October 29th, 2014 | Comments Off


A week ago I was talking over a cup of excellent Canterbury Coffee with John, the husband of Honica. I asked him if Honica would consider writing a short piece relating to her designs, her inspiration and basically how ‘Honica goes about creating her beautiful jewellery’. John’s answer was a clear “regretably not!”  “As she is spending all of her time making jewellery”.” However,he would be happy to draft a short joint article with her”. This ‘combined result’ follows and I hope that you find it as interesting to read as I did.

“Women say they feel wonderful wearing Honica’s jewellery. They tell us of the compliments they receive on their jewellery—from relatives, friends and even strangers stopping them on the sidewalk. These sincere compliments, women say, give them confidence, make them feel truly unique and beautiful.


Case in point. We were told of two ladies, sisters actually, from the eastern seaboard of the US. One sister had recently visited Victoria, and had purchased a Honica necklace and bracelet from one of her collections. The sisters were now, together, on a junket to Quebec City and staying at the renowned Chateau Frontenac. They decided to go out and visit the stylish shops for which the historic city is known. They donned their finery, one sister with her $10,000 necklace and the other wearing her Honica collection, and then exited the lobby.



The next day the sister, who had worn her very expensive piece, phoned from the hotel in Quebec City. She ordered her own Honica necklace, saying that, in spite of her more expensive bling, it was her sister who had received all the compliments.


It’s true, many of our customers who collect Honica’s work, tell us that her creative and distinctive jewellery is often commented on. While it’s obviously unique and artistic, with its polished semi-precious stones, hand textured and patinaed brass and other natural and wonderfully exquisite materials, it still remains classical and is most expressive of personal style and taste.


Honica’s work is closely followed and collected. It seems to call out to a specific segment of women, for whom personal expression and style is important. And, as they say, “Those who like it, like it a lot.”



Her circle of devotees is growing and the appreciation of her work is reaching a wider world. We asked her what it takes to respond to a growing market and consistently create these expressions of her own sense of women’s style and personal adornment.


“For me,” she said, “above all, it is a goodly measure of these three; genes, inspiration and perspiration! The genes I had nothing to do with. I just lucked out I guess.” Honica said.


From her earliest childhood as a young girl, she joined family outings searching for agate, pyrite and any kind of treasure that nature might provide. The polished stones stirred her imagination and spirit, while walks in the woods deepened her love of the natural world. The colours, the forms, the way it all worked so perfectly—inspired in her a deep desire to use all these treasures as a means of expression.


Today she still seeks her inspiration from nature. Her studio overlooks ponds that she excavated herself by shovel and built by hand. She planted a garden on the property where she and her husband live, that backs onto a tidal river and overlooks a wilderness park. Herons, raccoons and otters visit and do a little pond fishing when in the neighbourhood.  She notes every wild visitor, at whatever time of year, and loves it all. It’s her inspiration.


But to be successful she notes, that’s not enough. Young artists often ask her for guidance and direction. And she’s always willing to help.



“You have to be committed. Talent is great, but when deadlines loom, demand grows and your customers are waiting,” Honica asserts, “it’s only hard work that gets you through.” “She’s the hardest working person I have ever known!” her husband attests. “She works every night until 10 pm,” he says. “Then she stops, has herself a glass of wine and reads a book as her dog Rupp curls up on a bench near the studio window.”

You can see a huge collection of Honica’s beautiful jewellery at  www.sidestreetstudio.com all available on line or at our Studio in Oak bay Village, Victoria, B.C.

JESSIE TURNER – Expanding the Concept of Jewellery

October 17th, 2014 | Comments Off




My work expands the concept of jewellery as simple adornment to one that encompasses self-expression and purpose.



All things worn can have meaning. We need meaning to fulfill life and create balance, both within, and between, the individual, the community, and the natural world. Jewellery, when created and worn with intention has the ability to empower and connect us with our deeper selves.



