ART SPOTLIGHT ON GABRIELLE BURKE OF G CERAMIC & CO.

The trifecta of form & function, design & aesthetics and human interaction creates a beautiful- yet often unknowing - relationship that each of us engage in every day. The objects that appeal to us and are invited to serve their purpose in our homes become the pillars of our daily experiences; the furnishings, art, and accessories we choose shape not only the visual elements of everyday life, but the functional way we live as well. 

It is this relationship that inspired ceramicist and Emily Carr graduate, Gabrielle Burke, to pursue her passion and create G Ceramic & Co. , a collection of artisan tableware and accessories handmade in the heart of Vancouver. “I love that people have an intimate relationship with the objects. They pick them up and fondle them. They allow that mug to touch their lips as they sip on their morning coffee//tea everyday. The objects are thoughtful, they have meaning.”

Burke has been invited to participate in this year’s ADDRESS, an annual, curated platform to showcase art and design from over 30 of the Pacific Northwest’s most elite designer/makers hosted by Kate Duncan; the four day limited engagement is taking place from Thursday, May 25th through Sunday, May 28. Tickets can be purchased online HERE.

Gabrielle is also welcoming Vancouver’s creative community and public to the G Ceramic & Co. Open House and Studio Launch Thursday May 18 from 7-10pm at her new digs in The Beaumont Studios at 316 & 326 West 5th Ave.

Tell us a little about yourself. 
I'm a hopeless romantic. I love the idea of designing our lives. Exploring howwe curate a life of beautiful people, things and experiences that create our perception of the world around us.

How did you get started in your craft and what led you to where you are now? I had drawn and painted for years but always felt something was missing. I never felt fully satisfied. I was also wanting to go to Art School- so I thought I'd take a ceramics class to flesh or my portfolio. I was the worst in my class. Everything I made blew up, cracked or simply didn't work. I ended up taking the course again the next term as I needed another elective, and one day I sat down at the wheel and everything clicked. I learned how to touch and understand in a different way. I've never questioned it since. 

Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything?
I collect mugs. I rarely drink out of one of my own mugs. I feel like using a handmade item is almost like having a conversation with the person who made it. Who wants to talk to yourself all the time? I love supporting other artists (I was a board member of the BC Potter's Guild for 5 years.) The sad thing is I keep breaking them (handwash and dry only!) which is bittersweet as I then get to buy new ones! 

Artistically, what is your favourite part of the city?
All of it. I notice the little things. The old bricks coming through the pavement on Victoria Drive and Powell St. The texture of the shingles on old kitsilano houses. The intricate designs on the bay Center and the Fairmont. I want to do a line of cast work that uses textures from different neighbourhoods- if there are some really amazing ones anywhere in the city I'd love to know! 

LOCAL LOVE FOR MOM: THE BEST OF SHOPPING LOCAL FOR MOTHER'S DAY

With Mother’s Day just a few days away, most of us are in the thick of the scramble to find that perfect gift to let Mom know how special she is. This year rather than opting for the generic, we’ve rounded up five stellar locally-sourced gifts that are as unique as your mom; from functional ceramics to decor and greenery to the ultimate in beautiful relaxation, here are your best bets for an A+ offering for Mother’s Day.

1. GHOST MOUNTAIN CO CERAMICS. Available at http://www.ghostmountain.co; pricing varies.

Flashback to when you were a kid and handmade your mom’s most treasured Mother’s Day gifts, Ghost Mountain Co. offers the grown-up version with a small line of handmade ceramics that Mom is sure to love. With various collections of functional pieces like mugs, serving ware and vases, local artist Simone Littledale brings her love for nature to each piece, drawing inspiration from witchcraft, wilderness, heritage, and mysticism.

2. PIPE DREAM CREATIVE HIMMELIS. Available at www.pipedreamcreative.ca; $32 - $66.

Pipe Dream Creative brings the Swedish art of geometric mobiles to modern decor; originally used as charms for good luck on Swedish farms, the brass creations are the perfect gift of well wishes for mom with a handcrafted appeal. The Himmelis offer a beautiful addition to any space, whether used on their own as decor or as a creative vessel for air plants.

3. BARE SKIN BAR BATH BARS. Available at Walrus Home, Neighbourhood Quality Goods and a pop up from May 13 - 22 at Little Mountain Space ; $24 per box of 4.

