When it comes to souvenirs, I'm not really one to gravitate toward the chachkis. Typically, I'll explore the arts and crafts area for some inspiration or something to take home in the memory bank, but in most cases I leave empty handed. I'll admit I'm good at throwing things out that I don't need. In this instance, however, I just couldn't leave Jamaica without.

While most of the items up for grabs were pretty uniform throughout the markets; tie-dye shirts, wooden sculptures of dolphins, parrots, phalluses and giraffes *are there giraffes in Jamaica? I couldn't help but notice a certain something, sticking out from the crowd, calling my name... with its giant red mouth, frowning in the sunlight.

This is a piranha, the man at the market told me. The look of surprise that I was even interested was incredibly gratifying. He was very ill prepared for any form of purchase. If only I had taken his picture and asked more about this creation, to hear the story about it and where it came from. But alas, I was just too distracted by the joy of such an interesting find.

Anyone who knows me, is aware that I find the strange and sinister to be charming in its own way. Certainly this isn't a pretty or attractive decorative piece, but it is one with so many intentions, that it makes me smile with very little effort. Really, how could I pass up this incredible mess of a fish?

An artist's representation of a piranha; its blank expression, its gaping teeth and glorious frown. An idea came to mind and it took this shape. Who could duplicate this vision? And how sweet to think that it was placed on the sand in hopes that someone, someday, would walk away with it proudly in hand and see it for the beauty it was meant to be.

With its jagged teeth which have been crudely carved out and painted with what looks like a very quick effort, decently applied scales for texture and visual interest; an underside that is bordering toward possibly rotting or at least warping out of its natural state; the wear and tear throughout shares a story within itself, that I just had to have it. It's curious, wonderful and humorous. A treasure.

Just so you know -to anyone who is interested- Jamaica is sold out of piranhas!



Looky-looky another pretty booky by UPPERCASE Gallery.

A follow-up from their first edition which featured Canadian talent, Work/Life 2 features 100 professional illustrators from around the world... including me! To read up more about the book launch and see some samplings of the beautiful artwork inside, visit UPPERCASE Gallery's blog and website. Can't wait to see it!


breakfast buffet

This kind of sums up how I've been feeling since we got back from vacation.


saturday: reminisce

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment. A simple, heart warming moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


building thoughts

One of my favorite things, in Jamaica, had to be the buildings. The big and the small, the colors and textures, and the people hanging out in front of them.

If I had to say that there was anything I left feeling disappointed with; it would be that I didn't get pictures of all of the places that stood out as we passed *on a very fast moving bus of tourists.

Some buildings had murals, decorations, words of wisdom, hand painted lettering on them; creating an incredible space for visual interest and curiosity.

Broken, withered, or tired on the outside, the inside of these places were commonly painted brightly with happy colors of pinks, aquas and blues.

In some ways it makes me think differently about the importance of inner positivity. Creating a welcoming space out of very little can be a challenge, but Jamaica did it very well. So inspiring in so many ways.



Intentional over saturated and obnoxious beach photo.



While I couldn't justify jumping off of a cliff- when my bigger fear lies in the water below- I will say that going on the catamaran tour, in Jamaica, was an interesting experience. I faced my own fears by taking a dip in the ocean, without looking down during snorkel time, and actually enjoyed myself behind some intense, nervous, laughter. It wasn't until a woman decided to inform me that "there's a baby sting ray swimming right under you!" and not to worry because "it's only the size of a plate(!)" I decided to get out of the water to keep from soiling the ocean. Eee! The size of a plate!?

Thankfully, Ian is less of a chicken than I and decided to try out the cliff jumping part of the excursion, without any hesitation. I admired his ability to take the plunge without allowing time, fear, or doubt to talk him out of it. Sometimes that's all you have to do. Living in the moment is a pretty cool thing. Jump in and enjoy the ride.

Just make sure to plug your nose.



Because I am still in zombie-traveler mode and can't think past more than a few sentences- though I am oozing with new ideas that I want to spit out onto paper before I lose my mind- I wanted to share that we were in Jamaica, last week. Funny sentence.

It was a really great time to get away and let the mind wander. From the colors, the textures, the hand painted typography(!) I left with many items of inspiration; more than what I brought home in my suitcase.

Oh, just wait and see what I brought home in my suitcase. That's another story -of many- to come.