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What is meant by a critical mass? In reading of the interaction between artists represented in profile in this book, a new appreciation develops for the stimulation one art form receives from another. This cross-fertilization finds optimum opportunities in our village, town and adjacent rural areas where diverse artistic disciplines interact through daily personal contacts of the artists themselves. “It is through Art and through Art only that we can realize our perfection; through Art and Art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.� Oscar Wilde

75 artists of the Elora Fergus Area


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What is meant by a critical mass? In reading of the interaction between artists represented in profile in this book, a new appreciation develops for the stimulation one art form receives from another. This cross-fertilization finds optimum opportunities in our village, town and adjacent rural areas where diverse artistic disciplines interact through daily personal contacts of the artists themselves. “It is through Art and through Art only that we can realize our perfection; through Art and Art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.� Oscar Wilde

75 artists of the Elora Fergus Area


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Profiles By: Susan Larrabee, John Chalmers, Olga Domjan, Patricia Reimer, Hazel Jones, Terry James, Sandra Cairns, Amy Appleford, Deryk Smith, Bryan Hayter, Marion Reidel, Annerose Schmidt, Riki Weiland, Beverley Cairns Graphic Design: Shirley Al, Joanne Rutherford Photographs: Ellen Langlands: ART741 Wellington County Museum & Archives Self Portrait, Percy Runnells: ART741 Wellington County Museum & Archives Resa Lent and Elke Kitras: photos by Sophie Hogan Linda Copp: photo by Trish Johnson Peter Skoggard: portrait by James Hillis Sophie Hogan: photo by Trina Krasner Rosalinde Baumgartner: photo by Rowena Gilbert Anita Stewart: photo by Simon Hayter Shirley Al: photo by Greg Davis

Copyright Š The Elora Arts Council 2005 Box 668, Elora, Ontario, Canada N0B 1S0 Printed, bound, and distributed by Pandora Press 33 Kent Avenue, Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 3R2 www.pandorapress.com

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Community Futures Development Corporation for Wellington-Waterloo which has made possible the publication of this book.

ISBN: 0-9739760-0-4

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To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. Joseph Chilton Pearce

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PREFACE What is meant by a critical mass? In reading of the interaction between artists represented in profile in this book, a new appreciation develops for the stimulation one art form receives from another. This cross-fertilization finds optimum opportunities in our village, town and adjacent rural areas where diverse artistic disciplines interact through daily personal contacts of the artists themselves. Profiles of artists which make up this book have appeared in the Elora Arts Council’s newsletter Communiqué, from its first issue in 1985 to the present. Each issue features an artist who has enriched the greater Centre Wellington area through visual arts, music, writing, theatre or a wide variety of crafts. Their profiles are presented in chronological order, as they appeared in the Communiqué. In 1997, interviews with 49 artists, along with updates provided by them, were compiled in the publication ‘Profiles’ under the present Editor, Beverley Cairns. Now, in 2005, profiles of 75 individual artists, written from 1985 to 2004, are presented in a new format. This information provides a significant historical documentation, designed to capture the pulse of the cultural life of this small, but unusual community. Artists who kindly accepted to be interviewed for the Profile feature of Communiqué were chosen at random within the broad geographic area which the Elora Arts Council serves. No exact balance was sought

in gender, profession or location, although an attempt has been made to be broadly representative. The artists in profile here represent only a fraction of the talented individuals living in this area; in fact some prominent artists have not yet been featured in Communiqué. Unfortunately it has not been possible to be all-inclusive, but interviews will be continued in the future. Although updates were sought from all artists, some have chosen to rewrite their interviews rather than update them, and in several cases when it was not possible to contact artists, information was obtained from websites. Though requested, new photos were not always available, and some of the old ones published here are not as clear as might be wished. Still, they provide an important adjunct to the interviews. Volunteers who have contributed to writing these profiles and interviewing artists have pursued personal styles, which lend a pleasing diversity to the book, and their contributions are greatly valued To all artists mentioned in this publication, special thanks are due for the insights they have generously offered into their creative journeys. We glimpse the enrichment they have brought to the quality of life in our community. Their talents, and those of other artists working here, create a cultural context which is growing more vibrant and expanding every year.

