By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

The Gift Gallery opens in Barnum, celebrating local art and young artists

 

Lois Johnson

Kym Garvey shows a wood burned portrait of a dog that she created from a photograph.

Wood burning artist and donkey rescuer Kym Garvey has opened The Gift Gallery in Barnum.

"I have wanted to do this for some time," Garvey said in a recent interview. "I have been doing custom wood burning from home but I wanted to open a shop. For the past couple of years, I have thought that this building would be the perfect spot."

Garvey was able to rent the former Garage Pizza building at 3845 Main Street in Barnum early this year and she and others spent hours painting and polishing to create an inviting atmosphere for people to display their artwork.

One of the most striking features of the remodeling project is the paper bag floor.

"We spent hours on our hands and knees working on the floor," said Garvey. "It took longer than we thought but it turned out pretty nice. That's the kind of idea that we want to be able to pass on to others that stop in."

A white wall is another feature.

"That will be the Student Spotlight Wall," said Garvey. "Any student that wants to participate will get a two-foot by two-foot section on the wall to paint with a scene or poetry. They will sign their name and city next to their artwork. Once a month we want to feature a local art student."


As a mother of four children, ages 19 to 9, Garvey has a heart for teens and wants them to have a place to practice and express their talents in the art studio of the gallery.

"I hope, especially for a lot of young people, that this gallery will give them an outlet. There is not a lot of things to do in town. This can give them a place where they can come and express themselves."

But the studio isn't just for kids, it is for people of all ages.

"We've got quite a few things up our sleeves once we get going," said Garvey. "A gal from the community club gave me some ideas of what to do in the summer. We plan to have classes. Different teachers can come in and teach painting or pottery classes. A few people have contacted me about doing their own work in the studio. This is the place where they can try different things."

Garvey explained that her mother and daughter have special skills.

"My mom, Verlena, is a real good painter, and so is my daughter, Trinity, who is 16," she said. "She has the touch. She's gotten some commissions. Those talents missed me."

But Garvey is a very talented wood burning artist.

"I specialize in custom work," she explained. "I have an online store, and people send me photos of pets, humans or vehicles that I can recreate in wood burning. In one photo, a dog was dressed in a Napoleon-type of shirt. People come up with all kinds of crazy things. I have shipped my work all over the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. My work has won awards in competitions."

Garvey also burns scenes into furniture and on urns. Photos on her Facebook page features two elk locking horns on the front panel of a chest. Another photo is of a trestle table with a bear head in one corner, a deer head in another, with leaves in the other two corners of the wood burned surfaces.

"My husband builds the furniture," she said. "He also builds square boxes that are urns. I wood burn a picture and the name of a dog, for example, on the urn. People can place a memento, such as a collar, inside. The lid can be sealed."

Garvey's artistic eye also sees possibilities in glassware that she picks up at thrift stores and garage sales.

"I recreate the glassware by gluing them together to make bird feeders and garden art," she said. "I glue plates and pretty glassware onto stakes that can be placed in a garden."

Artists can bring their work to sell in The Gift Gallery on consignment.

"Everything has to be handmade of some sort or another," said Garvey. "Nothing should be the same as the work of another artist."

Garvey asks that people bring other ideas.

"If someone has an idea of what we can do or teach, let me know," she said. "For example, I would like to learn how to use a Cricut cutter."

The Gift Gallery is open five days a week on Monday, Thursday, Friday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The hours will change in the summer, said Garvey.

For more information, contact Garvey at 218-591-7001.

"Consigners are welcome," she concluded.

 

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