It was a rather warm day and I had been going hard since early morning. I neglected to turn on the air conditioning in the car and sweat was gently rolling down by back. Getting out of my hot car, I quickly walked into Cornerstone Gallery and was met by a sweet smile, a cool and comfortable environment and calming music, something that I readily welcomed amidst my hectic schedule. I introduced myself to Krista Butt, who immediately made me feel welcome and the interview began.
As I looked around, my eye caught a glimpse of a rather unique sculpture. “It’s my father’s. This piece combines both wood and stone and it won an award at the Surrey Art Gallery show,” said an obviously proud Krista. Her father is an accomplished acrylic painter as well as a sculptor; using stone and wood as his mediums of choice. “Dad is what you’d call a Jack-of-all-trades while mom is the nurse in the family,” she said with a chuckle.
As a youngster, Krista admits that she was a regular tomboy as well as being an avid reader. She enjoyed school and music. “I took piano lessons for many, many years and played classical piano,” she said. She also became quite interested in museum work and after graduating from Earl Marriott Secondary in White Rock, she left for Ottawa to attend Algonquin College. “I took their three-year museum studies program.”
It was there that she became interested in framing. “As part of my schooling, I did practicums at both the National Gallery of Canada and the Ottawa Art Gallery. At the National Gallery of Canada, they have the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography and while I was with them, I began doing framing. While I enjoyed museum work, I found that framing was a creative outlet for me while museum work was not as creative. Also, I began to realize that museum jobs were very hard to come by,” she explained. Aside from the creativity, Krista also enjoyed the great variety and the ability to meet so many people. “I’m a people person and I love meeting people,” she said warmly.
In 2001, Krista made the move to Chilliwack and seven years later, she decided to start her own business. “I have always been a picture framer but rather than working for other people, I decided to start my own business and we’ve been here for four years now.” Cornerstone Gallery, as it is known, is located on Young at Chilliwack Central, across from Valley Toyota and it’s a thriving little business. “For six months, I laboured over what to call the business. Then one day, we were at the lawyer’s office and we just had to come up with a name so my brother quickly came up with it,” she laughed.
Aside from providing custom picture framing, Cornerstone Gallery also has gallery space and every eight weeks the work of one or two community artists is featured. After four years, Krista is currently in the process of adding retail to her business. “It’s time to start branching out a bit more,” she said.
While she is dedicated and focussed on her business, she truly enjoys the live, music scene. “I love the local jams and I also enjoying biking around Chilliwack,” she said with a smile.
Cornerstone Gallery will be closed for the month of November when they will be packing up and moving to 46085 First Ave., currently where Decor West is located.