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A HISTORY OF THE ELORA ARTS COUNCIL In 2004, Chair Riki Weiland accepted the Cultural /Arts Award of Merit. This award recognizes an individual, group, organization or business for a significant contribution to Centre Wellington’s cultural environment through distinguished service or artistic achievement.

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In the spring of 1985, a large group of people gathered at the Elora Mill Inn to inaugurate The Elora Arts Council (EAC). At that time there were already numerous arts related activities established in the area. All the arts were alive and well. The new Arts Council sought to build on these and other initiatives in a growing artistic community. The Elora Arts Council is a nonprofit organization committed to the encouragement and promotion of the arts in the Centre Wellington area. Since 1985, the Elora Arts Council has endeavoured to provide opportunities for all artistic disciplines: • In its founding year, EAC assumed the operation and funding of the INSIGHTS Juried Arts Show, which predated EAC by five years. In1986, the show expanded to include new disciplines. The exhibition took place over the period of one month at the

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Wellington County Museum’s Exhibition Hall. Since 2002, the duration of INSIGHTS has been extended, and the show can be viewed throughout the summer; • In 1987, an annual Youth Concert was initiated, providing an opportunity for young musicians to gain experience in performing before an audience. These concerts have now expanded to two a year; • In 1987, EAC organized the first Elora-Fergus Studio Tour with 18 studios participating. In the autumn of 2005, the number of studios taking part has grown to 40; • In the fall of 1988, EAC acquired the Yamaha Grand Piano, presently housed in the Exhibition Hall of the Wellington County Museum. This has enabled many musical activities to take place in the community; • The advent of the grand piano made possible the development of the non-profit Gallery Concert Series at the museum. The Gallery Music Group was formed in November 1988. Six low cost concerts are


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offered per year, in conjunction with the Wellington County Museum. This group remains affiliated with EAC; • In September 1989, EAC sponsored and organized Youth Arts Classes in co-operation with the Wellington County Museum. These classes continue to flourish, now entirely under the auspices of the museum; • The Elora Writers’ Festival was initiated in 1994, and has continued to attract many well-known authors to an afternoon of readings in early summer. In 2003, the Elora Writers’ Competition for youth and adults was added, and over 100 entries were received from across the world. The Writers’ Festival now features two distinct events and continues to grow; • Puppets Elora was founded with support from EAC in 1994. The group visits many schools, performing original plays written for and by the participants. This independent organization is affiliated with EAC; • In 2002, a new committee was formed called Art In Public Places, with the purpose of enriching the exteriors and interiors of our community with visual art. To date this committee has worked with Groves Memorial Hospital in Fergus. In 2006, EAC will augment visual art in the Township of Centre Wellington’s municipal building, through loans and acquisitions as well as placement of existing art. In addition to these annual events, EAC organized annual sculpture shows from 1998 to 2002. From 1997 to 1999, it sponsored film festivals in conjunction with the Gorge

Cinema. Art in the Park was an important summer exhibition for EAC from 1989 to 2000. The group gave support to a Children’s Choir in 1996, and co-sponsored a study on Sustainability of the Arts in Centre Wellington in 2004. In addition to these activities, annual innovative fund raising events were supported by many artists in the community. Recording these activities continuously over the years has been Communiqué, the newsletter of EAC, with 79 issues since 1985. At present, it is a quarterly publication. In 2004, the Elora Arts Council, an entirely volunteer organization, was awarded the Cultural/Arts Award of Merit, sponsored by the township of Centre Wellington Cultural Affairs Committee, recognizing EAC’s “significant contribution to Centre Wellington’s cultural environment”. In 2005, EAC celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

Chairs of EAC: 1985-87 Peter Scott 1987-89 Geoffrey Stevens 1989-90 Linda Risacher Copp 1990-93 Tony Sepers 1993-94 Geoffrey Stevens 1994-97 Jo-Anne Harder 1997-00 Tony Sepers 2000-02 Patricia Reimer 2000-03 Riki Weiland 2005Beverley Cairns

Recording these activities continuously over the years has been Communiqué, the newsletter of EAC.

