Lenscrafting by Daphne Meyer-MacLeod
When I mentioned to friends that I was going to an open house art show at Bird on a Wire Creations, I was honestly surprised that they knew of this little artsy shop in Mount Pleasant. “That shop on Main? I love that store!” I was less surprised of their enthusiastic response, given the choice of inspiring clients I have been fortunate enough to work with during my practicum at a Cue Creative Consulting.
So what makes people love a store?
Especially in this day and age when consumers are more attuned to the symphony of phony selling. What clever trick has Kate Nagel, owner of Bird on a Wire Creations, performed to captivate their hearts? No trick, just a genuine passion for art and a mission to evoke a visceral reaction for her clientele. According to Kate, “our soul dies when we don’t honour the art we’re meant to express”.
So express she does by hosting these “First Thursday Events” which invites showcased artists to express their own voice beyond what their art already evokes. For this particular visit, I felt privileged with the opportunity to chat over wine and cheese with three talented BC artists, Kirstin French, Abbie Finestone, and Suzanne Goodwin. These events have gone viral across North America, and truly bridge the barrier between artist and audience thanks to the open house, or open home-like setting.
For Kate, promoting the artists is only the tip of the iceberg. She strives to nurture the roots of artistic expression so it naturally becomes an integral part of society. Her dream, according to her, is for every person who as she says “is called to do art” has the resources and support to follow that vocation from the beginning. She sees so many artists who have the dream, but turn to other professions for stability. Only later do they come to terms with that primal urge to creatively express their voice in their careers. “I want them supported from the beginning” she says.
Kate’s mission? To see Bird on a Wire Creations in every city across Canada, so that more artists have the support to pursue their passion.
But for every industry to thrive, even in the arts community, there is a demand for some form of competition. Kate’s mandate is healthy competition, because in supporting one another we support the whole movement. This sounded familiar, given that it’s the same ideology as Kaare Long, my mentor at aCueCreative, who shares this incredibly authentic heart for art. Of course like any business owner, Kate would love to see Bird on a Wire boom successfully, but that is hardly the point. Kate will often send shoppers to other stores on Main if she thinks the gift they’re destined to find is on the shelf of a neighbouring store. She recently sent an art client to another gallery because she didn’t think her work would deliver its full potential in the store. “Now, her work has truly set off” she says beaming proudly, “and I get to practice the craft too by solving the obstacles creatively with them”.
It hits me, and I ask if she believes appreciating art means a paradigm of seeing the world in general. An artistic lens that sets off when we play with art. And she says, “That’s just it. I love how you phrased that”. And, like a true leader she makes me feel as if I created the idea that she has been describing the whole conversation and living her life by. I had been sharpening my artistic lens the entire evening. No doubt, those who love Bird on a Wire Creations so much, had also tapped into that lens without even realizing it.