The Columbia Basin Culture Tour swept across the Columbia Valley on August 13 and 14.
Tour-goers visited a variety of unique galleries and sites over the two-day event, which features local artists showing their work in their own studios and homes.
The Columbia Valley featured six different sites, including Pynelogs Cultural Centre, which also assisted in promoting the tour though brochures and signage leading up to the tour date.
SHARON’S ARTISTIC GLASS STUDIO
This marked the first year onboard with the Culture Tour for glass artist Sharon Kamphuis, whose studio gallery is located on the corner of Purcell Avenue and Columbia Road in Edgewater.
“I had seen a sign and inquired about the tour,” Kamphuis explained. “I thought it would be good exposure. I liked that people would come here to the studio, and I think it’s good that others will come to you to see your work.”
Kamphuis has been working with glass, creating a variety of unique works of art and jewelry for over 12 years.
Her initial interest began while looking to work on stained glass windows for her home, and the craft has stuck with her since.
While most of her main glass works feature nature-inspired themes and subjects, she also creates a variety of jewelry, from rings, necklaces and more, and an assortment of fused glass work through the use of a kiln.
“I like people to see the beauty of it,” said Kamphuis. “I received a lot of compliments when people stopped by for the tour and I hope that they tell others about my work.”
For more information about Kamphuis and her work, visit glassartstudio.ca or call 250-347-6967
DEANNA GAUTHIER BOUTIQUE AND GALLERY
Deanna Gauthier first heard about the Culture Tour through a salesperson who, when speaking to Gauthier in her shop, happened to have a brochure about the event.
“They had a booklet, and I was thoroughly impressed with it,” said Gauthier. “I called in to sign up past deadline, but they were gracious enough to allow me on the tour last year regardless.”
This is the Gauthier’s second year on the tour, and she had an excellent and busy weekend with visitors.
“I thought it was a great idea and decided to sign on,” Gauthier explained. “I mostly do repeat business by referrals, so anything to help with exposure is wonderful.”
Gauthier’s shop and gallery features a variety of artwork, from her unique clothing designs, to accessories, drapery, sculpture, painting and more.
“I just have non-stop ideas,” said Gauthier.
When it comes to her clothing designs especially, Gauthier loves to work with textures, colour, and unique fabrics. Though she creates a variety of garments in a wide range of sizes to accommodate all body types, each product has something different about it when compared to its supposed twin.
For more information about Gauthier and her work, visit deannagauthier.com or call 250-342-5043.
WINDERMERE VALLEY MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES
The Windermere Valley Museum had a variety of quiltwork and special weekend-only displays as part of the Culture Tour
“We signed onto the tour to see if we could catch a few more visitors,” said Dorothy Blunden, museum curator.
This is the museum’s second time on the tour, with volunteers assisting and organizing events and displays throughout the weekend for those stopping by to visit and look.
“We currently have above and beyond the eight heritage buildings here,” explained Blunden. “We’re currently holding out ‘Toys Alive’ theme for the summer, with antique and historical toys and other items on display.”
The museum is winding down on its successful children’s program, which takes place every Wednesday between 10:15 a.m. and noon. Each week features a different theme, from crafts to historical life re-creations and more.
Blunden says the program feedback has been extremely positive and well-attended.
“We’re quite delighted, it’s been extremely successful,” said Blunden. “We’ve had super feedback and the kids really enjoy it. Our volunteers also do an absolutely wonderful job.”
For more information about the museum, visit windermerevalleymuseum.ca or call 250-342-9769
In addition to having an open house while participating with the Culture Tour, Sandpiper Studio also held a live glass blowing demonstration.
Designer and maker Julie Gibb and Gordon Webster created a series of glasses and cups throughout the day in the glass-blowing studio at the back of the main gallery.
This was Sandpiper Studio’s first year on-board with the tour as well.
“I had seen it before, and I thought it was a really neat idea,” explained Gibb. “I think it’s neat for people to see the studio and how the artists work, and I’ve always wanted to have an open house and demonstration, so this was the perfect time to do it.”
Gibb has been blowing glass since 2002, when she was first introduced to it. Though she took a two-year break to work on building the studio, located on Kootenay Road No. 3 in Windermere, the moment it opened in October of 2009 she began creating again with Webster.
“The open house and demonstration has been really good, even better than I expected,” said Gibb. “A lot of people have been stopping by and everyone seems to be really happy with what they’ve seen.”
For more information on Sandpiper Studio, visit sandpiperstudio.ca or call 250-342-7196.
Alice Hale has been involved with the Culture Tour for three years running now, since it first began, having been on the Cultural Alliance Committee during the tour’s onset.
“I’ve always been interested in having people come to the studio,” said Hale. “I prefer to have people view an open studio, and can stop by over the course of two days.”
Response has picked up in comparison to previous years on the tour for Hale, with visitors stopping by her pottery studio on Westside Road to view and purchase her work.
Hale first took an interest in pottery when she came to Invermere to teach at the high school.
“I was an English teacher, but I was assigned to teach art,” explained Hale. “I’d never taught or done any art before, so I took some night classes, and one of those classes was with clay, and that’s when I became hooked. There’s something about it, and you get a feel for it.”
Hale’s designs come from her own imagination, or are influenced by the works she sees while on her travels.
She also takes inspiration from other artworks, such as stained glass, which she has incorporated into other unique pieces.
“I just love it when people pick up a piece and say ‘I have to have it’,” said Hale. “It shows they get a real feel for it, and that it connects with them.”
For more information about Alice Hale and her pottery studio, call 250-342-9504.
CRAZY RAVENS STUDIO
This has been Paula Cravens’ third year on the Culture Tour, with her paintings and studio set on the tour’s map in Canal Flats.
“I was interested that the tour created a website, and they’d done a nice job with it, and it’s up all year,” said Cravens. “It’s good for advertising, and it’s a chance to stay home.”
Cravens said that exposure has been good, with guests stopping by to view her paintings set up in her studio.
“I’ve been interested in art every since I was four, and I’ve always received encouragement from others,” said Cravens. “When I moved to the valley I had the time and money to pursue art more, so I went for it and became addicted. It feels good to paint and cover some of my expenses while doing so.”
Cravens works mainly with a mixture of acrylic paints and textures she creates using hand-carved rubber stamps.
“I have several favourite subjects,” said Cravens. “I like old, rusty trucks, strong women, or women who show character, and old swimsuits. I think the body image was more relaxed for swimwear in older times, it’s very refreshing.”
Wildlife also inspires Cravens, as it’s something that is always around her in the valley.
For more information about Crazy Ravens Studio, visit crazyravens.blogspot.com or all 250-349-5814.