We feature some of our favorite Etsy artists in our most recent summer catalog, including Alexander Jowett’s stained and painted canoe oars. They’re a great mix of contemporary style + classic summer house charm, plus they’re actually functional, in case you ever need to rip one down from your wall and go for a boat ride at a moment’s notice! See more of Alex’s work, and read our conversation on art + paddles.
What is the origin story of your studio, Atelier 688?
In February of 2010, I moved into a raw loft in Toronto. I had done a few art shows before, but I wanted to show my art and design in a slightly different way, going against the whole white cube idea.
In June of that year, I hosted the inaugural Atelier 688 show of local artists and designers in the loft. My idea was to give people a feel for how art and design could work together, as well as give a feel for what the pieces might be like in their own homes.
The binding piece was a 12 ft. kayak chandelier I did specifically for the show. It later sold to Canadian fashion designer Paul Hardy, for a Calgary home he was designing.
We love your stained + painted oars! Tell us a little more about them.
I have been paddling since I was a kid at the family cottage on Eagle Lake, Ontario. I’ve also done a lot of outrigger and stand up paddle surfing in Hawaii and other countries. Back when I was a surf photographer I took some of the earliest shots of Laird Hamilton paddle surfing. Paddles fascinate me as they are such a pervasive item that are used in so many different ways, and in so many cultures. In 2011 my friend David Barclay and I decided to start Contact Voyaging Co. to share our love of paddling and to bring a touch of contemporary flavour to a traditional ‘cottagey’ item, the canoe paddle.
Where do you like to turn for inspiration?
Well, I am a sailor, surfer, windsurfer, and ocean lover in general. I even spent quite a few years working as a water-sports photographer and writer. So probably all of my inspiration comes, in one way or another, from the ocean and travel. I have been to over 40 countries and lived in more than 6 different countries, so I tend to soak it all in and spit it out in my own way.
What is the Atelier 688 theme song?
Haha, probably Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Sun Sex and Sea’ – albeit in a quite ironic way, as I am not getting nearly enough of any of those since moving back to Toronto 5 years ago!
Read about all of our catalog-featured Etsy artists here!
Images: Alexander Jowett