The Pembina Valley Studio Tour took place over the weekend with artisans of all types inviting the public to join them inside their creative spaces. Altona's Gallery in the Park participated by hosting its second Blue House Market inside the Schwartz House, which featured twenty local vendors offering everything from pottery to floral arrangements to clothing to delicious treats.

"It gives them a chance to show off their talents of what they make, and there are people who don't really do online, so this is a really great opportunity for lots of foot traffic, people come in and see it in person, rather than just seeing it online, or just word of mouth," said market planner Renee Friesen. "It blows me away that we have so many people that do so many different things, and they all do them so well. There's a lot of talent, so we're lucky to have it, and be able to showcase it."

She noted they had a significant year over year increase in vendors, going from eight last year to twenty artisans this year.

Delicia Hildebrand at her boothDelicia Hildebrand at her booth on the second floor of the Schwartz House

One of those creators was Delicia Hildebrand who owns and operates Creekside Wildflower Farm, located just northwest of Altona. She is in the second season of growing local, fresh handpicked cut wildflowers.

"It started as a hobby, something I enjoyed," Hildebrand explained. "I teach throughout the year, so it was a good shift and (chance to) turn my brain off. We have a lot of fun with it, and as much works as it is, it is also as equally fun."

The growing season begins in January, with eucalyptus getting started indoors first, followed by thousands of other seedlings going into individual cells, and then being transplanted outdoors. All of their flowers get planted in May and June, with harvesting, u-picks and other private events following. She noted it was a pretty hot start to the year, but they made it through.

"I like creating the bouquets, and how unique they are every single time," Hildebrand shared. "How it brightens people's day is huge, and flowers are amazing, because they say so much without saying anything. They fill all the holes and the gaps, and it's a great way to brighten people's day."

You can listen to Delicia's conversation with CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Co-Host Chris Sumner, below.


Barry Friesen behind his booth for Laser ForgeBarry Friesen behind his booth for Laser Forge

Barry Friesen owns and operates Laser Forge, which does custom laser engraving and cutting woodwork. He also had a booth set up at the market.

"Just started thinking about doing that (laser engraving) before COVID started, and then thought this would be a great way to spend the time at home," he said. "Bought a laser, got into it, started playing with it and have been having lots of fun."

Based on the creativity, intricacy and craftsmanship of his pieces, you would never guess this was his first foray into woodworking.

"I think that's probably the most enjoyable when they come to me with an idea, and if we can bring it to fruition, that's a lot of fun," Friesen noted when asked what he enjoys the most about his work. "I like making things that people will take home and display, or use or play with. That's fun."

The annual self-guided studio tour is coordinated by a regional committee of artists and art enthusiasts, with the goal of promoting Pembina Valley artists and their studios. Tour participants were located across the region including Emerson, Winkler, Carman, Morden, Miami,  Pilot Mound, La Riviere and Darlingford .

You can listen to Barry's conversation with CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Co-Host Chris Sumner, below.

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