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Experience The West Coast Thrill In Luxury. The 2017 C-Class Coupe leaps to the head of its class in virtually every dimension, from thoughtful innovation to advanced safety to breathtaking style. Seductive design fused with true athletic performance. Its long, sleek shape stands out, powered by a turbocharged engine that delivers a heart-pounding 273 lb-ft of torque. And its lowered sport suspension helps you handle whatever the road throws at you. Every element is executed with the eye of an artist and the soul of a driver. Discover the thrill at Three Point Motors. Get inspired at threepointmotors.ca Total price: $50,910*

Š 2017 Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. 2017 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC Coupe shown above for illustration purposes only. *Total price for 2017 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC Coupe includes MSRP of $48,100, Freight and PDI ($2,295), DOC of $395, environmental levies of $100 and EHF tires of $20. Registration, insurance, Admin ($495), PPSA up to $48.45 and taxes extra. Please see Three Point Motors for complete details. DL 9818 #30817.

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EVERY HOME IS AN UPGRADE Every home in our community comes with premium finishings & features at no extra charge. That means what you see is what you get - from the chic kitchens with stainless steel appliances to the fenced yard complete with landscaping and in-ground irrigation, Eaglehurst Homes has thought out every detail so you don’t have to - and that’s just the beginning! Open the door to the possibilities without having to compromise.



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This Cadboro Bay home embraces its unique triangular lot with sharp, angular edges and dynamic room shapes. BY DANIELLE POPE



THE MEANING OF HOME YAM talks to a couple who have chosen an alternative way of living — and discovers how a change in lifestyle means a change in outlook. BY ALEX VAN TOL

GROW YOUR OWN BOUQUETS Rediscover the pure pleasure and eco-benefits of growing, harvesting and arranging your own blooms. BY CHRISTIN GEALL

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BRING MORE ART INTO YOUR LIFE The right pieces not only add design and colour to your rooms, they can also bring emotion and depth. BY ADRIENNE DYER


HER CREATIVE SPIRIT Victoria’s Leslie Shewring is a designer, stylist and photographer whose keen esthetic has brought her international success and inspired others to create beauty. BY ATHENA MCKENZIE



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Transform your dining room into an elegant enclave for cuisine and conversation

By Kerry Slavens

28 HOME & LIFESTYLE Put that blender to good use — “souping” is the latest health-food trend REV.#

Studio Revisions



By Cinda Chavich

File Name: YAM-3rd-2.39x9.58-VW-2016.indd Trim: 2.39” (w) x 9.58” (h) (Exported in horizontal layout to be flipped to vertical position in magazine) Bleed: 0.125” x 0.125” Live: N/A Colours: 4C Studio: SW Notes: No crop marks for YAM Magazine exports.

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Vehicle shown for illustration purposes only and may be an upgraded model. *Starting from price is based on the 2017 Golf 1.8T Trendline with a MSRP ($19,195) and freight/PDI ($1825). DOC ($395), environmental levies ($100), tire levy ($25), license, insurance PPSA fee (up to $45.48, if applicable), registration ($495), options, any dealer or other charges, and applicable taxes are extra. Visit Volkswagen Victoria to view current offers. “Volkswagen”, the Volkswagen logo, “Trendline” and “Golf”, are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. ©2017 Volkswagen Canada. DL 49914428 #31186

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13 YAM CONFIDENTIAL A spa giveaway, the Bridges, Not Walls Symposium and scenes from the YAM contributor’s event

15 H ERE & NOW Pretty in pink, 70s-inspired décor, a new art gallery and a salute to the general store


Hometown boy Atom Egoyan launches Pacific Opera Victoria’s new season, YAM goes off the highway to visit downtown Duncan, plus Culture x3

By David Lennam and Athena McKenzie


A Proust-style interview with Alison Ross of Kilshaw’s Auctioneers

By Kerry Slavens



This Cadboro Bay home embraces its unique triangular lot with sharp, angular edges and dynamic room shapes

By Danielle Pope

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Now available at Barbara’s Boutique!

s spring approaches, I’m moving my furniture around again. It’s an annual exercise that is as much therapeutic as it is esthetic. Pondering the shape and scale of my rooms, I became aware of how my home, with its odd-shaped rooms, constantly foils my need for perfection — and it challenges me to let go of that insane pursuit. This all makes me think about the impact our homes have on our lives. There’s no doubt they help to define us, from the type of architecture we prefer to the colours we paint our walls. I can still feel how the places I’ve lived in shaped my sensibilities. The boxy apartments I moved into after high school were blank slates on which I began to create myself as an adult. The old house on a street called Carberry Gardens may have had pallid green carpets, ugly lino and a fire-exit sign at the top of the stairwell, but to me this place contained gems Kerry Slavens, Editor-in-Chief of beauty that inspired my creativity as a beginning writer. Something about the way the sunlight refracted through the stained glass windows and the charmingly labyrinth-like layout, inspired me to think poetically, in non-linear ways. “Our homes are a Living there was one of the most creative periods of my life. way of organizing There have been other homes: a tiny bungalow with and understanding scarred fir floors, my toddler’s “abstract” paintings thumbtacked on the walls, books stacked on the dining table/ the space within desk and sash windows with rippled panes that distorted the ourselves and the world outside into something Monet-esque. This small and way the world is decidedly funky bungalow seemed to hug its inhabitants — constructed around perfect for my state of being as a new mom. I’ve lived in enough places to understand the concept of us.” home and not-home. I now know that I admire sleek, ultra— Designer/blogger modern architecture and design, but I need my home to have Linda Bennett the kind of character that only comes with age, with all the charming (and sometimes frustrating) imperfections that go with that. I admire the resilience of older homes that have survived fires, storms and generations who all left their imprint. These homes speak to me of the strength to survive while never losing the beauty of life. In this way, they inspire me and remind me of my own strengths. Your idea of home will be different from mine, as it should be, but unless you are one of those travelling nomads who thrive on being baseless, you probably also feel a need to call somewhere home. Maybe it’s like Alain de Botton wrote in his book The Architecture of Happiness: “We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical sense ... We need our rooms to align us to desirable versions of ourselves and to keep alive the important, evanescent sides of us.”

Barbara’s Boutique 2392 Beacon Avenue, Sidney 250 655 0372

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Email me at kslavens@pageonepublishing.ca

DON’T MISS THIS! The Bridges for Women Society has expanded its annual International Women’s Day fundraising event into a powerful March 25 symposium. Bridges, Not Walls was inspired by the rising social movement led by women. I hope to see you at this very enlightening and important event. For details, see page 13.

www.badenbadenboutiques.com www.facebook.com/badenbadenboutiques facebook.com /YAMmagazine



twitter.com /YAMmagazine

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PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens



EDITORIAL DESIGNER Janice Hildybrant DEPUTY EDITOR Athena McKenzie MARKETING & EVENTS Erin Virtanen PROOFREADER Vivian Sinclair CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cinda Chavich, Adrienne Dyer, Christin Geall, David Lennam, Lana Lounsbury, Danielle Pope, Alex Van Tol CONTRIBUTING FASHION EDITOR Janine Metcalfe

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jeffrey Bosdet, Kurt Knock, Joshua Lawrence

CONTRIBUTING AGENCIES Stocksy p. 54; ThinkStock p. 13, 59, 62 ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Vicki Clark, Sharon Davies, Cynthia Hanischuk

GENERAL INQUIRIES info@yammagazine.com LETTERS TO THE EDITOR letters@yammagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE TO YAM subscriptions@yammagazine.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES sales@yammagazine.com ONLINE yammagazine.com FACEBOOK YAM magazine – Victoria TWITTER twitter.com/YAMmagazine INSTAGRAM @yam_magazine

COVER J enny Martin’s interior design vision works beautifully with the unique angles of this spectacular Cadboro Bay home, fittingly called “Edge.”

Photo by Joshua Lawrence

Published by PAGE ONE PUBLISHING 580 Ardersier Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 1C7 T 250-595-7243 info@pageonepublishing.ca pageonepublishing.ca

Printed in Canada by Transcontinental Printing. Ideas and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Page One Publishing Inc. or its affiliates; no official endorsement should be inferred. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement and any and all representations or warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not the publisher. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, in all or part, in any form — printed or electronic — without the express permission of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #41295544 ADVERTISE IN YAM MAGAZINE YAM is Victoria’s lifestyle magazine, connecting readers to the distinctive lifestyle and authentic luxury of the West Coast. For advertising info, please call us at 250-5957243 or email sales@yammagazine.com.





idges, Not Walls — r B —


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A SYMPOSIUM TO INSPIRE HOPE AMONG WOMEN OF ALL AGES AND BACKGROUNDS YAM is excited to support the inspiring Bridges, Not Walls Symposium on March 25 at the Victoria Conference Centre. The event is hosted by the Bridges for Women Society, a local women’s organization working to end cycles of violence against women. Held on one of the UN’s Orange Days to UNiTE to End Violence Against Women — the 25th of every month — the symposium features powerful, inspirational women panelists and speakers. The keynote speaker is the Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, the 19th Prime Minister of Canada (and Canada’s only female prime minister to date). A fundraising lunch catered by the Fairmont Empress follows the symposium. The luncheon features a leadership panel discussing the important questions and strategies for women moving forward. Funds raised support Bridges for Women. For more info and tickets visit bridgesforwomen.ca.

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Say it with flowers

SOPHIA BRIGGS & NANCY STRATTON Every home is a masterpiece

YAM’s newest contributor Christin Geall is an urban flower farmer, floral designer and literary gardening writer. She shares some of her botanical wisdom in Grow Your Own Bouquets (page 54). This joyous arrangement above is composed of May flowers Ranunculus and Colibri Icelandic poppies.

WE OUR WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS! YAM’s amazing contributors gathered at our headquarters on February 15 for an evening of wine, food and, of course, stories.

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Top to bottom: (L to R) Joshua Lawrence, Leanne McKeachie and Lana Lounsbury; (L to R) David Lennam, Carolyn Camilleri and Alex Van Tol; Vicki Clark, Shannon Moneo, Kerry Slavens and Cinda Chavich

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SITTING PRETTY When it comes to creating the feeling of home, there’s nothing like the loving personality of a pet. And Story the Blue Great Dane brings big personality as the matriarch of the canine family at the Jonnie Danes household. “Story rules the roost, that’s for sure,” says Jordan Illingsworth, coowner of Jonnie Danes, a renowned Victoria-based specialist who runs a holistic breeding program for these gentle giants. “Story would be the CEO of a company and wearing a power suit if she were a human being,” Illingsworth continues. “But she’s also very sweet and loving.”




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LA VIE EN PINK Pink has eclipsed the other trendy colours to achieve full “It” status among style setters this season. Find this bubblegum tone infusing your favourite cosmetics, adding a rosy touch to fashion and an elegant hue to home furnishings.





Cushions are made from an ecofriendly synthetic down created from recycled water bottles.

