A year in one post!

I was compelled to start writing this blog again today when I realised that yesterday marked 3 years since I left my hospital job in Edmonton to stay home on our acreage and raise our little girl. This also enabled us to fulfil our dream of starting a small metal art studio business –
Innovative Artisans Fine Pewter is 3 years old!

A year in one blog post! Where do I start?

Soapstone:
Our soapstone experiments went well, we made pewter tokens starting with a Pictish Horse and a Pictish Bison. Yep, a bison. Although the ancient Picts of North East Scotland probably never saw a bison, this is my take on what they would have carved in standing stones, should they ever have met one! We also made a jousting token for Brooks Medieval Faire but we had to give up our spot there as Al had to work. We didn’t get this year either sadly.
Our Christmas sock and a scarf ring were other pieces we carved and cast in soapstone which we then sold at our shows.

Shows:
Make It Edmonton moved to Northlands at Christmas 2015 and was great 🙂 We will be there again this year in November!
We haven’t been at as many shows this year but a new one we went to was in Lacombe in April. It was fun, friendly and in a very nice venue. We hope to take part next year too.
An upcoming show we have is the Metal Art Show and Sale at the Reynolds Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. It’s one of our favourites as it was our first ever show three years ago, is so friendly and is in the wonderful setting of the Reynolds museum. Our tables are set up amongst the exhibits! Come visit the show and museum on 17th and 18th September.

Galleries and stores:
Our pewter has been in the Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, AB since August last year. This lovely gallery is a real destination gallery – our drive is so beautiful, from our place down the Cowboy Trail to their area, south west of Calgary.
Since Spring this year, our pewter has been in the Stony Plain Muticultural Centre Makers’ Market, another lovely gallery called Gossamer Treasures in Wabamun, AB and Tix on the Square in Sir Winston Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton.

And where has our pewtering taken us this year? Well, we have been working with sheet pewter, making bookmarks, artisan buttons, hair clips and pendants, as well as casting with molten pewter. We opened an Etsy shop. We’ve just heard we will have our first solo exhibition in July next year and soon we will have some pieces in the Art Gallery of Alberta. But I’ll leave all that for future posts  🙂

~Louise.
~~ in sunny Alberta 🙂

Experimenting with Soapstone

One of the places that inspires me most when creating new designs for our pewter, is my homeland of Scotland. I grew up in an area with a strong Pictish history and their ancient carvings in stone have definitely influenced us. Our latest project is to try carving a design in soapstone and use this as our pattern, pouring molten metal into it to create medieval-style tokens. I have completed the sketches, next we have to carve these designs into the soapstone.
We are hoping to have some completed tokens to take to Brooks Medieval Faire in August, where we will again be part of the Artisan Marketplace at this excellent Faire. If the soapstone patterns work, we might consider using them for pewter casting demonstrations in the future.

Make It Edmonton, 10-12 April

It’s past 1am and I just finished working in our studio for the night. We always say we will be better prepared for the next show but I always end up experimenting at the last minute, usually late at night, coming up with new ideas I want to take along to present in our booth. It’s a good thing I am a night owl, and have always worked better burning the midnight oil.
   This weekend we will be in our booth – #21 – at the Make It Edmonton craft show at the Enjoy Centre (known locally as “Holes”) in St Albert. This will be our 3rd Make It experience as vendors, and we would highly recommend other artisans give it a go. We usually have a chance to check out other booths and do some shopping ourselves, and it is a great place to find unique handmade items.
I love fairy gardens and so does our little three year old daughter, so with this in mind, this year we have made some new miniatures ideal for tiny gardens. We even made our own homemade fairy garden using deadfall bark from our own acreage woods as part of our booth display.
We have also added to our decorative bowl collection – a frog on a lilypad design, inspired by our wee daughter’s love of frogs and we named the design “Mr J. Fisher” after one of her favourite frog books – “The Tale of Jeremy Fisher” by Beatrix Potter.
If you fancy a grand day out this weekend, consider coming to the Make It Edmonton show where there will be over 140 artisans from across Canada selling handmade clothing, jewellery, food, art and more, and visit the Enjoy Centre, the lovely venue for this craft event. Check our Facebook page for a voucher giving $1.00 off the small entry fee. We will be in booth #21 at the far end of the hall – stop by and say hi 🙂

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~ Louise
~~in sunny Alberta 🙂

Fairy gardens, #craftselfies and Craft Year 2015.

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed us posting “#craftselfie” photos from our studio every Saturday recently.
This year is Craft Year 2015 –  a year-long, nation-wide festival aimed at promoting craft as a key player in Canadian Culture, coordinated by the Canadian Crafts Federation. The type of events they are looking for includes craft exhibitions, fairs, book launches, open houses, conferences, workshops, competitions, publications, community events and more. All events registered for Craft Year 2015 will be displayed on their website for the whole world to see.

#Craftselfie Saturday is one of the initiatives of Craft Year 2015. This is the description on their Craft Year website –
“Working on the wheel? Rocking a ring? Gazing at glazes in the Gallery? No matter where you are or what you’re up to, when it comes to craft – we want to see what you see! Share your shots with us on #craftselfie Saturdays.
Every Saturday throughout Craft Year 2015, we encourage you to post your selfies with craft. Whether you’re a maker or a picture taker, post your pic from studios, galleries, boutiques, museums, even from your own collections, wherever you engage with craft! 
Be a part of #craftselfie Saturdays, it’s easy! Just craft, snap, tag and share!”
www.canadiancraftsfederation.ca
@CraftYear2015

So we have been posting a photo every week, of what we have been working on in our studio. Today we were finishing a few fairy garden accessories we had designed and poured in pewter earlier this week.

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Happy New Year! Introducing our black wyvern design

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Black Wyvern, copyright Louise McBeath Schoepp, Innovative Artisans

Happy New Year to you, wherever you are! It’s been quite a while since our last blog entry. During the interim, we had a great time in our booth at the Make It Edmonton show, meeting lots of lovely people, both fellow vendors and visitors to our booth. We’ve experimented with adding colour to some of our existing designs, such as the black wyvern pictured above. This two legged dragon was designed and created by us last summer, especially for the Brooks Medieval Faire, and was quite popular. I had toyed with the idea of adding colour and in early December we gave him a red eye and nostril, with the rest of him coloured black. We were in my homeland of Scotland over Christmas and New Year, so I took a few pieces – including the wyvern – and photographed them outside in a lovely mossy area in my parents’ garden. With my dad’s help (semi professional photographer!), we photographed our holly design hanging from a holly bush, again in my parents’ garden. This was a photo I had planned to try for a while. Look out for it on our Facebook page.
To everyone who has supported us over the last year, whether it has been dog sitting, cat sitting, fish sitting or babysitting to allow us to attend shows, or positive comments about our pewter, or stopping by our booths, or those who have purchased our pewter – thank you 🙂  it’s been a great first full year in business for us at Innovative Artisans – Louise & Al.

~ Louise.
~ ~ in sunny Alberta, Canada.