Tag Archives: September 2016

Making Marbled Mugs with Maker YYC

If you’ve ever searched “DIY” on the internet, the results that appear make you think that you have to be a professional ‘arts and crafts-er’ in order to successfully create anything. I have often tried DIY projects myself, following closely the instructions, but what I create is not as much a beautiful DIY craft as it is a mess of paper, pipe cleaners, glue, and often Band-Aids. When I saw that the next Maker YYC workshop was painting marbled mugs, I had little hope for myself. But then I remembered the amazing crafts I have successfully created with Kat and Sarah, the cofounders of Maker YYC, at other workshops, and that I would have nothing to lose if I just went for it.

Picture from @makerYYC

Cut to a rainy Tuesday evening in Calgary. I head to Home & Away on 17th Ave. SW. to join in on the Marbled Mug workshop. I was so excited to paint my own mug. We began with a bit of an ice breaker, in which we were to draw a portrait of a friend without looking at the paper. It was zany and hilarious. I was quite proud of the portrait I drew of Jennifer, my “blind portrait” partner, and the activity really got me ready for some hardcore crafting!


Kat gave us some quick instructions so we knew what we were actually supposed to be doing, and let us test a few colour combinations and techniques. I, and a few others, struggled with making our test pages take the marbling effect. The lovely lady I sat across from, Michelle, turned out to be the marbling guru, and would give us all pointers. We all watched in awe as she dipped her test pages in her water dish and effortlessly pulled out the most epic marbled designs.

Picture from @makerYYC

I practiced with a few different colours on a few more test pages, and finally found the combination I liked. I don’t know if it was the little imaginary Kat who sits on my shoulder and encourages me along when I am about to try something creative, or if it was actually Kat as she walked through the tables, “just go for it!”

I created my silver and red concoction, took a deep breath, and took the plunge— literally plunged my mug into the water. I smiled as I pulled it out of the dish. It was painted with a perfectly imperfect silver and red marble design. I sat there and stared at my mug in total shock and awe. Stephanie, another mug maker, congratulated me on my success.

My marbled mug!

By the end of the workshop, my hands were covered in paint, and we were all a little loopy from the fumes and had big ol’ grins on our faces. After a quick coat of shellac, our mugs and matching saucers were ready to go. I had an excellent time making my mug. I think the Maker YYC experience is one everyone should have. It was a totally rad workshop, and I can’t wait for the next one. Thanks for the mugs, Maker YYC! Thanks for the radical craft night, Calgary!


At Beakerhead!

While sitting on my balcony drinking tea one Wednesday evening, I received a text message from my good friend, Natasha. “Come to the Lougheed House right now,” it said. Without questioning, I put on some shoes, grabbed my keys, and was out the door. For one evening, the Lougheed House was home to ‘Spectral Illuminations’, Emmedia’s site-specific projection project, that illuminated the windows, walls, ceilings, and furniture of the building. A fire place projected onto a window made it look like the outside was burning when standing in the living room, there were eerie metallic bubbles emerging from a light fixture on a wall and disappearing into nothing, and the psychedelic colours being projected on the outside of the house kept us mesmerized.


On Thursday, I went on an art walk with Ryan. We began in East Village, with a relaxing few minutes in Bee Kingdom Glass’ Saturnian, the “inflatable robotic exploratory humpback-narwhal hybrid”. We watched as people followed instructions and cracked the codes at the BASS Ship and created bone-vibrating noises that appeared to be communicating with aliens. The BASS Ship is the first project to come out of the Beakerhead Big Bang Residency Program. We strolled past the Sandbox of Human Ingenuity and watched as people unlocked their imaginations in the sand. Next, we drive down to Inglewood and marvelled at Pedro Estrellas’ and Filthy Luker’s Tentacles reaching out of the McGill Block. I personally think we should have tentacles all year round. Our art walk, as many do, concluded with dinner. We scarfed down a few pizzas from Without Papers in Inglewood and deemed the evening a success.

Kids flying kites!

On Friday afternoon, Ryan and I had high hopes, so to speak, of going up in a hot air balloon at The Sky’s The Limit event on International Avenue. As it turned out, the wind was too strong for the hot air balloon, but to the delight of many Beakerhead-goers, the wind was just strong enough to send their homemade kites soaring! We enjoyed a root beer in the sun, and watched the kids and kids-at-heart fly their kites and stare in amazement.