1 You can now personalize your Adidas Gazelles, so bring on the pink stripes (adidas.ca, $130) 2 Cursor & Thread’s dapper bow ties are a fun way to add a pop of this styling colour (find local retailers at cursorandthread.com, $59/each) 3 The Clarbel dress from Ted Baker also brings in spring’s floral-print trend (tedbaker.com/ca, $529, line carried locally by Bernstein & Gold) // 4 The French pink clay in Herbivore’s soap ($14) and mask ($28) draws out impurities without drying your skin, while the Rose Hibiscus mist ($43) tones, hydrates and softens (available locally at Frances Grey) // 5 There is something romantic and decadent about Le Creuset’s Bonbon enamel dishware, including these espresso cups (Penna & Co., $40/set of 2) 6 Blush velvet adds to the timeless elegance of Gus Modern’s Margot sofa (Chester Fields, $2,450) 7 Rebecca Minkoff’s classic small Vanity saddle bag gets a refresh in pastel pink (rebeccaminkoff.com, $380, line carried locally at Violette Boutique)

FASHION SCENTS Laura Jane Atelier, the blog of Victoria’s Laura Mitbrodt, is a treasure trove of vintage-inspired fashion, beauty faves and local finds. And there’s more — Mitbrodt is also a perfumer, creating her own brand of hand-



crafted, hand-poured natural fragrances. “I was one of those people who always owned 10 different perfumes and would get drawn to a department store’s fragrance counter,” she says. “When I was visiting New Orleans, I went into an old perfumery from the

1880s and was really inspired by all the scents they had.” A chance meeting with perfumer Karen Van Dyck of Nature’s First Beauty Bar led to the creation of Laura Jane Atelier perfumes, which forgo the synthetic chemicals found in many commercial fragrances. “I wanted to create something that was vintage-inspired and complemented my blog, so

there are lots of classic scents,” Mitbrodt says. “One is inspired by a 1920s jazz club. It has tobacco in it and the base is rum with a bit of vanilla. It smells smoky and warm.” Laura Jane Atelier perfumes are available locally at Migration, Duchess & Duke and Nature’s First Beauty Bar, and at laurajaneatelier.com.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE To really push the boundaries of design, Victoria-based furniture maker Mike Randall of Kurva Design is drawn to lighting. “It can be functional art,” Randall says. “I want things to look as good when they’re not in use as when they are. A standard floor lamp doesn’t add anything to the room but light — my pieces aim to do more.” His Bow Lamp, which was featured on the Prototype Stage at IDS West 2015, is a slender wooden sculpture. Like all of Randall’s pieces, models are made from North American maple and oak with eco-conscious finishes.

design insider


As a graduate of the Fine Furniture program at Camosun College, Randall credits his time there with influencing his design style. “My father was an antique dealer,” Randall says, “and I’ve always liked furniture, but when [Camosun program leader and instructor] Ken Guenter, who gave a whole series of lectures on art history, got to the section on mid-century modernists, my whole way of thinking exploded.” Kurva means bend or arc in Swedish, and the name also reflects Randall’s love of simple, clean, modern lines.

“I like simple designs that make people stop and look and think.” — MIKE RANDALL OF KURVA DESIGN

The bleached maple Bow Lamp on a base of ebonized white oak (kurvadesign.ca, $2,400)

By Lana Lounsbury

Indulge in Not-So-Serious Style Interior design isn’t always about serious decisions. Have a peek at these fun, 70s-inspired pieces for the feeling of big indulgence without big commitment. Another thing to love? These versatile pieces work with almost any décor. MAGIC CARPET

FIT TO BE DYED My current obsession is designer pillows. They’re a fun way to get high-quality patterns and prints without designerfurniture price tags. The hand-dyed Kevin O’Brien velvet pillow would look fantastic on a modern grey sofa or a traditional floral one. Pillow prints with background colours of creams and whites look good against most upholstery, so have fun mixing patterns and colours without worrying about coordinating them. Kevin O’Brien Shibori velvet pillow (anthropologie.com, $268)

Area rugs are traditionally biganxiety and big-dollar pieces. However, as more people demand products that can stand up to kids and pets, rugs have become more durable, less expensive and a whole lot more fun — like the Geodesic wool rug from Dash and Albert. Rugs are the perfect way to experiment with new colours and patterns, plus they look

exceptional in offices, entries and dining rooms where the furnishings tend to have less pattern and colour, and the floor can take centre stage. Geodesic micro hooked wool rug (Dash and Albert $1,834, dashandalbert.annieselke.com)

Pembrook pendant (arteriorshome.com, $1,950)


Buying a kitchen island pendant is a great opportunity to try out a new style, colour or metal finish without having to commit to the look throughout your home. This Pembrook pendant from Arteriors has a modern, transitional feel that brings charisma to any space. With its 70s vibe and burnished gold finish, you get two looks in one.

“I love this pendant’s seed glass — it’s a great play on textures.”

Lana Lounsbury of Lana Lounsbury Interiors is a Registered Interior Designer who passionately believes interior design is an essential, transformative tool to reinvent oneself throughout life.










t’s a one-stop shop where people can get what they need without getting in their car to go somewhere else,” says Alix Harvey, co-owner of the Local General Store at Haultain Corners. “Traditionally, [a general store] is a gathering place where people run into their neighbours. We’ve always tried to create that here.” Harvey spent three years sourcing Island products before opening the Local in 2013. Along with fresh produce and foodstuffs, household products and even seeds, the shop features work by Victoria and Pacific Northwest artisans, including pottery, jewelry and clothing. Downtown’s Lore General Store also highlights local — something that was important to owner Stef Hartwig. “Government Street has been traditionally

1 Marla Ebell, owner of Hold General Store in Vic West. // 2 Items at Hold are chosen for their usefulness and design. // 3 Along with groceries, the Local General Store at Haultain Corners carries household and seasonal goods, toys, body and beauty care and cleaning products. 4 Lore General Store features Island and Vancouver artisans. 5 Mérida Anderson ceramics are some of the useful 5 homewares available at Lore.



mble through Trounce Alley and you’ll discover a recent addition to the city’s art scene. The aptly named Trounce Alley Gallery (TAG) represents local and international contemporary artists with an everchanging collection of paintings, sculpture and mixed media. “We want to share our passion for contemporary art and the best this region has to offer in terms of emerging local talent,” says owner Danny Dokken, “and give international artists a platform through which to showcase their art.” The location in Trounce Alley was chosen for its history, charm and European flair, as well as its artistic pedigree. “It seemed wise to situate ourselves between two established galleries, Madrona and West End galleries,” he says. While TAG’s wildly popular O-Canada 150 celebration exhibit has moved on, the gallery now features the works of Erik Volet, Jean-Paul Langlois and Anouk Yonker. Special exhibits feature master carver and painter Tom Duquette in April and painter Bruce Williamson in May. Duquette’s neo-primitivist red-cedar carving and abstract expressionist paintings are infused with Northwest Coast and pop sensibilities. Williamson paints contemporary still-life and genre paintings using chiaroscuro and tenebrism — oil painting techniques from the Renaissance era. “Both artists are using traditional mediums to express contemporary values,” Dokken says. “And Filthy Rags, we find that Douglas Williamson, fascinating.” oil on linen, 20"x40"

Retailers looking to give their customers a more authentic and local experience are reviving an old-style concept: the general store.

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Saluting the General Store




// By Alex Van Tol


This January, in a 750-square-foot live/work studio in Chinatown, writer Jill Margo and playwright Andrew Templeton launched Good, their member-based workshop — opening their doors to community and conviviality. “Picture a private coffee shop with a warm, rustic-industrial feel,” says Margo, “tucked away down a tree-lined courtyard on the edge of the Chinatown District…” Good revolves around a big rustic table the pair built themselves and is a space for curated writing and goal-based workshops, work “dates” and quiet work sessions where creative types can sit down and get productive. Food and beverage is always part of the Good experience, says Templeton. “Breaking bread is a hugely important component for both of us,” he says. “This space allows us to attract and build community partly around the work but also around people who just want to share time and space with us.” tinyletter.com/thisisgood

Handmade shaving brush from Vancouver’s Landon Dix ($110, Hold General Store)

“... general stores are places that are full of useful tools that people need and use every day.”

known for tacky tourist shops,” Hartwig says. “There was nothing downtown that celebrated local Victoria and Vancouver makers.” Hartwig chose the term “general store” because her shop has a little bit of everything, from kitchen and pantry items to homewares and apothecary. Lore also brings in the community through hands-on workshops with the makers. Community is also at the core of Hold General Store in Vic West. “I really enjoy doing collaborations with local artisans to create unique items,” says owner Marla Ebell. A recent project making quilts with Angela Heathfield involved dyeing the fabric indigo, right in the shop. Ebell, who used to run a market stall for her grandparents’ farm up-Island, wanted to update the general store in a way that focused on the practical. “For me, general stores are places that are full of useful tools that people need and use every day,” she says. While the store is light on produce in the winter months, the summer sees a balance between food and housewares. “There is definitely a design element to all the products that are chosen for the store,” she says, “but what I really value is the component that someone can come in and buy a bundle of kale to make their dinner.”

Katherine Gray

Me l i s s a K u r t z

250 516 4563

250 508 5325





E.&O.E.: If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada is Independently Owned And Operated.





A GOOD DAY FOR SOUP Have you heard? Souping is the new juicing. By Cinda Chavich This chilled beet soup is aptly called the Cool Pink Sip. Dress it with a dab of sour cream or fresh dill and sip away. Find the recipe on page 24.




n case you haven’t heard, souping is the new juicing. If that verb isn’t in your vocabulary, here’s a translation — combine vegetables and herbs in your blender and purée, then drink, all goodness intact. It’s not hard to add “souping” to your home-cooking routine. Piggy backing on the smoothie and bone-broth revolutions, it’s another way to put that expensive high-speed blender to work without over dosing on fruity carbs, and adding the nourishment of nutrient-dense vegetables to the equation. Soups are super nourishing and loaded with vitamins and minerals that are easily digestible, so it’s not surprising that “souping” is the latest health-food trend. The very act of simmering ingredients in water releases soluble nutrients, an extremely simple, convenient and delicious way to get the most from whole foods, whether you’re six or 60. Souping is also the latest diet trend, but the idea that soup contributes to a healthy, lowcalorie diet plan is not new.

... a soup diet can help heal your digestive system, reduce inflammation, increase circulation and support your liver. Dieters first embraced ideas like the Cabbage Soup Diet in the 1950s, and soup diets have long been prescribed to cure everything from cancer to the common cold. Whether it’s chicken soup (a.k.a. Jewish penicillin) or a beefy barley soup, you can literally live on good, homestyle soups. And, as all French women know, starting every meal with a soup course helps control your appetite and your calorie intake.

SUPER SOUPS But with today’s focus on functional “super foods,” a regular bowl or bottle of vegetable soup gets even more credit for maintaining good health. According to acolytes, a soup diet can help heal your digestive system, reduce inflammation, increase circulation and support your liver. A typical day on a California soup cleanse might include a soothing chicken broth, a chunky lentil and chickpea soup for healthy fibre, a zucchini-basil soup and a calming lemongrass consommé. Fresh, low-calorie and conveniently gulpable, these cleansing soups are designed to provide about 800 calories daily, and be augmented by one healthy 400-calorie meal of lean protein and veggies. Even if you’re not aiming for a complete cleanse, adding fresh soups to your daily routine is an easy way to improve your diet. But unlike that fresh fruit smoothie,

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making a truly a great soup requires more than a blender. It’s always best to start with an aromatic mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery, sautéed until tender, then simmered together with water or broth, chunky vegetables, tomatoes, beans or lean protein, herbs and spices. All goodness remains intact, and you’ll draw deep, delicious, homey flavours from your ingredients too.

