Shop Talk

Random Desires: What we love, where to find it & sometimes why — Our curated list of local finds

Beautiful Recycling

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When a skateboard has been abandoned or is no longer fit for surfing the city, Maru the Circle Brand takes over, pairing the colourful rock-hard maple of that old board with quality stainless steel to create the awesomeness that is the Skate Santoku knife. Donate your old skateboard to receive the ultimate personal piece.

Repurposing a Bank

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What better way to put your design chops to the test than by repurposing an old bank into a modern display space. The owners of Alteriors modern furniture shop in Old Ottawa South have done just that, buying the former TD Canada Trust location across the street and transforming it into a sleek new showcase for their wares. Owners Jacob Visutskie and Monika Durczak will now operate out of both locations, turning the original store into a dedicated Ligne Roset showroom.

Signs of the Times

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It must be welcoming; it has to have personality. Even better if it boasts that impossible-to-quantify “it” factor known as cachet. Orleans-based The Legendary Workshop gets it, furnishing local culinary hot spots with head-turning signs that radiate personality. Look for their pieces at The Rowan, The Pomeroy House, The Commons, Mason-Dixon Kitchen + Bar, Union Local 613 and, well, every week a new sign seems to pop up …

Textiles Meet Metal

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She’s a former forestry worker turned textile artist, her works drawing inspiration from the natural world. Sayward Johnson hand-weaves her pieces with copper wire, then oxidizes them to form a complex patina before sealing in the colours. The results are haunting and moody, the stiff “fabric” manipulated into ridges and other shapes, embroidery sometimes added. The City of Ottawa bought one of Johnson’s works for the first time in 2016, showcasing it as a standout piece in their annual exhibition of new acquisitions.

Crafting for Grown-ups

This is what happens when an engineer and an artist get creative. The animal-themed sculpture kits at Low Poly Crafts, a business launched just last spring by Britta Evans-Fenton and Adrian Ocneanu, are like paper-folding on steroids. But, hey, the pieces are all pre-cut, pre-scored, and pre-numbered. How hard could it be? Let’s try one and see how it compares to an Ikea assembly project.

Nature-Inspired Art

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Creativity takes flight when artist-designers Danielle Jones and James Laish collaborate. Pairing brilliant archival pigments with state-of-the-art printers, the duo behind Jones+Laish has created the Butterfly Effects series. Striking in their intensity, these textural masterpieces are rendered in bold pinks, turquoises, and golds. Let’s just call them butterflies with attitude. 

Experimental Kid Stuff

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Warehouse design company is always creating — sometimes just for fun. Understated in sensibility and cool of form, their Epona rocking horse was all the rage when co-CEO Ian Murchison debuted it at last year’s Interior Design Show in Toronto. Named for the Gallo-Roman goddess of fertility and protector of horses, Epona is crafted from recycled copper cable, hand-finished Canadian maple, and rabbit fur. Unfortunately for design-conscious parents everywhere, the rocking horse is a prototype, but the duo of Murchison and Rohan Thakar do have lots of other neat stuff for sale through their website.

A Home Office With Attitude

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A moose on a Ski-Doo? A beaver with an axe? It’s all part of an epic Canadiana-themed cartoon scene gracing the home office of art appreciator Ryan Langlois. The scene is the result of a partnership between Ottawa’s PDA Projects and Montreal’s En Masse, a multi-artist collaborative drawing project. Want to learn more about these collaborators who have also dreamed up permanent art projects for Shopify and Common Eatery?