Select pieces from Lenny’s collection “A Rinksworth” AKA “The Ressurinktion”will be on display at the Guild in Charlottetown, PE, for the month of October . This will be part of the Group Exhibit titled, “Reclamations “ and will be shown along with pieces by the talented: Jane Whitten and Renee Laprise!
Viewing entries in
This visual arts collection, titled The Cost of Living, by Lenny Gallant, shifts viewers’ awareness away from art as aesthetic, to art as livelihood. It does this by using its pricing/value to reflect monthly bills. Each monthly bill amount is displayed alongside the art piece, as its price. A regional element is also included, comparing the monthly cost of living for the artist, in Prince Edward Island, to that of a working individual in Edmonton, Alberta. The “Mortgage” and “Home Heating” pieces were shown at The Guild Gallery in Charlottetown, PE, this summer as Part of the Here. Now. Group Exhibit.
The monthly “needs” bills were for PEI and AB, for the month of January 2018:
St. Georges, PEI = $2,642
Edmonton, AB = $2,990
Click on each image for a closer look:
(PE) It Doesn’t Matter Where the Cave Is (AB) The Paleobotanist’s Dream
(PE) A Questionable Pyramid (AB) It Comes From Somewhere
(PE) Where the Smoke and The Clouds Meet (AB) Eternal Flame
$200.00 (SOLD) $145.00
(PE) The Little Robot Tax Man WILL Find You (AB) Tax Free Is Not Free
(PE) The Power We Need (AB) Solar
(PE) The Commute Can Be a Lonely Place (AB) More Sky Than Anything Else
(PE) A Dark Worrisome Box With No Room For Magic (AB) Stay Inside With the Lights On
(PE) Eye Contact Will Keep Us All Honest (AB) Dial It In
Again, here are the totals for the month of January 2018:
St. Georges, PEI = $2,642
Edmonton, AB = $2,990
The pieces that have not already been sold will be available in our online Quirkshop gallery in the coming weeks. You may also make an appointment to view them in our physical Quirkshop.
Future. Thinking. Planning. Daydreaming. Fantasizing. Well, it's here now.
Even though Lenny had some large scale commissions under his belt, like this one, and this one, and this one, he still didn't consider himself a "real artist". It wasn't until he was awarded a creation grant from Innovation PEI in January of this year that he was able to dedicate two whole months to create a full art show that he felt his work could be respected on a professional level. And it is Here. Now.
Lenny will be displaying four pieces as part of a group exhibit held at The Guild in Charlottetown, PEI, from August 8 - September 3, 2018. He will be displaying his work along side these talented artists: Donnalee Downe, Kelly Caseley, Alexander Reuss, A Powerful Machine (Monica Lacey & Devon Ross), Carina Phillips, and Millefiore Clarkes.
The four pieces are from the larger show titled The Cost of Living. Lenny and I came up with this idea for an art collection about 3 years ago. I remember sitting in our sun porch having that kind of brainstorming session where each person keeps building on the other person's last statement until it grows into this beautiful idea. You know the type of conversation I mean? It happens often when a friend has a funny concept/joke and it keeps spiralling until you're all laughing so hard you are crying.
So here is the idea we had and the art show that now exists:
The Cost of Living
This visual arts collection, titled The Cost of Living, shifts the viewers’ awareness away from art as aesthetic, to art as livelihood. It does this by using its pricing/value to reflect monthly bills. Each monthly bill will be displayed alongside the art piece, as its price. A regional element will also be included, comparing the monthly cost of living for the artist, in Prince Edward Island, to that of a working individual in Edmonton, Alberta.
The outmigration of PEI’s youth is an on going concern of our island communities and economy. I want to create a visual representation of the differences in the cost of living from one individual living on PEI to one individual in Alberta. This comparison will display the difference of the monthly production of art necessary for each person to live. The artwork's size, complexity, and aesthetic will be the indicator of value. It is difficult to comprehend, for example, an office manager’s monthly workload. This will symbolize that workload as visual art. I selected Edmonton, Alberta, because I lived there for about 10 years. It is not meant to summarize regionals incomes with any scientific accuracy, but rather a comparison of one individual to another, living in different places with different occupations. I had a random facebook friend volunteer their actual bills for this concept.
