What’s Your Story

I feel tight in my back today. I slept huddled against the blankets, my own warmth filling the tiny bed. I’ve moved into the bunk room for the duration of my tantrum, a decision I’m really happy about, because I have the space and I was able to identify what I needed. But that’s for another post.  The dog barked in the night and I woke up this morning to the pitter patter of kids and walked right into the routine. No meditation, no yoga, no morning pages, no sage burning… call it walk into the fire.

It’s not the best start, but at least I refrained from starting the ‘poor me’ narrative, and to be honest, it’d refreshing. I put the kids on the bus and sent them off. Wrote the cheques for the lunches, answered an email or two, walked the dog in the haze of mist that surrounds our road. The trees in the fields glimmered, as if they were archetypes of a past society.

What is my story?

This summer, in some of the goal setting work I was doing, I pushed myself to see if I could get my stuff art out there, in the physical world. And so I opened the online shop, I started showing alot more work and became comfortable with the idea of being an artist. Or whatever that word is that you want to use.

Or so I thought.

Now recently, I met with a store manager for an exciting event, that could be really big for me. And I realized through my conversation with this person, that I wasn’t even close to being able to assume a title of artist. I stammered through questions and left with a distinct feeling that if I wanted a show, as an artist, that I shouldn’t really play up the fact that I work mainly as an interior designer and that my ‘stuff’ is really just doodles that I work on in my free time. You know, that it was just for fun.

which is a steaming pile of shit. Right?

Outside of the comfort of the screen, and the cozy protectiveness of my studio, IN A FACE TO FACE CONVERSATION WITH A STRANGER I wasn’t able to say the words (that get me choked up every time, btw) I am an Artist. I want to sell my work. I think my work is worth something (oooh, that one is the real doozy) and I believe that people want to see what I see.  You can include in there I want my art to have an audience and if you can bear it, I want an audience.

I have a show at the local library in January. Something I challenged myself to do. To see really how it all works: how to you hang your stuff art, how much stuff art  do you need, does your stuff need to be cohesive or can you mix and match your stuff. And my first challenge (creating the work seems to be the easy part, at this point anyways) arose: the curator needs a blurb about the artwork.

So what the fuck is my story? How can I write an artist manifesto if I can’t even be honest and openly claim what I want?

Screetch to halt.

This isn’t about my art guys. It’s not even about me.

This is about ownership.

This is about tust.

This is about truth.

So I’m trying something new.

This is the story I carry:

I don’t feel like I deserve. To get paid for drawings, is just one of the things. Drawings are easy for me, but life is hard.  You need to do hard things in order to be a good person and if things are too easy, they’re probably bad. Drinking two bottles of wine is EASY. Let me tell you. People around me suffer and have difficult lives, and so, why should I get the free pass. Do the hard things and you’ll be good.

But this is my truth: 

A while ago, I remembered I could draw. I remembered that I had drawn for longer than I hadn’t, and so I started again. After having life’s rug pulled from under me a number of times (alcohol, drugs, bulimia, shame, guilt), I knew I needed to start from the inside. And so I did. I live torn between opposites, never fully able to land in one place.  These are the pieces of art that have emerged from my self-exploration. I see magic in the sky and clouds. I see sorrow and beauty in the the women I know and those that I do not.   I see stardust in the wilderness around me and it reveals itself in patterns.

If you happen to know what it all means, please let me know.  I haven’t a clue, but I know I’ll figure it out eventually.




Beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing…

There is a field. Meet me there. ~rumi

Oh boy. The past few weeks. Wow.

In the Artist’s Way there’s a whole chapter devoted to anger.

Anger is meant to be listened to. Anger is a voice, a shout, a plea, a demand. Anger is meant to be respected. Why? Because anger is a map. Anger shows us what our boundaries are. Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we’ve been and lets us know when we haven’t liked it. Anger points the way, not just the finger. In the recovery of a blocked artist, anger is a sign of health.

~julia cameron

Last year, doing the Artist’s Way, I didn’t even think I was angry. Angry is not something that I am quick to… sadness and anxiety are the first responders to my negative situations. But now one year in and I fantasize about flipping tables and smashing mirrors- in a good way! I promise!

Ironically, my 9 year old had a total tantrum yesterday.

Like an out of body tantrum, the ones that make him runaway in pyjamas, or climb trees and lock himself in the house instead of going to Spanish school. He was in that space, and as a parent, it’s hard to know how to act. But you guys, because I had been angry and crying ALL WEEK, I was finally able to put my shit down and reach him.

