All images on this site are copyright Tim Hunt & Karen Massey 1995-2007.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Notes from booth 143

The first half of the Originals show at Lansdowne Park is over (if you call 4 out of 10 days half). The show is closed today so new exhibitors can move in to take the place of those who are only there for the first 4 days of the show.
Today is a "day off" which means I will run around like mad trying to do errands and finish dyeing and printing for the final 6 days of the show. One of the things I enjoy about doing shows out of town is when you're done you're done. At home there is always something else to be done.
I managed complete some work today, so will have a few new offerings for the last part of the show.
Thanks to everyone who came by in the first four days. It's great to meet new people and to connect with long-time customers. I saw one woman who bought a Dancer t-shirt from me at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, perhaps 10 years ago. She bought a new shirt for herself and onesies for her newborn twins. Cool!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Originals Christmas Craft Sale

Come by and visit me at the Originals Christmas Craft Show and Sale at Lansdowne Park, Dec.6-16. We got a last minute call from the show organizers asking, if we'd like to return this year and after some careful cogitation and offers of help from angelic friends we decided to participate. The hours are from 11 am to 9 pm, monday to friday and 10 am to 6 pm on saturday and sunday. The show will be closed on Monday Dec. 10. Here's what things looked like before set-up on wednesday. After many cups of complimentary coffee, things came together in time for me to pick the boys up from school. If you can make it to the show, you'll find me in booth 143.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Back at the Market, Aug 31

I'll be back at the Market this Sunday, after my hiatus during the EX. While the Ottawa Farmers' Market was relocated to Sylvia Holden Park, I enjoyed selling at other festivals and Art in the Park events. Before and after I set up, I like to check out this sculpture by Tim DesClouds, The Cows Fly Home on Sunday, situated on a pole outside the "Cattle Castle". The following poem is on the plaque below: The Cows Fly Home on Sunday Wind from the east, is bad for man and beast, Wind from the south, is too hot for them both, Wind from the north, is of very little worth, Wind from the west, is softest and best. Old Farmer's Almanack, 1851

Saturday, September 1, 2007


I made this image as a celebration of the arts. Whenever you try to do something all encompassing, you usually end up leaving things out. It's like making an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards. Simple is better. If you list off everyone you've ever known and then forget to thank your best friend or your mother, look out! Apologies to all the banjo players, tap dancers, organic sculptors, and anyone else who may not be represented in this image. Retired English professor Ed, who wears overalls almost exclusively, calls this design "the hands trying to get out of the pants" because that's all that shows. I have yet to come out with a design exclusively for the wearer of overalls, but this may be a niche market worth exploring.

Friday, August 31, 2007

More from the Archives

Remember all the hub-bub about Y2K? the wacky predictions? the doomsday forecasts? Well, that was 7 years ago already and the most annoying thing about that whole ordeal was the constant barrage of media coverage concerning the big non-event. Talk about your manufactured News! The most life-changing event for us that year was the birth of our first son. Before the big day my dentist said to me, while I was reclining on his chair with a mouth full of tools, "Life as you know it will cease to exist". He did so with his usual dead-pan Adam West-type delivery. This carries a lot of weight coming from a guy wearing a mask and shining a bright light in your eyes while probing you with pointy instruments. For me this was the most potent Y2K prediction and one that rings true to this day. Pictured above is my Y2K shirt. When I tried to up-load this image on my computer my scanner wouldn't work. The computer failed to recognize my camera and scanner. I tried and tried, but it still wouldn't work. Spooky! Turns out I forgot to un-plug a portable device from my USB port. Damn computers!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thinking about Banjos

Ever since the Folkfestival I've been thinking about banjos. I bought the Old Man Luedecke CD Hinterland after hearing him play on the main stage while I was packing up on the first night and it has been playing in my car ever since. When the boys are belted into their car seats in the back I keep the sound low, but in those rare moments when I'm alone I crank the volume and it's like Old Man Luedecke is tucked into one of those car seats behind me, stomping his foot and wailing on the banjo. The banjo is one of those much maligned instruments, but it's hard to argue with its ability to get the heart pounding and the foot stomping. t. hunt 2007 Karen has a prose poem that I love called Agnes published in LOS poetry journal in 1989. It tells of a man getting on the city bus and demonstrating the proper way to pick on an imaginary banjo. Before it's over you can feel the banjo in your hands and hear its happy sounds.

