An annual Vancouver art show that takes place each December is welcoming Windermere-based Sandpiper Studio as one of its 27 vendors this year. The Shiny Fuzzy Muddy show was established in 2003 as an alternative to large-scale craft fairs, and is celebrated as one of the season’s best shows in the city.
“A long time ago, I met a ceramic artist in Toronto, Laura McKibbon, who is based out of Vancouver,” said Julie Gibbs, who co-owns Sandpiper Studio with her partner Gordon Webster. “When I moved out here from Ontario, she contacted me to see if it would be something I’d be interested in.”
Julie first participated in the show in 2011. This year, Shiny Fuzzy Muddy celebrates its 10th anniversary of showcasing Canadian artist-made objects of adornment (Shiny), garments to wrap your home and body in (Fuzzy) and clay-moulded to contemporary forms for home (Muddy) at Vancouver’s historic Heritage Hall on Main Street.
“It’s a really neat group of craftspeople and artists,” said Julie. “It’s a nice size; it’s small enough that you get a chance to really visit everyone’s display.”
Sandpiper Studio is also a regular at Calgary’s annual Art Market, which can host 200 to 400 vendors, said Julie.
“If you’re looking at 400 different booths, and within each booth there are so many different products, and there are so many nice things, it can be difficult for the customer,” she said. “You can tell that people have overstimulation.”
Sandpiper Studio is a small scale production and design studio specializing in functional hand-blown glass, from bright colourful serving bowls, oil bottles and tumblers to vases, jars, and cream and sugar sets.
“We’re really focussed on it being utilitarian so that people can admire it, but use it at the same time,” Julie said.
Unlike other well-known glass artists, Sandpiper Studio is strictly geared towards production, so doesn’t have an on-site retail space for selling directly out of their studio and relies on retailers to carry its production lines.
“We need a lot of business to stay in the studio,” said Julie. “We need to produce so much a day.”
Sandpiper Studio’s functional art can be found at Black Star Studios in Invermere and in galleries in Golden, Kimberley, Castlegar, Nelson and across Canada in Saskatchewan,
Manitoba and Ontario. They recently picked up another retailer in Vancouver (www.WalrusHome.com) and are hoping to pick up a few more when they exhibit at North America’s largest wholesale show, New York Now, in February.
“It’s just huge, spread out over two gigantic convention centres, so it’s a really great opportunity,” said Julie. “We’re in a really unique division called handmade maker/designer; it’s basically really small scale craft studios or design studios that are producing really small scale production lines.”
With 35,000 buyers from 50 states and 85 countries, New York Now hosts almost three thousand exhibitors in a variety of divisions. Sandpiper Studio has a month to ship its product via skid to New York, where it will be stored in a giant warehouse then delivered to their booth just prior to the show.
To learn more about the studio, visit their website at www.sandpiperstudio.ca. For more information on the Shiny Fuzzy Muddy show in Vancouver, go to www.shinyfuzzymuddy.com.