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Urban Sustainable Creativity

Clare and I recently landed in Vancouver for a short adventure away from our home in the UK. The city has so much to offer for a food loving, art blogging and jauntily exploring duo like us.


With the distant mountains as a backdrop and lush greenery throughout the city, you almost forget that you’re in an urban environment. We had both heard much about the thriving independent shops sprouting up across the town, both on and offline, and it is easy to see how one could be inspired to create in such a tranquil environment. It is often ranked as one of the best cities to live in the world, and you can immediately see why. Time for me to discover folks that make a living selling their creations in this wonderful city.

Sustainable Living

Vancouver is aiming to be the greenest city by 2020 and lead the charge in redefining sustainable living. A quick walk around the tree-lined streets and it is easy to imagine how Vancouver could become an example for other large urban communities and it is inspiring to see people working together on making a big success of the ambitious plans. Artists have joined the effort, and new initiatives are popping up around the town.

Chop Value is a collective of young designers, carpenters, builders and product developers on a mission to prevent Vancouver’s 100,000 chopsticks from going to landfill every day! There is an amazing offering of oriental cuisine in the city and Chop Value is working together with restaurateurs to transform used disposable chopsticks into everyday products. The result is a collection of locally made designer furniture which has reduced landfill and supports the local economy. Excellent work Chop Value!

Ann manages to capture the elegance of Vancouver with her ceramic designs. Combining minimalistic modernism with an organic flow, celebrating nature as well as human progression. In my short time here, my first impression is that Vancouver is a city bursting with green spaces where human creativity can thrive. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop for more wonderful sculptures.

Paula and Juan are the creative brains behind Scandinavian Crafts, a Vancouver-based shop upcycling vintage teacups into stunning light pendants.

Contemporary Design

I love these colorful shelves, which make a captivating wall display. Annie Tung studied in Toronto, the Netherlands, and Switzerland but now calls Vancouver home. She has recently opened an Etsy shop where you will find other equally imaginative creations.


Leave your mark at the watering hole with these custom engraved growlers. Make sure you check out the artist collection, with unique designs made exclusively for Sigil and Growler.

The team at Ole Originals has been designing retro t-shirts since 2008, and their hand-printed graphics celebrate Canadian landmarks, leading to the catchy tag #lovewhereyourefrom. Hopefully, non-locals such as myself are allowed to wear them too because I sure look forward to sporting some on a pair of jeans this Spring.


From landing at Vancouver airport to visiting the magnificent Stanley Park, Vancouver seems to work hard at trying to preserve its rich cultural diversity. The works by North West Coast Kwakwaka’wakw trained artists Justin and Rod are examples of the extraordinary craftmanship and beauty that lies in these timeless pieces and the importance of inspiring new generations to keep the movement alive and evolving.

Justin Rivard is a trained jeweler and mastered the art of Kwakwaka’wakw with guidance from celebrated artist Ray Dumont for 16 years. You can discover his works in galleries across the world.

Rod Smith has been taught the art of Kwakwaka’wakw by his late father and artist Harris Smith (Lalkawilas). His designs introduce abstraction to the traditional North West Coast Art and his work has been featured in numerous galleries. In 2005, Rod was featured in the ‘Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2’ exhibition that opened at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

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