The Magic Behind : Woven Wares

Woven Wares | HAND WOVEN GOODS
Kayla Sorley | BLOG CONTRIBUTOR
Kayla Sorley | FILM PHOTOGRAPHY
 

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As a child in Okinawa, Japan, Suzuna Nagamine quietly dreamt of one day becoming the master of some humble trade. She didn’t know anyone who was a tinker, a cobbler, or a tailor, but she fondly read about them in fairy tales and developed a fascination that would later become her life’s purpose. 

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To most, her dream seemed outdated; machines pumped out endless amounts of shoes, clothes, and tools much cheaper and more efficiently than this small girl ever could. Perhaps there was something in Suzu’s subconscious that said “One day, the world will ache to return back to a simpler time”. Perhaps she even knew that the satisfaction of pouring her love, time, and sweat into a simple creation would far outweigh any scepticism she might receive. 

Suzu moved to Canada in 2003, but didn’t begin to live out her crafts-woman fantasies until nearly 11 years later, when she complimented a customer at Fol-Epi (the bakery she works at) on her unique scarf. Little did she know that the wearer of that hand-woven scarf, Heather Dewy, would become her closest friend and business partner. 

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Heather and Suzu’s friendship and business, Woven Wares, were moulded over the last 3 years between endless cups of coffee, shared stories, long walks with the dogs, and hand baked bread. As organically as this unique company began, it continues to evolve in the same fashion. No traditional business plans or cut-throat business techniques are to be found in their airy, minimalist home studio. Instead, step inside and you’ll find a strong commitment to sustainability, honesty, and building community. 

“The things we believe in are always coming through in the weaving,” says Heather, “But it’s so much bigger than that.”

For the owners and incredible minds behind Woven Wares, choosing ethically made fibres for a piece becomes a question of ethically choosing everything they bring into their lives and homes. Pricing a piece evolves into discussions of a trading economy in their community. A meeting with a potential buyer shifts into a long visit with a new friend. This idea of going “beyond the business” might just be the answer to finding more contentment and fulfillment in all of our lives. 

“The word I’m always coming back to is ‘mindful’”, says Suzuna. 

To Heather and Suzuna, mindfulness = minimalism. Maybe the word ‘minimalism’ for you conjures up images of ruthless closet purges and Scandinavian design blogs, or maybe you even imagine the Woven Wares Instagram feed, but the fad word has so much more meaning to these two women. Stripped down, it speaks of honesty, balance, and hearing the truth in the noise that is modern life. 

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Weaving has shaped the lives of these two makers, and this translates into a brand that markets itself through it’s sheer authenticity. Woven by hand from natural fibres that are dyed by hand using plant dyes {the napkins in our shop are linen & cotton fibre with stripe colours made from avocado skins for a pink hue and local Garry Oak acorns for the almond hue}, the beauty and quality in each piece is undeniable. Bringing Woven Wares into your home is a testament to the true meaning of minimalism. Purchase Woven Wares and support your community, your planet, and your own wellbeing while enjoying true hand-crafted luxury

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Getting to Know : John Holm Woodworking

John Holm Woodworking | WOODEN KITCHENWARE
Kayla Sorley | BLOG CONTRIBUTOR

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Fifteen years ago John Holm and his wife Jocelyn were strolling along the beach in Victoria, when his eye was caught by a particularly pretty piece of Fir lying on the rocks. Since retirement, John had been dabbling in woodwork. A man of the good-old-fashioned-hard-work generation, John was accustomed to working with his hands. He quite enjoyed dextrous pursuits of creativity - which had led him to building an arbour for the garden and a few other hardware store projects. The piece of wood John found on the beach that day wasn’t at all like the pre-prepared planks he had been purchasing at the hardware store. He was struck by the intricacies in the grain, the twists and bends formed by wind and sun, the variety of colours that could only be observed by a keen eye. 

“A shame to burn in the fireplace”, he thought, and a patient pursuit for beauty and quality began. 

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When you take a moment to gawk over John’s work, you are an observer of the beauty in imperfection. When I sat down with John at his kitchen table (which was overflowing with the pieces I had chosen with abandon) I told him that what I most appreciated about his work was the fact that he never forces the wood to be what it is not. Like it’s creator, every spoon, butter knife, or bowl is unique. The wood itself is telling it’s own story, yet John’s own tale whispers from the arc of each buttery curve. 

