Charles van Sandwyk tells a Christmas story in July.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Charles van Sandwyk showed artistic talent at a young age, proving to be an exceptional calligrapher in elementary school before going on to develop a unique style etching copper plates as a teenager, after his family emigrated to Vancouver, Canada.

Backpacking in his late teens, Charles found himself in Fiji, connecting deeply with the locals and, eventually, building a home on the island of Tavewa where he lived in a straw hut for ten years. His experiences on this island as well as education in his youth shaped Charles’ appreciation for ancient living skills and a poetic way of life.

Now in Vancouver, Charles has brought that heritage with him, continuing to live minimally and mentor others in the art of bookbinding. In this talk, Charles discusses his craft, art, illustrations, the process of book making and tells a Christmas story.

About the speaker

Born in Johannesburg in 1966 and raised in Vancouver, Charles van Sandwyk began selling his drawings and watercolors in the early 1980’s. In 1986, he won the Alcan Award for his limited edition book A Selection of Neighbourly Birds. The book, illustrated with etchings printed on an antique intaglio press, was his first venture into the world of handmade books. Since then, Van Sandwyk has created a number of limited edition books. His charming private press books pair animal characters with whimsical verses.

Van Sandwyk’s style is inspired by the paintings and prints that hung in his family home. He splits his time between Vancouver and Fiji, and his enthusiasm for the natural world is clearly evident in his books. Collectors have come to love van Sandwyk’s limited edition books for their beauty, simplicity, and vibrance. Some of van Sandwyk’s paintings hang in the National Library of Canada, as well as in several important private collections.

Read our interview with Charles, over on the CreativeMornings/Vancouver blog, here.

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