Welcome to the Shiny Fuzzy Muddy Blog. To start we will happily to deliver content to you, once a month, ALL things Shiny, Fuzzy and Muddy. Our mission is to share information, and to build and strengthen (unify) our creative community. Mainly we will be focusing on artistic practices, community engagement, the business of art and in depth features of all the wonderful artists that we have grown to love through the Shiny Fuzzy Muddy Show. We welcome you into the creative community that has become known as SFM. Please engage with us by leaving comments below and please share the Blog with the other creative enthusiasts in your life.
The Founder’s Perspective; a Past, Present and Future look at SFM.
The four founding members of SFM are Janna Hurtzig (Winterlux), Arleigh Wood, Kari Woo (Kari Woo Contemporary Art Jewellery) and Frances Dickinson (Frances Felt). All professional artists in their own right, they are still committed, 15 years later, to engaging artists in their quest to make a living from their work. We asked them a few questions about the amazing trajectory of the SFM show.
Janna Hurtzig, Arleigh Wood, Frances Dickinson, Kari Woo – SFM 2015
What were your reasons for creating SFM and how has the show changed from it’s original inception?
Kari: SFM was born out of our necessity, to find a venue where we could show our work in a context that was becoming of the integrity and quality of what we were making, but was also affordable for us. The show has always been an expression of our collaborative efforts and intentions and for the most part has always stayed true to it’s origins – to exhibit high quality work at an affordable cost to the participating artists.
Frances: We were all emerging artists keen to get our work out there. The big shows were great but very overwhelming and we also felt didn’t truly represent who we were. In 2003 there were no shows that we were aware of that included ceramicists, painters, clothing designers, jewelers, had a wine bar and a DJ playing awesome music! The show is the same, 15 years later, just slightly bigger. It’s still intimate, diverse and all our artists are keen professionals, dedicated to their craft.
Janna: When we started SFM, it was to have a space to showcase our work, to bring attention to our own businesses. We have evolved organically over the years, in part due to changing venues and cost considerations. Once we were able to secure a weekend at Heritage Hall, that really changed things: we had room to bring in a lot of other artists and take things to the next level, beyond the realm of any of our previous shows.
Arleigh: We started the first SFM show as a small group of emerging artists looking for a venue to show and sell our work. We pooled our resources including client lists, access to cheap show space, pr experience and graphic design skills and put together a fun show for very little money. Pop up shops were not really a thing back then and we were looking for an affordable, polished venue with an easy to find location. Eventually we decided to invite more artists so that we could fill the beautiful Main Street Heritage Hall location where we have shown for many years. We have all felt very connected to the Main Street neighbourhood as the majority of us have lived in the area for many years.
SFM Winter 2004 – Arleigh Wood
SFM Spring 2005 – Artech Building, East 1st
What kind of artists are a good fit for SFM? Who are the clients that come to our show? (Who is SFM for?)
Kari: The artists involved in our show are dedicated makers, always moving forward with new designs and techniques. We love work that is high quality, unconventional and original. We’ve always been a grassroots group that became known largely through word of mouth, so we depended on our invited artists to bring their audience with them. It was literally crowdsourcing before that was even a term! Our clients love high quality, locally designed and produced goods. They love to know their makers and engage with them and they come back time again with their friends in tow.
Frances: SFM loves to represent the professional artist. Creative people who are engaged in their craft community and committed to growing their business. Artists who have spent time developing their work, listened to their followers and who have tapped into their own uniqueness as a maker. The shoppers who come to our show are looking for pieces that represent the current era of art and design. They love to see what the creative community is coming up with. They admire the artists and follow their stories thru purchasing their work.
Janna: Our ideal SFM artisans are makers who are working full time at their craft, and have taken their career to a higher place of artistry. We have the best customers as many are fellow artists in their own right: musicians, writers, painters, photographers, visual designers and other makers, so they understand the work that goes into things. They shop with intent and enjoy the connections that buying directly from the artist brings.
