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Small Works Again, our annual small works show, opened last night to the tune of a very fun Pie Party.

food, art, herbalism and fun at Fleurbain

food, art, herbalism and fun at Fleurbain

Guests and friends and participating artists enjoyed a potluck Pie fest alongside a wine and cheese. For the first time, we have featured a small craft/card table for participating artists to share some of their smaller small works.

small craft and card table, featuring works from $1-$20

small craft and card table, featuring works from $1-$20

Participating artists are: Anna Grigorian, Donna McGee, Elissa Baltzer, Emily Leong, Nadia Mytnik-Frantova, Natasha Henderson, Sarah Robinson, and Thaneah Krohn. All work may be purchased on the spot, or can be reserved with a 50% deposit. Visit us and the show each Saturday and Sunday until mid-January from 11am-3pm, with extended hours too (TBA). See our Facebook page for updates!

a little taste of the show...

a little taste of the show…

Our in-house herbalist, Tammy Schmidt, presented us with a delicious nutritive tea. She had some of her luscious skin serum available, as well as tasty lip balm, Vanilla Maple seasoning, and her infamous teas. Come by to see what other fresh herbal concoctions are a-brewin’.

An online gallery of the small works is available, works can be viewed and purchased here.

Happy Pieday!

Fleurbain is located in the heart of downtown Montreal, across the street from the picturesque St James United Church. 260 St Catherine Street West, Unit 917. Always ready for appointments, at most any time. Just email us at fleurbain(at)gmail(dot)com and we’ll get the tea on for you!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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Small Works, the exhibition currently in Fleurbain, has had an effect on me. I spend a few hours each day in the presence of this collection of artworks. There are works by twelve artists (or artistic teams) to enjoy, and it is all food for thought. I like to compare and contrast the different approaches to art-making, media, and what I imagine the individual artist’s inspiration might be. I take all this in, and then process what the works have to say to me, the viewer.

I would like to share a little about each of the artists’ works with you here. Before I begin, I would like to thank each artist for submitting their work to be in this show. I had sent out a call-for-entry a while back, and was fortunate to receive some top-notch submissions. There are forty paintings, prints, photographs, and mixed-media pieces to explore by Montreal’s established and emerging artists.

Carole Arbic - Garden Party series

Carole Arbic‘s pieces in the show are a joy, a description of painting and layers. The colours are bright, but there is subtlety in the combination of them. Two of the Garden Party series feature little pieces of broken mirror, so that the viewer is reflected back to themselves within the piece. This reflects something about art in general; that the understanding of art is dependant upon context and who is looking, perhaps even more than who made it and what their intentions were. In looking at Arbic’s five pieces, it is difficult to not choose a “favorite”, based on colour or painterliness or any other number of influences.

Lorraine Miller Emmrys - "Apple (Falling Into Feminine)"

Lorraine Miller Emmrys has included three pieces in the exhibition. One of the pieces is “larger” but is composed of smaller pieces. Apple – (Falling Into Feminine) is a story. It describes a timeline of youth, change, decay, rebirth: the cycle of life. There is a glimpse into the artist’s ruminations about femininity, about life itself. How do we inhabit our apple, our body, our knowledge? How does that change with time?

Darlene St Georges - "Bee Palm"

Darlene St Georges has created intricate floral botanical paintings that speak of a zen-like observation. To paint in this manner is to leave one’s self and go to another place, and the experience for the viewer can be something of a similar experience. If you allow the painting talk to you, this will happen. Bee Palm is a striking and captivating piece; you want to stay with this flower, and live like a bee.

Natasha Henderson - Pigeon series

Natasha Henderson is me. Now, to talk about pigeons. The pigeon is an amazing, tough, and somewhat endearing little city-bird. I like them, so I opted to paint some. The Pigeon series is my recollection of pigeons, be they singular or seen within a group. In appearance, I love their differences in markings, their subtle colours. In personality, I like their work ethic and how they simultaneously have a sort of laissez-faire attitude.

Francoise Issaly - "Structure Cigale (Small I)"

Francoise Issaly‘s work is beautiful. Again, I feel transported by the zen-like practice and appreciation of painting. In Structure Cigale (Small I), I feel as though I am glimpsing into the heart of a jewel. It is something of a treasure, a feeling of a branch, of something poetic. I have many readings of this painting, and it is the sort of piece to have a good conversation over.