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THE ART OF SOUPING Smooth, puréed soups are easy to make and consume and a great way to use up leftover vegetables. In fact, making soup is always a wonderful way to creatively use up

leftovers of all kinds and reduce food waste at home. The basic formula for creamed soup is quite simple. Start by sautéing a chopped onion and a clove of minced garlic, add four cups of chicken or vegetable broth for the base, and puree with anything you like (think canned white beans and rosemary; a tin of tomatoes with fresh basil and cream; a bunch of sautéed mushrooms with evaporated milk; sautéed greens like spinach or kale with herbs). Heat everything together to meld the flavours, and serve. It only takes a little chopping and some simmering on the stove to make a chunky soup or a silky purée that can be chilled or

< For a healthy infusion of beta carotene and vitamin A, you can’t go wrong with this nourishing carrot and coriander soup. Find the recipe on page 25.

frozen for quick, convenient and healthy lunches or suppers. Make soup on Sunday, then portion and refrigerate for lunches all week or freeze for longer storage. To kickstart a healthy soup diet, the experts recommend recipes that are big in vegetables and broths, low in fats and cream. Vegetable purées offer richness without added fat. Clear soups made with bone broths or savoury mushroom bases — think classic hot-and-sour soup or a healthy potage of leeks, garlic, onions and kale — are loaded with detoxifying nutrients. Bean and lentil soups help digestion with a dose of healthy fibre. And always save bones and vegetable trimmings in the freezer so you can make your own healthy stocks for soups from scratch. Clean out the fridge and repurpose your leftovers in creative soups.

IF YOU’RE NOT THE COOKING TYPE Commercially, soup is trending big-time, with companies like Splendid Spoon in Brooklyn or Soupure in L.A. offering their plant-based “soup cleanse” selections delivered daily to customers’ doors. Here in British Columbia, Kits Kitchen makes soups with locally sourced organic ingredients and sells them in returnable glass jars or freezable pouches in more than 30 stores from Whistler to Victoria. Kits Kitchen offers weekly home delivery in Vancouver and has designed a $90 “48-hour Soup Reset,” a kind of quickie cleanse to “heal and recharge” your digestive system. The reset features eight soups and four broths, from butternut squash and ginger to sweet beet and cabbage, garlic and kale, cremini mushroom, and hearty chicken and curry stew. It’s all based on Kits’ philosophy that “the gut is the doorway to the health of our brain and immune system.” By supporting it, the company suggests, we are ultimately supporting the health of our bodies. You can buy Kits Kitchen soups at Lifestyle Markets in Victoria, find homemade bone broths in the freezer at Ottavio and Vancouver’s Soup Etc! soups at Whole Foods Market, or check out Dad’s Soups and Sangys café, where the monthly “soup calendar” announces three new homemade soups to try every day. Any day is a good day for soup, regardless of whether you make your own soup or source it from a local soup maker. Think about sipping it every day as a new healthy habit.

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Some experts say you don’t need another liquid to consume with your liquid lunch (and would not drink alcohol with your quaffable bone broth or healthy vegetable purée), but when soup is the first course or a hearty main-meal affair, it makes sense to start with wine. You can choose a wine to reflect the character of your soup or to contrast its texture. So a rich, creamy soup (say lobster bisque, creamy cauliflower or chestnut soup) might benefit from a round, creamy chardonnay or a crisper white like grüner veltliner or sauvignon blanc to refresh the palate after all of that richness. A fresher purée of green peas or sweet carrot and ginger could be paired with a light bubbly like prosecco or a fruity white like riesling or chenin blanc. A tangy tomato-based soup needs a wine with good


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Here are two simple and super-healthy soups from The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook by Cinda Chavich to get you started: colourful pink beet soup and a golden carrot and coriander soup. For a hearty soup supper, try Cinda’s creamy coconut squash soup, Tuscan white bean and greens soup or corn chowder. Find these recipes at yammagazine.com.

COOL PINK SIP Sour cream turns cold beet broth pure pink — fun to sip cold from a cup or a bowl. • 2 pounds beets, scrubbed • 2 red onions, quartered • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil • 1 tsp salt • White pepper to taste • 4 cups water • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar • 1 tbsp sugar • 1/2 cup sour cream • Chopped fresh dill Arrange beets and onions in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425°F for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beets and onions are tender. Cool. Peel the beets and grate using a box grater (or food processor). Chop the onions and combine with the beets in a saucepan. Add the water, vinegar and sugar, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool. Purée with an immersion blender (or in a blender or food processor). Whisk in the sour cream and chill for several hours or overnight. Adjust the seasoning and serve topped with dill. Serves 4.



acidity and low tannin — think gamay or valpolicella. If your starter soup is a clear consommé, try sipping a dry sherry or a light-bodied white. If your soup is spicy — Mexican chicken, coconut curry or Thai fish — balance the spice with something that’s slightly off dry (riesling or gewürtztraminer). Salty soups, like miso ramen, need something dry for balance, whether it’s a crisp bubbly or a citrusy hopped IPA. Mushroom soup, beefy French onion soup and minestrone can stand up to a light red, perhaps a young pinot noir or beaujolais, and often pair well with a dry rosé from Provence. Chunkier soups that verge into the realm of stews work with heartier, rustic reds. Think about the origin of the recipe — French, Italian or Catalan? — and find a simple local wine from the same region, often the perfect match.

CARROT AND CORIANDER SOUP This is the perfect way to start a dinner party — or just make it for its healthy dose of beta carotene, fibre and vitamin A. It’s a smooth, colourful soup, creamy yet low in calories, with curative cumin and cleansing ginger too. • 1/4 cup butter • 1/2 cup chopped celery • 1 onion, chopped • 1 clove garlic, minced • 1 tbsp minced ginger • 1 tsp ground coriander • 1/2 tsp curry powder • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems (save the leaves for garnish) • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped or shredded • 5 cups chicken broth • 1 tsp lemon juice • Sea salt • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves In a large saucepan, heat the butter and sauté the celery, onion, garlic and ginger over medium heat for 5 minutes, until tender and fragrant. Add the ground coriander, curry powder, cilantro stems and carrots, and cook together for another 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low, partially cover the pan, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Cool the soup slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor to purée. Return the soup to the pot and reheat. Thin with a little extra broth or water if necessary. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serves 4 to 6.

tastes + trends By Cinda Chavich YAM’s food columnist Cinda Chavich explores our region to discover the latest palate-pleasing offerings, culinary talent and eatery openings. PERSON


Chef Terry Pichor

Seafood, Oak Bay Style

Bright Ideas

There’s a new fresh seafood market joining the food revolution in Oak Bay. Anne and Gregg Best of Cowichan Bay Seafood (formerly in the Victoria Public Market) recently renovated a building next door to the Whole Beast and the Village Butcher, and rebranded as Oak Bay Seafood. With a full slate of local Ocean Wise fish, it’s the perfect addition to this meaty enclave.

I’m a big fan of root vegetables in winter, but if you’re missing your fresh, local greens, never fear. There’s a new, innovative player in the local lettuce biz, and it’s growing crisp greens year round in a super sustainable “farm.” Bright Greens Canada is the brainchild of West Saanich couple Tamara and Bruce Knott. Their “Leafy Green Machine” is a high-tech hydroponics system that captures humidity from the air and purifies it with reverse osmosis and uses low-energy LED grow lights. They are producing 4,000 plants in six vertical towers — that yields 100+ pounds of fresh greens every week for local chefs and retail shops. “Our farm is all packed into a repurposed 40-foot shipping container that yields as much food as would typically require 1.5 acres of land, while using 90 per cent less water,” says Tamara. Find their fresh greens at Ingredients, the Root Cellar and Carnivore Meats; enjoy them at restaurants like Artisan Bistro and Part and Parcel; or get your own weekly share of the crop at the farm (brightgreens.ca). Bright ideas, indeed!

Executive Chef Terry Pichor comes to the Villa Eyrie Resort and its new Summit Restaurant from the posh Sonora Resort, one of only three Relais & Châteaux properties in B.C. Now he’s overseeing a dining room atop the Malahat, with stunning vistas of the Saanich Inlet. It’s part of a $2-million renovation of the former Aerie Resort by its new proprietors, owners of the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit. In keeping with the resort’s Mediterranean architecture, Chef Pichor’s menu melds a farm-to-table focus with modern, Italianinspired dishes. Just after Summit’s opening, we enjoyed an exceptional lunch: a medley of roasted winter vegetables, sunchoke chips and dried beets, handmade tortellini filled with wild boar, a fillet of crispskinned Lois Lake steelhead with spaetzle and charred leeks, and an ethereal vanilla panna cotta. With just 29 rooms and suites, the Eyrie makes for a luxurious, secluded weekend getaway. But the new chef is sure to attract foodie fans from the city for breakfast, lunch and dinner too. His Sunday brunch is already a hit with locals — definitely worth a drive.


Look for fresh Island oysters, salmon, halibut, spot prawns and other sustainable seafood, along with a deli case and takeout counter featuring their famous fish and chips, served up in a light, gluten-free batter, salmon burgers, chowder and more. “We even have a parking lot,” says Anne. “So we’re planning spot-prawn festivals, salmon barbecues, crab boils ...” There won’t be a restaurant in the market, but there are three chefs on staff who’ll be making ready-to-cook and ready-toeat specialties on-site, from tuna tataki to stuffed fillets and brochettes.







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GET THE LOOK 1 Bold Abstraction wall art (anthropologie.com, $1,768) 2 Paris art on paper (boconcept.com, $299) 3 Kate Spade New York Hampton Street stemless champagne two-glass set (Bed Bath & Beyond, $170) 4 Gold-plated Axis ceiling lamp (The Bay, $799) 5 Venturi table lamp (Luxe Home Interiors, starting at $485) 6 Calvin Klein Shimmer rug (Parc Modern, $1,699) 7 Anenome 17" and White Magnolia 17" (Chintz & Co., from $10) 8 Olivia & Oliver Madison 20-piece flatware set in gold (Bed, Bath & Beyond, $300) 9 Benjamin Moore 2132-10 black paint (Pacific Paint & Wallpaper) 10 Eliane Collection flax dining chair (Pier 1 Imports, $299) 11 Kate Spade New York “Parker Place” dinnerware collection (Bed Bath & Beyond, $170) 12 Worlds Away Anabelle chair (laylagrayce.com, $997) 13 Key Stripe print 19" napkins (ebydesign.net, $46, set of 4) 14 Bina Baitel Astragale sideboard (Roche Bobois Vancouver, customizable, price upon request) 15 Kendra oval vase by Sagebrook Home (allmodern.com, $46)

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hen designer Jenny Martin was approached to work on an ocean-view Cadboro Bay home, she knew she’d have to get resourceful. The 4,000-square-foot house was located on such a unique triangular lot that the structure appeared almost folded in, with sharp, angular edges and dynamic room shapes. The origami-like nature of the building was so different, in fact, Martin nicknamed it “Edge.” As with many coastal homes, Martin’s goal was to maximize the views available from every vantage point while turning the interior into a Vancouver Island sanctuary. With two storeys, two master bedrooms, a floating walkway, a two-level garage and full beach view, she had plenty to work with. “The design was largely inspired by the client, who wanted a contemporary look with a focus on natural elements to reflect an earthy, modern feel,” says Martin. “We played that up through our use of materials, and rich, smoky tones.” The floors are formed from oak hakwood, creating a wholesome and knotty atmosphere. Martin used a variety of earthy materials, from steel and glass to wood and stone, to ensure the interior held its rustic feel. Yet the house

This Victoria home uses a dynamic mix of geometric lines and natural elements to create a spacious outlook on beachside living. Raw wood and steel crossbeams partner with contemporary hanging light features and industrial metal materials in this West Coast collaboration. The result is a modern Zen experience.

also captures a meditative calm, with natural lighting from the window walls emphasizing each room, and stylized features — like the floating toilet and freestanding soaker tub — playing off a modern Japanese theme. On the main floor, the entryway leads into an open-concept dining, kitchen and living room. Set in a triangular perspective, the three divisions are outfitted in complementary charcoal and cream colours, with a “Cinder” quartz countertop dividing the kitchen, and a glass-encased wine cellar paralleling the dining room. Sliding barn doors accent the pantry and laundry rooms, while polished-concrete flooring separates the living room, and an accordion window wall offers freeflowing access to the patio. “These really are our favourite projects to work on,” says Martin. “Each room allowed us to implement simple but dramatic details that make a home stand out.” Off the patio, landscape designer Jonathan Craggs weaved the rustic Zen themes throughout the exterior.

