For a truly one-of-a-kind Canada Day gift for yourself or someone else, check out the gorgeous maple leaf stoneware pitchers created by Jen Baumeister at Maple Leaf Studio Pottery. Each piece is completely unique because a genuine maple leaf is fused into the side — and no two leaves are alike!
Jen Baumeister: At first I thought, "Oh, that's an easy question." But the deeper I think about this, the more multi-faceted the answer becomes. The core or seed of my inspiration is a mixture from so many different experiences, family and friends and the beauty around me.
Pride in Canada and being Canadian, along with an appreciation of nature's beauty, definitely inspires the maple leaf work that I do. Much of my functional ware is inspired by my love of good food, my love of form, along with a healthy splash of my inner lazy. In other works, my creativity is sparked by our two children, who each have found their own passions early in life.
I think that being able to capture passion in a medium such as clay tells a personal story and is like a window in time. Working with clay gives me so much inner peace and a great feeling of pride to be able to share my story and inner self with others. You are welcome to visit, find out more about me and see my story in clay on my website at Maple Leaf Studio Pottery.
JB: Thank you for asking this, because it is an easy question to answer. I feel that I am so very lucky to live in Canada, and I really am a proud Canadian. After living abroad in both Asia and the Middle East, I have been fortunate to see Canada from the "other side of the fence." I love Canada because our grass is greener, our water is cleaner, our nature is beautiful and pure, our culture is diverse, we are respectful and tolerant, and our collective standard of living is so high, it is almost embarrassing. I respect Canada and am so grateful to be able to raise a family in our wonderful community that is the collective Canada.
The Canadian penny may have been discontinued, but that doesn't mean its legacy can't live on. Thanks to these elegant Canadian penny earrings, created by Marlys Bateman at Zephoria Jewellery Designs, you can keep our one-cent coin in your heart (and in your wardrobe!) for years to come.
Marlys Bateman: When I am creating my jewellery, it always starts with inspiration I have gleaned from nature. I live in the beautiful Qu'Appelle Valley near Craven, Saskatchewan, and most of my jewellery is nature inspired, using actual items I collect on my walks. I work mainly with copper and find [it] blends beautifully with the nature theme I love. When I heard our beautiful copper penny was no longer going to be in circulation, I thought, what better way to preserve its existence than to incorporate it into my jewellery!
MB: Canada is a beautiful and diverse country, offering everything from rolling prairie landscapes, majestic mountains and oceans from coast to coast. The opportunities are endless!
A lazy Susan makes a stylish and convenient addition to your table or counter. And they don't come much more beautiful or wonderfully Canadian than this maple leaf lazy Susan created by Maya Wade at BKInspired.
Maya Wade: I am inspired by just about everything around me. My kids — B and K — inspire me all the time. I love seeing life through their eyes as they discover the world around them. Artists from all mediums also offer great inspiration for me. There is so much beauty in the world, and everyone sees it differently. It's hard not to get excited by someone else's expression of that beauty. And most of all, other pyrographers (wood burners) inspire me. I am still fairly new to the craft and have a lot to learn. Seeing their work, what they're burning on and learning new techniques from my peers always get my creative juices flowing.
MW: I am very, very proud to be Canadian! I absolutely love the beauty of our country. I have lived and travelled from the west coast to the east coast of Canada, and I love it all. I love the ever-changing Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the majestic Rocky Mountains, the gorgeous patterns and colours of the prairies and the magnificence of the Canadian Shield. There is so much to offer us here, and we are all so fortunate to live in such a beautiful and vast country with so many opportunities. I am proud that Canada is generally known as a kind and polite country and that we have a sense of humour about ourselves. I love our flag and can't help but smile when I see a maple tree. And last but not least, I am very, very proud to be the wife of a Mountie, one of the most recognizable Canadian icons in the world.
Looking for an alternative to the harsh chemicals that can be found in many store-bought soaps? Then check out this organic maple syrup and soft brown sugar soap made by Vicky Darbyshire at Soap Star Canada. It's made with some of the best natural, comforting scents and ingredients Canada has to offer.
