Featured Artist Eryka Garbutt


Eryka describes her work as Pappier Cole, which means using paper in other ways than the usual. This term was new to me and I had to really stop and think about how we use paper and what else could you do with it? Nothing like meeting an artist that really makes you think for a second about such a common item. Eryka admits her heart races a bit faster when she plays with the colors and textures of paper and is giddy over all of the possibilities for art.


Eryka was born in England to a German mother and a Latvian father that met and married in a displaced person’s camp after the war…talk about a wonderful love story during a very difficult situation!  Her father discovered that he had an uncle in Australia and the family found a home.  Eryka casually began trying to track down the rest of her family tree, an interest that soon became an obsession, and has managed to trace her father’s family back to the 13th century!  She happily refers to her obsession as “annoying the dead and irritating the living,” which about covers it.


Eryka herself has been happily married for 32 years next month (Happy Anniversary and many more to come!) and has two children and one grandson.  She also takes time caring for her now 88 year old mother.  If this wasn’t enough, Eryka has an active social life connecting with her girlfriends and caring for her house and garden.


When time and money permits, travel is another obsession.  There is a long bucket list of places that they would like to visit, but have already traveled to China, Africa, New Zealand and Fiji and are planning a cruise from Prague to Parisas well as a national park trip around North America.


As a child, Eryka was always crafty, sewing and making TShirts by copying images from her coloring books led to a later project of creating two wedding dresses in 6 months!  Now, she admits that while they were spectacular there is NO WAY she would ever take on such a huge project again!


 After retiring from a successful career in Mechanical Engineering and web design, Eryka began playing with decoupage…soon nothing stationary in her home was safe…stand too long and Eryka may just cover you in paper!  When her home was thoroughly covered, she began to look at other things that she could do with paper.  Eryka began working on small scale with paper beads and fell in love with the process and end results…which creates another problem of having too many to wear!


Next logical step for this talented and well rounded lady was to try to sell her creations to the public!  Eryka does market stalls locally as well as displays  in a local gallery.  One of her pieces was recently selected for display and the local Art Center…which she admits pleased her to be shown along with “real artists.”   She gets a thrill to see someone wearing one of her creations and satisfaction when someone compliments her work.  She is encouraging to anyone wanting to break into the handmade market, in her words “Give it a go, what do you have to lose?”


 Eryka also sells on line for those of us that are not close enough to visit a market and see these artistic treasures in person.  You can obviously check her wearable treasures out on the Handmade Artists Shop as well as her own website.  To keep abreast of the latest goings ons, follow Eryka on Facebook.






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