Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Exploring Vancouver in December - Part I - Granville Island

My husband Scott and I flew to Vancouver this past December. We used the one week that we had to explore as much of Vancouver as we could despite the incessant downpour. The first big adventure lead us to Granville island. We took the Skytrain downtown and then walked to the Aquabus (water taxi) pick up spot. Then this little nutshell of a boat brought us to Granville Island. We could have taken the bus but it was a lot more fun this way. The first thing I noticed was that it looked a lot more industrial than I had expected. I didn't know anything about the island and somehow I had imagined regular city blocks just all crammed on this small island. Of course artists go where initially affordable industrial buildings and spaces are available. Our first stop was the Public Market, and if Scott wouldn't have dragged me out of there it might have been our last stop too. A mix of all of my favorite foods, we started the day by chewing on some smoked salmon jerky which kept me from eating at every single stall. I mean look at these gorgeous displays... 

Eventually we moved on and visited our first printshop on Granville Island. "Dundarave Print Shop"
There we met member and volunteer Jesse Kvarnstrom who gave us the tour and spend some valuable time chatting with us. Thank you Jesse!

This is a terrible photo of one of Jesse's lovely prints.

When you first enter Dundarave you see a members print exhibition space that then leads past the reception desk into the medium sized room that is the printspace. Then walking around the corner you find this beauty:

Dundarave has a lot going on in a fairly small space, but oh so beautifully organized. This is their Acid "room" or nook, glass box with giant vent. I am loving this printshop design! Especially well designed since they are using nitric acid, from which a giant vent is really the only thing that could protect your lungs. 

Check out this wonky rosin box! I wonder if this little guy works better than the rosin box monstrosities you see in most places. 

Overflow drying rack - when they run out of space this grid gets lowered and you can hang your prints to dry up there. Lovely little printshop! Very homey and welcoming feel! Though if you have more than 2 people working in there at a time I imagine it would feel very crowded very quickly. 

Next stop was Kingsmill Pottery where I immediately fell in love with these giant wall pieces. I believe they are made by Bob Kingsmill himself who we met in the shop. I want one for my backyard, attach it on the side of the garage. What gorgeous textures! 

Next stop was searching for Malaspina Print shop, during our search the bridge crossing over Granville island made quite the impression on me. 

Found Malaspina! And found a print by my friend and printmaker Valerie Syposz who currently resides in Japan! I think visually my favorite part about visiting Malaspina was their wall of tools: 

Having worked at NSCAD for more than a year now I have become so used to the solvent- free and fairly non-toxic environment that it was a shock walking into Malaspina's acid/solvent room. And I am grateful that I have a safe work environment where exposure to solvents is not forced on me. 

Next stop was accidental and very exciting. I discovered the Kroma Acrylics store. First of all I have never been in an all acrylic paint store, nor have I ever seen them make the paints right their with a giant industrial sized mixer. My eyes must have almost popped out of my head. So this fabulous establishment sells their own acrylic paints right their in the store and you can order them as well. They took the retail middle man out of the equation. So the paints are more affordable and I think you can even make custom orders. These guys are awesome. Of course I couldn't leave the store without buying a set and they gave me a tube of "vancouver grey" for free. ;)

Note the cement mixer with the public market advertisement of giant rotating carrots? Very cool. 

Throughout our Granville island exploration these six giants stood out. We saw one side of them when arriving at Granville island with the Aqua bus, and we saw the other sides during our walk about. This giant public art project created by Brazilian street artists Os Gemeos is an impressive site. If you want to see some progress images, check this out.

We couldn't help but stop into the Silk Weaving Studio what a homey and inviting shop! Oh gosh I wish I could afford every scarf in their inventory. They are so soft and so beautifully crafted. Wow! 

The Totem Pole Carving Workshop was viewable but no one was home. Only some Totem Poles resting under their blankets with their little toes sticking out. 

And here are the six giants again. 

Quick stop into this mighty wood workers paradise called The Woodshop on Granville Island.
He then referred us to his buddy "Jack who works in the Shack just over there."
After which we discovered Jack's Shack which is really painter Jack Darcus' cozy studio and gallery space. We had a great chat with Jack about Egg Tempera painting and Granville island/ BC painters history. 

Meet Yasmine Franchi at Black Stone Press. Her and her father David Clifford run and operate this gorgeous and sparkling letterpress print shop. 
Three gleaming Heidelberg presses lined up ready for action.  

Cleanest printshop table top ever? 

The lovely Yasmine took a few minutes out of her very busy day and had a little chat with us.

Meticulous type cabinets. Note that you can see reflection in the top of that cabinet...  

Vandercook... gorgeous and also sparkling! 

Next we came across  OPUS art supplies. Everyone I talk to says this shop is a must stop for any artist in Vancouver, but the recommendations don't even begin to do it justice... WOWZA. I could have just moved in. Now here is an ARTsupply store that still supplies artists and hasn't turned into a childrens craft disaster store. Can OPUS please come to HALIFAX, NS. WE NEED YOU!!!!!  

Meet Kermit. Peter Braune's traveling Kermit, he has been everywhere Peter has been. 
Kermit and Peter are the brain and heart of New Leaf Editions which is actually also the home of the 

Kermit, Peter and their assistant Andrea had a great chat with us while New Leaf Edition Artist kept stopping by. Peter gave us a few quick demos of his perfected Intaglio editioning techniques. And it was a very enjoyable visit! Thank you! 

View of downtown Vancouver from the tiny Aquabus, water taxi. 

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