Three days, more than 375 artists, and extended boundaries that stretch from Main Street to Victoria Drive and East 1st Avenue to the waterfront: the 14th annual Eastside Culture Crawl, which runs from Friday evening through Sunday (November 26 to 28) is an overwhelming proposition.
The astounding mix of art forms spans everything from photography to weaving to glass blowing, as well as media and materials you may never even have imagined. Neophytes often focus on the labyrinthine delights of the sprawling 1000 Parker Street studios, but there’s so much more beyond that buzzing hub.
The Straight dug around to offer up these five cool finds that define this year’s Crawl—if you’re willing to do a little wandering.
Patsy Kay Kolesar Design (The Onion Studio [1103 Union Street])
This Vancouver Community College jewellery-art-and-design grad indulges her love of colour and pattern in a unique mix of enamelwork and metalsmithing. She sifts enamels through silkscreens to achieve the scrolling patterns on the discs and ovals that typify her artful pieces, which somehow end up looking ancient and contemporary at the same time. What’s new: As well as her ready-to-wear pendants and earrings, look for stunning one-of-a-kind pieces, like the She Said Yes necklace, replete with twisting sterling silver, damasklike enamel, and pearls in pink, white, and chocolate brown. “They’re all exploring love and the complications of love stories,” Kolesar explains of her pieces. Price range: $45 up to $450 for the most elaborate one-off creations.
Hubert Ceramics (1848 Venables Street, back-alley garage entrance)
Crawl newcomer Meghann Hübert’s tiny ceramic skulls serve as comfort objects. The idea came from a commission from her uncle, who was having a hard time dealing with the death of a friend of the family. “He wanted me to make him some [skulls] that he could carry around in his pocket to remember death as part of life’s cycle,” she explains, adding that the inspiration came from Mexico’s Day of the Dead rituals. Hübert crafts them by rolling a ball of clay and carving it. On the lighter side, she also makes funky little trinket boxes in the shape of cupcakes whose tops come off. They have shiny glazed icing in hues like raspberry and powder pink, some with the raised effects of tiny sprinkles. Hübert, who once worked as a cake decorator, even uses a baker’s piping bag to apply the mix of clay and water to the top. What’s new: Hübert has crafted cool black-and-white candy canes for Christmas decorations, as well as stars in different glazed colours. Price range: $5 for Christmas decorations, $15 for skulls, $45 for cupcakes.
Rachael Ashe (1660 East Georgia Street [home studio])
Photographer and collage artist Rachael Ashe’s altered books are sculptural pieces with carefully glued and folded pages that have objects meticulously placed into them. Her first series (on view at the Crawl) features a set of old encyclopedias, opened, splayed like accordions, and glued together in a circle, with bits of shell, coral, and other natural objects inserted into the pages. “I was playing on the idea of forgotten knowledge,” she says, explaining that encyclopedias used to be a sign of status, but that the Internet has now made obsolete. “The natural objects show that our knowledge of nature is forgotten as well.” What’s new: In Ashe’s debut at the Crawl, look for framed altered books, folded up as elaborately as origami and embellished with little wooden animals, from one that plays on the farm animals of folklore and fables to another that makes reference to astronomy and the Great Bear constellation. Ashe says the creatures are old wooden toys she found at garage sales. Price range: $8 for postcards, $40 to $80 for small collages, and about $450 for altered books.
Peter Pierobon (716 East Hastings Street)
The acclaimed woodworking veteran’s sculptural furniture—from curvy, multilegged end tables to conversation-starting timepieces—is as functional as it is artistic. What’s new: Pierobon has recently been exploring outdoor lighting to dramatic effect. His giant, hanging pieces are crafted from strips of red or yellow cedar into ethereal shapes that evoke seeds, caps, and broom bristles. “They’re waterproof halogen-light fixtures, so they can be left outside—they’ll weather with time,” he says, adding that the largest is about nine feet high. “I see them being hung off the limb of a tree,” he says. He’ll also show a couple of brand-new, smaller indoor fixtures, crafted from mahogany and cherry, at the Crawl. Price range: $3,000 to $4,400 for lighting.
Laura Bucci Handmade (The Mergatroid Building [975 Vernon Drive])
Inspired by a 1930s book that helped French speakers learn English, Bucci has come up with a series of retro images and text for her cute reusable cup cozies. Attaching with a snap button and boasting a layer of cotton-batting lining to protect your hands, the brightly coloured warmers are emblazoned with everything from airplane diagrams to one of her faves, “The Exhausted Laundress” at her washboard. What’s new: Find the same vintage images on digitally printed textile wall art. Pedalheads will covet her fabric-covered magnets and pins, which sport vintage-bicycle pictures and words like escape and travel. And yes, they do stem from Bucci’s own love of biking: “I use my bicycle for transportation as much as possible,” she says. Price range: $5 for pins and magnets, $18 for cozies, $50 for textile wall art, and $32 for print art.