About crittersandtales

This site is about the work of Folk Artist Molly Forsythe and Word Smith Emmet Forsythe Cameron.

Paper Clay Ornaments and Pins

My this years experimenting has been with paper clay. It has fibres that makes it less likely to crack when making large tiles. It is also lighter weight, so thought it was a good option for brooches , ornaments and earrings. I have found that it does not break, when I drop items, and it is nicely lighter.

The way the clay is porous makes it very different with glazes and underglazes. I feel that I need to seal the clay, after it has been fired, so my work feels more multi- media. I use acrylics and tile sealants to colour and seal the work after firing. Here are my recent pins:

A selection of ornaments:

The tiles I made in the spring, used this same clay. And I am enjoying some of the qualities, particularly of the Laguna B Mix, paper clay. I did try throwing with the different bodies, they all feel “flat” – and do not give the pleasure of throwing on the wheel, to my mind.

Through Our Eyes Show

Highland artists Greta McDonald, Deb Shea and Molly Forsythe join together to reflect the world as they see it in this exhibit running in Dean Hall at MERA Schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners, Ontario during the month of March.

Vernissage to take place Saturday March 10th from 1 to 4 pm. The show will be on display until the end of the month.

Greta McDonald is known for her paintings which depict birds and animals in colourful surroundings injected with elements of fantasy and bright patterns.

Deb Shea paints from a place of serenity in landscapes from around Lanark Highlands and other environments while reflecting her emotional connection to the place executed.

Molly Forsythe follows musicians, birds, and boats in Lanark Highlands and Cape Breton through her relief tiles.”

Wall Tiles of Musician’s from the Highlands of Ontario and Nova Scotia:





Black Friday – The Artisan’s Dilemma

Ah Black Friday. The biggest shopping day of the year in the US, which Canadians are trying to emulate. So many feelings. I am not a lover of commercialism.  That said – I love supporting the arts – from theatre, to concerts, to the visual arts to your local busker. In this world of buy less… those that are the most effected are local artisians.

Many of us have phone and internet accounts with large data limits. These electronics take a good bit of change. These companies are often advertising us on there latest tech. items… to take us to brave new worlds. On shrinking incomes, these accounts and devices take more and more of the pie.

Facebook, Netflix, Messenger also take more of our time and energy. I certainly have to make concious decisions to walk outside and breath in the fresh air, let alone taking time to go to local concerts and shows.

In the midst of this we are encouraged to buy nothing… to do more simple holidays with family and friends. The impact of this is not less tech devices … or Walmart goods. Where one sees the impact is art and craft shows. It means that fewer artisans are able to make a living. So I challenge myself and each of you to buy some art this holiday season.

This was started to talk about one of my favourite little artisan craft shows that is celebrating it’s 24th year in Perth, on Dec. 2nd. – The Nick of Time Artisan Craft Show. 10 – 3 in McMartin house – before the night parade. I have fond memories of Amanda Lewis doing Caligraphy Tree Ornaments in this show. Last year there were Tie Died Sneakers… It is a show full of delightful surprises… as well as being able to buy shortbread and support The Steven Lewis Foundation – Granny to Granny project, purchase candles and chocolate for the season.

The next day there is a new show – The Biggest Little Christmas Market in Middleville Community Center, in the Lanark Highlands from 10 – 4, complete with Children’s craft table, Santa… really a whole community event.

Which is the other part of these shows – they are part of building community.

So I challenge each of you to go out to some local arts and crafts markets this season. Feel free to buy something you find charming, and support your community and your local artisans.


Critters and Tales Live

It’s Calendar Season –

The 2018 Emmet Calendar is now available. Plus lots of exciting new work.

Craft Sale at McMartin House in Perth, ON before Parade



Nick of Time
December 2nd 2017
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
McMartin House Gore Street, Perth, Ontario
Come and pick up some great gifts before the Christmas Parade. From fine chocolate, locally made jam, children’s clothes and more.

… From a recent FB post:

Finally put 1 of the button machines I was given a month ago to work last night, in time for the One & Only craft fair in Ottawa this Saturday.

These will also be available at the Nick of Time show in Perth Dec. 2nd — & I hope to have time to create more designs by then. – Emmet

Plus other new work…

The Art of Selling on line and surviving

Seems a bit silly to start a blog to deal with my anxiety about trying to sell on the internet… but here I go.
I have been trying to sell, or rather mostly not selling on ETSY since July 2016. I put a great deal of time into focusing on why folks would want to buy my stuff… creating decriptions and tags…. cleaning up descriptions and tags. Photographing my work, and re-photographing to change the look.
I have also invested in advertising via both Google and ETSY to try to promote both my ETSY site and individual listings.
I have thought about what need my beloved critters are solving for the consumer.
Lets get up close to one critter and see what they have to say for themselves.
” Ah – on line life.. Oh to be a bear lumbering thru the wood looking for a bit of honey, or sitting in someone’s room enjoying being in the company of other art-i-facts. But somehow I am stuck in cyberspace. Flatened and put into digital code. “
And indeed I often feel like my bears. Trapped in an on-line world, with images flashing past. A world of chaos, that it infact in opposition with the whole concept of ceramic folk art.  It must be taken in small doses.. and indeed not to be taken too seriously. It is good to have an on-line presence…. if one can manage to not let it overtake ones time.
Art is only about 20% creation. The cleaning of one’s studio and kiln. The making of glazes. The bookwork, and accounting end of life, all take time. The on-line world is just one marketing and selling medium. Data entry and photos to do that marketing just one part of that marketing. It is part of why most work sold on line is re-selling, not creating an selling. It has an art all it’s own. And one should be aware that original work is not easy to sell on line.
It is all about balancing “the life of a bear” with the marketing and design. Sometimes one spends too long in front of the computer… and that is just as dangerous to ones artwork as overworking a painting, or a relief tile.
So – take a walk. For me the ocean is out my door and there are berries to pick and jam to make. No bees to battle for honey., I have it easier than your average bear!
Polar Bear

