Country Mouse, City Mouse: The Fay-Bukowski Clan Does Edinburgh

Kaslo sculptor BRENT BUKOWSKI recently got a B.C. Arts Council grant to create works in Kaslo and in Edinburgh, each with found metal and glass from both places. “It’s a full-circle exploration of materials,” says Brent whose main source of materials for his work over the the past few years has been the Kaslo dump.

So he and his wife the artist ARIN FAY and their two kids, Morgan and Eli, have moved to Edinburgh for a while.

Arin is our guest blogger today.

(Ask Arin or Brent a question in the comments section below– they’ll answer!)


We had always been those Hobbit-like folk that would rather not go on any big adventures, preferring instead to bunker down in the comforting crook of our own little arm of the Kootenays, staring out the windows at the stupidly beautiful views outside and creating our own chaotic realities.

Brent Bukowski on Advocate's Close, Edinburgh (Photo by Arin Fay)

Learning new tricks

And while that formula works (and, not surprisingly, has become almost perfection-gilded from a distance) there had been for some time a profound (albeit nebulous) disturbance in the force (and yes, that is the star wars theme you are hearing …)  –a hankering for a taste of elsewhere—an impulse that was augmented by a series of serendipitous sources that need not be described, but for the most obvious: the overt out-growing-us-ness of our two kids who had typically but shockingly become almost independent (ten and fifteen years old) overnight.

But for humans hovering around forty, learning new tricks (like leaving the valley) especially for fairly staunch introverts (one of us being certifiably so … he who shall not be mentioned … Brent) is no easy task, but we started to make plans anyway.

Arin Fay at Greyfriar's Abbey (Photo by Brent Bukowski)

Everything will be fine

Theoretically, of course, everything is easy. We will bring our respective artwork in progress to this unknown place and the kids will bring their school. We will move from our acreage ‘in the middle of nowhere’ to a tiny apartment in Edinburgh, on a street that houses more souls than all of Kaslo combined, and everything will be fine.

Validating Angst by Brent Bukowski– 14" x 6" x 16" metal and glass 2010– recently included in a Art Gallery of Calgary group exhibition/fundraiser opening, auctioned by Heffel House.

Aesthetically overwhelmed

So, here we are, in Edinburgh, seven weeks in, and everything is going (roughly) according to plan. You expect a city like this to be distracting,  but until you are here and find yourself  walking five hours a day and experiencing the utter exhaustion of the vacationing  voyeur, you can not understand the status of the aesthetically overwhelmed. Couple this with the aforementioned confines of a tiny apartment and as such a proximity that is unheard-of for a ’normal’ nuclear family (I chose the explosive appellation for obvious reasons, and the other for irony) and you have an extremely profound experience to say the least.

This fairy-tale-type city

One’s environment, of course, influences everything.: personality, perspective, productivity, and (eventually) potential—all of which influences the individual, and by extension, the artistic experience. And our work at the Cumberland studio, and Brent’s work via the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, and Morgan and Eli’s efforts enrolled in the Scottish Youth Theatre Programme all reflect this. By extension we will be bringing home a profound respect for these and sundry things, some of which we already had, some that are revelations, but all newly forged in this fairy-tale-type city.

Portrait of Susan Andrews Grace by Arin Fay 2010 (photo by Brent Bukowski)

Ancient stone

The stone here, and the almost impossible craftsmanship that went into it, its every-where-ness and the unbelievable effort that went into it, and the age of things, and their durability, considering the blood and rain-soaked and wind-buffeted elements as they are— these (amongst others) will never leave us. Change is good, distance does make the heart fonder, and old dogs can learn new tricks—all the adages (damn them) do resonate in the end.

Arin Fay and Brent Bukowski are West Kootenay artists based on an acreage south of Kaslo.  For more information on their work visit and

Morgan and Eli Bukowski on Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh (Photo by Brent Bukowski)

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