01 Dec

My Experience as a First Time Artist on the Eastside Culture Crawl

Let me just start by saying, there is absolutely no way I could have taken part in the Eastside Culture Crawl this past weekend without the support of my partner Boris. Not only was he okay with the transformation our home into an art gallery for three days, he also played the gracious host and spoke with people about my work when I wasn’t available. He was in this thing as much as I was, and for that I am very very grateful.

Our apartment transformed beautifully into a cozy little gallery space. The living and dining rooms were open to the public and filled with artwork while the back hallway, bedrooms, and bathroom were not accessible. I set up a table in the hallway to block the way and created an installation of paper snowflakes as a point of interest that also acted as barrier to places I didn’t want people going into. The snowflakes are made of individual dictionary pages cut into shape and glued together. It was a last minute crazy-person project I decided to do the day before the Crawl.

Eastside Culture Crawl

Eastside Culture Crawl-2

I cleared out most of our furniture and clutter to create an open space for people to walk through easily. The living room walls were hung with altered books, with the wooden animal series along one wall, and an eclectic mix of altered books on the opposite wall. I also had a small table full of lower priced items, such as cradle frame collages, small metal prints, and postcard sets.

Eastside Culture Crawl

In the dining room I set up my installation work. The Tree of [Un]common Knowledge was against the back wall with an improvised light made from a bare lightbulb housed carefully in an arrangement of books. I set this up so the lighting cast interesting shadows on the wall above the tree.

Eastside Culture Crawl-3

The Forgotten Knowledge series of books was set up on a table arranged in a circle with the paper flowers on top. People found both of these projects fascinating, and it was great when someone recognized these works either from Container Art or the CreativeMix Conference where they’d separately each been previously shown.

Eastside Culture Crawl-4

The remaining walls were hung with large metal prints and the few altered books I couldn’t fit in the living room. It was a wide variety of work for people to see and gave us much to talk about explaining the ideas or process behind each one. Every item (except the installation work) was clearly marked with a price, and I had business cards placed around the room for people to grab. I also posted by the front door a printed copy of articles featuring my work in both the Georgia Straight and The Province.

I had a really good experience for my first ever time as a participating artist on the Culture Crawl. I was told not to expect too much but I surpassed even the lowest expectations I did have. Almost three hundred people came through my apartment over the course of the weekend, which is really good for someone unknown and slightly off the beaten path of the rest of the Crawl. I sold two altered books, two collages, three metal prints, countless postcard sets, and had many new people sign up for my mailing list. I also had wonderful feedback from people and many a good conversation about art and books. I feel very lucky things went so well, and I hope to do it again next year. (I’m pretty sure Boris and I will recover by then).

I started this blog post with a thank you and must end it the same way, because I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the people who support me.

Thank you to Horst and Anne for bringing food throughout the weekend and helping out. Thank you to James and Monique for whisking us away at the end of Saturday for a delicious home cooked meal and a relaxing evening after a crazy day. Thank you to Jess and Stewart for helping me keep count and letting people into the building on Saturday. Thank you to Kai for keeping count on Sunday, and to Ariane for bringing me a bag full of snacks on Saturday.

Thank you to so many of our other friends for taking time on a very busy weekend to drop in to see the show. It was wonderful to have everyone here, and I’m very grateful for the kindness and support.

9 comments

  1. It was a wonderful display, Rachael, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing your altered books and other artwork from the past year. You did a great job with displaying so much in a relatively small space!

    And Boris was as helpful as you’ve said. It’s wonderful that you’ve got someone in your life who is so supportive of you and your art!

  2. Congratulations on what sounds like an amazingly good first Crawl! This was my third Crawl, also on the outskirts, and had about the same number of visitors 🙂 In terms of exhaustion, I’ve found it gets easier and less tiring each year. I can’t, however, believe that you actually made all those beautiful, delicate snowflakes THE DAY BEFORE. You are Amazing!!!

  3. Congratulations Rachael! Your home looked lovely and cozy, the art was beautifully displayed. It was awesome to see the constant stream of visitors admiring your many talents.

    On the other hand, sorry about the cookies ;-(

    It was great to see everyone and to learn that your sales surpassed your expectations.

    We got drawn in by the attractions of Commercial after, especially dilly dally. That could be a dangerous place in future!

  4. Thanks Jamie. I’m really glad you came all the way to see it, and that we could hang out for chat when things were quieter.

    Robi, I would love to chat about the Crawl in person sometime. I have no idea what to compare this with but I’m satisfied.

    The snowflakes were a crazy thing, and I couldn’t stop once I got started.

    Jess, I LOVE Dilly Dally. There are about a million things there I’d love to buy but don’t need.

    I’m really glad you and Stewart came by to hang out on the weekend.

  5. Thanks Kathy. I wish you could’ve been here to see it in person. I think you’d really like touring around to all the studios. It’s one of my favorite events of the year.

  6. Hey Rachael

    Just wanted to say again that your home/gallery was incredible.. walking through the front door it was like I’d just stepped into The Secret Garden. Congratulations on pulling it off so smoothly and beautifully, and thank you to you and Boris for being such great hosts and feeding us and giving us warm drinks while we loitered around in what used to be your living room 🙂

  7. Thanks Sam. I really love your description that it felt like walking into The Secret Garden. I wanted to create a cozy, inviting and magical environment in the space. I’m glad to hear I succeeded.

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© Rachael Ashe