Saturday, January 20, 2018

Photos and writing by Colleen Tsoukalas

American Journalist, Annalee Newitz recently wore her fabulous silk tie, featuring a Greenland Shark and saluting Marine Biology, to Massy Books, for her reading of favourite passages from her 2017 Sci-Fi, "Autonomous". A quote from Neal Stephenson tells it all: "Autonomous is to biotech and AI what Neuromancer was to the internet." Set mainly in Canada, 125 years in the future, there is a Bot neighborhood at Aberdeen Mall, Richmond and other local and regional references. The lead, a woman, Judith Chen, known as Jack, is Chinese, a trained synthetic biologist, and, among other pursuits, a pharma pirate, who copies and makes life saving but hugely expensive drugs available to the poor. I like that she is female, strong, and very, very strategic. I am also finding, Paladin, a bot, who thinks and feels, fascinating. Only at the beginning of the book, I can tell you that this is a multilayered, deep one about AI, drugs, good and bad, economics - rich and poor, slavery - being indentured, the environment, adventure, survival, and the race for ownership and control of resources. A must read to learn more about the outcomes, for sure!

After reading, Annalee answered questions from an enthusiastic audience: Will there be a sequel? What else are you working on, How do you find your voice, What is your hope for the impact of this story? Listening carefully and thanking each person for their interest, she was eloquent in her responses and hopeful about the future. A recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship from MIT, and a prolific writer of non-fiction and now, Science Fiction, Annalee Newitz is a powerful voice who will continue to read to audiences who will be immensely impressed, as we were.

Patricia Massy and her Book Store, Massy Books is moving locations, soon. From Main, she is moving to 229 E. Georgia, where she will continue to provide a great collection and fabulous book talks and other events so much needed in Vancouver!

Thanks to Patricia and to Annalee for the opportunity to meet, greet and be read to!

Article by Dianna Drahanchuk
Photos by Dianna Drahanchuk and with her permission from Dorothy Grant's website

I met Dorothy Grant, icon of Indigenous Fashion, on a rainy Saturday afternoon the day after the presentation of her latest collection at the Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. When asked to confide something that not everybody knew, she disclosed that she used to be a data processor for a software engineer. During high school, she discovered her love of sewing and sewed First Nations traditional dance costumes and button blankets while embarking on her 10-year technical career. Finding that vocational path unsatisfying she took a scary leap of faith and enrolled in the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design in Vancouver. According to Ms. Lefeaux, you either “had it or you didn’t”. Luckily Dorothy “had it”.

Dorothy will celebrate 32 years in the fashion business next year. The Feastwear and Dorothy Grant label productions are not high-volume, only two people sew her clothes. The men’s and women’s clothing and accessory designs have always been inspired by traditional Haida art as its core base. She branded her fashion line intuitively and her clientele, typically art collectors and enthusiasts and those who appreciate the work and textiles that make up her exquisite pieces, can be found wearing her garments as far away as New York and Paris.

Impressively, her pieces can be found in 15 museums world-wide. Her greatest success to date is the purchase of a Haida Wedding Dress by the Smithsonian Institute this year for a price similar to that paid for a finely carved totem pole. Dorothy designed it to honor her mother’s dream wish and called it “Raven Takes the World”. See this beautiful dress featured on her website.

Dorothy was awarded the Member of the Order of Canada in 2015. This is "definitive evidence" of her "outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation". Her widely recognized Art is truly Wearable Art and, as such, is an ongoing Education about Haida culture and design. She is in the process of writing a memoir of her designing years. Once that is finished she plans to create a curriculum for a 5-day course for Indigenous Programs. Dorothy is an amazing inspiration and has a great deal to teach. Undoubtedly her lessons will be taken to heart and in hand, an embodiment of her logo that symbolizes the sharing of the creative spirit within.

Westcoast Homes & Design wrote an extensive piece “At Home with Dorothy Grant” in their October 2017 issue. You can read her bio, news stories and buy apparel and accessories on her website or her studio Facebook page.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Yes, it was in December, but this is a heads up for December 2018, when you will want to enjoy shopping, fashion, food, raffles every 30 minutes, live performance, more than 50 vendors in one big room, in a location, far from the busy downtown core, but conveniently located with free parking. Even better, imagine plates of Mike's Perfect Perogys, and wonderful samples while you look around. It was a very busy but lively and entertaining Saturday for me as I was helping Carolyn Bruce, who not only had a marvelous display of her fabulous work, including a decorated Christmas Tree, but also accessorized the fashion show, by John Pfaft and models from Team Fitness, an exclusive Personal Training Studio. This is yet another event by Monika Bichar, who organizes so many ways of supporting Artists and Arts Programs locally and internationally. Wearing her own designs, she danced her way throughout the day, energizing us all and bringing creatives together. always in celebration. Here are my favorite photos from ART World Expo-Christmas Fair. I enjoyed wearing Carolyn's Robot Ring and having all the kids (and kids at heart) try them on and show them off. I bought wool socks, perogys, and one of Carolyn's Christmas Tree decorations. Look I met all of the vendors, including the youngest entrepreneur who not only wore his Christmas sweater, but also baked and decorated his own cookies. Yum.