My abstract designs are influenced by my natural surroundings from my past or present: landscapes influenced by the ocean, forests, mountains, and cityscapes. The Cost of Living collection will compare imagery between PEI and Edmonton, Alberta. Imagery representing each “cost” or "bill" will also be in each design. For example, the “Mortgage/Rent” art piece will evoke a sense of shelter and/or home. And the “electricity” bill will remark on power or electrical current.
We are working out the details with a hip new venue in Charlottetown, PE, to display this show in its entirety. But in the meantime, we hope you can view the four pieces on display at the Guild from August 8 - September 3, 2018. The opening reception will be held August 8th from 7-9pm. The selected pieces from the show will represent two household payments for each place: Mortgage and Home Heating.
Thanks to This Town is Small, more real artist things are happening! Lenny was able to have pieces of his artwork critiqued by other professional artists as part of their "Crit Nights" to foster creative growth. And he has been awarded the opportunity to mentor with professional artist Jessica Winton as she creates her work titled "Waterline" to be exhibited at Art in the Open this August 25, 4pm - midnight.
Here it is, our self-judged, self-awarded list of our top ten designs of 2017. (Keeping in mind that photography plays a large role in these decisions. There are some really great pieces that we only took really crap photos of!)
#10. Copper Headboard
Our clients already had custom copper details throughout their home in Alberta. They provided us with some leftover sheets of copper to include in their custom headboard.
I selected this relatively small wall hanging due to its unique sculptural style. Not only is the frame bulging away from the wall, the artwork continues to reach out of frame, toward your eyeballs.
#8. Hover and Loom
Selected for their high impact, central image. Designed as a two piece series with a futuristic mode of transportation theme.
#7. French River Cottage Coffee Table
There is just something about those curved corners and that black and white detail that compliment this gorgeous cottage. Read more about this cottage and book your stay here!
Circular wall hangings are always popular, but this one has a special combo of straight lines + curves, wood tones and colour, making it a beautifully balanced piece that is an all time favourite.
#5 Places to Stay
A long, wooden landscape playing out across a century old walnut pump organ key cover. The handle is kept intact alluding to its past utility. The scene changes from playful, curving, and whimsical on the left to dark, rugged, and moody on the right. A spectrum of each of our own mental landscapes. They are all potential places to stay. Available in the Quirkshop.
#4 Wood River Dining Table
This table started out with some big challenges - there were issues with finding wood of the right thickness and the tree trunk legs were making some noise for us. In the end, with a little magic, it all came together beautifully for a really great family who came out to our Quirkshop to provide input into the design elements.
#3 The Geo Table
So nice, we made it twice! This table was inspired by a previous dining table we made last year (which you can view here). This one had the added detail of a geometric strip composed of pump organ wood - to highlight the design of the pendant light hanging above the table. The second table is available in our Quirkshop online or IRL.
#2. 2017: The Year of the Block
This piece is located on Main Street in Montague. It took up a lot of the first half of the year and is composed of ~2300 reclaimed wood blocks. You can read more about this public art installation here.
#1. The Quirkshop + Kickstarter
This was pretty huge change for us this year and we look forward to developing our quirky little art gallery next year and expanding into our 7 acre property. Thank you to everyone who helped us get here and who came to visit us!
And our daily reminder that "We're Open!" in our Instagram Stories was pretty popular for a while! I know we had a lot of fun coming up with new ways of letting you know we were open (the yodelling was my personal favourite).
Thank you again to everyone who helped make this another great year at Birdmouse. We are looking forward to 2018 when Lenny will exhibit his very first solo art show. He will be designing and building the collection through January and February of 2018 and showing the collection in March (location TBD). It has a very interesting message that we look forward to sharing in the New Year. Let's go for another spin around the big star!
Honourable mention to the "Snug" Desk - this post's title image.
In June, 2017, we opened our retail shop, the Quirkshop (an art gallery of sorts).
Things are definitely slowing down around here at the Quirkshop, but it has been an incredible first season. We have learned so much, met a lot of interesting and friendly people, and got to see our dream become a reality. It took over 100 people's help (through our Kickstarter as well as physical/skilled help). Here is a little glimpse of the transformation:
The photo below is the before. It is taken from the vantage point of where the wall will be built to separate the studio from the Quirkshop:
We took out the wood stove, had our electrician friend remove the overhead fluorescent lighting to allow for these oversized Ikea Hektar pendant lamps. They fit nicely into our little budget and add to the industrial-whimsy look we were going for.
