You hear about imperfections all the time, the lovely and inspiring memes that float around the Internet reminding us that no one is perfect, and it’s actually our flaws that make us who we are. It’s a lovely sentiment, and one that we believe in wholeheartedly. But unfortunately, we still live in a world where some flaws aren’t always welcome.
Mental illness, as common as it is (and it’s even more common than you think), still carries a major stigma in our society. Millions of Canadians live with mental illness everyday, and it’s not a stretch to say that anyone reading this has experienced some form of mental illness, or knows someone who has. It has certainly touched us and our families and friends. Thankfully, there are organizations like Understand Us who are working to change how we see and experience mental illness.
Working under a mission to create awareness and provide education on mental illness, the folks behind Understand Us, co-founders Jim Demeray and artistic director Thomas Le, are really passionate about what they do, which is probably why we connect so well with what they’re doing. Their big focus is youth education and engagement, with the hopes that changing the way we understand mental illness at a young age will change how we talk about and support those living with mental illness. Understand Us provides awareness campaigns, youth engagement, community events, and clothing sales of various designs that promote mental illness awareness, and this coming weekend, we will host one of two pop up shop events for an Understand Us clothing sale!
On Saturday, November 26th and Saturday, December 3rd, from 12-6 pm on both days, we will proudly be hosting Understand Us at Mortise & Tenon for holiday pop up shops. They will be bringing a bunch of their different designs and promotional materials, giving Mortise & Tenon shoppers some great holiday gift options from a local organization, and the opportunity to help break the stigma of mental illness in our community. The pop up shops will also be co-sponsored by Fresh and Sweet, another wonderful local business that is supporting the event with their delicious cupcakes!
We believe in supporting local as much as possible; it’s evident in the small businesses, artisans and creators we carry in our store. Understand Us is a local organization doing a lot of good in our community, bringing their own creative forms of beauty and change to our world. It just made sense for us to bring them in, and welcome them as part of the Mortise & Tenon family.
We also believe in flaws – just walk around our store, and look at wood products we carry. From reclaimed barn board with nails comfortably nestled into corners, to little gnarls in perfectly sanded tabletops, flaws don’t ruin our pieces, they bring out the beauty of the rest of the design. There are also beautifully cut joinery pieces that no one can see, strength that pulls the whole pieces together, that keep them strong and help them to last. Things of strength and beauty are not always as they appear on the surface, and they rarely look like all the other works of art out there. But it takes an appreciation for the process of learning and creating to understand how imperfections make the piece whole. The more we talk about it, and appreciate the journey, the more we can be who we are – and help each other to do the same.
Check out the Facebook event here.
See you on Saturday !
Throwback to July with this photoset by Michael Squier (IG: michael_james_squier) featuring some of our favourite Canadian brands: Salgado Fenwick (Edmonton), Lazy Bones Knits (Regina), Peace Collective (Toronto), and Encircled (Toronto). Enjoy these throwbacks to warmer weather!
Model: Lana Ricci (IG: @sinderella42)
HMA: Raven Dee Makeup (IG: @missravendee)
It's almost time for Regina Folk Fest, and we've got big plans for the weekend!
From Friday, August 5th through to Sunday, August 7th, we will temporarily close our store at our 11th Avenue location, and will instead be open at the Arts Market for the duration of the Regina Folk Festival!
We will be situated on the South side of the plaza (right beside Victoria Park), in front of the daytime beer gardens, and right next door to some of our favourite vendors – Salgado Fenwick! The arts market hours are:
Friday: 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday:11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
There is no cost to enter the arts market, so you can visit all the awesome vendors that will be set up for the whole weekend.
This will be Mortise & Tenon's first time at the festival, and we're really excited to be a part of it. It's been a blast making downtown our new home this past year, and there is no better way to celebrate than by taking part in one of the best events this city has to offer! We'll have all of your favourite products with us, so be sure to come by and say hi this weekend!
Check out the full line up for the Regina Folk Fest here, and get excited about the weekend: www.reginafolkfestival.com
See you at the park!
Local spotlight time!
We pride ourselves on carrying local companies and artists, and we are always looking for new additions to the Mortise & Tenon family. We wanted to take some time to show off five Regina companies and artists that we are thrilled to have in our shop!
