounds were amazing and the rides were all very retro. The topiary trees were impressive.
Tivoli topiary; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013
Tivoli topiary; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2013

Monday, 29 July 2013

Copenhagen: Wauw Design

Wauw Design was a shop where I had to be content with looking. Ros Ingram's mixed media ceramic fish drew me into the shop.
The trouble with Ingram's work, is that each piece was brilliant and I couldn't go home with just one. Travelling light does have its drawbacks.
This fish, with its snap eye spoke to me.
Cutlery and ceramics by Wauw Design. Note the black tags. 
Wauw Design is located at Læderstræde 14 (close to Grønlykke).

Friday, 26 July 2013

Copenhagen: Tutein & Koch

Tutein & Koch is another shop that I visited several times. It's an art supply store located at Farvergade 8, basically the same street as Grønlykke (Læderstræde turns into Farvergade as you walk toward city hall). 

Their selection of colourful tags and butcher's twine caught my eye. Both are products of Denmark. I bought a few tags and a small reel of black & white twine.
Copenhagen was awash in washi tape. I bought two rolls at Hay House and then bought three more at Tutein & Koch. Washi tape, tags, and twine took little room in my small suitcase. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Copenhagen: Cinnober

In Copenhagen, there were a few shops that I visited several times. 
Cinnober was one of them. It's a small well-curated design shop located at Landemærket 9 in the Strøget district.
Had we not been travelling light, I could have bought five thick design books. It's rare that I find a shop that has such a well-tuned collection.
The selection of specialty design magazines is also noteworthy.
I did come away with a small pad of hexagons paper that I'll share with you later. If you visit Copenhagen, Cinnober is worth a visit (or two).

Monday, 22 July 2013

Quotes: Williamson

Marianne Williamson quote illustrated by Karen Thiessen
with Grandma's Roses pattern © Karen Thiessen, 2013

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Copenhagen: Grønlykke

Grønlykke 1; Photo credit: © Karen Thiessen, 2013
Do you believe in coincidence? By chance, I dug out my pile of Uppercase magazines a few weeks before our European adventure. Issue 2 featured a mention of Grønlykke: two shops with one name. One is located in a basement and offers paper goods.
Grønlykke 2; Photo credit: © Karen Thiessen, 2013
Next door is the fabric shop on two levels. They are located in the Strøget area at Læderstræde 3 & 5. 
Grønlykke 3; Photo credit: © Karen Thiessen, 2013
The second floor was my favourite space. Plastic tabling in a Danish design and some Japanese fabric caught my eye. I only bought 0.5 m each because we were travelling light (no checked baggage) and because it was expensive (198 DK per metre, about $40.00 Canadian/m).
Grønlykke 4; Photo credit: © Karen Thiessen, 2013
 The striped fabrics were tempting. 
Grønlykke 5; Photo credit: © Karen Thiessen, 2013
The owner generously allowed me to photograph the store.
Grønlykke 6; Photo credit: © Karen Thiessen, 2013
 This is some of their plastic tabling.
Grønlykke 7; Photo credit: © Karen Thiessen, 2013
A lovely colour-coordinated stack of bolts of their quilting fabric. I'm loving the dotty fabrics. By the way, I do not believe in coincidence.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Quotes: Karen Blixen

"I don't think you can see at home how much you need to get away from all the things you've wrapped up in difficulties. You think you know what a journey can offer, but that is precisely what you don't know, and I often think, then, that something new, almost anything at all, is inestimable." Karen Blixen to Ingeborg Dinesen, dated January 18, 1917. Danish author Karen Blixen, a.k.a. Isak Dinesen, wrote Out of Africa and Babette's Feast.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Week 70: Adobe Illustrator

Threshing Stones © Karen Thiessen, 2013
Our trip to Copenhagen and Amsterdam has left me inspired and re-energized. I brought a small ecojot sketchbook with oatmeal-coloured pages and filled most of it on the trip and the rest of it last night. In order to deal with the deluge of visual inspiration, every day for 15 days, I fed my sketchbook each evening in the hotel, and sometimes wrote in it in restaurants while waiting for our food. It also kept me occupied during our 20 hours of air travel. A few themes emerged from this sketchbook, one of which is a new project that I am excited about. It's an art/Mennonite material culture involving leaves that I am playing with right now.

Last night I reviewed my Mennonite material culture project sketchbook and saw a threshing stone that I had sketched from a picture that I saw on the Kauffman Museum website a few years ago (no longer on the website). I decided to recreate it in Adobe Illustrator. It took a bit of MacGyvering to make, but Threshing Stones eventually looked like what I had in mind.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Copenhagen 1

Copenhagen bicycle; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
My hubby and I visited Copenhagen and Amsterdam recently. I chose our destinations for nerdy reasons: urban planning, architecture, and design.
Copenhagen bicycle parking lot; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
In Copenhagen, bicycles are everywhere. Pedestrians, cyclists, and cars each have their own "lanes" that are distinct from each other. The sidewalks are about 10 cm higher than the bicycle lanes and the bicycle lanes are 10 cm higher than the road.
Copenhagen sidewalk, bike lane, road; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
Do you see what I mean? It is safe and orderly for everyone.

Copenhagen Strøget aerial view; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
The Strøget was particularly inspiring. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Copenhagen. The Strøget is the longest pedestrian mall in Europe. Why don't we have the foresight to do this in North America? The car does not need to dominate our landscape. Note the gorgeous pattern on the sidewalk.
Copenhagen Strøget; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
Another view of the Strøget. Fountains, statues, and prams were other notable features of the city. 
Copenhagen Liebe shop; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
The old architecture was a huge draw for me too. Liebe is a cute shop in the basement of this ancient building. I'll share more images and insights of CPH another day.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Studio Series: Sketchbook drawings

Crazy Eights drawing © Karen Thiessen, 2013
Now that I have a little breathing room in my studio practice, I've returned to feeding my sketchbook with new interest and a new approach. Normally I have separate spaces for journalling, goal-setting, quotes, and usual visual sketchbook stuff. Yes, that's at least 5 different books on the go. Now, I'm mixing it up and I'm just pouring it all into one sketchbook. It's an interesting experiment and I'll see if it works well enough to continue. 
Swirl drawing © Karen Thiessen, 2013

The combo of sketching and writing is very different for me. It feels deeper, more meditative, and strange in a good way.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Week 69: Adobe Illustrator

Hatmouth 2b © Karen Thiessen, 2013
As an artist, I see beauty where others do not. This has been true since I was a young child when I was fascinated with my infant brother's cleft lip and palate. I called it his Hatmouth, since to my 5-year-old mind it resembled a hat of sorts. Working with the tracing of his mouth has been profoundly moving. He died young but he continues to have an impact on my life.

Catherine Heard's dolls with birth defects (Case StudiesEfflorescence, and others) resonate with me because they acknowledge my late brother and others like him.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Stamens © Karen Thiessen 2013
Summer is finally here! The past few weeks have been eventful and I have much to share with you. Yesterday I reviewed and fed a few sketchbooks and looked at how I would best like to spend my summer. An indigo vat is high on my list. I'll start with synthetic indigo from Maiwa because summer is too short to risk a failed vat. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Studio Series: Butterick 28 collage tag

Butterick 28 collage tag © Karen Thiessen 2013
Today is the Canada Day holiday. Happy 146th birthday to Canada!