Miracle Thieves is a new creative space and retail consignment shop at the corner of Dundas and Crawford. It's rather ambiguous-looking from the outside peeking in, but that's kind of the idea, says Jen Maramba and Tiffany Naval.
"It's a play for everyone to play," Tiffany says, summing up the duo's mantra for the newly opened space. "It's a place for people of all walks of life to come together and get creative."
That creativity can manifest at Miracle Thieves in many ways. Events slated for this month include a "Smokey Eye" tutorial with makeup artist Mila Victoria, an afternoon of all-ages friendship bracelet-making, and Miracle Thieves' weekly open studio sessions that have attracted a healthy following.
"They're very kindergarten-like," Jen says of the Wednesday pay-what-you-can events. "We lay out markers, glue, popsicle sticks, coloured paper..."
The open studio sessions started back when Jen and Tiffany were working out of an enclosed studio at Queen and Niagara. The sessions began as evenings with friends, then with friends of friends, and eventually grew to become a small creative network. Besides creating drawings and collages, the sessions also involve collaborative, interactive art projects, one of which entailed scattering self-address postcards around the neighbourhoods, inscribed with questions such as "What's your favourite colour?" and "What's your biggest fear?"
"Some of the responses we got were really great," Jen says. I didn't ask if 'Seafoam Green' was the answer to either question.
Besides serving as a space for pop-ups, private workshops, artist talks, and basically anything else creative-minded, Miracle Thieves is also part consignment boutique, selling the works of local artists curated by Robin Lacambra. My favourite had to be the maps of Toronto drawn by Marlene Zuber (last seen at Pixel Print), which you can get as framed art or on cards or t-shirts. The close runner-up for me was the hand-painted bicycle bells by David Setrakian, which play off of pop-culture and cartoons. What can I say--I think Homer Simpson on a bell is definitely a good thing.
Jen and Tiffany say the retail will change every three months, and in the meantime, they are working on compiling a sort of "artist library" for the community. "On paper," Tiffany says. "A paper database, totally manual."
"We want people to come and be able to flip through pages of artists for whatever reason. Just to have that reference."
While the library will be physical, Miracle Thieves' monthly schedule is virtually posted on its website. Wednesday evenings are reserved for open studio, where self-professed non-artists such as myself ("There's no such thing," says Jen) are invited to come and participate.
Photos by Jesse Milns