Because I KNOW what those tantrums feel like, and as adults, women SPECIALLY, we are never allowed to have them. But because I have now given myself permission to have as long a tantrum as I need, it was a lot easier to have empathy for him. Imagine as a society, how healing it would be if we could extend that kindness to each other, as a basic need?  That instead of walking around trying to pretend like we have all the answers and we’re totally together, we could just recognize that we’re at the core, just tantrum ridden toddlers, angry about the fact that we can’t really be free.

I don’t care about right anymore.  In the woods I go, to recognize my anger and try to figure out where it’s leading me and my fellow angry women. This is what I’ve figured out…

I’m angry as a woman for all women… that we have to worry about looking a certain way to be taken seriously. That we get  worth boosts from groomed eyebrows and have been raised to judge others based on their own appearances, the same way we judge ourselves.

I’m angry as a parent, for all parents…. that we need to think about how my sons and daughter are growing up in a completely inappropriate world.

I’m angry as a wife,  for all wives….. that now 50 years later, we need to be full time mothers AND full time wage earners to live in ‘middle class’. And that the chasm between man and woman is so deep that maybe we need to question the whole structure of society. Maybe we need to go back to village.

I’m angry as a daughter … for all daughters of women raised by generations of patriarchs who showed no love, no care and placed no values on female lives beyond their ability to procreate and tend to men.

I’m angry as a person, for all people who live in a world where lack and abundance co-exist at the detriment of health, social rights and security of  billions of people.

Today on the mountain trails I realized something.

I don’t think I want to  be right, I don’t think that’s what I’m fighting for at the core of this anger

And I am no longer willing to compromise my values,  just to make someone else less uncomfortable.

So maybe you’re angry too. Nothing about this is easy, but I have a feeling that Julia Cameron was right… anger points the way.

So. My friends, where does that leave us?  Elizabeth Gilbert closed up her 2nd  season of Magic Lessons podcast by lauching the following question: (you can read the almost 3K comments on her FB page here)

John Steibeck wrote in East of Eden

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.

And it got pushed one step further by asking

What if instead of being good, we could be free?





Milkweed and your 11 year old Self.

I took Rosie out for a long walk this morning. As I reached into my pocket, I found an old milkweed pod. It was soft and made me smile instantly. I squeezed it for a few extra seconds and then smelled my hands.

Milkweed is sticky and produces a thick white glue when you break off the stem. If you happen to be 11 years old, you often pick the pods and try to fly the inner fleece, but the stickiness of your hands makes it impossible. But tomorrow you try again. You never know, maybe things change overnight.

The same thing happened this morning, except I’m no longer 11. And my collection of fluorescent zinc tubes melted in my snow suit a long time ago.

I don’t hide in my closet to read anymore, and I don’t roll up fake paper cigarettes and pretend to smoke like Marilyn. I don’t write letters to save the belugas either. I watch my kids do that now. And luckily, they’ve taken over certain parts of my 11 year old self. They like finding treasures in the forest, when they’re not complaining about how far we’re walking.

I hear your same stories. You and me. Resentful, angry, sad. We manage to pull ourselves together when it matters, we can smile if we have to. But is it me, or is there something missing?

(My index finger really does look like that)

I have been painting with my eyes closed, and sometimes I cry while I feel the paintbrush glide over the paper. I can’t tell you why. Nothing is different, everything is the same outside, but the tears keep coming. I cried through the Sunday School meeting this weekend,  overwhelmed by the kindness of the teachers and the baskets of home baked muffins. All the while I had complained all morning about having to go at all. Sometimes we can be jerks.

All the while I type, I cry and then worry about being sad, and how that’s hard for those people around me.That everyone else has more reason to be sadder than  me. But then that makes me cry even harder and so I go on Instagram and pretend not to be sad for a few minutes. Usually it ties me over for a bit. But if I dare let my mind wander, it finds the forest and it closes in on itself. Sometimes Often, there is uncontrollable bread eating.

When I’m with people, I am not sad. I am interested and curious, present and connected.

These are the ebbs and flows though, right?

Maybe I just miss Nancy Drew. A lot. And maybe I miss the smell of the horses and the tickle that happens right before you uncover a treasure.

I’ve been dragging myself out of bed at 5am, sleeping in the bunk room because of crazy insomnia and the desperate desire to be alone, I get to wake up and see the moon at its final appearance of the day. I’m stretching a lot. Burning sage and candles. I lost another chicken… she went away. She comes back every now and again, but it makes me wonder why she would chose to live in the wild and not the in the barn that we made for her.

Why do we need to mow lawn?

We need to get ourselves ready for winter, but really, I want to sleep in the car and have someone carry me inside and put me to bed. Wrapped up in a wool tartan blanket. I carry the kids when they fall asleep, but when you’re an adult, there’s no one to carry you anymore.