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CONTENTS 2 4 6 8 10 12 16 20 24 26 30 34 36 38 40 42 46 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 66 70 72 76 80 82 84 88 90 92

JAN H. ALBARDA CORBETT GRAY JUDITH CROCKER ARTHUR BLACK PAT CHATAWAY CHRISTOPHER YOUNGS NOEL EDISON ELLEN LANGLANDS FRED THOMPSON RALPH BENEY RESA LENT TERESA RANDALL THE BRUNZEMA FAMILY LINDA RISACHER COPP JOE SOMFAY DEBORAH & PETER SKOGGARD STUART OXLEY PERCY RUNNELLS STEPHEN KITRAS PAT MESTERN PETER KNUDSTRUP LORRAINE DREW BROOK TONY SEPERS KARIN BACH ESTHER FARELL MAUREEN DWYER & PEPE FERNANDEZ ELSKE ALBARDA GEOFFREY STEVENS WAYNE BRIDGE JOHN CHALMERS JOEL MASEWICH AREND NIEUWLAND WENDY HUMPHREYS ALAN ARGUE TERI (CHMILAR) LAMB

94 96 98 102 106 110 112 114 116 120 122 124 126 128 132 134 136 138 140 142 144 146 150 152 154 156 158 162 164 166 168 170 172 174 177

PERRIN BEATTY SARIE MARAIS NEIL HANSCOMB EVA MCCAULEY SOPHIE HOGAN MIA ANDERSON ELIZABETH FASKEN GUY FEW BEVERLEY CAIRNS DEBBIE STANSON ROSALINDE BAUMGARTNER MARILYN KOOP MICHAEL HALE JANET K. SMITH ELKE KITRAS MELANIE MOREL ‘RIKI’ ULRIKE WEILAND GEORGE KUIPERS HALBERT GOBER JANE BALDWIN MICHAEL CRESSMAN DAVID EARLE LINDSAY GRATER ADRIAN HOAD-REDDICK DOROTHY COLLIN JO-ANNE HARDER ROBERT EVANS ANITA STEWART GARY BRYANT & JULIE WHEELER BRYANT GWEN SWICK SHIRLEY AL PUPPETS ELORA ARLENE SAUNDERS JIM REED COLOUR ARTWORK

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Fine Art is that in which the hand, the head and the heart go together. John Ruskin

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1985

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JAN H. ALBARDA

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HARPSlCHORD BUlLDER AND ARCHl TECT

Close to the centre of Elora, in a century stone house by the river, the harpsichord is developing as a contemporary instrument. In his simple basement workroom, with the most elementary tools, Jan Albarda works to improve the instrument without violating its musical characteristics. In building 89 harpsichords, 10 or 12 clavichords, and numerous spinets and virginals, Jan Albarda has incorporated many modifications and innovations. He has even built a new instrument, the Cembalo Marina, a harpsichord with sympathetic strings. He recently finished the fourth pedal harpsichord of his own design, and soon he will construct a harpsichord capable of dynamic shading, with loud and soft accents. His goal is to develop, rather than repeat, the traditions of the old masters: “The creative mind should contain the experience of the past, the contemporary insights and the inspiring ideal of the future”, he says. Undoubtedly his original professions of architect and engineer, which he practised for 25 years, have enabled Jan Albarda to realize new potential in these ancient instruments of the Baroque era. But he has always been close to music. “I had wonderful parents,” he says.

