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Every year, the team here at Diane Kennedy looks forward to the Fall season, in part because our city holds a very special 4 day event.
We are thrilled to be participating (instead of attending) in this year's annual 23rd Eastside Culture Crawl. For those not in the know, it's an event that celebrates the tremendous impact that Art and Design has on our community in East Vancouver. The Crawl began as a small group of Eastside artists interested in engaging with the public. They eventually decided to come together as a circle and promote an open studio event.
As one of Vancouver’s yearly cultural highlights, The Culture Crawl provides a great opportunity to explore East Vancouver’s vibrant arts scene and laude our local artists for their contributions to our city. Vancouver’s strong and creative arts community is a key element of what makes Vancouver such a dynamic and thriving city. As a proudly Canadian fashion line, being located in the heart of such an inspiring neighbourhood is such a blessing to us.
In the first few years, attendance was only a few hundred people; participants and attendees included. Fast forward 20+ years and The Eastside Culture Crawl has grown to include over 480+ artists and 68 venues. Participants include visual artists, craftspeople and designers, and the event attracts more than 40,000 attendees, lovingly dubbed, "crawlers".
Be sure to come visit us! We're "E1" (click here or the above map to find our studio!)
We're so honoured to be included in the Crawl's wonderful line-up of textile and design artists; their work is well worth your attention. Textile practices go back as far as humanity's origins. Over history, this "technology" has led to the invention of basketry, weaving, knitting, stitching and ever increasing complexities of design and process. It's only natural that the fashion industry works closely with the artistry of textile production. Together, pieces are created that not only express one's individuality, but can also make statements about social/ethical values, such as our personal commitment to Eco/Ethical fabric and production practices.
From November 14-17, our designer, Diane, will be on hand to chat with you about our inspiration, process and execution of our work. Our design process is created almost entirely on a computer, but using a machine does not mean we simply push a button and the finished product appears. Computer–aided design, for example, is a labour-intensive, highly skilled process. Patterns need to be created and tested, prototypes are sewn and fitted on real bodies. Adjustments are made, patterns are graded for size and a cut layout is created to make best use of the fabric. Each Diane Kennedy garment is then sewn on a machine by a skilled seamstress, all of which happens at factories very close to East Vancouver. We'll be able to go into more detail about these processes to anyone who visits our studio during this event.
The Eastside Culture Crawl is a grand opportunity to learn more about our process. We're excited to show you how much goes into every piece we design & produce!
As you likely know, the Diane Kennedy studio is located in Vancouver. Specifically, we’re in “East Van”, which is a hotbed of inspiration. There’s an amazing concentration of talented artists and creative people working in our area, not to mention lots of craft breweries and new restaurants.
Every year in November, a collective of painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, weavers, potters, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers, from emerging artists to those internationally established, open their studios to the public for the annual Eastside Culture Crawl. This four-day visual arts festival attracts an audience of more than 35,000 studio visits. It's always a pleasure to attend and see the spaces where all these imaginative people work.
This year, I was especially excited to visit a longtime friend, Karen Lorena Parker, who is also a former DK model. I couldn’t resist digging up this photo of her from our Spring 2008 collection!
This incredibly talented woman is now a full-time painter who does everything from sweeping landscapes to commissioned fashion illustrations.
In January 2018, Karen was chosen to illustrate the Special Edition box of Lindt Chocolates for the 75th Golden Globe Awards.
It was wonderful to re-connect with this incredible artist.
Denna Erickson is another of my favorite local painters. Denna specializes in using oil on wood and plaster. Her paintings consist of personal symbols and organic shapes layered in glazes of luminescent color.
I own one of her original works, and seeing it my home every day reminds me of how important art is in my life. Being in Denna’s studio was a concentrated dose of inspiration!
I was very excited to visit the studio of Megan Majewski this year for the first time. She has a very unique style; her cute and creepy art shows a world of twisted girls, forgotten pets, and other sweet but “formerly living” things.
I'm doing some redecorating in my living room, and Megan’s prints will be featured prominently.
Events like the Culture Crawl help keep my creative juices flowing, and remind me how important it is to support local artists and businesses. We’re all likely to do a lot of shopping over the next month or so – remember that your spending has power. Buy local, and encourage the small businesses that make our city vibrant and unique!