Ages ago a friend of mine gave me some metal shavings for the purpose of remaking them into a bird’s nest. These shavings are actually called “bird’s nest shavings” because of the way they look and bunch together. I finally got around to weaving one together. It was trickier than I thought. The little shavings are very delicate and break easily if bent. It took me quite awhile to weave them into a decent shape. I’m sure the birds wouldn’t be impressed with my efforts but it made me appreciate even more what a work of art a true bird’s nest actually is. I think I might give it another go. You can see the real thing here. (The little egg-shaped rock is from my trip to Newfoundland this summer).
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All images © Karen McRae
Picture this. You are driving along a country road. It’s early in the morning and the sun is low in the sky filtering beautifully through the trees as you move along. You’re not in a hurry. You glance to the side and something catches your eye. Something hanging low on a tree almost glowing in the warm morning light. At first you’re not sure what you see but then you say quietly, “It’s a chicken”. And it is a chicken. It’s hanging by its feet from a low branch and it’s almost naked. Like the tree. There is a figure bending towards it removing the last few feathers. The light is perfect. So perfect it seems only natural that this is unfolding before you. And you realize that if you had your camera with you, you might have stopped and interrupted this scene, but you didn’t and now you have only words.
The Hintonburg area of Ottawa is crawling with hip new restaurants and one of the latest additions is the Back Lane Café. I got a chance to visit on the weekend and although it wasn’t for the food this trip, I will definitely be making a culinary visit in the near future.
I was there to photograph an interior design collaboration initiated by the owner George Monsour who recently returned to Ottawa from 6 years in Paris. My friends over at Rusty Nail Design were tasked with creating a charming time-worn interior in a completely stripped down shell.
“The intention with this restaurant was to combine the transparent and informal workings of a colonial bakery with the subtle sophistication of a classic Parisian cafe. These two elements were combined using original Canadian architectural items (see the facade over the bar). Recovered logs from the Rideau river milled for flooring, doors and iron work from turn of the century Canadian houses and post & beams from local barns.”
There certainly is a Parisian feel to the café but it also has more contemporary elements that give it a bit of a fresh edge. The custom concrete counter at the bar for example was finished to give it a look somewhat like aged metal with a lovely rich surface.
On Sunday the Rusty Nail crew were busy installing a new element to the interior, designed to help improve the acoustics.
A sound dampening material was essentially hidden inside some reclaimed shuttered window frames and mounted to the wall. This cuts down significantly on the space previously showcasing artwork but solves an important problem.
Rusty Nail called in another person to collaborate on this project. Artist Heather Snow contributed curly ironwork mounted to the front of each window. There is other iron work dotted around the café pulling all the elements together. (I will confess here that Heather Snow is my sister! She has recently become a welder which brings up her coolness factor significantly in my books)
You can find out more about these innovative artist/designers here:
Rusty Nail Design
The Back Lane Café is located at 1087 Wellington St. W.Ottawa, ON 613-695-2999 No website yet but they are on Twitter and the reviews are excellent! I also got a peek at the bright beautiful kitchen with lots of natural light and 2 specialty wood burning ovens. Can’t wait to try the food!
Thanks to everyone at The Back Lane Café, Rusty Nail Design and to Heather Snow! And thanks to Desire to Inspire for re-blogging my photos!
All images © Karen McRae