Me and my new robot boyfriend
Me running across water
Waiting for the shark to cross the street.

When we were told the wind was too strong for the balloon, we decided to continue our Beakerhead scavenger hunt, and head downtown to catch the tail end of the Four-to-Six events happening on Stephen Avenue. I held hands with a giant robot, waited for a shark to go by before crossing the street, and waved at the people in the human-sized hamster wheel. We found a crowd of people and stopped. A trough in the middle of the sidewalk, filled with equal parts water and cornstarch, was the main attraction. This mixture is liquid, but when force is applied to it, it acts like a solid— if someone walks slowly they will sink into the water. If they run and stomp quickly, they will walk above it. I took a turn. I looked down, not believing I was about to walk on water. The man nearby told me to just stomp quickly, and counted me down. I did it! I walked across water! It was so rad! After a quick bite to eat at National on 8th, we made our way to Central Memorial Park to see the Nibbles! Big, inflated baby bunnies lit up the park. We laughed at the children all playing with the blow-up carrots and lettuce, and sat in awe as the lights changed colours.

Ryan with a carrot, me with my carrot holding friend

Phew! Not done yet! Saturday night was the grande finale of my Beakerhead experience. I met up with Natasha, Nick, Chad, and Andy, and we head to Bridgeland, where science’s ultimate street party was going down. There were bursts of flame, lasers, LEDs, and actual robots that shot actual fire; what else would you expect from a science street party? We stood, entranced by the LED balloons that glowed and pulsed to the beat of the music filling the field. We stood in awe under the giant inflatable space bear. We laughed as the Science Busters taught us all about combustion and then made the ‘Balls of Science’ explode above our heads. We took in some music at the stage, enjoyed the LED finger lights we bought, and went home with giant, art, engineering, and science loving smiles on our faces.

Space bear!

Thanks for the out of this world weekend, Beakerhead! Thanks for the art, science, and engineering smash up, Calgary!

My beautiful Beakerhead friends and I

At Circle the Wagons!

I love how busy summer is in Calgary. There is a festival every weekend, there are events and activities throughout the week, and there is absolutely no excuse for being bored. What I love about our jam-packed summers is that Calgary’s activities don’t all fit into July and August, so the events continue into September! One of these epic events is Circle the Wagons. BassBus, YYC Food Trucks, and Village Brewery came together to create a carnival of local food, beer, music, art, and performance— the perfect place to find oneself on a beautiful September Saturday.

Some casual stilt-walkers wandering by

Ashley, Josh, and I arrived at the University District Park around 1:30, and quickly found a parking spot with the other cars. The park was all buzzing, people with their friends and families wandering around, eating food from the food trucks, taking photos of the costumed performers, and soaking up the beautiful atmosphere. We joined right in. I bought a maple, pepper, and bacon panini from the Hoodoo Foodoo Curbside Cafe truck. That slow cooked, maple-basted bacon is what dreams are made of. We sat at a picnic table, and people-watched while we ate our lunch.

The Bingo Dome on the perfect day

We met up with Andy and Sam and the five of us wandered over to where the wiener dog races were about to begin. Picture this: a huge crowd of people, cheering on costumed wiener dogs, running across a little field to their owners. My personal favourites were the Captain America wiener dog and the wiener dog wearing a skunk outfit. We said hello to the goats, who were mowing the grass nearby, and then did the art walk around the water feature in the park. We met a man who gave us a lesson about crystals and how they effect our energy, we said hello to the people at the tea booth, we cheked out the space where Lululemon set up for yoga classes, and we pondered the works of art on display around the edge of the park. We also admired the beauty of the park. The sky was a brilliant blue with perfectly fluffy clouds scattered around, the mountains could be seen in the distance, and the sun sparkled off the water in the middle of the park.

Burchill making us all dance!

We wandered over to The Bingo Dome, one of the stages presented by BassBus, and caught the epic set of local DJ, Burchill (Listen Here). The mixes this guy shared were ridiculously fun and not dancing was just an impossibility. It was here people were also playing bingo as they danced, but Andy, Sam, and I chose to just groove to the music, and enjoy the Village Brewery beers for sale.

