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Design Stores


Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on December 31, 2011

Articulations TorontoARTiculations is an art supply store that's more than an art supply store. It has its own semi-enclosed gallery space, a back room studio, and a roster full of workshops and drop-in programs for kids and adults. In these ways--plus the fact that owners Heather Phillips and Miki Rubin are Juction-devoted through and through--ARTiculations hopes to distinguish itself from the new Above Ground shop opening soon just down the road.

"We didn't know it would be here," Miki tells me on a quiet day as we tour the store. "This process was started back in January, so it did come as a bit of a surprise."

"But I'm not worried," Miki continues. "We're going to be offering many different things."

Articulations TorontoARTiculations, which opened in the Junction December 1, tries to supply as many locally made ("meaning Canadian," Miki says) art supplies as possible, as well as eco-friendly materials. Its crayons, for example (known in common discourse as every toddler's favourite afternoon snack) are Clementine brand natural soy, priced at $8.50 per pack. The shop also has a huge selection of silk screening materials including a full line of Speedball paints, plus stretched canvas, rolls, papers, pencils, sketchbook and stamps--everything, in other words, you'd expect from an art supply store.

Articulations TorontoWhat ARTiculations doesn't have, however, is an abundance of choice. That was a deliberate decision (albeit, partially dictated by space) according to Miki. "We're both artists," he says of himself and Heather. "We call ourselves 'creative navigators;' we started by choosing lines that we're familiar with, then expanded to include brands artists in the area might be looking for. In that way, we've sort of curated a collection of the best supplies."

Articulations TorontoThose supplies can be put to use at home or in studio, of course, or they can also be used on location for an ARTiculations workshop or drop-in class. Though the full lineup is still in the works, Miki says they're planning to host everything from mold making to flower arranging workshops, ranging in price from $50-$80 for single-day and $100-$200 for multi-day events (including the cost of materials). Drop-in sessions are usually PWYC and open studio is held each Monday evening.

Articulations TorontoThe other big ARTiculations attraction is its self-contained gallery space, which currently showcases an exhibit (also in the front window) by Amanda McCavour. The Earl Selkirk Gallery, Miki tells me, was named for the man mysteriously enshrined in tile at the store's exterior threshold, who, according to Miki's research, played for the Toronto Argonauts before running for City Council. The gallery now named in his honour will host new exhibits monthly. Artist bios and more information on workshops is posted regularly on ARTiculations website.

Articulations TorontoArticulations TorontoArticulations TorontoArticulations TorontoArticulations TorontoArticulations TorontoPhotos by Christian Bobak



Bryanna / December 31, 2011 at 07:40 pm
Went to the opening. It's a lovely space--they've done a really great job.
Also that installation is really neat to walk through,
gregory / January 1, 2012 at 07:54 pm
I see Speedball, Golden, Cray-Pas, Old Holland, Winsor & Newton...where are the Canadian brands?
Smokey / January 3, 2012 at 08:26 pm
People who are overly obsessed with canadian-ness remind me of a thing that happened to me once.

I was teaching english in Seoul. Between classes, I was smoking a Marlborough Light. A few Korean adolescent students admonished me for not smoking their shitty korean cigarettes.

Stupid patriotism about petty things reeks of desperation & provincialism.

Open your own damn store or school, and you can stock it with anything you want.
Wendy replying to a comment from Smokey / January 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm
Smokey, I think gregory's question was a valid one. It's people who don't appreciate/support locally made products and has no sense of patriotism, that sucks the life out of Canada. Maybe, another country, tickles your fancy?
Kyle / January 7, 2012 at 12:37 am
While there are certainly many valid reasons to value or purchase locally-made products, the simple fact of the matter is that not many truly great art supplies are manufactured here.

When it comes to acrylic, you just can't beat Golden and Liquitex. When I'm producing a piece of art, I do not want to use second-rate materials. I can't in good conscious sell a piece to a patron knowing that they aren't getting the very best that I am able to produce, from materials to craftsmanship.
Juli / January 7, 2012 at 05:51 pm
ARTiculations is a great addition to the neighborhood. Miki and Heather are lovely to talk with and the store is curated and doesn't overwhelm. It's always a win when a couple of young people create a new venture.
Donna Klaiman / January 26, 2012 at 03:50 am
Miki and Heather,
You have created an amazing space to create. Your products and gallery space bring a whole new cultural experience to just selling art supplies. The article in "Now" magazine brings your story to the public in a way that I just want to drop in and see what's happening.
Lots of success for 2012 and forever. DK

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