“When I was young in Holland my parents took me to concerts and galleries. From the age of seven, I heard the St. Matthew’s Passion every year at Easter, and we always had singing and instrument playing in our home.” Somehow in those youthful days he had a feeling he would one day come to North America. He hoped to continually compare the old and new cultures. But it was not until after the war, in 1951, that Jan Albarda came to Canada with his wife Elske and their two children; it would be another 11 years before he built his first harpsichord for their daughter Karen. A second harpsichord was undertaken for a neighbour, then Jan endeavored to design an instrument himself. No literature was available on the exacting craft of harpsichord building, and at that time there was but one other builder in Canada, and only a few in the United States. But Jan says: “By making 10 instruments to his own design a maker will gain more insight than by making 100 replicas”. From this time, 1962, he went on to adapt the harpsichord to modern music, modern visual tastes and materials, and to this continent: “In a climate where nature is a constant threat to the products of human hands, very special construction and materials


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are necessary.” The beautiful music room of their home on Princess Street, Elora, where Elske teaches piano and music theory, contains three instruments of Jan’s unique design. The ebony natural keys and the ivory sharp keys contrast with the warm, glowing woods of the frames. Under the lids, fine wire strings shine against maple. They appear spare and elegant and exceedingly light. On the nameboard is written ALBARDA, and the year of building in Roman numerals. Variations of these instruments have been sent to customers across North America and Europe. Jan packs and ships them himself from the chilly, low-beamed basement, his workroom since coming to Elora in 1975. Jan has written eloquently of the history and development of the harpsichord in his book “Wood, Wire and Quill”, now in its second edition. It was conceived as a manual for the layman, and presents with great clarity not only the history of the instrument, with many illustrations, but also a description and evaluation of a most important period in Western music. This book has brought letters of response from all over the world. “The greatest tradition”, says Jan, “is the tradition of being contemporary.” — by Beverley Cairns, April 1985 IN MEMORIAM - November 1993 The first issue of the Elora Arts Council’s ‘Communiqué’, published in the spring of 1985, presented the Profile of Jan Albarda, Harpsichord Builder, Architect and Engineer.

His death on September 4, 1993, was a unique loss to our artistic community. Jan had worked with some of the great architects of Europe before coming to Canada in 1951. During the 18 years he lived in Elora he was primarily a builder of harpsichords. With great simplicity Jan produced instruments of remarkable innovation and beauty. He applied the highest standards to all areas of creativity. Jan succeeded in completing his 100th harpsichord in 1989. In the same year he also patented his design for a new jack for the harpsichord, which would allow the individual keys of this instrument to produce a volume of tone from loud to soft, as in a piano. During the 450 years of its evolution builders of the harpsichord had never overcome its limitations of terraced dynamics. No instrument has yet been built incorporating Jan Albarda’s revolutionary innovation. UPDATE A framed photograph of Jan’s Cembalo Marina has been donated to the Elora Centre For The Arts. Jan is affectionately remembered, along with his wife Elske, through the establishment of the Albarda Lounge at the Centre and the donation of the RÖSLER grand piano to the Centre by their daughter Karen and son Hans. Jan’s early work as an architect in Holland is being rediscovered and reevaluated by the architectural community at this time, and one of several books he wrote on the subject is due to be published in Holland.

“ The greatest tradition”, says Jan, “is the tradition of being contemporary.”

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1985

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CORBETT GRAY

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ARTl ST AND TEACHER

Since 1974, when an apartment on Mill Street overlooking the river became his home, Corbett Gray has been a familiar and well loved figure in Elora. “He is a totally dedicated artist, a gentle flower,” says gallery owner Colleen Fogarty, “he should be feted and honoured as one of our great living Canadian painters.” Using oil on canvas, Corbett is best known for his figurative painting: fragile and delicate, with overtones of impressionism. But he is also a teacher and a man of vision. Throughout his working life he was regarded as the “guiding angel” of art teaching in schools of Wellington County. In Elora his studio is known as a centre of life drawing and painting. Born in Winnipeg, Corbett first attended the Winnipeg School of Art, studying under L. Lemoine Fitzgerald. He developed a unique drawing ability. But it was overseas with the R.C.A.F. during the war that his fantasies were stimulated by original masterpieces. As a veteran he came to the Ontario College of Art, where John Alfson strongly influenced his

