Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Issue 7 - Winter 2017 - Page 8

FEATURE ARTISTS & PERFORMERS ANIE & MIKE HEPHER In a perfect world, an artist has just the right amount of space, clarity, and a dozen other things necessary for internal ideas to become finished creations. It’s not a perfect world though, so when two russet-haired multi-disciplined artists find each other from distant corners of BC and come together to build a life, raise a family, and make beautiful music, it’s clear something quite special has happened. Mike and Anie Hepher met as guests at a mutual friend’s wedding in Gibsons on the BC Coast where Mike was also performing and needed a harmony for a particular song. Music turned to conversation that went long into the night; fast forward a few months and Mike packed up his VW Van to join Anie in Cranbrook. They speak enthusiastically of being immersed in the music scene there and married in nearby Mayook on a rural property known in the grassroots music scene for intimate musical gatherings. 8 Mike recharged his graphic design education at Driven Media in Cranbrook following a spell as a blacksmith. In 2003, he obtained a printing press with the intention of using it for manual designs – typography wasn’t in the plans at that stage. Inspired to open a business and now with two young children, Finn and Wren, the young family began scouting the Kootenays for a suitable home and workspace. Enter Fernie, and the wood-paneled, steel-gated studio space in the Ghostrider Trading Building. They moved in July 2011 and opened Clawhammer Letterpress, one of Canada’s few traditional printing studios, along with a gallery showcasing local art. Anie produced a line of eco-friendly hand-sewn articles, and later, started the Fernie Ukelele Orchestra; seeking out an instrument that was easy for others to learn and share. The orchestra was an immediate hit with locals. Anie ran the orchestra from 2011 until 2017, and although she has now released the