art + design

THE ETSY DESIGN AWARDS

The first-ever Etsy Design Awards are rapidly approaching. #TheEtsies celebrate the work of extraordinary creatives from around the world and showcase the amazing and talented people behind these award-winning products. Selected from thousands of entries received from around the world, 160 global finalists are in the running for the $15,000 USD Grand Prize or the top prize in one of five categories: Inventive Decor, Signature Style, Festive Celebrations, Earth-Friendly, and Creative Collaborations. How exciting!

The winners are announced in September 2019, as selected by Etsy’s international expert panel of judges. I can’t wait to see who they choose as the winners but in the meantime, I’ve rounded up MY own personal winners from the Editor’s Picks page.

Inventive Decor: Home creations, big or small, that are truly sanctuary-worthy.

As a vinyl-enthusiast, this beautiful record player stand immediately caught my eye. Handmade from solid oak, this cupboard is an incredible design piece for your living room. The openwork geometric design on the cupboard doors allows you to control all of your audio devices. You can also store your record collection on one side with adjustable compartments. All in all, this is an exquisite piece meant for any music lover.

Signature Style: Jewelry, fashion or accessories that make a statement.

I love this handmade leather mini-bag. The black painted design adds the perfect amount of personality to this generally minimalist leather purse. The “OANA” is made by hand in Bristol, England. A bag like this truly becomes an heirloom piece.

Festive Celebrations: Decorations or all things wedding that are the life of the party.

While all of the submissions for the Festive Celebrations category were beautiful, this Wedding Arch definitely took the cake in my eyes. Each flower is handcrafted using foam, to create absolutely showstopping decor for your wedding or event. Honestly, I’d love to have these in my apartment all the time!

Earth-Friendly: Sustainably made finds that look great and help the planet.

This one was a tough one because I found myself drawn to so many of the earth-friendly products. The one that I fell in love with immediately however was the Black and Copper Paper Pulp Bowl. Using 100% recycled paper, I love the simplicity and boldness. And of course, the sustainability feature is seriously amazing.

Creative Collaborations: Personalized, handcrafted goods that put the “special” in “special order.”

There is nothing more special than commissioning a custom piece of artwork to commemorate an important or life-changing event in your life. The talent on Etsy is unreal and the possibilities for collaboration with an artist are endless. My favourite Creative Collaboration is this Custom House Portrait. I love architectural drawings of any kind but having a three-dimensional representation of your home sounds absolutely awesome.

Here are a few more of my runner-up picks that truly showcase the creativity, talent and level of professionalism on Etsy:

Miniature Concrete Homes
Coloured Glass Straw Set
Milky House Dollhouse

Have you checked out the Etsy Design Awards Finalists Editors’ Picks page yet? Good luck to all of the finalists!

This post includes affiliate links.

IKEA SYMFONISK

If there is anything I could love more, it is when my two main obsessions, music and design come together in a beautiful symbiotic way. IKEA has officially announced their collaboration with Sonos; a two-item product collection bringing music to the home in an elevated, well-designed way, complete with the Swedish stamp of approval.

Sonos, a California company has quickly risen to the top of the wireless smart speaker market since 2002, revolutionizing how people listen to music on a daily basis. Their high quality speakers have made them the standard for audiophiles worldwide.

The IKEA Sonos SYMFONISK collaboration brings their iconic speaker down to a more affordable price point ($149) and the introduction of the SYMFONISK speaker lamp ($249) offers up the concepts of sound and light in one unit.

“We knew from the start that we wanted to challenge the traditional high tech aesthetics. The lamp-speaker partly springs from the idea of the fireplace – one single piece that spreads warm light as well as sound” says IKEA deisgner Iina Vuorivirta.

The SYMFONISK is compatible with all other Sonos components. You can also connect multiple SYMFONISK speakers in every room in y our home over WiFi. This has me very excited for the future of affordable sound quality. Also, depending on your personal decor needs, both products are available in both black or white.

SYMFONISK will be available nationwide in Canada as of of August 1st, 2019. And since my birthday is on August 2nd, I think this will be the perfect birthday gift to myself. Time to continue padding my record collection with new finds so that I am ready for the launch.

I love loud lamp. ♥

THE AESTHETICS OF CANNABIS

This hot topic is literally on the lips of just about everyone right now here in Canada; legalization of cannabis usage comes into effect on October 17, 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on June 20th after a century-long prohibition of cannabis. Cannabis will be available for purchase in flower and oil form (sounds like edibles will come in 2019) online and in-store. Just like alcohol, you must be 18 years old (in Alberta and Quebec) or 19 years old in the rest of the country. Here in Calgary, I’ve already been seeing storefronts popping up all over the city waiting for the October 17th launch date.

While it is certainly an exciting time for cannabis entrepreneurism in Canada, the industry still has a long way to go to reduce the stigma of cannabis usage (even medical usage still has stigma) and also make reparations for people who were treated unfairly and charged by police for possession of cannabis. There is actual proof and documentation that the enforcement of cannabis laws in the past, have disproportionately affected marginalized and racialized communities. This article by the Broadbent Institute by Akwasi Owusu-Bempah outlines the very important ways that Canada’s government, police service and cannabis industry stakeholders can work to rectify this unfair treatment of the people and communities affected by the war on drugs. Be sure to read through it – this information is essential as legalization moves forward.