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Small details tie together the modern and rustic feel of this home. The kitchen features a Blanco stainless-steel, singlebowl MicroEdge sink with polished chrome fixtures, as well as quartz countertops in “Cinder,” while oil-rubbed bronze knobs and the sliding barn door create a sturdy, rural feel. Millwork and cabinetry are done in a flat-panel, rift-cut white oak with a horizontal grain, and the European oak hakwood flooring in “Solum” is finished in hardwax oil for a natural look. Polished concrete in “Solus, Portland” creates a chic contrast.





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Craggs used sedge baby’s tears and Japanese maples to create a “rusted” evergreen atmosphere. Poured concrete steps lead around the house, while a refinished concrete perimeter wall acts as a wind and sound barrier to frame the home. “The ocean side of the house speaks for itself, but the pathways and wall are soft ways of linking the two arms of this design without distracting from the view,” says Craggs. “We focused on using nonlinear, natural lines and a curved patio, which contrast with the sharp lines of the house — they play off each other.” The patio also features a 12-footlong fire-table feature, formed from rock and steel, with infrared heaters mounted in the deck’s overhang to capture fugitive heat. Craggs even designed an adjacent bistro area to integrate the built-in barbecue and pizza oven.



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Above: The inset wine room creates a picturesque kitchen feature, framed by the hanging barn door with raw steel sliders. The walls throughout the house feature Benjamin Moore’s “Grey Mist” colour in satin or eggshell, playing up a neutralizing calm and encouraging the light to play with the angles of the house. Below: A combination of Japanese ornamental vegetation and coastal sea grasses creates an oasis for the exterior of this house, with handpoured concrete steps and the cement feature wall paralleling the motifs found inside the home.

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Back inside, the main-level master bedroom carries on the natural theme of hakwood flooring and knotty high beams, while the ensuite features a pocket mirror that rolls into a window wall. Meanwhile, the upstairs bedroom boasts a tree-fort feel, with full window views, and its ensuite features a glass-enclosed bathroom with steamer shower — made from a single slab of marble — and separate floating-toilet room, next to a generous walk-in closet. Much like a tree fort, the upper level also features a walk-around balcony that peers



down to the first floor. Specially developed ceiling panels mute acoustic noise, while the upstairs media room offers a quiet place to play or relax. It’s on this level, too, that the floating walkway links the main house to the office above the garage. The effect, from inside and out, is an open-concept visual masterpiece. “We consider the location and sight lines in every project, and the Edge’s unique layout really upped our creativity level,” says Martin. “The more challenge you face with a space, the more it allows you to be inventive.”

Below: The master ensuite showcases a walk-in glass shower with polished marble slab wall in “Hillcrest.” The rain shower head and fixed-jet hand shower by Blu Bathworks add a dynamic element to this water feature, while the shower floor tile is done in unglazed porcelain with a flame-rectified finish. Along the counter, the Wet Style Cube Collection above-counter sink adds to the calm nature of this room, and the freestanding Cube bathtub offers an artistic take on this element.

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Lighting plays a key role throughout the home, with two special features occurring in the mainfloor bathroom. A slide-away mirror wall opens up to a windowed view over the sink, while a framed lighting inset creates illumination over the bath. The Aquabrass Turks freestanding soaker tub emphasizes the Zen motifs, paired with a wallmounted toilet to accent the illusion of additional space. A generous walk-in closet off this room creates an open flow.

RESOURCE LIST Architect: Dan Boot, Studio DB3​ Design: Jenny Martin Design Construction manager: Jake Grypma​ Plumber: Erb Technical Contracting Electrician: Allied Power and Communications ​ Doors and hardware: Jason Good Custom Cabinets ​Windows: Westeck Windows and Doors Concrete slabs: Jake Grypma Custom Woodworks Cladding: Cedar siding – Jake Grypma Custom Woodworks; stucco – Esquimalt Stucco and Plastering Roofing: Alpha Roofing & Sheet Metal Tile: Decora​Ceramic Tile & Natural Stone Kitchen/bathroom millwork: ​Jason Good Custom Cabinets​ Custom millwork: J​ ason Good Custom Cabinets​


Painting: Jake Grypma Custom Woodworks

Landscape design: Jonathan Craggs Garden Design Planting: Bricklok Surfacing & Landscaping Concrete hardscape: Jake Grypma Custom Woodworks

design | interiors





her creative spirit



By Athena McKenzie

“The white walls and floors of the space are the perfect blank canvas,” Leslie Shewring says of her studio in Fan Tan Alley.






a Fan Tan Alley studio, which photographer Kelly Brown describes as a “crisp, white canvas,” you’ll find one of Victoria’s best-kept secrets: Leslie Shewring, the internationally touted designer, stylist and photographer who is worshipped by décor bloggers for her unfailing sense of style. It’s here, in this bright, airy studio, that Shewring designed her delicately patterned pastel fabrics for Cloud9, styled and shot many inspirational spreads for American crafting and décor magazines — as well as most of the images in her first book with Holly Becker, Decorate with Flowers, and sections of its follow-up, Decorate for a Party. Most recently, Shewring designed a line of dishware for Canadian Tire’s new CANVAS

collection, which will launch this fall. Even if you’re not part of the design world or a décor-blog devotee, chances are you’ve come into contact with Shewring through the retail goods and packaging she designs for large retailers, including fabrics and cushions and “loads of automotive accessory products for Target, Walmart, Costco, AutoZone and Canadian Tire.” Shewring considers this side of her design output the “work work,” and while she continues to do some on the side, she lets her true esthetic shine with her other creative endeavours. “The more anonymous design work I do for the mass retailers is utilitarian and not frivolous,” she says, “but my [personal] esthetic is really feminine, so I have this yin/ yang happening in my life. The work that is

associated with my name is very feminine, floral and beautiful. I think it was important to me to fulfill that aspect of myself.” Daniela Cubelic, owner of Silk Road Tea, met Shewring when they were both at the University of Victoria as undergrads. Cubelic is excited for more people to discover her talented friend as Shewring develops a higher profile locally. “She has an extraordinary sense of colour, light, balance and space,” Cubelic says. “If I’m looking at a photo she’s taken of flowers, I feel like I’m being transported to a serene moment in time, where the air is fresher and more rejuvenating, the colours are prettier than I realized they could be, the flowers are more beautiful and there’s a sense of harmony that underlies it all. To me, it feels like a kind of immersive visual poetry, and I feel instantly



isn’t for her, mainly because she is modest and private, but also because that isn’t why she creates things. She doesn’t seek validation or ‘likes’ or to be praised for her work. She simply enjoys working on things that please her, that also give her an outlet for her ideas — it’s a release, a rush, for her to be able to get an idea out of her system, I believe. Then she can move on freely to the next idea, and so on.”

STYLISH IDEAS FOR MEANINGFUL GATHERINGS When Shewring and Becker’s latest book, Decorate for a Party, came out this past fall, it launched in the U.K. with an elegant party at Anthropologie in London. It has since been published in five languages.

“It’s a collection of ideas on how to create personalized touches for parties,” Shewring says. “It’s not an overwhelming party book. It’s meant to be super basic for anyone who’s interested in doing little crafty things or personalizing a party or holiday in different ways.” The book is divided into 10 sections covering a range of colour palettes and styles, from brights to moody, evening sparkle to forest picnic. Its themes can be used for gatherings of children or adults, including birthday parties, bridal showers, dinner parties, smaller crafting parties and a host of other occasions. “There’s tons of huge, fabulous books on extravagant parties, but I feel that can be

The “New and Romantic” theme in Decorate for a Party is recommended for a summer birthday party, a dinner with girlfriends or even a casual bridal shower. It uses a mix of organic materials and textures, and features wrapped succulents as décor and party favours, Furoshiki-wrapped gifts and handwritten drink tags on vintage glassware.



Decorate for a Party c/o Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group

enriched and rejuvenated.” Despite the creative freedom of designing under her own name, Shewring doesn’t enjoy the self-promotional aspects of “getting the work out there.” It would be easy for her to market to her 25,000-plus fans on Instagram — many who followed her over from her blog A Creative Mint — but instead, her feed is an inspiring mix of gorgeous photos of flowers and travel, things that she finds inspiring or calming. Frequent collaborator Holly Becker of the incredibly popular blog Decor8 believes Shewring’s disinclination toward publicity comes out of true modesty. “Leslie is a free spirit, a true artist, who finds a lot of relaxation and joy from the process of being creative,” Becker says. “Self-promotion

Decorate for a Party c/o Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group

gather & create Add a personal touch to your next celebration with one of these DIY projects from Decorate for a Party by Leslie Shewring and Holly Becker.

Give your entryway a fresh new look with an ojo de Dios, or Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eye, traditionally used to bless a home. Shewring and Becker recommend using natural wool that complements your decorating theme. Group in threes for a pleasing effect. For steps to make, visit yammagazine.com.

Make edible place cards by rewrapping your favourite gourmet chocolate bars with pretty artisanal papers. Secure with a velvet ribbon and create name tags for the centre.



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THE PATH BACK TO VICTORIA Her mother still lives in the same house in Deep Cove where Shewring grew up. While she realizes it seems strange now given her career path, she did an undergrad in Women’s Studies, now Gender Studies, at UVic. “She came across as someone who already knew who she was, but was curious and interested in the world, and looking forward to learning and growing,” Cubelic says. “She has retained that positive attitude and approach.” During her time as an undergrad, Shewring had a part-time job at the House Dressing Company in Sidney. “I would stay there until really late at night doing all the displays in the windows, and that was my money during college, but I always really enjoyed it. I also ran their crafting workshops.” This experience was one of the factors that led to her degree in interior design, but Shewring wanted to push it further. She went on to get a degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, which she describes as vigorous design training that gave a solid foundation in design concepts and problem-solving. “It was a really-avant garde school, or at least it was at the time, and I kind of knew by the end that I wouldn’t practise traditional architecture,” Shewring says. “At that time, only 50 per cent of the class would go into traditional architecture. I went into product design ...” Being interested in problem-solving in an esthetic way, Shewring became a successful product designer, creating goods and packaging for mass retailers. For years she JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE

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daunting,” she says. “People may use one of those for their wedding, but that’s about it. This book is about the little things you can do for dinner parties or little gestures for your guests.” While the enticing photographs in this book were created in Europe, L.A. and in Victoria, the bulk of the images in Shewring and Becker’s first book, Decorate with Flowers, were shot in Shewring’s Victoria studio, and in Vancouver. “I did all the florals myself,” Shewring says. “My mom is an avid gardener so I grew up doing flowers for friends’ weddings. My mom, being an artist and a gardener, has always been an influence on me. That’s where I think the enduring interest in florals comes from because she grows the most insane floral varietals, like antique roses and super-beautiful poppies.”

