Sid Dickens was born into a family of commercial fishermen in Prince Rupert, B.C. He discovered the Queen Charlotte Islands, more than eight hours by ferry from the mainland, while working on the boats as a young man, and vowed that one day he would return there to live. In 2001, after devoting himself to becoming an artist, he designed a 15,000-square-foot building on the Haida Gwaii archipelago that contains both a one-bedroom home and a studio. Dickens, who lives with his partner Greg Mah, a costume designer in the Canadian film industry, now uses the space to design the 6-by-8-inch "memory blocks" that have made him internationally known and are collected by celebrity clientele such as Elton John, Sting, Bono, Cher, Hilary Swank and the Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Dickens displays some of his early work in his living room, the place where he most enjoys kicking back. "I've got the ocean on one side and my garden on the other, both of which I can see through my windows. It's a big, warm, beautiful room," he says.
"It's massive and made of concrete. I designed it myself but I had a German man come over and make it because, if I had made it on the mainland, it would have been prohibitively expensive to ship. The maker was an Old World craftsman who knew how to turn concrete and make the columns I wanted. It was so long ago now, I have forgotten his name. When the 7.8 earthquake hit the Queen Charlottes in 2012, the fireplace cracked. I repaired it with cedar I took from my outdoor fence, remaking the top."
"I collect books, and these on the table are among my favourites. They mostly pertain to garden design. I have an eight-acre garden and am always looking for ideas."
"These are from all over the world, collected on my travels. I like traditional ethnic patterns and bold graphics. I also love the colours."
"I collect these as well, and they are also from my travels. They have beautiful colours and they sparkle. I have them set around memory blocks from my own collection."
"That's my Philippe Starck lamp. I got it at a lighting store in Vancouver and fell in love with it the minute I saw it. I love the scale. I love anything big."
"The wood was milled especially for me at a mill at Oona River that's around a hundred years old. The beams are made of old-growth cedar and they were barged in to the Queen Charlotte Islands."
"They're actually made out of wood in Europe. I think I found them at Cross Decor & Design in Vancouver. I love taxidermy, but I didn't want the real thing."