1 inch Miniature Bears

Creating jewelry cards and presentation boards.

Greetings folks, Molly here.
I am going to share my marketing ideas, in the next few posts. In September I talked about doing on-line photography pictures, on a shoe string. Today I am going to talk about presenting work at shows, pop-up stores or for consignment shops.
This spring developed jewelry cards – that would show off the critters, more than the generic cards I had been using.
Find on ETSY: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/467784322/hand-sculpted-miniature-bluebird?ref=shop_home_active_29

Bluebird of happiness earrings

I then found some old oak boards in the basement and persuaded my better half to help me make them into boards to fit the cards in.


New Jewelry cards and boards with slots to present them on.
Much better than the old cards:
Old Cards

Caribou Earrings on old jewelry cards

Old generic earring cards, that I put in white cardboard boxes.
This was a dated look, did not highlight the funky pleasure of the earrings and charms, and was more expensive.
I can get these printed off at Staples on card stock, on an as need bases, instead of investing in hundreds of cards and boxes. That I still have around, and think I should be using. The originals are plastic… and my new ones are on recycled paper… bonus!

The Magic of Relief

Carving for lines and depth.

Banjo Girl Relief Tile

I love taking a drawing, and sketching it out on a fresh slab of clay. I then draw the legs, bangos, etc, that I want to stand out an pop. I carve these out of a second stab, and attch then to the first drawing.
I then wrap it in plastic and let it meld overnight.
When the slab is a soft leather hard I start cutting away, smoothing the edges. In doing this I create undercuts that add depth. It means I can not recreate these tiles by making moulds and reproducing the same form.
I do use my first drawings to create more tiles, but they are never the same. Check out these wren tiles, that were done from the same first drawing:
For these I added an extra layer for the bird, and cut away around the tree.
After I have the basic shape I them paint the tiles with underglazes. I use techniques I learned doing egg tempra painting with pigment, and egg yolk on gessoed wooden boards, Ater painting with colour is good training for this work. A person in our studio has been studying watercolour and does amazing work for our local Empty Bowls project.
After I put 3-4 layers of colour on, I go away for a day. I come back and see if there is more underglaze work to do, or if areas would benift from having glazes painted on, that would add more depth of field.
The above tile uses glazes and underglazes on the colour layer.
I leave them for a day, and wax the back of the tile, and spray them with cone 6 clear feldspar glaze in my spray booth.
After they are completely bone dry, I once fire them in my kiln over 15 to 18 hours, to a high cone 5. This keeps the underglaze colours from fading and saves on energy and the environment.
I do NOT have higher warping/shrinkage/breakage rates by once firing.

Woodland Caribou

I have been sculpting Woodland Caribou since April of 2015 when I saw the gala at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa for Our Incredible world series on this noble beasts.

Woodland Boreal Caribou are an animal who have sustained life in the boreal forest region for centuries. When I learned about them I just wanted to share them with folks, so I made miniature critters,to use as an educational tool. To spark interest and conversation.

You can learn more about them by going to the Incredible World Website:   https://incredibleworld.ca/2017/woodland-caribou-series/
Our Incredible World is a educational project. This 6 part video series on Woodland Caribou is aimed for 4 – 7th graders with lesson plans. So great for home schoolers, teacher (there are lesson plans and more resources). A team of 2 teens go and talk to Cree Elders, Scientists and others. They learn about Woodland Caribou habitant. And You will, too. Yeah.
I am writing now because an important deadline is coming up for maintaining the Caribou’s habitant. To quote the David Suzuki foundation:

” In 2012, the federal government gave provinces and territories five years to develop range plans for each herd that show how ranges will be managed to effectively protect critical habitat. The recovery strategy identifies a minimum of 65 per cent undisturbed habitat in a range as the “disturbance management threshold,” which provides a 60 per cent chance of the local herd surviving.

The five-year deadline (October 5) for caribou range plans is coming up fast. And the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is now casting doubt on the science to further delay action!”   So click on the link below to write a letter.   http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/caribou



It is what inspired me to create the Caribou charms.
And if wearing this charm can inspire conversations about Boreal Forest, Woodland Caribou, saving habitants in the north, then awesome!  Half of the money from any purchase will go to the David Susuki foundation.

Here are the purchase links:

Woodland Caribou Charm

Woodland Caribou Earrings

Miniature are available by emailing me dirrectly at crittersandtales@gmail.com