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her children on recent trips. “I’m always trying to challenge things for them, whether it be colour or the things we buy. Going to Japan, it’s so incredibly different there and there are so many opportunities for learning,” Shewring says. “Doing creative things for your children pushes you and then their response is amazing. They are super creative — all children are — and it’s pushing myself to provide creative opportunities for them, and in doing so you can feed yourself too.” Shewring considers travel as creative “food” and makes a point of doing a solo trip once a year to spark her imagination.

Using companies like Angela Ritchie’s Ace Camps, she ventures to unknown corners of the world to further her artistic skills. Trips have seen her styling with Dietlind Wolf in Gotland and doing photography workshops with Danish photographer Nick Heilvang in northern Sweden. “Just the act of travelling and giving myself undivided time that is just focused on being creative is really helpful for me,” she says. “In daily life, you get so used to doing the same routine. I think for my process, I need something completely different. It’s going to these different places and working on photography or styling in a completely

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was based in Los Angeles, where she also started her blog. “In Los Angeles, there’s a huge, vital creative community, but it’s a huge spreadout city and it was very hard to get to places. And feeling isolated with little kids at home, I just started doing creative work at home and putting it up online,” Shewring says. Thus her blog was born. “A Creative Mint, the name, was a total whim. It was a place to store ideas. It had nothing to do with the colour.” While her focus is now on Instagram, it is still a vault of ideas, a treasure trove of inspiration and colour for anyone looking for an imaginative spark. The decision to move back to Victoria in 2011 was prompted by Shewring re-evaluating her values and how she wanted to raise her children. Her father had passed away suddenly and she wanted to get back to a certain way of life and be closer to family. “I think sometimes when an event like that happens, it’s an opportunity to re-evaluate everything,” she says.

CREATIVE COMMUNITIES While much of Shewring’s sensibility stems from her mother’s art and florals, she also draws inspiration from her mother’s Japanese heritage, with much of her design influences and interests coming from that culture. She visits Japan at least once a year, and has brought

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Shewring’s Palos Verdes collection for Cloud9 Fabrics was inspired by her time in California, and each pattern is named for a place in Palos Verdes. The fabrics were created by printing Shewring’s watercolours on an organic cotton voile. (Visit cloud9fabrics.com for retailers.)

foreign setting. Once a year, that’s been my gift of time to myself.” As much as she loves to travel, Victoria is home and provides its own inspiration. Moving back, she was excited to see how the city had evolved. “I have met a ton of creative people here, which has been refreshing and unexpected,” she says. “The concentration of people doing creative work is amazing.” Her studio has become something of a community-building hub. In addition to hosting her own parties, she uses it as the base for many artistic workshops, including those by Moonrise Creative. “A creative community is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and it’s important to me,” Shewring says. “I’m seeing a lot of community in Victoria, with different opportunities to bring people out. Sharing creativity is how we thrive.”



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he homes we live in shape, enhance or restrict our personalities, our feelings about the world — and our lives. But despite the fact that most Canadians spend more than half of our lives inside our homes, we are often unaware of whether or not our homes reflect the truth of who we are and what we stand for. We just move in and let our habits, purchases and needs be dictated by the space surrounding us. But what if you could tap into the power to make more intentional choices — and create your home according to your own needs and values? Sometimes all it takes is a willingness to close your eyes to what the wider society tells you to do, and ask yourself: What really matters






to my path in this life? And how can I reflect that in the place I spend most of my time? For Highlands councillors Ann and Gord Baird, the things that matter are time, energy, sustainability and community: more time to do the things they love; living in a way that doesn’t sap their energy or take up too much of the outside world’s; sustainability in that their home gives more back to the earth than it takes; and the community that has developed in response to their way of living. “The goal was to build a house with a lower ecological footprint, a lower carbon footprint, and to share energy, water and resources to create a more

abundant ecosystem,” says Ann. Eco-Sense, the Bairds’ low-carbon Highlands cob home, has been the subject of documentaries and articles the world over, including by the Knowledge Network and Canadian Geographic. As part of their passion for showing others how it can be done, Ann and Gord talk to schools and other interested groups about their eightacre property, explaining their extensive permaculture gardens, their earthen buildings and their philosophy of living lightly on the earth.




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The couple sells perennial edible plants that are less susceptible to a changing climate — things like olives, persimmons, figs, lemons, black currants, nuts, tea, squash and kiwis. “We produce most of our own food in the annual gardens,” says Ann, whose work centres on growing, fermenting and processing the food grown on the property. “We’re really motivated by producing our own food.” And their own water too: a 10,000-gallon rainwater irrigation system at the main house makes the most of Victoria’s wet climate, with a deep irrigation pond holding an additional 150,000 gallons for watering the gardens in the drier months — or as firefighting backup.

A FIRST FOR NORTH AMERICA From the way he talks about filtration, irrigation and solar photovoltaic systems, you would think Gord Baird has an engineering degree, but much of his knowledge and skill is self-learned (his formal schooling is in business and experimental neuropsychology). Now Gord consults with other groups, including local and provincial governments, on sustainability issues, from rainwater systems to composting toilets. As for Ann, whose background is in biology, her experience building an off-thegrid house on an island near Galiano primed her for doing it again, except this time with cob. And with the right guy. The couple met a dozen years back, when both were recovering from the shock of their first marriages ending. “We’re basically recycled,” Ann laughs. They married within six months of meeting and purchased the land, with Ann’s parents, that Eco-Sense now sits on. They lived in two trailers on the property while building North America’s first code approved seismically engineered loadbearing insulated cob residence. Constructed mainly of sand, straw and clay packed and shaped with their own hands, the 2,150-square-foot cob house took about 20 months to build. They started the foundation in early spring, did the cob work from April to September and finished the interior throughout the course of the following year. They divided the house into two homes: one side for Ann, Gord and Gord’s middleschool-aged kids, the other side for Ann’s parents. When Ann’s parents relocated a couple of years ago, Ann and Gord offered the space to friends in the permaculture business. From earthen floors and counters to the reclaimed glass bricks and thermal windows that line the organic breathing walls, the house is a study in closed-loop systems and living simply. A two-way electric meter gives more back to BC Hydro than it takes; passive solar design lets them grow food on the west side of the house; hydronic heating in the benches and floors of the main living area warms the house in winter and cools it in summer.

The garden is a rich source of the majority of the Bairds’ food, along with the surrounding forest, which they are turning into an edible forest. “It’s a more regenerative way of living on the land,” Ann notes, of their way of life. “We wanted to do something more in line with our values the second time around.”

Kurt Knock Photography

Below: Nina the rescue dog lounges on a beautiful cob floor with wood inlay. A big part of the home’s beauty is the sense that the interior is one with nature: the organic curves and textures of the cob walls, the sustainable bamboo ceilings and the sculpted beauty of arbutus branches gathered from the property.




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The interior design is stunning: arbutus limbs harvested from fallen trees on the property form stub wall caps; shells decorate the walls; woven bamboo mats cover the ceiling and provide gorgeous acoustics. The couple purposely didn’t read much about design prior to starting, so as not to be bound by ideas of how things “should” be done. All of the buildings on the property are made from cob; many have green roofs for rainwater harvesting. Down in the garden centre, the eco-hut is self-sustaining, with solar photovoltaic and grey-water systems, an alcohol stove, composting toilet and even a woodstove that doubles as a water heater due to the ingenious wrapping of copper pipe around its exhaust pipe. A hammock swings in the living area and a cozy alcove houses a queen mattress with a bed warmer for chilly nights. All of it built by hand; all of it an experience in self-teaching. “Now we help other people build their houses,” says Ann, noting their cob buildings will still be standing hundreds of years from now, while more traditional stick-frame houses will have mouldered away in the damp.

THREE-THIRDS LIFESTYLE The relatively low cost of maintaining their home affords the Bairds more freedom than if they had anchored down in a traditional home. “We have a three-thirds lifestyle,” says Ann. “A third of our time is spent earning money,

Left: Gord Baird did all of the millwork for the cabinetry in this warm, inviting kitchen. A sun tube in the roof floods the room with natural light. In the background, an ice chest fridge is a highly efficient option compared to a stand-up fridge. Above: On the green roof, photovoltaic and thermal solar panels produce the home’s energy, some of which is sold back to BC Hydro.

a third is spent volunteering, and a third is spent pursuing our passions. It creates a balance in life where you have more time to think about your quality of life instead of your quantity.” Gord agrees. “Home is more about the community you live in and being set in place. It’s any place where you have the support of a community around you.” Striking out from the mainstream is daunting, but refreshing. How often do people really follow their truest desires to create the life they’ve always dreamed of? Not often enough, according to the Bairds. Eco-Sense came about largely because Ann and Gord encountered hardship — seeing their first marriages end — and subsequently entered a new stage of their lives. They call it the GAS shift. “It’s the Give A Shit shift,” grins Gord. “When something challenges you to rethink what’s important, that’s generally when people make a shift in their lives.”

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Once you’re in town, you will see how wonderfully welcome you are made to feel; Sidney has all the amenities of a big city with the comfort and friendly convenience of a small town. The stars of our town centre are our world-class, independently owned boutiques where we will help you discover unique treasures for you or your home. Our clothing and shoe shops for both men and women are legendary, but did you know that you can also furnish your home or garden, purchase beautiful original artwork or find advice on remodeling a room? All within a few short blocks! Shopping is fun but tiring, so don’t forget to take time for a delicious refreshment and made-in-house goodies from one of our many cafés, or meet friends for lunch at one of several excellent and varied restaurants, many of them on the waterfront. If shopping isn’t your thing, what better than to enjoy a spa day or a visit to a salon? Perhaps you will enjoy Sidney so much that you stay a day or two in one of our luxurious hotels or inns so you have more time to explore! Learn about the romantic history of Sidney on an historic walking tour or bask in the beauty of our waterfront while you stroll the Sidney Sculpture Walk. Perhaps even take in a concert at the Mary Winspear Centre or a film at Star Cinema. Whichever way you choose to enjoy Sidney, you will be warmly welcomed, so plan your visit soon!