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formative years. He received a gold medal in sculpture, and a scholarship to the Art Student’s League (A.S.L) of New York, of which he remains a life member. One day he woke to the realization that his real love was not sculpture, but painting. A strong vein of impressionism in the A.S.L., combined with his natural tendencies, led him to a close examination of the works of Degas, Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Pissaro, Boudin and Walter Sickert. Later in Toronto, the paintings of a British contemporary, Edward Seaga, had a lasting influence. Corbett Gray came to Guelph in the mid 50s. He was engaged as the Art Supervisor for the Board of Education. Over the next twenty years, until his retirement, he had a remarkable impact on the schools by initiating enlightened art teaching and inspiring many students, now artists themselves. At this time, despite heavy commitments at work, he completed up to a hundred canvases a year. Summers and weekends Corbett and his mother spent in Arkell. Here, in the peace of


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the countryside, he painted many of his large works. As the school board territory expanded to cover all of Wellington County, Corbett frequently travelled through Elora. The village caught his imagination; renovations of Mill Street had just begun. In 1974 he bought a studio here, among the first of an influx of artists, artisans and musicians. He came to love this environment, which valued him in turn. In 1975, a studio group first started by P. Wolfond in Guelph and later including many Elora artists, found new quarters in Corbett’s hospitable studio. Meeting twice weekly, they sketched and painted local models, talking of new influences and developments when the work was done. In the late 70s Corbett Gray’s paintings acquired a new harmony and intensity. His art leapt forward. Retirement provided the luxury of uninterrupted time, the freedom to make deeply nourishing trips to Europe and to teach in summer at the Southampton Art School, Goderich. In 1978, Corbett formed a special association with Studio Colleen, Ottawa. The encouragement and support he has found there speaks positively of the future. “His paintings have a marvellous emotional effect. He’s not just a signature,” says Colleen Fogarty. “Corbett communicates his art to people of all ages and walks of life.” by Beverley Cairns and Judy Fredricks, June 1985

IN MEMORIAM - Summer, 1991-2 In the summer of 1991, just as a retrospective exhibition of his paintings was being planned at the Wellington County Museum and Archives, Corbett Gray died. In November 1992, paintings in private collections dating from 1956 to the ‘80s were gathered for the exhibit “Corbett Gray In Elora”. Complementing this retrospective were works by four fine artists, representative of the many people who shared sessions at Corbett’s studio: Karin Bach, George Todd, Rosalinde Baumgartner and Jim Reed. In the words of tribute by George Todd “Corbett’s expertise as a master painter was a resource to all. He had a way of making even the most dubious person feel that he or she just might be able to make art. Whatever the outcome, Corbett would unerringly find goodness in it”.

...best known for his figurative painting: fragile and delicate, with overtones of impressionism.

Colour image pg 177

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1985

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JUDITH CROCKER

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Judith Crocker admits to having a somewhat “polyfrantic” personality and, although she has been led in a multitude of artistic directions, the one constant has been her passion and dedication to music. Having moved from Toronto only three years ago, she has found her home in Fergus to be a more tranquil place in which to further establish her career. It is from here that Ms. Crocker has been able to pull together all of her varied interests and talents and offer a touring programme with which she can identify. She was born in London, Ontario and, although her parents were not musicians, they passed on to their children a love and appreciation for music that is the basis for her life today. She demanded piano lessons at age four and by age seventeen had added cello, flute and classical guitar to a list of instruments that continues to grow. In 1971, restless and tired of academia she “ran away” to the musical/theatrical Perth County Conspiracy group based in Stratford. Four