I’m trying to not lose myself in the sadness. I really am, don’t worry. I know the other side of just on the other end of the publish button. It’s green and pretty and there are little miracles to be discovered in the strangest of places. There’s wonderful moments of awe and inspiration. There’s wild laughter, there’s the warmth of knowing you’ve helped someone, there’s the smell of a wood fire and the sound of chatter around the table.

I’m ok.

This sadness is temporary. And every time it visits, I recognize it as an old friend that drops in unexpectedly. The one that reminds you of who you were when you were 11.

Labours of Days 

This past week has been full of planning, lists and task check boxes. Sure, there’s been late nights playing Risk, but we’re trying to stay focused on our renovation. And so far, so good. 

In moving forward though, we’ve had to make some tough calls about what we choose to do, and what we say no to. And it’s been really hard to say no to so many fun things.

But as our Mysticore leaders have taught us.. it’s in saying No that we learn how to say Yes? Right? 

Right. 🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄

All the while, I’ve been plodding along in the studio, stunned and so grateful by the sales that followed the launch of the online shop

Reallt, it was an overnight transformation for me. Going from “in the cracks” doodler to selling pieces, well it just gives you a little boost in morale, and it helps pay for groceries!  

What’s been strange is how to keep painting after seeing what was popular versus what was unpopular. Creatively, how do you follow up on a project like this? 

Since I don’t see myself as having a specific medium (I’m going with  artistic explorer) it’s sometimes a bit frightening to ask “what’s next”. 

Moments after the hurdles have been cleared- an achievement, or loss, or goal accomplishments- can sometimes be weird.  There’s  a gap in that aftermath when you ask and answer “what now”. 

Maybe I’m far too reflective for my own good, but selling my pieces made me ask myself the questions

What do I make now? What do I want to make, what do others want me to make?

Which were really surprising, since I hadn’t given one ounce of thought to that leading up to launching the paintings in the first place! 

So I threw a lot of brain power on to these questions. I worked on a few different scenarios and for whatever reason, I came to some conclusions.  

In an effort to not overthink things, I decided to “retire” some older pieces (ladies included) in order to make space for the new florals/water worlds I’ve been playing around with.  

I LOOOOOOOOOOVE my ladies and I know I’ll come back to them in one capacity or another. But to keep painting new ones simply because they sold well? That made me feel icky inside. 

So they are up until Tuesday and then I get to keep them for myself as source material for other work, and for the daily smiles I get when I look at each of them. Not that I want to stop you from buying them (by all means! Shop Now!), but they are probably just extra special for me. 

In other news…

You can expect about 8 new floral pieces , 2 abstract landscapes and 4 new watercolour abstracts to hit the “shelves” next week. 

If anything, this project has been the incarnating of the adage “start where you are”. It confronted me with my preconceived notions about needing things to be a certain way before starting. It has also made me realize that sometimes things don’t look exactly like you want them/expect them to look, but that when you start down these paths, you never really know how it’s all going to unfold. Best to check your expectations at the door. 

In recap: 

  • Shop Update goes live on Tuesday September 6th! 
  • I’ll be retiring my Ladies and other pieces 
  • I’ll be adding about 10 new pieces!!!

Oh and … 

  • Creating is hard work 
  • Expectations always lead to disappointment 
  • Start Now 
  • Yes you can
  • You can figure out how as you go
  • It’s ok to be scared 
  • It’s terrifying 
  • Yes, you will cry
  • Don’t wait to do it properly

August and Everything After

For so long, I have  ruminated on what I would write when I finally sat down here with you. Every day almost, a thousand words would fill my brain, but they escaped my fingers as my hands were always tied to the kids, the phone, the dog, the wounded duck and the paintbrushes. All choices.

But Dear Summer,

I am not sad to see you go!!!!

You were beautiful and sunny, but that humidity…. oh my. My thigh chaff will never recover.

You showed me magical things and yet you were kinda mean.

Your heat and lack of water almost decimated my garden, but that’s ok. I guess part of the natural cycle is knowing that there are things you can’t control. You also killed my ducks. But that story is for another day…

There are things that happen that you can’t take on as your own failures or successes.

July had the Devil May Care attitude of campfires and roadtrips, new ducks and Canada Day.  Good friends in chunky sweaters. Pottery happened and I got to scratch it off my bucket list, but of course, it wasn’t good enough, the pieces weren’t perfect enough for my own towering expectations, but that’s ok, someone just asked me if I bought them at Anthropology. So I guess, I win in the end.

