The proud history of Studio West Bronze Foundry was expounded upon by Karen Begg during CHAP's Chautauqua at the Cochrane Ranche, yesterday.

Closing in on its 50th anniversary, the foundry has put Cochrane on the map for its world-class bronzes. They have produced more than 200 life-size or enlarged bronze statues that are located across Canada, the US and Europe.

"We now have successfully produced bronze statues and projects for more than 70 national artists, designer and sculptors," Begg said. "We have 225 life-size or bigger bronzes across Canada, 130 from my parents alone, and 14 major collaborations."

That includes commemorative works in 22 Alberta communities and at all three Prairie legislatures (Edmonton, Winnipeg and Regina).

Shirley, Don and Karen Begg at the unveiling of the bronze they completed for the revitalized Cochrane Community Cenotaph in 2017.Some of their work is included in the Queen's Art Collection in London. Queen Elizabeth, herself, unveiled a bronze statue completed at Studio West commemorating Andrew Hamilton Gault, founder of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry headquarters in Calgary.

Studio West had its humble beginnings on a rural property outside of Cochrane when Doug Stevens, affectionately known as Calgary's Original Cowboy Artist, his daughter Shirley Stevens-Begg and Don Begg grew weary of having to cast in New York or overseas. By 1972, the company established its operation at 205 2nd Ave. E, which has been expanded three times over the years.

"Studio West was the first bronze art foundry in all of Canada and it's right here in our own backyard," Begg said at the Chautauqua.

"We are proud of the work that we produce," she said. "Our works have become landmarks across Canada. We are proud to have had the honour to commemorated famous people, prime ministers, premiers, Mayerthorpe's the Fallen Four and memorable historical events."

They've also sculpted and bronzed tributes to many unsung regional and national heroes, like nurses, teachers, scholars, school children, nuns and community builders. They have prepared statues for First Nations, Metis, RCMP and the Northwest Mounted Police.

"We have stories to tell about all of our work. They are our labour of love. The success of Studio West is our continued attention to the quality of our work, the passion for our work and because of our wonderful, hard-working, highly-skilled team of artisans who maintain our quality and continued attention to detail. Our motto is 'Perfect is good enough'."

Don Begg Bronzes was recently named a finalist for the first-ever Made-in-Alberta Awards.

Created by Avenue Magazine, judges recently narrowed down the field of finalists for the award from its seven categories. Don Begg Bronzes is in the craft category.

In addition to the judges' decisions, votes are currently being accepting for the Reader’s Choice Award, which will be celebrated alongside the overall winner and runners-up in September.

Karen says they are proud of the nomination and are encouraging people to vote for them.

"It's just to get a little bit of acknowledgement not only to the arts but the business scene in Cochrane. We're pretty proud."

Their work is in high demand and a few pressing projects will likely see them delay the celebration of their 50th until their 51st year of business, says Karen.

Two other businesses with Cochrane roots have been nominated. The embroidery hoops of Penny Embroidery Art are in the craft category. Real Treat Kitchen is in the food category for its gourmet organic cookies.

Votes are being accepted until July 31. To cast your ballot, visit