Thaneah Krohn - "Candy Lace"

Thaneah Krohn is sharing a selection of funky, familiar, and sometimes mysterious photographs of Montreal. All five pieces evoke the spirit here. During the vernissage I overheard: “That’s my Montreal!” I would have to agree. For those of us who love this place, we just can’t get enough. Candy Lace is a delicious photo of that gingerbread-styled woodworking you see decorating the old mansions and apartments around town. Often painted bright, happy and beautiful colours they are like candy and bring joy to the day-to-day life of Montrealers. This photo allows us to glance at this joy whenever we feel like…

David Merk - "Tim Lid Coprolithe"

David Merk is sharing some from his Coprolithe series. These marble pieces are fascinating, and thought-provoking. Detritus of contemporary street-stuff find their way into the permanence of marble. Like any archeological finding, the things from the street reveal a bit about our society. A Tim Horton’s lid, discarded work-gloves, and a Second Cup cup are all some of the things used during a typical work-day: objects used and discarded. Art can lift vision and ideas from daily existence, and art resembles and reassembles life. We are reminded of this in Merk’s works.

Kimberley Mok

Kimberley Mok has included terrific illustration-style prints of her drawings. The three pieces depict aspects of this city by a quirky, observant mind. Again, people are drawn to these pieces and ask each other “which is your favourite? And why?” I have my personal one… though all three pieces are appealing. The simultaneity of ideas found in Carpet Moebiusis what I keep coming back to… Carpets, prints, butterflies and Escher… neighbourhoods and rejuvenation. Rebirth and recycling. Very smart.

Michel Pedneault - "Alpe"

Michel Pedneault has paintings that just keep saying new things to me. Interesting in the best of painterly-ways, they are done in an expressionistic manner. I feel a sense of empathy for the subjects of the works, be they human or landscape-based. Alpe is loose, with lively yet soft colours and brushwork. A solid and seemingly effortless composition is practically perfect in a classical sense. As with all painting, this (and Pedneault’s other pieces) are so much better to experience in real life…

Sarina Rahman - "Untitled 1"

Sarina Rahman has included two mixed-media pieces that utilise fabric remnants. The shapes created by the fabric evoke ideas about foliage and natural forms. They are abstract, however, so that the viewer can respond with their own story to the remnants and indications presented by Rahman. There is an examination of the tactility of materials here, and it is difficult to Not Touch The Artworks…

Patrycja Walton - "Falling Petals I"

Patrycja Walton has shared some very lovely abstract paintings with us. The Falling Petals series uses unusual yet harmonious colours in a mix of a sort of white background/base. The petals that fall are chunks of colours, the background is the white. However… like so much in painting, the background isn’t really a background. The negative space is on a level with the “objects”. There is paint, there is an idea of depiction… and again, if you allow yourself, you can be transported to another place.

Julie Webb and Meredith Hayes "Montreal: Une Belle Perspective"

Julie Webb + Meredith Hayes have shared two pieces, and both are captivating as portraits of place. One is Montreal, the other is New Zealand. As Webb is a native of New Zealand, now living in Montreal, this makes sense. Both places feel like “Home”, and this love of both places comes through in the work. The format of presentation is appealing both as a structure (the photographs are cleverly mounted on varying layers of reclaimed MDF board) and as a composition of units. Viewers of the Montreal piece have commented to me about the familiarity of the individual shots, and yet the formal composition speaks of something larger. The greenery of the New Zealand piece is very calming, yet full of life. As I spend more time with these works, new aspects keep coming forward to me.

I am in a place of privilege, allowed to see this exhibition on a daily basis. You can come and see it any of the following times:

Tuesday December 20 to Friday January 6, 3pm-6pm each day. Closed Mondays and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Finissage January 7th, 12pm to 6pm

Another option is to check out the online gallery. It isn’t as good as the live-version of the gallery… but you can visit (and re-visit) any time you like.

See us at 460 St Catherine West, Unit #917. Located to the left of Future Shop on St Catherine Street close to both McGill and Place des Arts metros.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Structure Cigale (Small I) by Francoise Issaly

Some of Montreal’s artistic talents have come forth to present their gifts… to you. Visit us at Fleurbain during this season to take in some painting, photography and more… not to mention a cup of tea or glass of wine (depending on time of day!)

