Loss, passion and community

This week has been a difficult week for me – a number of things have contributed to my writing down of my thoughts.  I have lost two important people in my life in the last month, one person announced that her cancer has metastasized, people in my circle of friends are loosing family members through death or the onset of dementia/Alzheimer – just  so much grief all around me. The biggest problem for me has always been knowing how to support family, friends and neighbors,  it is so hard to gauge their needs because they may not know either .  You do not want to be overly intrusive but at the same time not wanting to be on the outside looking in.  Knowing when to give space to those who are grieving and not smother them along the way.  It has always been hard for me to balance the private with the semi public show of support because of my passion to be a helper.

This brings me to another issue that has been plaguing my thoughts and it is as an artist and my helper nature how do I give back to community without being taken advantage of?  I thought on this quite a bit in the last couple of days.  I am always being approached to donate a piece of Fused glass for a silent auction or a fundraiser with no offer of a donation receipt and I hear all the time it is publicity – no it is not I don’t hear about the donation ever again after it leaves my studio. I have a couple of non profit have worked with and I have asked for at least a 60/40 split.  One is Operation Come Home a program for youth at risk, I have both cards and glass in their storefront/online shopping site called Repurpose.

Now for my real quandary, for example – there is a DSCF0738real crisis going on in an aboriginal community called Cross Lake six suicide deaths since Dec. 12 of teens.  In light of the crisis  a number of individuals have created opportunities to provide support through fundraisers, dinners, collecting art supplies, sports equipment, or sending cards with messages etc.  I created a card and would like to show my support through allowing organizers to sell the cards however it costs me about $1.00 to make the each card with supplies and time (I am donating as well as my art concept).  Is it wrong for me to ask for or charge 20.00 for a package of 60 handmade cards just to recover the cost of some of the supplies?  I sell my hand-made cards for $5.00 each.  So the organizers could sell them for that price and make $4.00 on each card.

The week before, I created for swag bags at a fundraiser 100 gift cards and was allowed to put my business card inside the gift card and donated 4 pendants for VIPs.  I paid for the privilege to be part of that as it is a business opportunity which is totally different in my opinion. In the business world it is called being a good corporate citizen what is it called in the art community?

Any suggestions or comments on the issue of artists wanting to give back to the communities would be appreciated or send me an email …


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Sunday 06/03/2016

I am sitting here on Sunday morning thinking back on what last week has brought me and what I have to be thankful about.  I have a wonderful family, food in my cupboards and a roof over my head.  I am relatively healthy and am able to keep myself busy most days.  I  have battled with depression off and on most of my life two very bad episodes that put me off work for many months.  Just could not cope with anything in my life.  Frustrated, angry, the feeling of being alone, no one to count on, not able to cope with normal everyday things that life throws at you.  It is debilitating.

The first time the depression manifested itself in my back.  The pain was excruciating and I cried  every time I moved.  My doctor forced me to take a bus to see him and to sit for an hour and talk to him.  My doctor was a GP but also a psychologist a rare thing in this day and age having a doctor who cared enough to spend more than the billable 15 minutes and one ailment appointment. Prozac was the popular drug of choice at the time but I found myself sitting in front of the TV hours on end nothing accomplished in the day so I did it without drugs except ones to deal with the pain in my back.  I learned the coping mechanisms and the warning signs of the beginning to slide down that slippery slope into the depths of depression.  It worked for a very long time.  I knew some of my triggers and faced them head on or at least I thought I did.

When my mom passed away it was not for a year that I realized that I was functionally depressed.  I was still working but I was not my self.  Snapping at people, emotionally vacant or to much there, no balance – yes a little manic.  I finally went to the doctor and was prescribed medication same issues as before no focus, no idea or cared about anything…Talking to the doctor he realized the dose was too high and gave me something else.  Three prescriptions later we finally found the right balance I was on the lowest dosage that would just take the edge off that took 5 months.  5 months of feeling like a zombie. I was lucky I had coworkers who got it and I did not feel guilty at having to take time off.  They just wanted me healthy.

