SLATE STONE ART is
very happy to be included in the Invermere
on the Lake
Section on Page 29 of this fine Guide.
Spawning In Dutch Creek
Prefontaine wins local photo contest
you to all the entrants for the Fairmont Range Gazette's
first annual photo contest, Home on the (Fairmont)
Range, and what an inspiration was found in our
area this summer. There were some very
lovely entries, and while I enjoyed each and every
one, this one caught my eye in particular.
From Columere Park resident and photographer, Elaine Prefontaine, whose "summer inspiration is found canoeing on beautiful Columbia Lake. Being out on those waters with nature is good for body, mind and soul -- and my spirits are lifted and I feel rejuvenated as I paddle along those northern shores with my camera and binoculars."
Photo: Elaine Prefontaine
MAY 18, 2008
Columere Park Community
Association (CPCA) Presented
Columere Park Website Includes 1,075 Photos taken By Elaine From May 2002 to May 2008
was Presented at the May 18, 2008,
I Was Very Surprised and Moved By This Award and Will Treasure it Always!
SLATE STONE ART is
very happy to be included in the Fairmont Hot Springs section of the
2006 Kootenay Rockies Explorer's Guide:
This glossy 69-page
publication prepared by
Ornamental & Curio Stones
Professor Dietrich retired in 1983 and for the last few years has been compiling information about rocks and minerals to put on his web site, part of which is also on the Gemological Institute of America site. This comprehensive site is great for anyone from amateur rock lovers to professionals alike.
Professor Dietrich kindly
sent a gift of a personally autographed copy of his book:
On the page preceding his
"Introduction" in "Stones" Professor Dietrich uses a quote
which we rock lovers can totally relate to:
Kokopelli is a mythological
traveler who has now traveled to the pages of GemRocks!
It is an interesting
story how a piece of slate found lying on a mountainside was then engraved
into the likeness of Kokopelli and seen on the internet by Dr. Dietrich who
then e-mailed Slate Stone Art about showing him on the GemRocks
Slate entry section.
Slate Stone Art is delighted to
announce its inclusion in this recently launched On Line
This exciting new website displays the varied works of member artists in the area, and features some of Cranbrook's finest artists.
SLATE STONE ART is very happy to be included in the Fairmont Hot Springs section of the beautiful "first time" publication of the Spirit of the BC Rockies.
Stone Art is delighted to be included in the first edition of this exciting
Elaine Sell Prefontaine never imagined that in her late fifties she would be setting up a business, acquiring countless new skills and soaring to unprecedented creative heights. While recuperating from laser eye surgery, Prefontaine, a self taught artist, began painting on pieces of stone she had collected for her garden, and she soon realized she was onto something!
A collector of rocks during her prairie childhood, Prefontaine became fascinated by Purcell Mountain Slate Stone when she moved to Fairmont, BC. She took out a Free Miners Certificate, staked Mineral Claims "Up the Findlay", and has been hand picking the stone for her art ever since. Prefontaine splits and cleans each piece, drills hole for hanging, engraves or paints an image, sprays the surface with preservative, and hangs the piece with matching leather lacing.
Operating a successful business requires attending to work that many artists find distasteful, but this posed no problem to Prefontaine, who has 39 years of office experience behind her. She also learned years ago not to procrastinate, noting that organization and time-management are key to success.
She understands the importance of marketing and her primary tool is her Internet site, which she designed and created herself using a how-to book. The result is visually stunning, incorporates her poetry and photography as well as her Slate Stone Art, and has generated world wide interest. She also sees visitors at her home based studio by appointment and her art has traveled across the globe to eight countries. When she travels herself, Prefontaine takes work with her for "show and tell" and laughs that this often results in "show and sell."
Her most popular design to date has been Kokopelli, the humpbacked flute player whose image has been captured on stone since prehistoric times. She is currently working on new designs: tackling challenges is part of Prefontaine's philosophy. Now in her sixties, she is delighted she can make a living doing what she loves best.
It is not unusual for artists to find inspiration in the natural world that surrounds them. What is unusual is when the natural world provides the canvas upon which this inspiration is manifested. For Columere Park artist and poet, Elaine Sell Prefontaine, this is certainly the case.
It is our own Purcell Mountain Slate Stone to which Elaine found an immediate affinity and provides her with the material upon which she expresses her own unique brand of creative energy. A "Free Miners Certificate" allows Elaine to freely collect her own stones. She maintains her own mineral claims up Findlay Creek, where each and every piece of slate stone is hand picked by the artist herself to "bring out' that special creature waiting there, ensuring that from start to finish each creation is truly one of a kind.
After collecting the appropriate slate stones, Elaine's creative process continues with the splitting and cleaning of each selected piece after which she goes on to paint, engrave, or both, that "special creature" waiting there.. Often the "special creature" is an example of local wildlife, although Elaine has found a love of the Southwest Indian God, Kokopelli, and he is displayed prominently in her current body of work. Her Kokopelli renderings have, in fact, established an international following as they have found homes in different countries.
A native of the prairies a youth spent in Saskatchewan and a twenty four year career in the oil business in Alberta - Elaine found her true creative stimulation here at the headwaters of the great Columbia River and is proud to call Fairmont home.
For more information about Elaine, her Slate Stone Art and her poetry, please visit her web site: http://www.slatestoneart.ca
COMMUNITY FUTURES NEWSLETTER
I was very happy to welcome Kathy McCauley, McCauley Press, and Craig Farish, Craig Farish Photography, to my home studio one sunny February morning in preparation of Slate Stone Art inclusion in the CFDC Spring 2001 Newsletter.