Chad’s art embodies a truly classic, prairie feel with a modern twist. From traditional photos to acrylic over metal prints, Chad’s professional work is sharp and elegant, and is a perfect fit in any home. Chad himself is a humble, down-to-earth guy who demonstrates through his art just how much he loves the beauty of the prairies. We regularly carry different prints by Chad, providing lots of new options for beautiful art for all of you. Chad’s work truly contains the heart of the prairies.
Artist and designer MacKenzie has become well known in the city for her fun and detailed art work, and she regularly sells out of her stock at local festivals and events. Her designs range from ethereal and detailed to cute and fun, and are available in a variety of formats. When she's not busy creating new and unique designs, MacKenzie teaches yoga next door to Mortise & Tenon at Quan's Hot Yoga – which means she pops in regularly to drop off new stock like prints, cards, stickers, t-shirts, tote bags, and more!
Mermaids and Aloha
Here on the prairies, we are surrounded by a lot of beautiful scenery, but it can be easy to forget some of the other impressive places Mother Nature has to offer. This is why the fun designs from Mermaids and Aloha designer Caitie Vancise are such a breath of fresh air. Featuring sea glass, druzy stones, and simple yet elegant chains, the jewellery pieces give a little splash of the sea to any outfit, and are also very affordable, ranging in price from $21 - $35. Seeing the bright colours in our showcase makes us smile every day.
de Lint Art & Design
Gavin de Lint's art is a brand new addition to the shop, and the handmade notebooks featured in our store are only a fraction of the work that he puts out into the world. Gavin’s art ranges from sketches and paintings to animation and custom design work, which only goes to show how incredibly talented this gentlemen really is. Gavin’s dedication to his craft resonates deeply with us, as we strive for the same level of quality and attention to detail in our custom woodwork and furniture. We hope to carry more of his work in the future!
Glorious Bastards Co.
We can't say enough about these fantastic entrepreneurs from the Queen City. They reflect so much of why we do what we do! They set out to create high quality products when they felt they weren’t finding what they needed. Their hard work has clearly paid off, and they now have a large line of men’s grooming products that we can hardly keep stocked on our own shelves. The products from Glorious Bastards Co. really work, and it’s due in no small part to their focus and drive to make their passion happen. We are looking forward to sharing the new products they are developing with all of you.
And those are just five! We carry a lot of amazing artists and companies in our store, and we are really proud of the growing number of local folks we get to give a little home to – and we’re just as honoured that they choose us. Keep checking back here, and on our Facebook and Instagram, as we are always posting new additions to Mortise & Tenon.
Know of a local company that would be a great fit for our store, or are an artist yourself? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to hear from you!
With Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how to say thank you to the dads in our lives. But how do you wrap up and put a bow on a lifetime of support, love, and bad jokes?
So instead of the traditional tie or the gift card you always get, why not surprise that father figure in your life with something new that they will really love? In honour of all the dads, step-dads, uncles, brothers, and father figures out there doing their thing, we present our recommendations for the top 5 gifts for Father’s Day from Mortise & Tenon!
1) Charcuterie boards, Cutting boards, and Coasters
We pride ourselves on our hand crafted, high quality wood products, and we put special care into every piece that comes out of our shop. Whether your dad loves to cook, BBQ, or simply entertain with cheese and wine, we’ve got the perfect tool for him. Our cutting boards (ranging in price from $65-$180, in various woods and end grain and edge grain styles), charcuterie boards (various woods, $45 each), and coasters ($38 for set of 4) are all hand made to suit daily use, with easy to follow care instructions. All of our wood products made for food preparation and presentation are treated with food-safe mineral oil, and can be easily maintained with our custom board butter, made in-house ($15). Our custom made wood products are a gorgeous addition to any home, and something that dad will love to show off (along with his cooking/grilling/entertaining skills!).