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years of touring Ontario and the Maritimes and a Perth County Conspiracy recording led to what was intended to be a three month acting job with Toronto Workshop Productions. Her three months evolved into two years and were spent not only acting but composing, arranging and directing. She made the decision during this time to devote herself to music full time and after touring Eastern Canada and Europe, Judith returned to Toronto and her studies at the Royal Conservatory. In 1977, she married Jim Anagnason (a member of the internationally acclaimed piano duo Anagnason and Kinton) and in 1980 Judith tied for first place in the Piano Performers Associate Diploma from the Royal Conservatory. Feeling secure enough professionally, the couple made the decision to leave the city and come to Fergus. Ms. Crocker has made music her life and although the pace is intense and exhausting both emotionally and physically, she cannot imagine doing anything else. “I consider it a


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real privilege in this society to be able to live the way I do and still do something that means so much.” She adds that despite the incredible amount of energy that goes into her work, what she gets in return makes it all worthwhile. Judith and her husband are involved in the same Community Concert series that has been set up to bring high quality performances to small towns in Ontario, where access to the arts is limited. She is hoping in this age of specialists there is room for at least this one generalist. The touring programme she has designed is an assemblage that unites her talents on flute, piano and Celtic harp with her knowledge of international music. From Gershwin Preludes to a Bulgarian dance piece by Bartok, South American and Chinese flute to traditional Celtic folk music, jazz by Oscar Peterson and back to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, the programme is a marriage of sound and emotion thoughtfully arranged to attract a wide audience. Her hope is to introduce or to stretch someone’s musical interests, to perhaps listen to a work they might not have considered before. It is the work by Gershwin that Judith sees as one bridge between jazz and classical music. Her performance of Rhapsody in Blue at this year’s Three Centuries Quarry Concert was called a “surprise success” by Pauline Durichen of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. “Guest pianist Judith Crocker sent out a svelte, sassy Rhapsody in Blue that sparkled with glittering – and wonderfully audible – fingerwork.....She exuded an air of complete control that seemed

to captivate a rather restless audience.” Judith was pleased that despite the acoustical problems and the inch of water that settled on the keys, the “svelte and sassy” came across. “Good Gershwin should be sassy”, she insists, though pianists with strictly classical training often play it straight. Ms. Crocker is a bit like Gershwin, with a foot in all worlds. She has a thoughtful, positive manner and an eager and intense energy that is allowing her to still explore all musical possibilities. In addition to private teaching, performing and duties at the Royal Conservatory, she is experimenting on the synthesizer, and hopes to incorporate it into her touring performance. After a brief vacation in Jamaica, Judith will again be found (or heard) practising. by Susan Larrabee, October, 1985 UPDATE Judith Crocker, a bright star in the music life of our community, moved away a few years after this interview.

It is the work by Gershwin that Judith sees as one bridge between jazz and classical music.

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1986

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ARTHUR BLACK

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WRlTER, BROADCASTER

Recently arrived in Fergus, the Host of the CBC’s Basic Black in conversation with John Chalmers An obvious question is “Why Fergus”? Boy, if I get this wrong I’m dead.....it was either my grandfather or my great grandfather on my father’s side who grew up in Fergus. Blackburn Estate was in our family although it’s been “lawyerized” so I have no idea who owns it now. To complicate matters my mother and my sister both married Blacks from different families, so that now we have lots of half-relatives running around. You’re originally from Toronto but associated usually with Thunder Bay. I was born and grew up on the outskirts of Toronto and only came to Fergus for holidays, and actually went to high school in Fergus for a year I went to Thunder Bay to work for the CBC ten years ago when I was fired by the CBC in Toronto. I went up and hated it, stayed a year, hated it and came back to Toronto and really hated Toronto. Something had gotten in my blood, and after freelancing for a year I went back to Thunder Bay with a whole different attitude, and stayed for nine years. I became known

as “the guy from Thunder Bay” for lack of anything else to acknowledge in Thunder Bay. Before “Basic Black” the radio show, there was Basic Black the book. It’s odd, the CBC broke a precedent there. The book was a compilation of newspaper columns and radio stuff. Since nobody came up with a better title, the radio show became “Basic Black”. In terms of production, the show was a hybrid, with me broadcasting from Thunder Bay and the producers in Toronto. During interviews we often had three studio link-ups, which is a little like flying two airplanes at once. More often than not it worked, although the producers were delighted when I decided to move down here. Looking at the new programming changes I’m pleased that we’ll be hearing more of Finkleman, Farr and yourself. You know everybody at the CBC copies everybody else and I think in a way we’re all catching up to Danny Finkleman ten years ago.