Remember it is important to breathe and look around you outside yourself.  You are part of the universe and it is OK to admit you need support/assistance whatever that means to you. Talk about depression even if it is in general terms and you will find you are not alone.  Try to follow through but if you can’t don’t let it consume you with guilt…life is too short.

lighting sconce

I am an artist and have a emotional side.  I cry at commercials. I am passionate about what I do.  I love it when people like/love my work and need to have it in their collections.  I love color and believe everyone needs more color in their lives it is just something that makes me happy.





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New horizons

On the eve of another snow storm, I began to think of where I am and where I am going a bit of a long post but here goes…

Trying to build a business that was really a hobby was going ok but not profitable at all.  As an artist it is about the piece not the accumulation of inventory.  It is about the quality not the quantity.  Some artists say you have to struggle,  be starving well I know several artists who are making a very good living at being an artist. I was never wanting to be a bohemian not my style and any one who knows me will attest to that fact…

I have sold my pieces in Canada but many of them are living around the world, South Africa, Australia, Europe and the US.  Bowls that were wedding presents, pendants bought as gifts for loved ones to go to sisters in the Ukraine to celebrate International Women Day as Christmas, birthday, coming out gifts everyone has a story and most of them remembered fondly.  Nothing gives me more joy than to see a family fawn over my work  and say “it is so hard to choose they are all so beautiful and unique”.  I tell them to separate the ones that are drawn to the most and set them aside usually it is 5 or 6 then they go through the elimination process till they have the one.  That is where my happiness is that it is the one.  Sometime they come back again and ask to switch and I will accommodate their wishes. I want them to be happy and remember that ladies work and her patience not necessarily her name…

That being said as much as I love the personal touch, standing behind a table for 8 hours where there are 70 to 80 other vendors and you have paid for the right to rent the table is so very hard when you just cover the costs of the table because people are overwhelmed or they have already bought something, or they want a bargain or the proverbial I think I can make that…I am tired of being their entertainment on a Saturday or Sunday… I am moving on.

Im going to suceed

I have some of my work in a store front called re:Purpose at 150 Gloucester street, Ottawa both cards and pendants are sold there in turn they get a portion of the sales and the program helps youth at risk.  So a very worth cause.  Please support…they also have a website that features many artisans in the community at http://www.repurposestorefront.ca/collections/necklaces-pendants


This week I am working on 100 gift card holders to put my business card into loot bags for a fundraiser for Harmony House here in Ottawa.


If that is not enough I just took two one day workshops first on creating a vision board and the second was how to write a one page proposal workshop put on by Wow  ‘s founder CAROL-CHANTAL SÉGUIN both  amazing workshops that helped me to understand I am doing everything and not focusing on the art.  So what my priority is getting my name as a glass artist out there and my story and the rest will follow… Stay tuned…vision board 2016


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New year a Coming

It has been awhile, my familiar cry every end of the year.  I am not a blogger and the world of blogging has me stumped but I am going to say again I am going to make an effort to blog much more often.  I am scheduling it into my day planner and will try to make the committed dates.  We will try for once a month, if it is more bonus.

Ok so out of nowhere my voice came back and no ill effects after all the ct scans, test etc. nothing remarkable was usually the result.  This is great but still no understanding of why it happened and how to avoid it in the future.

Family is great oldest granddaughter is now thirteen and youngest grandchild is going on 6.  the two in the middle are 9 and 7 unbelievable.  I turned 60 still can not believe that either.  Still retired but have now taken on the businesses.

IDBCA Canada is my own company name – It has evolved into my umbrella for all things art that I make, glass fusion is still my passion and cardmaking but I have expanded into wire working, handmade bookmarks, journal cards etc… I also am exploring teaching glass fusion  at a new studio that is opening up in Ottawa if you are in the area let me know if you are interested and I will organize a class as soon as the plans are finalized.

Following on my Cardmaking interest I am now an independent consultant for Close to my Heart a scrapbooking and stamping company.  Sales have been alright but hope to do better in the new year.  To keep up with that endeavor I have a blog at http://cagrenier.blogspot.ca/ I want to challenge myself to do more creative cards and postings to familiarize everyone about the products. Oh and teach both cardmaking and scrapbooking in the new year so if in the Ottawa area let me know.

