Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Monet Exhibit officially opens June 24th and in keeping with the Secret Garden theme, the Gallery was dressed in a beautiful welcome of red roses. An iconic building, The Vancouver Art Gallery is transformed with each exhibition and especially for its largest fundraising Gala, Friday June 16th. Event partners: The Social Concierge, Celsia Floral, Flower Factory and gif (Granville Island Florist) receive accolades for the variety of flowers and creative designs and locations for them: advertising displays, pathways, table settings, staircases, at every level, there were fantastic arrangements scenting the air and gracing walls and surfaces, both indoors and outside. And people dressed for Monet and for great causes: funding grand exhibitions and school and family programs at the gallery. The dresses were paintings as were the fresh flowers woven into elegant hairstyles, fascinators, and even flower wristlets. My nod to the garden theme was my Dragonfly Necklace by Carolyn Bruce.

Culinary Capers created tasty appetizers for the cocktail reception as well as a dinner by Executive Chef Stewart Boyles, featuring Dungeness Crab, Cornish Game Hen, Frozen Berry Parfait, (candied violets) perfectly situated on exquisite table settings, again with masses of flowers, but none too high to block out Master of Ceremonies, Andrew Chang, CBC and Fred Lee, Guest Auctioneer, or the entertainment: Chor Leoni Men's Choir, The Goh Ballet and the Famous Players Band.

There were many fundraisers: Live Auction (think Trips to Paris Fashion Week, American Music Award, America's Cup Yachting Experience on San Francisco Bay, Tokyo, New York and even a private gallery tour of the Monet Exhibit and Culinary Capers dinner for 12, right in Vancouver.) Balloon surprises $1,500 - 5,000, Raffle with 6 more exciting experiences, Washington D.C., Pebble Beach, CA, Kennedy Space Centre, Lady Gaga Live in Boston, Chicago or NYC and Super Car Driving in Las Vegas. Just a few of the many opportunities to support the year round word of ART that our Vancouver Art Gallery brings to all of us.

Thanks to the huge and very hard working Summer Gala 2017 Event Committee and to the many others: Sponsors, Partners, Staff and Volunteers who made this Gala a fabulous night to remember.
Can't wait for the Opening of the Monet Exhibit, June 24th and for FUSE and other events in our garden: The Vancouver Art Gallery.

Thanks also to Justin Mah, Communications and Greer Attridge, Social Media, for their gracious welcome and suggestions for best views.

The dresses looked just like the flowers! Beautiful!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

On June 7th, I was invited to the grand opening of Massy Books at 2206 Main, in Vancouver! Balloons outside, lots of friends and neighbors streaming in and buying those specialty and rare books that Patricia sources and stocks! The store contains beautiful shelves, filled with carefully curated and organized titles. Love the little wooden stools and just had to visit the hidden room with an antique desk and comfy stuffed chair. Imagine spending your quiet time in here.

The Children's section is right by the sunny front window and has a colorful carpet just made for sitting down for a look at pictures or a read. I found this one, a Bento Recipe book for those little lunches. So the whole opening event was a wonderful opportunity to chat, read, and celebrate Patricia's hard work, community leadership and friendship. We were also treated to catering by Whole Foods. Books, food and friends, what more! Well, there is one more thing: this owl ring is making its way to the store from another store, My Sister's Closet, where we both volunteer. See more Massy Books on Facebook.

Patricia and Me

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

RAW is always an evening of Art in every way, shape and form. It is visual, performance, music and more. It is people dressing up, being made up, dancing, networking and enjoying all there is to see and do. For the past two years, it has been held at the Harbour Event Centre and this seems to have lots of advantages, including a huge stage and multiple display areas. I wrote about RAW in 2015 here.

