Weekend Shop Tender & Artist
Liz ensures that the shop runs smoothly and our wonderful customers are taken care of over the weekends. She also fashions gorgeous purses and bags that we stock here!
Artzi Stuff is a family affair, and I wouldn’t be here without the help of my mom, Diane. She takes care of the books, crunches the numbers, and is always there to lend a hand.
From our purpose to our artists, below you’ll learn a bit about what makes Artzi Stuff as unique as the items we sell.
Artzi Stuff opened its doors in 2008 and transitioned to 2 Church Street in 2013, right in the heart of downtown Nanaimo. Our location is part of a vibrant, supportive community of business owners, residents, and customers.
We’re proud to be a part of Nanaimo’s history. Located in the Earl Block, built in 1890, Artzi Stuff looks over the intersection of Commercial, Church, and Chapel streets, with a clear view of two other Nanaimo landmarks: the Modern Cafe and the Great National Land Building.
Our two exterior walls consist entirely of windows, allowing for a thoughtful presentation for our wares. And whether we’re open or closed, you can see the contents of nearly the entire store though those big windows.
The gallery is full of light, with high ceilings and plenty of room to display our wares. The space provides a complementary backdrop for the myriad of colourful and ever-changing collections of handmade treasures.
Artzi Stuff is a collaboration. A collaboration between artists, customers, staff, our building – and even of downtown Nanaimo itself. We’re all interconnected, and all essential to our success.
Artzi Stuff only stocks work made by local, BC-based artists, with most living on Vancouver Island. It’s not uncommon for an artist to pop in while someone is purchasing or contemplating their work, giving the customer an opportunity to meet the artist behind their new find.
When you shop at Artzi Stuff I hope you take pride in knowing the products are made for passion, rather than big profits. Your money supports local artists, who will in turn spend their money in our community.
Our selection of handmade items is truly one-of-a-kind. I love helping a customer find unique piece that will enliven their home, or hunt out just the right gift that they can’t wait to give to a friend or loved one.
Artzi Stuff is a wonderful space to experience inspiration, and to get a little pick-me-up. Stop by and say hello, and surround yourself with the beauty and creativity of our local artists.
Read a bit about owner/artist Tanya Streeter and the story behind how Artzi Stuff came to be.
My passion for creating – especially with fabric – began as a young child. But in my early twenties I struggled to find direction. I simply didn’t think a career in arts would be feasible.
Fortunately, in 1994 I discovered the two-year Textile Arts course at Capilano College. Behold – I could combine the everyday usefulness of fabric with art.
It was a perfect fit for me, and my fate was sealed.
I immersed myself in art history, drawing, weaving, felting, tapestry, basket making, paper making, and countless surface design techniques.
Following my graduation in 1996 I returned to to my hometown of Nanaimo to try my hand at being self-employed as a textile artist.
I began making products under the name of Artzi Stuff to sell in stores on consignment, through a local catalogue, and at the occasional craft show. I opened my own business, operating out of my grandmother’s basement on a shoestring budget.
After that first year various circumstances forced me to make some decisions about what was important in my life.
I decided I could give up nearly anything except my art. It was like an addiction in a way.
I realized that I couldn’t be happy, and that I would be denying who I was, if I wasn’t devoting a large part of my life to the act of creating.
But how do I make that work?
A bit of background: each year since 1996 I had held a winter open studio. At first it featured only my own work, but soon grew to showcasing the work of up to 17 people.
I loved organizing these shows and meeting the people who attended. I would hate having to return the work to the artists when it was over.
Those experiences made me consider one day opening my own “real” store. One that would provide a space to display and sell work from other local artists, and combine my passion of the arts with a need to keep food on the table.
Finally the time was right – a wonderful storefront became available. I jumped at the opportunity, and immediately started getting in touch with all of the great artists I had met over the years.
I opened Artzi Stuff on October 2, 2008, just six weeks after seeing the ‘For Lease’ sign. The support was overwhelming.
Thanks to the support we received, in October 2013 Artzi Stuff moved to downtown Nanaimo. We took over a much larger, much brighter space at 2 Church Street.
And that’s where you’ll find us today.
I hope you’ll come say hello soon!
– Tanya Streeter, Owner
You’ll hear about art show openings, sales, and other fun happenings at Artzi Stuff.