When I recently made a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, my son and I took a short car ride to visit a gallery that carries my handmade prints.
Little Cricket Gallery is located in Maple Ridge, a city in the Greater Vancouver Municipal District, about 45 minutes east of Vancouver’s downtown. It’s a sizable place, really, with a population of 76,000. Little Cricket Gallery is a wonderful oasis on the Lougheed Highway, the main street through town.
The gallery owner, Ron Kalmakoff, has been running the gallery since 2000, and his passion for art is contagious. Ron grew up on a Saskatchewan farm, but headed out west as a young man. His first job was in a gift store — where he fell in love with the beauty of handmade Canadian arts and crafts — and although his career took him many different places, he eventually came back to his love of art by opening his own art gallery.
This lovely 800-square-foot store is chock-full of gorgeous handmade items, including jewellery, ceramics, glass works, paintings, woodworking, photography and more.
When I arrived at the gallery, there was a customer inside and I didn’t want to intrude on their conversation, so I hung back and checked out the art. I couldn’t help but hear the way Ron was enthusiastically answering all her questions about the art pieces she picked up.
Ron had a story for each piece of art the customer inquired about, as well as knowing each artist’s motivation and their history. Ron and I initially found each other online, but hanging around his gallery that day — and hearing the way he handled his customers and revered the artwork — I knew that this gallery was a great place for artists to sell their creations.
Ron’s gallery is spacious, yet has little treasures everywhere. It’s obvious he has a great love for what he does, and the art he surrounds himself with every day is lovely.
Here is a small virtual tour of Little Cricket Gallery and a taste of the kind of artwork you’ll see there. If you are in the Vancouver or Fraser Valley area, be sure to stop in and say hello. You’ll be glad you did!
When I dropped off new work, Ron and I laughed at the coincidence of me bringing my “Heron’s Story” handmade print with this lovely heron painting hanging in his gallery. Apparently, the Maple Ridge area is home to lots of Great Blue Herons. How perfect!