Friday, August 24, 2007


We moved house and workspace last december and I'm just getting to some of those boxes that said "t-shirts/sort". Come to think of it most of the boxes I packed said "sort" on them and maybe that's why it has taken me so long to unpack. Anyhoo, I've been discovering all sorts of treasures that I had forgotten about. I made this image a long time ago, and didn't have a caption, so I just left it for a while. I don't know if they still do this, because I don't watch tv much, but when I was a kid the tv reception used to go off a lot, usually at the best part of a favorite show. The tv station would show a blank screen and every minute or so an Orwellian voice would come on and say something like: "We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please do not adjust your set." Of course all over North America people were adjusting their rabbit ears and banging on their tv sets, trying to find out if Lassie saved the boy from drowning in the river. So one night I was falling asleep thinking about this design and the voice of big brother came to me in a dream...PLEASE DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Good and Evil

This is my own light-hearted illustration of those opposing forces that reside within us all. I tried to balance the design so as not to favour one side over the other. I'm always amused at how people react. I can almost see the little cartoon angel and devil sitting on their shoulders as they look at this. Some people relish acknowledging the little devil inside, while for others it is an immediate turn-off. Some asked if I did this design on children's shirts and other parents tried to steer their little angels away from it, e.g. "wouldn't you prefer the turtle design hon?...Oh, look at this one. Happy people dancing!") This design has been out of print for a while, but just last weekend somebody asked me about it. I may bring it back soon. Just as an aside, my Mom wears this shirt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Craft Shows

(click to enlarge image)

Some day I'll sit down and count the number of craft shows, markets, fairs, trade shows and folk festivals we've sold at since 1989. We've been to school fairs, Legions, city halls, barns, malls, conservation areas, fields, hockey rinks, convention centres and museums. We have been set up in sun, rain, snow, sleet, hail and mud up to our ankles.

When it's not busy at a festival, vendors come together to cogitate on reasons for poor sales. The weather can be either too bad or too good. Everyone is on holidays or at some sporting event. Not enough publicity, etc., etc., etc.

I was trading stories with another vendor at the folk festival this weekend and I recalled the year we sold at the Virgil Stampede. It was pretty much what you'd expect from a small town stampede, but how a craft show ended up being part of the event I'll never know. The highlite for me (this was before the year 2000) was meeting the ageing Elvis Impersonator Elvis now,as he would be in the new Millennium. He even had this painted on the side of his mini-van in gold letters. I helped the sweaty King carry his monitor to the stage and he of course said Thankye v'ry much.

I made this comic/collage, pre 2000. It might be amusing only to other artisans, or maybe just to me. I'm a real luddite, so this is written in the SNL school of sci-fi.

Monday, August 20, 2007


This is a new technique I've been working with over the past year. The designs are printed on solid coloured shirts with a light background to set off the design. I printed these on long-sleeved t-shirts and they were well received at the Folkfest on the weekend.

Ottawa Folkfest 2007

This was the scene at the Folkfest friday night. Both thursday and friday we were hampered by high winds coming off the river. Some of the tents in the Artisan area blew over and the line-up of patrons was held up for almost two hours because of safety concerns.
The artisan area was re-located this year and I have to say it was not to our advantage. We had a lot of talk amongst ourselves and a meeting with the artistic director and site operations manager who were very receptive, however we were the guinea pigs this year.
That said, the Ottawa folkfest was where Karen and I launched Mobius t-shirts many years ago, so we have a lot of sentimental feelings about it. It is a place where like-minded, music loving folk come together, where customers become friends.
Thanks to Superfriends Chris and Noel who besides their warm company bring us gourmet food and good coffee in a picnic basket with cloth napkins. Chris wanted to pay me for a t-shirt when I reminded her that she was giving us a piano, so...I think we're even?
I always enjoy visiting with hockey friends Bernard and Majda(sp?), Liam and Monica. Our wacky friend Annie, former neighbour, actor, writer, dancer etc., was performing spontaineous dance at various points throughout the festival grounds. Artist friend Martina and her daughter came by sharing stories and laughter. Great to reconnect with Maureen after all these years. Thanks to Mark and Karen who come back year after year to buy new t-shirts and replace the old ones, also to Robert and his wife.
Thanks to so many, whose names I don't know, but who stop in again and again to buy something, or even just to say hi, or ask how old our kids are now or if we need anything. These are the things we remember most about this festival.
Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Art in Strathcona Park 2007

