by Michelle Sproule | It was at the Emily Carr Grad show that I became besotted by the Tin Can Studio, the joint graduating project of ECUAD students Caroline Ballhorn (Fine Arts) and Brodie Kitchen (Industrial Design). It’s an 18ft 1972 Streamline trailer re-imagined as a portable gallery and studio space. As Caroline and Brodie explain: “Tin Can studio represents for us the notion of coming together to create something that addresses our common awareness of shrinking space for creative production in Vancouver. Through a mutual desire to create meaningful work that actually engages people, that functions as a hub for strengthening community bonds, that plants seeds in neighbourhoods about making creativity and art accessible, we hope to empower others towards connecting and collaborating.”
They’ve done just that. When I recently visited the project, it was parked just in from the corner of Victoria and Napier. Shaded slightly by a tree, it was playing host to a mini exhibition created by friends and neighbours who had been using the studio over the summer. The show was called Monsters & Bikes and was comprised of pictures of monsters, bikes and monsters on bikes, all hand drawn or painted by Tin Can attendees of all ages. Check out a handful of images here.
Anyway, I got chatting with Caroline, and it was as she was running through the litany of super cool events that had gone down in the micro-space (artist talks, performances, discussions, concerts, pirate radio broadcasts and secret events) that I learned of a small dinner about to take place in the same studio the very next weekend. I jumped on it before the guest list hit capacity (10) by contacting the co-organisers and foodies Eat Together to book a seat as soon as I got home.
Eat Together is a two person show. Food enthusiasts Ken Tsui and Ellen Lee got it in their heads a while back that it would be fun to gather a bunch of people together and feed them good food (a pretty solid idea). With a few day-jobs each, it’s a hobby sort of thing. When they can find the time, they team up to cook a small feast to share with friends and friends of friends. Tin Can was a perfect venue for this low-key, small-scale, food-sharing event.
And so it was that on the next warm Sunday evening we arrived to find dinner guests starting to gather outside the Streamline. We milled about on a sprawling lawn and sipped on ice water as a make-shift ‘kitchen’ was assembled on the boulevard. Inside, the table was set simply with white plates and jam jars for glasses. Dinner was just as straight-forward. It began with radishes and cold salted butter, followed with heirloom tomato tart, and then came a lovely beet risotto. To finish: fresh figs and end-of-the-summer blackberries with Ellen’s amazing honey ice cream.
Sadly, both Eat Together and The Tin Can Studio are primarily fair-weather gigs. The Streamline will hibernate for the cold, wet months and the Eat Together folks don’t plan to brave rain storms in their outdoor kitchen. Sorry about that. But there is some good news…
One half of the Eat Together team (Ken) is involved with long table dinner at Southlands this weekend (September 25), it’s called Fly South and will accommodate 30 people. He’ll be cooking with Alex Dadzis of Ludzu and the Dunlevy Snack Bar, plating a meal of local oysters, smoked duck and fresh veggies. The dinner is filling up quite fast, so reserve a spot lickety-split by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep up to speed with what Tin Can studio is up to, check out their website. There are hints that the sleek little Streamline might make an appearance at The Western Front Toque craft show this winter. Fingers crossed!