Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Winter 2020-21 Edition - Page 22

FEATURED ARTIST

GABRIELA ESCOBAR – THE ELK VALLEY QUARANTINE JOURNALS

It is my hope that people learn from this experience , myself included . It is so easy to forget the feelings and emotions during a time like this once everything is back to normal . – Melissa F .
Gabriela Escobar Ari moved to Fernie seven years ago from Bolivia with her husband , Gonzalo . A love of photography stems from her work there , where she documented historical collections as an archeological consultant for the Ethnographical and Folklore Museum in La Paz . Part of her role involved documenting archeological digs in the field ; this gave her the opportunity to photograph local landscapes and residents . Often , villages located near the digs provided even more insights into the lives of rural Bolivians , where , 10 years ago , many homes still had no running water or electricity , and cooking was done over an open flame . Living conditions are changing fast now , she says , making her images all the more important in documenting the development of pastoral Bolivia . Her work demanded a high level of skill and the more it demanded of her , the more she was encouraged to learn about the tools of the trade . She studied camera skills and equipment to get the best from her images . as much of the atmosphere of Fernie as she can . Having just taken the leap into full-time work as a professional photographer , her plans were suddenly halted with the arrival of the SARS- Cov-2 Pandemic along with the social restrictions it brought . Undaunted , she reached out to photographer friends and
Jill Barclay stays busy running her business , Goldstar Cleaning , raising her three children , and offering business coaching for the Women ’ s Enterprise Centre .
Here in Fernie , Escobar continues to practise photography , capturing events , people and landscapes around town . She is inspired by the beautiful local environment and aims to capture
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FEATURE ARTIST Joni Laberge Joni is a writer, or at least she was. She probably still is, and when she gets back to her novel and her memoir, you’ll want to read it. But for now, Joni has put down her pen, picked up her paintbrush, and turned to visual art as a creative outlet during the difficult days that have made up 2020. Elkford Arts Studio The bright and welcoming Elkford Arts Studio offers a range of pot- tery, painting, drawing, glass mosaic, photography and felting class- es including workshops by guest instructors and local artists and artisans. See website for dates, details and ticket links. Discover how wild surroundings can inspire you to be creative by nature! DECEMBER Workshops and 2019 classes Ornament Making & Wood will return in the spring, Crafts including: painting, glass FEBRUARY 2020 mosaic, knitting, pottery, Winter in the Wild: kids classes and more. Fill-your- bowl fundraiser, Pottery Demos and Open Sign up for the House. newsletter at elkfordarts. EARLY 2020 ca to stay up Mosaic, to date on Painting, Glass Knitting, Pottery, Kids’ Classes announcements and more. 2nd Floor, Elkford Rec Centre, 816 Michel Road Elkfordarts.ca | elkfordartscouncil@gmail.com Laberge first studied art at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson as her second studio during a Writing Program; when funding fell through and she was unable to finish her course, she left determined to become a writer. She had some success, working at Koocanusa Publications and in communications, and attending the Banff Centre and Sage Hill. She had already fallen in love with poetry while living and working in Calgary where an owl-like bookstore worker would slide books of poetry across the counter of the coffee shop where she worked. That love has stayed with her all these years, helping her to craft headlines and expressive prose. Poetry is like a fine glass of whisky, she says; it stays with you as you swirl it around. After moving to Sparwood and taking a role as a youth activities co-ordinator, Laberge took a break from writing to let a little colour in back in – she says she is a pigment nerd and swoons over Daniel Smith Paints. She loves the movement of watercolour and dislikes the solidity of acrylics. A new studio in her basement has become a refuge where she hangs out with her German Pointer, Lucy, cat, Keela, and kitten, Bruno. She may return to writing in the future but for now, colours are a more soothing companion. You can purchase work by Joni Laberge in Sparwood at Crumbs Cakery/Funky’s Pizza, The Visitor Information Centre and at Buds and Blooms. 23