Headwaters Art Show will feature the work of Canal Flats carver Len Brunin

A reason to head to Headwaters

The Village of Canal Flats becomes alive with art this week, as the second annual Headwaters Art Show returns to the community.

The Village of Canal Flats becomes alive with art this week, as the second annual Headwaters Art Show returns to the Canal Flats community centre on Saturday (November 24).

“(Last year) was great,” organizer Dodie Marcil said. “I think the best part of it was that a lot of the artists in the area had never shown their work to their peers or the public before, and they had such great feedback.”

Seventeen artists in a variety of disciplines will be proudly displaying their work from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with work ranging from a wide selection of paintings to photography, pencil drawings and carvings. A local pianist and their students will also play some light music during the show, and there will be free refreshments provided.

Marcil said one of the main reasons this particular weekend was chosen for the event was that the Canal Flats arena is booked as well, and that they had great success appealing to people in between hockey games last year.

“It’s kind of a captive audience,” Marcil laughed. “At this point we’re trying to get the artists to come and participate because we have some amazing talent in the valley.”

One of the artists whose work will be shown is Canal Flats carver Len Brunin. Brunin specializes in bone and antler carvings, and says he got his start some 15 to 20 years ago when he took over his father’s trap line.

“The idea of trapping, killing animals for fur so that somebody could wear an expensive coat didn’t sit well with me,” Brunin said. “When I took over the trap line it was sort of with this idea of learning how our forefathers were able to survive that way. So I learned how to tan my own hides… and how to use bone and antler to make your own scraping tools, and it just sort of kept evolving.”

Brunin won’t be able to attend the show in person as he is currently recovering from back surgery, however  two of his larger carvings will be displayed along with some smaller deer antler candleholders.

He said the larger carvings take about a month for him to complete, and while carving may have started out as an artistic pursuit, it now provides a nice supplement to his income every once in a while.

“When I first started my first moose antler carving, I did some etching on a moose horn and I made a clipboard out of it, with the idea that I would have a moose antler clipboard,” Brunin said. “Well when my father saw it, he took it home. So I made another one, and when my brother saw it, he took it home. So the next one I made I put a pricetag on, and that again was sort of the evolution, it took me a while to realize that this kind of work had value.”

Brunin uses a dremmel tool with a range of bits to carve both antlers and bone, and said the uniqueness of each piece of antler really keeps him from getting bored.

“Every piece is different and every antler is different, so it’s not a repetitive thing where you’re doing the same thing every day,” he said. “You’re creating something new, and I always find that encouraging. If I had to push a pencil nine to five for the rest of my life I’d go nuts.”

The Headwaters Art Show is still accepting new artists who want to join, although space in the community centre is limited. Anyone who is interested in participating is asked to contact Marcil by calling 250-349-5877.


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