Gail Sweeny shows off the work of local artisans at her new gallery, Green Sheep Gallery in Armstrong May 30. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Armstrong’s newest gallery opens its doors

Gail Sweeny hopes Green Sheep Gallery will become a hub for local artisans

It had always been Gail Sweeny’s dream to create a place for local artisans to shine.

That dream finally came to fruition when Sweeny opened Green Sheep Gallery in the heart of Armstrong.

“Local artisans are not always found or recognized or have the ability to sell their work,” Sweeny said. “I wanted to have a place where artisans would have the opportunity to have their work in a gallery. I needed a place to help other artisans elevate their work.”

Sweeny’s intimate shop, located at 3410 Okanagan Street, has its roots in her work as a fibre artist for her company, Green Sheep Fibre, which she has taken on the road to juried shows from coast to coast.

“I specialize in felting with silk. Felting with silk is my jam,” Sweeny laughed. “I’m very tactile. I love the organic feel of it. No matter how hard you try to make it what you want, it holds onto its own thing. You definitely have control, but sometimes you don’t and that’s probably what I love best of working with silk and wool.”

While she has worked almost exclusively with fibres for the past 18 years, Sweeny’s love of crafts blossomed when her mother, a master spinner and weaver, taught her how to knit when she was six-years-old.

“I’ve been an artisan my whole life,” Sweeny said, adding that she’s dabbled in everything from pottery to soap-making.

When choosing work for the shop, Sweeny relies on her lifelong love of the craft.

“It’s really my own eye, my own feeling. I’ve had amazing things walk through the door,” she said. “I try to accept or reject from a place of kindness because I want to encourage people. I don’t want to ever discourage anyone.”

Drawing from her own experiences as a self-taught artist, Sweeny said that everyone has a journey to follow with their art, and, if an artisan’s work doesn’t fit in the gallery now, they should keep their spirits up and try again.

“That’s the only way you can bring the positive energy in, is to be open,” Sweeny said.

Green Sheep Gallery currently features the work of about 10 artisans with various mediums including painting, jewelry, pottery, sculptures and quilts.

“I want things that are unique, I want things that individual. I want things people have never seen. That’s the kind of thing that appeals to me,” Sweeny said. “I’d like an eclectic mix. I like people to be able to come in and see something different.”

With Green Sheep Gallery, Sweeny said she has blurred the lines between a gallery and a store to put the focus on the artisans.

“I will represent their work in a real way. I love it. I respect it. It’s not just about selling to make a commission. To pass on the love of their work to a customer or client, for their stories to match up, that means a lot to me,” Sweeny said.

“I believe everything you make by hand has a story and energy is attached to that piece. I’ve always loved the story of crafts. Story is so important. I honestly think people buy the story — that’s the reason people are attracted to art in the first place.”

Green Sheep Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artisans are welcome to drop in and meet Sweeny for the chance to display their work. For more information about upcoming exhibitions current work on display, visit Green Sheep Gallery on Facebook.


@VernonNews
parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

More wildfires discovered near Lumby, Cherryville

Canadian Armed Troops in Okanagan, Mabel Creek blaze creeps towards lake

Accident causes traffic delays in Rutland

An accident on Highway 33 occurred Friday night

Apple Triathlon organizers to keep a close eye on air quality

Organizers bring event is back this weekend after taking 2017 off

Naramata firefighters diverted after fires breaches Burns Lake camp

The crew was sent to Vanderhoof after a wildfire reportedly overtook a camp near Burns Lake

UPDATE: Kelowna’s crying judge refuses to pull herself from case

Judge Monica McParland has refused to pull herself off the case.

Armed Troops in Okanagan to help firefighters

Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Vernon Thursday, being deployed to West Kelowna fire

Cool Creek blaze near Princeton growing with “extreme fire behaviour”

The Cool Creek Fire burning 22 km east of Eastgate has merged… Continue reading

UPDATE: BC Wildfire boxes in Summerland blaze

A fire sparked earlier in the evening near Summerland is “completely boxed… Continue reading

New blaze near Summerland highly visible

Provincial crews are responding Friday evening to a new fire west of… Continue reading

Letter: Transportation plan a good start but too vague

it isn’t clear whether or not Kelowna council considers the 12 goals for this transportation plan

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Naramata firefighters diverted after fires breaches Burns Lake camp

The crew was sent to Vanderhoof after a wildfire reportedly overtook a camp near Burns Lake

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Most Read