A local alternative to the ‘bath bomb craze’, Bare Skin bath bars offer Mom the ultimate in luxurious relaxation while amping up her powder room style. Using simple, natural, effective ingredients and essential oils, the bars give an effervescent bath experience, neatly packaged into stellar looking ‘bars’ that look just as awesome before use as they do while creating the ultimate bath water.  Local artisan Cynthia Cyr created four different ‘bar experiences’: Calming Bars (featuring rose clay, cocoa butter, himalayan sea salt, lavender essential oil), Detoxification Bars (featuring kaolin clay, coconut oil, sea salt, lemon essential oil), Restoring Bars (featuring fuller's earth clay, hempseed oil, epsom salt, and eucalyptus essential oil), and Softening Bars (featuring kaolin clay, colloidal oatmeal, coconut milk, shea butter, and lavender essential oil).

4. WOODLOT ‘’AMOUR’ SOAP, CANDLES, ROSE & PAOLO SANTO SPRAY. Available at www.shopwoodlot.com; pricing varies.

If you’re looking to truly pamper Mom for Mother’s Day, don’t forget about ambiance. Designed with a simplistically chic aesthetic that brings a beautiful feel to any room, Woodlot offers candles, room and body sprays and soaps to delight Mom’s senses; the brand has created a variety of scents within their candles and soaps designed for whatever your mom is into, from florals to woodsy to uplifting. 

5. SIMPLY NEGLECTABLE HANGING SUCCULENTS. Available at The Eastside Flea,  1024 Main Street; $15 - $25.

While the automatic go-to gift for Mother’s Day is the standard bouquet of flowers, this year show Mom a little creativity with a stylish alternative. Simply Neglectalbe, is a local company that offers a variety of succulents and unique green groupings. The brand recently launched their line of hanging gardens, knows as Kokedama (Japanese for moss string ball), which make adorably unexpected gifts; The hanging balls are wrapped in rope fornatural appeal, and offer a number of different succulents or cacti to suit Mom’s taste. The best part? These little gems are beyond easy to care for - when they feel light, it’s time to soak them. This gift truly is ‘simply neglectable’. 

ART SPOTLIGHT ON DANIELLE HARDY OF URBANWALLS

My favourite aspect of modern decor is the appreciation for individuality and personality within design. Long gone are the days when everyone coveted the same style and strived to achieve a cookie-cutter aesthetic; now, we seek to share a little of ourselves within the designs we choose and source out brands and decor finds that grant us that freedom. 

Established in 2007 by Danielle Hardy (a local graphic designer turned stay at home mom turned creative entrepreneur), Urbanwalls has become an artistic outlet for people looking to explore unique decor within their spaces. The company designs easy to use, peel and stickwall decals as an ideal (and totally move-and-remove-able) alternative to traditional wallpaper. Not only offering a huge library of their own designs, custom options are also available for the more adventurous client. 

The brand has partnered with a handful of local creative influencers like Leah Alexandra, Erin Sousa and Monika Hibbs to create collaboration collections that are also for sale. My favourite endeavour that Urbanwalls has embarked on is The Creative Collection, through which the brand is partnering with different local artists to create their own collections- one of my favourite artists, Dana Mooney, will be kicking off The Creative Collection, which is set to launch in the next few months. 

How did you get started in your decal design business and what led you to where you are now? 
In 2009, after the birth of my second son, I was searching for a creative outlet where I could put 10 years of graphic design and print experience to work. As a stay-at-home mom with a husband who often traveled, I didn’t have a ton of spare time… but I did have nights and a rather large cutter taking up space in the garage. On a whim, I decided to design a few wall decals―decals that I would actually want to hang in my own home, nothing tacky or dated. After experimenting with the cutter to create my own designs, I listed a few on Etsy. Maybe others were searching for a way to make their homes a little brighter, their spaces more individualized? I woke up the next morning with my first sale and I thought, “Well… I guess it’s time to invest in some vinyl.”

If you could describe your artistic style in one word, what would it be?
Freeform - this is the complete foundation of Urbanwalls. there are no rules. With each install we create for content, or a customer creates in their own space, the finished product ALWAYS looks unique and different. It’s what we pride our business on: being your own designer!

Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry? 
I want our business to be a source of inspiration and practical help. So many people that follow along say "I could never do that" or "I'm not creative enough" and I think that our decals can be something that brings out the creativity of DIY’ing your perfect space. Thanks to the online world (hello, Instagram) inspiration is always around the corner, and more people will be looking for DIY décor solutions, which our decals fit perfectly into.

