Eastside Culture Crawl: Visits to Gailan Ngan, Janice Wong and Arleigh Wood in Strathcona and 1000 Parker
Deb Martin and Todd Wong visit Janice
Wong's studio at the Eastside Culture Crawl on opening night. It
is a tradition for many artists to serve wine – photo George/Todd Wong
I've always thought of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team as
being on the artsy cultural side…. This weekend some of the team
paddlers are planning to check out the Eastside Culture Crawl on Saturday. But on Friday night, I bumped into 2 team members + 1 team alumni.
The evening started when my girlfriend Deb (who drums and steers for
the dragon boat team, while I coach, steer or paddle) and I enjoyed
pottery studios in the Strathcona neighborhood. There are many
art studios throughout the Strathcona neighborhood as revealed by the
map on the East Side Culture Crawl website . It's great for a walk from place to place. Kathleen Murphy's Kamu Studio is on 318 Union St. and Gailan Pottery Studio
at Georgia and Campbell St. Kathleen has some really nice cups,
and bowls. There is a gentle delicacy to her work. The rims
on the cups and bowls are thin, as well as on the thin necked vases.
Kathleen said that they are actually quite strong and durable.
Great black and blue glazes… I will definitely be back for a
visit with my cheque book!
Pottery artist Gailan Ngan opens up a
bottle of wine to serve to guests at her studio in Strathcona.
Cookies are presented in her functional pottery bowls and plates.
The kiln is in the far left corner. – photo Todd Wong
I've met Gailan Ngan before,
about 11 years ago. She was establishing herself in Vancouver and
had a small show. I bought one of her vases and one of her
father's pots. Her famous potter father is Wayne Ngan who
lives and works on Hornby
Island. I first met Wayne Ngan back around 1970 and during the
1980's during family vacations to Hornby, where my architect cousin
Wayne Wai also lives. Wayne Ngan's works are incredble, and I
have several of his pots in my collection… if I haven't given them to
my mother yet. Gailan's works are also very nice. She
concentrates on functional objects while keeping an eye on the asthetic
qualities. Her works have a very nice light touch to them.
She has a good selection of “wobble” cups and bowls, which are very
pleasing to hold and touch. She has a nice studio… I will
definitely be back for visits.
Janice Wong with cousin Todd Wong, standing in front of Janice's large
installation work titled “Return” – a 3 level paper construction, 60″ x 90.” It is a wonderful
three-dimensional hanging representing the loss of language with a
circle motif that represents “heaven” in Chinese cultures – photo
For me, no visit to 1000 Parker Street would be complete with a visit to Studio 318, home of Janice Wong Studio.
Janice is an internationally recognized artist for her abstract
monotype creations. Janice's father and my grandmother were
cousins, so technically we are second cousins once removed. We
got to know each other last year when she contacted me for assistance
in gathering Rev. Chan descendants to help celebrate her book launch of C H O W: From China to Canada: Memories of food + family.
Tonight I selected one of her monotypes to be used as a prize for the
inaugural Gung Haggis Fat Choy intercultural arts achievement award,
which will be presented at the
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner event on January 27th, 2007.
Mixed Media artist Arleigh Wood poses
in front of one of her series works. Arleigh likes crows, and she
has been the featured artist for the Eastside Culture Crawl which
features crows as its theme logo. – photo Todd Wong
The Arleigh Wood Designs studio is just down the hall from Janice Wong. I met Arleigh
at last year's Eastside Culture Crawl, and was immediately
impressed by her mixed media work. She also draws on her family
history and Japanese ethnic background. She has used pictures of
her grandparents, incorporating them into her work. Last year, I
was intrigued by a picture of her grandfather with one of his fishing
boats. Arleigh is a descendent of Japanese Canadian internment
survivors and she is pleased by my work on the Save Joy Kogawa House committee.