The places we live, and the places we’ve come from are sacred to us. When we visit a place and fall in love with it just a little bit, we want to remember how it made us feel. No matter where we go, we remember the places that made us feel that sense of HOME or JOY.
I’ve discovered this over the past year as The Jitterbug Shop. I have been travelling around Vancouver and all her surrounding cities with my camera in hand, capturing the beauty and spirit of each community. I’ve traversed streets on Google Maps, then by car and by foot. I have learned a bit of the history, the landscape, and the heartbeat of what we know of as our Neighbourhoods. I’ve hiked trails, beaches, roadsides and mountains, trying to find just the right angle to get the photo I needed to capture what I felt was the spirit of each place. I’ve always loved living in the Lower Mainland, but my eyes have been opened wide to the amazing variety and uniqueness of each small town in what often feels like one giant urban sprawl.
The Jitterbug Shop began last year when I tried to find a nice tourist gift to give to a friend who came to visit me in my town of White Rock, B.C. I was really disappointed that the selection included – almost exclusively – t-shirts and mugs with a Moose and/or a Maple Leaf. Both are fine Canadian icons, but I would have preferred something that spoke more of the beauty and spirit of the particular place where I lived. My guest loved it here too, and wanted to remember her visit. I realized that there was a need for products that were more unique to each community – and so I set out to design a line of gifts and art that I would want to give as a gift or display in my own home to celebrate the places I loved.
As of today I have designs celebrating nearly 50 different communities ranging from Chilliwack to Whistler. Some represent a neighbourhood, like Commercial Drive or Kerrisdale, while some represent a huge city like Abbotsford or West Vancouver. I have two main collections – a Street Grid series and a Cityscapes series. I started last year with the Street Grids which are a series of artwork that feature the prominent streets from each area. I can customize these with your street for no extra charge or make you a completely customized version for a small fee. In January of this year I introduced a new collection that I call my Cityscape series – art posters with beauty-shots captured by my photo lens and transformed into painterly images in the style of vintage travel posters. I offer both these collections as Art Prints, Gallery Wrapped Canvases as well as an ever-growing selection of gift products including Wine & Gift Bags, Bookmarks, Notebooks, Magnets, and coming soon Mugs, T-shirts, Luggage Tags, Coasters and More.
It’s not just work to me, it has become a really lovely way to meet new people and hear stories about why they love their town. I’ve learned about the history of places, the people who used to live there and met the people who remember it the way it used to be. I’ve always known that that most of the communities that now blend seamlessly into each other once were very distinct and were born from a unique topographical feature like a lake or river. This fact became more real to me once I took the time to start exploring neighbourhoods and find what makes that place unique from it’s neighbouring town. I knew that the streets were usually named after a group of pioneers who moved to a town to start a new life – but over time these streets become more than just a monument to history, they are a touchstone for everyone who ever lived on them.
I’m branching out soon, over to the island and into the interior of BC. Eventually I may be able to cover all of Canada. I’ve already had custom orders that have given me the opportunity to learn about towns as far flung as San Francisco and St. Johns Newfoundland. Everyday is actually an adventure for me – I never know where I will be exploring next.
I’d love to hear about your hometown and why you love it so much. Maybe my work can help you remember where you came from, or where you’ve been on holiday. Maybe I can inspire you to get out and explore the places around your own hometown. We live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Love This Place. – Jeanne
This is my first post on my new WordPress blog. I hope you will FOLLOW me to get a glimpse into my eclectic world! I’m more than just The Jitterbug Shop – my days are also filled with buying / selling / upcycling antiques, working with and being inspired by many amazing local makers and doers around the city, collecting vintage records and other cool finds, developing my rambling English country garden, renovating my old beachside cottage… and I will post helpful hints, and project ideas about all the things I love! I am always out and about at local markets, cool shops and events, so I will let you know what is happening in your town and who you should check out! Let me know what you love about one of the towns I’ve visited recently, or what cool antique find you are looking for. I’d love to hear from you. Until next time…
You can find The Jitterbug Shop online at www.thejitterbugshop.com or at one of the many local markets I attend as a vendor. My work can be found in a growing number of retail shops. For more information contact me at email@example.com