INTERVIEW: Chatting With Abbie Finestone Of “Twig Prints” In Advance Of Got Craft?

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Got Craft? is one of our local and handmade, indie highlights of the year. Imagine a room packed full of some of the coolest artists, designers and crafters around, all hawking their wares during the first weekend of December, just when we all start looking for quality gifts for friends and family. If you can do that, then you get the idea. It’s all very affordable, inviting the much more enjoyable “a little for me, a little for you” approach to the task of holiday shopping. Browsing the event’s list of purveyors online, I was immediately sidetracked by the work of Abbie Finestone, the designer behind Twig Prints. I want her stuff. Not for them, but for me.

“Twig Prints is a textile design and printing studio based in Whistler, BC. Twig Prints creates unique, charming, hand made textiles for the home. Owner Abbie Finestone was born and raised in Australia but has called Canada home for the past 14 years. She studied Art and Design in Melbourne and Textile Printing locally at Emily Carr. The product of a musician father and creative mother, Abbie’s artistic side was nurtured from a young age. “Everyone in my house was always busy doing their thing, playing music, sewing or working with wood. Creative juices were always flowing all around me”. Abbie likes to keep things simple by printing the old-fashioned way, by hand and only uses water based non toxic pigment (no machines and no nasty chemicals).”

We caught up with Abbie in advance of the fair to ask her some questions…

Three things about Whistler that make you want to live there: I grew up in the mountains just outside of Melbourne, Australia, so it’s been an easy transition living in Whistler. The three things I love most about it would be my family, especially, and my good friends; the fresh mountain air; and the amazing views from my living room window and my studio.

Where do you enjoy shopping and eating in Vancouver? Tell us about some of your favourite local haunts: Because I am a day tripper from Whistler, I don’t get to eat out all that often – usually just a quick bite. I hit East is East (the Roti’s are fabulous) and Vij’s Rangoli. Thai or Vietnamese are also high on the list as we don’t have either in Whistler. For clothing, I’m pretty happy that Anthropologie is in town and I do love exploring the boutiques on Main St. For jewellery, I like to buy one of a kind, and Vancouver is so fortunate to have a plethora of talented jewelers. My favourite thing to do is to explore the local craft markets looking for that special piece. I also believe that you have more of a connection to a piece when you meet the person who created it.

Is there a local designer that you admire? This is a tough question as I have met so many wonderful artists here. I do really admire the work of Heather Dahl, a local painter and ceramic artist. Her pieces are very simple and beautiful with a vintage feel to them. I especially love the colours that she uses in her glazes. I am crushing on her Striped Bottle Vases – I just can’t decide what color I like best!

What is your favourite Twig Prints creation right now? My Everyday Tote Bag. Made with lovely natural linen and hand printed in shades of grey with brown leather handles. It’s super cute and perfect for toting around all your bits and pieces.

What inspires you? My inspiration comes predominantly from my surrounding landscape. You simply can’t help but be inspired everyday. The light here is special – my husband and I are always saying “nice light”; it changes all the time and can be quite spectacular. The plants here are also very different than in my homeland. Flora tends to be a feature in my designs, and some of this season’s prints are inspired by Australian flowers. I also spend a lot of time looking at colours and playing around with different combinations.

Tell us about your favourite space to work: My studio in Function Junction. It’s close enough that I can ride my bike (when it’s not snowing). Function Junction is the industrial development at the south end of town and has recently been touted as the Little Soho of Whistler with lots of local artists setting up shop. My studio sits in an original warehouse space and is a peaceful oasis where I get stuff done. All the walls are white and it’s very sparse and simple. It’s a space where I can really create. I have my sewing machine set up so that I am looking out on that wonderful mountain view. Pure bliss.

What sort of music do you listen to when you are working? I have a playlist for the studio which is on repeat. It’s a mix of The Tallest Man on Earth, Deer Tick, Bon Iver and Angus and Julia Stone. Very mellow.

Is the West Coast a good place for indie design? Since starting my business, I have met so many talented artists and creators. The West Coast has such a cool, laid back vibe to it; it’s actually very similar to Melbourne. I find the craft community here to be very supportive and everyone really digs what they’re doing. It’s very inspiring.

Describe your favourite part of a typical Twig Prints day: It would have to be a nice cuppa at the end of a very productive day.

If you were to choose one of your creations to send to the Queen, which one would you choose, and why? I think that the Queen would love my new “Blossom” Twig Tub storage container in Coral. The palace is a pretty vast. She likely misplaces all sorts of things and who knows how long it takes to find? The Twig Tub is perfect for keeping all the Royal stuff well organized. I imagine Liz keeping everything for walkies with the corgis in her tub by the front door; leashes, poo bags, etc.

If you were going to recommend a Whistler artist/designer/musician/personality for Scout to interview, who would it be? Jules from Love Jules Leather creates unique handcrafted leather goods. Extremely talented and nice to boot.

Got Craft | 10am-5pm | Sunday, December 4th | Royal Canadian Legion 2205 Commercial | $3


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