August 19, 2012

Artisans’ scene

One-of-a-kind crafts by Canadians available for purchase at this year’s IDSwest show add a touch of ‘retail therapy’ for those attending the annual event.



Quirkily Canadian, graphic designer Nicole Tarasick’s silkscreened pillows, cotton canvas tote bags and framed vintage maps celebrate our country via iconic images of the Great Lakes, maple leaves and airport designations such as YVR. A graphic designer based in Toronto, Tarasick will be showing her wares at the One of a Kind District, this year for the first time part of the Interior Design Show West (IDSwest), to be held in Vancouver from Sept. 27 to 30 at the Vancouver Convention Centre’s west building.

One of 60 carefully chosen artisans, Tarasick will be joined by her husband, Michael Dellios, and his business partner, Lucas Brancalion, who do business as Brothers and Sons. They will show their turned bowls, cheese boards and similar items, as well as furniture and sculptural pieces, crafted from wood, some of it reclaimed.

Local Vancouver designers Chrystale Thompson of Ecstatic Design & Communication, and Jeremy Van Nieuwkerk of Shrapnel Design, also use reclaimed materials in their creations, marketed under the name Melk. Van Nieuwkerk, who formerly worked as a set carpenter in the film industry, says he was appalled at the waste, and he and Thompson decided their mission would be to rescue and repurpose cast-offs that might otherwise have ended up in the landfill.

Melk’s “burned” bamboo plaques – small bamboo rectangles embellished with designs created using a laser tool – make intriguing wall hangings. The unusual and unique illustrations are by Thompson, a graphic designer, and suggest a whimsical view of the struggle between nature and man-made environments. Stainless steel bracelets are etched with similar patterns.

Jason Heard, show director of IDSwest, says the exhibition has a history of success. But organizers thought the exhibition lacked just one thing – an area where visitors could purchase work by some of Canada’s finest artisans. So this year, with 30 per cent more space, IDSwest will include an opportunity for retail therapy. The artisan selection process has been rigorous, Heard says, and only the best have made the cut.

“Incorporating the One of a Kind District with IDSwest provides a really good balance and makes a good fit, and rounds off the attendees’ experience,” he adds. Prices will be set by the artisans, ranging from $45 up. Adjacent to the One of a Kind District will be another boutique area called Studio North, which will showcase and sell the work of up-and-coming furniture designers. For more information, visit

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