As a US based company it’s easy for us to talk about art glass in California, or the energy of fine craft in North Carolina. But with such a long history of free interchange of commerce and ideas between us, it would be a huge disservice to our northern neighbors not to talk about their rich influence on North American art. This is especially evident in the colorful art and design shows that are going on today in the country. Two major shows, one on each coast, attract the finest artists, as well as art, craft and design aficionados.

The One of a Kind Show and Sale first began in Toronto in 1975, and has since branched into shows in Vancouver, Chicago, and New York. What started as a simple desire to bring the unique craft of a few energetic artists to a wider audience has since grown into one of the best venues for an art lover to find original work-as well as for an artist to share his or her latest unique creations. Likewise, the Interior Design Show West in Vancouver is an annual showcase of Canadian and international talent, one which several Artful Home artists have used to introduce themselves to a design-loving public.

A strong streak of individualist creativity seems to unite much of the work of Canadian artists. Chin Yuen, whose paintings take the form of an abstract diary played out on canvas, reflects the impact of her exposure to different artistic educations and cultures, with thematic interests in socio-cultural issues and the celebrations of things she loves such as dance, acrobats, and jazz.

The influence of international contemporary design is also noticeable in the work of Canadian furniture artists. Enrico Konig and Kino Guerin seem to be able to ride the leading edge of design, offering uniquely practical furniture with graceful curves and distinct architectural lines.