About 70 people embarked on an artistic adventure throughout the 108 Mile Ranch during the Studio 2 Studio self-guided art tour on Saturday, Sept. 7.
The event took place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. providing participants with the opportunity to visit artists’ studios at their leisure, tour work-spaces and peruse a wide variety of artistic mediums in the process.
15 artists were featured on the tour this September, which is hosted annually by the South Cariboo Health Foundation (SCHF) as a fundraising event. In terms of proceeds, 25 per cent of all sales from the tour support the SCHF and its contributions to the community at large.
Brenda Devine, the foundation’s public relations and fundraising coordinator, said that she appreciated everyone who helped to make the art tour special, including the many new faces who attended this year.
Alexandra Verboom participated as an artist in her first Studio 2 Studio tour.
Verboom is a painter who works in a variety of mediums, using acrylic or Indian ink in her art. She creates custom wildlife paintings and designs ornaments, too. During the tour, Verboom was stationed at the 108 Heritage Site.
“I started getting into [painting] during my high school years,” Verboom recalled. “I had a really good art teacher. Rather than teach me how to paint, he’d give me a different artist to look up every week, then I’d go to the library, look them up, and study their brushstrokes, and that’s how I learned how to paint.”
Bryan Austerberry was also stationed at the 108 Heritage Site and said the event had a bit of a slower start in terms of customers, compared with previous years. Austerberry is a pencil artist who was at work on a detailed depiction of horse hooves during the tour. On average, he spends four to six weeks on each of his drawings.
“I do these mostly at shows like this,” he explained, noting that at home, he is primarily completing commissioned work. “This particular one, I started out the season drawing it, and I usually finish it by the last show at Christmas.”
The most common requests Austerberry receives are for depictions of pets, which he thinks says a lot about how times have changed. Customers used to ask him for portraits of their children, but “fur-babies” are a new focus.
Christine Gallagher greeted guests at the 108 Historical Site, as she does every Saturday. Having the Studio 2 Studio tour stop at the 108 Heritage Site was an excellent idea, she said.
“We’ve had quite a lot of people. This is the first year [it’s] been at the Heritage Site. I think it’s excellent because it benefits the museum because we’re getting a lot of visitors that stop here. People that are coming for the art tour are coming into the museum so it creates a double awareness.”
Lynda Lewis is the SCHF’s treasurer and also a director with the board. She was stationed at the home of artist Anita Edwards on the tour, acting as a greeter for the foundation.
“We’ve had quite a few [people] come by, but not very many sales,” said Lewis. She said that there were fewer people in attendance last year, but more sales compared to this year.
Four female artists were stationed at Edwards’ home. Edwards works with oils and mixed media herself, while Trish Chung creates hand-made home decor. Gail Edinger is an artist and alchemist who specializes in silver-work, creating wearable art jewelry. The fourth artist present was Claudia Ring, who creates colourful wool clothing and accessories, including felted drier balls.
Susan Saat sold hot and cold wheat therapy bags and other hand-made products during the tour, stationed at Cindy Wickingstad’s home. Her cooling neckties can stay cool for up to nine hours and her hot therapy bags include lavender flowers inside their soft, wrap-around structure. The therapy bags are particularly beneficial for sore shoulders and muscles, menstrual cramps, breastfeeding women, and chemotherapy patients, too.
“I’ve had quite a few sales. I’ve been very pleased with what’s gone. It’s nice to have the exposure,” she said.
Allan and Roni Forcier are artists who specialize in kinetic woodwork and participated in the tour for the first time this year, also stationed at Wickingstad’s home. Roni displayed a unique wind dancer made entirely out of vegan materials, but she and her husband Allan have made regular, non-vegan wind dancers for years.
“Everything is basically organic,” they explained, citing a shared love for the planet that is communicated through their artistic endeavours. Roni enjoyed the tour because it gave her an opportunity to explain her work to visitors and engage in conversations about the pieces and the couple’s artistic process.
Cindy Wickingstad opened her home to the public and to other artists for Studio 2 Studio. She has participated in the tour previously and said this year brought in more people than ever. Wickingstad is a painter who focuses on oils and acrylics. She sold five paintings and a painted mask on Saturday. Her work is also available for purchase at the Parkside Art Gallery.