Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Forget Me Not

It's been so long since our last blog post - it's good to be back! 
We've been so busy with everything that goes into operating the shop, 

On to some of the happenings around here: 

Christmas 2012 Memory Lane
Our new projecting sign!

Christmas in downtown Elgin was wonderful. Small Business Saturday kicked off the holiday season and the shoppers came out in droves. The community support was truly amazing and touched our hearts.

We decorated our windows again with a woodsy, natural theme for the Downtown Elgin Window Wonder Land - the theme this year was Christmas Traditions Around the World.

The annual Wonderland activities downtown transformed the streets into a flurry of holiday shoppers enjoying roasted chestnuts. There was a reindeer display, and everything was topped off by the downtown tree lighting.  Soulful Sparrow participated as an activity stop where anyone could make their own pinecone ornament out of natural materials.

Happy shoppers show off their pinecone ornaments

Featured local artists

We featured and supported many local artists through out the year.

Turn 2 Woodturning - Dale Moorehouse

Dale Moorehouse is a pillar in the Elgin Community - if the pillar was made out of wood he would be the one to turn it. Dale's business is Turn 2 Woodworking.  He makes one of a kind turned-wood products such as bowls, candleholders, vases, and more.  Your special gift ideas are welcome. Many of his products are for sale in the shop through out the year.

Wooden ornaments made by Dale Moorehouse of Turn 2 Woodturning

Santa hat, made by Beverly Collins

Who was it who said "I live to make stuff"?  This definitely describes Beverly Collins.  She lives in Elgin and she made us these whimsical and very well done Santa hats, complete with resident mouse. They are available at the shop during the holiday season.

Dennis Christian

Local artist Dennis Christian paints his art on glass.  When a candle is placed inside, the glow of the colors against the silhouetted landscape is breathtaking. We carry a nice selection for sale in the shop year round.

Figures from Don Pelin's collection

Collector extraordinaire Don Pelin is a retired teacher and local collector.  He volunteers as an educator for the Elgin Area Historical Society & Museum - that's the museum under the cupola. He has an extensive collection of vintage miniatures and he is willing to part with a few. His daughter Betsy and wife Linda own and operate Elgin Knit Works next door to us. Come see what he is selling at Soulful Sparrow - the selection changes seasonally throughout the year. 

Chris Robinson
Chris Robinson is a Fox Valley folk artist and a longtime Elgin resident.  She draws inspiration from the Fox Valley. Children and seasonal characters are often found in her work. She is known for her Santas, angels, goblins, and turkeys.  What makes her work unique is that she not only paints on canvas, but also on various found vintage items.  Her artwork has appeared in numerous publications, including Country Living, Country Sampler, Country Marketplace, and on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens

Owners Own

We don't just MAKE art, we SELL it!

One of the perks of owning a shop in a growing and thriving artist community like downtown Elgin is that we get a unique opportunity to showcase some of our own work. Co-owners Mary Pierce and Judy Walsberg are both artists that enjoy being creative and get excited about new ideas and new ways to unveil it to the those who walk throughout the door of our shop.

Judy is a self taught artist with growth from classes she takes here and there.  She has a passion for fiber arts and she is a genius at repurposing "junk" into beautiful new forms in an artistic way.  Some Judy's was pictured in 2013 Winter - Flea Market Style Magazine.  Featured here is some of her work repurposing old hand saws into beautiful works of artful owl images which are also sold through the shop.

A featured article about Judy Walsberg's art

One of Judy's owl creations from an old hand saw

One of Judy's owl creations from an old hand saw

Judy also produces many of the repurposed jewelry pieces available in the shop. These pieces are mostly made from vintage parts and redesigned estate jewelry.

Just a sample of Judy's jewelry creations!

Just a sample of Judy's jewelry creations!
It doesn't seem like Judy could have any spare time after all of that, but she also repurposes clothing.  Below, you can see some of her own hats made from thrifted and felted wool sweaters. As I mentioned, Judy has a passion for fiber arts - these hats are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to working with fiber. We could do a whole blog session just on that topic… so we will. Be on the lookout for future fiber arts posts!

Some of Judy's handmade felted hats - they were once wool sweaters!
Mary Pierce is the other owner of Soulful Sparrow. The Pierces moved to Elgin in 1998 and fell in love with Elgin's vibrant historical community.  Mary has an a fine arts degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee WI.  Mixed media and decorating have always been some of her passions. The jewelry designs below have a historical connection to the Elgin Watch Factory, as they are made with original Elgin Watch faces. These would make a charming and unusual gift for yourself or someone else. 

Elgin Watch necklaces made by Mary - no two are EVER alike!

Elgin Watch dial necklace made by Mary

Elgin Watch dial necklace made by Mary
While living in New England from 1989-1995 Mary worked at a shop/gallery in the popular tourist town of Mystic, Connecticut - made famous by the movie "Mystic Pizza".  There, she was introduced to wearable and sellable altered clothing.  Fifteen years later, when Mary met Judy, that inspiration bubbled to the surface again.

Repurposed/altered felted wool sweater by Mary
Repurposed/altered felted wool sweater tunic by Mary

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