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  • Meet the Makers: Ed Juan, Artist and Screen Printer

    Meet the Makers: Ed Juan, Artist and Screen Printer

    We are very excited to share our second instalment of the Meet the Makers series. This month we’re chatting with Ed Juan, screen printer/illustrator/artist. 

    You are likely familiar with Ed’s previous endeavour called Forest and Waves, a line of textile and paper goods inspired by the outdoors, topography, and the west coast. Today, Ed works out of Malaspina Printmakers situated on Granville Island. We visited his studio to watch his screen printing process and chat about his art practice, apprenticing around the world, and more.


    Tell us about Malaspina Printmakers...

    Malaspina has been around for over 40 years, it’s one of Canada’s oldest non-profit artist-run studios. The centre has been located on Granville Island since 1981, before Granville Island was establishedthe area was just shipyards and industrial buildings. The main goal is education, public engagement, and a place for artists to practice their art.

     

    In order to have culture you need artists.

     

    What's a typical day like for you? 

    A typical day usually starts with drawing in the morning. While I’m drawing, I’ll mix my ink. Then I usually prep for printmaking in the afternoon, if not I will be experimenting with different colours and keeping track of them in my notebook. 

    Some days I will make paper, and that’s an entirely different process where I block off several days. 

     

    [Natural dyes which Ed has created from Salal Berry foraged in BC] 

     

    I don’t want to keep what I’m doing a secret. I want artists to know they can make art from stuff they find in their backyard...

     

    Why did you choose this as your career? 

    It’s just part of me, for as long as I can remember and it’s something I need to get out into the world.

    My parents are not artists, but they love art and always shared it with me and my siblings. I grew up on a farm in Taiwan. It’s a beautiful place to grow up, close to mountains, monkeys, beaches, and rice fields. But it was also quite isolated, so one of my pastimes was to draw. My brother also grew up to be a printmaker, and we would always be bouncing ideas off each other. 

    My parents were very encouraging, always sharing art books with us and nurturing our creativity. My mom taught us how to stamp plants, and my dad took us camping which was unusual in the 1980’s in Taiwan. They still live on the farm in Taiwan, with a home in Toronto. 

    [Ed’s sketchbook where he keeps track of his colour experiments, research, and upcoming print designs]

     

    I traveled to Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan and apprenticed with families who were known for printmaking and creating natural dyes. In a way, it’s like I have to travel around the world before I come home.   

     

    Where did you learn how to do this? 

    I went to school for 2D animation. I took a few printmaking courses on the side and the rest is self taught. I did printmaking in my spare time while I had my career in the film/animation industry. I worked as a concept artist and was always on my computer, it felt very detached from my passion.

    Eventually, I traveled around the world to Japan, Oaxaca, and Taiwan and apprenticed with families who were known for printmaking and creating natural dyes. In a way, it’s like I have to travel around the world before I come home.   

    I apprenticed in Oaxaca in a village that has a thousand year old tradition of creating natural dyes from plants and insects. I learned to forage and extract colour from their region to create inks for printmaking. Japan has a long history of making natural inks and block printing with minerals and tea.

    As is the case with most contemporary artists, I take traditional techniques and evolve and develop them into my personal practice. I’m not working in a big team, it’s just me and my relationship with the people I learn from. 

    You approach this process very methodically, scientifically even. Is there a question you’re trying to answer? 

    My goal right now is to research and forage plants and insects to find different inks for my art practice (screen printing). 

    I don’t want to keep what I’m doing a secret. I want artists to know they can make art from stuff they find in their backyard, in the outdoors, or from things they were going to throw out.

    You mentioned that some of your favourite berries to make natural inks are Salal berry and Elderberry. Why is that?

    It has to do with the indigo blue colour they create, and also their cultural significance. Salal berries have long been used by the Coast Salish people as a main food source. The elderberry is also known to have medicinal and ritual purposes.  

    [Foraged plants (Marush and Pericón) used to create natural inks for printmaking.]  

     

    If anything, making mistakes help me learn how to accept situations and adapt. 

     

     How do you spend your downtime? 

    Personally, I love going to a cafe and drawing peopleit’s a practice for me, I draw every day.  

    What project are you working on right now?
    I’m working on prints that I will feature at my next show in Van Dusen Gardens, date TBA July 2020.

    [Some of Ed’s prints on various paper he’s created including hemp, abaca, and cotton]  

    How do you deal with screw-ups or mistakes?

    If anything, making mistakes help me learn how to accept situations and adapt. Working with natural inks, I can’t really force a colour or outcome that I want (unlike using artificial inks), I’m going to get what nature gives me. I just have to keep going, keep track of what I learn, and sometimes talk about it with other artists I trust. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by a great community of people. 

     

     [Ed in the Malaspina Printmakers studio]

    What's the best creative or artistic advice you've ever gotten? 

    1-  From my workaholic-Taiwanese mother to me when I first started Forest and Waves: “Money is important, but it’s not the most important thing.”

