painted oars west elm etsy

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.

painted canoe paddle etsy west elm

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.

alexander jowett kayak chandelier

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.

painted canoe oars paddles etsy west elm

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.

art boomerang

nautical pillow etsy

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!

west elm huron sofa

Alexander Jowett’s painted oars are featured on pages 5 of our June catalog, and on You can see more of his work on his Etsy page.

Read about all of our catalog-featured Etsy artists here!

Images: Alexander Jowett

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts