Western Living Magazine
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A Vancouver knitwear designer opens shop on the Island, bringing together a like-minded mix of designers and artists in the process.
It’s easy to miss Open House. Stephanie Olivier’s charming whitewashed shop is tucked away at the end of the little-known Paper Box Arcade, an alley-like conglomeration of heritage buildings steps up from Lower Johnson Street. The shop opened last January, following Olivier’s move from Vancouver, and mere months later, she expanded next door, retaining the original space for events and pop-up retail. “I’m really excited about this opportunity to create an affordable space for the local maker community to teach their craft, as well as having a space for smaller brands to set up shop,” she says.Olivier pairs vintage pieces and objects with new collections from B.C. designers and makers, such as ceramicist Kelsey Bird, whose speckled stoneware dishes and vessels are featured prominently throughout. Also in the mix are products from Harlow Skin Co. and Scout and Catalogue—both of Vancouver—Moss and Stone jewellery from Victoria, ceramic wall hangings by Genevieve Graham of Salt Spring Island, and Bees and Bones clothing from Gabriola Island.
Hendrik Lou, Olivier’s own line of knitwear and crocheted baskets and trivets is standout. Her dramatic Big Knit throws and blankets are made from hand-spun merino wool in shades of black, grey and cream ($450); oversized cardigans from fair trade Peruvian wool take 20 hours to knit. New this fall, she’ll add chunky merino circle rugs and alpaca knitwear to the mix—all of it is well worth the trip.
160–561 Johnson Street, Victoriashop-open-house.com