Location: Kaslo

Eliza Fry Mixing It Up in Kaslo

Eliza Fry Mixing It Up in Kaslo

If you ever find yourself traveling north on B.C.’s hwy 31, rather than pass through Kaslo, stop and spend some time, it will be well worth it. You will likely find yourself on Front Street along the water where you can park your car for as long as you like and keep your change for coffee and a sweet treat.

The morning after our stay in the Kaslo Municipal campground we headed to Front Street looking for The Live Art Shop where we would meet co-founder and mixed media artist Eliza Fry. Just after 9am we spotted Eliza heading into The Live Art Shop with a Dachshund named Wobbles in tow. The Live Art Shop was fashioned from a building that once served as someone’s home and is now home to an eclectic array of art works from local artists. Eliza gave us a tour and short intro to some of the local art that is displayed there.

MIxed media picture

Eliza is a mixed media artist who is compelled to create her work based on some of today’s social issues. She enjoys using images from old magazines and materials that she has found lying about when ever and where ever she comes across them. Geographic maps tend to be a staple with many of her creative endeavours and she continues to discover new angles and ways to incorporate them into her art pieces. Her latest project is a paper sculpture of a life size raven clutching a shiny ball in its beak. Eliza even granted her bird life, in a manner of speaking, and gave it the mechanics to flap its wings. The raven is made out of black postcards that were left behind by another artist who had an art showing in Kaslo and there were a little too many. Rather than throw them out or recycle them, Eliza found them to be the perfect material for her bird. The bird fosters flight through existential people power and will happily flap its wings fast or slow depending on how energetic one might feel. It currently lives in a room full of other haphazard “stuff” silently waiting to be pieced together from the imagination and creative spectacles of one Eliza Fry.

Kinetic sculpture of a raven

Check out Eliza’s interview and the demo of her rad raven below.

Passion Builds Pottery for Geri Rinkel

Passion Builds Pottery for Geri Rinkel

Button Mugs

I love the stories of how someone decided to follow their dream or take a chance on a different life for themselves. Having done something similar, I find myself encouraging my family, my friends and people I meet to go for it. We’ve heard it all before; life’s too short, stop and smell the roses, you won’t know if you don’t try and on and on. You may find yourself going blah, blah, blah; that only works for some people but not for me. We can all get ourselves unstuck no matter what situation we find ourselves in and there is always a way even when you think there isn’t. I have come to realize that when you explore your creative side nothing becomes impossible to do, especially in life.

Gary and I have had the pleasure of meeting pottery artist, Geri Rinkel in the small, lakeside community of Kaslo in British Columbia. One day, Geri felt the overwhelming urge to make a lifestyle change. She and her husband are originally from Calgary but they fell in love with the Kootenay region after spending many years camping in the area. By deciding to make a lifestyle change, they equipped themselves with the necessary mindset and sold their home in Calgary and moved to Kaslo. Geri’s husband still works in Calgary but this is a necessary part of the transition they are making.

Geri standing next to her kiln at her home studio

Next, Geri found herself quitting her job. She has always worked in the art industry, helping artists with their own needs and all the while secretly wishing to explore her own creative side. It is so powerful how the words and actions of another person, in this case a grade 5 art teacher, can quash someone’s passion in the blink of an eye. Geri finally overcame her fear of being creative and finished a two year pottery program at the Kootenay School of the Arts a mere three years ago or so. In terms of years of experience with the art, she is a young potter and this has given her the liberty to experiment with all the techniques she learned in school. In my mind a bowl, a mug, a cup, a vase, and so on, generally carry the same characteristics. It is the personal additions such as the buttons on her button mugs and the earth inspired glazes which she mixes herself that gloriously accessorizes her pieces, and this is what makes them special. I am particularly excited with how Geri incorporates her pottery into something else such as the base she made for an antique oil lamp. I think it is wonderful that this talented and obviously creative person found her way on the art scene.

A selection of Geri's beautiful pottery

Please check out our interview with Geri and find out about her inspiring story as well as the pottery journey she took to the jungle in South America.

Mixed Media Artist Rielle Oswald

Mixed Media Artist Rielle Oswald

It has been a long time since I have walked through the doors of a grade school other than to vote. Except for the obvious technological advances not much has changed over the years with the kids themselves. There were still some of the older ones lingering in the hallways trying to avoid the inevitable, and still others who had stopped to pick up late slips at the office.

School was in session when we met up with Rielle Oswald. She teaches art and music at J.V. Humpheries Elementary-Secondary School in Kaslo, B.C. As we followed a student down the hallway to her class room, we could hear her setting up her students to begin a 5 minute sketch of a boy who happily volunteered to be the model; that left us with less than 5 minutes to talk to Rielle as we didn’t want to interrupt the kids’ creative flow. I think approaching anything we do in life should be like the 5 minute sketches. It forces us to use our time wisely, stop placing so much importance on the minor details and stop imprisoning our minds.

In regards to talking with Rielle, we would have liked a little more time but like she said in her interview, “It is about circumstance and what you do with it at that moment”. I think this speaks pages about Rielle’s approach to guiding her students down the creative process path as well as her approach to her own art. The more I learn about mixed media, the more fascinated I become. The possibilities are infinite. It must be so liberating to create something from whatever is within one’s proximity at the time. Something I’m not sure about is the thought process but perhaps that is the point, there isn’t one. I imagine it to be more like a chain reaction. Rielle’s work is definitely not demure and reminds me of someone who doesn’t stumble after trends but rather, is bold enough to wear lime green or yellow in the winter. Her work is independent and confident, much like the artist her self I would imagine.

Check out her interview with Gary and me below.