Vicky Darbyshire: I've always loved natural bath and beauty products, harnessing all the lovely, good stuff from the wonderful world around us without the use of harsh chemicals, so imagine my delight when I discovered I could make them myself! I'm inspired by visiting new places and favourite old haunts — whether it's travelling to faraway destinations or just walking up the road locally. I'm always uplifted by the most wonderful sights, scents and sounds, followed by a desire to capture that special something that evokes the "feel good" senses and brings a smile to the face.
VD: I moved to Canada with my family from England five years ago — although we had been visiting for many years before, as I have a sister who settled here after falling in love with a Canadian. I especially love the healthy, outdoor lifestyle, the changing seasons — each bring their own stunning scenery and a wealth of wonderful activities. I really appreciate the contrast of long, hot summers followed by the amazing colours of fall, and even the blanket of white that winter brings! I truly feel blessed to call this beautiful country my home.
Alison Allen: Inspiration can come from anywhere. It can be as simple as a certain colour or pattern that catches my eye. Sometimes I find a unique piece of fabric, and it sparks an idea in my head. Another big source of inspiration comes from my two little boys. It's fascinating to watch them play and interact with the world around them.
AA: I love that we are a multicultural country and that we have the freedom to voice our opinions and choose our own path. I also love being surrounded by forests, mountains and wildlife. It's a great place to call home.
L G Whittaker at Wood Bee Designs uses reclaimed or rescued wood along with his vintage stamp collection to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind necklaces. And many of them, such as this 1952 Canadian polar bear stamp or this 1964 five-cent postage stamp, showcase some great Canadian imagery you'll be proud to wear around your neck.
L G Whittaker: I can't say I am inspired to create as much as I am compelled to create. I have been making things or fixing things [for] as long as I can remember, and it never gets boring. I have also always loved old things. There is something about objects that have lived many lives, and when they find their way into one's possession, they take on new meaning. What I like most about my vintage stamp jewellery is that I get to combine the two things I love into one, creating a new version of an old object that can be touched. I love that my jewellery goes from being fragile little pieces of paper to tactile objects that can be enjoyed for years to come.
LGW: What I love most about being Canadian is where I live. I live in Victoria, British Columbia, and it is one of the most amazing places in Canada. I was lucky enough to be born here, and grew up here. I moved to Montreal for over 10 years, which is another awesome place, but moved back here five years ago and am so happy to be back home. This place has it all — beautiful weather, fresh air and nature at your doorstep. Literally — nature at your doorstep. I was parking my bike in my backyard a few nights ago, and there were two deer grazing like they owned the place.
Give your patio some Canadian flair this summer with the help of Laura Mazerolle at Mazizmuse's red and white pillow cover. The vibrant hue and weather-resistant fabric will help you show your patriotism for many years to come.
Laura Mazerolle: Bold colour, striking contrast and larger geometric shapes. I have a love of macro photography, and it's intriguing to see the unusual shapes and patterns created by both nature and man-made objects. A close look at a lot of my work and you will see geometric patterns, exaggerated shapes and clear, bright colour.
I have a particular love of Islamic art, primarily the mosaics and tile work. To call these visually stunning works "art" doesn't seem to justify the efforts in these creations. Inspired by religion, the mind-boggling mathematical accuracy and the history behind these works, found in mosques, Moorish Spain and the Middle East, is more "genius" than it is art. I am humbled by it and try my best to do it justice in a modern, thoughtful but playful way.
LM: Freedom. Most countries have political flaws, and Canada is no exception, but the beauty of our country is not only found in the wildly diverse natural environment and its sparkling cities; it is also found in the freedom we have in the ability to work to change those flaws and improve the way our country is managed.
We are so far removed, geographically, from the [crises] in other countries, but Canada is comprised of a wealth of ethnicities and aboriginal peoples. A friend of mine who escaped the conflict in Kosovo 15 years ago once referred to Canada — with his limited vocabulary at the time — as a "salad." All one has to do is talk to their neighbour to understand how special our freedom is. It isn't like this everywhere. We owe our happiness to the people who fought to make it one of the greatest places in the world to live, work and love.
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