Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I can't believe it's been a week since I last blogged. The vacation is over and now it's back to the grind of work in New York City, so pardon me as I pine over my most favorite city on the planet, Vancouver, British Columbia. It is truly a spectacular place! Up until moving back to New York three years ago, I spent a great deal of time there and have cultivated a great group of cool friends and associates, who make visiting there even more fun and inspiring.

On Tuesday, I visited Vancouver for the first time in more than a year, and I’m so glad that that I made the just over one-hour trek, because I had the most fantastic day. In spite of the fact that I was only there from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm, in and out, I had an afternoon crammed with fun, including lunch with my fabulously talented and witty personal organizer friend Linda Chu at my favorite all-you-can-eat sushi place Kisha Poppo on Davie Street ($11 per person!). Linda and I talked about many things, including my mask-making. I happened to bring examples of my latest work, and as we looked at them and got caught up on the latest Vancouver gossip, a couple across the aisle happened to notice and wanted to take a look. Well, this ended up being my first sale to a stranger and I’m thrilled! It inspired me so much that I went home and made three more that night. Here is a family portrait of the latest:
In addition to lunching with Linda (sounds like a cuisine show for locating tasty quick bites!), I popped by the Vancouver Museum in lovely Vanier Park in the Kitsilano neighborhood, otherwise known as “Kits.” My friend who does marketing there gave me the royal tour of their latest exhibit entitled “Movers and Shapers,” a showing of incredible pieces by 20 Vancouver-based furniture and clothing designers who are making the rest of world sit up and take notice, including Propellor, Mono, Hajnalka Mandula, Bricault Design, Free Agency Creative, Red Flag Design, Urthwurks, Darcy Jones Design, LWPAC, Burnkit, Nico Spacecraft, This Is It. Design, Omer Arbel, Alicia Grunert, BattersbyHowat, Subplot Design, Molo, Pyrrha Design, Modern Domestic Textiles, and Cause+Affect.

I was blown away by all of the pieces in this must-see exhibition, most noteably,the avant-garde fashion made from certified organic textiles by Hungarian-born Hajnalka Mandula. Delicate and exquisite, Mandula’s fashion shows her adeptness at working with pure, natural materials, and she incorporates recycled materials and found objects, including rusted skeleton keys, bicycle inner tubes and vintage military artifacts.

This exhibit also allows patrons to get a close-up view of jewelry to the stars, including that of the likes of Sharon Stone and Brad Pitt. The design duo Wade Papin and Danielle Wilmore, otherwise known as Pyrrha Design, have created a collection that began in 1994 with no formal jewelry-making training and has grown into a phenomenon in Hollywood. It’s easy to see why when you get a glimpse of the work of their work, which is produced entirely in Vancouver, B.C. The current collection features pendants and rings cast from authentic 19th century European wax seals, and can be found in some of the top boutiques in North America, the UK and Japan. Stunning!
Perhaps my favorite “Mover and Shaper” in the exhibit is Omer Arbel, a man whose work has been seen in major venues the world over. Arbel, designing under the auspices of Omer Arbel Office (OAO), is a Vancouver-based designer whose focus is “eliminating the boundaries between the traditionally defined fields of architecture, industrial design, material research, manufacturing and invention. “ Having trained as an architect in the 1990s with Enric Miralles and John and Patricia Patkau, Arbel is the winner of high-profile international design awards. His work was also featured in a piece by Elaine Louie in The New York Times earlier this year.

When all is said and done, this entire exhibit was the brainchild of participant designers, Steven & Jane Cox, collectively known as Cause+Affect . They apparently approached the museum curators and asked to create this winning showcase of top Vancouver designers. Together, they have years of combined experience working with leading architecture, design and brand firms throughout Canada and in the UK, and their work is representative of their commitment to authenticity, innovation, depth and meaning. They create “design that does something important.”

"Movers and Shapers" is on exhibit at the Vancouver Museum through June 22. If all the design doesn’t draw you to this interesting venue, the views across English Bay will! Visit the Vancouver Museum Web site for more details and directions.

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