1) Beard King Beard Bib and Glorious Bastards grooming products
Whether your dad resembles a traditional Saskatchewan lumberjack, or prefers a clean-cut vibe, he’s going to need some tools to help keep him looking sharp. The Beard Bib ($40) is the perfect gift to help with quick and easy clean up after trimming his moustache or beard, keeping all the hairs contained in the bib, ready to be dumped into the trash without clogging up the sink. And to keep things fresh, choose any one of the awesome grooming products from Regina company Glorious Bastards Co., including shampoo and conditioner ($21 each), soap ($20 for a pack of 2), and beard balms ($18) and oils ($20). These products are best sellers in our shop, and there’s nothing better than supporting a local brand while picking up a great quality product dad will love!
2) Locomotive T-shirts
All of us know at least one dad who never buys his own clothes, so why not help your less-than-fashion-friendly dad wear something he’ll really enjoy? We love the t-shirts from British Columbia company Locomotive clothing, particularly the Drink Local Craft Beer tee, Spark Plug tee, and Tractor tee ($36 each). These t-shirts are cool and comfortable, making them something dad will love to wear, and look good doing it.
3) Izola tablet case and matching tablet stand
For all the techie dads out there (or the ones who are still trying to figure out the tablet you got them for Christmas), these two products go hand in hand to make using your favourite tablet so much easier! These gorgeous Izola cases ($35 each) keep your tablet safe on the go, while our in-house made tablet stands, in sapele, ash, and reclaimed Douglas Fir($22 each), allow you to easily use your tablet on any surface. Both sturdy and beautiful, yet simplistic in their aesthetic, these stands look great at home or at the office, and make a great gift for dad!
4) Beer caddies
The universal gift! We love these beer caddies so much we use them ourselves pretty much everywhere we go! In pine ($35) or walnut ($45), these caddies let you take your drinks on the go, and even have a handy bottle opener! You can use these for BBQs, house parties, and trips to the lake! You can also use them to transport cutlery, condiments, and outdoor necessities like bug spray and sunscreen. Take the inserts out, and you’ve got even more room!
Whatever you choose for your dad, make it something that really shows him how much you appreciate all the big, and little, things he’s done for you. Make it unique, like the weird meals he puts together when mom’s away. Make it comfortable, the way he’s made sure you felt comfy and safe after that first big fall off your bike. Or make it fun, to match his silly sense of humour. Whatever gift you need to fit your unique dad, we’ve got you covered at Mortise & Tenon!
Happy father’s day!
I’m kind of like Helen Hunt in Twister.
I say this a lot to my friends, and anyone who will still listen to my tornado encounter stories for the hundredth time. Though now, most of them have stopped politely listening, and instead curtly remind me that I am NOT, in fact, like Helen Hunt in Twister, and I have not, in fact, strapped myself to a water pipe in the face of a monstrous tornado. I have also never changed the face of meteorology with my invention and nearly died in the process, nor did I manage to do this while maintaining practically perfect hair and dewy skin down dirt roads in Tornado Alley. We can’t all be blessed with mid 90s style perfection.
But, I do have some storm chasing street cred (Road cred? Wind cred?) to back me up. I’ve been storm chasing with the Tornado Hunter himself, Greg Johnson. Twice, actually – I’ve clung to the roof of a chase vehicle and watched a ropey funnel cloud form above me, I’ve seen a tornado cross the road (presumably to get to the other side), and I’ve punched the core of a hail storm. Does any of that make me a seasoned chaser? Not even close. I spent half the time screaming and the other half asking too many questions. But it does make me seasoned in witnessing Greg’s passion for nature and life first hand, and it’s why I’m really excited about his new book, Why is the sky green?
If you’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy one of Greg’s presentations on his work, you’ve felt the passion first hand. But you don’t even need to see one of his talks to understand the extent of what he feels when he’s out in the field. Just meeting Greg in person, and seeing his eyes light up as he tells you about his favourite moments on the road, his scariest close calls, his quiet reflections, you feel it, instantly – the dream. Greg has ventured into scenarios that I think most of us have nightmares about in order to capture that balance of stillness and rage that exists in nature, and come out bruised and beaten, ready for more. He then chose to take on an even scarier beast, the world of self-publishing, and put together his second book to showcase the outcomes of these battles, highlighting terrifying and gorgeous skies from Saskatchewan to Texas and all points in between.
