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Betty, left, and Gabriel Morin hold up a new sign for the Mirror Lake Diner that will open this weekend in Kamas. The Morins asked Artique owner Katie Stellpflug to help with the restaurant's dŽcor. (Photo by Shea Trivett)
When Gabriel Morin and his wife Betty open The Mirror Lake Diner this weekend the walls will be adorned with nature photographs taken by Oakley photographer Charlie Lansche.

The images will be enhanced by leaf sculptures by another local artist, Samak's Ed Wittrock.

Using local art was an idea that emerged with the Morins put their heads together with Artique owner Katie Stellpflug.

Artique is a small, independent boutique located at 283 N. Main St. in Kamas.

"I got to know Betty and Gabe, who have lived in Francis for a few years now, because they would come into my shop during the First Friday Artist openings where I display works by a selected local artist," Stellpflug said during an interview with The Park Record. "Since they knew I promote local art here in Kamas, they wanted to work together and hoped that I would be able to help them with some of the restaurant's décor for their walls. They approached me and asked if I would be interested in featuring work from my connections of local artists to fill in the gaps of their place to make it look a little more homier."

The Morins visited Artique and looked around the shop for ideas a few months ago.

"We found the best fit for the diner walls were Charlie's photographs," Stellpflug said. "I had featured him as a First Friday artist in March and he takes a lot of photography in the area, everywhere from Oakley to Weber Canyon and up into the Mirror Lake Highway."

Since the Kamas Valley is one of Lansche's major focal points, the photos seemed to fit with the restaurant's location.

"A lot of people will be eating at the Mirror Lake Diner when it opens, because it's located on the way to the Uinta Mountains," Stellpflug said. "Since Gabe and Betty were drawn to his nature scenes, we went into it full on with the photography, and I think it looks nice hanging on their walls."

The idea to display Wittrock's leaf sculptures just sort of happened.

"We liked the way these works enhanced Charlie's photos," Stellpflug said. "They seemed to go hand in hand and added some more effect to the walls."

Morin said he left the final decision-making up to his wife, Stellpflug and his front-of-house manager Shea Trivett.

"I told them I'd rather design the menu if they would take care of the dining room décor," Morin said. "I gave them some of my ideas and they picked it up from there."

The Mirror Lake Diner, located at 35 S. Main Street in Kamas, formerly housed the Yolk on Main restaurant, Morin said.

After the Yolk went out of business, the Morins bought the space and remodeled it in an environmentally friendly way, he explained.

"The restaurant's motto is 'Simple food done right,' but that thought also applies throughout the business," Morin said. "This is a beautiful area and I don't see any point in buying something from Las Vegas or New York when we have what we need right here," he said. "There is a lot of great talent just 10 miles away, so why pay some guy to drive up here from Salt Lake when our neighbor can do it, you know?

"Katie has a cute studio that has some unique art, and she does her Artists Openings once a month and the wife and I try to attend those," Morin said. "I thought some of those items would be a great way to beautify our restaurant and at the same time, show off local artists, without using a lot of initial capital."

So far, there are photos and leaf sculptures, but Morin is also working with another Utah artist named Lawry, who lives in Hanna and works with onyx rock.

"I've only met him once, but he's going to send me some of his pieces for the restaurant as well," Morin said.

Stellpflug said she is open to other ideas in the future.

"For now, we're staying away from the more fragile pieces and three-dimensional art, because they don't have the space for it, yet," she said. "But depending on what Gabe and Betty want, I can provide other artwork as well to fit within the restaurant's motif.

"If they want ceramics or paintings in the future, I will be happy to work that in if at all possible," she said.

Stellpflug thinks collaborations such as this will only strengthen the community.

"The biggest thing for us here in the Kamas Valley is that there are many businesses on Main Street, and I was excited to partner up with the Mirror Lake Diner because they are located on one end of the of the street and I'm on the other," she said. " working together, our partnership will bring business to both of us.

"I will refer my customers and patrons to the restaurant and Gabe and Betty will refer people who like the art in the restaurant to me," she said.

The Mirror Lake Diner isn't the first business Stellpflug has partnered with to show her clients' art.

"In the past we have hung other pieces in the Main Street Salon, and I've put some of my own ceramics in there as well," she said. "I think this is a great fit for all of us, because art enhances places like restaurants and salons. I love the idea of collaborating with other people who want to expand their styles."

Morin said it is a pleasure and honor to work with Artique.

"I think Katie has a terrific eye and sense of style," he said. "I enjoy drawing from other resources for inspiration, and she has definitely been an inspiration for us.

The Mirror Lake Diner will open officially this weekend in time for Memorial Day. For more information about Artique, visit www.facebook.com/artiqueartandgifts . For more information about the Mirror Lake Diner, visit www.facebook/mirrorlakediner.