This beautiful wood wall was already here, but we had to flip it from the other side (our bathroom and kitchen) to the Quirkshop side.
We knew our walls were going to take a beating from hanging and rehanging our artwork, so we had Ray from RBM Construction build us our huge (and budget friendly), 13 feet high x 22 feet wide OSB wall dividing the studio from the Quirkshop and to cover the other two exposed walls. We colour matched the green from old salvaged windows in our sales desk, for our floor colour: "Relentless Olive" from Sherwin-Williams. The wall colour is "Queen Anne's Lace".
Covering that fuse box was listed as "make the fight right" on our renovation to-do list. No reason to get into it here, but let's just say we disagreed on how to resolve that little issue...
Now we have this beautiful space to showcase our Birdmouse and Birdmouse Jewellery designs, as well as the work of other talented makers, such as: Bad Mouth Soap, Quarrelsome Yeti, Ally Oaks felted designs, Lamplight Studio, Nova Scotia Oatcakes, Shiny Paint, TNT Candles, Lucus Craft, The Black Spruce Live Edge Ladles, and more to come.
And notice that prize wheel?! Lenny made that and it is hanging from that 10 foot tall barn door. Our visitors can make a donation to either a people/nature based organization for a spin to win one of Lenny's art pieces. We had two lucky winners this summer. Stay tuned for a Christmas Spin-to-Win special edition! We are planning on hosting some festive night shopping events.
If you had a chance to visit this summer, this was a common sight: Timber posing for instagram.
I think there was only one major blooper for our first season: we open at 10am and I was usually ready to greet the public by that point in the day. One particular day, however, I was still in my pyjay-jays when a camera crew showed up at the door at 10am, ready for us to open to shoot part of this promo video. Of course.
I'll wrap it up by thanking our Kickstarter backers once again for making this happen. It was so exciting to watch that sales graph climbing to make our dream come true. As they say, it takes a village. And we definitely got a little boost when this CBC article was published. We do still owe a coffee table, a couple of art pieces, and birdhouses, but they're coming!! It feels so much better to be in art debt than bank debt, so thank you, thank you, thank you!
And thank you to everyone who has visited us. Being a homebody is so much easier and enjoyable when people come to you! We are so grateful for your continued support that allows us to keep making art!
As for what is next? We have 7 acres here and are open to collaborations and ideas. Get in touch if you have an idea on how we can work together!
My design was selected to be a part of the Town of Montague's Centennial Art Trail here on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
The piece is located right before the bridge over the Montague River, so I wanted it to celebrate the natural landscape of the waterfront. I wanted it to almost blend in with the environment so rich in greens and blues (in the summer anyhow!).
To create the image, I took a photo of a crashing wave and opened it in Adobe Photoshop. I altered the image to enhance the pixels, creating distinct blocks of colour.
From that image, I grouped similar colours together so that I wasn't working with individual colours specific to each block. The image was further blurred in this process.
The wood blocks were made entirely out of 2x4s collected from this collapsed community hockey rink located on our property. The quonset style building was built in the late 1960s by the church down the road. Much of the wood was likely locally harvested and milled on site.
We are grateful to our friends who actually seemed to enjoy sanding hundreds of blocks with us on their weekends! Thank you so much to Dennis and Heather, Jay and Angela! And Lenny's Mom helped too!
There were blocks friggin everywhere when we got to the point of putting it all together. Managing different colours and the amount needed of each colour got a little tricky here. Our dog, Timber, likes to take chunks of wood to chew on AND we had little kids come and visit us - this meant that we were finding blocks in random places (in kitchen cupboards, on bookshelves, under the couch) weeks after the piece was installed!
I did adjust some colours after they were glued up because they didn't look right. (The computer can make a bluish-yellow colour - physically mixing those turns...you guessed it = green.).
Install day always gives you a little adrenaline rush and who knows what other hormones with all of those feelings of pride, anxiety, relief, and accomplishment in the mix. It went really smoothly with Lenny's help (when levelling, he's a very talented by eye guy!).
