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Eder's tribute to Chili Thom goes up for auction

Ceramic Mountain in Our Hearts and original Chili painting in online sale, starting June 16

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Anyone following The Crystal Lodge Art Gallery's social media in April and May saw a unique and remarkable homage to late artist Chili Thom being created.

Ceramicist and mosaic artist Penny Eder made Mountain in Our Hearts, a clay tribute to Thom's curvaceous winterscapes, piece by piece.

"I'm trying to be humble about it, but I am just so darned proud with the way it turned out," Eder says."The mountains and trees, and the way the clouds flow through the valley, it turned out better than I expected."

She says this is the first time she has followed another person's art style. It took weeks to first carve the pieces individually and then pull them together, glaze and fire them.

"It's meant to be very tactile. When I was sculpting it, I could feel all the emotions of the outside. How the trees hold the snow... it's more emotional in two ways. You can feel the emotion of nature, and also how Chili was so moved by nature and being in nature."

Thom died of cancer on Nov. 30, 2016, at the age of 40, after moving to the U.S. with his wife Lauren. His life and talent is being honoured this month with exhibitions at the Audain Art Museum, the Maury Young Arts Centre, The Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and The Whistler Museum.

Both Eder's piece and an original painting by Thom go up for online auction on Friday, June 16 at www.chilithom.com. All proceeds raised will go into a fund for Poppy Levar, Thom's three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

Eder got to know Thom better when they worked together on a public art piece several years ago.

She recalls: "Chili and I talked a few years ago about how artists get exposure and how we work with our art. We joked for years about how we could put his work onto ceramics, but most of the time our conversations were about how we could get together as artists to become better known. Talking about the community."

Thom's brother Jeremy says the painting that is going up for auction, called From Dusk Till Dawn, has been donated by Victor Beresford.

Jeremy recalls: "He's an old friend of Chili's and (his first wife) Kelsey. The story behind it is that back in the late '90s, they went down to the Baja peninsula. Victor told them about this place where you could sit on a promontory of rock and watch the sun come up over the ocean and the moon go down on the other side, also over the ocean. A gorgeous place.

"Michael (Chili's birth name) decided to paint that... there is a real connection to Victor. Michael only knew about that place because Victor told him."

Jeremy added that with Thom having painted at least 400 moderate-sized paintings over the course of his life, he is still trying to track a few down so the estate can record them. Contact info@chilithom.com for more information.

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