Sunday, July 13, 2008

The following posts are from a week long guest blog that we did for Poppytalk in June 2008

My Neck of the Woods - day 5.


Grass Roots
When I started this guest blog on Monday I wanted to talk about the challenges of living and working in a relatively remote, small town. Nelson is an 8hr drive from the closest big city, Vancouver. But I got a little distracted over the last few days by all the talented designers and artists who do business from here - and they all make it look pretty easy. But it does have its challenges. At times you have to be fairly resourceful to live here. Most people live here for the peaceful lifestyle - I don't think I know anyone who chose Nelson for its variety of industry and career choices. So to begin this last post of the week I want to acknowledge the grass roots entrepreneurs who give Nelson its soul. From the radish farmer to the potter, the weaver and the panama-hatted herb guy, what they do everyday, in our small community, is beautiful, simple and really important.

The Craft Connection and Nicole Bigg
The Craft Connection has been a cooperative of Nelson artists for 25 years. Craft Connection members share in the operation of the store through staffing, advertising, marketing, and display. Since most co-ops are community and regionally based, investment in, and surplus revenue from, the co-op stay within the local community. The Craft Connection recently bought and renovated this lovely old building and converted it into a great gallery space for all their members. Nicole Bigg is one of the member artists at the Craft Connection and I have enjoyed watching her art evolve over the last few years. Currently I am loving her belt buckles, there are lots on display today at the store - aren't they amazing?



Nicole has a few things to say about living and working in a small community, "Some cities are great for a bit but over all I enjoy living in a small town especially Nelson. There are many things here to inspire great artwork like beautiful lakes and mountains-and it's relaxing, it doesn't have the traffic, pollution and distractons that the city has. Nelson keeps me as busy as I would like really." Nicole has a great web site with lots of images of her work and also her fabulous jewelry. Enjoy!


Cabin Fever.
So if you get in your car, in the middle of nowhere, and drive for 2 hrs, you might be surprised to find that you are still in the middle of nowhere - though in a different country. Sandpoint Idaho is a beautiful 2 hr drive from Nelson. It's an even smaller town than Nelson but they are lucky to have one of my all time favourite little shops - Cabin Fever. Owner Rebecca has amazing good taste and a wonderful talent for merchandising. The store is split into a clothing section and the other side of the store is furniture, with bedding and bath downstairs - a great rustic mix of vintage and new. 
So there I was on Wednesday admiring the John Robshaw linens stacked high on vintage dressers, when I saw these amazing handmade linen pillows designed and produced by local artist Melissa Neufeld. What struck me most about these pillows was the frill which is made of burlap webbing - the kind you see underneath the seats of antique dining room chairs. The screen printing is beautifully done and really unusual. I think I was drawn to them because I love the combination of natural linen, burlap and black ink. You can see more of Melissa's work here.

cabin fever


Gotta love this lamp from Uncommon Goods and its vintage wood base. It fits the whole rustic vibe at Cabin Fever.



I have really enjoyed blogging this week and giving you all a glimpse of life in Nelson BC. Thanks for all the comments. I have uploaded some pictures to this Flickr location if you are interested, and I will continue to add some more in the next few days.
I am leaving you with a photo taken from my studio window. I hope you enjoyed the posts this week - and if you're ever in my neck of the woods, give me a call we'll go for a coffee at Oso Negro.

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