Year of Thanks, Week of Savings!

Artisan Gallery 218, in historic Valley Junction, is celebrating its First Anniversary and Thanksgiving with a week of savings on Victoria Herring’s photography of “World Tour Images” starting Monday November 21st!

Herring’s lens captures colorful, indelible impressions of people and places — near and far.  Suitable for framing, her photos make ideal gifts for travelers and armchair wanderers.  Celebrate with up to 50% off!
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Also enjoy 50% off selected wood art objects by Tom Whalley!

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Open Monday through Saturday Thanksgiving week. Closed on Thursday for the holiday.

Make Artisan Gallery 218 your holiday shopping destination!

Artisan Gallery 218 Construction Update Aug 4th

Hello Everyone!  We thought you might be interested in what is going on in the gallery.  Here is a brief update:

The entire ceiling has been removed and the interior of the gallery is being prepped for construction = nails being pulled, etc.  The joists in the space are all being raised in the center where there was a small bow and repaired from previous remodels.

The ceiling will be about 2 ft. higher than before so they are prepping to sheet rock the top of all existing walls to the ceiling.  The original tin ceiling will be reinstalled for the majority of the gallery.  Everything in the gallery will be painted white.  There will be a combination of LED Linear lights and track lighting throughout the space.

Overall the space will be spectacular!  We are sparing little cost to make it safe, beautiful and highly functional in a variety of purposes.

We are working toward an October 1st re-occupancy date.  Grand Re-opening date will follow once we are moved back in and the new exhibit is ready!

Artist Spotlight: Janet Bergeron, Fabric and Fiber Artist

You are involved in the Studio Art Quilt Association.  Tell us about this group.

Nebula - New Work
Nebula – New Work

“I am the Iowa Representative of the Studio Art Quilt janet profile picAssociation  (SAQA), an international group of fiber artists who promote Fiber Art by education, gallery exhibitions, and conferences.  The most exciting thing they do is curate traveling exhibitions and actively promote our work to galleries. We have quite a few members in Iowa and the Midwest.  I am also a member of the American Quilters Society (AQS).”

How did you get started in fabric and fiber artwork?IMG_3306

“Textiles have defined my world since the age of 8.   From work clothing to costume design, dyeing and construction to quilting to hand and art quilting to three dimensional works, my “happy place” has always been the sewing room.  I have practiced these skills as a student as well as working at Living History Farms, freelance costuming, competitive costuming, and dance wear.”

 Where have you exhibited?

Catching the Breeze, Iowa State Fair, and national Calendar
“Catching the Breeze” –  Iowa State Fair, and AQS National Calendar

“My representational works and abstract work  have been exhibited in several major and smaller art shows, such as American Quilter’s Society (AQS) Houston, AQS Des Moines, Iowa State Fair Fine Arts, traveling Studio Art Quilt shows , Fairfield Iowa, Marion Iowa, Grinnell, and currently at the Des Moines Botanical Gardens.  I’ve had some pieces printed in quilt related magazines as well as national calendars.”

Hot - New Work
Hot – New Work
The Hercules facebook
The Hercules
Pilot alone in the air
Pilot Alone in the Air

What type of work do you like to create, and how do you maintain your skills?

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“I really enjoy pushing the medium and love to make bowls, jewelry, clothing, and quilts with unusual topics.  I also create custom quilts of buildings based on photographs.   I have taken numerous art and drawing classes, as well as Shibori classes, fabric painting classes, dyeing classes, etc.  I am continuously exploring and learning new things from classes to participating in exhibits and interacting with other artists such as other SAQA and AQS members.”

Come see Janet’s art at Artisan Gallery 218 – 218 5th Street, West Des Moines, Iowa!

Artist Spotlight: Hilde DeBruyne

One look at Hilde DeBruyne’s sculptures sweeps you into an outdoor oasis. Her work transports you from an art gallery into the natural, beautiful world of a wood or meadow. This is precisely Hilde’s goal:

“I especially love the texture element in nature: the tree bark, weathered surfaces, driftwood, the pattern in leaves and wings…It reflects in my work in the added “texture”, as if leaving my marks and traces, and telling a story, history or memory.”

More than that, the juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity in nature inspires Hilde’s sculptures. She cites the Wabi-Sabi element as another level of inspiration. This is a Japanese aesthetic that places value on imperfection. For example, a weathered structure or decaying tree.