Looking forward to this in December 2018. Much more Art World Expo Christmas Fair December 16. Oh and don't forget about Art World Expo, coming up this MAY 11, 2018 Science World!
Thanks Monika Bichar and everyone who participated. Stellar!

Monday, December 18, 2017

On December 9th, we celebrated the opening of the exhibit: Rising Hemlines, a multi room display of the roaring twenties clothing, accessories, and the household as it would have looked in Coquitlam and in many other places, at that time. This exhibit is on until March 3, 2018 and has been written about in great detail by Janis Cleugh of the TriCityNews, here

And just before Christmas, the fireplace was on, Christmas tree was decorated (charming crochet ornaments are by Connie Tsoukalas) staff and volunteers dressed in 20's fashions welcomed us with tours, a fabulous appetizer feast and live music. Jasmine Moore, Curator, worked with Ivan Sayers on this fabulous exhibit and clothing and accessories came from his collection, with additional pieces from Claus Jahnke's collection. Their philosophy: "Embrace the old, innovate on the new, make it your own."

Ann Carlsen, President of The Coquitlam Heritage Society, introduced us to the changing role of women during the 20's and to the importance of preserving and sharing that history, especially locally, as it happened in the area. Jasmine Moore, Curator, talked about her role in creating the exhibit and setting the historical scenes. Ivan Sayers, Fashion Historian, owner of the largest Canadian collection of clothing and accessories 1800's +++the discussed the working woman, the voting woman, the woman freed from the confines of bustles, the woman increasingly aware of the larger world and travel, the woman in the technological world, and more.

This was a highly interactive and fascinating event, a must see! Up and coming events by the Coquitlam Heritage Society and Mackin House here.

Thanks to all for fantastic company and kudos for the hard work in putting this together!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Writing by Colleen Tsoukalas
Photos by Dianna Drahanchuk and Colleen Tsoukalas

On a rainy, cold Friday, Dec. 1, evening, we were welcomed to a media preview for the beautiful newly designed space for MUJI on Robson. It is a huge, well organized store with the best service and quality products - everything you need for yourself and your home. MUJI is lifestyle, is the message from its many celebrants from Japan, Canada, B.C., Metro Vancouver and now, Vancouver, location of the largest store.

MUJI on Robson is a place to shop, to read, to enjoy a coffee, stamp, label and embroider your purchases and even gift wrap them. You can buy plants and the equipment to take care of them. An aroma bar is where you can create your own fragrance. Interior design can be enhanced by shelving 'wall furniture' and simple but effective organizing ideas. The MUJI Lab collection of clothing is well made, fashion forward, comes in a range of sizes.

Thank you for a wonderful evening of shopping, enjoying refreshments (all available in store) and learning so much about a great company and its community partnerships. It is a celebration that continues on a daily basis.

Here is our experience at MUJI Metrotown, too:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Last Saturday, November 25th, from 11:00-7:00 at the Vancouver Art Gallery and at The Playhouse, there was a lovely celebration that highlighted the Design and Performance Talent of six Fashion Designers: King and Reign, Rabia Dastgir, A.Season, Alex Yu, Tetyana Golotta and Kirsten Ley, as well as Indonesian and Slovak Dance, Okinawa Taiko, "Get Bent", Puppet Theatre and Orchid Ensemble. More at

Dianna Drahanchuk was there to capture 3 looks from each of the 6 Designers and their vibrant, beautifully crafted showcase of talent here in our multicultural city, Vancouver. Thank you to Vancouver Fashion Week and the Asian Canadian Special Events Association as well as to everyone who made this so special! Kudos!

Here are the photos from Marilyn R. Wilson's Perth Eco Fashion Week Upcycling Challenge last week. The show featured the work of 21 talented designers representing 12 countries. Marilyn thanks founder Zuhal Kuvan-Mills for the opportunity to showcase! More details about the show and designers here!

Photos by Harry James Leonard

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