The spell of the Yukon is legendary and part of the territory's magic can be attributed to its charming authenticity. When 24-year-old Toronto-born interdisciplinary artist Emily Chudnovsky was looking for an outside-the-box experience in the summer of 2014, she flew up to far-flung Dawson City to work as a youth arts coordinator for the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture. It didn't take long for her to be charmed by the town's wide array of artisans.
Inspired by the generosity of the Dawson community, Chudnovsky decided to help expose some of the interesting handiwork she'd discovered, and last summer she opened a pop-up shop where local creatives could sell their wares. Known as the Bonanza Jellybean's DIY Emporium (named for Bonanza Creek, where gold was first discovered in 1896), it took shape in an old morel mushroom dryer. "I ended up buying this thing for $400 and fixing it up," explains Chudnovsky. "I wanted it to be vibrant and exciting and turquoise, since that's my favourite colour."
The young curator first filled it with the work of six or seven designers, but by the end of last summer, she was carrying the creations of 22 artists and craftspeople. Located on 2nd Ave. the pop-up will be open for the 2017 season from June through early September and will be stocked with an eclectic assortment, from salves, teas and essential oils to jewellery and upcycled clothing.
"I don't want to discriminate," says Chudnovsky. "I want to be open to all those making art in Dawson." That lineup includes Tamika Knutson's hand-beaded flower necklaces, Jake Armstrong's leather accessories and Montreuil's fringed leather scarves, all crafty ways to find yourself under the Yukon's spell.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/bonanzajelly.