We really admire Vancouver artisan Janaki Larsen. Not only does she have her own line of exceptionally beautiful ceramics, she also is the woman behind 7e7 / Atelier St. George. The studio and showroom is a destination for design lovers, and is constantly evolving. We’re stepping inside (thanks to Tracey Ayton’s beautiful photographs) and chatting all things inspiring with Janaki:
When do you remember first falling in love with pottery?
My mother was a potter and one of my earliest memories was being in her studio and riding around the bottom of her kick wheel. It wasn’t until I went to Emily Carr University and wanted to make a ceramic bowl for an installation project that I decided to sign up for a ceramics class. I was completely hooked after throwing my first piece, even though it was ugly!
Your father was an artist as well. How did growing up with him influence your artistic sensibility?
Actually both of my parents are artists so I was constantly surrounded by art and art making. My mom went to art school late in life so I spent most of my after school hours hanging out in the studios. My mom’s aesthetic has had the biggest influence on my own. She always loved natural, humble materials, found objects and minimalist compositions.
How would you describe your visual aesthetic?
I am a texture junkie. I love minimal spaces but find that the objects I choose always have rich textures and some kind of history. I’d describe my aesthetic as quiet and monochromatic.
Tell us a bit about 7e7! When did you decide to open?
I actually used to live in that space about 10 years ago! Twice a year we used to run pop-up shops in the apartments above our café and my studio was in our garage. My ceramics work began to take off so I needed a proper studio and with it a more permanent place to sell. I moved back to my previous studio space and opened the front as a small showroom. When the woodshed next door came available I decided to take that over with a friend. We opened 7e7 over a year ago but it was also more like an extended pop up as the space was always slated for development. So, as of April 1 I will be back in my little showroom!
What has been your favorite part of running a small business?
I love the freedom of making my own choices and decisions. I can change and rearrange as I like, make my own hours, sell what I love, experiment with ideas and work collaboratively or on my own if I choose.
What experience can guests expect when visiting the showroom?
The smaller space is definitely warm and intimate. There is always an element of unexpected, sometimes there is a friend pouring Japanese tea, sometimes a bread pop-up, or maybe an impromptu recital!
Could you list a few of your favorite pieces in the showroom now?
I have been working on a commission for a restaurant which resulted in a lot of damaged pieces. I have saved them all in a big pile that grows daily. I find it very inspiring to see how it evolves and that it’s beauty is in it’s awkwardness and randomness. I also love this branch that has been slowly blooming over the past couple of weeks!