Eleven months ago, Christopher and I took a big leap and purchased a 100-year-old commercial building in East York to call our own. After a long winter of clearing, demolishing, reinforcing and rebuilding, we gradually transformed the first floor from an uninspired take-out restaurant to a cozy, light-filled studio space.
This was the state of the first floor when we first set eyes upon the building in August 2015. The beautiful original tin ceiling was what convinced me that there was something here worth saving.
By March 2016, we had cleared out all the restaurant equipment, dismantled the drywall and restored an entire brick wall (!!), and was working on opening two more windows along the exterior wall.
In June 2016, we quietly moved in and opened our doors. We were (and are) still working on renovating the second floor, and so decided to delay the Grand Opening until later. It was a pretty amazing transformation, if I may say so myself!
We moved Gotamago into the studio in June 2016, and this October 29th, we would like to invite you to join us for our official studio-shop opening! In addition to seeing our studio space, you'll be able to peruse our new winter collection hot off the press, inculding 2017 calendars, and new greeting cards -- sneak peaks here, here and here.
The "Green Beast" -- which is what we lovingly call our building at the corner of Woodbine and Mortimer -- stocks all of our inventory and provides us with a space to work, meet customers face to face, and host workshops. At the front of the studio is a small retail corner, which serves as our flagship store. In addition to our own products, we also carry a few other lines that we know and love. We sat down with the makers behind each of these businesses to get you the update on what they'll be bringing especially for the opening.
Street-wear apparel line Beast York Inc. started operations the day the Toronto Blue Jays lost to the Royals in the 7th game of the ALCS in October 2015. They wanted to give the people of East York a way to show their community pride. As owner and founder Ian Wisniewski says, "as the Eastside grows and improves so do we."
Beast York's urban wear, available for men, women and children, are all made locally in East York. Gotamago proudly stocks their tees and tanks year round. On the 29th, make sure to keep an eye out for the military grade infinity scrim scarves - an unveiling for Beast York at our studio-shop's unveiling.
The Otter Potter
Our second vendor, the Otter Potter, has a great story behind the name of her brand. "The name comes from my love of cute animals. Baby otter videos are the best way to make you smile and procrastinate." Simple and hard to disagree with. (Cue us watching baby otter videos for the next thirty minutes!)
Local artist Leora Israel's ceramic goods are as cute and whimsical as the brand name suggests. The goods range from household items to jewellery. Each piece is one of a kind and made from Leora's studio in Roncesvalles. We have the fortune of seeing her Christmas products at our grand opening before anyone else does.
MUNC: Modern, Urban, Natural and Chic. Doesn't that sound like pretty much all of you attending our opening next week? We'll have your accessory needs covered, thanks to our third vendor, MUNC.
Owner and artisan Carol Ning makes cuffs, key chains and bags of all sizes out of natural and environmentally friendly materials. You can see Carol's commitment to sustainable-yet-fashion-forward design in her products, which she makes by hand. Even her choice of brand mascot, a chipmunk, was chosen with this thinking in mind — because "chipmunks live an earthy life." Gotamago currently carries a limited selection of MUNC bags, but at the opening Carol will be bringing much more, including brand new designs and colours.
Carolyn Eady, the owner and artist behind Sprouts Press, attended OCAD intending to study drawing and painting. However, she ended up falling in love with printmaking, paper-making and book arts instead, and went on to study in Italy after receiving her BFA. Her time abroad only intensified her appreciation of the craft; shortly after, Sprouts Press was born.
At Sprouts Press, everything is made with traditional techniques by hand. Each of Carolyn's creations are as functional as they are beautiful; as the maker herself explains, "aesthetics are important, but I also really want people to express their hearts out on the pages of the books I make.”
Sprouts Press will be showcasing a selection of hand-bound journals and notebooks at our grand opening. Visit her table on October 29th and you, too, might just find the perfect journal for expressing yourself in.
The final vendor profile we've lined up is Paper Plus Cloth. For the owner, Rowena, Paper Plus Cloth was really born from interests that she's had for a long time. "When I was younger I had an obsession for Japan and Japanese goods. The first opportunity I got, I boarded a plane to Japan and went on a 2 month adventure. It made my love for Japanese culture deeper and when I returned home I found a job where I had the opportunity to travel there for work. Every trip, I spent my free time pouring through fabric and paper shops looking for special items to bring home. It was only natural that when I left the design world as an Apparel Designer that I come back to one of my first passions and grow it into a business."
And lucky for us that she did. Rowena's stock of beautiful, high quality fabric and paper goods reflects her keen eye for product selection. "Much like a beautifully ripe vegetable might inspire a chef, I choose products that act like ripe ingredients for a creative project, journal entry or snail mail." At our opening, Rowena will be running a workshop from 2 to 3pm share her knowledge of collaging with washi tape, followed by an opportunity for participants to make their own one-of-a-kind paper collages to take home. Sign up at her booth as soon as you get there - space is limited to six participants.
We hope you will join us and our incredible vendor partners at our opening this Saturday. There will be refreshments and munchies from East of York
, freshly baked goods from our own Melody Tolson and a raffle for all guests. We welcome your canine friends if you have one. For more event details and updates, check our Facebook page
. We hope we'll see you there!
Gotamago Studio-Shop Grand Opening
Saturday, October 29th, 2016
1231 Woodbine Avenue
East York, ON M4C 4E1
12pm to 5pm
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