PRESS HOME -Collecting my thoughts

New work idea : Mother piano

Photo: Paul Litherland   My partner Paul inherited this piano in 2009 from his mother. A Steinway, built in Hamburg, Germany in 1937, it was purchased by her mother in Belfast, Ireland and sent to her sometime in the sixties to Vancouver where they lived. Paul’s grandmother was a well-known and respected piano teacher in Belfast. As a child, I had a strong love-hate relationship to the piano. I took music lessons for many years and despite the fact that I rarely practiced, I managed to learn the basics. My mother played the piano and sang.  She probably taught me […]

Turn & Return, Faire et refaire, Exhibition/Exposition : Tokyo

The exhibition, Turn and Return, Faire et refaire, was held at the Prince Takamado Gallery in the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo from November 27th 2015 to January 28th 2016. The work went up smoothly and quickly with the help of the crew from Tokyo Studio. Here are a few images of the exhibition being installed. For a more comprehensive look at the work in the show, please consult the exhibitions page.

Planning page for Turn and Return, Faire et refaire : Bertrand-Hamel, Trask & Yanai Prince Takamado Gallery, Canadian Embassy, Tokyo (English Press Release- see below) Communiqué de Presse : Faire et refaire Du 27 novembre 2015 au 28 janvier 2016 Galerie Prince Takamado de l’Ambassade du Canada L’Ambassade du Canada est heureuse de présenter une exposition réunissant trois artistes qui explorent le papier comme matière et comme métaphore à sa Galerie Prince Takamado. Basée à Montréal, Sarah Bertrand-Hamel dessine et fabrique des papiers, que souvent elle assemble en les cousant. Fascinée par l’impermanence et la singularité, elle crée des images qu’elle répète, réinterprète, fragmente et recompose. Elle s’intéresse à la transition, […]

Small Gardens

In Japan, the smallest of gardens burst at the seams of impossibly tiny spaces. Everywhere, potted plants lean precariously, making me imagine that the first mad-old-woman-house-plant-gardener must have been born in Japan. I also imagine, that because of the flowers and greenery spilling into the streets, more people remain sane in a city full of concrete, bricks and asphalt. They certainly made me smile.


I don’t know how else to name this tendency towards what I choose to call “cuteness” that is so evident everywhere. I am sure Freud would have found some inverted, projected, sublimated subversion as explanation. Dangerous situations are constantly illustrated with large-eyed comic-book type characters. Yoshitomo Nara, the Japanese painter catches perfectly the angst and nastiness potentially hiding behind cuteness.

One very big sheet of paper and the man-machine that made it

In late April, Paul and I were invited by Tsuguo Yanai to go with him to the small papermaking village, Nishijima in the Saitama Prefecture, near the city of Kofu. I had met Yanai-san in February through Emiko. He took me on a tour of some of the galleries in Ginza and later, I visited his studio in Hanno.  In April, we were both busy preparing for our exhibitions that would be held in May (for me) and in June (for Yanai-san).  We both needed kozo pulp for our work and he arranged a visit to the Yamaju Seishi Papermill. […]

A Floating Bridge of Dreams

I have never found coming home easy. Something about change makes the adjustment period hard and a part of me would prefer to just keep moving on instead of stopping. So, I was happy to arrive in Montreal without having managed to finish reading one of the two books I had brought with me. And little wonder I hadn’t finished; it is Murasaki Shikibu’s one-thousand-page-plus novel, The Tale of Genji.  I saw the book as a bridge – a bridge connecting me to where I had just come from: another time and another world – a culture and people I […]

Making Paper Thread at Kami no Sato with Seiki Kikuchi

In early May, Emiko arranged an amazing afternoon with Seiki Kikouchi at his family papermaking studio, Kami no Sato. Kikuchi-san had agreed to show us how he makes paper thread. It was an hour or so journey north of Tokyo by train, through Mino to Nishinouchi and a 5 minute walk to the studio. The studio is a large rambling building on the side of the highway. We entered through the gallery space of the store and were led to a smaller room to the side. Kikuchi-san invited us to sit and coffee was brought; we talked before being […]

Exhibitions and artwork I’ve enjoyed

(this posting is still in process) Here, I am making a list of some of the interesting exhibitions and work that I’ve seen. The Tokyo National Library is just around the corner from my apartment and they have a wonderful little gallery. They happened to be showing the famous Chōjū-giga or known in English as the Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and is attributed to Toba Sōjō. This work is considered to be the beginnings of manga.The drawing is breathtakingly simple and gorgeous! The exhibition was really well put together with contemporary manga and other books and illustrations accompanying the scrolls. […]


There is probably nothing I can say about Hiroshima that has not already been said. I can only respond with my personal feelings. Everyone should go there. And when I say everyone, I mean if everyone in the whole world made a point of visiting Hiroshima, maybe the desire for nuclear weapons would be dampened. You cannot stand by the remains of the Dome, cross the river and walk up through the vast Hiroshima Peace Memorial park and visit the Memorial Museum without imagining how it must have been, seconds before the bomb landed, and all the time since. For […]