things from secret minouette places

Toronto, Canada | 1191 Sales

Shop owner


Announcement   Block prints and housewares by minouette! Find a curiosity cabinet of natural history, science & scientists, myth, magic and more.

minouette is Captain of T.E.S.T.: Toronto Etsy Street Team, a leader of Printsy: Printmakers of Etsy and a proud member of the Mad Scientists of Etsy.


Last updated on 15 Oct, 2016

Block prints and housewares by minouette! Find a curiosity cabinet of natural history, science & scientists, myth, magic and more.

minouette is Captain of T.E.S.T.: Toronto Etsy Street Team, a leader of Printsy: Printmakers of Etsy and a proud member of the Mad Scientists of Etsy.


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Happy birthday Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), father of microbiology! Find his portrait and more science microscope here
Check out my imaginary menagerie here or at Toronto Etsy Street Team gallery UnNatural History Show!
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Printmaking at the intersection of art and science

When I was younger, my favorite subjects were art on the one hand and physics on the other. I decided that it was easier to pursue art on my own than it would be to attempt to be a modern-day amateur scientist. So I opened my shop as a postdoctoral fellow, working as a marine geophysicist by day and printmaker by night. My work involved building machines and going to sea to image what is below the ocean floor, which kept the spatial-numerical left-half of my brain occupied, but I couldn't survive unless I kept the pictorial right-brain happy, so I need to create art. Right now, I balance my art-making with science communication, running the Toronto Etsy Street Team and raising my baby son.

I make a lot of different things. My shop, "things from secret minouette places" is filled with block prints on beautiful Japanese paper and on textiles. Part of the magic and beauty of printmaking is the possibility of making multiples. This allows me to create original art at a very reasonable price.

I focus mainly on linoleum block prints. The process begins with drawing an image in reverse on linoleum and carving away the negative space. I use a tool called a brayer (like a paint-roller) to apply ink to the lino block. Then I take my paper or fabric, lay it on the inked block, and burnish the image onto it with another tool called a baren. The baren was developed for Japanese woodblock prints. Mine consists of a flat, but textured, disk wrapped in a bamboo leaf. To make another image, I simply apply more ink to the block and repeat.

I also make things from the printed textiles, like pillows, stuffed animals and ornaments. Sometimes I make wood block prints (in the traditional Japanese 'moku hanga' way), screenprints (also known as silkscreen or serigraph prints) and lately, more multimedia work. I love the idea of combining my scientific and technical knowledge with my art making; I've begun incorporating some electronic circuits in my artwork to allow it to interact with the viewer, for instance by lighting up, changing colour or making sounds or music.

I think the intersection of art and science is fascinating and a creative inspiration. My subject matter includes a lot of natural history (flora and fauna, some of which I've had the pleasure of observing at sea), scientists and the history of science, and some myths and legends (which served, once upon a time, to explain the world around us, as a sort of proto-science). I'm really interested in Cabinets of Curiosity (or wonder - the wunderkammer) kept by avid amateurs from the Renaissance up until the 19th century. People had huge collections of natural wonders: rocks, gems, fossils, butterflies, shells, bones, all sorts of plants and animals, real and imaginary. Science and magic were still intertwined. These collections both fostered myth (such as narwhal horns passed off as unicorn) and the development of descriptive science (including geology, paleontology, botany and zoology). I think of my shop as a Cabinet of Curiosity. It's filled with specimens from natural history (with the odd harpy or unicorn thrown in for good measure).

Shop members

  • Ele Willoughby

    Owner, Maker, Designer

    Scientist by vocation, artist by avocation, or perhaps vice versa. Ele is both a marine geophysicist and a printmaker. She pursued courses in printmaking at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Open Studio and studied moku hanga Japanese wood block printing.

Shop policies

Last updated on 16 March, 2016
Welcome to minouette! Here you will find art, creatures and things for your home. Most items are made using printmaking techniques, primarily, relief printing using lino. An image is drawn and carved in reverse, the block is inked and burnished onto paper or fabric by hand. I use water-based inks, which are safer for the environment and the printmaker. I believe in reduce-reuse-recycle. Many items include upcycled vintage material and ephemera. Packaging is kept to a minimum and employs recycled material. Lino block prints are made primarily on handmade Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper; these papers are made from fibres in mulberry leaves which means fewer trees are harvested to produce this art.

Accepted payment methods

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Apple Pay
  • Klarna
  • Sofort
  • Ideal
  • Paypal
  • GiftcardAccepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
I gladly accept returns and exchanges
Contact me within: 14 days of delivery
Ship items back within: 30 days of delivery
I don't accept cancellations
But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.
The following items can't be returned or exchanged
Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:
  • Custom or personalised orders
  • Digital downloads
Returns and exchange details
Items may be returned in good condition, within 30 days, for a full refund or exchange. If there is any issue or concern with your purchase, please contact me!
minouette currently accepts payment via credit card, debit card, Etsy giftcards and Paypal. Payment is appreciated when you select an item- please be sure to complete all steps. Items will be shipped after payment is received. Prices are as listed and no additional taxes will be collected by the shop.

minouette does ship internationally. International shoppers are responsible for any taxes and duties charged by their nation's Customs officials.
Most listings will ship within 1 - 2 business days (see details in each listing). Domestic orders ship surface mail and international orders ship air mail. Delivery standards are typically 4 to 14 business days.

International shoppers are responsible for any taxes and duties charged by their nation's Customs officials. Please be advised that occasionally, items shipped internationally can be delayed by Customs for as much as a few weeks. Thus sadly, minouette cannot guarantee delivery times.

minouette does guaruntee you will receive your purchase; in the unlikely event a package is lost, the contents will be replaced or the sale refund.

If you encounter any difficulty with the shipment of your package please contact me!
Additional policies and FAQs
If you are interested in a custom order, please contact me via etsy convo. Customers are welcome to contact me at any time.

Please be advised that some stuffed animals and pillows are embellished with small items, like buttons and beads, which can be choking hazards. These items should not be given to infants, toddlers or pets who might gnaw on them. Any item with buttons or beads will be clearly identified in its description and in the materials list. If you would like buttons and beads removed for safety reasons, please let me know. You may also request a similar item, without such embellishment.

More information

Last updated on 16 Mar, 2016
Seller details
Ele Willoughby
580 Coxwell Ave