August cast a gloomy spell here, as siding came down and time slipped away. The Olympics captured my eyes and gave me a shrine to visit every night, beer and chips à volonté  Oh August, how you made me second guess my ability to handle the land, the house, the kids, the work, all of it. You pushed back hard when I tried to wash all the stress off, you waited in the corner until the moment was right and you rained down. And I’m still a little wet.

I spent a lot of time in my cage of expectations, looking at it, recognizing it, trying to break some off some of the bars. I switched meditations, I painted more, I drank beer and ate chips alone at the campfire.

But that’s ok.

September is here, and with it the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and new shoe boxes.  My head is swimming with task lists, budgets, salsa recipes and batch cooking dreams. Along, of course, comes all the work projects that didn’t get finished during the peak of July’s fun haze.The promise of roasting tomatoes and freezing corn. Maybe even wearing a blazer? I get to switch my wardrobe out and say farewell to the long gauzy skirts, and hello to pants, crewneck sweaters,  sunflowers, and apples.

If you’ll indulge me just a little longer, I did have one great breakthrough this summer…

I started thinking that maybe we have cycles of productivity, just like hormonal cycles or moon cycles, we’re all spending  a ridiculous amount  of energy trying to stay on top of everything at the same time. I felt like I was  always trying to push hard, all the time. And when I needed rest, I chastised myself for not being strong enough to take it all on.

I couldn’t figure out why some days I felt like I was floating on clouds, while some days I felt like I was drowning in  quicksand.

None of my circumstances were changing all that much (ok, finding dead ducks in the morning is kinda extra-ordinary, but still!) while the effort to get through my days varied insanely.

I had listened to Ezzie Spencer   (lawyer & ph D in social work btw) on an entrepreneurship podcast discuss her theories on Lunar Cycles and before I knew it, I had drank ALL THE KOOL AID, and asked for more.

DON’T SMASH YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN, I may sound like an insane person, I know. Shhh.. it’s ok.

I think we’re all looking for something, you might juice or do pilates… I am into the moon.  Judge away, but suspect your cynicism at least for the 1000 words here.

To continue, I decided to plan my monthly intentions: maybe I would  feel a little more focused if I concentrated on one aspect of my insane life instead of doing it all?  Anything would be better than just pushing all the time and finding yourself on the floor, crying, amiright?

And so…

July was for Creativity: I launched my online store, I pursued a daily sketching practice and committed to sharing my work, obtaining a solo show at the local library (in January!) and selling 5 pieces in 10 days of opening.  I took a whole bunch of classes on Creativebug too. I was careful to respect the yin and yang phases and was really pleased with how easy the month went.

August was for Harmony: ok, disclaimer, this one was really tough and I lost track by mid month, the gloom of the reno got the better of me. But it was my goal to tie up loose ends in the house, (we did a lot!)  increase harmony among us (that was actually really good for us) and focus on love & kindness meditations.

September is for Care: Focusing on care in the house (finishing up projects, organizing our budget, setting ourselves up for winter), care in our food (processing fresh produce, batch cooking for the week), care in my own health (blood work, check up etc), care in my relationships (making sure I reach out and stay in touch) and essentially seeing what are the small steps I can take to ensure that I’m taking care of what’s important.

There’s a new moon tomorrow morning, AND an eclipse AND mercury in retrograde… so if you’re leaning towards the Mysticore side of  things, it would be the perfect time for you to set your monthly intention too.  And I think we both know who our Mysticore leader is…

jim morrison2




Taking a Leap: Launching an Online Store


One month. I haven’t written in about one month, something completely unprecedented.

Summer days are not structured and between the studio, the dead ducks and the laundry line, it’s been hard to dedicate inside computer time to this space.  No two days are alike, and balancing the kids and their less than stellar enthousiasm for day camp, well it means that I’ve got like about 10 minutes to myself a day!

But, I promise that what I have to share today is exciting….

Salmon Sky Fields

{Salmon Sky Fields}

After a year of painting and accumulation, it’s time to make some space in the studio and let these pieces take on their true roles, in the homes of others. The ladies will be released from their protective sketchbook, and who knows where they’ll end up.

I still get butterflies before each new piece. I never know what to expect and my gut fills with dread and anxiety, but I’ve recognized that as a good motivator for the things I need to explore. And this past set of butterflies told me it was time.

Today marks the opening of a new space for me. It’s not on Monkland, and it doesn’t have fun windows that we get to decorate, but it’s free and I can update it on my phone while the kids eat breakfast. Today, I launch my online store:

Emeline Villedary Studio

original art and products for the inspired home.


