I’ve lived in the Lower Mainland for a very long time, minus a few escapes, and I’ve never been to Edgemont Village. I’m not sure how that’s possible but there you have it.
The North Shore Arts Crawl gave me a reason to visit. I strolled the two street strip and learned that 80% of business owners in the village are women. I stopped into 32 books, a great little bookstore/giftshop, and dropped by Trims, a romantic oasis of seasonal home decor owned by mother Marlene and daughter Morgan. I might not seem very romantic but I do have a weak spot for those really romantically-decorated small businesses with flowers and mannequins and bunnies and chicks. Their artificial flowers were exquisite.
From there, I backtracked to Lonsdale and the seniors centre, with the cheesey name of Silver Harbours, behind the rec. centre. Elders were weaving, throwing on the potter’s wheel, creating hooked rugs, and small personalized hand bound books.
I kept going down Lonsdale to the school district building with its beautifully carved First Nation’s door by an artist whose name, unfortunately, I didn’t write down. It leads into the hidden Gordon Smith Gallery.
There was no avoiding Robert Chaplin who was selling his books in the gallery and conned me into holding up some sign that says something about breaking some world record which I still don’t understand.
He grabbed the first book, read it to me out loud at warp speed, and then when I got into it, I joined him for the second one, Delicious Chicken Soup, which he created with Michelin chef Andrey Durbach. As his infectious enthusiasm drew me in, I performed with him reading out loud in unison. I have no problem calling him a whirlwind creative force even though I only spent about 15 minutes in his larger-than-life presence.
Apparently he holds the Guinness Record for publishing the smallest book. Minus the cash I wasn’t planning on spending for books I didn’t need to buy, I headed to the back room and had a nice chat with Warren Oneschuk who paints vintage trucks that he finds derelict all over B.C. I love, love, love old trucks. The patina. The history. The country. Think Clint Eastwood in Bridges of Madison County.
From there I stopped into this endangered building on West 1st Street, full of nooks and crannies, where some amazing artists have found their studio space and their community. I was blown away by the work of Dene Croft and Kiff Holland. The building was surrounded by big holes in the ground and looming cranes, ready for another condo development. Ho Hum. I caught this view from the top of it looking across to downtown.
The last stop was a fashion designer, Fariba Mirzaie, and her studio Gabbeh, where her one-of-a-kind fashion masterpieces are created hour upon hour at her sewing machine. The juxtaposition of that plain white plastic sewing machine with the beautiful fabrications she’s able to create from her mind, and the machine, is what struck me as I stood in the small space in awe of her art turned fashion.
It was a fabulous way to welcome spring.