Creating unique jewellery that encourages people’s individuality and connection to truth, nature and beauty is what guides my innovation and fuels my creative fire.



Originally from the islands of BC’s West Coast, I have now returned to my roots in the Comox Valley after some time in the city. I received my diploma in Jewellery Art and Design in 2000 and have since studied at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, as well as with local art teachers.



Jessie Turner Jewellery is sold in Side Street Studio, Victoria B.C., as well as at select craft shows. Along with being featured in The Georgia Straight and ELLE Canada Magazine, Jessie has also received numerous design awards including an Accessories Designer decoration at Vancouver Fashion Week.


If You Go Down To The Woods Today……

October 11th, 2014 | Comments Off


If You Go Down To The Woods Today……

 Earlier in October Sue & I travelled to Zeballos on the Far West Coast of Vancouver Island to spend a few days fishing for Coho & Chum Salmon on the Zeballos and Kaouk Rivers.


Zeballos is situated, just north of the small town of Woss off Highway 19. The hour ‘off highway’ journey to Zeballos is on a well maintained logging road but you do need to watch out for & give way to logging trucks. Headlights on at all times.


We stayed with Steve Shelley of Nature’s Edge Wood Design. Steve has been a fishing guide and fishing lodge owner for over 28 years, guiding fishermen on rivers, lakes and on the waters of the Pacific Ocean from the Queen Charlotte Islands to southern Vancouver Island. 



Steve’s lodge in Zeballos is called Island Tides and from here he guides guests on both off shore marine fishing trips for salmon, halibut and red snapper, and freshwater fishing trips for Coho & Chum salmon, cutthroat trout and steel head.



For the non fisherman there are wildlife viewing tours for bears, eagles, sea otters (who abound in the Esperanza Inlet) and Humpback & Orca whales. Steve runs these tours from June to October each year.


The trip was magnificent not only for the huge number of salmon (and the occasional cutthroat trout) that we caught but also for the huge variety of wildlife around at this time of year. More black bears than we have ever seen before and at very close range. The bears were enjoying the abundance of salmon in preparation for winter.


From November onwards, Steve spends his time carving platters, bowls & trays from salvaged woods for his Natures Edge business.


When it comes to Nature’s Edge Wood Design Steve’s Philosophy is simple. “With strong ties to the outdoors and nature I have always had a keen interest in working with reclaimed and salvaged wood. Taking a piece of wood that someone else has discarded, or that will lay on the beach and rot or be burned, and turning it into something useful is very rewarding for me.”


Steve gets a lot of inspiration for his work, as well as the majority of his material, while walking his dog on the beaches of Discovery Passage near his home in Campbell River and from remote beaches on the inlets of the coast around Zeballos. Finding and working with the wood he salvages from the beaches is his favorite pass time. Each piece has completed a journey from its origins, which can be from far up a mainland river or a South or Central American jungle, to its time spent drifting around in the saltwater of the Pacific Ocean, to its final destination here on the shores of Discovery Passage.


Harvesting and processing wood is one of the major industries here on Vancouver Island. At Nature’s Edge Steve also salvage’s wood from logging site burn piles; smaller pieces, burls or unique shapes that are not usable in the traditional forest industry. But Steve sees the potential and the inherent beauty of this wood and creates wooden bowls, wood serving trays and wooden platters from what would otherwise be left unused.


 The wood bowls, wood platters and wood serving trays are usually made from Maple and Alder but Steve also uses Poplar, Arbutus and several species of hard wood that have not yet been identified. Each one is unique in grain and details but the overall design is very versatile and they can be used for serving platters, table centerpieces or Medieval style trenchers or bowls.


Bowls and serving trays have been treated with Claphams salad bowl finish, a food safe mixture of bee’s wax and mineral oil, and are fully functional in the kitchen and dining room.