Greg is easily one of the more eccentric people I know (this is perhaps the least shocking statement to be made about a man who chases large noisy storms that tend to create utter devastation in their path), but then again, most dream chasers are. He puts every ounce of his passion into his photos, and his desire to capture those incredible moments – whether ferociously loud or perfectly still – drives him to push the boundaries of photography. He is a story teller in his own way, and his photographs tell the tale of a willingness to put every safe guard aside in an effort to capture that perfect moment, and a humbleness when sometimes we must accept defeat, and let nature end the show of her own accord.
We are proud to be carrying Greg’s new book at Mortise & Tenon, not just because it’s a great collection of his work, which it certainly is, but because we believe in supporting local dreams. We ourselves are eccentric dreamers, and this store was ours, and we continue to work as hard as we can to keep this dream rolling. Dreams are important, but sooner or later you have to put your money where you mouth is, or your camera where the tornadoes are, as it were, and make it happen. Greg doesn’t go out chasing nature’s beautiful moments to sell books (though I’m sure he would be delighted if you bought a copy of Why is the sky green?), he does it because he couldn’t imagine himself doing anything else. You feel that in every one of the pictures in his book, and we deeply understand that same drive. It’s why we wanted to sell his book in the store, and host a signing for all of you to come and meet Greg, and experience the excitement for yourselves.
So please come and join us on Wednesday, February 17, from 7-9 pm at Mortise & Tenon, where Greg will be delighted to meet all of you and sign some books. And if you like, I’d be happy to sign yours as well. I did storm chase with Greg Johnson, after all.
When we first saw our storefront on 11th avenue, we looked at this wide, open space and saw endless possibilities. We were incredibly hungry, excited, and ready to renovate. Which is really how any renovation feels before you actually start to, you know, renovate.
The good side of a blank space is that your imagination can run wild (or as wild as your budget will allow); you can imagine the store of your dreams, and make fun and exciting plans. The bad side, as anyone who’s ever gutted a kitchen or bathroom knows, you’re left with a giant blank space that needs a total overhaul. It can be overwhelming, and a little scary.
But, we seem to operate best on deadlines, tight budgets, and total fear, and luckily we’re four people who love a challenge, so any of the scarier elements of renovations have basically gone out the window and been replaced with ridiculous ideas and lots of blood, sweat, and love.
So far we’ve pulled down the drop ceiling to reveal the beautiful, albeit a little worse for wear, original tin ceiling, opening up the space and giving us a lot more to work with. We’ve repaired walls, painted the ceiling, and are now starting to build all the custom fixtures for the store. We're also almost done adding in feature barn board around the perimeter of the store's ceiling. And now, somewhere in all of the drywall dust and late nights, the store is starting to turn into something, and we can see the shape of our ridiculous ideas actually taking shape.
There’s a lot more work to be done, but we’re pretty pumped to do it, and to sleep. We’re also very, very excited to sleep. But mostly we can’t wait to share the store with you, and all the updates along the way. Who needs sleep when you’re building your dream business? (Let’s not answer that question.) It’s worth it, and we hope you’ll think so too.
One of the best parts of building a creative shopping space is hunting down unique items to fill the store. While visiting Austin, Texas, Eric and I decided to pick out some great products from local businesses to bring back home to Regina. Austin is known as the live music capital of the world, which already makes it pretty awesome (along with the ridiculously good food I insist on stuffing myself with on every visit!) but the best thing by far about Austin are the amazing people! Friendly, helpful, and unbelievably talented, the people of Austin keep us coming back year after year! I knew we needed to bring back a little taste of that beautiful city for all of you!
Our first stop was the Burlap Bag, nestled in the University of Texas neighbourhood. The Burlap Bag is a cute little shop full of adorable treasures, curated by owners Lauren and Josiah. They support all forms of local artists, from prints to jewelry to greeting cards - Josiah insisted we take his picture by the cards, which are some of his favourite pieces in the store. They take great pride in their place, and it shows in every corner of the Burlap Bag. We particularly loved the candles that Lauren and Josiah make themselves, delicious scents with ridiculous names like Crazy Cat Lady, Hippie Scent, and Eric’s personal favourite – Unicorn Puke! I fell in love with their candles after picking one up at a different shop on a previous trip to Austin, and the quality is amazing. They are the perfect pick me up for any living space. Lauren and Josiah were so helpful in getting our order together, and I know they are looking forward to hearing which candles our customers love the most! We can’t wait to have you come into the store and smell them.
