Sip ‘n Scrawl: Holiday ed.

If you’re looking for something to get you in the holiday mood AND check an item off of your holiday to-do list, then this event is for you!


A cozy night of old-school letter writing at Flapjack’s on Preston St. Letterpress Christmas cards, hot cocoa, and a stack of fluffy pancakes… A $10 ticket buys you a delicious cup of hot cocoa and everything needed to send someone a handwritten note they’ll love: a letterpress Christmas card that we printed on our antique printing press, an envelope, a pen, and even postage! Best of all, we’ll collect your letters at the end of the night and pop them in the mail for you! Buy your ticket at the door, cash only!


#The100DayProject Ottawa Meetup


Tonight on the 8th floor of 150 Elgin Street, a Meetup will come about. It’s at Shopify—have you heard of it?—and will interest anyone who relishes creative self-development.

Courtney Symons, one of the organizers of the #The100DayProject Ottawa Meetup said one can, “expect to find a room full of creative people who are looking for ways to challenge themselves and continue to grow personally and professionally.”

Last spring, on the day after Easter, hundreds if not thousands of people around the world started working on a promise they made to themselves. All participants learned, did, or made one thing on April 6 and did something similar for the next 99 days. It’s called the 100 Day Project, and was made into #The100DayProject in 2014 by a woman named Elle Luna.

Luna and her friends simply created the social media version of a grad school project by their teacher Michael Beirut and let it run free. Encouraging anyone to do a 100-day project can be one intimidating request, now add sharing the daily progress on Instagram to that ask! Persistent people around the world, however, took up that challenge and many completed their projects on July 14, 2015. Now, about halfway between the last and the next bout of creation, #The100DayProject is gathering their contributors together in every corner of the planet.


Courtney Symons wrote 100 haikus as her 2015 Project. What she discovered along the way she chronicled in a post on Medium of July 22, which brought the Project to the attention of many. Once the publication called The Great Discontent announced that there would be Meetups for those who participated and others who were interested, Ottawa needed to have its own gathering.

And sure enough, tonight’s 6 to 8 p.m. Ottawa Meetup will take place in a creative environment.

“I hope to hear more about other people’s experiences doing one thing every day for 100 days,” said Miss Symons. “I want to know if it changed them and where they drew their inspiration from. I can’t wait to hear if people have chosen other creative personal projects after the 100 days came to an end.”

That also seems to be a nice side effect of the 100 Day Project, creations keep coming after the 100 days. Folks who usually keep their own undertakings on hold until they are “done with the client’s” throw up their hands to say, Okay! Me-time now!

A photo posted by Becky Margraf (@bargraf) on

“This experience caused me to be conscious of who I am and who I want to be,” said Miss Symons. “Time doesn’t have to ‘fly by’ and leave you wondering where it went at the end of the year. This challenge caused me to think purposefully about each day and what I’d like to achieve in it.”

So as far as projects go, it’s definitely a self-absorbed one. In the age of individualism and mass production, what’s another me-time activity making trinkets? What do you actually get out of this besides 100 new things to put on your shelf?

Well, you do it for the process. It’s not for any clear message or reason, it’s just something you do. You win doubt and struggle, sure, but you’ll also acquire tenacity. If you learn to tie one new knot a day, for instance, you may not remember 100 knots, but you’ll remember the ones you liked best and the most useful ones too. You’ll probably also know how best to go about learning the ropes!

It’s in Elle Luna’s The Crossroad of Should and Must (which came out the second day of 2015’s project) where you will find the best attempt at an explanation of what it means to create. It means a lot of questions, just as in any life, and it also means a lot of people are going through the same kind of process.

Come meet some tonight, why don’t ya?

Illustration by Elle Luna from The Crossroads of Should and Must.
Illustration by Elle Luna from The Crossroads of Should and Must.

Arboretum’s logo gets way metaphoric

Each year, Rolf Klausener, Creative Director of Arboretum Festival, tweaks the logo just a tad. What began as three trees created by celebrated designer & artist, Ross Proulx, has since set to orbit the deeper metaphorical & symbolic realm of culture, history, and geography. It may seem far-fetched, but once the newly evolved logo’s story is expressed, you’ll be convinced of this logo’s ambition.

