About Us

 

workshop

Louise and Al in the workshop

Innovative Artisans – Artists’ Biography

Al Schoepp & Louise McBeath Schoepp

Al is a pilot with a passion for metalwork, including sandcasting of aluminum, cast iron, bronze and most recently he and his wife Louise have been working with lead-free pewter. He has produced industrial metal pieces in the past but much prefers the artistic side of metalwork and has also experimented with stained glass.

Louise is a registered nurse with an Honours degree in Zoology and is originally from Scotland. She was introduced to metalwork through Al, although she has always had a creative flair, drawing and creating miniatures from coloured polymer clay, and giving them as gifts to family and friends.

“Together we create innovative pieces from molten Lead-free Pewter which is a beautiful tin alloy. The main items in our portfolio are unique free-form decorative pewter bowls. Due to our technique that we use to create our bowls, each one is different. Pewter has a lower melting point than many other metals. It does not tarnish, has a lovely silvery colour and can have a brilliant shine. We chose to work with pewter for these very reasons. We achieve different finishes by changing variables such as temperature and casting technique, which have evolved through our own trial and error.

We make hanging decorations, and also miniatures to enhance our bowls, some of which are available as standalone pieces. And we design and create our own imprints then sometimes add colour. We make these miniatures and imprints by pouring molten pewter into our silicone moulds. Our original patterns for casting are first designed and carved in polymer clay or wax. Our inspiration for our patterns comes from Louise’s love of nature and all things tiny, plus from her homeland of Scotland. A silicone mould “negative” is made using this pattern, and molten pewter is poured into the mould. Once cooled, the pieces can be hand finished by sanding and polishing if necessary, or incorporated into one of our decorative bowls. Finally, each piece is hand engraved by Louise with “Handmade in Alberta, Canada by Innovative Artisans”, the year it was created and the name of the design if applicable, with the exception of our very small miniatures. By request, a personal message can be engraved on the piece’s shiny side.

We truly have a creative partnership, as one of us could not do this without the contribution of the other.

Examples of our pieces include pewter bowls of various designs and sizes, with or without decoration, also coasters, miniatures and ornaments.

In future, we would like to explore free-form sand casting of molten pewter, and incorporating other media into our pewter, such as polished stones, stained glass and other metals.

We live with our little daughter Kayleigh on our acreage near Warburg, Alberta, Canada”

Louise and Al conceived their idea of “Innovative Artisans” several years ago, experimenting with various media and techniques. In August 2013 they first began creating, showing and selling their pewter art, their debut show being the Metal Art and Craft show at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, Wetaskiwin in Sept. 2013, followed by an art gala in their local village of Warburg. Since then, their pewter work has been accepted to sell in several Alberta galleries and they are current members of Alberta Craft Council. Events that they have taken part in include Make It! Edmonton Spring and Christmas shows and Red Deer’s “Our Best to You” Christmas show. Their first outdoor sale was in the Artisan Marketplace at Brooks Medieval Faire in August 2014.