How would you describe Vancouver’s artistic/creative community?
I love Vancouver because it’s filled with amazing people that love to collaborate and see the value of working together to make a project amazing. When everybody comes together and brings their gifts and talents to the table, magic happens and everybody walks away a winner. Vancouver is filled with people that value collaboration over competition.

 

 

C'MON BABY LIGHT MY FIRE

When you’re setting the stage for the ultimate soiree, the details you choose as a host will set the tone for the event. With last week’s Designer Files, we chatted about the importance ofa stellar tabletop for fresh entertaining. Equally as important in creating the ambiance of your event is lighting. While I love discussing traditional interior light sources (admittedly, I’m a total sucker for a statement lamp), one of the hottest ways to introduce light to your night this year is the fireplace.

Last week design superstar Amanda Forrest hit Vancouver to host an event in collaboration with Dimplex to showcase some of the freshest designs the line has to offer. Held at local go-to for fireplaces, Fireplaces Unlimited (1991 Main Street), Amanda unveiled this year’s most innovative designs and how she loves to work them into any space. While fireplaces may seem out-of-bounds for those of us in condos or rentals, the event shed light on a number of options that are easy to install and electric (read: permit/ strata/ landlord approval free). For this week’s Five Finds, I’m sharing my top five standouts from the event, both for indoor and outdoor entertaining. 

1. The Dimplex Opti-Myst:
One of the big showstoppers from the preview event was the Opti-Myst. From first glance it appears to look like a natural smouldering flame, this electric piece surprises as it is actually a water based flame. The unit uses water to illuminate, and as the mist rises through the bed, light reflects against the water molecules to give the illusion of fire and smoke. A few drops of essential oils into the refillable water basin, and you’ve got yourself the chicest diffuser on the market!

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2. The Dekko Fire Bowl:
When it comes to outdoor entertaining, fire bowls are the ultimate essential. Available in a variety of sizes, concrete finishes and palettes, these lightweight, portable pieces create both ambiance and warmth. Whether for a patio party or backyard bash, the fire bowl is the spot where friends love to gather. 

3. The Dimplex Charlotte Media Console:
As a designer, I have to admit this one was my fave. The Charlotte offers everything I love in a furnishing piece: portability, flexibility and storage all wrapped up in a chic high gloss white design. Another electric option from Dimplex, the Charlotte console comes fully assembled, and not only offers the beauty of the fireplace (which can heat up to 1000 sq ft with the Multi-fire XD flame) but also open storage to display your decor vignettes. It couldn’t be simpler to make a statement with the Charlotte - its as easy as unbox, set in place and plug in.

4. The Montigo PL42 One:
New to the market, this built-in outdoor fireplace is unique as it doesn’t require venting, giving it a much more streamlined presence. The design also allows non-combustable materials to be built right to the fireplace front, rather than some traditional pieces that must have a larger metal trim for fire safety; even wood panelling can be used as the finishing surround, which has been a major design trend for fireplaces this year. 

5. The Dimplex IgniteXL:
The IgniteXL is the premium piece from the electric collection, boasting the greatest flexibility in its design. Available in a variety of lengths up to 100 inches, this sleek linear fireplace is an easy alternative to the built-in gas fireplaces yet offers the same wow-factor appeal. This piece boasts panoramic fire that can be adjusted for less flame or more flame, has multiple stone or driftwood styling options and offers LED lighting with multiple colours giving you complete control of the ambiance it sets.

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PRESIDENT'S CHOICE NAILS SUPER STYLE FOR SPRING

When I’m on the hunt for fun new finds to create a seasonal decor refresh, I have my roster of favourite shops to hit up for inspiration and it’s not often that I’m surprised by a new retailer for great scores at a reasonable price. However, I recently attended the ‘Spring into Summer’ event with The Real Canadian Superstore where the brand previewed their fresh new Spring/ Summer home collection. Prior to the event, the store hadn’t been on my radar as a go-to for stellar home decor finds - to be honest, I hadn’t realized that the brand even carried such an extensive collection of pieces for decor and everyday entertaining. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see a large number of on-trend pieces for all areas of the home, and I was even more impressed to discover the ultra approachable price points the products are being offered at (ie: a gold rimmed rocks glass with playful motifs runs at $4!). I definitely fell for a few of the pieces that my guests can expect to see the next time they join me for dinner or patio soiree, and I love that it won’t break the bank to get a stellar setup for indoor/ outdoor tabletop styling.

