Whale watching.

July 23 (1 of 1).jpg

Outdoor mural completed during the Cambridge International Street Art Festival.
Ontario, Canada.

Click here for more work by artist Bart Smeets (“Smates”).

Feelin’ groovy.

June 17 (2 of 3)

On the side of the highway near Hamilton sits a little shop called Grasshopper Imports. They sell imported pottery and garden ornaments, clothing and trinkets that appeal to the bohemians in the crowd.

Most people in the area know the place, even if they haven’t visited, because the owners made one stand-out choice when they set up shop.

They painted rainbow spirals on the exterior walls.

June 17 (1 of 3)

Naturally, this photogenic wall has been on my must-visit list, and early in the spring I finally stopped by for a few clicks. I had the kids with me at the time, so we made some fun portraits with the wall as a backdrop.

I also took the opportunity to try a couple of slow-shutter techniques. In the top image I moved the camera in a circle during the exposure time, and below, I zoomed instead. I liked the dreamy, painterly images that came out of it. I thought they could work as an interpretation of this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge of Focus (in this case, just the opposite).

June 17 (3 of 3)

Though my daughter would’ve loved to bring home a giant clay pot shaped like a frog or several pairs of dangly mineral stone earrings, we didn’t buy anything that day. But now I know where to find authentic Mexican Baja jackets and handblown glass swizzle sticks, should the need arise.

We’ll be back, Grasshopper. And thanks for the memories.

 

Going retro.

April 13 (1 of 1).jpg

It’s not often that I wear a dress while I’m cooking. Nor an apron. (Actually, if I think about it, I’m rarely grinning while I’m cooking, either.)

Not the case, apparently, for the woman depicted in this vintage advertisement.

McClary’s Manufacturing was a London, Ontario-based leader in the production of stoves, coal furnaces, and kitchenware. It was founded in 1847 and merged with four other companies to become General Steel Wares in 1927.

A sign very similar in design to this one had been painted on the exterior of this building in Cambridge, Ontario sometime in the mid-20th century. (I’m unsure if – and for how long – goods were still produced under the McClary name after the merger).

The paint had nearly peeled away, lost to time, when the local Business Improvement Association headed a project to restore the sign in 2012, in an effort to add interest to the downtown core.

And interesting it is. When I look at it, I’m reminded both of how much has changed (the rapid advance of technology and how it impacts our everyday lives; the shift and evolution of gender roles), and of how little has changed (the people in ads are always suspiciously happy to be using the product in question).

I realize that there are people who genuinely look and feel happy when they’re using a stove. I’m just not one of them.

 

P.S.
I read about the McClary company and the restoration of the sign here, here, and here.

Drab to fab.

I don’t have grand, elaborate entrances this week for my submission to Norm’s Thursday Doors. In fact, today’s doors are pretty inconspicuous. They’re hidden inside a work of art.

March 30 (2 of 7)

March 30 (5 of 7)

For that, we can thank artist Stephanie Boutari. This mural transforms the rear of this bland and generic strip mall into a unique and colourful canvas. Street art can truly add personality and interest where they may be lacking. I like the vibrancy and sweeping curves of this piece.

March 30 (1 of 7)March 30 (3 of 7)

The details were carefully considered to ensure the look is unified in the big picture. The lines are sharp, clean and vivid – even up close. Only the metal ring in the bottom photo, jutting from the wall, shows a little wear and tear.

March 30 (6 of 7)March 30 (7 of 7)March 30 (4 of 7)

In this week’s post, the walls are more impressive than the doors themselves, but given the state of these walls, I didn’t think you’d mind. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.