I’m pleased to let you know that I’m stepping out a little with the paintings and have been selected as a participant of the 61st Toronto Online Art Fair at TOAF.ca from July 8 – 17, 2022.
After a two-year, COVID-induced hiatus, the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF) returns with a hybrid model — an online fair from July 8 – 17 with a larger juried selection of participants, and the 61st annual, familiar, in-person fair held at Toronto City Hall square July 15-17.
Their website is already live and accessible for perusing the work of the 400 or so visual artists, potters, jewellers, photographers and sculptors, and items will be available for purchase as of July 8th.
Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF) website
WestofLunch at TOAF61 or search by my name, McLean.
The watercolours are offered here on this website before and after the TOAF61 Fair, and, as you may know, new work is regularly posted on Instagram under @westoflunch.
#TOAF #TOAF61 #TorontoArtFair #SupportArtistsOnline #TorontoArt #CanadianArt #OnlineArtFair #TorontoOutdoorArtExhibition #TorontoOutdoorArtFair
It’s been a fun ten years making and selling these wool felt tea cosies — as well as the coffee and mug cosies — and it’s been delightful and marvelous that tea and coffee drinkers from around the world have liked them enough to want them in their homes too. Thank you!
I am letting the shop drift to its natural end and will (likely) not be making anymore cosies so what you see in the shop is it. However, there are still mounds of colourful felt ends and off-cuts and, and in the spirit of waste-not-want-not, they will continue to be fashioned into trivets and coasters and hotpads and table mats as the fancy strikes.
The primary reason for stopping is my inability to source the same wonderful high quality 3mm wool felt that originally inspired me a decade ago. My designs require a dense wool felt with consistent thickness so they stand up on their own and have a sturdy presence and hand-feel, but while the price per yard has increased 50% the felt has, sadly, become limper and less dense.
The quality of many, many things has dropped over the past twenty years or so as production and manufacturing has moved overseas, but still — disappointing. I gather that, in the case of wool felt, the land the sheep are grazed on, the climate they live in, how they’re cared for and what they eat affects their wool. And after it’s sheared and cleaned, there are the complications and expense of international shipping. All elements contribute to the final manufacturer’s overhead and expense margin. So even though the wool felt I’ve been using continues to be manufactured in Europe, many factors have contributed to the current state of affairs.
The online shop will remain open until the shelves are clear and the last good-quality yardage I’ve been able to source is used up so I hope you’ll have a look and, if you purchase, that you’ll enjoy the cosy for years to come.
A few years ago I took a watercolour class. Its lightness was very appealing and painters I’ve loved, like Raoul Dufy, make it look so fine, so breezy, so easy.
By Raoul Dufy, 1953 — one of my inspirations
It turns out learning watercolour is not nearly as simple as it looks and small variations in paper, liquidity, humidity, brush size, etc etc affect how things turn out. But it has completely seduced and intrigued me and so I continue it as a practise, particularly when travelling. Along the way I leave a trail of little paintings, and some work out okay.
Now offered in the shop. Helps pay for more paper and paint. All originals. Payment is processed through PayPal’s secure site.
The painting practise, for some reason, was dubbed West of Lunch. Explore on Pinterest or follow on Instagram.
New in stock is the lovely, warm, Magenta wool felt for a great spark of colour on your table whether you’re keeping your tea or coffee hot.
Also new is a Pistachio green which is offered as an option for the mug cosies and is integrated into some of the recent “Ribbed” tea cosies.
Very happy to report that the supplier found another small stash of the distinguished, thick Industrial Blue felt (80%+ wool) too.
Finally had some time at the work table the other day — more of the colourful “Ribbed” cosy design.
The one above is sized for a standard 4-cup teapot but because the design cleverly expands like a puffer fish it can accommodate one a little larger or one with a wide spout to handle dimension when it’s popped out like a tent (see instructions below).
If your teapot is large — or you just like the look — pull gently on opposite sides and the stiff felt will pop out like a puffer fish to wrap around the teapot.
A wee shoutout to thewirecutter.com for their unexpected mention of FlockofTeaCosy’s wares as a good gift for mom on Mother’s Day. Chest puffed out, head swelling, generally feeling chuffed.
Their item from April 30th, written by the clearly lovely Alex Arpaia was titled “A not too twee tea cozy”:
Does your mother’s taste run more to Heath Ceramics than Blue Willow china? Danish modern rather than Louis Quatorze? Assam loose-leaf instead of Hawaiian Kona dark roast? Then she might just be in need of a tea cozy that doesn’t look like it came from Queen Victoria’s drawing room. One of these simple yet colorful wool-felt cozies—handmade in Toronto by Michaelle McLean, a certified tea sommelier—will keep the tea in her teapot warm all morning. (McLean makes cozies for French press coffee makers and mugs too.)
Thanks et merci!
(Postscript: sadly there’s no more of that lovely Peacock Blue wool felt which I got in Spain, perhaps another year, when travel is back. But other lovely colours can beguile.)