Arleigh: I think it’s amazing that after all these years and all the changes in everyone’s lives we are all still working together and growing. It shows how important it is to have a supportive network around you to help you keep you going when times are rough. As we get older (and wiser?) we can look back and appreciate the community we have built.
SFM 2008 Winter, VIMEO, Main st.
What is SFM’s biggest success?
Kari: The community we’ve built through our events. This was a somewhat unintended outcome, but it’s why we keep doing it. The friends made through SFM support each other throughout the year, and some of the connections between artists lead to collaborative projects, sharing resources, tricks of the trade, or long term friendships. It’s wonderful.
Frances: Our biggest success is that we are in our 15th year! We have had many opportunities to fold but we have kept it together somehow over the years. We love our artists and the fact that so many of them come back and do the show year after year is a big reason why we carry on. We feel like, in our own way, we have supported and helped many artists carry on with their own careers.
Janna: I think carrying on so long has been one of our greatest accomplishments as we never set out to be a long running show, or to have the reputation as one of the finest shows in Vancouver. I’m really proud of what we have created as a group, there is a real love for the show and the other artists—- it always feels more like a family reunion to me than work, even with the customers. So in some ways I suppose our biggest success has been creating a community.
Arleigh: Many of our clients have been coming to the show since the early years and have become friends. They appreciate fine craftsmanship and the careful curation of the show. Our artists are Canadian, working professionally at a high level. Many have won craft and design awards and make both one of a kind and handmade production work.
SFM 2014 Winter, Heritage Hall, Main St.
What is the vision for SFM and what challenges do you think lie ahead?
Kari: To continue what we’ve been doing, but to do it better. It’s always a challenge to stand out in a noisy world, but we’ve been around for this long already! I also hope to see through an anthology project of some sort that features a history of the show and the makers we’ve had the privilege of hosting over the years. Maybe for our 20th!
Frances: My vision for SFM is to become an anchor point for the creative community. Something we can all tether ourselves to when times are tough or when we feel adrift at sea, we can feel as though we are connected to something greater than our own small efforts. Our biggest challenge is getting our voice heard thru the slew of noise from the era of information!
Janna: I just want to make the show even better, to something beyond just the 2 days…. connecting our artists with resources, workshops and our Emerging Artist program. Personally I’m on my second arts based business now, and I’ve learned so much by just *doing* that now with my second business, I’m having faster success because I have learned so much along the way, so it’s nice to be able to share this knowledge to help other people grow their businesses.
Arleigh: To continue to produce a high quality art, craft and design show. To support and grow the community of makers through social and business events. We have talked about putting together a catalogue of artists that have shown in SFM and presenting SFM in other cities. But for now our focus is on quality and our family of makers.
Kari Woo is a jewellery and mixed media artist based out of Canmore, AB. Known for her notably understated and modern aesthetic, her distinct line of contemporary art jewellery aims to create substance and meaning through design. Woo’s accomplished mixed media works, which focus largely on issues of cultural identity and appropriation, have been exhibited both across Canada and internationally. Other past works range from installations, performances and sculpture to interactive art objects and a recent foray into public art. Kari is a fine art school graduate, a former brick + mortar shop owner, an event organizer, community collaborator, aspiring sculptor and proud parent.
Frances Dickinson has been working with textiles for over 20 years. Frances Felt clothing and accessories pairs colour and texture with the wonderful whimsy of process. Designing clothes and accessories for women that are flattering, a pleasure to wear and truly unique is her goal.
Janna Hurtzig is a self taught artisan, combining years of retail experience and running two successful handmade labels since 1998. Her current endeavour, Winterluxe Recycled Cashmere, finds Janna selling at 11 markets annually across Canada as well as organizing SFM, pop up shops and trunk shows.
Mixed media painter, Arleigh Wood, works out of her Parker Street studio in Vancouver, Canada. Her work is represented by Art Interiors in Toronto and by Vancouver Art Gallery Rental and Sales.