Tucked into an industrial area near Kelowna’s downtown, members of the creative community are quietly thriving within a relatively new arts hub and this weekend they’re opening their doors so everyone can see what’s becoming a poorly kept secret.
Ellis Arts Studio will be the host of this year’s Artisan—Etsy Made in Canada Show where 40 local artisans will sell their wares.
It’s a new venue for the popular market which has been held the previous two years at Sandhill Winery, and it’s also one with a bit more meaning to many of the vendors.
Brazen Edwards opened Ellis Arts Studios a year ago as a project focused on allowing artists to have studio space outside of a gallery setting. The goal was to create an area where visiting artists could offer master classes and locals could both work and provide mentorship.
It’s met those goals and then some said Edwards, who noted that there are 13 gallery spaces used by 15 artists.
“It’s really diverse,” she said. “We have a photographer, painters, a silversmith and finer artists … and each artist has their own brand.”
Allowing artists to flourish as individuals with their own brand is why she —an artist known for her bright and bold designs— made the name of the space so bland.
That way, she said, nobody is over-shadowed.
Edwards is also the person who keeps her eye on all the mundane details, like insurance and wi-fi.
Her official title is art director, but she’s more of a den mother, said Bramble Lee Pryde one of the artists who rents studio space.
Pryde has been renting studio space for the last year, and said it’s been a creativity enhancing experience.
“It’s been so good,” said Pryde, the woman behind WOLF + SADIE and le lou ula .
WOLF + SADIE is the banner under which Pryde is a metal-smith and sculptor and le lou ula is her housewares line.
WOLF + SADIE is worn by a devout following of artists, musicians, bloggers and stylists.
Her jewelry is carried in a handful of boutiques across North America and online. Pryde was recently listed as one of the 10 “designers who are refining the notions of dark clothing” by Paper Magazine.
Some of her pieces were featured in several seasons of the television show Pretty Little Liars.
“I can always tell when an episode airs,” she said, adding that’s when she will get five or so orders for a signature necklace.
This year her work may spread even further as its now been selected to run on the Shonda Rhimes show, How to Get Away With Murder. She’s not sure when that will happen, mind you.
While not every artist renting space is getting on primetime TV, Edwards said that many share the strange phenomenon of having their work more well known outside of the borders of Kelowna.
Edwards, for example, has her prints covering everything from cellphone cases to pillows in shops across the US and Canada. In November she’ll have pieces featured at a pop-up market in Pottery Barn, in Vancouver, which could lead to an even further reach.
Before then, however, will be the Artisan Etsy show.
Etsy, said Edwards, has been a major player in allowing small scale artisans an avenue to monetize their work and she’s proud of the show she’s bringing to Kelowna this month.
“This event has given the Okanagan such a successful platform for local artisans and each maker is so passionate about sharing their craft with such a welcoming community of local supporters,” said Edwards. “We can’t wait to share our new venue Ellis Art Studios, which has committed to making this an affordable and unique place to host the show.”
Artisan is also offering a food area for our customers, where local food trucks Surf Side California, Scooter’s Ice Cream & CrAsian will be available outside, all the while keeping the original Kelowna vintage mobile shop, Perch Travelling Boutique.
Furthermore, cities involved with the Etsy event across Canada have chosen to opt for an entrance fee this year that will contribute proceeds to a local charity.
Kelowna’s event is raising money for Inn from The Cold, a very worthwhile charity that responds to the needs of people who are experiencing, or are at risk of homelessness. Artisan admission is $2 (under 13 yrs are free), as they are hoping to outdo their donations from previous years.
ARTISAN—Etsy Made in Canada Show lands in Kelowna on Saturday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 2, during Culture Days
Shop ‘til you drop from your favourite local designers, artists and makers at Ellis Art Studios, 1021 Ellis St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
And here’s even more to do on Culture Days in Kelowna this weekend.