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Grow your own Bouquets CREATE YOUR OWN CUTTING GARDEN Cutting gardens have been in and out of fashion since the days of the ancient Egyptians. Today, many gardeners are rediscovering the eco-benefits and the pure pleasure of growing, harvesting and arranging their own blooms. BY CHRISTIN GEALL



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ew pleasures exceed that of cutting and arranging your own flowers. Fresh and whimsical or bold and bright, a posy of homegrown blooms brings the pleasure of the garden indoors. Creating a cutting garden may mean you focus on growing a few flower varieties or, if space allows, you might plant a collection of old-fashioned favourites, but it needn’t be a large job. Creating a cutting garden can often be a matter of perspective. When we think of “flower beds,” two visions usually come to mind: Victorian installations in bright colours such as you might see on the lawn of a hotel, and the classic English border awash in bloom. As a perennial gardener (in both senses of the word), I designed my borders in the English style as if I were creating a tableau: a shifting set of plant characters would appear “on stage” for a period of time before fading out to another’s glory. I sweated over colour harmony, the balance of foliage and flower, and moved plants regularly, trying to get my displays “just right.” In time, I got bored — both of my fussing and my garden. Cut flowers changed my entire approach to gardening. I gave myself permission to snip. I grew flowers in abundance, with the zeal of the born-again, tucking in dahlias here and cosmos there, planting rows of colour — my garden has never looked better. I now grow cut flowers for bouquets, brides and design clients from March to November.


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“In our climate, it’s possible to plan blooms for almost every season.”

Above: An autumn arrangement of zinnias, dahlias, red orach, maple and Rudbeckia. Below: Late July’s reds, from plum to russet. TIP: Working across a colour range is often more effective than trying to balance colours against one another.

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Getting Started: Think Year-Round A cutting garden needn’t be a swath of summer colour followed by bare earth. The most productive cutting gardens contain a mix of annuals (plants that go from seed to flower in one year and then die), shrubs, vines and perennials (plants that live year to year). In our climate, it’s possible to plan blooms for almost every season. For example, let’s imagine you have a small sunny area to cultivate flowers. Cool-season (a.k.a. hardy) annuals like sweet peas or Icelandic poppies can be started from seed early in the spring. After harvest in early summer, these plants can be replaced by heat-loving dahlias and zinnias, which bloom until frost. If you have the means to cover your bed with clear plastic or landscape cloth on cold winter nights, you can lift out your dahlias and plant more flowers again in October. I grow anemones and ranunculus through the winter and pull them after flowering in May.  Using this system, you can maximize productivity by turning over your cutting garden at least twice a year. If you don’t fancy such an intensive approach, try adding perennials such as hellebores, peonies, roses, irises and late-flowering Rudbeckia to broaden your seasonal palette. Dig in tulip bulbs every fall for more spring blooms, pulling the entire plant up (bulb and all) when harvesting.  



Ideally, the height of the flowers in the container should not exceed one and a half times the height of the container. Create movement in arrangements with trailing vines.



Three Easy Flowers for Sun

Tend Your Soil


Dahlias If you’re not keen on sowing seeds or only have a patio to work with, try to get to the Victoria Dahlia Society’s annual sale in Fairfield on April 8 to buy tubers and plants. Dahlias are excellent long-lasting cut flowers, and bloom from summer through to frost. Grow them as you might a tomato.

Zinnias These cheery old-fashioned flowers are making a comeback. Look for new varieties like Queen Red Lime (pictured here) or the Oklahoma series, which aren’t as brash as the old standards.

Sweet Peas

4:11 PM


The great garden writer Beverley Nichols once said, “Light in the garden is a quarter of the battle. Another quarter is the soil of the garden. A third quarter is the skill and care of the gardener. The fourth quarter is luck. Indeed, one might say that these were the four L’s of gardening, in the following order of importance: Loam, Light, Love, Luck.” Nichols has it right: soil should be your first priority. I scraped out one of my first gardens as a university student under the eaves of a rented house, expecting the earth would issue forth a bounty with only water, sunlight and hope. I’ve since come to understand the vital importance of soil and tend mine dearly. Good news first: Flowers generally do not require the high fertility that vegetables do. Not so good news: you may spend more time caring for your soil than your flowers. Another way to look at this is to think in terms of investment and return. If you invest in soil tilth and fertility, your plants will be happier and healthier and demand less of you. And they’ll deliver more blooms. Use a complete organic fertilizer (Borden Mercantile makes a good blend) when prepping your patch or transplanting young plants into an established border. Dahlias are heavy feeders, and sweet peas (though they fix Dec_Issue_YAM_R1_X1a.pdf 1 2016-11-03 nitrogen) still benefit from added nutrients.

There’s no better flower for a scented posy. Start your sweet peas now as they hate heat. I pre-sprout mine, first soaking the seeds for 24 hours, then tucking them in a damp paper towel until they germinate (a tiny sprout will emerge). I then pot them up or pop them in the ground. Sweet peas need to climb; I use T-posts and deer netting (mine reach seven feet in a season). Try to have your set-up ready at planting time. I pinch the plants back when they are about four inches tall, which promotes branching. Note: If you’re too busy to get your sweet peas in now, buy seeds anyway and mark your calendar to sow them in early October. They can withstand light freezing, and you will earn extra early blooms in 2018.


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Smell the Roses Cutting gardens bring you closer to the earth in two ways: literally, as you sow and tend and pick, and also by reducing your


Gardening isn’t as easy as just sprinkling seeds or planting bulbs. So also dig in wellrotted compost or seasoned manure before you plant. I avoid the popular sea soil and opt for composted animal manure, leaf mulch and homemade compost instead. Composts bring air and nutrition into tired soils. Dig them in and try not to tread on your soil after you’ve amended it; if drainage is an issue consider raising the height of your bed.

< Working vertically in the garden has allowed me to pack in more flowers, like sweet peas, Cobaea and Cardiospermum (and even cucumbers), all of which climb. A permanent pergola divides the cutting garden, while trellises are wired onto T-posts for seasonal interest. Verticals divide a space and create little vistas, peekaboo glimpses into other parts of the garden. In a flat garden, the variation is important; it’s one way to create intimacy in an open yard.

✂ Cutting Tips ✂ >> The best time to cut fresh flowers is morning, when cool night air and morning dew means stems are filled with water and firm to the touch. Keep a pail of water handy to put the flowers in when harvesting. Make sure you do this immediately. >> Use sharp knives, clippers or scissors for cutting, but don’t use ordinary household scissors, which are designed to cut paper. They often crush stems and prevent appropriate water uptake. >> Cut flowers about one inch from the bottom of a large stem at about a 45-degree angle. This exposes more of the stem to water, allowing for better uptake. The stem will stand on a point so water isn’t blocked from the cut surface. >> Remove any foliage that would be submerged in water to prevent bacterial growth that shortens the vase life of flowers and makes the water smell bad. >> Flowers need carbohydrates, biocides and acidifiers to survive, so using preservatives can increase the life of your flowers in the vase. Online, you’ll find many easy recipes for making your own preservatives. Some even contain vodka!

carbon footprint. The majority of commercial flowers are flown in from the southern hemisphere or farmed unsustainably. Plus, naturally grown flowers are more exciting to work with in floral design. As cutting-garden guru Sarah Raven says, “Commercial flowers are bred for their regularity and reliability, not for their relaxed, blowsy, open look, scent and character.” For flower lovers, the scent, freshness and uniqueness of a local bloom is a wonder. But to walk outside and pick a bouquet of flowers you have sown, planted and tended is nothing short of wonderful. Christin Geall writes, designs, teaches, and operates Cultivated by Christin in Oak Bay. 60


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When it comes to buying art for your home, the right pieces bring not only design and colour into your rooms, but also emotion and depth. That’s why the main criteria for buying art is love. The rest, as you’ll discover, can be learned. // BY ADRIENNE DYER





When it comes to art for your home, don’t be afraid to go big. “One large piece provides a focus and is more effective than several smaller pieces,” says Heather Wheeler of the Avenue Gallery.


hen it comes to the rationale for buying art, perhaps no one said it better than designer, socialite, author and art collector Gloria Vanderbilt: “Art brings a message into a room. It should make us perceive in a new way — either through color, form or narrative content — something we had not perceived before ... and perhaps reveal something to you about yourself.” The shorthand here is that whether or not you know your Dadaists from your surrealists, nothing in art collecting is as important as getting to know what pleases your eye and your soul. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But how do you discover what you like, train your eye to discern quality and choose pieces that you will love in 10 years’ time, that will not only work in the spaces you have but will also fit your budget?

TRAINING YOUR EYE “The perfect piece of art doesn’t have to be expensive. But it has to be interesting,” says Iván Meade, principal designer of the Meade Design Group. He points out that you don’t have to be a designer or art expert to spot things that intrigue you. Over time, as you explore everything that captures your eye, you’ll learn to identify pieces that have value, if not monetarily, then at least personally. By all means, indulge in courses in art appreciation (there are so many venues for this in Victoria through Camosun, UVic and private art schools and collectives), but the best way to start learning about art is to feast your eyes on as much of it as you can and ask questions. “Don’t be afraid to look at things you wouldn’t normally consider,” says Heather Wheeler, who presents contemporary Canadian artists such as Blu Smith at the Avenue Gallery in Oak Bay. “You will gain confidence by looking and buying.” Elizabeth Levinson of Winchester Galleries, which represents both contemporary and historical Canadian and international art, says an art education begins at local museums and galleries, where you can tap into the knowledge and experience of curators and gallerists. “Start by educating yourself about the artist, genre or time period that interests you,” she advises. “The more you see and examine, the more confident you will become about your own taste and ability to discern what is a great work of art. With education, you are effectively training your eye.” WHERE TO SEARCH Meade spends a great deal of time searching for artwork in galleries, secondhand shops and private collections, here and

internationally. He says a trained eye can find gems in the humblest of places, but patience is key — it may take months or even years to find the right piece. Besides galleries, other places to look for art include: Auction houses: Victoria features some excellent auction venues, such as Lund’s, Kilshaw’s and Maynard’s Fine Art and Antiques, which has both auctions and private sales. Do attend a few auctions first to get a feel for how the bidding works and what to expect. Take advantage of viewing times to get an up-close look at any pieces you may want to bid on. Check auction-house schedules for fine-art auctions. Art schools: As Meade notes, many art programs have annual student shows where you might spot a few gems. Vancouver Island College of Art, Vancouver Island School of Art (VISA) and UVic’s Fine Arts program hold shows featuring student work.

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Fine-art shows: The annual Sooke Fine Arts Show and Sidney Fine Arts Show are juried shows featuring works by both newcomers and established artists. Art festivals and art walks: Each summer, up to 180 artists show their works at the Moss Street Paint-In, which stretches along Moss Street from Fort Street to Dallas Road, and features new and established artists such as Robert Amos, Carollyne Yardley and Miles Lowry. Also popular is the Integrate Arts Festival, featuring exhibitions and events at participating galleries, studios and sites throughout the city. Using the Integrate map (mobile and paper), you can explore some of the city’s most artistic venues. And don’t miss neighbourhood studio tours such as the James Bay Art Walk and Fairfield Artist Studio Tour. Artist studios: Many artists are not represented by galleries, so do ask around, look online, and take advantage of studio open houses. Online: The Internet will open you to a world of art, but do be cautious. “Online shopping has become popular and it is certainly convenient,” says Levinson, “but if you don’t know and trust the seller and haven’t had a chance to examine the work for condition and authenticity, it can be risky.” She offers the following advice: “The most important considerations are authenticity, condition and provenance. Can the seller authenticate the work? Is the piece in pristine condition or has it been restored, and where is the documentation to support the conservation work? Where was the work produced and who previously owned it? Has it been in any important museum or gallery shows?” The more you know about your painting, the better you can determine its value.