It comes as no surprise Hilde chose art as her life passion. She grew up in a family of artists and joined her father’s sculpture classes during her teen years. She remembers her childhood home encapsulating various art pieces representing cultural diversity, from Buddha figures to remnants from Christian buildings.

Hilde’s broad portfolio of work includes sculptures in private and public collections, including various public pieces around the Des Moines area. Included in this distinguished list is “Heart Beat,” a clay sculpture at Mercy Medical Center; “The Birth Place of Des Moines,” a porcelain tile mural in Principal Park; “Tree of Life”, a permanent public art installation at Sesquicentennial Park in Indianola; and “Circle of Life” a permanent installation at City Hall in West Des Moines.


Hilde, born in Belgium, was sought out by Mary Kline-Misol, one of the Founding Mothers of Artisan Gallery 218. Hilde recognized the unique opportunity to showcase her work along with other regional artists. Moreover, she recognized Valley Junction as a relic of her roots:

“It reminds me of the small European shops with their own unique character, feel and individuality. You enter a shop and are welcomed by a person who really cares about their shop…what makes 218 unique is that visitors can talk to the artists and hear about their creative journey. It adds so much more personality and meaning.”

When asked if she had a favorite piece, Hilde lamented that was like choosing who her favorite child is:

“They are all my favorite, especially while in the process of making them…It takes a while to detach from a sculpture. It can be hard to see it go.”

Stop in Artisan Gallery 218 to see a variety of Hilde’s work. You may also see her portfolio at and on her Facebook page.


5 Spots in Des Moines for Winter Photography

There is no doubt Des Moines is a beautiful city. The architecture, budding sculpture gardens and flowing rivers create stunning photographs or backdrops. However, most of these photos are taken during spring or summer when the sun is out, flowers are blooming and a thick blanket of snow doesn’t cover the grass.

But there is something to be said about the beauty and elegance of wintertime. There is nothing more magical than looking out the window and marveling at the way the snow graces each branch of a tree or how a frozen river completely transforms the look of the landscape that surrounds it.

Instead of curling up with a blanket and lamenting about the dropping temperatures, grab a loved one, bundle up and take a thermos of hot cocoa and your camera. Then, go enjoy the beauty of our top picks to enjoy the Winter Wonderment of Des Moines, Iowa.  Our expert travel photographer, Victoria Herring, has great tips for capturing the perfect snapshot at each location!

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

Victoria’s Tips:  The exterior is lovely, particularly as it is next to the river.  But the inside has numerous images worth viewing [including a diptych by Mary Kline-Misol].  The staircase is worth a shot, as is the stained glass window on the way up.

WorldFoodprize stainedglasswindow WorldFoodprize Diptyche WorldFoodprize Ceiling

Iowa Capital Grounds

Victoria’s Tips:  The outside is beautiful and grand, but so is the inside.  The rotunda [ceiling] is impressive and if you go up to the 2nd level and visit both the House and Senate chambers, there are plenty of interesting places to see and to use as background.  Most impressive is the State Law Library with its winding staircases.

Iowa Capitol at night copy

Law Library
Law Library
Dome Looking Up
Dome Looking Up

Robert D Ray Asian Temple next to Des Moines River

Victoria’s Tips:  Capture the temple and the river behind it, and don’t forget the stylized lions guarding the Temple.  Focus on the designs and the red color, perhaps at sunset especially.

Dale Maffitt Reservoir

Victoria’s Tips:  This is a hidden gem, wonderful in the fall when the leaves are turning.  Plus you get the added bonus of some interesting farming images.

Des Moines Art Center

Victoria’s tips:  The Visitor’s Guide says:  “Personal photography of the permanent collection is permitted. No equipment, flash, or professional photography of any kind, unless with prior approval by the Art Center’s marketing department. Photography of temporary exhibitions is permitted unless signage states otherwise.”  In spring and fall, go outside and enjoy and photograph the Rose Garden and the front of the building, and in back, the I.M.Pei wing.  The sculpture on the grounds also makes a good subject or background.

Des Moines Art Center for 'Focus Your View'


Artisan Spotlight: Kara Schlabaugh

Kara Schlabaugh has creativity running through her veins. There was not a moment when she wasn’t surrounded by art growing up. Her dad is the owner of Schlabaugh & Sons. You may recognize these gorgeous artisan clocks (they can be found in our gallery alongside Kara’s work!) It’s only natural that Kara found her own path in the art world:

I traveled to art shows and galleries across the country which influenced me a lot as well as being in the wood shop with my dad. I always loved creating and working in different mediums. I studied graphic design in college but it wasn’t until I studied in Florence, Italy that I started painting and making fine art.”

