Studio on Tenth is built on artistic talent, business acumen and loving collaboration.
Decorated with Emma Pyle’s charming artwork, functional but beautiful items such as French linens and soft cotton tea towels, aprons and pillow slips, have been featured in Hello Canada and British House and Garden Magazine.
They have garnered rave reviews and are sold throughout B.C., including Victoria’s Robert Bateman Foundation and Butchart Gardens.
A lover of books from a very young age, Emma would flip through favourite Beatrix Potter stories before she could read, says her mom, Andrea, who manages Salmon Arm’s Studio on Tenth. She also loved the Robert Bateman books her grandpa gave her before they were age-appropriate.
“It’s a combination of beautiful art on beautiful fabrics that when people see it they love it and want it,” Andrea says.
Two years ago, the Robert Bateman Foundation reached out to Emma about carrying the items in their store. At a Christmas craft show the following year, Emma asked about working at the foundation. She is delighted that she will be teaching adult and youth watercolour classes there this summer.
Two English classes away from earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts from UVic, Emma expanded her artistic focus by creating four very large oil paintings inspired by Beatrix Potter.
“I really like her characters and their personalities,” Emma says. “I think they have a life of their own and I admire her as a woman.”
The young artist travelled to London, England in May and was thrilled to find an exhibition of the famous author and illustrator’s work was underway at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Emma says she felt very emotional to see Potter’s work and the way it had been thoughtfully set up so children could fully engage with the exhibition.
Her own 3×4 foot paintings inspired by Potter are on display at Mocha House, a Victoria coffeehouse where Emma works part-time.
Andrea had been selling Emma’s art-inspired products as a side job while she was managing a dental office. In need of a career change, she quit her job in order to focus on helping Emma earn her university degree by ramping up the Studio on Tenth business.
Proud of her daughter’s accomplishments, Andrea recalls Emma was in about Grade 9 when she realized her daughter was talented and her interest and ability went beyond doodling.
But Andrea says discussions were held about finding ways for Emma’s work to support her through university.
“A lot of art sits under a bed, so we talked about if you want to make art, how are we going to sell it in order to support you,” says Andrea. “To watch this path unfold so beautifully and genuinely has just been amazing. She’s probably one of the top-selling artists at Butchart Gardens.”
“In Grade 9, my grandparents gave me a beautiful watercolour set and that was a huge reason I got into watercolour, I think,” says a grateful Emma. “One set of grandparents gave me the love of nature and the others gave me the material to put that into painting.”
At the age of 16 and in Grade 11, Emma gave up swimming with the Shuswap Selkirks Swim Club and was looking for something to help fill the extra time.
“I have always enjoyed art, and was now able to make time for it at night,” she says, crediting her mother for seeing her potential. “I’m super thankful for her because she’s the one who took this forward and she works so hard. It has given me a lot of opportunities.”
Emma says she was also inspired by art instructors who gave her encouragement and excellent advice in grades nine through 12.
It is something she would like to do for other aspiring artists.
“I struggle a lot with motivation and creating work on my own time,” she laughs, noting she worked at the Salmon Arm Arts Centre’s Saturday morning Family Art project and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “I want to be an educator and will be applying for a teaching program next September.”
In the meantime, Emma is looking forward to a summer of being outside sketching with kids.
“That’s as good as it gets for me and I am really looking forward to it.”