July 2007.  Painting of Lake Superior Birches by Chad Florence.

Featured Artist: Helen Bush

Helen Bush.  Click for a larger version.

Helen Bush on vacation, snuggling up to the USA's largest banyan tree

This month we’re featuring an artist who is a case study of how to successfully sell your art on your own, while living in a medium size city where there’s not a lot of money floating around—without an agent or a big advertising campaign.

Helen Bush was born and raised in the Sault. In 1989, with a young family, she wanted a Santa figure for Christmas. Rustic Santas were very popular that year, but pricey, so Helen decided to make her own. She followed that piece with a startlingly realistic sculpture of her dad, fishing. From there she went to fairies and fantasy figures, soon sculpting entire tableaux—a ring of fairies sitting on mushrooms, a frog prince on a lily pad, a fairy, snug in a bird nest. She’s still going strong. Her husband makes most of her bases and the little props for her little people. He also does her photography.

Helen began by putting some pieces in Alberta House and in La Galerie. It wasn’t long before her work was being shown in various national doll magazines and people were writing to ask for her work. Now she sells mostly through the internet (cedarbush.com) and through doll magazines and works mostly on special orders. She will have some work available when she demonstrates in Alberta House on Thursday, July 26, from 1 to 4 p.m. Available currently is “Whispering Meadow Market," a fairy shopping in a woodland market; and “Merful Magic”, a mother mermaid stringing pearls handed to her by little mermaids (shown below).

A sculpture of a fairy, perched on a toadstool and reading a book is in the Alberta House shop ($175). Helen says that her fantasy pieces are what are mostly in demand and speculates that people want to escape their everyday grind and the sadness in the world right now. Another reason is probably that her imagination is rich and her sense of humor contagious. Both are well displayed in the fantasy pieces. Prices for her work range from $25 (bug box fairies) to $400 or more. Many of the more elaborate pieces have a number of figures in fanciful settings.

Helen Bush will be demonstrating in Alberta House on Thursday, July 26, between 1 and 4 p.m. and will have work to sell. Come in and meet her!

Works by Helen Bush
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version.

"Merful Magic" by Helen Bush

"Merful Magic" ($75)

Teacup fairy, one of a set of four, by Helen Bush

Teacup fairy, one of a set of four

"Bottoms Up!" by Helen Bush, made for a lady who wanted a fairy

"Bottoms Up!" for a lady who wanted a fairy
with a bit of Mae West

Last updated: July 1, 2007

Sault Area Arts Council Home Page 217 Ferris Street, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
e-mail: saac@saultarts.org Phone: (906) 635-1312