It was a great day in Strathcona Park for the annual Art in the Park show. It got quite hot, thank goodness for the huge trees that provided ample shade. This show has grown over the past 7 years to include 130 vendors. Despite its size, the show manages to keep a quaint feel and is a fantastic showcase for local art while benefiting the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario. Thanks to all of you who dropped by my booth. For the second year in a row I managed to hook up with customers who hadn't seen me in many years. I brought my digital camera to the show, but my batteries were too low to take any pictures (gee, I miss my Kodak Pocket Instamatic, circa 1974) so I'm including a picture of yours truly from Strathcona 2006, excerpted from a mini-book by my close friend and booth neighbour Katie

The mini-books were part of a project where Katie, Karen and I made each other a book every week for a year. We didn't make it through the entire year, but I think we made about 90 books between the three of us. Thanks to Katie for bringing the 4 litre jug of water today which we polished off before 5 o'clock. By the way, if you see this woman behind a camera, LOOK OUT! You may become a subject for one of one of her books, or a painting, or show up on her blog.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


This is a self-portrait done last summer when I wanted to run screaming from my apartment, steal the nearest canoe and blast off into the closest body of water. The design was printed with a cut-out paper stencil on a blank silk-screen and therefore exists only on one shirt (and in this picture).
This year I have managed to soothe the savage beast. Here I am paddling with my six-year-old in the bow on Lake Louisa in Quebec. He just overcame his fear of the canoe ("Oh no, not the canoe. Much too tippy!") It turns out he's a fine little paddler!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What's On My Camera?

I snapped a picture of this dang thing, just off Elgin street, before the Urban Art show in Minto Park a couple of weeks ago. I knew not what it was, but felt obigated to take a picture of it. It was by the curb next to an old freezer waiting for garbage pick-up. It looks like it has a very specific use. I wanted to take it home and noted right away that it had wheels. For some people it's stray cats or injured birds, for me it's dirty old metal thingys. I've got quite a collection of rusty bits that have fallen off the bottom of cars that are just begging to be made into sculptures.
Well, I didn't take it home. Any idea what this doodad might be?

Moon Dancer

What's going on here? Some sort of lunar celebration? The most frequently asked question I get at shows is "where do you get your ideas?," and after all these years I still have to stutter my way through an awkward answer. When I make a design I usually have some sort of vague notion floating around. I never complete something from a rough sketch. I just start to fool around with a brush or a pen and the rest just sort of happens. When I'm finished I sit back and think, "whoa, what just happened there?"

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Business as Usual

From the Vault. This is one of my first t-shirt designs. It is a reflection of my life-long fear of being swallowed up by the everyday stress of the chaotic world of work. For a brief period I flirted with this. Big city, downtown, long hours, and a commute that included streetcar, bus, subway and a brisk walk, oh, and lots, I mean lots of coffee. Business as Usual has been out of print for quite some time and I occasionally encounter people who remember it and tell me it was their favorite shirt. One time a woman stared at it for a long time, then told me she couldn't buy it because it reminded her too much of work. I can understand that. My favorite story about this shirt comes from my partner Karen. She was selling at a big indoor Christmas show and a woman walked right up to the shirt and said "That's me, Oh that is me! this a bedroom?" We still laugh about that. It's a busy design.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Night Cat

Equal time for cats! Karen's paper-cut design is screened on a 100% cotton bib and is a favorite on onesies, long johns and hats. We've also printed this for adults as a special request--on shirts, not bibs--

Top Dog

Here's one for the dog days of summer. My artist friend, Katie, is always photographing dogs at our Sunday gig at the Ottawa Farmers' Market and some of them make it into her paintings (check her out at
Karen's happy puppy design, which we've printed on baby gear, from hats & bibs to long johns. From a series featuring crowns & the crowned.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Cute bees on a cute T. What else can you say? Karen's smiley bees fit nicely on this hand-dyed baby t-shirt (size 6 months). We also print them on onesies and print a single bee on our baby long johns (& we've printed them on baby hats as well). More than once we've printed these guys on adult t-shirts at the request of our bee lovin' customers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