This time, there were more than 35 artists and lively, visually diverse and exciting evening unfolded.
First, I visited Pamela Jackson, Street Cat Designs, as I love her jewellery, especially those crocheted earrings and in particular, a funky sterling silver black bracelet, which will invite conversation wherever I wear it. Before she got too busy with sales, I got a photo of this fabulous artist, and Marilyn R. Wilson, (Olio by Marilyn) and me, ready for adventure. Marilyn bought a piece of original art by Jacqueline H. Tyracek, Cranial Moon Designs, and This evening was all about meeting and supporting local artists, for sure. I met Joe Sones of Blind Sheep Productions and was impressed by his quality leather work - oh those totes. As I mentioned, people dressed for the occasion. The woman wearing the fanciest black outfit was wearing a sparkling statement necklace by Carolyn Bruce, who would have been there, had she not been in New Zealand.
Although I am a Stones fan, I was entranced by two musicians from Alive N' Kissin. Now what did I say about adventures?

Huge thanks to Monika Blichar of ArtWorldExpo for sending me along on a night to remember. Big bow to all at RAW Natural Born Artists, Vancouver!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Fairmont Vancouver is such an elegant setting for the Little Black Dress Gala. It says to me: "This is important, this is historic, this is a jewel in our city." And so, that beautiful main staircase, grand foyer and ballrooms, were stage for the main event: the evening Gala. As we were registering, models were being photographed before their runway shows. I loved the quiet, reflective poses of the models in white gowns, such a contrast to the amazing, vibrant colors of the Artwork from ROAM Gallery. And across the hall, a giant pink balloon (LOVE) drew us in to the multitude of Silent Auction items, all donated by local Designers, Businesses and Sponsors. I do believe that Marketa Newbery (Marketing and Sales, LBD) was key to achieving fundraising goals. So much support for local designers (Necklace and earrings by Carolyn Bruce) was featured in what everyone wore. It does take a whole community and every available skillset to support Youth at Risk.

Jennifer Angers Daerendinger, ROAM Gallery, Keiko Boxall and I, as well as many other attendees, enjoyed getting our photo on the Sponsor Wall. It is always wonderful to have a professional photo as well as an additional way to shout out generous sponsors.

The performances throughout the gala, were fantastic and here are a just a few of the many performers.  We were treated to opera by Christina Lewall and Nicole Brooks, who sang from the stage as well as from the floor. Ahmed Dance was an exciting whirl of colorful silk, bare feet and exotic music. Her Brothers is a young band of brothers who brought the audience to its feet and keep it in motion, whenever they played. Endless energy and talent! Karen Kobel, gracefully commanded that stage, all by herself. Alpha and his parents, eloquently talked about the role of family and community in helping youth achieve potential. Mentoring, connecting, educating, funding...we all have a role and a responsibility. RNB dancers are excellent examples of high achievement and performance.

The Fashion Show was such a demonstration of the immense talents of our local Designers, Models from Blanche Macdonald, a contributing sponsor, and all of the Make-Up, Hairdressers, Dressers and Volunteers who get everyone red carpet ready.

Carolyn Bruce opened the show, with her unique jewellery and accessories. Sparkles from head to toe and every piece designed specifically for the Spring theme of this show.

Rich Abarquez (Rich Connections) is an example of someone who always goes such a long way in volunteering back stage, supporting new models, modelling for at least two or three Designers, being a social media master and championing local Artists and Designers.

Loved the Spring Pinks of this fabric, the result of a team effort by Alison Kent (akHome and Jotue Design) and Aleem Kassan of Kalu Interiors. These dresses will be auctioned to support The Sponsor A Woman Program.

In all, 27 Designers showed 12 looks each, so you will see many more at and and on Facebook. I tried to give you a glimpse of the very complex process of putting together a grand gala such as Little Black Dress. The rehearsal, getting ready behind the stage and finally the evening, itself. My thanks to Alpha B. Kirabira, Christine Michelle, Sarah, PR for LBD, Designer, Carolyn Bruce, my friend and guest blogger, Dianna Drahanchuk (for showing me some of the crucial basics: bobby pins, felt pens, folding, putting stuff away) and to the models who sat down so I could reach them. Hats off to the huge community that supports such an important cause: Youth at Risk.

PS:The Little Black Dress Brochure was beautifully designed and so helpful in referencing names. Thanks to those who wrote it and to Tan lu, from Undertable Studio, Vancouver based and "specializing in art direction, branding, graphic design and printing production".

