Ourglass studio and gallery’s Richie Mcbeath and Daniel Farden came to Nelson for different reasons but their shared love of art and glass brought them together.
“We are actually both from Saskatoon but we didn’t know each other,” said Mcbeath with a laugh.
Mcbeath originally came to Nelson for the snow while Farden came to pursue glass blowing.
“The guy I learned to blow glass from on Vancouver Island called me and told me he was moving to Nelson, and he asked if I wanted to come and blow glass,” he said.
Farden had been to Nelson once before when on tour with a band and knew with his culinary arts background he would be able to find work in local restaurants.
Mcbeath starting blowing glass after a friend who also worked with glass inspired him.
“I was working at All Seasons at the time and would be getting off of work 12 a.m. or 1 a.m. and he’d be getting off of work at 2 a.m. and we’d go blow glass at his studio at Six Mile until like 5 a.m. We did that for months and eventually I met Dan and more people in the craft,” said Mcbeath.
Ourglass studios and gallery opened in 2002 with six artists running the business in a co-operative-type model.
“When we first started we weren’t very good,” said Farden. “But we wanted a place to sell our stuff because otherwise you are trying to find wholesale accounts who want our work for half the price.”
After 10 years in business, Mcbeath and Farden aren’t surprised by the success of the studio.
“We’ve earned it,” said Farden. “We’ve ridden it out through thick and thin, good times and bad. The love and our friendship has kept us here. It’s been worth it. As I figure it as an artist, it takes time to kind of build your skills and develop your name and reputation. They say for a new business it takes five years to know if you’re in the clear, but as an artist you’re never really in the clear.”
The support of the arts community and the network of artists that the pair have met in the 13 years they have been Nelson has been important for their success.
“In a small town that supports the arts like Nelson what we do may not be that unique, but we know in a big city like Saskatoon we wouldn’t be able to do this,” said Mcbeath.
“I think definitely this community is an artistic community,” said Farden. “People believe in supporting local.”
All the glass work in Ourglass is made by Farden, Mcbeath and their two apprentices Gabe Dalton and Ryan Seath.
The gallery also showcases local artists through monthly art shows.
The pair has also enjoyed teaching locals – including kids – to blow class through in-studio lessons.
It’s also important for the studio to give back to the community give back through work with charities such as inviting those with autism to come in and participate in making art.
For more on Ourglass studio and gallery visit their website at ourglass.ca.