“I really got into India inks this year,” Klausener expresses, “I’m not a visual artist, and can’t draw to save my life, but I’ve always loved watching the ink transfer to the page, the quality of each stroke growing in complexity as the ink drains from the brush.” In March, Klausener began to think about this year’s design, but the festival’s new location had yet to be confirmed, which made it difficult for him to truly identify the event’s personality. Soon after, in April, the site, Albert Island, was solidified, and the festival was faced with some difficult questions regarding the location’s significance to the Algonquin people and First Nations. “That essentially halted festival planning, but I continued working on the design, and tinkering with my inks. After a few dozen less than stellar tries, the final design came together rather quickly, as most do.”


The original logo, Klausener explains, was a metaphor for an Arboretum, which in latin means tree garden, which in turn signifies diversity. Not to mention the primary role that trees (more specifically, lumber) have played in Ottawa and Canada’s historical narrative. “This year, the three trees, morphed by some hand-painted sketches, looked almost like three islands,” Rolf notes. “I pulled out the inks one afternoon and just started smearing out some triangles. It was meditative and totally unconscious.” The islands incorporated in the logo were not a conscious decision, it was when Rolf showed a friend who said that the new design looked more like three islands rather than three trees. The three trees, he says, were always meant to embody the diversity of Ottawa’s arts and culture, but the imagery of the three islands even furthers that symbolism. Albert Island, the festival’s new site, is one third of the Chaudière Island trio, which were first known as the Asinabka (“place of glare rock”). The trio of islands were a gathering place for the Algonquin people as well as other First Nations, but later, they became home to the lumber district that carried Ottawa into the industrial, economical, and political spotlight. “So this year, I feel like the logo embodies a lot; it could represent the three islands of the Asinabka; it could represent the region’s population: First Nations, settlers and new Canadians; and naturally, it embodies our varied artistic expression, whether it be punk, electronic music, or folk, painting, media art, or gastronomy,” Rolf concludes, of the new logo.


While the site raises many questions that pertain to our region and how we identify with it,  Arboretum released an educational and humble letter to the public on the topic. As a result of their new-found knowledge, the festival is hosting several discussions that will open up a much-needed dialogue between several key members of diverse communities. Expanding programming to be more inclusive is part of the festival’s mission.


Last year, Arboretum introduced Francophone programming and our neighbouring city of Gatineau/Vieux Hull, which was a no-brainer when looking to be an inclusive and an “accurate representation of our region’s culture.” When asked if this year’s challenges and insight will have an effect on future programming of the festival, Rolf responded very confidently, “Absolutely.” He elaborates, “this year’s steps forward are definitely the scope of our panel discussions with First Nations, our kick off show with the Queer Songbook Orchestra, bringing in the Indonesian community’s Gamelan group, and working to have most of our line-up be female-led or female inclusive.”

In the end, Rolf hopes that “our little city will walk away inspired, and with an expanded perception of what it means to live here.”

An award winning artist’s work is celebrated

As you may know, La Petite Mort Gallery will be closing at the end of August, but before we say farewell, we ask that you join us for a very special exhibit that celebrates the work of artist Christine Ross. View this video to learn a bit about the artist’s life & work, through the eyes of her daughter.

Christine’s Escape

Hosted by her daughter Siobhan Arnott

@ La Petite Mort Gallery

306 Cumberland Street, Ottawa, Ontario / In Lowertown

Vernissage Friday August 21 / 7 – 10pm

Runs August 21 – 27, 2015 /

Workshop Sunday August 23 / 3-5pm.

Exhibition Description:

Christine Ross, a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, escaped the limitations of her mental illness by creating works of art from the late-1950s to 2013 while living both in Scotland and then Canada. She created prints, drawings and paintings in a wide range of styles, exploring the human figure and the nude, devising illustrations for books, experimenting with abstract composition and noting her surroundings in landscapes and wildflower studies. This exhibition, Christine’s Escape, is displayed as an imaginary look into her studio, and celebrates her artistic achievements despite a life beset by the very real challenge of mental health problems. Over the years, Christine’s art received recognition including the C.W. Jefferys Award in Etching in 1963 and 1973 from the Canadian Society for Graphic Arts, two solo exhibitions at The Pollock Gallery, Toronto, in 1960 and 1961, and her etching Summer was included in the international UNICEF desk calendar as the only Canadian entry, in 1970.

Vernissage: Friday August 21 / 7 – 10pm.