In The Bingo Dome with Andy. Photo by @ilikemonkeys 

We realized it was time to eat again. This time, I treated myself to the Lucky Fries from the Taiko Taco food truck. Fries drizzled with a spicy, creamy sauce, piled high with spices, with the most tender, mouth-watering pork belly on top. I was in heaven! We sat for a bit and digested our dinner. The wind began to blow a little chillier, and the sun disappeared behind a cloud. We all donned our warm layers, and then headed to The Big Top Stage, presented by BassBus and Le Cirque de la Nuit. Everybody knows that the best way to warm up on a brisk September evening is to dance! We caught the tail end of Goldfish’s set. These guys would drop a beat, and then play along with it with a saxophone, a flute, and a stand up bass, just to name a few. Totally rad!

Goldfish ripping it up on the sax. Photo by @ilikemonkeys

J-Pod was next. This local Western Canadian DJ brought the house down. The speakers were shaking the earth around us and the bass dropped. Finishing the evening was Beats Antique. I heard multiple times from multiple people throughout the day that these were the guys to watch. I am glad I waited! While the music swept the crowd off their feet, performers spun hula hoops of fire, danced with batons of fire, and were lifted into the air on rings— you guessed it— of fire. I was speechless. When I wasn’t dancing like a mad woman to the music, I was watching the performers, and picking my jaw up from the floor.

Thanks for dancing with me, Andy and Sam! Thanks for the delicious food, YYCFoodTrucks. Thanks for the music, BassBus. Thanks for the epic carnival, Calgary!

Performer Kate Ryan effortlessly spinning her hoops.

At Theatre Junction’s 8th Annual ALLEY PARTY

On Thursday September 1st, Theatre Junction continued the tradition, and celebrated their upcoming season with the 8th annual ALLEY PARTY. Really, is there any better way to celebrate a season of contemporary live art than with a giant dance party in a back alley in the middle of downtown Calgary? No, in fact, there is not. I like to think that on a day-to-day basis I am a pretty cool person, but walking into this party made my cool level skyrocket!

My friend, Casey and I could hear the party from a few blocks away and before we entered the theatre, we walked passed a group of onlookers watching the people dance from behind a fence. We walked into the Grand, the oldest theatre in Calgary, and marvelled at the lobby. It’s worth a visit just to see the lobby. We walked under the artfully destroyed ceiling, and the chandelier made from broken bottles lit the way through to the main hall. We ‘paid what we could’ and entered.


The main room was dark and full of sound. The DJ from Hifi spinning when we arrived had everyone grooving. Amongst the grooving were my super hip friends, Tyler, Garrett, and Chris. There was a green space set up on one end of the room, where a bean bag toss and a few games of giant Connect 4, both provided by Home & Away, were set up. Nearby was a makeshift photo booth manned by an enthusiastic photographer whose goal was to make us look even cooler than we felt. Over two separate stints in front of his camera, I think we nearly exhausted him. There was also a bar, with a healthy line of excited people, ready to support local theatre by buying a beer or two.

Brie, Tyler, Garrett, and Neil striking a killer pose.


We walked through a dark hallway and emerged in the back alley. I laughed. When Tyler invited me to a party in a back alley, I had no idea what to expect, and could never in a million years have expected this. It was all glamour and opulence set against a derelict back alley backdrop. Another DJ from Hifi was set up next to the brick wall, and the crowd was dancing all around. The music echoed and reverberated up through the buildings. Everyone was dancing. And how could they not? The beat demanded it. “The bass!!!!” Tyler exclaimed, as his body gave in. We stood in the middle of the crowd and just danced. I couldn’t help but look around at the stunning party-goers surrounding my friends and I. A smile on every face.

Tyler and I!

The scariest part about attending a party on a weeknight is that you will be out too late and be tired at work the next day. This party ended at 11pm. I love a party like this. The Hifi Club had an after party for those who couldn’t rid their bones of the beat just yet, and I applauded those people as I hailed a cab to take me home. Theatre Junction and The Hifi Club did it again. That party in that back alley is without a doubt on the list of the top ten coolest parties I have ever been to. Thanks for the invite Tyler, thanks for the music Hifi, thanks for the games Home & Away, thanks for the reason to celebrate, Theatre Junction, and thanks for the rad weeknight party, Calgary!

Where the F is Beth?