From left, Sahra Gallring, Mas Matsushita and Arleight Garratt work on rings during a workshop at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. The centre recently added a new space, the jeweller’s guild. It features five workstations and all the tools needed for jewellery work. It is scheduled to open in 2018, but some classes will be run in the space before then. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)

From darkroom to jewellery studio

Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre welcomes new space for artists

An old darkroom at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre is featuring a brand-new look.

The basement room, which dates back to the building’s police station years, was recently transformed into a jeweller’s studio.

When Victoria Strange, executive director of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre, first took on the role in February, she says she tried to revive the darkroom. “I could not get anyone to use it,” she says.

She thought maybe it could be used as another artist studio that the centre could rent out.

This spring, fresh off a series of jewellery classes held at Garnish on Mackenzie Avenue, which is owned and operated by silversmith Arleigh Garratt, an idea struck Strange.

“We had this huge response from the community,” said Strange of the jewellery classes.

She walked into Garnish and told Garratt she thought the darkroom should be converted into a jewellery studio.The timing couldn’t have been better. Garratt was renovating her shop to have more retail space and planned to move her personal studio into a room in the basement at the centre, just across the hall from the former darkroom.

So began a months-long renovation of the darkroom. It had to be cleared out and photographic equipment rehomed. Wiring needed attention and the location of the door was moved. The black walls were repainted. Safety equipment was installed and the workstations – called jeweller’s benches – were built and installed by woodshop manager Ken Talbot.

Hours and hours of volunteer time built the space.

RELATED: Luna Fest will return in 2018

“We’ve done a pretty good job of what was a pretty awkward space,” says Garratt.

The space now looks nothing like it used to and is completely outfitted with five benches and a bunch of tools including a torch, pickle, fordum and polisher.

“It’s been a long project,” says Strange. “But we’re pretty excited about it.”

Garratt is really excited about the space and has visions of bringing in visiting artists to offer workshops.

The first class – a stacking ring workshop taught by Garratt – ran last week. It was the first time the space was used.

Garratt, who used to offer classes in her private studio at Garnish with her own tools and equipment is happy to have the space to share with others.

RELATED: Revelstoke silversmith receives thank-you letter from 24 Sussex Drive

“I just wanted to see more artistic things come to Revelstoke,” she says.”It’ll be neat to see where it goes.”

There are similar group working spaces at the centre. There’s a woodshop and a pottery studio upstairs.

“We’re offering the community another medium they can work in,” says Strange. “The community doesn’t have anything like this.”

The jeweller’s guild membership will be $80 per month or $750 for the year.

The monies generated will be put back into the studio to purchase more equipment.

People with jewellery experience are invited to contact Strange if they’re interested in using the space.

RELATED: Jo Willems learns to age gracefully in her new exhibit, ‘Fare Forward’

Others who are interested, but don’t have experience will have to wait until the new year when the centre will be offering a workshop to teach about safe use of the space.

The next class in the space will be on Nov. 29, when Garratt offers a wide textured band workshop.

More information about the classes and the jeweller’s guild can be found at



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


The Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre plans on using money generated by the guild to purchase more tools for the space. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)

Tools are included with the working space. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)

There are five work stations in the jeweller’s guild. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)

The Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre is adding a new space to its facilities. The Jeweller’s Guild features five work stations and all the tools needed for jewellery work. It is scheduled to open in 2018, but some classes will be run in the space before then. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)

Just Posted

Mara Lake is one of the significant water resources across the Okanagan-Shuswap region that will fall under increasing sustainability pressure as the anticipated population growth for the region continues in this century. (File photo)
Okanagan Valley water supply sustainability reaching a critical point: Global expert

Global expert says Okanagan Basin Water Board offers sustainable path forward

Four staff members at the Okanagan Men’s Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 23, 2020. (Adult and Teen Challenge OMC photo)
Four positive COVID-19 cases at Okanagan Men’s Centre

Those affected are staff and have been in isolation since Oct. 23

Vince Schnabl looks at the view this October from the Gorge, west of Revelstoke. (Photo by Jon Wichett)
There’s 3 times more snow near Revelstoke than usual

According to 54 years of data from Parks Canada for Glacier National Park

Mail in ballot, provincial election 2020. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Mail-in-ballots coming in from Columbia River Revelstoke

In a progress report Elections BC said around 45 per cent of those issued have been returned

Mayor Gary Sulz (centre) cuts the ribbon for the new roundabout. Councillor Jackie Rhind (left) and Councillor Cody Younker (right) are on either side. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke’s newest roundabout opens on Victoria Rd.

The project took approximately six months to complete

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

A pair of hunters walked away with minor injuries after their vehicle rolled down an embankment Oct. 28. (VSAR photo)
Hunters free themselves from rollover on Westside

Vernon Search and Rescue was called out for a rope rescue, but the pair were already walking down the road

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Family of teen fatally stabbed in Kelowna close to getting Christmas wish

A memorial bench in Penticton for Elijah Beauregard is close to meeting its funding goal

The Kimberley Dynamiters' next two exhibition games have been postponed due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Paul Rodgers file.
Member of Kimberley Dynamiters tests positive for COVID-19

Exhibition games in Fernie, Creston postponed

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

H.O.P.E. Outreach volunteers not only spread support, but thanks to donations they offer makeup, jewelry and clothing to sex trade workers in Vernon and Kelowna. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Warm clothing sought for Okanagan’s most vulnerable

Coat drive at People Place Sunday, Nov. 1 in Vernon and Nov. 7 in Kelowna

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

On Nov. 8, 2017 as the search was called off, white tents and black privacy fencing were no longer visible at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek and fewer police vehicles were present. (File photo)
Several police vehicles seen at Sagmoen farm in Shuswap Thursday night

RCMP at Silver Creek property where the remains of an 18-year-old Vernon woman were found in 2017

Most Read