Art for Craft’s Sake
Quick - if navy is the new midnight blue, what does artisanal mean? That’s a trick question — artisanal can mean whatever. Heck, I’ve squirted Srirachi hot-sauce into ketchup and called it “an artisanal blend of tomato and pepper”.
So I know, folks, that the term can tart everything from stationery with pictures of birds on it to the “limited edition” of a new line from a hip retailer, “richly inspired” by raw talent in a far-flung, picturesque spot, but mass made in China.
If you want the real thing, from Africa, for example, you have to go to Snob, a jewel box of a store tucked away in a tiny corner at 388 Carlaw, between Dundas and Gerrard.Right now, there are amazing textiles (ethereal threads of wool and silk washed into felt, heavy cotton fabrics with detailed stitching – both geometric and organic in design — in earthy browns, yellow and pumpkin tones - I’d use it on bedding, lampshades, headboards, soft ottomans.
Also, elaborately carved poles on stands; in another life, they held up tents in a desert. Highly beaded and elongated wooden figures. And a curiosity cabinet, with artifacts such as hair picks made from ancient destructible woods. In fact, this store is a bit like the museum. Plan to stay a while.
Of all of the gorgeousness, the most beautiful thing there for me are the handmade Egyptian pendant Zenza lamps, with hammered patterns that create shadow webs on the nearest wall — to very, very pretty effect.
I know because I have one hanging in a hallway at home. Every time I look at it, I stop and marvel at the craft-work and the effect it has on light.
Recently at Snob, I saw for the first time the slim cylindrical pieces from Zenza. If I had a high ceiling and a lot of money, I’d buy 20 of them. The choice of models will only expand, given that Snob owner Denise Zidel (or, as her intimate friends like to call her, La Snob Dynamo) is now the national distributor for these pieces. Go and visit the store. In the meantime, check out the pics below.
BTW, a little birdie told me to look out for news from Snob early in the new year.
Around town, the shortest route to local talent is probably through the One of a Kind Show, which is the Platonic Ideal of Artisanal. One of the few home shows that’s worth the price of admission.Check out my Pinterest board for a sneak peak.
This holiday season, World Vision is selling scarves and jewelry to support their education and development projects. The Haitian hand-beaded necklace is attractive, with thin bands of strong colour.You need to order by Dec. 10th to get them for Christmas.