Unlike our neighbours to the south, with their somewhat-brazen flag waving, we Canadians are notoriously humble about our patriotism. Sure we show our red maple leaves with pride, but it is always with an underlying sense of moderation and polite restraint. However, the one day of the year that we allow ourselves to really let loose is July 1st, when we take a collective day-off to observe our Nation‘s birthday. In honour of Canada’s 143rd, I’m inviting you to embrace your inner Canadian and take a peek at some terrific handmade finds from the unabashedly polite people at the top of the continent.
Rhonda, of My Handbound Books is a bookbinder and book artist hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, who is constantly working on new ways to practice her craft and often includes an eco-friendly element. Some of Rhonda’s journals are made entirely from recycled/reclaimed/repurposed materials; to create the one pictured above, she didn’t have to go any further than her stash of leather scraps and salvaged trims and closures. To match the virtue of the cover, it is filled with unlined cream paper with 30% recycled content. Check out Rhonda’s blog http://myhandboundbooks.blogspot.com/ to see more of her eco-friendly projects, including her awesomely kitschy “as seen on tv” product box journals.
Released in 1983, Bryan Adams’ album “Cuts Like a Knife” was the third studio album by the Canadian singer/songwriter, and can easily be credited for giving Adams his first real mainstream popularity in both Canada and the US. Montreal’s Odd Bob has taken this iconic piece of Canadian music history and preserved it as a funky piece of functional art for the home. The signed and numbered piece has been carefully reshaped and three non-slip feet have been added. It even comes complete with its original cover! (Music lovers and collectors need not worry – Groovebowls are made only from records that Odd Bob has deemed “unplayable”, due to pits and scratches.)
Mariclaro Canada is a small design collective based in Toronto with a mandate to design and create sustainable products. The bag pictured above, made from seatbelts, upholstery and bike inner tubes, is a perfect example of their work. Created from 99% recycled materials (the thread makes up the remaining 1%), it is a truly unique, one-of-a-kind piece. Toronto locals (and visitors to “The Big Smoke”) can find the brick-and-mortar Mariclaro shop at 457 Roncesvalles Ave, just south of Dundas West.
Lucky me – one of my favourite Canadian designers just so happens to live right here in my home province! Winnipegger Kelly Ruth absolutely loves Manitoba summers and you can tell by the way the vibrant, earthy colours of her hand-dyed garments (pictured above) reflect the natural beauty of our ever-changing prairie landscape. By using special, fiber-reactive dyes on super-soft and sustainable bamboo-blend knit fabrics, Kelly creates one-of-a-kind pieces that no only look gorgeous when you buy them, but will not fade over time.
The upcycled Canada atlas envelopes at the beginning of this article are made by Prairie Peasant, a member of the Etsy Trans Canada Team. Visit the team blog to find out how you can win one of two fabulously Canadian prizes in their “Handmade in Canada Party”. Hurry – the contest only runs until Canada Day!
Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day, is a celebration marking the anniversary of the enactment of the British North American Act of 1867, which united two British colonies with a province of the British Empire into a single country. Similar to the way Americans celebrate their Independence Day, we Canucks will spend the day with family and friends; eating, drinking, gathering, parading and setting-off fireworks…with the utmost of polite moderation, of course.