Some of the coolest art you’ll find at the Eastside Culture Crawl isn’t the kind you hang from your walls, but from your earlobes, wrists, and neck.
The annual studio celebration has a strong contingent of new talent on the roster this year, and many of the first-timers are going to be showing jewellery. Think leather wrist cuffs emblazoned with sterling-silver hearts—the anatomically correct organ, not the quaint Valentine’s symbol; pendants with tiny goth paintings set in vintage frames; and West Coast–natural designs fashioned from big, raw slices of agate.
Here’s a quick guide to just some of the new handmade jewellery collections on display for the first time at the Crawl, with everything from the rock ’n’ roll to the yogic on hand.
Parker Street Studios, suite 315
Jeweller Bridget Catchpole and creative administrator Michelle Nelson literally look inside for inspiration: their beautifully crafted sterling-silver designs draw from hearts and bones. Think curving pendants shaped like real clavicles and vertebrae, or femurs that dangle like earrings or attach to leather wrist cuffs alongside rivets.
Must-Have Piece: We love the Lotus Heart Pendant, a sterling-silver version of the organ with a scoop bowl at the back that’s painted red for good luck.
Target Crawler: Anatomy students and the morbidly cool.
1840 Triumph Street
Artist Megan Majewski describes her work best when she dubs it “cute ’n’ creepy”. She’s best known for her bizarre paintings of zombie girls, who now haunt vintage-look, ornate oval-frame pendants under hand-poured resin.
Must-Have Piece: Check out the vampire-like Violet portrait. The Ringmaster Skull Necklace, with his candy-cane-striped tophat and a bony hand hanging from the delicate chain, is eerily excellent, too.
Target Crawler: Low-brow-art nuts and Evanescence fans with a Tim Burton fixation.
1000 Parker Street, suite 204
The local photographer’s oceanic imagery and other travel shots appear under domed glass on delicate, Old World–look jewellery. Behind every piece is the artist’s clear love of the sea, journeys around the world, and nature and its conservation. Even in tiny form, on pendants and earrings, her pictures of everything from sharks to surf to cherry blossoms and, yes, even Thai elephant bums, have a transportive magic.
Must-Have Piece: You have to love the story behind the round, copper Boat Portal, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia ring, with its shot taken through a porthole (it comes on an antique-ish locket, too); for the local beach-lover, opt for the English Bay, Vancouver necklace, set in a teardrop of vintage-style copper-plated brass.
Target Crawler: The Lonely Planet crowd, frequent fliers, and those who dream of joining them.
The Onion Studio, 1103 Union Street
Designer Karen Fung’s Karma Collection could only have been created here on the West Coast, with natural elements like gold-dipped evergreen leaves and tiny pine cones and rough, asymmetrical slices of agate. Yoga charms, waxed linen, and boho beads also make their way into the lovingly crafted collection.
Must-Have Piece: Gold feather teardrop earrings wrapped with turquoise waxed linen strung with gold vermeil beads; a black leather wrap bracelet with faceted hematite beads, set off with a vintage pewter button.
Target Crawler: Bikram devotees and style-savvy Vancouverites who wish they were in Tofino now.
Still searching for some conversation-starting bling at the Crawl? Check out rings made from steel and enamel, little felt balls, and even artful, tiny pieces of phonebook at Beata Kacy’s workspace (Octopus Studios, 393 Powell Street); the brilliant colour jolt of Heather Konschuh’s blown-glass pendants and other pieces (Mergatroid Building, 975 Vernon Street); or Patsy Kay Kolesar’s whimsical metal work, sometimes delicate, sometimes featuring giant chunks (at the Onion Studio, 1103 Union Street). There are many, many more; preview and plan at www.eastsideculturecrawl.com.