And now it is up! It is much different than I visualized in my head: the colour blocking turned out way looser than I expected. It also had to be in completed in four separate pieces due to the sections of the fence and they had to be spaced to allow for the centre gate to open. Framing each piece wasn't in the original plan, but Lenny suggested it and I am so glad he did. I love the end result and am so happy with the culmination of this group effort.
My favourite aspects are how prominent the colours change from the left to right, light to dark. I also love how much the visual changes from far away and up close. Working with colour was new to us, which was fun, but I almost wish I had integrated more bare wood into the design. Oh well, perhaps age and weathering will do that for me.
Thank you to Lenny for his artistic opinions throughout, cutting all those blocks, putting the beast together and getting it up on that fence. Thank you to our friends for the power of time travel. We lost huge gaps of time laughing while working and made that sanding job feel like it flew by on block party days. And thank you to the Town of Montague for the strategic effort to add arts & culture to the community.
If you have any questions about the process, ask away!
So, we haven't been posting much new material lately and we haven't added any new items to our online store. That is because we have been working on furnishing two whole cottages this past winter and spring. That's 15 pieces, if I counted correctly!
Here is the first cottage, located in picturesque French River, PEI, and available for rental. You can check out the listing here. It is bright, clean, and modern, but with some original details and warmth.
These pieces were made using wood from: a cattle barn's feeding trough, a 100+ year old house that was torn down in Bridgetown, a kitchen renovation in Fortune, PE, a century old piano and pump organ, and an antique tabletop. Each piece was hand rubbed with several coats of tung oil and finished with a protective coat of beeswax.
Let's start with the main floor:
The Dining Table:
And Bench for additional seating:
The Coffee Table:
The Night Table:
And up to the second floor:
And the Headboard/Night Tables:
Here are a few behind the scenes shots to prove we made them!
There it is! We are so grateful for our clients' trust in our creativity. We managed to discuss and reach decisions about dimensions, style, and finish all by email and facetime, as the cottage owners were in another country during the building process. The result is quite beautiful as a whole and we think Rita's French River cottage will make the perfect little Island getaway!
We will be delivering furniture for the second cottage package in the next week, so watch for Part II coming soon!
Hell bent on opening a small, quirky shop out in the woods!
"When will common sense prevail?"
Here we are - wrapping up 2016 with our self-nominated, self-awarded Top Ten Designs of the year! Thank you to everyone who has given us your "garbage" wood and to all of our supporters and customers who add the fuel for our creativity. There were lots of great projects that didn't make our list - the top ten are the projects that are of impressive scale or particularly unique. Enjoy and we look forward to diving into 2017 with more custom projects and adventures in art.
If you would like to see 2015's Top Ten, click here.
#10. The Narrows
Like that scene in that movie/show where the vertically closing door is on its way down and "main character" slips under just in time (most recently seen in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency), Lenny sneaks this piece in just before the 2017 door drops. And it is big, bold and beautiful. As any artist will tell you, sometimes you have to push your commissions to the side and make a piece that comes solely from yourself. The Narrows was made for no one and everyone and is available for purchase as of today. Click here for a more thorough look.
#9. The Wall
This was some serious square footage and it turned out beautifully. We supplied the wood and design layout as a sort of kit and the homeowner's contractor carried out the impeccable installation. Most of the wood came from a 100 year old farmhouse. Looking modern in the city!
#8. People From the Town Holiday in the Country and Country Folk Holiday in the Town
This piece - made using a door panel as the frame - went to the exact right customer. The title is based on our favourite line from the 1964 British tv series "Seven Up" - which the owner of this piece studied in film school! AND they live in a big city and holiday in their cottage on PEI. Perfect!
Here is the clip from "7 Up" - (at the 1 minute mark)
#7. Modern Table
This is probably the most modern piece we have ever made - using an ancient door. We attempted to strip the 700,001 layers of paint to expose the original wood (with the help of visiting friends from Victoria, BC), but the paint was stronger than we were. Our clients kept an open mind, we worked with what we had, and everyone loved the result. This has a super glossy epoxy finish on top and sleek metal legs below.
