special Guest Post: by Fiona Richards {Cartolina Cards}

My Neck of the Woods - day 5.
Special Guest Post by Fiona Richards, Cartolina Cards


Grass Roots
When I started this guest blog on Monday I wanted to talk about the challenges of living and working in a relatively remote, small town. Nelson is an 8hr drive from the closest big city, Vancouver. But I got a little distracted over the last few days by all the talented designers and artists who do business from here - and they all make it look pretty easy. But it does have its challenges. At times you have to be fairly resourceful to live here. Most people live here for the peaceful lifestyle - I don't think I know anyone who chose Nelson for its variety of industry and career choices. So to begin this last post of the week I want to acknowledge the grass roots entrepreneurs who give Nelson its soul. From the radish farmer to the potter, the weaver and the panama-hatted herb guy, what they do everyday, in our small community, is beautiful, simple and really important.

The Craft Connection and Nicole Bigg
The Craft Connection has been a cooperative of Nelson artists for 25 years. Craft Connection members share in the operation of the store through staffing, advertising, marketing, and display. Since most co-ops are community and regionally based, investment in, and surplus revenue from, the co-op stay within the local community. The Craft Connection recently bought and renovated this lovely old building and converted it into a great gallery space for all their members. Nicole Bigg is one of the member artists at the Craft Connection and I have enjoyed watching her art evolve over the last few years. Currently I am loving her belt buckles, there are lots on display today at the store - aren't they amazing?


Nicole has a few things to say about living and working in a small community, "Some cities are great for a bit but over all I enjoy living in a small town especially Nelson. There are many things here to inspire great artwork like beautiful lakes and mountains-and it's relaxing, it doesn't have the traffic, pollution and distractons that the city has. Nelson keeps me as busy as I would like really." Nicole has a great web site with lots of images of her work and also her fabulous jewelry. Enjoy!


Cabin Fever.
So if you get in your car, in the middle of nowhere, and drive for 2 hrs, you might be surprised to find that you are still in the middle of nowhere - though in a different country. Sandpoint Idaho is a beautiful 2 hr drive from Nelson. It's an even smaller town than Nelson but they are lucky to have one of my all time favourite little shops - Cabin Fever. Owner Rebecca has amazing good taste and a wonderful talent for merchandising. The store is split into a clothing section and the other side of the store is furniture, with bedding and bath downstairs - a great rustic mix of vintage and new.
So there I was on Wednesday admiring the John Robshaw linens stacked high on vintage dressers, when I saw these amazing handmade linen pillows designed and produced by local artist Melissa Neufeld. What struck me most about these pillows was the frill which is made of burlap webbing - the kind you see underneath the seats of antique dining room chairs. The screen printing is beautifully done and really unusual. I think I was drawn to them because I love the combination of natural linen, burlap and black ink. You can see more of Melissa's work here.

cabin fever
Gotta love this lamp from Uncommon Goods and its vintage wood base. It fits the whole rustic vibe at Cabin Fever.

I have really enjoyed blogging this week and giving you all a glimpse of life in Nelson BC. Thanks for all the comments. I have uploaded some pictures to this Flickr location if you are interested, and I will continue to add some more in the next few days.
I am leaving you with a photo taken from my studio window. I hope you enjoyed the posts this week - and if you're ever in my neck of the woods, give me a call we'll go for a coffee at Oso Negro.


Special Guest Post by Fiona Richards, Cartolina Cards

Editors Note: A HUGE thank you Fiona for a great week! It was so fun to see all the good things coming out of the interior and a little south of the border. I'm sure you'll all agree with me, Fiona has a knack for this blogging life. Also, I'm probably not the only one planning a trip to Nelson in the near future after reading about this quaint place!

Jan Halvarson


Unknown said...

Great post, I lived in a tiny village when I was 7 years old and your post made remember it.

Julie said...

Wonderful post Fiona! I can see why you were drawn to those pillows - simply gorgeous. Sad to see your week end - thanks for sharing a glimpse into your neck of the woods. :-)

Charlotte Tollstén said...


So inspiring.

I want to go to Nelson NOW!!!

I went to Canada about 15 years ago, never went to Nelson that time, but if there be a next time I HAVE to go.

Uncle Beefy said...

Uh...Fiona...you know if I get to Nelson I am SO going to call you!

I've bookmarked the flickr account and will continually get my Nelson fix from your incredible photos!!!
(Unless of course I just chuck it and move north!) :)

Anonymous said...

Nelson looks like an amazing place to visit! Great post!

Erin Nowak, Designer and Illustrator said...

In a word, CHARMING! Love the picture from your studio window! You do have a knack for this so please...let us know when you've started your own blog!

Fiona Cartolina said...

Aw, thanks everyone :-)

It's been so much fun. I really enjoyed it and I would definitely consider having my own blog some time. I truly appreciate all your feedback .

Fiona(future blogger perhaps!)

Unknown said...

Your post left me wanting to visit Canada on my next trip! I saw the site because I work for Uncommongoods and noticed the American lamp mention. If you are interested in creating even more of a rustic look to your home, check out items like the mango wood root bowl, organic shaped wood table or the cedar lamp base. Check them out at uncommongoods.com

Unknown said...

Wonderful photos, Fiona! Great descriptions of shops to investigate too - obviously I've got some exploring to do the next time we are in Nelson. Good work!
Janet J.