Is it the natural beauty of the Interlake that draws the talented artisans or is it the talent of the artist that draws inspiration from the beauty of the area? Does this raw natural beauty feed the soul of an artist- drawing, ounce-by-ounce, the creative talent from within them?
Tucked away in every corner of the Interlake is a talented artisan producing beautiful works of art in every medium! Massive fresh water lakes, with glorious sunrises over one lake and golden hued sunsets across the other, provide quiet hidden places to reflect in and pull beauty from. Rugged shorelines and magnificent limestone cliffs or soft sandy beaches that squish beneath your feet – these are the places and scenes that provide the inspiration to our Interlake artisans.
These scenes stimulate a wide range of photography and paintings depicting these wonderful sites. Pottery, using limestone and the fossils it contains, is inspired by local conditions. Fibre art is increasing, using regionally grown wools from sheep and llamas, with many artists dyeing their own wools for unique, one-of-a-kind colour combinations used for loom weaving and all aspects of knitting designs.
Jewellery designers find inspiration in the beauty of the rock and water for some of their free flowing creations. Some use shells and driftwood for tying nature into their works of art. No longer do you need to travel out of country for those unique pieces your heart desires, you can talk to these designers about a piece you want and they will make it for you, offering up a unique one of a kind piece of jewellery or art.
Photographers roam the Interlake lining up those spectacular photos for the world to enjoy. The waters of both Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg bring winter scenes with ice heaves, ice laden limestone rocks and frost-covered branches overhanging the shorelines. A land of ever-changing weather brings forth fascinating places and scenes as the waves crash upon the shore during an early spring storm or gently kiss the sandy beaches that become playgrounds for the long, lazy summer days.
These creative folks need to release the pent up emotions through their art and fully enjoy the opportunity to discuss the meaning of their work: how their hands formed the gentle curving slope of a piece of sculpture or how the light reflects on a dewdrop following a rain. There are stories behind the art, the tales you do not hear. They are the “sense” of each piece crafted by these artisans.
Several Artist Studio tours such as “The WAVE” or “South of the Lakes Art Tour”, the “Village Artists” with “The Gallery”, Gimli Art Club or the Gwen Fox Gallery at the Selkirk Community Art Centre allow visitors to share these insights.
Art clubs and art galleries are dotted around the area. Stop by Mermaid’s Kiss Gallery in Gimli for a view through Linda Vermeulen’s camera lens or at H. Rogue Raiders Studio Gallery in Winnipeg Beach to see how “the ancient ones of the sea” come alive on canvas. Be sure to join in a tour of Dianne Fitzmaurice’s studio and the farm tours at Creature Comfort Cottage near Gimli to learn how the raw product becomes the beautiful fibre art and clothing she produces.
- By Gail J. McDonald