Monday, May 30, 2011

The Clothing Show - Spring 2011

I have been a longtime fan of The Clothing Show and have attended the show for many years in search of a unique vintage find and usually coming away with a wonderful new treasure. This year was no different as I attended the show at its new location, Queen Elizabeth Building, Exhibition Place, Toronto just across from their previous venue.

The show celebrated its 34th year and showcased over 300 booths with an abundance of fashion products. I was most taken by the collections of the local designers. One of the highlights of the show was the fashion show. I also had the pleasure of interviewing a handful of very talented designers whose profiles will be featured in subsequent weeks on our blog, podcast and youtube channel.

Kaych and Copious Couture

You can listen to our BlogTalk Radio broadcast: Collaboration and Fashion Design, where we chat with Krystal Howard of Kaych and Carissa McCaig of Copious Couture about their designs, friendship, and collaboration.

Verona Collections and Hipknitized

It was also a pleasure to catch-up with acquaintances like Diane Kroe, Creation Design, Phresh Threads and Maudlin and Joy. It was also my pleasure to have our sister company Verona Collections joined by Hipknitized at our shared booth.

Here are our favourite pictures from the fashion show:

Updated 12/12/13

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All That Glitters

A sprinkle of glitter can jazz-up your projects. I use glitter mostly on cards and I always have fun using it. I really love the glitter from the Martha Stewart craft collection, because of the fine quality and the wonderful selection of colours. The set below are three of the colours that I use a lot in my studio. I also use the glue writing pen and find it to be a great tool.

Desert Glitter Set

There are countless projects that can be created or embellished using glitter. The following video clip provides great tips for working with this fun material.

Share your projects with us. Email pictures of your projects to

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Growth Through Collaboration

The topic of "Collaboration" has been surfacing around me lately and I wanted to address the topic as it relates to creative ventures.

The question is "What does collaboration mean to you?" I have had a few colleagues share with me their experiences with collaboration. Some experiences have been positive while for others have been described as a "nightmare."

When I think of collaboration, I think of all the individuals contributing to a project or venture and all parties being credited for their contribution and have the opportunity to benefit equitably. In a perfect world, we will be able to all agree on the terms and shake hands. Experience cautions against the "good old handshake" and suggest a more formal approach. When it comes to someone we have known for a long time or a friend or family member, we are often uncomfortable with taking what can be perceived as an impersonal approach.

However, regardless of whom you are collaborating with, it is always a good idea to consider the following:
  • Outline the terms in writing prior to starting your project
  • Clearly define how each person will be credited for their contribution
  • Outline how each individual will benefit from the venture
  • Protect your ideas and creative contribution by copyright or trademark were applicable prior to "shopping it around" (this protects everyone's interest)
  • Have respect of each other's creativity and place adequate value on their contribution to the final product
  • Acknowledge what each person's time is worth financially
  • Be professional!
  • Know when to "back-out" if needed
  • Always ensure that you are speaking the "same language," it can be very easy for someone to genuinely misunderstand, based on their personal definition of the same words
  • Value of each others talents and mutual respect is important
Over the years I have worked with others and I have had diverse experiences. I have found that respect is a great place to start and can go a long way. I also think that individuals who value their work can value the work of others. I have also had the misfortune of meeting individuals who have an idea and speak of collaboration, but who's objective is to be the only one to gain from the experience.

If someone works (minutes, hours, days, months, years) on shaping an idea or concept or contributes to its development and helps to bring it to life, they should be acknowledged for their contribution in a way that allows them to grow and develop from the skills and knowledge they have contributed. Each person's growth and development should be at the core of the collaboration. If only one person stands to benefit from the "collaboration" then someone ends-up with the short end of the stick. As an added note, "a work-for-hire," means you have walked in with everything in-hand and you have provided specific instructions with no expectation of creative input from the other.

I have been fortunate to find a handful of individuals who I can truly credit with the ability to collaborate. There are many collaborative projects that work well. The objective of this post is to emphasize, "no one is an island." We all have something of value to contribute to another, but the key word is value. Valuing each other and valuing ourselves will in my opinion always nurture a successful collaboration.

Share with us your experience with collaboration!

Listen to internet radio with Crafted Spaces on Blog Talk Radio

Monday, May 2, 2011

Profile: Laura-Jean Bernhardson

The focus of our newest profile is no stranger to many in the Toronto fashion industry. Laura-Jean Bernhardson is the designer of the clothing line Fresh Baked Goods. She started Fresh Baked Goods in 1994, and became know as the Knitting Queen. Bright colours and playful charm characterized her unique knitwear. Laura-Jean has since moved away from knitted designs and now creates a versatile, fun collection of ladies clothing. She is also the founder and business guru behind The Fresh Collective.

Designer Laura-Jean Bernhardson
Fresh Baked Goods

I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to interview Laura-Jean, at her new Roncesvalles store. Recently opened in April, this beautiful shop is just steps away from High Park, antique shops, and charming little bistros. I initially thought that I would do a Shop Review on The Fresh Collective, but soon found myself overwhelmed by the wealth of information and inspiration. Hence, I have decided to do a two-part profile.

I feel like this was a long overdue conversation with someone that I have admired for many years. I fondly remember walking into her quaint little shop on Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market. The walls were covered with colourful knitwear, a unique collection of one-of-a-kind pieces embellished with her handmade buttons in playful motifs. My personal favourites were the fruit buttons.

Fresh Baked Goods at Fresh Collective
Queen Street West location
Photo by Crafted Spaces

Her fun, feminine and locally made designs grew from her desire to do something creative. Her designs and business have grown into a viable creative business venture. Prior to 1994, Laura-Jean first ventured into making jewellery. When asked about her journey over the years Laura-Jean indicated "I learned as I went along."


She also loves working with the designers of Fresh Collective, where she is the founder and proprietor of three Toronto retail locations. Laura-Jean is also the mother of an energetic four-and-a-half-year-old son and like many of us, deals with the juggling act. She chuckled, when asked about having personal time. Laura-Jean has found some balance and organization by taking a step back and delegating various aspects of the business to her staff.

It is evident that she has not only refined her own craft, but that she is passionate about helping other designers live their dreams of creating and growing with and through their creativity. Laura-Jean describes herself as "self-taught" and encourages others to "take leadership in what you are doing." She identifies that one of the challenges is "riding out the highs and lows." "Taking a leap of faith" and "belief in what you are doing" are some of her insightful suggestions. She also emphasizes the importance of creating standards for what you want, and "promote yourself." Laura-Jean's newest collection is cute and flirty, with retro, wearable classic shapes.

Below: Photograph of Fresh Baked Goods newest designs, available at the Roncesvalles location. Photographed by Crafted Spaces.

Laura-Jean's Fresh Baked Goods can be found at all of the following retail locations:

Fresh Collective
401 Roncesvalles Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario
(647) 352-7132

Fresh Collective
692 Queen Street West,
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 594-1313

Fresh Collective
274 Augusta Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 966-0123

Join us later this month for our "Shop Review," as we give you an inside look into Fresh Collective, and some of the very talented designers.

I hope that you have found this profile insightful and I invite you to visit our Profile Page for interviews and features of individuals who have chosen to create and live creatively.

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