There will be kinks to iron out, I’m sure, but I’m really happy to have taken the leap and pushed this thing forward, even if the sales tally to zero!

So while I have about 65 other posts I want to write, I thought maybe I should get this one published and then strike it off of bullet list!

Also, I wanted to say that you all have supported me tremendously throughout a lot of my projects and without your comments, your texts and your open ears to all my babbling, I really wouldn’t have the balls (let’s be honest) to do any of this.

So, am I ready?

Absolutely not. But today is as good a day as any.

You can shop https://emeline-villedary-studios.myshopify.com/, and email me at artvilleinteriors@gmail.com if you have any questions about shipping or delivery or anything at all.




Blast Off…

Modern Ceramics and Prints

Hey ladies!

A few weeks ago, I joined a pottery class over at BeardBangs Ceramics, a pottery cooperative in Saint-Henri.

Happy Cat Face Mug in Turquoise with Black Polka Dots on interior - cute, handmade pottery, made in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

{Happy Cat Face Mug 44$)

The studio is lovely and just made to make a mess and if you haven’t done pottery on the wheel before, let me tell you, it’s messy. And hard, and amazing and tactile and just a wonderful way to change your headspace on a weekday evening or weekend.  As all other creative ventures, it gives you the opportunity to connect to something outside of yourself and totally let go.

The process is not easy, and is super intimidating, but the mission of the coop is to make it accessible, by offering memberships and affordable workshops. It’s really exciting to have a space like this… now if only they had a sewing machine…😉

Most daunting for me is the vastness of the possibilities. I admire people like Emily Jeffords or Alicia of Beardbangs who have a clear aesthetic direction and have a distinct style that can immediately be recognized.

So since my mission for the pottery class is to a) learn and b) make shit, I need to come up with ideas for the glazing of the pieces (mainly bowls and cups) and I’m toying between two directions

Image of Hand Painted Ceramic Platter 6 Summer 2016 Series

martinich and carran plates



sydney collective plates

{marimekko for Target}

My idea is to make breakfast sets ( a mug and a shallow bowl/plate) and bowls for here and maybe a few extra to gift. I’ve decided that in order to try and stay focused, my art stuff needs to be painterly, feminine and bold.

Ideally, for all of my stuff to work togehter, each item needs to comply to each adjective:


{Vicky: she hits all three- feminine, bold and painterly}


{Landscape: same.. painterly, bold and I will argue it’s feminine attributes… although it’s a bit of a stretch!

So there you have it, my mini adventure in pottery begins. In terms of difficulty, it takes some finesse of the hands, which I’m a bit rusty at, but is similar to that of the handling of fabric on the sewing machine. Obviously it’s MUCH harder, but I think with practice I could do something not half terrible.


I expensive DIY teacher gift : floral bath salts 

I have been the lucky recipient of wonderful teacher gifts during my time at Curzon Cooperative Preschool and now I have a newfound appreciation for gifting on my end. 
At Christmas time we made candles that were kind of a hot mess, but the kids were really excited about them. Now that it’s 30+ degrees and my children have been abducted by mollusk zombies who lie around and read comic books at every waking hour, I knew I couldn’t really count on them. 

Booze? Coffee? What to give these people who work REALLY hard? I thought long and hard about what I didn’t want to give  and then I found a great Epsom salt recipe on pop*sugar and realized I had almost all the ingredients and my inner lazy person surfaced and I decided. 

Whether or not they are bath people, I’ve sat on and decided it was not a consideration I was willing to make right now. 

Bath Salts it is!
(I tripled the recipe for 4 teachers) 

1 cup epsom salts 1 cup baking soda 

1/2 cup powdered milk 

Cookie sheet of dried rose/peony petals (I left me out for 3 days) 

Essential oils: grapefruit, geranium, lavender (you can play around with this to get the blend you want!) 

I mixed all the dry ingredients and then sprinkled the petals with the oils and then crumpled them up and mixed them in with the salts.  

I scooped them into mason jars and ta-da! 


 The end of school is my implosion moment, so anything that can make my life simpler AND I enjoy doing? Done. 

 I think because I do so much running around for work that when it comes to these things, I will do and or make anything to avoid another trip to the store. I did but the powdered milk (who has that??). 

I’ve done gift cards in the past, and loved receiving them, but there just aren’t that many businesses here in Rigaud that you can use them in, apart from Tim’s… Which I’m avoiding due to my addiction to their breakfast sandwiches. 

(Documenting implosion)

Camp starts next week and it will be the race to find the sunscreens, bug sprays and towels! Seeing as my 10 year old lost his new Crocs for 4 days, I’m cringing at how this is all going to go down. 

Breathe into it, right?