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Tell us about you and what role 'hand-made' plays in your life…

My name is Ave, an Aussie girl at heart, finding her way in Toronto. I have an architecture background and prior to starting my art venture, I worked full time as an architectural graduate in the Architecture, Engineering, and Interior Design industries. Moving here has helped me reconnect with the importance of living a creative life. Sharing my art that is made with love from my hands to yours, gives me a sense of growth, achievement, and purpose. 

What is something fun/ interesting/ personal about you and your business?

Ave Mariabell Designs is a series of minimalist, city skyline designs. The designs unite people together by celebrating cities that we love, and cities that have changed our lives. You can take a piece of the city you love home with you, whether it is a large-scale wall decal, canvas print or gift item. Inspired by the minimalism, geometry and colour palette of the traditional shoji screen, Ave Mariabell's city skylines look fabulous in a Scandinavian or Japanese inspired home. Share the journey and contact us to request a custom graphic for your home decor, with a design of a city that you love.

How did you get interested in becoming a maker? What do you love about it?

I’ve always wanted to run my own business and become my own boss – I just didn’t know what kind or how I would do it. One day, the architect inside me wanted to hand-draw the Toronto skyline on my bedroom wall, so I did. When I shared my art on Instagram it received over 2,000 likes and 200 comments. This is when I realized that I had something worth sharing with the community – people love my art because it highlights a sense of pride for the city that they live in. I realized we all have a common desire for travel – and more importantly, a sense of belonging in the cities we love.  I became interested in being a maker when I saw potential in spreading this message of meaningful travel, through my art.

What is it that you specialize in within the crafting/handmade goods world?

I focus on minimalist skyline designs of cities around the globe. The minimalist nature allows versatility; my graphics can be applied on a range of products including home décor, and travel mementos. From large-scale wall decals to small hand-crafted art-work, my city skylines are versatile memorabilia of your travel destinations. Although the products are diverse, they all share a common theme; travel is meaningful.   

Describe your artistic community and how you think people in your community see you... 

The artistic community I am part of is united not only by our love for Toronto, but our love to travel. In this community I am known as a graphic design artist, whose minimalist designs are applied to multiple areas of the hand-crafted industry including, and not limited to; wood-making, wood-block printing and watercolour art. 

What stories do you have or struggles have you overcome that will encourage the development and strengthen the identity of the Canadian-crafted industry?

Copyright and trademark law protects my designs; however, it has not stopped other small businesses from re-producing and selling my art. Like many makers before me, this is an ongoing struggle. In the year ahead, I hope to gain more knowledge about intellectual property law for small businesses. I want to become well-informed of my rights, and actions I can take if I discover people illegally re-producing my work. I hope that my journey through this will let other makers know that they are not alone in facing legal issues in the small-business world. 

 Apart from the necessary legal and accounting obstacles that are typical to small businesses who are just starting out, another struggle that I face is the ability to believe in myself. I hope to one day earn a full-time living from my passion, and the danger in that is putting pressure on my art to pay the bills. This can sometimes stifle creativity, and fear can ultimately get in the way of any progress. Being part of a small art community like the Nooks, helps me to acknowledge that we all share similar journeys, and we can encourage each other to succeed.  


Follow Ave Mariabell Designs on Etsy, FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Shop Ave Mariabell Designs at DESIGNnook + the Nooks' Makers Market Pop-Ups June 10th + July 8th in Toronto!

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