From the archives. I haven't printed my fish design for a number of years, but I 'm thinking of bringing it back. For the original I made a hand cut stencil and then printed the design onto paper using an inked up plastic bag to give it an interesting texture.
I was inspired by the works of M.C. Escher and the play between positive and negative images. Several years after making the design, a customer drew my attention to a great children's book called Swimmy (1963 Caldecott honor book), by Leo Lionni. In the story many small red fish swim together in the shape of one big fish. Together, they chase away the big fish that threaten them.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Who knows where the idea came for this--Karen thought it'd be a fun image to print on baby clothes, and then the next thing we knew, she was pregnant and taking East Coast Fiddle Lessons. Her original of this design is a paper-cut done with an X-acto knife.
Here the mermaid is pictured on one of our 100% cotton baby long johns. We also print this design on youth and adult t-shirts.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Karen's stylized dragonfly design. The intricate wing pattern was cut by hand using an x-acto knife for the distinct stained glass-like appearance. We print this design on baby onesies and long johns, as well as T-shirts for kids and adults.

Friday, July 20, 2007


The original for this design was a black and white gouache painting. I wanted to do musicians because of our involvement with music festivals and our own love for music. I was thinking of Picasso's Three Musicians, which of course looks nothing like this, but that's what got me going. I wanted to include an accordion, because I was playing accordion myself in a fledgling band and you don't see a lot accordions in band images. I was trying to stay away from the more common musical instruments. I turned the drummer on his head because I thought it was more visually interesting and because it seemed to suit the unconventional personalities of a lot of drummers. To use a hockey analogy, I think of drummers as the goalies of the music world.

Fire Breathing Cyclist

I had made a cycling design which was quite popular (see blog archive "bicyclist), however the "cruiser" style bike and the cat in the basket did not suit the more hardened cyclist. Rather than the image of leisure that the other design conveys, I started playing with the idea of a character that was more focussed on the sport of mountain biking and the devil-may-care attitude that goes along with it. I didn't plan on making a fire-breathing character; that came out of the act of drawing, as is often the case. As I was working, I was thinking about sport cliches, like "inner fire" and "feel the burn" and this is what evolved. I am a lover of bikes and have collected an odd assortment of bikes and parts over the years and I'm sure this is a subject I will revisit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The year I made this design we were very busy. We were doing festivals and craftshows every weekend, most of them a full day drive in both directions and then dyeing and printing shirts like mad during the week. Since we started our business we kissed our summers goodbye because that is when we really had to work our tails off to compensate for the slower times of the year. My favorite trips were along the northern routes and everytime we drove by a body of water I imagined myself slipping into a canoe and paddling off into the sunset. The figure is raising the paddle in the air as if to say "hurray! I'm here. This is where I want to be". Since making this design I have learned from avid canoests that this position, with the arms pumping up and down means "Stop. Possible danger ahead. Wait for the all clear signal." In my t-shirt designs I have tried to simplify the human form as much as possible (this figure doesn't even have a neck!). I always joke about the primitive style really working for me, but the truth is, the simple silhouetted figures allow the viewer to put themselves into the picture, whether young or old, male or female, at least this is what I hope to achieve.

Veggie Folk

The idea of a pyramid of people with veggies in their bellies was suggested to me by my partner. Where these characters with the wacky hairdo's came from is beyond me (again, that's art for ya!), although more than one person has suggested that the bottom middle figure might be a self portrait. For the original design, I cut the figures from black paper and then cut out a bunch of random fruits and veggies. I wasn't sure what to do with the top figure, but I put some of the extra veggie cut-outs up there and voila! A juggler. I have sometimes printed just the top juggling figure on little t-shirts and baby outfits. While the theme of this design is veggie lovin' folk, it embodies health, fun and happiness. We have sold this shirt to vegetarians, gymnasts, market vendors, jugglers, and yes, even meat-eaters!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Something Different

One of my guilty pleasures is collage. I love taking existing images and changing the context. This particular collage, entitled "Corporate Art Centre" was made at a very large, expensive, long, slow craft show in the big city (I think Dec. 2001). I was so bored I went to the lobby and collected a few brochures and this is what I came up with. As you can see I was feeling like small craft was being corrupted by big business. Sorry, it's a bit difficult to read; the word bubbles are made with white-out tape and a particularly lousy ball point pen. Click on the image to enlarge.