Garden Party 3 by Carole Arbic

BIG VERNISSAGE: Saturday December 10, 6-9pm
Sunday December 11, 3-9pm (informal fun vernissage part two!)

Tuesday December 13 to Friday Dec 16, 3-6pm each day
Saturday December 17 EXTENDED HOURS 11am to 9pm

Sunday December 18 to Friday December 30, 3-6pm each day except Monday.
Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day.

Tuesday January 3 to Friday January 6, 3pm-6pm each day. Saturday January 7th Finissage!!! 12 noon ’til 6pm…

Abundance by Lorraine Miller Emmrys

Work may be purchased and taken away for gift wrapping/giving on the spot. If you can’t make it to the show, or would like to look at individual works again, please see our online gallery

Come join us for some festive fun. Tea’s always on…

All images copyright the artists.

Truffles with nuts and chocolate dusting in de...

truffle magic!

The pinnacle of the dark, dreary days of winter is a purgatory that rests between Christmastime and Spring… February. Installed into February is a day that is supposed to be a celebration of “Love”. Many lament the commercialisation of Valentine‘s Day, and resent the high expectations and sadness that come with so many of our holidays.

Traditional Valentine’s expectations dictate that one should enjoy chocolates, give expensive gifts, and be in love. Well, let’s take some of the good from those traditions and embrace them! Even if you are single, you deserve some chocolate. Actually, you deserve more chocolate. Feeling a bit bloated after a winter’s eating? This is an opportunity to sharpen your skills in making HEALTHY treats. Herbal-infused organic chocolate truffles, anyone? Or perhaps a cup of Healthy Hot Chocolate? True love. Love is in a good cup of tea, a soothing bath that invigorates the spirit, or a beautiful hand-made gift box to hold treasures.

The brains behind the Fleurbain concept, Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist and Natasha Henderson, visual artist and arts instructor, are offering an Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend workshop in February. There is an option to take one or both days during the Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend, on Friday the 11th from 7 to 10pm and Saturday the 12th from 1 to 4pm.

Friday night, we will enjoy a relaxing glass of wine (or herbal tea) with some dessert treats and fine cheese. Participants will learn how to make an herbal Love Potion. The Love Potion is a special euphoric herb that is distilled in a vodka base. Everyone will get to take home a sample of this to try themselves! Tub Teas are all the rage, and for good reason. What could be better than infusing your entire body in an organic, herbal bath that is designed to soothe the body, mind, and spirit? Participants will learn some of the properties of the herbs used in this special Valentine’s Tea Bath, and take home a sample. Finally, we will make a Boudoir Gift Box, a gift box made from scratch that will be decorated with fine fabrics, papers, lace, and beads. It will be suitable as a gift box for chocolates, jewellery, fine treasures… and can be re-used to hold your favourite special things.

Saturday afternoon starts off with a healthy, delicious beginning. Participants will learn how to make Healthy Hot Chocolate (yes, this version is truly healthy), and enjoy a cup. While sipping our treat, we will make organic chocolate truffles, which will be flavoured with high quality, organic herbs for unique flavours. These are perfect to tuck into the Boudoir Boxes made the previous evening. Then we will think about the physical and mental well-being that a good bath brings, and make a felted soap loofah for our next bath. These soaps combine sheep’s wool with a high-quality Ginseng or Evening Primrose soap to be an exfoliating and moisturising addition to your bath. Finally, we will create a batch of Love Tea to take home and enjoy.

All courses use the finest quality, pure and organic ingredients. Take one afternoon or evening for $75, or treat yourself (or a friend!) to both sessions for $135. Location of workshops will be in a Montreal artist’s studio, converted to a Valentine’s Factory for our workshops. Please email fleurbain(at)gmail.com for information and registration.

Allium sativum, Alliaceae, Garlic, bulbils; Ka...

What I'd Like To Eat

I am enrolled in a CSA programme. Like many people, I supplement the bi-weekly grab-bag of organic vegetable goodies that are delivered from “my” farm with additional produce, ideally purchased at one of Montreal’s farmer’s markets.

