Feature Artist

The hills are alive, with the sound of music… Julie Andrews sure had it right! She must have known about Fernie and the amazing community choir we are so lucky to have. Now, how many of you didn’t even know we had such a thing? Well, the Fernie Community Choir has actually been around off and on for years, but the last one dispersed in 2000 due to the departure of the choir director. Small little singing groups popped up over the past few years but there was not a bigger, more diverse group with rich four-part harmonies.

Imagine endless blank pages being transformed into a 192 page full-colour book filled with stunning photos, cold-climate gardening tips, tasty recipes, and all the inspiration a reader would need to plant a few seeds and try their hand at growing their own food. Each page a canvas for your writing, your photography, your graphic design. This is our story...

Once upon a time there were two Warrior Queens - Queen Smiley (Kylie Rogers Walker) and Queen Sun Dream (Sonia Roy). They lived deep below the Hosmer Mountain of Fernie, BC. One morning as they were both pondering life, Sun Dream told Smiley about a vision she had the night before. It told the story of creating a band and sharing the joy of creativity with the Fernians, the townspeople of Fernie.

Featured artist? More like crafting nerd, which I am totally in touch with and proud of. I always laugh when people roll up to the market stall and comment
, "I didn't know you were so crafty?" I don't think I did either, it just sort of evolved. Mostly with people's birthdays and Christmas presents, that's what got things 
started. When my daughter was little she used to get invited to so many birthday parties that we decided we should start making things to keep the cost
 down, not to mention we thought that homemade was cool.

The video Fold it up and put it away: Fernie’s Curse, currently showing at The Fernie Museum started as a project in 1996 when Joan Stebbins, then curator at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge, visited my studio in Toronto. She asked about a photo of Mayor James White and Ktuxana chief Big Crane smoking the peace pipe, that was pinned up on a wall. I told her what I knew about Fernie’s curse through my family, as James White was my grandfather.

I am a hunter-gatherer of moments; a solitary artist fuelled by the smell of two stroke smoke, powder snow stoke, and the flow of loamy trails under spinning spokes; feeding an insatiable compulsion to explore, learn, and bring others along on the journey. I never set out to be a photographer, but as a visual thinker, life on the dark side of the lens seems to help me interpret and communicate what I see and feel. In a photograph you can speak volumes without ever struggling to find the right words.

Being born and raised in Fernie helped me develop a natural affinity for both the outdoors and the wildlife in our region. Some of my first memories are of camping, fishing, and hunting with my family, so I guess you could say that nature comes natural to me. The funny thing is that I have always been fascinated with art, especially wildlife or art using nature as its focal point; unfortunately, growing up I showed absolutely no talent towards art at all.

This month’s feature artist Michael Brock knows what it is to be influenced by his surroundings. His recently released sultry, flowing EP Scorpio, and the six tracks that encompass it are—among other things—enough to make you want to lie down in the mountains amongst the tall grass and dream the day away.

“Everyone deserves some romance and a nice bass line in their lives,” he says of Scorpio. It’s true. Once you press play, it’s impossible to turn it off.

I was as green as grass, far from a whole food chef or a holistic nutritionist. In fact the first comment on some pancakes I made when I moved away from home was, “Are you pouring maple syrup on your scrambled eggs?!” At 21, I bought my first cookbook. It was called The Teens Vegetarian Cookbook. I wasn’t a vegetarian or a teen at the time, but the budget friendly and easy recipes looked tasty. At 22, I started working in a health food store – by then I had put on some good “pancake pounds.” There, I met some of the most beautiful and influential people of my life.

Have you ever stayed up too late listening to loud music, watching yourself dance in the mirror? We’re not shy to admit that we have. We are The Circus Acts Insomniacs, an emerging Kootenay-based Gypsy performance troupe. Based out of Fernie, we have already been blessed with opportunities to collaborate with several other Kootenay performers. By embracing the Gypsy mentality, the faces of our troupe are always changing and we are consistently working on new choreography and thinking up fresh new ways to entertain a crowd.