Although it’s nothing new to see Cape Breton artisans head to major events to promote their product (remember Michique at the Golden Globes and Galloping Cows at the Oscars), the excitement of exposing a product to an entirely new “A-list” audience never loses its charm. This September, two new local artists, jewellers Caitlyn Purcell and Brenda Reichel, will be putting Cape Breton craft on the national stage once again by attending the Toronto International Film Festival, along with Michique Designer Handbags and Galloping Cows, September 6-16.
Brenda Reichel, from Inverness, has been fascinated by sea glass her entire life. A personal tragedy inspired her to start creating jewellry from the sea glass, also known as Tears of Glass, her company name. “Finding and making these treasures is something that brings me great joy, and helps me cope with all of the challenges that life has to offer me,” says Reichel.
For her, the TIFF experience has come as quite a surprise. When Nathalie Dubois, a representative from DPA Gifting Suite, contacted Reichel, she had assumed the call was a hoax. After some reassurance from Michelle and Monique of Michique, Reichel’s one-of-a-kind Tears of Glass were booked to make an appearance in Toronto.
Caitlyn Purcell comes from a long line of artistic family members. However, as a Nova Scotia College of Art and Design graduate, and a former Artist-In-Residence at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, she has been blazing her own trail as a professional jeweller. Purcell spends her summers at Salty Rose’s, her studio located in Ingonish, Cape Breton. She views Cape Breton Island as a muse for her work. One look at her beautifully rugged pieces, and it becomes immediately clear that she uses the challenges and harshness inherent within Cape Breton in contrast with the refreshing and inspiring landscape to inform her creative process.
Purcell is hoping that her appearance at TIFF will provide great exposure for her work, “big events like TIFF allow us artisans a time to crawl out of the woods with our special handcrafted treasures for a moment of exposure, and maybe something really great will come from that!”
Lori Burke, General Manager for the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, says that “it’s no surprise that Natalie Dubois of DPA Gifting Suite has found the work of so many high caliber artisans here in Cape Breton to adorn Hollywood stars. Unique, one-of-a-kind works of art inspired by the Island stand out from the mass-produced items people have become accustomed to seeing on starlets.”
Keep a keen eye open for the work of these two talented Cape Breton artisans. Their jewellry is available at their studios (Tears of Glass and Salty Roses’s) and also at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design.