WELCOME TO THE CURIOUS SHOP!
I’m so stoked to announce the newest patron of the GIRL, Crafted blog: A Curious Shop, in Ottawa!
Before I start the interview, let me just say: if you haven’t been in here to look and touch, you are totally missing out. I literally drool when I go in. A Curious Shop is located at 159 York Street in the market, close to the York & Cumberland intersection..dangerously close to a really good tea room and an organic grocer, so watch out. Alright, here’s my interview with the lovely owners of the shop, Fiona Sant and Michelle Potter; this will give you a bit of a taste of A Curious Shop…
How did the shop get started?
We'd spent a few summers touring with music festivals, and selling our own creations. Then we decided to introduce other local artists to the mix, and spent two years touring with the works of about 30 or so independent artists. Every now and again, we'd talk about opening a shop, at some point in the future...eventually. One day, out of the blue, an opportunity presented itself to us; a chance to have our very own shop (with four walls and a roof and everything!). We pounced, and haven't looked back.
What do you carry, and how do you decide what to carry?
Our store is packed to the brim with clothing for men and women, jewelry, accessories, home decor items, art, pottery, personal care products, toys, and a quirky array of knick knacks and doohickies. We're always on the lookout for new artists. Sometimes we find them (at craft shows, etc) and sometimes they find us!
How important are local makers to you?
We wouldn't be here if it weren't for local makers. We pride ourselves on carrying locally made, independently crafted goods. There is so much talent in this city, and we are so pleased to be able to showcase it and share it with everyone!
Why is handmade/small production goods an important thing to support?
By purchasing handmade, you are supporting local artisans, and encouraging their creativity and vocation. You're supporting real people, and making tangible differences in their lives by putting food on their tables, and clothes on their backs. You are supporting your local economy by keeping your money in your community. Locally made goods also have a smaller impact on our environment than items shipped here from across the world. And it's hard to feel unique with pieces that are mass-produced. Independent artists pour their souls into their work, and most pieces are one-of-a-kind. Good karma never looked so good!
Why do people love your shop?
It's a warm and inviting space, filled with art, colour and laughter. We have an ever-changing collection of locally made products, which mirrors the creative energy of the people in this city. We offer a very personal experience, befriending our artists and customers alike. And we offer our customers the opportunity to make purchases they feel good about.
Why do you love your job(s)?
Do you personally DIY? What do you make?
Yes we both do.
Fiona sews and crochets and makes fashion accessories with repurposed textiles that she collects at markets, thrift stores and on her travels. She is also a henna and mehndi artist and offers henna tattoos at special events and when we tour festivals in the summer.
Michelle creates jewelry and accessories from vintage and recycled materials. Old clothing is torn apart, antique jewelry is deconstructed, buttons are salvaged and treasured. Scraps and bobbles are transformed into one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art, each one colourful, whimsical, and handcrafted with love.
Tell us about yourself/yourselves, as people:
Fiona is from the Mediterranean island of Malta, and comes from a long line of artists, writers and designers. After hopping around from one country to another in her twenties, she eventually settled in Ottawa a few years back where after a brief spell as a legal secretary, she found her place in the community of artists and makers and hasn't looked back since. Making a career doing what she loves has been a life-long goal.
Michelle grew up in a small town in rural Ontario. So far removed from everything, she dabbled a lot in the arts- acting, drawing, pottery. She moved to Ottawa when she was 18, and spent the next few years sort of wandering aimlessly, unsure about what she wanted to do or where she wanted to go. She started getting involved in the local artistic community, and realized that's where she belonged. She's been living, working and playing in that community, quite comfortably, ever since.
What big news is coming down the pipe?
We are hosting an event on Feb 8, 2014 at Knox Presbyterian Church called For The Love of Winter. It is a craft show featuring 30 local vendors, a craft supply swap and more (we are working on all the details). We will be promoting it extensively in the new year.
Thank you, A Curious Shop, for being a part of the GIRL, Crafted blog! We love what you do and we’re proud to be connected with you!