Have a very Montreal-themed holiday

We chat with local hand-printed wallpaper maker Walls of Ivy, one of the many mighty Montreal artisans representing at this weekend’s Souk@SAT design fair.

Walls of Ivy
“Toile de Montreal” by Walls of Ivy

The curated all-artisanal-everything fair Souk@SAT gives you four days to dig through some of Montreal’s best handmade and locally designed clothes, jewellery and accessories, home and kitchen tools, plus crafty foods to keep you well-stocked for the holidays.

Cult MTL chatted with Walls of Ivy creator Audrey Fortin, whose painstakingly hand-printed wallpapers are one of the 10×10 featured projects at this year’s edition. Embellished with sketchy motifs of twee figures, nature scenes or iconic local landscapes, Walls of Ivy embodies the spirit of Souk@SAT: distinctive high-quality swag inspired by Montreal aesthetics.

Emily Raine: How did you end up doing handmade wallpaper?
Audrey Fortin: I haven’t been doing this for very long, only a year and a half now. Actually, I went on a trip to Berlin, and there I saw a girl who was making her own wallpaper, and I really fell in love with what she did and also with the idea because I had always loved wallpaper. It was a coup de coeur.

ER: Is your background in printmaking?
AF: No, not at all, just drawing. I studied art when I was younger, but I decided to go back to school in textile design to learn how to create a motif. I studied three years and finished a year and a half ago, almost two, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

ER: Very broadly, what goes into creating a wallpaper?
AF: Okay, well, first of all you have to scan everything and clean it up. Once everything is clean, then there are different kinds of motifs — you can have half-stamp or basic repeat, and then you have some that are really aléatoire, so you have to decide what kind of motif you want. Once you have a clear idea of what kind of motif you want, then you have to fit everything on there — I use Photoshop, but you can use Illustrator also.

The actual printing is quite difficult, because with textiles, you can stretch the fabric over the table and then cut what you need. But this is paper, so it’s not flexible, or not stretchable. I really have to print from one end to the other, and it has to be to the millimetre. When you do the repeat, you can’t have a white strip — it really has to be perfect. That’s what makes it really difficult; you have to be very meticulous. I like it, but when it doesn’t work it’s kind of hell.

ER: I love the “Toile de Montreal” print. Has it been popular?
AF: I get a lot of positive feedback from that one. I sold some this morning. So I think it’s going to do well. I like it. But then again I love Montreal, too, and it’s like an ode to Montreal. ■

Souk@SAT takes place at 1201 St-Laurent on Nov. 28–29, 12–9 p.m., Nov. 31–Dec. 1, 12–7 p.m., free

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