Seamlessly fusing ancient and modern techniques, Sandra Barrett and her husband David create intricate and artistic 3-dimensional artwork and functional homewares. The pair work with steel, bronze, and copper using modern welding and plasma cutting equipment and a traditional coke fired hearth at the Fernie Forge in Hosmer, just outside Fernie.
The pair moved their family to British Columbia and set up the Fernie Forge through the Provincial Nominee Program, (relocating workers to rural areas) when the 1893 forge they were working out of came to the end of its natural life in England. After 10 years, they purchased the former Salvation Army Hall in Fernie and launched Eye of the Needle Studio & Gallery.
The couple’s daughter, Florence, opened a sewing studio on the ground floor of the retail space while the basement galleries were dedicated to showcasing a range of fine artisan crafts from a variety of producers in metal, glass, textiles and wax. After winning a Canadian Leo award for her costume design on the period drama ‘Eadweard,’ Florence moved to Vancouver to continue her career in the film industry and the sewing studio was converted into a yarn store and workshop where Sandra offers private felting classes. Classes can be booked any time the studio and gallery is closed, providing a dedicated and supportive one-on-one setting. Depending on the preferred project, small groups can also be accommodated.
The Barrett’s use traditional blacksmithing skills to produce practical items including hooks, hinges and candlesticks. They have created a variety of larger installations, some of which can be seen at the Miner’s Walk at City Hall and at the entrance of the Eye of the Needle Studio & Gallery. Look up at the unique handcrafted sign in wood, textiles and metal, and discover a variety of metal and glass pieces located around the front of the building.
Sandra has travelled extensively to study felted art; her ‘Spiritual Temple’ was chosen as the cover image and was displayed at the Craft Council of BC’s 2018 exhibition ‘Shrine’ at Granville Island in Vancouver.
Sandra Barrett’s exhibition of ‘Painting with wool and silk’ will be presented at Eye of the Needle Gallery, March 1 – April 20, 2019. Eye of the Needle Studio and Gallery Open: Thursday & Friday 10 am–5 pm & Saturday 11:30 am–5:30pm
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