#6. Flame of Thrones
Our client came to visit our studio and discuss side tables we were designing for her, using one of her own salvaged doors. She left with a commission for a throne! This started with that magnificent wood slab and finding a project for it. We love that this now exists and we've said it before, we have the best clients!
#5. Call Zones for the Startup Zone
This was a very important project for us. We were just coming out of a pretty slow winter - a couple of large projects had to cancel on us for legit reasons, but it left us struggling to pay the billz. This project landed in our inbox because the original designer dropped out at the last minute. We had a few weeks to design and build two of these indoor phone booths. They function as a little cubicle if you need to answer your cell phone in the middle of a workshop or presentation. This is a pretty cool collaborative space and worth looking into if you are thinking of your own startup on PEI.
Anyway, this project came along when we really needed it and we haven't slowed down since (feeling: grateful).
#4. Fishing Village
Inspired by a Quebec fishing village with buildings on staging scattered amongst the rocky shoreline. Our clients provided photos for inspiration and also supplied wood from the actual location as well. This is a larger piece, measuring about 6 feet x 2.5 feet and makes for a pretty impressive addition to our clients' beautiful home.
#3. At the Cottage!
This delightful crew found us on Google while in Australia (an SEO win!)! It all started with that coffee table in the centre - made from our neighbour's horse stable doors. We were then provided with 3 doors from their family's old home. One was turned into the artwork seen on the wall. The second was turned into that bar-height dining table to the left. The third was made into a pair of side tables (not pictured). We are happy to be a part of the bright, airy decor of this cheery seaside cottage.
Air, water, earth, fire - the elements incorporated into a fireplace mantle. (Elements + Mantle = Elemantel!) We are so lucky to have clients to provide us with this large canvas within their home, list some imagery they would like incorporated, and then just let Lenny's imagination run wild with it! This home has soaring ceilings with one wall completely windows - so this large scale, highly detailed piece has a grounding effect.
Have you heard of Marijuana for Trauma ? It is group of veterans helping veterans to access medical marijuana to support treatment of PTSD. The folks down at MFT have had a huge effect on our lives - not only in support of our creative work, but also our mental health (they also help civilians with illnesses that show benefit from the use of medical marijuana). Because of this, we were able to have a much more productive year. We are willing to go as far as to say that our business would likely not have made it through another year, without this mental health aid and we are truly grateful. Because of this, we are naming this project #1! Plants not pills!
Thank you again! A couple of exciting things coming down the pipe:
1. Starting January 1, 2017, we will begin weighing every piece that is sold, so we will have a running total weight of wood reclaimed.
2. We will 100% definitely be opening a studio gallery that is open to the public in Spring/Summer 2017. This was intended to happen this year, but...it didn't!
Here is a self nominated and self awarded list of our top ten birdmouse projects of 2015. It is a mix of both our artwork and furniture. Here we go:
#10 The Stan Desk
The client wanted a simple, clean design.
#9 Sarah's Eyeglass Display Case
We used the side boards from the collapsed community hockey rink on our property for this piece.
#8 Yoga Studio Reception Desk
The client wanted custom dimensions to hold bolsters and mats inside.
#7 F%#& This S%*#!
This video was more popular than the amount of snow the Maritimes received last winter. Snowmaggedon induced harsh language.
#6 Abstracts & The Super Blood Moon Series
Artwork is a more recent addition to our reclaimed wood repertoire. It took a more sophisticated turn this year which you can read about here.
#5 Habitat for Humanity Design Challenge
We created a puppet theatre from an old armoire for the win! After their debut at this event, we released our "Manana" logo t-shirts in our online store.
#4 Knitting Cabinet
The client wanted a personalized piece to showcase their family heirloom stained glass.
#3 Loft Ladders
This is something we never expected to be making and so had to review our trigonometry (SOHCAHTOA!).
#2 Watercolour Headboard
This custom piece incorporated the client's heirloom sewing machine and was based on a watercolour painting of the client's. You can read more about this project here.
Wow - these were just the highlights! We met so many amazing people over the year and it is truly an honour to create pieces that play a role in your homes and businesses. What will 2016 bring? We look forward to hearing to your ideas and what we can make for you. Contact us to discuss your ideas and get a quote. We may have some unique projects up our sleeve as well...
A custom headboard based on the client's watercolour painting.
"Hey 42 eyes!"