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“... there is no upside to forcing yourself to live with something you don’t love just because you think it will appreciate.” NARROW THE CHOICES You’ve probably heard that you should never buy a painting to match your couch. That’s good advice. “A good painting should stand up to any décor,” says Levinson, “so always start with what you like, with art that truly engages and moves you — and then hopefully the size will work for your space and the price will work for your budget.” That said, a sense of practicality helps narrow down the vast choices. “When I begin to search for the right piece for a client, I first determine where the painting will go and the size and scale needed to fill that space,” says Meade. Admittedly, it’s impossible to know how a piece will look in your home until it’s on the wall. So when possible, try before you buy. Wheeler does home consultations twice a week to give clients guidelines for their search, and her Avenue Gallery allows clients to take pieces home for a few days on approval. It’s a common practice amongst reputable galleries. “This allows clients to live through the change of light without any pressure to buy,” she says. “Sometimes we may have to try five or six paintings to find the right piece.” Another advantage to working with galleries is that in the rare instance you truly regret your purchase, many galleries will help sell the piece so you can select something else. PURCHASING ART Art should not be purchased strictly as an investment; however, new art collectors might want to talk to gallery owners about promising artists at the beginning of their careers for affordable pieces that have a good chance of holding or increasing their value. “Buying what you love is paramount to long-term enjoyment,” says Levinson. “If the work also has an investment value, great, but there is no upside to forcing yourself to live with something you don’t love just because you think it will appreciate.” Purchasing original art can be a very satisfying investment. And a great deal of art, particularly by promising up-and-coming artists, can be surprisingly affordable. If you hope for an original Emily Carr, not so much.




HANGING & GROUPING ARTWORK Displaying your art in groupings brings a chic feel to your rooms, but deciding on the right configuration and measuring everything just right can admittedly drive a person a bit crazy. We turned to the style experts at eastandlane.com for these handy templates. • Gather the right tools before starting: hammer, tape measure, level (or combined laser level/stud finder), pencil.

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1 - 16x20 / 1 - 10x8 / 2 - 5x7

1 - 20x20 / 4 - 10x8

2 - 20x24 / 1 - 20x10 / 2 - 8x10

• For traditional framed works, choose floreat hangers (or strap hangers for heavier pieces) along with high-quality, non-fraying picture wire. For non-framed contemporary pieces (particularly those over 115 pounds), use heavy-duty drywall anchors, preferably metal ones that expand behind the drywall. • Hang your central piece so that the centre of the frame or the group lands around 57 inches up from the floor. This is the standard for galleries because it’s about eye level for most people. • Use a spirit level to make sure pictures are level, but rely first on your own eyes, because ceilings or railings are not always level.


• Prevent artwork from shifting over time — always hang pictures from two points on the back of the frame.

1 - 16x20 2 - 11x14 1 - 16x20 / 4 - 10x8

2 - 8x10

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A little-known fact is that some galleries, including the Avenue, have interest-free layaway programs that enable clients to spread the cost over several months. Many galleries, including the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, have rent-to-own programs so that you can live with a piece as long as you like before you fully commit to the purchase, or even rotate pieces on a whim. When buying art, do make sure you receive all of the proper documentation provided to you and keep it in a safe place. And don’t forget to insure your collection.

BRINGING ART HOME So how do you display art to its best advantage in your home? The most important things to consider are the artwork’s size, shape, scale and the height at which it will be showcased. Here are some tips from the experts: Don’t be too tame: Victorians, Meade says, tend to be wary of colour, but he encourages people to go bold! Do not fear large artworks, either. Remember, you want impact. Consider the shape of the wall: Generally speaking, horizontal paintings look best on horizontally shaped walls, while vertical pieces look best in a vertical space. Square paintings tend to work in either space. Scale matters: Wherever you decide to place the art, it needs to fit into the relative scale of the rest of the room or area so it doesn’t distract or get hidden by other items. For example, when hanging artwork over a couch or other piece of furniture, a good rule is to find a painting or piece of art that is roughly the same size as the piece below it or next to it, creating a sense of balance and harmony. Go big: “One large piece provides a focus and is more effective than several smaller pieces,” says Wheeler. “The exception is small spaces, where several tiny paintings can collectively tell a story.”

TO FRAME OR NOT TO FRAME? “The frame is the finishing line and sometimes costs more than the artwork. The frame grounds the painting and holds the eye in the moment. I don’t like anti-reflective glass because it distorts the colours.” — Iván Meade, Meade Design Group

“More contemporary pieces are generally presented without the frame, but we also tend to suggest something minimal, like a silhouette/ shadow box. As for glass, nothing requires glass for protection except pastels, acrylic and paper.” — Heather Wheeler, Avenue Gallery



“A good painting should stand up to any décor,” says Levinson, “so always start with what you like, with art that truly engages and moves you ...” Groupings: This is a great way to display two or three works by a single artist. Hanging artwork in groupings, such as a row gallery, can immediately make a room feel very stylish. If you are intimidated by arranging works in groupings, work around an anchor, such as a colour palette or shared theme. Arrange the display on the floor first before hanging. You can also go for a looser salon-inspired arrangement by starting at the centre and moving outward. Don’t hang work too high: Beware of this common mistake. “The rule of thumb is to hang the painting so that the midpoint is five [feet] to five and a half feet from the floor,” says Wheeler. When to consider the sofa: Position the piece seven to 13 inches above the sofa’s back so the painting still feels connected to the furniture. “Hang it too high and it will seem disjointed,” says Iván Meade. Protect your investment: Avoid placing art on walls that receive direct sunlight or exposing works to high-watt incandescent lights, which will damage the work. Also avoid rooms that are prone to humidity or cooking fumes. Light it right: Lighting art properly can be a bit of an art in itself. Some pieces won’t require specialty lighting, but others require specialty lighting to remove glare or shadows or bring out the detail. Consult with a lighting expert at a local lightingsupply store for the best solutions for your art. Wheeler recommends LED to obtain a truer light.

ENJOY THE ADVENTURE Searching out and buying art for your home can be a journey of great satisfaction that will bring story and meaning into your home. So enjoy learning and exploring. As designer Iván Meade says, “Don’t be afraid to live with an empty wall while you search. Never buy something massproduced to temporarily fill a wall, because it will often wind up there forever!”

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like to compare myself to Atom Egoyan. OUT ON THE EDGE We’re about the same age. Both not large “I’m really proud to introduce my hometown men. Both with youthful buzz and poor audience to this great opera by a great eyesight. We speak quickly and fill a void composer,” beams Egoyan, sitting down to a with words. He has better hair. We both like pint during one of his frequent family visits to movies. He likes making them. I like watching his hometown. “I’m sure classical music fans them. know Janá ek, but this is extreme. Very extreme The backstory of Egoyan’s attachment things happen in this, but they’re always rooted to Victoria is little more than a footnote to in very real human emotions.” those who grew up here and remember the What’s extreme to Atom Egoyan? furniture store his parents, Shushan and In The Sweet Hereafter he kills off a busload Joseph, ran on Fort Street, how it burned of children. In Jen fa, the infanticide count to the ground on New Year’s Eve in 1989 in is down to one. This observation makes him what may have been a random act of arson, laugh and he good-naturedly warns that we and how the young son based one of his early shouldn’t go “there.” Here is a Czech opera movies, The Adjuster, on the aftermath. that premiered in 1904 based on a play called Born in Cairo and named Atom to mark (in translation) Her Stepdaughter. A young, the completion of Egypt’s first nuclear single woman, Jen fa, is carrying the child of reactor, the filmmaker was to become more an irresponsible man who refuses to marry her. familiar with the rains of Victoria than the Her stepmother kills the baby in an attempt to dry chalkiness of the desert after the family save Jen fa’s future. Operas tend to have these (which includes his sister, Eve, cheery, tidy plots. now a concert pianist) moved Egoyan promises his take here in 1962. on this shocking tale will be, What followed was a in terms of production values coming of age influenced by anyway, spare. Glenlyon Norfolk School, “Some of these operas I’ve Mount Doug High School, There were done have been very complex, Colin Skinner, drama festivals, always smarter like mammoth sets and lots Monty Python and Theatre of projections. This is very kids, but I of the Absurd. simple. But I want people to was driven. “I just had a curiosity, luxuriate in this form of drama and I knew (theatre) was and great music and great ATOM EGOYAN my calling,” recalls Egoyan. singers.” “There were always smarter The director’s brand will be kids, but I was driven. I knew seared into the layers of operatic overt text and I had to compensate with production.” overt subtext. Jen fa may be the shadowlands The 56-year-old has been on some fast of the soul, and it’s been said Egoyan’s work track of achievement since leaving town to dwells in the shadows of humanity. study international relations and classical “You’re going to see human beings pushed guitar at Trinity College in Toronto. to very extreme places,” he says, stressing he Art installations, albums with Gord is keeping it as pure as possible. “I also know Downie, short films with Daniel Lanois and that because this is the first time people will be Philip Glass, books on film, screenplays, plays. encountering this work, it doesn’t make sense Directing, lecturing, heading juries at Cannes, to do some radical reading of it. Let’s just listen winning awards at Cannes … whew … Knighted to how great the music is and understand the by the French, a recipient of state honours drama of it.” by the Republic of Armenia, 10 honorary THE OTHER CAREER doctorates and, closer to home, Dora Awards, Egoyan has worked regularly in opera since Genies and the Order of Canada. 1995, when the Canadian Opera Company And films like Felicia’s Journey, Exotica, (COC) wrangled him to direct Salome, just Ararat, The Devil’s Knot, Chloe, The Captive, after the release of his critical and box-office Remember and his Oscar-nominated breakthrough Exotica. masterpiece, The Sweet Hereafter (still at 100 “I can tell you when (COC general director) per cent on Rotten Tomatoes and more than Richard Bradshaw was trying to woo me into once referred to as “the greatest Canadian doing Salome, Jen fa was one of the things that film ever made”). changed my mind. I saw the COC production Then there’s his other career. Directing and I went, ‘That is one of the most powerful opera. experiences I’ve had.’ I’ll never forget the The guy won a Ruby Award last year feeling of it.” for contributions to Canadian opera. Atom The startling success of Salome (and its Egoyan can direct anything. Everything. half-dozen or so remounts) pegged Egoyan He’ll be directing his 11th opera with Czech as a go-to guy willing to stage monsters composer Leoš Janá ek’s Jen fa as the season like Die Walküre and Cosî fan tutte, or more opener for Pacific Opera Victoria from experimental pieces like Gavin Bryars’ October 12 to 22 at the Royal Theatre.


Dr. Ox’s Experiment or the contemporary Chinese opera Feng Yi Ting. He’s even written for opera: librettos with Rodney Sharman for Elsewhereless and the long-forgotten Phantom Screen, which premiered in 1991 with the Victoria Symphony. In an old interview with The Independent, Egoyan suggested his own modus operandi had become predictable to him and the new challenge was opera. Asked why, 20 years later, Egoyan answers in rapid, excited bursts. “Because opera is music. I love drama. I love music. And I think what happened to me in 1994, when Richard Bradshaw approached me to do Salome, is at first, I didn’t get it, like what was the draw, because I wasn’t raised with opera. It wasn’t part of my upbringing. “But then it suddenly hit me really hard. This was a play by Oscar Wilde. It doesn’t work as a play. It works fantastically as a libretto, and what he does with the music to accentuate the drama, it was everything I did with my movies, except that in film, the music is at the end and that’s the last thing you put on. With opera, you have it from the very beginning. You have that drama and music and you figure out the gestures and how you want your actors to move. And they’re always reacting to this incredible score.”