Kara draws her inspiration from everyday objects. Her handmade wooden objects are brought to life with original Lino-cut patterns. She thanks her experience in graphic design to add simple and elegant patterns and colors to everyday objects.


Kara was approached by Annie Temple, one of the Founding Mothers, to showcase her work in the gallery. Her love of Des Moines and immediate connection to the space of the gallery pushed her to add her talent to the lineup of artisans.

Kara is quite the humble person and knows the challenges of trying to make it in the art world:

I started establishing myself by participating as an emerging artist for two years at the Des Moines Arts Festival. It was intimidating being in a show next to all those successful artist but once I saw my work resonate with people and had customers come back the second year to buy more I knew I was doing something right.”

Kara has one piece of advice for aspiring artists: be open to change and new ideas. She is still taking this to heart as every day when she steps into her studio, she reminds herself to try new things and experiment.


Meet the Founding Mothers of Artisan Gallery 218

The story of Artisan Gallery 218 is rooted in the story of the Founding Mothers. An audacious group of four women met serendipitously when each had dreams of creating a co-op art gallery and enriching the art scene of the Des Moines area. Through mutual friends, Craigslist run-ins and artisan connections, they all came together to bring their dreams to conception.

Who are the Founding Mothers? Let’s meet this group of women who are as unique as they are talented.

Victoria L. Herring is a lawyer by day and a photographer, well, by day and by night. She describes her art as contemplative and is drawn to doorways, arches and corridors. She has traveled the world photographing every nook and cranny literally.

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Her vision for the art gallery is to raise the level of appreciation for art and give everyone a taste of artistic diversity:

“I would like to see us be able to present a number of disciplines of art so that people can get a varied sense of what is available that is artistic. Art is a very personal thing. A person has to want to live with something. If they don’t like it, they shouldn’t buy it. “

Anne M. Temple comes from a family of artists and she continued the legacy by going to the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Her caring manner leaves everyone with a warm sense of belonging after just a short encounter with her. She brings the same manner of care to furniture and other home goods by “repurposing things in an artful manner.”


Anne hopes the gallery emits a welcoming, homey feeling to patrons who walk through the door. The gorgeous wood floors and original brick walls certainly emote this sentiment.

Even more important to Anne is the bond she has found with the other three Founding Mothers:

“We all have completely different personalities. Victoria and Louise, even though they are artistic people, they are the go-getters. Mary and I are the creatives. We complete each other.”

Ever since Louise Mcilhon can remember, she loved rocks. She started going to the Tucson Gem Show, the largest gem show in the world, and began making jewelry to afford her habit! For nearly 11 years she has used jewelry making to relax and rejuvenate while working as an IT Executive and to find peace in her hectic life.   Her jewelry is one-of-a-kind using natural stones, pearls, and coral in her traditional line, and incorporates vintage artifacts (rosary beads, broken vintage jewelry, and religious medals)  in her vintage line.


Louise has a studio any artisan would be jealous of.  Large strands are hung up on the walls so she has a panoramic view of her available materials. She is inspired by the colors of the stones and the hues found in nature. When she starts a piece of jewelry, she cannot fathom how it will finish:

“I’ll grab a strand here and think ‘Oh that’s really pretty,’ and then grab another strand there. I never know what I’m going to make until it’s done. I don’t have a design. It just happens. It’s a process.  Most often, it will be vastly different from what I originally think it will look like.”

Mary Kline-Misol is a force of energy and passion and brings breath-taking paintings to the multi-faceted gallery.  Her Alice Cycle, focusing on the writing of Lewis Carroll began as her Master’s thesis nearly 20 years ago. It has hailed many accolades through the years. The remaining pieces have been brought out of storage and will be the first series of many she will display.


Mary sees her painting as a spiritual quest. After her husband passed away, she began to take walks in the woods to calm and soothe her soul. The patterns, smells and colors of nature inspired her Turf series and pays homage to her recent journey.

Mary will be teaching a children’s art class during the first months of 2016. Her art techniques go beyond Elmer’s glue and paper plates. She strives to teach the younger generation the beauty and technique of drawing and painting.

Each of us brings a unique skill and personality to Artisan Gallery 218. Our individual stories are now intertwined to create a beautiful bond and gallery. Our hope is to spread the joy and creativity we have found through each other to fellow artisans and patrons of the gallery.