Thursday, August 8, 2013


"A STAR IS BORN", thanks to
A couple of months ago, Atelier Ivaan was selected as one of the subjects for a Globe and Mail feature called "How I Started".  The series reveals the "back story" of interesting small businesses, with the owner being filmed explaining the idea behind the business, how they launched it, what obstacles they faced, and finally, offering advice to other prospective entrepreneurs, based on their experience.

It was exciting to be chosen, and when I learned that I'd be the subject of a short video, I decided that I'd better call in the big guns.  At times like these, I consider myself extra lucky to know some big guns in the film production industry, and naturally I went straight to the top.

Endless Films is a small but very busy film company based in Toronto.  It's owned by three close friends of Ivaan's and mine, and their work is extraordinarily good.  I was ecstatic when they said two of them, Iain and Alex,  had a few free hours the following week.  I figured, if these guys couldn't make me look attractive and articulate, no one could.

They arrived on schedule, set up their equipment, wired me for sound, and we got to work.  I had wondered if it was going to be a nervewracking experience, but it wasn't in the least.  Although I normally see them in a personal context - they're longtime best friends, wonderful young husbands, and devoted new dads - it seemed perfectly natural to see them in their professional capacity.  It's incredible how they work together, speaking in a kind of quiet shorthand, instinctively trusting each other, with great confidence and skill.

Exactly one hour later, it was "a wrap".  They let me see "the rushes" and immediately I knew this was going to be a success.  The next day, Alex sent me the film, already edited, already perfect.  I have no idea what filters they used on the camera, but they made me look amazing. I should buy ten of them.  (I asked Alex, actually, and he said "No filters; that's just the way you look". What a smooth operator - no wonder he swept Erin off her feet!)

I've just learned that we're likely going to be in the Globe and Mail this coming Tuesday. Don't miss it!  Full credit for this superb little production goes to Endless Films.  Thanks, guys.  Ivaan would be thrilled.  You made me a star!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Now and again, somebody will come into ATELIER IVAAN and ask "So...what do you do here exactly?"  And though I like to think of the atelier as an understated and elegant home for some breathtakingly beautiful metal art, perhaps we're more understated than I realize.  Sometimes the antique typewriter in the window, which displays our Hours of Operation, confuses people.  Perhaps they are also misled by the paintings and photography on the walls, as I'm occasionally asked if I'd be willing to paint someone's portrait. And my baby grand piano gives some people the impression that I teach music.

I've often thought I should make better use of my space, but usually my daydreams don't go much further than thinking about opening up a massage studio in my office next door, so I can have a massage whenever I want.

But early this morning, I was in the store, chatting on the phone with my brother.  I heard someone trying to open the door of the store.  I turned and saw an elderly Asian man, with what appeared to be a pile of laundry in his arms, pulling at the door handle, then knocking when he realized the door was locked.

I went to the door, unlocked it and asked if I could help him.  He tried to hand me his armload of clothing and said, "I need my pants fixed."  I replied, "Well, we're a jewellery store.  We don't fix pants."  He got a crabby expression on his face, pointed at our sign and asked, "So why does it say ALTERATIONS IVAAN?"

I promptly emailed my friend Lesia the story, knowing she'd get a kick out of it, and she just as promptly replied (and this is why I think she's actually "one of the tribe", living undercover as a member of Toronto's Ukrainian community):

"So would it have killed you to hem his pants?"

It's at moments like this that I can feel Ivaan in here, tears of laughter just streaming down his face.