General

Spruce Grove Allied Arts Open Art competition

A month or so ago, we entered our first ever art competition, and to our surprise and joy – we won first place with our “Surf” design, a large handcrafted pewter platter, pictured below. To add to our good fortune, both our platter and our other entry were sold before judging even took place!

A very happy month for us at Innovative Artisans Fine Pewter ๐Ÿ™‚


Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Louise.

~~ in sunny Alberta   ๐Ÿ™‚


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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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  ๐Ÿ™‚

~Louise.
~~ in sunny Alberta ๐Ÿ™‚

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.
ย ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

image

~ Louise
~~in sunny Alberta ๐Ÿ™‚

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 –ย  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.
Everyย Saturdayย 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!ย 
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.

image

image

image

image

Happy New Year! Introducing our black wyvern design

image

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 ๐Ÿ™‚  it’s been a great first full year in business for us at Innovative Artisans – Louise & Al.

~ Louise.
~ ~ in sunny Alberta, Canada.

3rd Avenue Arts gallery, Drumheller, AB. Canada.

A few days ago, we took a daytrip to Drumheller, Alberta. It is a 3.5 hour drive to get there from our place. A lovely gallery in downtown Drumheller – 3rd Avenue Arts – had seen our pewter at a recent metal art show and requested to consign some, so we were happy to oblige, despite the 7 hours in the truck. It was also a little chilly at -17C with snow on the ground after the weekend snowfalls. At these temperatures in Winter in Canada, we need snow tyres on the truck, winter gear like warm jackets, hats, gloves and snacks, and emergency winter gear – sleeping bags, extra warm clothing in case we hit the ditch and get stuck. With all that in the cab plus our three year daughter, her bag of books and cuddly toys, our black lab dog, and the boxes of pewter, it was a little cramped. But you can never be sure when you might need those warm clothes and sleeping bags. They will stay in our vehicles all winter, from now till May.
Drumheller is dinosaur and hoodoo country. I had only been there once before when I first moved here from Scotland. And that was a brief overnight stay to see the famous Tyrrell Dinosaur museum. After seeing a little bit of Drumheller town, we will definitely be back in the summer for a longer visit, to explore the town and surrounding countryside, and to see our new friends at 3rd Avenue Arts in Gallery Row, Drumheller ๐Ÿ™‚

https://www.facebook.com/3rdavenuearts

Louise
– in sunny Alberta ๐Ÿ™‚

The Christmas shows – Red Deer(2 wks past), Make It (2 weeks future)

Two weeks ago we were vendors at a Signatures show in Red Deer – the “Our Best to You” Christmas craft show. What a great venue and a friendly bunch of people. We stayed in our holiday trailer in the on-site campsite which was very handy as we could walk over to the venue, and pop back when our three year old daughter needed a break. She was simply amazing for a toddler at an event like this. The first day was 13 hours long! The second was over 8 hours, the last was 7 hours, not including take down. A long time to keep a toddler amused while talking to visitors to the show. LEGO was a lifesaver. I’m so glad we gave her โ€˜realโ€˜ Lego for her recent birthday!
We took our black Labrador along with us too. She stayed in our trailer, her sleep interrupted by our visits back to see she was OK. I’m so glad she could come too. Its a shame our black cat Lucky had to stay home, but she was visited by our neighbour who was also fish-sitting our daughterโ€˜s blue and red beta fish – Spiderman-the-fish. She named her fish herself when she was given it for her birthday the week prior. Our wee girl is Spiderman daft!
Below is a photo of some of our new designs for Christmas this year. They still need holes and ribbon added yet. We did the holly last year, but this year we coloured it. The candle is new, we named it “Little Light”. “Serenity” is new too and named as such because the Sun’s expression is so peaceful. “Christmas Tree” is one we’ve been working on for a while but I’m pleased how it finally turned out. We also have our homage to the Nativity, but no photo yet. We wanted it to represent new life, but also children with those people important to them, and vice versa, not necessarily just parents. For this reason, we named it “Blessed”. We will post a photo soon.
Our next event is Make It! Edmonton at the Enjoy Centre, St Albert, AB. on 20th to 23rd November. We are in booth #56, on the right if you head up the first aisle as you walk in.
Please note: our deadline for any Christmas orders has to be 1st December 2014. We will reopen the books in the second week of January.

image

Louise
– in sunny Alberta ๐Ÿ™‚

Reynolds Museum Metal Art Show and we are now in Different Strokes Art Gallery in Olds, AB.

image

A few weeks ago, we took our pewter to the Metal Art show and sale at the Reynolds Alberta Museum. It marked the first anniversary of our small pewtering and metal art business as the Reynolds 2013 was our first ever show.
As before, we had a great time there. It’s a friendly show with a lot of great people taking part and also visiting, and all amongst some amazing exhibits. Our almost 3 year old daughter particularly enjoyed the fifties movies and the pink Buick. She always had to go and sit in the pink car ๐Ÿ™‚
A few weeks prior to the Reynolds museum show we were accepted into another gallery. “Different Strokes Art Gallery” is a very nice newly renovated gallery in Uptowne area of Olds, Alberta. My parents were over visiting from Scotland so we packed them, our toddler, our dog and a selection of pewter pieces into the truck and set off on a road trip to Olds. We found an excellent dog friendly hotel (Pomeroy) where our black lab was given a welcome pack including a new lead, dish and frisbee and the rooms and service were great. We returned home the next day via one of my favourite roads – the Cowboy Trail – which is a lovely drive.
Our next show will be the “Our Best to You” Christmas show in Red Deer which is coming up fast! We will have some of the pictured “Holly” Christmas tree decorations plus lots more. We are in booth number 311 – come stop by and say hi!

Louise
– in sunny Alberta ๐Ÿ™‚

Celtic brooch cloak pin

image

This is the finished Celtic penannular brooch cloak pin that we designed and made especially for selling at Brooks Medieval Faire. I designed and made the pattern in polymer clay, Al used this pattern to make a silicone mould, into which we poured molten lead-free pewter. It was tidied up using the grinder and engraved on the back. Lastly, Al added a stainless steel pin he had made. A pewter pin would have been too soft.
Brooks Medieval Faire was great fun and we hope to go again next year too. I enjoyed dressing up in medieval costume but it was very very hot. Our little girl looked very sweet in her long white medieval chemise and bluegrey overdress. And she was authentically filthy and barefoot by the end of the weekend ๐Ÿ™‚  

Louise
– in sunny Alberta ๐Ÿ™‚