Lucy Reimer is Manitoba’s Fashionista Farmer

Lucy Reimer is Manitoba’s Fashionista Farmer

Farmers and artists are some of the hardest working people I have met, but when you put a farmer and an artist together, what do you have? An Energizer bunny named Lucy Reimer of Lucy Reimer Designs. We have interviewed many artists living in rural settings and more often than not we have found them to be inspired by their surroundings; their art manifesting itself as a representation of the landscape and nature through colour and beauty. So, needless to say, I was intrigued to learn that there was a fashion and accessories designer and maker in the middle of Manitoba’s prairie.

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When we first arrived on their farm we were greeted by both Lucy and her husband Wally. During the farming season they both work 80 acres of land together, and when not driving the combine Wally is a power engineer at the hospital in Brandon and Lucy is down in her studio driving her sewing machine. When we sat at the kitchen table and got to know each other a bit, Gary and I were surprised at how much Wally knew about fashion and accessories. I should clarify; about Lucy’s fashion and accessories. Wally is Lucy’s biggest supporter in her business and we could see how proud he is of her. In fact, when Lucy is on the road heading off to the next craft fair or art show, Wally is always there. He helps her to set up, take down and even spends time showing the Lucy bags and Lucy Lu wraps to potential customers. There may not be a great man behind every great woman, but in this case there is.

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Lucy has been sewing since she was 12 years old. Her mother gave her a couple of words of advice early on; always sew a straight seam and iron as you go. From that point on sewing has been a passion in Lucy’s life. When she got older, got married to Wally and they had children, naturally she would sew her children’s clothes. And although she and Wally knew staying at home with the children was important to them, she wanted to contribute financially. A couple of friends suggested she make clothes and sell them. At first this seemed like a funny idea to Lucy because growing up on a farm often meant you learned to sew; everyone did. Who would buy clothes that she made?

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After meeting Lucy, I couldn’t help but think growing up on a farm gave her more than just the skills to sew, it gave her an entrepreneurial mindset. After all, farming can give many gifts; patience, stamina, tenacity, learning from failure, an appreciation for hard work, and a deep love for something that never goes away. These are the characteristics I see in Lucy and it shows in the craftsmanship of her work. She has been in business creating her Lucy bags for 10 years now and there is no sign of her or her business slowing down. I have met many artists who have a hard time with marketing themselves and their work and even Lucy noted that it wasn’t easy in the beginning. But now she is always thinking about the next thing, she’s not afraid to put herself or her work out there and she thrives on connecting with people. Great qualities to have as a creative entrepreneur.

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For people who know me, I am always going on about how important it is to purchase local food and goods whether you are in business or an end user. I was thrilled to find out from Lucy that she does this as often as possible. It was happenstance that she would meet a buffalo rancher just 45 minutes from where she lives who now supplies her with hides for her Aud buffalo bags (named after the buffalo rancher’s deceased wife Audrey). Also, she met a fellow artist, Laura Hamilton from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan at a craft/art market and loved Laura’s art. The idea to print some of her paintings on leather and then sew them into Lucy bags, aptly named Prairie bags, came about from this meeting between the two artists. And the printer Lucy uses is in Brandon, not some far off land. This is such a great three way collaboration.

Collaboration purses with Laura Hamilton

Collaboration purses with Laura Hamilton

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It is important to Lucy that each person who purchases a Lucy bag walks away with something unique and special to them, therefore no two bags are alike. If you like earthy colours but want a bit of pizzazz then you may find a brown buffalo bag with a purple and green polka dot liner, or maybe the bag itself is a peacock blue colour, or perhaps you are a die hard Saskatchewan Rough Riders fan, well she has a bag for you too. Lucy’s ideas are only limited by her imagination of which it knows no bounds.

We invite you to meet Lucy in person via her video interview and we encourage you to spread the word about Lucy and her work through social media and email. Also we would love it if you would leave a nice comment below. Thanks!

Debra Blades Mixes Fine Art With Fine Music

Debra Blades Mixes Fine Art With Fine Music

Arty took us to Abbotsford, B.C. this time on an arts quest to meet with Debra Blades. Debra calls herself a mixed media collage painter with a splash of inventiveness. She has a passion for texture, colour and twisty things. She incorporates gold, silver and copper leaf as well as different papers and textural components within her paintings. When we showed up on Debra’s door step she opened the door with such fervor that I had a feeling we were in for something good.

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Photo Credit to Kristie Blades

Bio-Luminescence

Bio-Luminescence

Art has been in Debra’s life in one form or another for a long time. She spent 21 years hand-making Victorian lampshades and in that time created and sold over 1000. But with trends coming and going, in this case going, she recognized it was time for a creative change, and that is when she began exploring the world of abstract art. I was surprised to hear that she has only been working at it for 6 years. Her work seems so much more mature than that like it has been a part of her for a long time, walking hand in hand with her spirit.

Yesterday

Yesterday

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Debra admits that creativity can have its calamities at times but it’s nothing that an enthusiastic and gracious attitude mixed with a little Beatles music can’t cure. When she first contemplated giving titles to her paintings she was stuck and wondered, “How do you name something abstract?” At the time she was working on a piece that was colourful and attention grabbing and contained twisty pieces of paper. The Beatles’ Twist and Shout just happened to be filling her ears at that moment and delivered to her the title of her new painting. One thing lead to another and since then she has created a series of paintings inspired and titled from The Beatles’ songs. According to Wikipedia there are 304 songs that have been recorded by The Beatles so Debra’s series could turn into a long and loving commitment. I have a feeling this won’t be a challenge for her!

Train Case

Train Case

Versatility and adaptability are two words that I would use to describe Debra. She faces challenges and obstacles head on and, along with a positive attitude, looks for a solution. Her abstract painted train cases are an example of this. At one time she found herself lacking in canvases to paint, had some left over train cases from her Victorian era days, and so decided that they would make an excellent three dimensional canvas. She calls them functional art and each one comes with its own title. As well, not in the too far distant past Debra stopped going to art shows and fairs because she dreaded the fuss and muss of packing her work in sheets, bubble wrap and packing tape. In her mind not only was this a time consuming and unpleasant process it was also no way to treat a piece of fine art nor did it present well to the fine art appreciators looking on when she arrived at the show. Her solution was an ingenious invention aptly named Masterpiece To Go Portfolios. I am not one to pitch products but I find this to be a slick and useful piece of equipment that every painter will want to have. It looks professional and your art work can be packed up and ready to go in under 3 minutes. Be sure to watch the demo video below where Debra shows us how it works, and check out her Masterpiece To Go Portfolios website for more information on how to order your own.

Zentangle art titled A Silent Call

Zentangle art titled A Silent Call

Please join us as Debra talks more about her life as an artist in her interview below. We love comments and by all means share and like with social media!

Masterpiece To Go Demo Video