Sisters give Christmas an artistic flair 0
About 20 years ago, two sisters made a pact: if they found themselves alone, they would join households and move in together.
A couple of years ago, they put that plan into action, buying a home on the lake.
What wasn’t part of that pact was opening a studio dedicated to antique Santa Claus dolls.
“I had no desire to marry again,” says Lynn Murray, one half of Two Sisters Studios.
“My sister lost her partner some years before I did and felt exactly the same. We’re happy as two peas in a pod and have never left here.”
Murray and her sister Anne Thornton-Trump live an unusual, but rewarding life on the lake.
They moved north from their former home in Kleinburg, Ont., in the dead of a Haliburton winter, spent a year renovating and now have a bastion of Christmas cheer on the edge of Halls Lake.
There they create Santa dolls from century-old moulds they acquired in Europe.
Their product may seem niche, but it has gained traction both with those nostalgic for days past and those looking for a timeless decoration for the holidays.
“The figures are created from a special recipe of liquid paper maché composition and poured into moulds,” Murray explains.
That’s the part Thornton-Trump does. Then Murray assembles the pieces and paints them.
The entire process takes about 18 hours per doll.
“We use only the materials that would have been used a century ago,” she says.
The pair grew up in British Columbia, but have fond memories of the Haliburton area from their mother, who was an artist.
When they took up the arts themselves, Haliburton and its strong arts community seemed like a good fit.
“We wanted to be in the artists’ community in Haliburton because artists need other artists in order to stay creative. That is what drew us here … We found the community very quickly because one person that we knew up here was also an artist,” Murray says.
The two sisters do two major shows a year: one for doll collectors and one for Christmas collectors and have been featured in museum exhibits in Europe.
Those attending the studio tour this year will have a chance to check out Two Sisters Studios for the first time.
The pair has already decorated a 50-foot spruce tree outside their home and has fully decorated inside with a Christmas theme including Christmas cookies and a Christmas cranberry drink.
The studio is at 17102 Highway 35, north of Carnarvon on Halls Lake. Go to www.twosistersstudios.com or call 705-489-1473 for more information.