 You can see more of Steve’s works at http://www.sidestreetstudio.com/catalog/index.php?manufacturers_id=80539

And find his lodge at http://www.fishingvancouverisland.ca/

From Pure Science to Pure Pottery

September 20th, 2014 | Comments Off

Jack Olive grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. After obtaining a degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from Mooorhead State College in Minnesota he spent 3 years working as a biochemist at the University Of Oregan Medical School. But a strong creative gene began to override a love of pure science and so Jack returned to Moorhead to work on a degree in ceramics and graphics.


In 1971 Jack moved to Vancouver to become a founding member and director of the Vancouver Clayworks Society; a 12 member cooperative ceramics studio.


In this hugely creative atmosphere Jack worked with other members of the group to develop methods of applying graphic images i.e. photography, drawing and painting to clay. His style of work ranges from abstract geometric to wildlife painting and drawing. Currently Jacks pottery images include Pears, Salmon, Orcas, Ravens, Apples and Crows. These images are incorporated into a large range of functional pottery items from Jugs to Mugs Casseroles , Bowls, Plates, Tea Pots, Pitchers and more


Jack has recently explored the techniques and possibilities of Raku. This example uses “naked Raku” techniques, which result in a pot that is white with a black line image. A dry pot is covered with terra sigliata (liquid clay), fired once to bisque temperature, and then covered with a high-fire clay slip and a low fire glaze, through which he etches the design.


The Raku firing process requires a special Raku kiln that is fueled by propane and reaches temperatures of about 1800°F (about 982°C).


The piece is then fired to Raku temperatures, and placed into the smoking chamber. When the piece is cooled, he peels off the slip and glaze to reveal the black line on the white background. The resulting pots have a lighter, more textured quality than his traditional stoneware.


In order to complete the firing process, the Raku pottery must remain in the kiln for approximately 30 minutes. The Raku pottery is removed from the kiln using specially designed Raku tongs.



While the Raku pottery piece is still hot and glowing, it is placed inside a metal can full of combustible materials. The heat emitted from the Raku pottery causes these materials to catch on fire. After the materials inside the metal can catch on fire, a lid is placed over the can and the Raku pottery is sealed inside.


The Raku pottery is capable of withstanding these high temperatures and the fire within the can because it is made from a special type of clay that is capable of withstanding thermal shock.



Jack now lives and works in Gibsons on the beautiful B.C. Sunshine Coast but you can see lots of Jack’s magnificent creative work – both Raku and Stoneware at www.sidestreetstudio.com



A Passion for Ocean Themes

August 30th, 2014 | Comments Off

One of the great pleasures of owning a studio is that just occasionally you meet an artist who produces some really creative and beautiful work. Darcy Epp is a perfect example. Her Raku is stunning and very well worth viewing.


Darcy began her pottery career in 1993 by taking some night classes with a studio potter. She immediately realized that working with the magic of clay on the potter’s wheel and individual hand sculpting was something that would be immensely fulfilling.


 She has taken many workshops in both functional and decorative pieces at North Island College and Metchosin International School of the Arts, as well as specialized workshops and seminars from Gordon Hutchens (Denman Island), Siegele and Haley (Arkansas), Alan Burgess (Courtenay) as well as many others.


 Not limiting herself to one medium, she has learned and crosses over between traditional thrown pottery to slab work, Raku and porcelin, often incorporating the theory of one discipline to another. A passion for ocean themes, her attention to the intricate details of orcas, starfish, and rockfish has earned her pottery prominence in some of the most exclusive resort destinations venues.


 Raku is an ancient type of Japanese firing dating back to the 16th century. Beautiful iridescent blues, violets, copper and crackle glazes are produced on either wheel thrown or sculptural pottery. The pottery is fired to 1800° and then “reduced” in a chamber which catches fire immediately. The fire uses up all the oxygen in both glaze and chamber, thus producing one of a kind results.


 Darcy lives in Black Creek on lovely Vancouver Island. B.C. and you can find more of her beautiful work at Side Street Studio, Victoria, B.C.