CFDC SPRING 2001
Slate Stone Art
"Elaine Sell Prefontaine lives in a lovely little cedar clad cottage overlooking Columbia Lake. Morning light from the south-east flows into her upstairs studio and across the counter where she works engraving and painting on slate stone. Her stone drawings of mountain wildlife and flowers, and the south-western Indian God Kokopelli, are displayed against the white stucco walls of her studio. "I have everything that I need in the world here," Elaine says of her studio. "It's so inspiring, I absolutely love it."
An artist must be a business person also, and keeping files and records organized is a challenge that makes most small business owners -- and artists in particular -- cringe.
Elaine's thirty years secretarial experience, however, has given her the skills necessary to keep her business running smoothly. Each piece she creates is carefully catalogued and photographed and the information is filed in binders or photo albums.
Elaine's energies are now directed to international sales. She began by taking two of Community Futures workshops: "Selling on the Internet" and "Ready to Export". She created and maintains her own web page (complete with stories and poetry) and she has already sold beyond British Columbia to Alberta and Saskatchewan, the United States, Germany, Australia, New Guinea and Israel."
Photos By Craig Farish, Craig Farish Photography
Please Note that because I scanned the original photos to this page there is a distortion to their original clarity.
Elaine Sell Prefontaine - Slate Stone Art
"Elaine Sell Prefontaine can't remember when she didn't create art. Growing up on a small farm on the prairies in the forties, Elaine's family made their own entertainment. There was no library, television or electricity, only the local radio stations. There were no art galleries and no known artists. So Elaine became inspired to make her own art. And inspiration there was! Southern Saskatchewan was home to the legendary "Sitting Bull" country of the true west. There the deer and the antelope played. Elaine rode the hills and coulees on horseback, collecting arrowheads, stones, and petrified wood, while sketching the scenery and wildlife with a pencil. Elaine also wrote poems. At home in her "little house on the prairie" bedroom, Elaine began painting real and imagined scenes with watercolors. Her paints had three primary colors, so she learned to mix everything. The pallet, her Mother's writing pad.
Decades later Elaine moved to Columbia Valley, Canada, and discovered she could create on slate stone. She wanted her art to be something that would last forever and engraving on stone seemed the key. The problem was that Elaine did not know how to engrave or what tools to use. She tried everything from files to home electric drills, but all to no avail. Then with luck, Elaine ran into a local woodcrafter, Brian Hoffos who created Woodcrafted Wildlife Scenes on mirrors with electric tools. She approached him, with a piece of slate in hand, seeking his advice. Graciously, Brian tried the tools on the slate and they worked like a charm. Elaine's Art on Slate Stone was born. She quickly ordered the tools including diamond drill bits, taught herself how to use them and the rest is history.
The engravings, paintings and relief sculptures are truly Canadian and specific to Canada's beautiful Columbia Valley. The stone is local Purcell Mountain Slate Stone and the art is as unique as the stone it is created on.
Elaine Prefontaine creates her favorite mythological and inspirational friend "Kokopelli" who adds a touch of magic to everything she does. The Mythological concept of petroglyphs especially lends to her Kokopelli creations. When Elaine first engraved Kokopelli, she did not know that he had been engraved and painted on the canyon walls since prehistoric times. She was so happy to find that she had tuned into that universal consciousness. Her story can be found in her website poem "Who is Kokopelli?"
All of that wonderful expression of her universal consciousness is from the influence, Elaine has received from a wide array of people, events and issues. For one, the creatures of nature and living stone are so strong that they have combined into one art form. Additionally, she has a great deal of respect for the impressive and beautiful pre-Columbian and Native North American People. These indigenous peoples created such beautiful pieces of art and functional objects out of the natural elements, clay, wood, shells, gems, plants, etc. Elaine truly appreciates and shares their reverence for nature. And then there is her brother, Mel "Montana" Sell, a mountain man, a poet and a prospector who lived on the mountain where he selected some of the slate stones that Elaine now creates upon. His love of "The Valley" and the stones had a big influence on her.
As for other important aspects of Elaine Sell Prefontaine's work and the pieces she creates, working with the stone itself is an interesting and creative process. Elaine says, "My art is a true communication of self". For example, before she does a wildlife creature, Elaine spends time reading and searching the net about its personality and qualities, its strengths and weaknesses, its native totems and spiritual powers, the stories written about it, remembering her own personal encounters and drawing upon that knowledge. There must be this preparatory work to bring her closer to the creatures' spiritual essence. That 'essence' is so important. This method really works for Elaine. With that preliminary work, Elaine can do more than one creation at a time.
But what does Elaine do to relax herself. She has so many interests and does so many things that it is hard to write them in such a short s pace. Canoeing and wildlife viewing and bird watching on "The tranquil beauty that is Columbia Lake" is one of her favorite "all inclusive and relaxing activities", and it is really very good for her. She always takes the binoculars, camera and some art supplies. Elaine sees eagles, osprey, hawks, loons, ducks, gulls, cranes, swans, crows, and blackbirds. Work never stops even when she is trying to relax. Although, if she can sit still long enough, she can get lost in just sitting and "watching the flowers grow" and listening to the sounds of nature. In addition, to all of that, she also enjoys wildflower gardening, photography, exploring back woods trails and collecting rocks and petrified wood (of course to enhance her collection that continues her expression of art). Elaine enjoys the prospecting especially since she has a Miners Certificate that allows her to stake out Mineral Claims in the Purcell Mountains where she can hand pick her slate stone."
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