Updated: Nov 4, 2021
The EastSide Culture Crawl is a four-day visual arts, design and crafts festival in Vancouver in the area bounded by Columbia Street, 1st Avenue, Victoria Drive and the waterfront. This popular event features the work of five hundred artists and is a rare opportunity for art lovers to see how artists work.
This year, felt :: feutre canada member Chantal Cardinal celebrated her third season with the event. She keeps a studio at The Arts Factory. The factory is a hub of industry, providing space for fifty artists.
Chantal says the Crawl is great for meeting and greeting people and making connections.” Over the years she’s had people sign up for workshops, and begin to follow her work. She says “you never know who you are going to meet. An art collector wanted me to have the yarn from his deceased mom: 8 garbage bags of it. A realtor donated me a cut up felted balls carpet. Like I said, you never know who you are going to meet.”
Chantal loves the collaborative atmosphere of the Crawl. The enthusiasm of fibre fans. As well as the opportunity to exchange cards with people and follow up later. She says its an exhausting four days but in “the loveliest of ways.”
It can also be tremendously humbling. Last year an admirer of Chantal’s work visited her studio all the way from Tofino. She’d found Chantal’s work online and started following her. She told Chantal she felt like she found a kindred spirit. This is something Chantal deeply appreciates as she experienced the same sensation when she’s come across a fellow felter she admires or is part of big events like the felt :: feutre canada's symposium last year.
This year Chantal was very focused on large scale work. Her hanging chair served as an introduction to her studio. “Have a seat” was her opening line to those that visited. The reaction to the seat was mostly surprise, and only a very few didn’t take Chantal up on her offer. She now wishes she’d taken pictures of all of them. Her visitors were all amazed by the strength of the fibres. Chantal loved this as it gave her a chance to explain the process of wet felting.
The Crawl is not about making sales for Chantal. She views it as a chance to inform and to present her work to the public. A showcase for those interested in commissions for private or public spaces. It’s also a great way to get involved in community projects. Mostly though Chantal really just wants people to know how fabulous felting is. She says, “I am already thinking about next year's Culture Crawl with a smile on my face and busy brain. I never have enough sketch pads. Now what will make it to next year ‘s Crawl is anyone’s guess at this stage. Don’t you just love all the possibilities?”