Some of the artists in Alberta House are here in the summer only, but they contribute heavily during the time that they are here. One such artist is Barbara Bryant, who spends her summers in Brimley; her winters in Royal Oak. While here she helps staff Alberta House and gave a number of demonstrations, some with her daughter, Lisa Kimmel. Both Barbara and Lisa make jewelry, including jeweled book marks. This year, for the first time, Barbara also participated in the Sault Summer Arts Festival.
After one of their August demonstrations, Lisa wrote down some of her thoughts and memories about Alberta House and about the old Woodland Workshop. Her experiences probably echo those of many of us. The Alberta House Gallery and shop grew out of the Woodland Workshop in a very real sense. When the Woodland Workshop closed after the death of Olive Craig, it left a void. Olive was a founding member of the Sault Area Arts Council, which was incorporated in 1969, and of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Craft Council. Her concept of what was needed to showcase area artists, and the way it should be done was what we all built on when Alberta House was established and the Olive Craig Gallery was organized.
I have been spending my summers in Brimley since I was about four years old. My appreciation for hand crafted art was inspired by my mom at an early age. The first year that Woodland Workshop was open was the beginning of my love for and appreciation for hand crafted works of art. Each summer, every guest to our cottage in Brimley was whisked off to Woodland Workshop to see the beautiful pieces of local artwork. In later years, it was Alberta House that we visited several times each summer. In those early years, I never entertained any thoughts that one day I would be one of those "local" artists along with my mom.
I have been creating jewelry for about ten years. It is a hobby that I find very fulfilling—especially when I see someone wearing one of my pieces. In addition to creating jewelry, I also knit (some of my felted purses are available in the Alberta House Shop). Professionally I teach fourth grade in Chippewa Valley Schools (following in my mom's footsteps - a retired fourth grade teacher) have a very active 16-year-old. During the summer, I reside in Brimley. During the school year I live in Royal Oak.
My mom is very creative. When I was growing up, she always had some project going, like sewing, basket making, knitting or painting. I introduced her to making jewelry by giving her a few quick lessons. She has embraced this and taken her creativity to new heights and is very passionate about what she creates. Recently, she had a very successful sale at the recent Soo Art Fair.
Demos by Barbara Bryant and Lisa Kimmel
Last updated: November 1, 2007
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