Stuart Clarke West Coast Wildlife Photographer

August 22nd, 2014 | Comments Off

Stuart Clarke Wildlife Photographer writes;

After graduating from Trent University with a degree in Biology in 1994, I made my way to the West Coast and Victoria to pursue my dream.

After a number of years in the Outdoor Industry I have finally found my true calling as a wildlife photographer. As a life long birder it wasn’t a stretch to trade the binoculars for a camera. As a wildlife photographer you often get 2 comments “you must be really patient” and “you must have a really good camera”.


The first one I always find so interesting, because for me, sitting in the woods observing and recording bird behaviour in one the most beautiful places on the planet is something I used to do on my days off and the excitement of capturing a rare or difficult species more then offsets the patience needed. The second, kind of goes without saying, to photograph small fast moving birds in dark forests requires top quality gear just to make it possible, but, it most certainly doesn’t make it easy or guarantee you’ll get the shot.

7220 SC

It is this challenge that keeps me inspired and has led to my specialty of capturing birds in-flight. Two of my favourite images, one of a male Barred Owl as it has left its perch looking for a mouse and the other is a Bald Eagle as it came in for a fish. The owl shot came from a lot of hard work, perseverance and wet rainy days in the rainforest, watching and observing this owl as he fed his mate and their offspring. After I captured this image, I zoomed in on the LCD screen on the back of the camera, when I saw that it was sharp it was like getting a hole in one and well worth all of the soggy mornings.


The eagle photo on the other hand was all about being in the right place at the right time. While having lunch with my girlfriend at the Oak Bay Marina I saw all of the gulls take flight, a sure sign that an eagle is patrolling the area. I grabbed my camera and ran down to the water just in time to capture this bird as it came in for a fish. This incredible pose as it came directly at me is a once in a lifetime capture. These images and many more are part of my ever expanding Card Collection. I currently have over 100 species of birds and wildlife plus a large collection of nature and park images from all over Vancouver Island.


My cards are unique in that the backs have information on the species and where it can be found in North America. The images on the cards are actual photographs and are suitable for framing. All of the images in my card collection can also be purchased as Prints – (framed or unframed) as well as giclee canvas prints (stretched or rolled).

you can find all of Stuart’s superb cards, prints, mugs etc at www.sidestreetstudio.com

Stuart Clarke Feeder Bird Poster18 x 24


A Rare Chance to see and listen to Charles Van Sandwyk 

August 5th, 2014 | Comments Off

Charles Van Sandwyk at Creative Mornings, Vancouver BC

An excellent presentation by Charles at Creative Mornings , Vancouver BC plus a reading by Charles from one of his books.

Both very well worth watching!!


Reading : Charles Van Sandwyk at Creative Morning, Vancouver BC.

Main Presentation by Charles Van Sandwyk


Born in Johannesburg in 1966 and raised in Vancouver, Charles van Sandwyk began selling his drawings and watercolors in the early 1980’s. In 1986, he won the Alcan Award for his limited edition book A Selection of Neighbourly Birds. The book, illustrated with etchings printed on an antique intaglio press, was his first venture into the world of handmade books. Since then, Van Sandwyk has created a number of limited edition books. His charming private press books pair animal characters with whimsical verses.


Van Sandwyk’s style is inspired by the paintings and prints that hung in his family home. He splits his time between Vancouver and Fiji, and his enthusiasm for the natural world is clearly evident in his books. Collectors have come to love van Sandwyk’s limited edition books for their beauty, simplicity, and vibrance. Some of van Sandwyk’s paintings hang in the National Library of Canada, as well as in several important private collections.

You can find almost all of Charles beautiful books and cards at Side Street Studio, Victoria BC. We ship daily with FedEx and Canada Post.


Phil Cottell – A Suggestion for Politicians!

July 30th, 2014 | Comments Off

Phil Cottell – A Suggestion for Politicians!

A short time ago Phil was asked to carve, a ‘Talking Stick’ from locally grown Yellow Cedar. This was designed by the excellent & hugely talented Coast Salish artist, Chris Paul, a member of the Tsartlip nation. Once finished the design will show the head of an Owl – expounding wisdom one can hope….


