Hi, I’m Tara
As a little girl growing up in Winnipeg I loved to dance and sing to Madonna songs. I knew what the material girl knew - style always belongs to your own self, but it can also be your gift to the world.
As soon as I was old enough I set out into the world traipsing across a city, a country, and an ocean, all to learn how to create in a seriously fun sort of way.
I enjoyed two fabulous years living it up in London, England and scampered through the museums and galleries of Europe. This solidified my love for art and design, and my path was set. I returned to Winnipeg to pursue a Jewelry Arts Certificate from Sturgeon Creek Collegiate and flew off to Toronto to study Industrial Design and Fiber Arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Much to my surprise and delight I was awarded both the Industrial Design Faculty Award and the Design Innovation Award. This recognition built my confidence and further fuelled my passion to create.
A serious case of wanderlust lead to a homestay in Thailand where I gathered silk worms, turned them in to the finest silk, and crafted the teeny tiniest woven placemat on a loom made from bamboo. I fluttered off to India and South East Asia to learn about traditional weaving methods and source various treasures including hand dyed woven textiles and bits for jewellery making. During my most recent adventure to Africa I swapped design ideas with Masai women in Kenya, (now that was cool!), and acquired beads made from bones on a visit to a bead factory in Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa. Jewellery making with treasures gathered on my travels totally floats my boat.
Through all of these adventures as well as working in the service industry I found it challenging to find the right balance between work and creating. When I moved to Nelson, BC in 2010, the concept of a studio boutique was born out of my desire to create, and my love of being connected with people who share this passion. As an artist, weaver, and jewellery maker I didn't like being tucked away, isolated in a studio. I like to be around people who love the creative process and delightful handmade goodies as much as I do. I knew that it was time to settle down and grow up, just little bit. The time had come to make my dream concept store of a studio boutique a reality! I returned home to Winnipeg in January 2012 after having spent two years in Nelson, BC operating the smaller, original version of this shop. I had missed Winnipeg, especially the people. The Exchange District felt like a natural home for the Winnipeg location as an artistic and commercial hub in the city. It was also area in which I’d previously had studio space at Artbeat Studio, The Edge, and Cre8ery.
About the Shop
tara davis studio boutique opened at 246 McDermot Avenue in March of 2012. It has been operating with the philosophy that art and quality handmade goods should be accessible, and that community is essential. It is a place where I can create surrounded by beautiful products all “made with love” in Canada. The shop is part studio, part boutique, and part gallery, filled with delightful goodies I have hand selected from more than 100 Canadian dreamers and makers. Handmade is important - it preserves dying traditions and processes, supports local economies, makes less impact on the environment , and most importantly, it’s special.
There is a story woven into every fibre, care sewn in every stitch, satisfaction in every brushstroke, joy in every print. Makers love making and I believe their energy carries through to the product.
We carry jewellery, clothing, ceramics, leather handbags, pillows, candles, baby items, soap, and way too many awesome things to list!! Whether it’s ‘just the right thing’ for a gift or a treat for yourself - we want everything you take home to be a little gem to be cherished. Connie Tamoto, former Winnipeg Free Press style columnist and all round fasionista, described the shop as “a converted warehouse space that epitomizes pretty shopping bliss”.
The studio boutique features a commercial gallery with revolving artwork by local artists in a variety of media, in both group and solo shows. We host openings for a new exhibition on the first Friday of each month, in part with First Fridays in the Exchange.
It is important for me to give back by partnering with local community organizations and donating to fundraising events. More than 100 donations have been gifted to organizations including arts junction, MAWA, Prairie View, and Art City. Artbeat Studio is an organization that’s particularly close to my heart, and the proceeds from the sale of gift boxes, in-shop fundraising, and my personal contributions have totaled more than $9000 to help artists living with mental illness. In 2005, following a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder I attended Artbeat Studio and feel that it saved my life. I continue to be involved in the organization and my wonderful father has been an integral board member for many years. It feels amazing to be able to give back to the community who has supported me.
I derive joy, energy, and inspiration from makers and visitors in the shop, and want you to feel the same way visiting and shopping that I do creating: happy and inspired.
if you have been to the shop, I thank you with all my heart for making my, and all of our makers’, dreams come true.
If not, stop by, I would love to show you around!