Beyond all of the legislation talk, I have been most fascinated by the aesthetics of cannabis. As someone who is obsessed with cultural trends it is hard not to notice how good-looking this industry is turning out to be.

photo via Tokyo Smoke

My first introduction to the art & design of the cannabis industry was through Tokyo Smoke, a Toronto-based cannabis and coffee lifestyle company. They opened up their first coffee shop in Calgary in the fall of 2017; their marketing director Josh Lyon (he is now Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships at Hiku Brands, the umbrella company for Tokyo Smoke among others) actually spoke at our conference Next Big Thing that October about this changing industry. Tokyo Smoke is slick; its for the modern weed connoisseur – really no different than someone who is super into whiskey or cocktails. Walking into the store, you’ll find all sorts of sculptural objects which turn out to be stylish pipes, 24K gold pre-rolled cones and luxury scented candles. They also happen to have really great coffee and delicious vegan grab-and-go options; all in all its a beautifully designed coffee shop that will soon sell cannabis.

photo via Tokyo Smoke

Tokyo Smoke introduced me to Van Der Pop, which is their sister brand, a women-forward company that is leader in the industry and a huge proponent in reducing stigma against usage by women and parents. Their products are perfectly designed – from their stylish leather zip bags and black glass stash jars. Sign up their newsletter and read their blog which are both always full of interesting facts and studies on the industry, topical discussions about cannabis and general knowledge bombs about cannabis.

photos via Van Der Pop

Since finding out about Tokyo Smoke and Van Der Pop, I started noticing new cannabis product companies popping up all over the place in Canada and beyond. Here are just a few of the brands that I feel are making waves in the aesthetics of cannabis.

Alair Vaporizers: Based out of Toronto, Alair is know for their discreet rechargeable vaporizers. Packaged up in this black and gold box (with tropical florals on the inside) it is easy to why they are becoming such a big player in the industry.

FLEURS:  Hemp derived CBD tea coming right at you – and in the prettiest package ever. FLEURS, which I believe is based in Vancouver, has three teas in their line-up all for different experiences (i.e. DOZE, WOKE, CHILL, CLEAN). Their packaging is fresh and fun – and totally designed for a specific demographic: people who like DavidsTea but also like to get high.

Yew Yew: Yew Yew is not Canadian but this NYC-based designer makes such incredible modern ceramic pipes that are truly mini works of art. The shapes are so sculptural that your grandmother probably wouldn’t know she was looking at a pipe if you had it sitting on your bookshelf – or maybe she would and she’d love her own. Their latest art collaboration is a limited edition collection that features the gorgeously quirky artwork of UK based artists Liv & Dom.

HighNoon: Another pipe company, another Toronto designed product – HighNoon pipes are all made by hand – no two are exactly alike. The pipes come in three different shapes: 8AM, High Noon and 10 After 6. I love all of their product photography – they get kinda weird and experimental and I love all the long polished nails in combination with the pipes.

Mister Green: Again, not a Canadian company but Tokyo Smoke carries a lot of Mister Green products and has even collaborated with them on a few projects. Mister Green is a lifestyle shop in LA and carries everything EVERYTHING for the modern day toker. Their brand is fun and chill with a great sense of humour – i.e. the Bong Water water bottle above is theirs.

Allume Chill Box: The subscription box has officially reached the world of cannabis. The Allume Chill Box is sent out of Montreal and features a curated selection of cannabis accessories like rolling papers, ceramic goods, lighters and accessories.

Levo Oil: Not just for cannabis, LEVO Oil Infuser allows you to infuse butter or oil using herbs, fruit and other ingredients. They even have an app that allows you to control your infusions while you are on the go. As far as kitchen gadgets go, this is one seriously cool one to add to your collection.

I’M IN THE BUSH OUTSIDE AND I REALLY LOVE YOU

I recently came across Babak Ganjei‘s work somewhere on the internet (probably spiraling down a late night rabbit hole of Instagram and Pinterest) and was immediately hooked by his scrawled messages that are simultaneously poignant and bizarre.  Every poster is made to order (in small editions) and is handwritten – not printed. No two poster is alike which is something I’m very into – who wants replicas – I only want originals.

Of course, I instantly fell in love with the “I’m in the bush outside and I really love you” poster because of its perfect combination of desperation, romance and total lack of self awareness.

His online shop is full of gems inspired by real heartfelt messages that maybe everyone feels deep inside but doesn’t really ever say outloud but instead they will frame them and put them on their walls for everyone to see and then all have a good laugh about it.

Beyond the online shop (support artists plz) his website catalogues all of his past shows, installation work and projects – it is all incredibly inspiring. Take a peek – I especially love his YOU ARE ALONE series.

You can even get him to send you or someone else who needs it an “Everything is going to be ok” text message for a small fee.

And of course, he has apparel and of course, it is perfect. I feel like a shirt like this will help the greater good make solid relationship choices moving forward. Yup, let’s all make good choices, folks.

All images via Babak Ganjei.