Artist Jennifer Copet has opened the store she’s been dreaming of for six years, ever since she and her partner moved to Miniota.
But Studio 83, named after the highway it’s on, is much more than a store.
It’s a place where crafters and artists like Copet herself can get exposure and appreciation for their work.
It’s a stopping place for travelers going to and from points north like Birtle, Russell and Assissippi Provincial Park.
It’s a source of unique gift ideas attractively displayed under high ceilings and lit by huge windows.
Sculptures, soft toys, jewelry, wall art -- every piece has been carefully curated by the owner/artist, who looks for items that “you aren’t going to see elsewhere. Things you can tell are made with love.”
It’s also a place of healing for Copet, a subject that brings tears to her eyes as she talks about the rocky road that led to Studio 83.
“We’ve had a lot of losses and challenges along the way. I’ve had an invisible illness since I was young. This store has been an uplifting experience, it gives me a sense of pride and purpose.”
Studio 83 lets Copet surround herself daily with the handiwork of a new circle of friends that have entered her life since the store opened this fall.
“Being surrounded by positive, creative, like-minded people is wonderful. And business has been better than I expected.
“The first day, we were steady all day and got very positive feedback, nice uplifting comments. They love the space - how airy, open and inviting it is.”
Copet says she particularly likes repurposed items, like the vinyl records painted by a Manitoba visual artist and the rustic wall art made with weathered old tools arranged on barn board.
The arrival of her commission-based store in the midst of a boom in online markets for handmade wares and just after the Etsy Made in Canada sellers’ market in Brandon may not be entirely coincidental.
Copet believes there’s a trend afoot.
“I think there’s a maker’s movement happening here. I think people aren’t wanting to shop in big box stores anymore. They want to support people that put their heart and soul into the items.”
Copet is readying Studio 83 for the busy Christmas shopping season by adding new artisans to the space.
“We have over 30 artists represented here now. We’re always looking for more people to promote. My main goal is to bring public awareness to those people and their work.”
Interested crafters and artists are invited to send pictures of their work to Studio 83 via social media.