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Elora sisters create art to ‘adopt a family’

Pebble art - Morgan, left, and Briar Gemmell are creating and selling pebble art to raise money to support two families this Christmas through the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington’s Adopt-A- Family program.  Photo by Jaime Myslik

Elora sisters create art to ‘adopt a family’

by Jaime Myslik

ELORA - Two Elora sisters have taken it upon themselves to fundraise so they can each “adopt a family” this Christmas.

Morgan Gemmell, 9, and Briar Gemmell, 7, are creating custom pebble art from their home with the help of their mom, Kelly, and dad, Kevin, so they can buy gifts for two families through the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington Adopt-A-Family program.

In January Kelly posed the question to her daughters.

“Our mom said, ‘Do you guys want to adopt a family’ and we said ‘yes we do,’” Morgan explained.

The family hasn’t adopted a family in the past  but Morgan said, “We like helping families that don’t have as much as we have and most of the people in our community have so that’s why we are doing it.”

Morgan and Briar have set a goal is to raise enough money so each of them can adopt a family.

The girls began fundraising with a bottle drive in January and February,  earning about $120. Then they hit the jackpot in April, when they started selling pebble art.

Kelly, a professional photographer, decided last Christmas she was going to create pebble art for gifts.

Pebble art consists of flat stones of different shapes fit together in a creative way to depict a scene.

“I would come downstairs and the kids would have the pebbles out and they would [say], ‘We’re going to make this,’” Kelly said.

Sales really picked up near the beginning of June.

“My mom asked a few of her friends if they wanted one and then they shared and she put it on Facebook and everybody wanted one,” Morgan said.

The family affair has a system.

Kelly takes the order, Morgan or Briar design the piece and then Kelly sends a photo of the piece to the client. Once the design is approved Kelly glues the pebbles onto a canvas and Kevin builds a wood frame to complete the piece.

Each custom creation costs $40 and 100 per cent of the proceeds go to the girls’ Adopt-A-Family goals.

“Kevin and I have been footing the bill for the materials,” Kelly explained.

The family collects driftwood by the Grand River, some friends collect pebbles and Kelly has pebbles shipped to Elora from Lake Erie.

Though most orders are for scenes of families and people, Briar and Morgan have dabbled in non-human designs as well.

Briar recently designed a wheelchair and Morgan has created a dragonfly.

“They just grab and put together and I’m really trying not to change anything that they do,” Kelly said. “But they really take their time.”

Accompanying the art pieces are water colour thank you cards from the girls that explain their goal and mission.

As the popularity of the pieces has picked up, Kelly said she limits the girls to one design a day.

“I don’t like them to do too many because ... then it becomes a chore, it’s not fun anymore,” Kelly said.

“Plus it takes a good five days to make the frames by the time you cut them and stain them and paint them.”

So far the family has completed about 15 pieces with about 20 more on order.

The goal is to raise at least $600 per four-person family so the girls can spend at least $150 on each child in gifts, give the family $100 in grocery gift cards and buy a gift for the parents.

“It sort of depends on the family and what their needs are too,” Kelly said.

The goal is to be matched with families with children around the same age as Briar and Morgan.

Last year the Children’s Foundation Adopt-A-Family program bought gifts for 2,396 children.

For more information about Morgan and Briar’s pebble art or to order a piece visit or search “Two Sisters Pebble Art on Facebook.”

July 7, 2017


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