    2-  “When you’re going into the field of art, it’s all about trial and error, it’s not about perfection, because there is no perfection. This practice is all trial and error, just like life.” Brigitte Potter-Mael, freelance artist and cultural worker

     

    Who do you recommend we speak with next? 

    • Brigitte Potter-Mael, artist and printmaker
    • Andrea Wong, leather maker and accessories designer
    • Judy Chartrand, contemporary Cree artist

     

    [Ed’s print titled: Clayoquot Sound]

    Thank you so much, Ed! We love your work! To view Ed's art and find out what he’s up to visit his website and look out for his upcoming exhibition this July at Van Dusen. 

    Feeling inspired? Head on over to our curated crafting kits to get started! And if you know a maker we should feature next month, drop a comment below or email us hello@projectweekendshop.com 

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  • Meet the Makers: Alessandra Percival from Flourist

    Meet the Makers: Alessandra Percival from Flourist

    One of our goals at Project Weekend is to contribute to this amazing community of makers. One of the ways we'll do that is by highlighting makers and artists, and sharing their stories to inspire others to make time for creativity. We're very excited to announce a new series called Meet the Makers.

    Our inaugural post kicks off with Alessandra Percival, head baker at Flourist's 2,800 sqft brick and mortar cafe at 3433 Commercial St in Vancouver. Flourist is Canada's only source for 100% traceable grains, beans, and freshly milled flour. Their warm and welcoming cafe offers incredible baked goods, an all-day menu, and commissary market. 

    Here, Alessandra shares what it's like to be a maker for a living, her personal inspirations, and how she deals with mistakes in her day-to-day job and when crafting at home...

     

    What is a typical day like as a head baker?

    A typical day is spent doing a little bit of everything: managing the team in the back of house, making bread, doing service, food costing, and lots of prep. It’s busy, but I love it!

    "I’ve always loved working with my hands and it’s so satisfying to create something that nourishes people." 

     

    Why did you choose baking as your career? 

    I grew up baking with my mom and always enjoyed it. It was really therapeutic for me. I tried the university route and didn’t like it, so I decided to go to school for baking and pastry. Since then I’ve been baking full time. I’ve always loved working with my hands and it’s so satisfying to create something that nourishes people. 

    How do you spend your downtime?

    Usually I knit a lot, because I can focus on it and find it very relaxing. I also like to read, go out for dinner, and go for walks. 

     

    What project are you working on right now?


    Right now we’re doing some menu development at Flourist so I’ve been testing some new recipes and sourcing ingredients that speak to our values of sustainability and traceability. Lots of testing and lots of eating! I’m also working on Christmas gifts for my family. We’re trying to only give gifts that are handmade, locally sourced, and/or second-hand so it’s been fun to think of gifts to make for everyone.  

     

    "I still have sweaters that my grandmother knit for me as a baby, and I hope that people cherish what I make the same way I cherish those items."

     

    How do you deal with screw-ups or mistakes?

    Even though I can be a bit stubborn and a perfectionist, I think I deal with screw ups or mistakes fairly well. Sourdough baking is one of those things that is always adapting and changing depending on the day, so if you’re not patient and limber you can easily make mistakes. Being in this constant state of flow has kept me from taking myself too seriously. The weather, the temperature of your water, the age of your starterall of these things can cause potential screw ups so you need to think on your feet and be flexible. The nice thing is that even a flat loaf that might look like a ‘mistake’ is still tasty!

     

     

    With knitting I’ve definitely shed some tears. I’ll usually unravel my work and fix it. I read somewhere that there’s always one mistake in every knitting project but I can’t seem to accept that! 

    If I’m not working off of a pattern I have a hard time knowing when a project is “done”. I made a blanket as a wedding gift and it ended up being a king sized blanket because I was so concerned about making sure that both my sister and brother-in-law could snuggle under it. I’m sure it could have been “done” a lot sooner if I hadn’t been so concerned about making it too small. 

     

    "I love creating food that makes people feel nostalgic." 

     

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    Most of my inspiration comes from things my grandmothers or mother made for us when I was growing up. The food I make today is inspired by their recipes. I love creating food that makes people feel nostalgic. Even though it wasn’t something that I personally ate growing up, my favourite thing on the Flourist menu is the baked beans on toast. I ate it every day the first month we opened and that’s not an exaggeration. 


    Are there any activities that give you clarity and purpose?

    Knitting and hand spinning my own wool. I find those hobbies really meditative. I’ll start doing it and totally lose track of time. I’ll look at my phone and hours will have passed without me realizing. I love creating something with my hands and hoping that I’m creating an heirloom. I still have sweaters and stuffed animals that my grandmother knit for me as a baby and I hope that people cherish what I make the same way I cherish those items. 


    What's the best creative or artistic advice you've ever gotten? 

    Keep it simple, stupid”. Sometimes we have a tendency to mess with things when it’s not really required. 


    Thank you so much, Alessandra! Be sure to visit Flourist in-real-life, online, and follow their delicious social feed.

    We hope you find this series as interesting as we do. If you're looking for your next project, head on over to our curated crafting kits to get started! And if you know a maker we should feature next month, email us at hello@projectweekendshop.com 

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