And last but not least GelMoment this is a brand new company and I was introduced to it from a group I was participating in I bought one gel nail polish and a led light and the rest is history to check it out at cagrenier.gelmoment.com .

the other important milestone this past year was my Buddy passed away he was 17.  I could not commit to another permanent pet so instead I am a foster mom for pets who need temporary care.  I love it it is like being a grandma because you can spoil them and then send them home eventually.  The longest I have had a pet was two and a half month but there were extenuating circumstances.

january 2014 006

Buddy’s Spring Haircut

I will be posting some photos of new work later in the month.

Happy New Year all…May 2016 be your best year yet.



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Continuing saga of the lost voice

Today I went to have a CT scan of my Throat area.  However they have a new protocol now “those that are allergic to Seafood” before they can use the Contrast Media injection (fancy words for iodine based dye) have to go though a regime of Predistone and Benadryl over the previous 13 hours prior to the appointment.  So 13 hours before take a predistone pill and again 7 hours and again 1 hour with the benadryl.  I maybe allergic but the effects will be much less and manageable. They can’t write a  prescription it has to be the referring doctor and you have to get them to write out the prescription and have it faxed to a pharmacy so you can pick it up and of course pay for it.  Just checked and this has been done and received by the pharmacy.

Too bad that could not have been mentioned before I had my neighbor get up and drive me for 8 AM.  I knew it was too good to be true The hospital called me on Monday for an appointment today.  The Queensway was clear no traffic got there a 1/2 hour early.  So my neighbor instead of waiting went to pick up a few groceries. When I called him he was just finishing up so it was like the universe was working for us on this one…

Whoopee I get to do this again on the 30th at 1 PM.

I made a suggestion that the booking person ask if there is a seafood allergy when making the appointment if so – the radiologist calls back and get more info and starts the process before getting to the hospital…If I was from out of town I would have been really P.O.ed.

I did go for a ride with  my friend Marim on Monday to go for Tea in Dunrobin…the Heart and Soul Cafe but it closed at 2 pm a half hour before we got there..lol So I managed to mail out my Deconstructed Journal Pages to the 4 in our group and we ended having tea at a fellow glass artists place on the Ottawa river…it was a perfect afternoon. We drove back to Ottawa and rushed home to our respective places not realizing we both were starving and if either of us had opened our mouths we could have stopped somewhere to eat… the Misadventures of CA…

tack fused fish

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So here is the scoop

I have not been doing much fused glass for about a year odd pendant here and there.  Been doing more panting, card making and Art Journalling, exploring mixed media techniques.  I have a ton of supplies to do the work but just no energy.

I got a sinus infection about 2 and a half months ago, treated it with antibiotics seemed to go away.  Then I lost most of my voice…some would say that is a good thing but when you teach, direct sales through artisan shows  or demo products it is not so good.  The doctor and I decided that it was probably a virus and laryngitis.  Well that is not it.  So I went to a Ear, Nose and Throat specialist and he has diagnosed severe acid reflux or GERDS.  So I am on a pill once a day for the next three months, have to drink water, eat 6 times a day small amounts, low fat, no constrictive clothing, exercise, Raise the head of my bed or sleep sitting up etc.  Pretty much good advice for most people…Just to be sure it is nothing more serious they have ordered a MRI/catscan of my upper chest could be up to two months for that to happen but I am persistent and available for cancellations as long as it is not 5 minutes before the appointment.

So I have been keeping a bit of a lower profile…my son says I sound like a little kid when I talk…great…Lifestyle change here we go…may never get my adult voice back but I am staying positive…Grand kids think it is great I have to keep one close so they can yell at the others to come and eat or other such nonsense.

some things I have worked on …all listed on etsy

Varigated orange Wire wrapped crossHappy Retirement Serenity prayer

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Looking forward to spring coming

Have a number of plans and am working on new pieces of glass.  Here are two Journal pages I completed in the past weeks.

The first one I worked with my granddaughter on her birthday while she did one side of the journal I did the other.  I love our bonding moments.  Acrylic, gesso, stencils, layers

Journal page from end of January 2015

Journal page from end of January 2015

The second one is a mixed media piece using gel medium paste to create the texture on the page, stencils and acrylics

Journal Page jan 2015

Journal page beginning of February 2015

Stay tuned for more creative smatterings coming soon.

Enjoy and happy creating.



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