Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I thought I would post some before & after pics of both the shop and the dreaded sink / laundry room which was the cause of so many delays. Many thanks to Corey from the Tongue N Groove for the stackable washer and dryer and to my father for driving it here all the way from Lethbridge.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So far business has been slow but we expected as much. I'm trying to provide customers with as much information as possible, which includes posting reviews and biographical information about artists and their work. We're going to be advertising in the Bruno Times starting in May and we're still planning our official grand opening bonanza. We've also signed up for high speed rural wireless internet which will help facilitate the creation of an online store. No more painfully slow dial up, yes!! I'm celebrating too soon since we're told it will take a couple weeks to get someone out here to install it. To qualify for wireless internet out here you have to be able to see the Bruno grain elevator from your roof.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Susanna's also quite the sewer. She makes wall hangings as well as quilts, all by hand. By the time we got to the quilts my camera batteries were dead so this is the end of the story for now. We'll most certainly be going back.

Susanna also likes to do collage work. She showed us a partition which she had covered with nature images as well as several small totem poles she decorated with picture clippings and other small items.

This particular wall hanging was made using a piece of wood given to Susanna (she simply HAD to do something with it, it was so beautiful!) and parts of a porcupine which her son had noticed on the side of the road and knew instantly his mother would want. The mouth is made from porcupine claws and hanging off the bottom (not pictured) are quills. The nose is some sort of pig bone and I can't remember where the feathers came from...

Susanna also made hanging pieces using hoops, reminiscent of dream catchers, but using animal fur and other natural objects (and unnatural ones like googly eyes) to create faces inside.

Now it's time to discuss Susanna Bauer's artwork. She had it on display throughout her home. Her love of nature came through in everything she made. She enjoyed creating tiny scenes using found objects from nature and toys. Some were narrative and some were abstract arrangments. If there were feathers involved she would reminisce about the bird they came from. If they were narrative she would make sure we were clear on the story she was trying to convey.

One of the last rooms we visited in Susanna's basement was the bark room (my name for it). It blew my mind.

Another room led to another demonstration. This time we learned how women used to wrap their babies before taking them outside.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Did I mention Susanna has a love for exotic birds? She's also experienced in the art of taxerdermy and in the next room we got to appreciate both.

Susanna had antiques and collectibles of all kinds in every nook and cranny.

The next portion of our tour included a demonstration on how to make butter!!

The next room was pretty much empty, save for the life sized papier maché mannequin sporting an outfit that looked to me from the 1980's. There were a few old pictures on the wall and a vase full of peacock feathers. Susanna had given home to many an exotic bird during her life, including a peacock. She had saved all the feathers and had them incorporated into various displays. She had also "preserved" some of her other birds, you'll meet them later.

The next display was what Susanna called her "Taj Mahal". She had used one wall to create a castle-like facade using small stones she had found. A small wooden door opened to display a fake fireplace. Red curogated cardboard made up the the roofs of the towers on either side of the door, a detail Susanna herself pointed out (she takes great pride in her resourcefullness). Inside the towers were displays of old bottles, mainly old liquor bottles. Also on display was a collection of large ceramic jugs. The mosaic of rocks spanned over to the neighboring left wall.

I think I'll begin with the museum portion of Susanna's home, which was spread throughout several rooms in her basement. One of the first "exhibits" is a facade of an old pioneer house with antique tools and other odds and ends hanging or otherwise displayed in front of it. Don't mind the extension cord, she said it's not usually there.

I've been meaning to post about Susanna Bauer for a while now. I felt totally overwhemed with the task of editing down the over 150 photos I took while visiting her home in Middle Lake. Where do I even begin? We met when her grandson called us before our shop was open and said that his grandmother had read about what we were doing (in the Humboldt journal) and wanted to meet us. We invited them both over. Susanna is in her 90s and has used her home as a museum/gallery for many years. She's also an artist and works in various mediums. About a month or so after our first meeting we drove out to Middle Lake to see her home and couldn't believe our eyes once we were inside. In order to properly explain it all I'm going to have to post several entries...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Items from local artists are slowly making their way to the shop.
So far we have:

-thirty-one, a chapbook of poetry by Ryan Land
-cherry magnets (Bruno is home to The Cherry Festival, after all) designed by Marcel Prefontaine and cast by Pacific Mountain Scale Shop.
-pottery by Bergit Pulvermacher

Friday, April 20, 2007

We received more mail yesterday. There was a package full of earrings made by Amy Meyers, who I grew up with in Lethbridge, Alberta and who's currently getting her MA in choreography at Laban in London, England. There was also a parcel from Meesoo Lee, an artist living in Vancouver. Inside were buttons made from used scratch and win tickets as well as everlasting scratch and win bookmarks (I don't know if you can tell in the photo but the bookmarks are laminated tickets which haven't been scratched). Thanks guys!

With so many great items arriving my next goal is to create an online store.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We're Open! I'll post more when I'm not so tired. For some reason blogger isn't letting me upload a photo right now....

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We received a surprisingly substantial parcel in the mail today. It was from Adrienne and Zach at Smiling Cow Studio and was full of beautiful hand-crafted porcelain mugs. Adrienne and Zach are planning a move similar to ours from B.C. to Saskatchewan and we wish them all the luck in the world. Hopefully we'll meet on the prairies some day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We recently received a bunch of DVD copies of the short film Cardboard Cutout by Adrian to sell in our shop.

"Carl is an introverted and withdrawn man who works in a cardboard factory. Carl only communicates with Mike, a petty thief and co-worker. When Mike coerces Carl into participating in a break-and-enter, ‘cardboard’ takes on a whole new meaning."

Thanks Adrian!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

While I was away in Edmonton we received a package in the mail containing a splendid selection of robot themed block prints by Vancouver artist Cole Johnston. Thanks Cole!