MC, Sabine Modder, Managing Editor at MoCo Loco, will introduce the speakers who include: Siobhan Arnott, Christine’s daughter, who will speak about her mother as an artist, and provide an overview of her artistic achievements while touching upon her life-long battle with Schizoaffective disorder; and, Stephanie Vicente, Editor-in-Chief of Herd Magazine, to deliver a heartfelt talk on her mental illness struggles and how she’s battled them with her creative outlet.

Guests will be invited to enjoy drinks and appetizers while listening to singer Deborah Clarke singing well-known jazz standards accompanied by guitarist Aydin Suatac.

All monies raised through sales of Christine’s art work or donations during the exhibit will be contributed directly to The Art Studio, a service offered by Family Services Ottawa partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Royal Ottawa and more. It provides local Ottawa artists living with mental illness with access to a safe studio space, art supplies and bus tickets, and offers a creative outlet for people who might otherwise be limited by the poverty often associated with mental illness.

Donations will be accepted by cash or cheques only, please. As a registered charity, Family Services Ottawa will provide receipts for all donations over $20.00 if individuals provide their name, address and contact information.

The Bird Cage: A Creative Workshop

Sunday, August 23, 2015

3:00 – 5:00 p.m. @ La Petite Mort

For all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and not left unsupervised.

Registration required. A $5 donation suggested.

Participants of all ages are invited to engage in a hands-on collage-making activity after having a short guided tour of the exhibit,Christine’s Escape. The bird cage appears in several of Christine’s art works and will be used to inspire an exploration of the confines of mental illness and what resources people may draw upon in order to break free of those confines. Participants can play with the image of the bird cage to create a collage which expresses their ideas. All materials will be provided, but participants may bring their own image of a bird cage if they wish.

Judith Parker, art historian and former educator at the National Gallery of Canada, and Siobhan Arnott, Christine’s daughter, who collaborated on this art exhibit, will co-facilitate the workshop.


Please email Siobhan Arnott at to register; indicate the name of each person and their age. Space is limited. All participants will be asked to make a five dollar donation to cover the costs of the workshop materials. Any extra monies will be donated to The Art Studio, a safe haven for artists living with mental illness.

8 Ottawa-based users slaying the Instagram game

For this Follow Friday (#FF) we’ve searched for the brightest, boldest, most unique, and local Instagram users in Ottawa. Here, we’ve compiled a preview and a list for you, of our top eight. From architecture to skateboarding, these accounts each offer up something different, but all of them produce quality images that can only be the result of a great eye.


8. @built.ottawabuilt.ottawa 2Who & What: Nico Valenzuela of Ottawa Architecture Week, takes shots of the city that asks us to appreciate the details and structural integrity of buildings, bridges, and even public transportation.

7. @chrisarrrrrChrisarrrrrWho & What: Christopher Ryan walks the streets of Ottawa & beyond while taking “portraits” of facades. Even the dullest of city structures seem to come to take on life on this Instagram feed.

6. @CarolynnlacasseCaroLacasse_Who & What: Carolynn Lacasse photographs her lifestyle beautifully. A mashup of Ottawa and beyond, this Instagram stream will totally inspire you. Flicks from style to handmade goods, where to eat, and where to play, Carolynn is out there enjoying the best of what our culture has to offer.

5. @Ocular_FuckeryOcular5Who & What: Andrew Rashotte, local photographer & the man behind Dapper Beard Oil. We’re super partial to his black & white photography.

4. @XoVeloXoXoVelo2Who & What: Formerly known as Ottawa Velo Vogue, this is the view from creator Zara Ansar’s daily life in Ottawa on her bicycle. She loves style and she loves to see it on cyclists. She’s particularly fond of colour.

3. @TafuiTAfui9Who & What: Tafui is an artist and designer with a brilliant eye for patterns and texture. Stunning photographs of her own work as well as guest appearances from patterns found in everyday objects and people in her life.

2. @AmandafionaAmandaFiona5Who & What: Amanda is an architectural photographer by trade, but really she has an amazing eye for everything. This account will inspire you to explore your neighbourhood and look up at the buildings and homes around you. It will also give you a dose of cute as she has a very photogenic baby.

1. @szetoszetoSzeto5Who & What: A photographer and entrepreneur, as well as a Herd Magazine contributor, Szeto’s Instagram has gained a lot of momentum as of late. He loves to shoot the stars (and shoot FOR the stars, check his brand @maruthecirclebrand), outdoor life, life in the fast lane, skateboarding, and more. This Instagram feed will not only inspire you to get outside, but it’ll inspire you to create.

Know a local Instagram feed that should join our next list? Let us