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.
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.
Gotamago Studio-Shop Grand Opening
Saturday, October 29th, 2016
1231 Woodbine Avenue
East York, ON M4C 4E1
12pm to 5pm