By Dorothy Isted
Special to the Pioneer
Local high school student Kate Hale recently entered a contract with Taynton Bay Spirits to use her painting of the Lake Windermere Whiteway on their tea tins. Four different flavours of teas are available: ginger matcha, orange turmeric, strawberry herbal and blueberry rooibos. Customers can buy tea alone or vodka-based spirits infused with the teas.
Theresa Wood, Taynton Bay’s Director of Sales and Marketing, saw Kate’s rendition of The Whiteway on Toby Creek Nordic’s Facebook page and contacted the artist. For several years, the company has been working with The Naked Leaf in Calgary, which makes up their custom tea blends. Naked Leaf has been featuring Calgary artists on their packaging and Ms. Wood thought it would be novel to feature a local artist. It wasn’t a hard sell to convince her company’s owners.
“The partners really liked it, especially because we’re so close to The Whiteway,” Ms. Wood said. “It’s a really nice product and a really nice piece of art. People can take it away and bring it home with them. There aren’t a lot of souvenirs that highlight the area.”
Kate is a member of the Toby Creek Nordic Club and was already donating ten percent of her sales of The Whiteway notecards to the club.
“I love the Whiteway. In general, I just love skiing and anything outside that’s exercise,” said Kate.
Being a busy student also very involved in sports, Kate sometimes gets up early in the morning to paint. Other times she will spend all weekend painting.
Referring to this opportunity for commercial success Kate said, “It’s really great for me because it gives me more exposure. It’s just not people from Invermere that will get the tea but people from other places will see my artwork. I want to get good at marketing myself, because the business side of art is important. It was really exciting.”
Looking ahead, Kate said, “I’m passionate about it and want to be an artist. I have experience with it now – keeping track of money and learning about having a business.”
Her art can be found at Tumbled Earth in Kimberley, Pleaides Spa and Friends of Kootenay in Radium, and Black Star and Village Arts in Invermere.
The painting was done earlier this year. Kate worked from about 20 pictures she took in different lights. The original acrylic on canvas piece hangs on her grandmother’s living room wall. As the granddaughter of well-known valley potter Alice Hale, Kate especially likes having her work in Village Arts, since they “were really happy to welcome another generation of Hales, as my noni was a founding member.”
When asked if she had any last thoughts, Kate expressed her thankfulness for community support of young artists. Being involved with the Kootenay Savings calendar, Art from the Heart at Pynelogs and the high school art competition were valuable experiences along the way. She credits her “heroes at Black Star” and art teachers Patrick Yesh, Betty Segstro and Susan Fahrni along with Purcell Mountain Painters for encouragement and expertise.