VANCOUVERITES: Talking Shop & Inspiration With “Camp + Quarry” Designer Sarah Rankin

April 24, 2012.

Sarah Rankin is a West Coaster, a Jewelry and Landscape Designer, a dog owner, tree hugger, and a mess maker. Her jewelry line, Camp + Quarry,  is nature-inspired and made right here in Vancouver.  From hand-dyed organic textiles to raw crystal jewelry, each piece is designed to emphasize the unique qualities of the natural materials used. Travel, outdoor adventures, and daydreaming are essential components of the C + Q design process and finished scarves and jewelry will happily go anywhere year-round. Check out her Etsy shop here. Sarah is going to take part in Got Craft on May 6th, and since we couldn’t wait that long, we caught up with her to ask her a few pre-Got Craft questions about what she’s been up to…

Three things about Dunbar that make you want to live there: I love the proximity to Kits and the University Endowment Lands — the dog walking potential is endless. Mountain views and lots of parks and beautiful gardens. Room to grow: I finally have space for a studio and a garden.

What inspires you? I’m a landscape designer by day and find a lot of inspiration in the landscape work I do. Shapes, compositions, and colours in the landscape inspire me, as does being introduced to new techniques and materials for making things. Often it’s the raw form of a given stone that inspires me to seek it out for use in jewelry. The wooden jewelry that I make uses materials and technology that I originally learned how to use to make models in landscape architecture school.

Tell us about your favourite space to work: (IMAGE: sarah-studio.jpg) Now that I have a studio set up at home, that’s where I love to work. It has great natural light and a good set up with a workbench, storage, and peg board that lets me have much better access to materials that I use. I’d love to say it’s always clean or at the very least organized, but that is not the case.

Where do you enjoy shopping in Vancouver? Tell us about some of your favourite local haunts: I love spending a weekend day in Gastown. For food, I always find myself at Six Acres. I’m loving Oak + Fort these days for clothing. They use natural fibres and make affordable basics that are unique and super wearable. And for jewelry I am absolutely in love with the Arielle de Pinto pieces at One of a Few. Someday, I hope to have one of her bracelets or necklaces to call my own.

Is there a local designer that you admire? There are so many talented designers in Vancouver that it’s hard to name just one. I do have a small collection of Heyday Design porcelain pieces. I love the clean, minimalist look of the pieces and how Heyday’s aesthetic is translated from housewares right down to tiny jewelry pieces. They make really great gifts, too.

What is your favourite Camp + Quarry creation right now? Right now I’m making some new pieces that mix raw stones and brass. I have a particular necklace made with brass tubing and rutilated quartz points that I love making. Adding the brass really reinvented this piece and the rutilated quartz points are my favourite stone to work with, though they’re a bit rare and I usually have a very limited supply of them.

I also always love making Cave Explorer necklaces. It takes the right combination of miniature figure and geode to bring these pieces to life and every one always feels fresh to me.

What sort of music do you listen to when you are working? A little bit of everything. My perennial favourites are Destroyer and Animal Collective, but lately I’ve had Zola Jesus on repeat and I listen to a lot of podcasts, too. Especially This American Life.

Why is Vancouver a good city for indie design? There is so much support for designers here. Vancouverites really care about buying locally and supporting local makers and events like Got Craft? show just how huge the interest is in the work of local designers. There are great shops, like Dream Apparel in Gastown and on Granville Island, that are also supportive of local designers. There’s an eager audience here and that support can go a long way in encouraging an up-and-coming designer.

Describe your favourite part of a typical Camp + Quarry day: A typical day for me involves answering e-mails on my way to and from my day job, and spending the evening packaging orders, listing new items, ordering supplies, mixing dye baths, drilling metal, and photographing new pieces. I’d have to say my favourite part of a typical C + Q day is the time after all of that is done, when I just get to sit with my tools and supplies and make something brand new. Time to experiment is so vital to my work and I love trying new combinations and techniques and seeing what might come of it all.

A Spring 2012 item that every stylish Vancouverite should have in their closet? Every Vancouverite should have a raw crystal or stone necklace. Something a little less refined and a little more unusual. One-of-a-kind and simple enough that it can be your go-to accessory year round. There’s a stone out there for everyone and if you jewelry is locally made — even better! We should probably all own a pair of hiking boots, too. There are so many amazing places to explore around Vancouver and you can even take a city bus to many of them. We should all be getting out there as often as possible for a little fresh air and to enjoy some of the things that make this city such a great place to live.

photo credit Ryan Mathieson

Find out more about Camp + Quarry here

Got Craft? | Sunday, May 6 | 10am – 5pm | Royal Canadian Legion (2205 Commercial Drive) | $3

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