Anyone looking for a unique, last-minute gift for Mom this Mother's Day can find a painting, jewelry, a hand-crafted leather bag, pottery, or carving during the Art Studio Tour.
The tour takes place this Saturday and Sunday, and many artists will open up their facilities, do demos, and sell their ware.
Joie Pare is new such artist on this year's tour, and she is trying to build a career out of her handmade one-of-a-kind leather bags.
Pare began making her leather bags about a year ago. She established her company, named Wild-Side Leather, and has disciplined herself to work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Her bags are often made from recycled material, using old coats, recycled hardware, old belts, and other paraphernalia. But, she does use new material as well.
Her latest creations are convertible bags, which can serve as a shoulder bag, a holster bag, or a backpack.
After a year of working on her leather bags, she has managed to hone her skills and get better tools, thereby speeding up the process.
Her bags are hand-sewn and doublestitched. Pare likes to integrate lots of secret compartments into her bags.
"They should last a lifetime - that's my goal anyway," Pare told The TIMES.
While Pare is hoping to build a career out of her artwork, carver Bruce Rothe learned to whittle art out of driftwood almost by accident, and it has become a way to pass his time in retirement.
Several years ago, Rothe was at home just fooling around carving a piece of driftwood, and in the end, he ended up with a carving of a fish, surprising himself. He said: "Oh, I didn't know I could do this."
After years of perfecting his art, Rothe's studio in his home is getting crowded with his carvings, largely of fish, but also of ducks and other birds, as well as Christmas-themed Santa carvings, and, he said, it's time to start selling them off.
For a map and information on the Art Studio Tour, go to www.artstudiotour.ca.