Perhaps quality like this can only be created by a person with passion burning through their veins. In his youth, John’s passion was people. His life’s work was with refugees, as a member of the Foreign Service. John’s postings at various Canadian embassies allowed him to become intimate with many corners of the world; from France, where he met his elegant wife, to the Philippines and South America, from where their two sons were adopted. 

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“It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill life.” He commented, pun not intended. 

With the aim of creating harmony in the homes of our customers, we strongly believe in providing you with local, hand made goods. In the 3 hours it takes John to create a single wooden spoon, it is inevitable that love is poured into it’s creation. Bringing John’s work into your home brings the vibration of it into your home, too - and what a beautiful, high vibration it has. 

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Arbutus, Juniper, Yew, and Maple are just a few examples of the island-found wood that is used to create these pieces. Finished with either natural Tuung oil or mineral oil, you can feel good about the close proximity these pieces will have with your carefully prepared meals. Maybe you will even have the opportunity to tell John’s story at your next dinner party, where his labour of love will be nestled into your salad bowl. 

You can find John's pieces in our shop at Nourish

 

GALIANO GETAWAY

Bodega Ridge | ACCOMMODATION
Pilgrimme Restaurant | DINNER
Mount Galiano | HIKE
Dionisio Point Provincial Park | HIKE
Charlotte & the Quail | RECIPE
Hayley Rosenberg | BLOG CONTRIBUTOR
Lyndsey Eden | PHOTOGRAPHY
 

Last Summer, Rob and I made our way over to Galiano for a quick trip with a very specific purpose - having dinner at the critically acclaimed Pilgrimme Restaurant.  So moved by the care, love, and attention given to their space and their food, we knew it would not be the last time we would visit.

As the spring comes around, so does the rumble of activity.  We thought it to be the perfect time to whisk our leadership team off to the calm evoking island for some 'coast, forest, and farm-to-table', perfectly summed up by Pilgrimme team. 

With nine of us going this time, we knew just the place we wanted to stay - Bodega Ridge Cabins.  We had heard of the place in the past, but only recently met the Owner of the retreat, Jesse Keefer, when he came in for a meal at Nourish.  His enthusiasm and kindness had captured our hearts and we knew we would be in good hands. 

Our weekend plans were outlined with simple intentions - get some fresh air, spend some time together, and eat with people we love. 

We arrived at 6pm on Sunday eve, Jesse waiting with a smile for us to arrive.  A quick tour of the main lodge, with a pit stop at the beer tap, was the perfect way for us to shed away the work week pressures.  Sunday dinner was simple.  I had picked up a ton of veggies from The Rootcellar  and an equally hefty supply of pates & cheese from Choux Choux.  We sat around the long table in the lodge and simply unwound.

The following morning was misty - perfect conditions for charging up {slight exaggeration} Mount Galiano under the forest canopy.  The top was breath taking {the emotionally evoked kind} and we took a little break on the summit for some seriously cute selfies.  

The descent took no time.  We had big plans to get to.  Food was on our minds.  Sergio {Chef of Nourish} took the lead in the kitchen for our morning meal - creating a nostalgic dish from his childhood with a Nourish-ing twist.  A few of us helped chop, poach, torch & plate.  The others helped set the table.   It was a beautiful breakfast feast {we will be sharing the recipes soon too!}.

Naps are an obvious on any good getaway {especially with puffy pillows and comfy beds calling our names} - with our reservation at 8pm for our excitedly anticipated dinner we all did our part to take the time to chill out.

We piled into the cars at dusk and followed the windy road to our destination, trying to make it just before the sunset so the crew could soak in the picturesque location of the restaurant.  Just a little too late {thanks to the crazy fog} for the sun to still be setting, we pulled into dark driveway with an equally stunning sight.  Candle lanterns on the exterior and glowing light in the interior, all creating a warming effect on the views into the kitchen and dining room. Seventeen perfect, inspiring & creative dishes were served  -  three stand-still-in-time hours went by and we were still eating dinner - the only thing that seemed to make sense upon the completion, of course, was dessert - four more sweet selections came our way.  Our hearts were more full than our bellies - that is saying A LOT.  

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The next morning brought the sunshine with it - which was so perfect for our hopes - a trek along the forest lined coast was on our mind for the day.  But first, a quick fuel up.  Victoria {Chef of Charlotte & the Quail} whipped up a yummy breakfast - toast, chard, eggs & basil pesto {recipe over HERE}.  We packed our bags and our cars and headed for our adventure.   

