Dec­o­rat­ing your home with lo­cal arts


For the past two years, lo­cal ar­ti­sans have been able to show­case their cre­ativ­ity at La Grande Fabrique. Touted as the largest out­door gath­er­ing of cre­ators from Que­bec, this sum­mer’s event — held in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Etsy Mon­treal on Ste-Cather­ine St. E. — wel­comed over 180 crafts­peo­ple and de­sign­ers. It pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for artists from across the prov­ince to share their work — and vi­sion — with Mon­treal­ers on a mis­sion; a dec­o­rat­ing mis­sion, that is.

I had the op­por­tu­nity to talk with three of the show’s ex­hibitors — Ishita Ban­er­jee of Soul Curry Art & Il­lus­tra­tions, Stéphanie Goy­erMorin of Goye artiste céramiste, and Caro­line Busque of Ate­lier East End Mtl, which spe­cial­izes in min­i­mal­ist, mid-cen­tury modern wood fur­ni­ture — about what it’s like to be an ar­ti­san in the age of so­cial me­dia and how their craft is an in­te­gral part of in­te­rior de­sign. Here’s what they had to say:

How did you get started as an artist/ar­ti­san?

Ban­er­jee: I started in col­lege, did my bach­e­lor’s in fine arts, and then spe­cial­ized in graphic de­sign and an­i­ma­tion. I also stud­ied as an il­lus­tra­tor and did chil­dren’s books and comic strips for a while. I stud­ied in India. When I moved to Canada in 2010, I was work­ing full-time but there was al­ways this need to come back home and get my pen on pa­per. I started by dec­o­rat­ing my house with my own il­lus­tra­tions. Peo­ple would come over and say: “Oh, I want to buy that.” In 2016, I launched my on­line shop.

Goyer-Morin: I did a bach­e­lor’s in vis­ual arts and dis­cov­ered ceram­ics, and that I had a nat­u­ral abil­ity for work­ing with clay. At the time, one of my teach­ers sug­gested that I spe­cial­ize in ceram­ics, which I did at the Cen­tre de céramique Bon­sec­ours. I started my busi­ness 3½ years ago.

Busque: There are two of us, Martin Pel­letier and me. I stud­ied en­vi­ron­men­tal de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture at the Univer­sité du Québec à Mon­tréal and Martin stud­ied at l’École québé­coise du meu­ble et du bois ou­vré. He built fur­ni­ture as a hobby and I was al­ways in­ter­ested in de­sign and that’s how we started, a year and a half ago.

How would you de­scribe your style?

Ban­er­jee: Mad Men modern; I draw in­spi­ra­tion from mid­cen­tury modern style. I love the 1950s and ’60s but I grew up in the ’70s — the time of psy­che­delic colours — in India, which is the land of colour, so there are a lot of bold colours in my work. I also like the Nordic folk style.

I do a lot of ab­stract work as well, which I think is good for peo­ple who don’t want to com­mit to any­thing too per­sonal. It’s also a great con­ver­sa­tion starter.

Goyer-Morin: I de­scribe my style as del­i­cate and fem­i­nine with a bit of a weird, or un­ex­pected, twist. I’m in­spired by my child­hood a lot, es­pe­cially Alice in Won­der­land and the Beauty and the Beast. There’s a lot of move­ment in my pieces, and lace in­spires me a lot as well.

Busque: Our style is very min­i­mal­ist and we use a lot of raw, solid wood. We started us­ing steel to make our hair­pin legs, and now that mix of ma­te­ri­als has be­come our sig­na­ture style.

We have a Scan­di­na­vian, mid­cen­tury modern look, but our in­ten­tion was al­ways to put out dif­fer­ent col­lec­tions and adapt to dif­fer­ent trends.

We’re get­ting ready to start a new col­lec­tion; it’s go­ing to be very dif­fer­ent, but wood will al­ways be an im­por­tant part of our look.

How can your art be used to dec­o­rate a new home or condo?

Ban­er­jee: It adds colour, drama and di­men­sion — a whole dif­fer­ent layer to a space. It’s great for ac­cent walls, too. It both com­pletes and grounds a space, like a rug does. It’s a great way of show­cas­ing your trav­els and the kind of style that you’re at­tracted to; it’s an eclec­tic way of show­ing who you are.

Th­ese days, most peo­ple don’t even use frames, they just prop a piece of art on fur­ni­ture, like a chair, or up against a wall. It’s very ver­sa­tile. Goyer-Morin: There are more and more kitchens with open cab­i­nets th­ese days and that’s one way to dis­play ceram­ics. Peo­ple also use table­ware for their plants, which is very orig­i­nal.

I like to mix and match my table­ware; I think it’s more vis­ually in­ter­est­ing. It’s as if the pieces just

got up in the mid­dle of the night and had their own party on the ta­ble.

Busque: The es­thetic and qual­ity of our work is very im­por­tant, but the func­tion­al­ity of our pieces is what mat­ters most; in the end, form fol­lows func­tion. And the fact that they re­main durable.

Th­ese days, with the small size of con­dos, some­thing like our fold­ing ta­ble is a great op­tion for peo­ple; it’s why we make a lot of cus­tom­made fur­ni­ture as well.

Do you think it’s get­ting eas­ier for lo­cal cre­ators th­ese days, thanks to so­cial me­dia and events like La Grande Fabrique, or more dif­fi­cult?

Ban­er­jee: I think it’s eas­ier be­cause so­cial me­dia puts you out there for au­di­ences that never knew you ex­isted. It gives you a wider reach.

Goyer-Morin: I like the on­line el­e­ment, but I like be­ing able to see peo­ple face-to-face as well. It’s im­por­tant for me to get out and see peo­ple be­cause I spend my days alone in the stu­dio do­ing what I think peo­ple will like, but it’s good to get their feed­back.

Busque: So­cial me­dia and on­line bou­tiques helped us get started, and I imag­ine it would have been more dif­fi­cult to at­tract peo­ple to an ac­tual phys­i­cal lo­ca­tion. The fact that we sell in Canada and the United States helps a lot, too.


Stéphanie Goyer-Morin’s ceram­ics were on ex­hibit at this year’s La Grande Fabrique, held in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Etsy Mon­treal. Her del­i­cate and fem­i­nine table­ware of­ten fea­tures an un­ex­pected twist like the han­dles on the teacups shown here. Peo­ple, in turn, some­times make un­ex­pected use of her table­ware opt­ing to plant some­thing in a cup or a bowl rather than in a des­ig­nated planter, like the one on the wall be­low.


Ishita Ban­er­jee, of Soul Curry Art & Il­lus­tra­tions, whose art prints were on ex­hibit at this year’s La Grande Fabrique, de­scribes her style as Mad Men modern.

A turntable-and-vinyl con­sole from Ate­lier East End Mtl is a stylish, min­i­mal­ist piece of fur­ni­ture well suited to a small condo.


The Ania Bench (above) is made of re­claimed barn­wood and fea­tures ge­o­met­ri­cally shaped steel legs.

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