The most notable details about the collection are bright colours and bold patterns - two things that always make any space instantly feel like Spring. There are a few design capsules within the collection, but I personally think the strongest element is the tropical vibe; while palm trees, pineapples and flamingos ruled high end design last year, this Spring the motifs have found their place with mainstream consumers. 

The tropical palette offers a variety of greens to bring to the table, which lends itself to both softer Spring greens as well as this years hottest colour, emerald green, that we have seen take over Pinterest feeds for everything from wallpaper to sofas for 2017. The greens pop against the other brights, which include a hot pink and bright yellow, and the complimentary colourways mean that all the pieces can easily be mixed and matched together for an easy and playful appeal.

Overall, I was most impressed with the attention the brand has put forward to creating continuity within their product lineup for a cohesive design no matter which pieces you choose. Right down to the food you put on the tropical dishes, the colours and overall feel of every new product for the season jive together; at the event, there was a PC Coconut Matcha Green Tea cheesecake served upon the palms platter that showcased the same greens and a PC Golden Beet Slaw that colour coordinated perfectly with the flamingo and pineapple patterns; as a designer, I loved that having food to colour match the servingware created a super chic yet totally easy “finished” look to the table. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out, I just discovered how to look like the hostess with the mostess on a budget!

DESIGNED FOR LIVING WITH SPADE & POINTER

When you mix a creative eye with a green thumb, the beauty of nature is brought to life. Joy Leimanis, Founder and Designer at Spade & Pointer, has channeled her passion for plants into creating a collection of succulents and planters to bring life into home decor. Aptly named after her two loves - her gardening tools and her dogs (Pointers, of course) - Joy has created a business in Spade & Pointer where she can share the art of greenery with her fellow urbanites. 

1. Tell us a little about yourself... 
My name is Joy Leimanis and I'm a Vancouver local with a passion for entertaining and beautiful things.  I work as a project manager by day, greenery designer by night; I create potted succulent art to fulfill my need to be in touch with nature, and bring an approachable element of that to our urban lives. When I'm not at work I'm either in the garden, out exploring the city or hiking on one of local mountains.

2. How did you get started and what led you to where you are now? 
Greenery has always been my passion. Throughout high school and university I worked in garden centres and learned a lot from my time there.  It also helps that my husband works in the landscape industry, so having a home filled with plants is normal for us.  I've always loved creating beautiful planters and just recently, with encouragement from friends and family, I turned this passion into something more.

3. Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry?  
I think that succulents are going to continue to be huge inhome decor because they are such an easy-to-care-for plant and they fit in well with the modern aesthetic.  All you really need to keep them alive is a bright south facing window and a bit of water every few weeks. I also see people continuing to seek out handmade groupings that have been designed to work together - visually, they are an artistic addition to a space, but also adds a local, personalized element rather than just something picked up at the nursery.

4. What is your favourite creative website? 
Succulents seem to still be on trend for weddings and, strangely enough, because of that fact I find a lot of inspiration from wedding websites like Green Wedding Shoes and Style Me Pretty.  They are a great resource for plant colour combinations and inspiration for incorporating other materials like driftwood and precious stones.

5. Artistically, what is your favourite part of the city? 
I've always felt inspired after a trip to Granville Island.  The bustle of the market, the colours and smells inspire me to create. I think it's seeing all the raw ingredients just waiting to be combined to become something more. 

TAKE A (CHIC) SEAT

With the fresh vibes of Spring settling in, we are rejuvenated from Winter hibernation and are ready to get back into full swing entertaining. The new season brings with it the urge to refresh our spaces, and the entertaining decor is no exception. Swapping out your seating is one of the easiest - and often cost effective - ways to add an instant update to the room, whether you go for a matching set of seats or opt for a mismatched selection. In this week’s Five Finds we have sourced our top choices for chic seats in the city.

1. MID CENTURY UPHOLSTERED CHAIR IN VELVET; AVAILABLE AT WEST ELM, 2947 GRANVILLE ST. $249
Modern dining meets old world glamour with the Velvet option of the classic Mid Century chair from West Elm. The luxe fabric pairs perfectly with the sleek silhouette, and is available in a variety of colours, from the elegantly subdued Dove to bolder brights like Wasabi, Berry and Lagoon.

2. LUCY CHAIR BY BEND IN COPPER; AVAILABLE AT PROVIDE HOME, 1805 FIR ST. $875
Minimalist design gets a twist of pretty with the Lucy copper chair. The LA-based brand, Bend, is known for creating furnishings, lighting and home accents that are both functional and playful. Case in point, the Lucy chair uses abstract lines and a powder-coated copper finish to evoke the fresh feel, while the streamlined overall shape speaks to high end simplicity. 

3. THE BAKER CHAIR; AVAILABLE AT THE CROSS DECOR & DESIGN, 1198 HOMER ST. $975
The refreshing neutral palette and curved lines of the Baker chair conjure imagery of a stunning Scandinavian dining space. Furthering the vision, the Baker is constructed of a beautifully pale solid oak frame, with an inviting white goat skin seat. The silhouette of the Baker lends itself to long dinner parties, offering a rounded back and sleek armrests for hours of dinner conversations that linger long into the night.

4. TATAMI CHAIR; AVAILABLE AT BLOOM FURNITURE STUDIO, 495 RAILWAY ST. INQUIRE IN-STORE FOR PRICING.
High style becomes the ultimate in functionalty with the Tatami chair. The artistic shape and design-forward details of the chair are met by the polypropylene constructions, which affords the Tatami to be lightweight, durable and eco-friendly. The material also allows this piece to be multi-functional and used for both indoor and outdoor entertaining; it is resistant to UV beams and rainwater, and is stackable for easy tucking-away when not in use. Available in six colours.

5. ATOMIC SWIVEL MID CENTURY BARSTOOLS; AVAILABLE AT REFIND HOME FURNISHINGS, 4609 MAIN ST. $229ea
In small space living, the features of our homes are often required to be double duty. If you don’t have a traditional dining table and create your entertaining scene around the island, there are still some fabulous ways to amp up the style through seating. These vintage beauties from the city’s top go-to for all things MCM add instant impact via the playful colourway and iconic design. The generous shape allows for comfortable lounging even at the bar.

DESIGN DARLING TIFFANY PRATT COLOURS VANCOUVER HAPPY

It’s always an exciting time for designers when the celebrities of our industry come to townto chat about the ins and outs of what we do; often we are looked to as the experts with all the style know-how, so it becomes a serious treat to have the opportunity to be inspired by our peers that we don’t often get to see. I love when the strongest design personalities hit Vancouver and bring a striking perspective to the relatively safe aesthetic Vancouver traditionally embraces. 

A true ‘Jane of all trades’ with all things style, Tiffany Pratt will be taking on our city’s muted design palette and making her premier appearance at the BC Home and Garden Show on February 25th and 26th; she will be hitting the show’s Main Stage to share her connection to rainbows and how it influences her renowned designs. Famous for her fearless approach to colour, Tiffany personifies the energy of bringing colour into your life through design.

As a colour-minimalist designer, I’m always intrigued by fellow creatives who embrace the full palette spectrum and make even the boldest colour pairings seem like the obvious choice. Tiffany’s inspiring use of brights and patterns have not only influenced designers like myself, but many decor-enthusiasts as well; Pratt has hosted numerous shows on HGTV and is a regular style expert on CityLine, through which avenues she encourages people to follow their imaginations to create spaces that are truly free from traditional design boundaries and speak to their personalities.

Guided by her connections to colour, Tiffany recently launched her first book entitled after her personal design mantra, “This Can Be Beautiful”. The vibrant pages take readers on a personal style journey via 45 beautifully photographed projects, ranging from home decor to DIY to styling a party. While I have an admitted weakness for design books, I particularly appreciate this publication because it shows readers how to use what we already have to create beautiful end-result items for the home; from refreshing your old sheets to giving new life to old wallpaper, Tiffany shows us how we can give our spaces a facelift without breaking the bank on design.

With a saturated creative expertise, Tiffany not only reigns in the interior design arena, but also has numerous product collaborations including stunning stationary and jewellery, as well as her own clothing line. From her interiors to her book to her various product lines, Pratt will be bringing elements of her multi-faceted style to our city for the upcoming BC Home and Garden Show, sharing themagic of rainbow palettes in all aspects of her designs in a must-see presentation.