Culture Crawl 2011 – The Post Mortem

Two weeks have already passed since it happened, but I’ve been meaning to write something and reflect upon this year’s Eastside Culture Crawl.

It was my second year participating as an exhibiting artist and though I had a good idea of how things could go, I still didn’t quite feel prepared enough. I’m no longer an artist full-time and so preparations for the Crawl happened around my part-time job, which meant the final set up came down to the wire. (Thank goodness I don’t work full-time).

I open my apartment to the public for the Crawl because my studio is inside my home. We’re located on the ground floor of a building just off Commercial Drive so it works rather well for getting people in and out of the building without disturbing the rest of the tenants. Our apartment also transforms rather nicely into a spacious, cosy gallery space with most of the furniture removed. It’s a lot of work to get the place set up, and I’m not sure I want to keep doing it at home year after year.

You would think it could be weird allowing a large group of strangers into your home, but for the past two years it’s been a pleasant experience. Everyone is very appreciative and respectful about being here, and many people hang around for awhile chatting and enjoying the work. I enjoy the conversations with visitors and I’ve received terrific feedback from people about the originality and imaginativeness of my work. Showing in my own private space means I have everyone’s full attention, and that kind of exposure can’t be beat.

Comparing my two experiences as a Culture Crawl artist, there were about seventy-five more people this year than last. I think this was thanks to more artists participating with open studios in my immediate area. But while attendance was up, sales were down from the previous year. I felt very discouraged by this even though it’s not all about sales, and I didn’t have any specific expectations about how much I hoped to sell.

A few days immediately after the Culture Crawl I met with other artists and it was good to hear about everyone else’s experiences. Many people felt discouraged because either attendance was down, sales were down, or both. It made me feel better to hear how the others had done, and realise some years are just better than others when it comes to the Eastside Culture Crawl.

A big thank you to my partner Boris, who is a huge help in playing host to visitors, and has also been very tolerant about the transformation of our home. I don’t think I could continue to do the Culture Crawl without him.

Flowers Made From Paper

A few weeks ago I helped make paper flowers as decorations for a friend’s wedding. It was something I’d wanted to try after flipping through a copy of Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts at a bookstore. The initial flower making session with friends led me to working on an installation of paper flowers in my apartment to share during the Eastside Culture Crawl.

The flowers are made from colourful tissue paper and masking tape, with cloth covered wire as the stems. They’re a mix of torture and enjoyment to make because it’s not easy wrapping thin paper around a tiny wire and ending up with it in the resemblance of a flower.

At the moment I have less than thirty flowers completed, and hope to make twice that many. I’m really hoping this installation idea is going to look as magical in person as it does in my head. It’ll definitely give visitors a pleasant blast of colour when they stop by during the Culture Crawl.

And if you’re wondering, all the flowers will be available for purchase – in case you want to take the magic home with you.

15th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl

It’s that time of year again, when artists living and working in East Vancouver open their doors to the public for the Eastside Culture Crawl.

The event is just under a month away but I thought I’ve give a heads up that I will be a participating artist again this year. I am really looking forward to it, especially since my preparations are coming together nicely.

Dates: Friday, November 18th to Sunday, November 20th, 2011
Time: Fri 5pm to 10pm | Sat & Sun 11am to 6pm
Location: 1660 East Georgia Street or D06 on the Culture Crawl map.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on a program guide yet you can preview it online.

I’ll share more about the work I’m presenting during the Crawl in an upcoming blog post. I hope to see you at my studio in November.