The rolling rocks that meet the ocean make a statement west coast beach.  We walked for over an hour, breathing in the magical air {have you ever noticed the aromatic, soft air where dense trees meet salt water?}.  What greeted us at the end was a vision I will personally never forget - a tiny  bay with sand beaches and giant rock island.  Stopped in our tracks we all just starred.  A bald eagle dove from a tree above us and soared right over our heads out to the other side of the crescent.   Following the beauty creature glide in the air, our eyes hit the huge rocks in the waters and we noticed they were alive!  Jam packed with sea lions, we could not believe the oasis we stumbled upon.  We walked the shores and sat and gazed.  We had accomplished our intentions.  

SPRING DESIGN PROJECT with MARIKA BEISE

Marika Beise - Rock Paper Square | DESIGN
Lauren Mycroft | ARTWORK
Andrea Soos - Poppet Creative | ARTWORK
Jolynn Vandam - Saige & Skye | FIBRE ART
Lyndsey Eden | PHOTOGRAPHY
Hayley Rosenberg - Nourish | BLOG CONTRIBUTOR
 

Creating a common space that is inspiring, calming, and just down right feels good to be in, is a big part of our ongoing mission at Nourish.  As the seasons change, so does the connection we hope to evoke from the inside out.  As the business evolves, so do the desires and needs of what each room can offer to you.  We always knew just how unique the second floor was - but it wasn't until we really settled into our heritage home that we started to see what you were using it for. 

We are pretty proud that the Cafe offers wholesome choices and even more pumped that many of you have made the Study and the Parlour your favourite place to sip, munch and spend time.  We love peeping in and seeing some of you hanging with friends, and others working away on their computers.  

 

Parlour for casual meetings

Parlour for casual meetings

Study for the serious workers

Study for the serious workers

This season we really wanted to take the experience up a notch and there wasn't a question in our mind who we would ask to spearhead the project.  Marika of Rock Paper Square is our gal -  she pulls together remarkably detailed spaces (& gatherings) and we feel like the luckiest people in the world to be able to share her design eye and creative stardust with you.  Her inspo is simple - making places feel good.

Here is a bit from Marika about what inspired her latest touches at Nourish and how she brought it all together:

In my design experience, if you want to provide users with a comfortable and inspiring space, you must include the essential pieces below...

1. WARMING FINISHES -  It was important for finishes to feel inviting & lived-in. No stark, cold finishes such as chrome or over-designed glass.  So, we played up the mixture of woods and textural elements in the fabrics and accessories.  

Parlour hide away

Parlour hide away

2. VARIETY OF SEATING OPTIONS - We are creatures of territory, and no matter if we're flying solo at a library or meeting a group of friends for a picnic, we are always on the look out for our "ideal" spot. We want to set up our space and claim an area for a certain amount of time. Therefore, it was highly recommended to create a variety of furniture pods within this larger parlour space. With exact pieces selected (high-back lounge chairs for privacy, easy to move side tables, and multi-purpose seating, to name a few) the users have flexibility to create larger groupings or individual areas as needed.

Mix and match seating 

Mix and match seating 

3. LIGHTING FOR MOOD AND FUNCTION - Additional ambient light was provided to create both mood and function within this space. The floor lamps were sourced from Wayfair and provide functional yet adjustable comfort for users. The parlour is also equipped with dimmable light for flexibility of the space. 

Parlour daydreaming

Parlour daydreaming

4.  THOUGHTFUL DESIGN & DETAIL - Finishing touches such as potted plants, locally sourced colourful artwork from the talented Lauren Mycroft as well as, Andrea Soos (Poppet Creative) textural wall hangings created by Jolynn Vandam of Saige & Skye, candlelight, and space-defining area rugs were thoughtfully added for the overall design.

Stunning wall hangings and whimsical plant hangers designed and knotted by Jolynn Vandam - available for purchase in her easy shop and in our shop at Nourish

Stunning wall hangings and whimsical plant hangers designed and knotted by Jolynn Vandam - available for purchase in her easy shop and in our shop at Nourish

It is difficult to place your finger on what exactly makes a space feel well-designed but you will know when you're in a well-designed space. We hope we've created a sense of inviting + inspiring design for all of you to enjoy. 

Prints and originals designed by Lauren Mycroft - available at Nourish

Prints and originals designed by Lauren Mycroft - available at Nourish

Artwork created by Andrea Soos of Poppet Creative - piece available for viewing and purchase at Nourish 

Artwork created by Andrea Soos of Poppet Creative - piece available for viewing and purchase at Nourish 

that pretty woven tote will soon be available in the spring summer collection coming from Wawaha.ca

that pretty woven tote will soon be available in the spring summer collection coming from Wawaha.ca