A ‘Talking Stick’ has traditionally been used by First Nations to pass around from member to member allowing only the person who is holding the stick to speak. This enables all those present at a council meeting to be heard; consensus can force the stick to move along to assure that the “long winded” don’t dominate the discussion; and the person holding the stick may allow others to interject.


And so we come to our two main suggestions: Firstly, that a ‘Talking Stick’ be part of all Provincial and Federal Government meetings and limited to a speaking time of 10 minutes. Some hope! Perhaps we could produce a list of societies, organizations, clubs, mainstream media (or specific individuals) that could benefit from the introduction of a ‘Talking Stick’….Some chance!
Secondly, that a revised form of ‘Talking Stick’ be introduced which discourages speakers from proposing the usual inane nonsense, well beloved by politicians of all parties. This could be called the B….. Stick – no; good manners prevents further discussion.


So on to Philip Cottell; Phil was born at Ladysmith, Vancouver Island. After completing a doctorate at Yale (Phil denies being a member of the Skull & Bones fraternity and so was denied the pleasure of meeting the former President of the US, Mr. George H. W. Bush) he returned to his native B.C. to take up a professorship at UBC. With time spent working in forestry and wood products research, retirement beckoned. Phil returned to the Island in 1997 and with great enthusiasm and skill began devoting his time to woodturning.

From the following images you can see shelves of various woods ‘seasoning or drying prior to being turned. Phil particularly enjoys creating beautiful as well as useful objects, utilizing salvaged wood from local trees — maple, arbutus, dogwood, cedar and others.

Many of these pieces are allowed to dry for up to 3 years before being turned.



Phil’s subjects range from organic burl bowls, salad bowls and sculptural vessels to coloured, wall-hung plaques that take their cues from the wood grain and figure.
As with many local artists, Phil strongly believes in conservation of our resources.



You can find lots of Phil’s magnificent work at Side Street Studio in Oak Bay Village or on line at www.sidestreetstudio.com and www.amazon.ca (look for Side Street Studio in Home & Garden)




New Oak Bay Tourism Advertising

June 20th, 2014 | Comments Off

New Oak Bay Tourism Advertising. Great to see how Oak Bay looks and how much it has to offer!







June 6th, 2014 | Comments Off

In March 2013 and after 39 years, Robert Held sold off all his glass making equipment and finally closed the doors of his Vancouver based, Pine Street Studio.


Bob moved to Parksville on Vancouver Island and entered into retirement. So that was it. The end of some of the finest glass making in North America.


But the days of tennis, reading and painting (the artistic type) began to drag. Frustration grew. Dreams of a relaxing retirement became just that – dreams. The urge to create more pieces of glass art grew until Bob could resist the call no longer.


As with all ventures a little luck helps. Bob discovered that an art school in southern Seattle had just received a large endowment and was upgrading their glass making equipment. So armed with cash and a large van he was first on the scene and bought their whole collection of equipment – furnaces included.




After numerous trips from Seattle back & forth to Vancouver Island we now we have a new art studio, based in Parksville – risen from the ashes so to speak.


Bob together with two of his former artists have started creating even more beautiful glass art. Hearts, Paperweights, Bowls, Vases and Ginger Pots are all now ready (in limited quantities) for sale as the new gallery expands its production.


The main picture shows Bob & one of his key assistants, Bohy, outside of the new studio. No Bohy is not bowing to Bob! He is drawing out very long, thin lines of hot glass (up to 70 ft) which quickly cool and are then fused to the sides of bowls, vases etc. Each using different colours depending on the specific design. A process that Bob called ‘fritting’.


The other photos show Sue Hayes from Side Street Studio looking at some new ‘lighting’ glass work with Bob. And some scenes of the work area.


You can find a good number of examples of Bob’s new glass work at www.sidestreetstudio.com with more pieces arriving as soon as they are available.