Of Sweetpease Studio
Welcome to our little corner of the blogosphere, where we will be posting about studio happenings, new products and all about creative people who inspire us. Today I'd love to introduce you to our friend, Marika, of Sweetpease Studio. Sometimes I think kismet plays a hand in meeting those truly special people who come into your life. Marika is one of those people.
Marika and I met just over a year ago when I was first setting up the new studio. She has not only become a business connection, but also a dear friend. In the shop we sell Marika's gorgeous ceramic needleminders, buttons and ornaments as well as her French Lavender sachets, and there will be more fun collaborating in the future. With that introduction, I will let Marika tell you in her own words, a bit of her history and a peek into her creative business.
I am certain my mum would tell you I have always loved the way things feel and look since I was out of the package. Fabric, paper, rocks, anything that grows, animals, Lego- the sky day or night, how I am so enamored with what the world creates! There is something truly magical in the art of creation. Making things that someone else can love and be inspired by, things that ground us to something real and tangible- it is a joy that drives me.
I was a very busy little person, I remember my mum starting me on her Elna at the ripe age of 6 just to keep me busy. I helped her sew basic things and I would make little pouches and doll clothes. I remember stitching a felt applique pillow for my grandmum when I couldn’t have been more than 8. I can’t remember a time now when fibre arts hasn’t been a part of who I am.
I grew up in Alberta but my grandparents were on the Westcoast when I was growing up. Every year I relished the drive from Calgary to Vancouver, always stopping midway to see family friends in Vernon where I was born. So much to take in along the way. Deep blue will always be my favorite colour. The colour of the Okanagan night sky or the deep waters of the ocean or my Grandmere’s Hydrangeas. I remember visiting Granville Island and Paper Ya, still one of my happy places. I have always been deeply inspired by our landscape.In my teen years, I truly thought I was destined for Costume Design but somehow fell in love w Art History and stayed here to do a joint degree at U of C in Art History and English Lit. I credit a co-worker from one of my Uni jobs who pushed me towards flowers. It’s in my blood I think.
Ceramics was one more earthy layer I was drawn to for as long as I can recall. Connecting to earth through clay has to be the most grounding experience. I dabbled in my early 20’s but ended up having to shelve that dream for many years while working and putting myself though school. Flowers kept me sane but it always surprised me how many flower people had ceramics backgrounds too.
I started working at Peaseblossoms Flowers in 2000 after I graduated. I worked there part time while running an art supplies shop. One of my art supply reps also owned a ceramics supply company and introduced my to Ryan Cameron at the Velvet Antler in Field, BC. Pure Magic. Going back to ceramics was never a question, more of a when. Our first son arrived in 2005- it was clear I was going to have to make some life choices around my family- so when the opportunity presented itself to purchase the shop- we jumped.
The original owner Theresa always believed as did I, in supporting local and doing our best to vote with our wallets with our purchasing habits. Nearly all our flowers come from BC and if they don’t, they are 100% ethically sourced. Over time I wanted all the contents of our shop to feature artists, locally produced goods. Going to my first gift show in Toronto was an eye-opening experience. 16 years ago to find something not made in China was a struggle, in a way still is but now I feel more artists use social media to present themselves and like a needle in a haystack- they can be found. Where I had gaps, I used my skills to create small batches of items for the shop.
We have made our stuffy hearts- ‘love notes’ for 11 years this year. My husband would say, ‘use your fabric or stop buying it!’. Ceramics were a natural next. With Covid came many lessons and learning curves. Resilience, diversity, problem solving…supply chain issues weren’t really a thing when you were supporting local. The beautiful people at Ceramics Canada hooked me up with Alberta porcelain and I was off and running. Simple, charming ornaments is where I started and now 1000’s of pieces later- needle minders and buttons, because who can resist the small, detailed bits that make our day sweeter?
This January marks my friend-aversary with Andrea. What a treat to spend time with another business owner who values detail, craft, ethical product and all things flowery as much as me! What fun things we have up our sleeves, collaboration is the best when you are both passionate about what you do. Seasonal pillow patterns are next so we can showcase amazing buttons and fabric- dreamy to say the least.
We opened a studio space in 2022 to have a place to produce our goods that complement the shop and a safe place to teach floral and fibre classes, where folk could feel safe, inspired and refreshed.We pretty much live in a 2km bubble between home, shop, school and studio. Only visits to Willow Cottage are enough to make me leave.
I live in a 1912 Heritage Home with my husband, 3 children, a cat, a holland lop-earred bunny and dog. Our shop is only 8 blocks away at Peaseblossoms Flowers (named for the flower fairy in A Midsummers Nights Dream) in a 1912 brick building at 1417, 11th Street SW Calgary, Alberta that opened in 1995. When I am creating something other than flowers- I walk up my street to our 1913 brick house studio space where we have a space to make and teach others the value of expression.
It is a wild a crazy life at times, but there is never the same day twice and I am constantly challenged, learning & inspired by my surroundings and people I interact with. Art & Craft is a form of self-expression and every one of us holds the enormous capacity to create and express, even those who say, ‘ oh, I am not creative’. I had a talented painter on staff once upon a time, and she believed art is 20 percent skill and the remainder the way we see. I truly believe she is right. I have had a varied work-life but it all rolls back into expression and teaching others how to see the beauty we are surrounded by."
Thank you, Marika, not only for your friendship but also for being such an inspiration for fellow creative entrepreneurs and makers. You can find Marika's gorgeous needleminders, buttons, ceramic decor and lavender sachets on our website, or find out more about Marika on her site at Peaseblossoms Flowers.