Positive change in the lives of youth at risk, is being done through the Help Change My City Alliance, its Founder/Producer Alpha B. Kirabira, Christine Michelle, Assistant Producer and a whole community of supporters. At this event, the Gala, Sponsors, Designers, Artists, Models, Hair and Make-up teams, Dancers, Musicians, Photographers, Media, Businesses, Galleries and many, many volunteers demonstrate their creativity and leadership to showcase possibilities and achievements, here in Vancouver. Funds are raised, through ticket sales and silent auction, funds that go into bursaries and other direct supports including  upgrading education, finding work and housing, counselling, and networks. The support is long term and effective as reported through testimonials from young people, succeeding and sharing their experience, on stage and in the community.

This time, I attended the dress rehearsal here and was impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of everyone, throughout the long day into early evening. Alpha and Christine circulated, encouraging that model of friendship and confidence, especially for those new to the experience. There was food and lots of cold water, doors were open and the day was organized, models assigned and goals explained and set.

On May 26, I spent part of the day, helping backstage and then went home to dress up for the main event. My black and white polka dot silk dress and back silk bag are treasures from My Sister's Closet, a thrift boutique on Seymour and Helmcken, whose proceeds go to Battered Women's support services. This is another great resource for everyone who shops for bargains and for those who enjoy sharing their skills and learning many new ones. But while I dressed for a Gala, I got a huge education about what goes into the making of a fashion show, first. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, parking and doormen are to be commended for efficiently helping us to unload and transport the racks and bins to the backstage area. At the end of the evening, very late, there they were again, loading up and moving that van right into an easy exit. Once behind the stage, it was up to us to grab a rack to hang the twelve outfits per designer and a table, too. How to organize everything in a small space, plug in a steamer and power cords. and then dress models, practise the line up, all of these steps were necessary and how one person does it all? Impossible. I worked with Carolyn Bruce and couldn't help but notice how models were entranced with her Spring colored, embellished jackets, fascinators, jewellery (necklaces, belts, shoes, fingers) and accessories. The purple headpiece is from My Sister's Closet and redesigned and bejewelled by Carolyn. The teapot purse is her creation and no one could resist opening it and trying it on her or his arm.

It was amazing to learn how designers do so much more than we know. Carolyn Bruce, made special pieces for the Silent Auction as well as always being generous with her work for special photos, events and fund raisers like Little Black Dress. She inspires confidence and spirit with her designs. Another Designer, Tetyana Golotta, not only showed her own collection but also modelled for Carolyn and other Designers. Rich Abarquez, Teacher, Model, Social Media Master, modelled for at least two Designers, helped backstage and kept up the positive vibes and support for newcomers, throughout the Gala. Backstage was where leadership and giving beyond the call, were highly evident.

Fascinator from My Sister's Closet Re-Designed by Carolyn Bruce

Teapot purse made by Carolyn Bruce

Lady in Gold by Carolyn Bruce

This is always such a display of design talent and truly creative imaginations. Students were dressed in black, with many interpretations of formal wear. Catered by VCC Culinary Arts, the appetizers were beautifully presented and delicious. A lovely invitation to the general public and a grand welcome to the show and to a college that offers such a vast array of programs and services.

It took a while to get this dramatic showcase up in the main foyer. Each display featured its own setting for the jewelry and then under this was the designer's name, the story behind the pieces and a business card. The backdrop for the entire collection featured the blueprint or conceptual plan for each design. It is exciting to see the whole process from start to finish. Loved that we were able to meet the designers and talk to them about their work. Where are they going? Lots of plans including setting up businesses, collaborating with other designers, following the lights and action of TV, Film or Theatre, illustrating, ...and there are so many goals and bright futures ahead. Here are just a few highlights. If you want to see excellence, come to VCC!

PS.Watch for sales:Circle Craft Christmas Market (Nov.) Christmas Sale: Dec., Valentine's Day: February, Grad shows and more. Info at

VCC Annual Student Exhibition: Jewellery Arts and Design

Designer Natalie Friesen

Designer Justice Barclay

Designer Carmel Boerner

Designer Chalsey Crepaux's work titled Virago

Guest Rich Abarquez, wearing Carolyn Bruce Jewelery, Guest Stella Panagiotidis, Vancouver Designer Carolyn Bruce, wearing her own fabulous necklace
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