Diversions Toronto

Tourist in my home town – The ROM

India’s painted and printed cottons

In the many months since March 2020, I have been back to my office twice: both times on a Sunday to pick up things I needed. And then IT asked that everyone come into the office during September 2021 for updates and to make sure everything was still working etc.


Grey haired female with a periodic table of elements mask and a TTC stop in the background
Waiting for the bus for the first time in 18 or so months

So I got up, showered, put on office clothes!!, and waited for the bus. Overall the day went pretty well. Only a few of us went in. Toby encouraged me to get a nice lunch as a treat. And then I left work a little early to take advantage of being downtown and walked up to the ROM.

The benefit of a membership I think is that I do not feel compelled to see.all.the.things! I can look at what’s happening, chose one thing and then just see that and leave. And that’s exactly what I did.

The exhibit is on until January 2, 2022 so you can definitely still go and see it. It was pretty nifty. All about cotton and how artisans in India created and advanced their craft time and time again.

The colours and patterns were stunning. And so interesting to see the differences of the fabric made for different markets!

Both of the above were made in India but for export to different markets: Egypt and Japan. There was also Sri Lanka, Iran, Indonesia and of course Canada:

Made in the 1990s from Indian design for Canadian market

There was also a discussion of how local makers took inspiration from Indian chintz but also made it their own:

From Indian chintz to Javanese batik

And from Indian chintz to African prints. The ROM exhibit explained that in East Africa, women first dressed in printed cottons imported from India but by the 1970s they had switched to their own designs.

There was also a little section showing how some of the dyes were developed.

If you have a smart phone you can listen to a free descriptive audio tour of the whole exhibit with 10 or so stops. As someone who has a bit of working knowledge of fabrics from my own forays into knitting and basic sewing and cross-stitching (and some embroidery) I was just amazed by the variety and the obviously huge amounts of work involved.

I was pretty impressed and happy with my little visit. I checked the ROM website again afterwards and found a few links to talks and interviews they have posted to youtube about Post-Independence revival of India’s craft industries and with the curator of this exhibit. I love that they made it easy to dive as deep as you want to go on the topic. I’ve added the “Ethics of Production in Historic Chintz” to my future watch list!

I recently decided that I want to do a deep dive into fungi and lichen so I’m off to the ROM website again to see what they’ve got…

Diversions Toronto

Tourist in my home town – Grange Park

NOTE: I took these pictures in October 2019. I thought they would be good to share now during physical distancing so we can remember what’s waiting for us all when we’re done.

Tucked away behind the Art Gallery of Ontario and OCAD University is the most lovely little oasis.

At one time it was basically the back yard for The Grange (which was the original home of the AGO and has it’s own long history) and now it’s a lovely spot to wander, listen to kids playing on the playground, or water gurgling through the splash pad (in summer) or from the fountain:

(there was a person who was obviously quite fond of the fountain hanging around it and every time I went to take a picture would try and move into the shot. I’m not sure if they wanted to be in the picture or just stop me from taking it but I eventually got this photo)

I really love the way Toronto can pull off nature in the middle of the city!

And of course, the love affair with Henry Moore continues:

Large Two Forms - Henry Moore
Large Two Forms – Henry Moore

The Henry Moore Sculpture Centre in the AGO is the largest public collection of Henry Moore’s work – and he gave most of it to the gallery.

Diversions Toronto

Being a tourist in my home town – Visiting the AGO

Now that the weather isn’t so unbearably hot and humid for me I thought I’d try and go out for a walk during my lunch break every once in a while. The Art Gallery of Ontario is just around the corner from my office so I figured that’s a great place to start.

In September I went and saw a photography exhibit called “women in focus.” It was lovely.

Here are some of my favourite photos:

This one is from Lotte Jacobi – I love the way the movement is captured. I keep expecting the dancer to keep going!

I just want to know what she’s thinking! This is called “Sea of Ice (Genevieve)” from 1935.

This is a print from Violet Keene Perinchief – originally from England but moved to Ontario and “found commercial success as the manager of the Eaton’s photography studio” before setting up her own shop. The eyes. Really, that’s it. Just the eyes.

Taking pictures of photos behind glass isn’t a strength of mine obviously. Here’s a better version of the above photo:

More from the AGO in the future that’s for sure, especially because now I have a membership.

Food In the kitchen Review Toronto

Praising Black Gold (aka coffee)

Since Friday July 19, I’ve done my best to stop drinking coffee (all caffeine really because 99% of my caffeine is consumed in black gold form) by about noon. The first few days I strayed till 1 pm or so but since then it’s been finished by around 11:30 am.

No real change in sleep (which was the experiment) BUT it really is only one part of the equation (snoring, heat, beer all add up on the other side). No real change in mood either.

So why am I posting do you ask? Because I knew I was only going to be consuming a much smaller amount of coffee than before I figured I was going to be sure it was GOOD coffee, and not just the free unlimited stuff I have access to at work.

Sparkplug Coffee gets delivered to the house. I have used my french press every freaking day for the last couple of weeks and have enjoyed my coffee so much. I will probably never cut coffee out completely – I enjoy it too much – but I am actually enjoying it more when it isn’t so much the “quantity” of the stuff but the “quality.” Who’d a thunk it?

The most recent limited edition was called Mad Bastard. They describe it as a “blend of premium Arabica beans from Colombia and Brazil.” It’s a medium roast and tasty! I can’t wait to see what the next blend will be!

Logo from the sparkplug coffee website