Chantelle Pellerin first created her delicate, whimsical jewellery not to wear, but rather to display at a Millennium Place group art show called In Your Dreams last fall.
Pellerin, a local artist trained as a fashion designer, had mostly been focusing on painting when she created the pieces to add to her exhibit. "I got a lot of good feedback," she says. "I started doing custom pieces for friends of their pets. I'd get a picture of their dog or cat and I'd do a custom piece. It's a mini painting of their pet that they can bring with them everywhere."
The animal theme has since expanded to include wildlife (and at least one bad ass skull) on her tiny pendants, along with bird-shaped earrings and earthy, wooden rings, which she recently created with her partner, woodcutter Silas Kirchmayer. He has been using old skateboards to create the rings while she's adorned them with art.
"For me, each little piece is a memory," Pellerin says. "I might even remember which song I was listening to that day... When I run into somebody wearing a piece of art or clothing I made, it makes me really happy. I might not approach them and say, 'That's something I made,' I just enjoying seeing it."
Pellerin grew up in Hinton, Alberta, near the Rocky Mountains, but moved to Whistler nearly 15 years ago. An avid outdoor enthusiast, she says the town has helped inspire her art. "I'm the kind of person who really likes being active," she says. "Getting outside and going for a run or a bike ride or snowboarding, that stuff makes me happy and when I'm happy I feel inspired. Also, there are so many talented people in this town. There are tons of artists and musicians and incredible athletes. That's inspiring as well. You can be or do anything you want to."
That includes working in various mediums. Pellerin has been working on photos that integrate graphic art and comupter art, she currently has a painting on a long board on display in Vancouver as part of a Landyacthz group show and she continues to sell her jewellery over her website and through the popular art and craft website Etsy.
She also has jewellery in a store in Calgary, as well as at Dream in Vancouver and One Earth Collection in Pemberton. "With the necklaces, it's time consuming," she says. "It's almost like a labour of love because it takes a while to do all of the little steps. I do truly enjoy doing it. I'd love to keep making more, especially if there are people who are interested. It's always an honour to have somebody come to you to make a piece for them."
For more information and to check out her jewellery visit chantellepellerin.com.