STAGE TO SCREEN Egoyan understands that panning the directorial lens from screen to stage means the audience is suddenly watching from a fixed viewpoint and their necessary willing suspension of disbelief is less willing. “It’s a huge challenge. [With] any piece of theatre, you’re aware of how fake it is, of how it’s a construction. If you are aware of how difficult it is to believe that reality, once you get sucked into it you’re transported with a far

greater intensity than you would be with your average film.” He explains that in the making of theatre, everyone sees what’s happening. It’s a collaborative effort. Actors, technicians, stage hands all know this is what is going on. The only mystery is that some nights it soars and some nights it may not. A film, on the other hand, only exists in the director’s mind. “The fact you’re shooting out of sequence, you’re doing all sorts of stuff with the editing, you’re adding the score, you might be rearranging it, you might be avoiding someone’s close-up entirely. There’s so many possibilities.

The thematic of the piece is very congenial to him: relationships, buried secrets. He has a great sense of the dramatic. “You try to indicate what you want the film to be, but it’s really just in your head and you keep playing it in your head until such time, if you’re fortunate, it coalesces into some version of what you had in your mind. Sometimes it rises beyond that and it soars into another space, but it is very lonely. It’s a lonely experience making a movie.”

THE CHOSEN ONE As the founding artistic director of POV, Timothy Vernon chooses which operas will comprise the season and who will direct them,


though he says it’s always the work that comes first — and never with a certain director in mind. But when Vernon got an offer he couldn’t refuse, he did not hesitate. “Atom and I had a chat and he said, ‘I’d love to do something,’ and that’s all I needed to hear.” To hear Egoyan tell it, it was the first opera he’d done where he wasn’t getting pitched. “The COC was trying to talk me into Salome. They wanted me to do the whole Ring Cycle at one point, which I just felt was too big with my film career. In this case, I mentioned it to Timothy, if they were ever thinking of doing Jen fa, I’d be there. And they came back and said yes.” Egoyan is no stranger to POV. His mother is a long-time subscriber and he has escorted her to a number of shows when he’s been in town between films. He’s hugely supportive of POV’s gutsy choices, their commissions and dedication to premier new works. Or classics that have never been seen here, like Jen fa. Vernon says Janá ek is under-represented in Canadian opera. POV staged the Czech composer’s The Cunning Little Vixen in 2005, but has shied from the dark and daring Jen fa, perhaps because the score was simply too big to squeeze into the tiny orchestra pit at the Royal. Vernon recently discovered a reduced score that slims the orchestra without losing anything. And it fits. As does Egoyan at the helm. POV CEO Ian Rye figures one couldn’t find an opera better suited to Egoyan’s oeuvre. “This is a work very keenly selected for his interests and his unique perspective of the world.” Jen fa is a story of a displaced people,



“Memory is the way we keep telling ourselves our stories — and telling other people a somewhat different version of our stories.” ALICE MUNRO



The Belfry brings two short stories of Alice Munro’s to life this March in a unique theatrical event that celebrates the Canadian writer’s exceptional language and the audience’s imagination. Munro, known as master of the contemporary short story and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013, has famous Victoria links — she was once married to bookseller Jim Munro, who passed away last year.

The Belfry, April 18 to May 14 belfry.bc.ca



This spring, Dance Victoria welcomes Alonzo King LINES Ballet to the Royal Theatre for a muchanticipated double bill. King, a visionary choreographer, presents Sand, which takes inspiration from a new musical score by the jazz masters Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran. The second performance of the double bill is Shostakovich, set to four Shostakovich string quartets, with movement that explores harmony and discord. Royal Theatre, March 10 and 11, dancevictoria.ca



domestic violence, child death. It’s a gripping psychological drama, and these are the kind of stories Egoyan’s built his career on. Vernon agrees. “The thematic of the piece is very congenial to him: emotional relationships, buried secrets. He has a great sense of the dramatic. And he thrilled us by jumping right at it.”

SENSITIVITY AND INSTINCT Vernon suggests it’s Egoyan’s sensitivity to the music that makes him an essential director of opera. After all, great opera is really the composer telling the story. The composer is a dramaturge, and a composer like Janá ek, with his great theatrical instinct, is a real man of the theatre (“which you can’t say about Beethoven,” Vernon adds with a chuckle). Janá ek digs into his characters. Egoyan digs into his characters. “His whole life is about bringing motivations to light and making them palpable to us.” Vernon could be referring to either Janá ek or Egoyan. Or both. It’s almost Egoyan referring to Vernon. Of the puckish conductor, the film director enthuses, “Timothy is just, like, so curious and adventurous and he loves drama. He can tell you anything about Shakespeare you need to know. He’s a real man of theatre and that’s the most important thing to find in terms of your opera collaborations.” Egoyan has kept his eye on the local scene for long enough to recognize that what’s happening with Pacific Opera is amazing. His words. “It’s canny programming,” he says. “It’s being able to be adventurous.”



Little-known fact: The AGGV houses one of North America’s most outstanding collections of Asian art. The Millennia exhibition features 70 of the most stunning, rare examples from the collection, including magnificent textiles from China, a palanquin (sedan chair) with the crest of the Tokugawa shogunate from Japan, thangkas from Tibet and more. Millennia is a fascinating look back — and a look forward to the evolution of Asian art. AGGV, September 17 to March 31, aggv.ca

A late-19thcentury Qing Dynasty man’s semi-formal court robe (or jifu) with embroidered silk and gold threads.



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uring my afternoon wandering Duncan’s downtown, several locals refer to the town as “Victoria’s little sister.” But before we entertain any sense of superiority, let’s be clear: this little sister is one of the cool kids. Duncan is small-town 2 charm fused with a hip edge in everything from food and art to fashion and even music. If your exposure to this Cowichan Valley town is limited to zipping by on your way up-Island, some confusion is understandable. But an easy turn off the highway reveals a dining and shopping destination in itself. Jean Cardino opened her fashionable shoe store Cardino Shoes 17 years ago and has seen Duncan’s core transition from empty streets and vacant storefronts to the thriving scene that exists today. “More people are taking the plunge and opening businesses,” Cardino says. “There are no big-box or chain stores; it’s just small businesses. The downtown is all walkable and people are happy to browse — and proud to support local.”



A NEW KIND OF TUNE-UP It was the railway era that helped make Duncan the commercial centre of the Cowichan Valley, and the tracks and former station — now a heritage museum — make convenient landmarks. Just east of the tracks near the centre of town, you’ll find the hustle and bustle of the Duncan Garage Café and Bakery. As I arrive over lunchtime, the place is literally buzzing with locals lingering over the inventive vegan and gluten-free fare (the dairy-free chocolate quinoa cake alone is worth the trip into town). Owner Susan Minette moved her eatery into the Garage 14 years ago when she “was looking for a building with character and a story, that was preferably heritage — and had, of course, good parking.” The building, restored in 2002, was built in 1912 by Norman Corfield, who with his team of mechanics drove the first car over the Malahat. It operated as an auto garage for over 65 years, and it houses, along with the café, the Community Farm Store, a bookstore, a hairdresser and Salts Organic Clothing.




1 The Bodhi Collective on Craig Street // 2 Spring footwear on display at Cardino Shoes // 3 The bustling Garage Café & Bakery 4 The inviting bar at Craig Street Brew Pub // 5 One of the many local craft beers

A former tenant, the Duncan Showroom, now located on Station Street, may be the region’s best-kept secret. The eclectic allages space — part theatre, part lounge, part music studio, part music geek’s man cave — is self-described as “located on the fringe of the Canadian touring circuit,” and hosts musical acts ranging from local tribute bands to altcountry singer-songwriter Leeroy Stagger to Great Big Sea’s Séan McCann. As Catherine Macey, executive director of the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Association puts it, “If it was on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive, the hipsters would be lined up around the block.”

STREET APPEAL The Showroom’s owner, Longevity John

businesses and as that Faulkner, is the force behind “We’re the collective has grown strong, so Duncan’s 39 Days of July Cowichan epicentre of has the client base of people Summer Festival, which draws passion-based seeking out those services.” attendees into the downtown niche market Downie, like every local for its outdoor perfomances. businesses ...” I talked to, has a favourite Another popular event is the — Jeff Downie, The Old walking route. His includes weekly Duncan farmer’s market, Firehouse Wine Bar held every Saturday. a stop at Red Balloon Toys Jeff Downie, who operated Gallowglass with his little girl and even other restaurants. Books out of the city’s former fire hall, “I’ve always loved Just Jake’s and the Craig Street Brew Pub,” says Downie, pointing noticed the shift taking place. He looked to to owners Liz and Lance Steward and their his background in the restaurant industry “unwavering dedication” to the downtown and converted his space into The Old over the past two and half decades. “It’s Firehouse Wine Bar in 2012. It receives incredible to see what they’ve put in and their raves for its artisanal cocktails, varied commitment to making Duncan a really cool wine list and locally focused menu. place.” “There is a vibe,” Downie says. “We’re the See? Little sister has it going on. epicentre of passion-based, niche-market



DO TELL THE OBJECTS OF HER AFFECTION Amidst antiques, mid-century finds and modern art at Kilshaw’s Auctioneers, it’s hard to fathom what keeps owner and auctioneer Alison Ross from carting home every one of these covetable objects. “Some things are just things,” says Ross, who bought the venerable auction house a decade ago from the Kilshaw’s and recently oversaw its move from Fort Street to a Langley Street heritage building. But some of these objects do call to her. “I can’t walk by a mahogany Georgian chest and not touch it. The mahogany has been beeswax-polished for hundreds of years. It has a texture you can’t replicate. That’s the involvement of time and human intervention — it changes these things and makes them better.” 1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A day in Italy .... They do everything with a thought toward great design, and have for so long. Everything should be of good quality; that’s how the Italians seem to live their lives. 2. What is your greatest fear?  The fact that I don’t seem to have fear — it only dawns on me after I’ve done something. 3. What do you admire most in your friends?  Wit and generosity of spirit. 4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Ignorance in the face of the obvious.  5. Which living person do you most admire?  My father, Don Ross, because he is taking care of my mother with Alzheimer’s. 6. What or who is the greatest love of your life? I’ll probably take flack for this, but it’s those who won’t give me any: my pets. 7. On what occasion do you lie?  When the government asks me how much I weigh.

9. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would clone myself so I could get more done. 10. What historical figure do you most identify with? Catherine the Great ... a successful monarch in a world dominated by men. Her love life has been the subject of much speculation (not shown toward male rulers). Most of the rumours have been debunked. 11. What is your most treasured possession?  I have a Spanish Baroque gold and diamond locket that I call “my precious.” 12. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?  A pet to a person like me. That would be the life.




8. Where are you happiest? I don’t want to sound like a crazy cat lady, but home with my cat — or Italy.

Alison Ross relaxes in a sought-after 1966 Papa Bear Chair with original upholstery, designed by Danish architect Hans J. Wegner.


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