Sunday, November 1, 2009

A to Z Organically!

The same talented artist that did my custom image for After the Harvest has come out with a fantastic book - which happens to be all hand painted -- that teaches children the alphabet using food!

Yes, this artist is none other than my very own sister, Wendy Heagney-Bakewell of Tiny Brushstrokes, and however biased I may be, I think the idea of an alphabet book using food is genius! The fact that it is hand painted really sets it aside from other books, and it teaches children about real food! None of that K is for Kraft Dinner, or M is for McDonald's nonsense, this artist has a real connection to real food.

I recently had a chance to catch up with Wendy at the Hoopla show in Toronto where Canadian artisans sell items for parents and children, and she told me more about the book and about her own favourite foods!

After the Harvest (ATH): What inspired you to create A to Z Organically?

Tiny Brushstrokes (TB): I wanted to paint a picture book for kids and thought that an alphabet book would be a great theme for my entry into bookmaking. As I strive to make my art accessible, sharing my paintings through a painted alphabet made sense. I chose a foodie theme because I like to depict food through paint and I wanted to help introduce healthy foods to little ones while they learn the alphabet.

ATH: Did you discover any foods that you weren't aware of before the book?

TB: Yes, I discovered the fruit quince. I also discovered that there are a lot of foods that start with the letter p and not enough with the letter x!

ATH: What is unique to your book as opposed to other alphabet books?

TB: What's unique about A-Z Organically over other alphabet books is its promotion of healthy eating, also the fact that each page features original acrylic paintings. Lots of alphabet books have an animal theme shown through computer generated imagery. I remember books of my childhood with paintings and drawings and I want to bring back the painted image again for kids within today's world of computer generated imagery.

ATH: What's upcoming in the world of Tiny Brushstrokes?

TB: Recently I raised money for Unicef by selling my hand-painted Halloween bags. This winter, I will be returning to the One of a Kind Show and Sale in Toronto from December 1st to 6th. I am also planning a 2nd book for 2010!

ATH: What are some of your own favourites when it comes to food and drink?

TB: My favourites include: red wine and appetizers (especially my favourite recipe of goat cheese/mushroom/leek/pancetta tartlets); pastas and pizzas (favourite ingredients being mushrooms, roasted peppers and spinach); and a really good steak, (topped with mushrooms, of course); followed by coffee and chocolate!

A-Z Organically can be ordered online by emailing Wendy at, or you can pick one up at the One of a Kind Show if you're in Toronto! Very soon you will also be able to order the book through the new Tiny Brushstokes website,

Like I said, I'm biased, but I also think a hand-painted book featuring real food is a win-win for parents and children alike!

Keep up with Wendy at her blog, Tiny Brushstrokes.


  1. One question each book handcrafted? Are they print-on-demand? I love Wendy's drawing style, very warm and inviting. Just enough whimsy to be dreamy, just enough detail to make me believe I could jump in and chow down.

    (also, wow, what a great family)

  2. Thanks, Brian! The books are in print and ready to go, created from the original paintings. Thanks for pointing that out!