Archives: downtown

the road sign project

In an urban setting you can’t really walk very far without seeing some type of sign that tells you what to do, what not to do, which direction to go etc. That’s why at first it was hard to notice that these signs were more than just your typical everyday sign. They seemingly blended right into their surroundings. That’s the beauty of this street art project, put on by Hamilton’s Centre [3], you really need to pay attention to find these cool little installations.

For example, this Duck sign below by artist Hitoko Okada. I probably walked by this a few times, a little befuddled and confused, before realizing it was an art piece. But once I saw this sign, I started noticing a lot of other intriguing signs by other artists all over the downtown core.

Duck, by Hitoko Okada

untitled, by Jean-Denis Boudreau

Detour, by Carole Deveau

The Road Sign Project is an outdoor art project presented by Centre3, Hamilton, ON, in partnership with Atelier Imago in Moncton, NB. Signs by sixteen artists, posted in various Hamilton locations (and in Centre3′s storefront gallery), offer directions on matters such as contemporary art, science, psychology, politics, romance, and the pathos of post-industrial urban existence. Viewers are invited to join the artists for a guided tour (May 11) and picnic, participate in a t-shirt contest, and contribute observations on the signs and the signified for an upcoming publication.

The Road Sign Project will run until October 19th. For more information about the project and location of artist’s signs click here.

the upholstery man

I had the great pleasure a short while ago of meeting a very interesting man.

His upholstery shop was closing after over half a century of service in Hamilton.  I was fortunate enough to take a peak at his old shop and to spend some time hearing his stories.

During my visits he showed me some of the most beautiful hand painted and embroidered spools of fabric purchased from back in the heydays of New York City -the designer’s name hand painted onto the end of the fabric on each bolt.  He was selling the bolts for only $30-50 each -they must’ve been a pretty penny back in the day. When I went to visit him for a second day he had mentioned that just after I had left some folks from the textile museum stopped in to take photos of the fabric and do some documentation.  He said he felt a bit like a movie star! I had wished that we weren’t in the process of purging and decluttering our home otherwise I would have taken at least 1-2 bolts off his hands without a doubt.

He seemed to be 80+ years old but with his wits and humour still abound.  He knew very well how to price the items he was selling. There were some great antique pieces that needed to be gone by the end of the week. An old medicine cabinet, wooden farm chairs, and wooden trunk plus many other pieces being over 100+ years old (and priced at over $100).  He was sure to sell to some real antique buyers -no garage sale steals to be had here. And those pieces did sell.

I really felt like I could’ve visited the shop everyday that it was to remain open (there were only 5 days left until everything had to be out). I felt quite enchanted with the store’s history as well as the life of the shop owner.  The last day I visited was to pick up the least antique like thing in the shop.  Steve and I bought a shelf unit that would fit our record collection perfectly as well as our newly purchased TV (first TV purchase ever!).  While Steve went to get the dolly from our house to wheel the shelf back home I chatted with the upholsterer.  I felt a kind of sadness for shops similar to this one with such history rooted in Hamilton -all the stories he had and people he’d met throughout his life in the city that would soon be lost or never told.  I wanted to hear about everything: how the city had changed, how and why he ended up in Hamilton… I intended on coming back every day that week, but for some reason didn’t make it back.  The store is now empty and closed.

I hope one day that I run into the upholsterer again…

miniature view

A couple of months ago I had my second major camera tragedy of the year.  I broke my second and only other lens for my digital SLR.  Cringe. Gawd I know! Who does that? I took this as a sign (ahem or cough-excuse) to get a new camera that was more compact, easy to carry and one of those cool old skool looking, hybrid type blends that has SLR features but isn’t bulky and doesn’t weigh 10 lbs.  I ended up purchasing a Canon Power Shot G12 after my friend Vern’s tried and true recommendation. It has some cool features.  For example the miniature effect, which makes images like the fall Hamilton cityscape below look like a little miniature model of downtown Hamilton.  So cute. A little tiny Hamilton. Who wouldn’t want their own little miniature model Hamilton cityscape for the attic (kinda just like in Beetlejuice)?

Hamilton downtown, fall leaves, foiliage, cityscape,

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