This past fall I bought two different, and regrettable, bundles of garlic. The first was a big bag: “A Winter’s Worth of Garlic”. It came in a paper bag, and was about $15. The seller said to store it in the fridge to maintain freshness right through the winter. I’m pretty sure this garlic would last a lot longer than that and not require any refrigeration, because it was tasteless, pulpy and disgusting. Yes, no doubt that this was, indeed, irradiated garlic. A huge, useless sack of it.

the offending monstrosity: cute, but inedible

My next mistake was a rope of garlic. It was “Quebec” garlic, and silly me made the assumption that it was, therefore, good garlic. Nope. It might well have been grown in Quebec, but it was still irradiated! I was terribly disappointed and disgusted. It seemed to be sold via a real farmer, it wasn’t hanging in amongst avocados, lemons and pineapples… it was right next to fresh lettuce and peppers and other local delights.

I have learned my lesson. From now on I am buying only organic garlic, as there is no point in eating irradiated garbage. I might as well chow down on a cardboard cutout image of garlic. One little clove of organic has more goodness and flavour than a “Winter’s Worth” bag full.

This year I hope to have a real vegetable garden-plot, and if I do… I will grow my OWN garlic. I’ll be 100% guaranteed organic garlic, with no weirdo things done to it afterwards. I can hardly wait!!!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

“Ooof! There is no time left, yet I still need a meaningful gift!”

No problem.  All you need is a couple jars, 2 or 3 commonly found ingredients and 5 minutes.

Ready, set, go!

Caffeinated Sugar Scrub

Caffeine is a very popular ingredient in cosmetics at the moment. Amongst it’s many attributes, it is said to increase circulation and thereby decrease the occurrence of cellulite.   Sugar is a popular exfoliant.  Oil helps to nourish the skin.  Put the three together, add some scented ingredients, if you wish, and you have a great scrub for arms and legs.

Ingredients:  1/4 cup fresh fair-trade organic coffee grounds, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup oil (sunflower, grapeseed and olive oil are a few ideas)  And what can be used to compliment this rather robust scrub?  I think 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp dried ginger goes well with the coffee and sugar.

Salt, Bay Leaf and Pink Pepper

All you need is rock sea salt, bay leaf and pink peppercorns. This can be used to season vegetables and meats such as fish and chicken.



Lavender Bath Salts

Ingredients: equal parts epsom salts and baking soda, *organic lavender essential oil.

Use 20 – 30 drops of organic lavender essential oil per cup of the epsom salts and baking soda mix.  Typically people recommend adding a 1/2 cup to the bath.

* Yes, organic lavender oil.  Lavender essential oils are some of the most adulterated essential oils on the market.  You want great quality, especially if you expect a therapeutic effect.

vanilla and spices to be covered with sugar

Vanilla and Spice Sugar

Ingredients: vanilla bean, sugar, optional spice including cinnamon stick and cardamom pods

For those who put sugar in their coffee, a special gift could be a little jar of sugar with a whole vanilla bean in it.  You could also add a cinnamon stick, some cardamom pods or whatever spice you wish.  This vanilla and spice sugar can be used for coffee, tea and even in baking.  Be sure to let the recipient of this gift know that they can refill the jar with sugar many times and the vanilla will continue to imbue the sugar with a vanilla essence.

You are not going to believe this… Compost!

Last week I received an exciting gift from my friends, Julie and Mer.  It was a box of vermicompost.  My friends compost fruit and vegetable scraps by feeding these scraps to a worm farm in their basement.  Julie and Mer found that they were rich in compost this year, so they packaged it up and gave it away.  Don’t worry, they did not send over the whole worm farm, just the compost.  I love this gift because I have a couple houseplants and it feels good to feed these little plants some “local” homegrown vermicompost from friends.

Happy Holidays from Tammy Schmidt in Montreal.

Green Christmas tip of the day: Take something boring and add BUTTONS! I love buttons. I remember spending hours playing with mason jars full of buttons at my Gramma’s (She was a seamstress) They are fun for making jewelry, adding cute details to clothes, mitts, backpacks, and for making easy tree decorations… to name a few. All of these would make a lovely Christmas gift. (And if you have someone on your list like me, just wrap up a bundle of buttons!)
Thanks to Brooke McCartney-Langdon for a brilliant variety of photos illustrating her Green Christmas Tip!

button snowman

too cute!

button wreaths

fashion bracelet

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