A new source for anyone looking for creative gifts—and a place for any creatively-minded people—has opened at the Ashcroft HUB, just in time for Christmas.
The Hutch is the brainchild of Heather Inglis and Darlene Quesnel. “We wanted to share our passion for saving unloved things and making them beautiful again,” says Inglis. Their room at the HUB is filled with furniture: benches, desks, chairs, tables, and more. Some of the pieces have clearly seen better days, while others have been renewed and restored. A 1960s-era desk retains its original Formica top, but has had new legs put on one side and been repainted in colours that match and complement the top.
The restored pieces on display at the Hutch are for sale, while the others are awaiting their turn for some TLC. They will be restored and resold; but Inglis says that anyone who has an old piece of furniture that they would like freshened up can bring it in for treatment.
The pieces are finished with plaster paint, which Inglis says is a very forgiving medium. “It’s a water soluble, non-toxic paint that, once dry, is sealed with wax. It allows you to paint something a colour that appeals to you today; but if you get tired of it, you can give it a light sanding and repaint it in another colour. And it washes off, so you can get a wet rag and start over if you make a mistake.”
The pair have also created gift baskets, in various sizes and price ranges, full of interesting gift ideas. They will create gift baskets to suit: “Someone came and asked if we could do a red one!” says Inglis. There is also jewellery, delicate china tea cups that have been turned into candles, Christmas decorations, and more.
Starting in the New Year, Inglis and Quesnel plan to make up the gift baskets using predominantly local goods, so they can support local businesses and artisans. “We want to support local businesses, and we need to support each other.”
Some of the gift baskets available at the Hutch, just in time for Christmas. Photo by Barbara Roden.
The pair will start holding plaster paint workshops in the New Year, which will be on varying dates and at varying times to accommodate almost anyone’s schedule. Starting in February they will also be featuring the work of a different local artist or artisan each month. “It’s another way to support local people,” says Inglis. “It will give local artists who want to share their work with the community the space to do that.”
When the farmers’ and craft markets start up again in local communities, the pair will be taking some of their pieces on the road. “We’ll do different markets in the summer,” says Inglis. “It’s nice to physically see the pieces, rather than just online.
“We love this community, and wanted to do something that adds value to it. We want to be inclusive and share what we do with others. There’s lots going on in Ashcroft. We don’t know what this will morph into, but we’re happy with the ideas we have now.”
The Hutch (room 107 at the Ashcroft HUB) will be open from 2 to 6 p.m. on December 15, 16, 19, and 20. Starting January 3, it will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Hutch is on Facebook at @the hutch ashcroft (where some of the items for sale can be seen); they can also be contacted at (250) 457-0073.