We also got the chance to visit the studio space for one of my favourite jewelry companies out of Austin, Ornamental Things. When we contacted owner and designer Natalie, she insisted that we stop by the studio while we were in town, where we got to meet the lovely Beth who let us take a peek at some of the amazing pieces they are developing, and the work spaces where they create their beautiful works of art. Ornamental Things is the perfect balance between vintage and modern, with a wide array of styles to suit pretty much everyone. We’ve brought in a great cross-selection of pieces, and they are even more stunning in person! They can be worn casually, or as beautiful finishing touch on your holiday party outfit – either way they will definitely garner you some compliments. Big thanks to Natalie, Beth, and Hilary for taking such great care of us!
I said before that one of the best things about opening your own store is picking out the great items to fill it with, but actually, I think it’s meeting all the incredible people along the way; the small business owners, the artists, the people who are dedicated to creating high quality clothes, jewelry, home décor, and art, and put that dedication and passion into every item they create. These are the people we want to support and feature in our store, and it’s why we’ve started on this journey. We want to find people who are as passionate about handmade goods as we are, and we were so lucky to meet some of them in Austin!
We have so many more awesome artists to share with all of you, many of which are from Western Canada and the US. Check back often as we start to showcase more small businesses and artists we will be featuring at Mortise and Tenon!
“Wouldn’t it be cool if….” One sentence that started like that, and the next you know, Mortise & Tenon was created.
How often have you heard someone discussing their business, using statements like, “I didn’t see what I wanted anywhere else, so I made my own.” It makes sense, and it’s surprisingly true. Mortise & Tenon started with the desire to create a unique shopping experience in our city, one that included local artisans and craftspeople, and highlighted some of the amazing talent the Queen City had to offer. We wanted to create a modern general store, where you could find unique clothing, handmade home décor, handcrafted jewelry, and stunning custom furniture; a place where you could find everything you need to outfit your home and your life. We wanted to create someplace a little off the beaten path from the big box stores, but still accessible enough for everyone to find something that they truly loved inside our doors. The idea was exciting, and with that one sentence, we were dreaming of a business that was ours.
We just didn’t realize that from the first day dream to signing lease papers on a space would be less than a month. Whoops. What can we say? We’re four people who don’t do well with sitting still.
We just loved the idea of owning our own business, creating a fun little spot to bring in all the kinds of things we would love to decorate our own homes with, and supporting the local arts scene in this city. It’s a small city, and we know so many talented people; we wanted to find a way to bring all of these ideas, passions, and people together to do that. Plus, we wanted to feature some of our own work. Eric founded Oleson Woodshop in 2011, and has been handcrafting furniture and home decor non-stop ever since. By folding Oleson Woodshop into Mortise & Tenon, and adding in-house metal fabrication, we are able to create stunning works of functional art for your home. We’re passionate about promoting local shopping, and we strive to source reclaimed materials from local areas. The rich history of the Prairies provides us with one of a kind building blocks with which to give new life to forgotten things, breathing new purpose into the physical past.
So that’s where we’re at; we’re planning, building, working, ordering, and getting excited for our opening. We’re also sweating, getting dirty, not sleeping, and spending a lot of money. But most importantly, we’re moving from dreaming to doing. We value good quality, hard work, and a dedication to living your life with purpose and passion, and we think our store will demonstrate that. Past all the planning and renovating and sleepless nights is the excitement to do something new and to share it with the community we love. We are covered in paint and splinters, and it’s totally worth it.
We want to showcase passion, and the drive to work your ass off to do what you love. Going after a dream is not a fluffy, inspirational picture; it’s hard work, dedication, and a love for your craft, whatever your craft may be. It’s being willing to take the plunge, no hesitation, and fight like hell to just go for it. And when the drywall dust settles and we can open our doors, we want nothing more than to show off our hard work to all of you.
We have never done this before, and it’s been an adventure so far. It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s also terrifyingly awesome. For you, we just hope it’s awesome.