SHELLEY TOWN ––  One woman. Many stories. Coming from the creative personalities that have come and gone, and still here, making art. A collection of their handiwork line the shelves at her shop.

Bringer of beauty

It doesn’t matter where we are in our days, we can walk into TOWN, Shelley Town’s shop, to capture the beauty right in front of us by designers and artists via the monochrome and colourful cards, paper, notebooks and design inspired wares that are embossed with their art. As an occasional acquaintance of Shelley’s, I’ve been visiting her shop for the last five years or more for chats and cheers, insights on the work of these creatives, and direction on purchasing just the right card or gift. So then I could give the receiver instant relief from their bustling day, a moment to slow their tempo, and a view of a richer life.

I reached out to Shelley for a quick chat over email to find out she starts her day with a printed version of the morning newspaper and coffee, and winds down her creative mind with a nightly walk. But during the summer months that stroll is sometimes swapped for a glass of vino on the lanai. Cin cin!

What habit do you wake up to that you can't live without?
Morning newspapers (hard copies, delivered every day - a necessary indulgence!) coffee and a few of hours to myself before the day really begins.

What does creativity mean to you?
To me creativity means exploration plus work - exploring a different side of an idea or discipline and then working to bring it to life - although much creative thinking happens without immediate follow up, when it all eventually comes together with work it often becomes art.

Any new creative projects that you’re working on?
The store is an ever evolving creative project. We are constantly dreaming of new items we could commission and add to the collection.

Your current favourite tune?
I was on an Aretha Franklin binge recently and have had "Day Dreaming" - a song she also wrote - on repeat.

What's that tune you're singing in the shower?
More a humming/singing mix, but currently it’s the theme from "A Man And A Woman” (1966, Francis Lai).

Magazine of choice? Book?

I received "Fiorucci The Book" by Eve Babitz as a gift when I was a teenager, just back from my first trip to New York City (& the Fiorucci Store on 59th Street). I recently took it out for a dose of creative inspiration - crazy colourful, celebratory fun - it did not disappoint. 

A favourite film?
Oooh, so many! I love films but have a particular soft spot for "good-bad movies" - my last store was name after one, "Butterfield 8", the 1960 kitsch classic with Elizabeth Taylor.

A dish you just can't get enough of?
A good bowl of pasta does me in. 

When's the last time you wrote a love letter? Or a song? 
Love "notes" are more my speed - they usually happen spontaneously, just because. 

What's your favourite thing to do before you call it a night?
I usually wander outside for a quick look at the night sky before bed. It’s a much quicker “wander" on a chilly winter night than on a long evening in summer when it might be accompanied by a glass of wine and a lounge on the lanai.

TOWN is run by Shelley Town, an independent retailer offering design-oriented products from a mix of Toronto designers with international artists at her brick-and-mortar shop on Bloor Street West in downtown Toronto. It's where you can also grab a postcard of an illustration from the book Aching Beauty.