Monday, July 16, 2007


The Gardener is one of a series of designs I made using black paper and scissors. Cutting out the bold black shapes and laying them on white paper was immediately satisfying and I liked the freedom of moving the shapes around to achieve the desired effect. It reminded me of making felt-board stories as a kid. This method also lends itself very well to the silkscreen technique.
This print is a favorite of gardeners, and is also appreciated for its nurturing theme. When I made it I was remembering Voltaire's Candide that we studied in french class in high school, and the quotation: "Il faut cultiver notre jardin". (I'd better look that up. High school was a long time ago.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Over the years we have sold at many folk festivals and hand drumming has been a big part of them. The first time I really experienced the power of hand drumming was years ago at a workshop at the Blue Skies festival near Perth, ON. With all those people drumming in unison, you really feel the beat in your soul. This image came out of that experience and also from meeting a lot of groovy people who hauled out thier djembes every summer and carried them from place to place during the festival season. People usually call this "the crazy drummer guy". The design seems to appeal not just to drummers, but to anyone who likes to cut loose once in a while. I did the original of this as a guache painting. It was unintentional, but the two small eyes are sometimes seen as one cyclops eye. Once you notice this it is hard to see it any other way. Even though I created this image, I was surprised when it was first pointed out to me. I look at this as a "happy accident" that adds to its appeal.


This was one of my first t-shirt designs and is still one of my favorites. The figure itself is quite weird looking to me even now, but it captures movement and that late summerday feeling when the sun is so bright that everything is in silhouette and partially obscured. I really enjoy watching people discover this design; it unfolds like a story. First they see the bike, then the dog and then they laugh when they see the cat in the basket. Is the dog chasing the cat? the bike?, or is it just following along? Everybody brings their own narrative and I often get to hear their cycling stories, which I love. I have a real affinity for this design because for most of my life the bike has been my main means of transport and I have carried everything, from lumber to my market display to my kids by bike. I own a car now, but for me, my bicycle is the great escape from the world of cars. I believe it is still the best, most efficient and healthiest invention in the world of transportation. Convince me otherwise.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Circle Dancers

The idea for this design was inspired by Matisse, however it is a universal image. After I made it, a lot of people called it "circle of friends" and associated it with the Mexican sculpture of people standing in a circle. I think you were supposed to light a candle in the centre of the circle. Matisse's painting seems to me more reverent or perhaps tribal and the negative space inside the circle almost appears as a skewed heart. Mine looks more like five people doing a community "snoopy" dance. It's a happy image that evokes friendship and celebration. One woman in the By Ward Market in Ottawa thought it was a potato and someone else thought it was a crab. That's art for ya!
This tank top with the
Circle Dancers is modelled
by my friend and renaissance
man Bruce, the motorcyclin',
guitar pickin', harmonica blowin',
photograph takin' chiropractor
and member of the world's coolest
family. Shot on location in
1998 on the beautiful
Southern tip of St. John, USVI.
Thanks Bruce!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


My original idea for this design was based on the Henri Matisse painting The Dance in which the figures are holding hands and dancing in a circle. On this t-shirt the dancers are continued on the back of the shirt to complete the circle. Matisse was inspired by images on Greek vases and peasant dances as well as African sculpture. It is a universal image that speaks to a lot of people on different levels. My stick figures are primitive and that seems to work just fine with this sort of design. As an aside, for years my partner thought the second figure from the left had a funny pony tail sticking up from the top of its head--"hey", I said, a little hurt, "that's an arm!" There you have it. Primitive. It has been one of our most successful designs.

Pine Trees

Last saturday the whole family was invited to a birthday party for one of my son's school chums. His mother had asked if I could bring a green t-shirt to mail to her father for his birthday. When we got there, we discovered that one of her son's gifts was our green pine tree shirt given by a family friend who didn't know the connection. Happy Birthday Bodhi!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Design

This is my latest design, printed on the fly just before the Fanfayr show on the Kingston waterfront on Canada Day weekend. I snapped this shot because it looked particularly nice on this blue shirt. I had set that shirt aside after dyeing it and it seemed to be waiting for these geese because it was so sky-like. I sold it right away at the show to a fellow vendor and collector of our shirts. Thanks Robert!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

At the Market

Since sept '06 we have been selling regularly at the New Ottawa Farmers' Market, which is open every sunday from 8 am to 3pm from May to October. This is a great place to come to buy local goods directly from those who produce them. The current issue of Ottawa Magazine has a two page spread on the Market. Here is a picture of part of our display from that article.