Studio to Studio art crawl returns to 108 Mile Ranch

‘People know people and people help people. It’s a tremendous thing.’

South Cariboo residents will once again be invited into the homes of local artists in 108 Mile Ranch, for the South Cariboo Health Foundation’s sixth annual Studio to Studio art crawl.

Brenda Devine, who does all the fundraising and public relations for the foundation, said this particular event is more about awareness.

“It’s getting people more aware of what we do, what we raise money for.”

The committee meets monthly and an Interior Health representative lists off some of the hospital’s immediate needs and wants.

After its final meeting before the summer break, the committee donated approximately $16,000 to the hospital’s acute care unit for four new vital sign monitors.

“We would like to recoup that money through donations if we could,” said Devine. “Anything we make from this (the Studio to Studio fundraiser) could be applied onto that.”

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The South Cariboo Health Foundation has easily raised $5 million for the community since it was founded in 2002, according to Devine.

“That’s pretty good for a small community that has deep pockets for other things, too,” she said. “We’re just fortunate that the hospital’s needs are pretty important for our community.”

She also specified that funds raised always stay within the community.

The crawl is free for visitors and will feature 11 artists, displaying and selling their work within six homes, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Artists have committed to donating 25 per cent of sales to the foundation. Donor boxes will also be found on site.

Since wildfires cancelled last year’s art crawl, Devine said, “Hopefully it’ll be a nice chance to revisit this all again.”

Here are two of the artists you can expect to see:

Bryan Richard Austerberry

“I’ve drawn ever since I was a kid.”

Bryan Richard Austerberry draws intricately detailed creations from the loft of his log cabin overlooking picturesque Sulphurous Lake. He spends so much time with his drawings he sometimes creates names and stories for his characters.

Some of his creations, though, never see the light of day, he admitted.

“Pencils are my tools but they’re no more important than erasers,” he laughed.

“They’re as much a part of drawing as pencils are. Anybody that thinks, ‘If you’re really a professional you don’t need these things,’ that’s a lie,” he said, holding up his own well-used eraser.

Austerberry caught the art bug at an art high school in Ontario. From there he got into advertising, back in the day when everything was drawn.

After retiring, he said he stopped drawing for about five years, but began again this past winter and has been showing his work again now for just over a month.

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Even in retirement, he said he continues to learn and his art continues to evolve.

“Anybody that wants to be successful in anything, if they close their mouth and open their ears and open their eyes, you learn as you go. Every day is a school day.”

Austerberry can be found in the Community Hall, in 100 Mile, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Fridays for the South Cariboo Farmers Market. He’s in Loon Bay on Saturdays and can also be hired for commission work.

“I draw at all my shows. I don’t just stand there, I sit down and I’m drawing,” he said. “People enjoy watching me draw and it gives them an insight of what I do and how I do it.

With the freedom to draw what he wants, he said he fills his days with art, drawing from about 6 a.m. to dinner time. Stopping, of course, for lunch with his wife, Siana.

The artistic couple is looking forward to being featured in one of the artist’s homes for the Studio to Studio art crawl and contributing to a good cause.

“People know people and people help people,” he said. “It’s a tremendous thing.”

Siana Kelly Austerberry

“I think it’ll be a wall hanging,” said Siana Kelly Austerberry, weaving away on the Japanese loom in the dining room of her log cabin. Austerberry’s artistic expression comes in the form of weaving, embroidering, quilting and knitting.

“I’m all over the place,” she laughed.

She particularly enjoys Saori Japanese weaving, a craft she learned from a neighbour when she lived in Nanaimo.

She had been shopping, something she said she hates, and couldn’t find placemats she liked.

“Make them,” her neighbour said. Austerberry protested that she couldn’t afford fine materials, but the elderly woman insisted, instructing her to get second-hand material, cut it into strips and then come over.

Austerberry said it was the freestyle nature of the Saori weaving that entranced her.

“There’s no rules, there’s no regulations, you’re free to do whatever you want. There’s no such thing as a mistake,” she said.

“It’s all creative.”

RELATED: Cariboo Artists’ Guild president featured at Showcase Gallery in 100 Mile House

That was back in 2000 and she’s been weaving ever since, mostly giving her creations away as gifts.

She said it was her husband, Bryan, who encouraged her to sell her hand-made creations. She can be found at the South Cariboo Farmer’s market on Fridays and at the Loon Bay market on Saturdays.

Like her husband, Austerberry likes to weave live at the events she attends.

“The interaction with everybody, that’s what I really enjoy,” she said.

She spends time with anybody who may be interested or have questions. She even lets especially keen people sit at the loom and weave their own creations, or play, as she calls it.

Afterwards, she cuts off whatever they’ve made so they can take it home. She said she is happy to promote weaving, knowing full well she is the only Saori weaver in the area.

“It’s just an eye-opener,” she said. Most people thinking weaving is very complicated but it’s not.

“It’s very fulfilling.”

Look for her work in one of the artist’s homes on the Studio to Studio art crawl.

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