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When you say everyone copies everyone else, it occurs to me that the absurdly ironic flavour of say David Letterman is filtering down to radio. It’s funny you should say that. Letterman is mainstream now and Johnny Carson is really square. I’m always being asked “Did you see last night’s show?” and I never have. Another thing I find disconcerting is that when I go for lunch with these guys, all they talk about are films. And I never have seen the ones they’re talking about. I’m always about three cars back on the old culture train. The recent studies commissioned by Margaret Lyons, Vice-President of English Radio seem to indicate a shift in focus from the traditional elitist image to a new “yuppie” format. Commission reports can be hauled out to justify whatever is going on. The CBC is like feudal China with warlords running around making personal empires. Every once in a while there’s a minor coup and a whole department is wiped out in favour of something else. With a recent cutback of $75 million and proposed cut of $50 million, can we believe there will be no effect on programming? It’s a complete falsehood that cuts don’t come from production, they always do. If you ever want a graphic illustration, go to CBC in Toronto; the offices in Yorkville and the studio facilities on Jarvis Street. The

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offices have broadloom up to your ass, are beautifully colour co-ordinated with busty secretaries walking around, whereas the studio facilities on Jarvis have been condemned by the Toronto Board of Health. I read recently that you’ll be “unleashed” from the studio for comedy and comment on the streets of Toronto. I suspect that’s an elaboration of the fact that I’m no longer in Thunder Bay and that I may be doing something like that. I just got a message that tomorrow I’m going to meet the pandas at 9.30 a.m. That should be a one-way conversation! by John Chalmers, January 1986 UPDATE 1997 Amazing, what can happen in ten short years, even in the back yard of Elora. Arthur relocated in 1990 to Metropolitan downtown Fergus. In 1995, he moved west to Saltspring Island, B.C., where snow is something to top off mountains and jumper cables are as rare as Venusian Starships. Will he miss this Gorge-eous country? He says he will. And if the banana slugs of the Gulf islands prove too frightful, he and Lynn will be back if only to rent a couple of Elora swans to take back west and teach those slugs what biological selection is all about.

UPDATE For 19 years Arthur Black was the host of CBC’s “Basic Black”, before retiring in June 2002. He is the author of a weekly humorous monologue carried by 50 newspapers across Canada and has five books published to date. Arthur has been nominated and awarded just about every award for writing, humour and journalism available in Canada, and still maintains that he wanted to be a cowboy. He is the recipient of the Stephen Leacock Award for humour. Arthur currently resides on Saltspring Island, commuting to Vancouver to tape the TV shows he hosts, writes and produces: “Weird Homes” and “Weird Wheels”. He confides this helps him maintain an appropriate level of island utopia while keeping him on an even keel for those rare times when even his own personal weirdness becomes a little overwhelming.

The CBC is like feudal China with warlords running around making personal empires.

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1986

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PAT CHATAWAY

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THEATRE FOUNDER, ACTOR AND PRODUCER

Pat Chataway is undeniably identified with Community Theatre. The word “community” underlines Pat’s conviction that amateur theatre is recreation as well as creation, that within its disciplines there is place for everyone. Energetic, charming, tenacious, she has involved an amazing cross-section of local people in groups she initiated here: the “Elora Community Theatre” and “Children’s Drama Club”. Occasionally, memorably, she goes on stage herself, but she has not needed theatre for drama in her own life. Pat was born in the Himalayas of a British family many generations in India. Her father was an army officer on the North West Frontier, her mother an opera singer who contributed much to Pat’s love of the stage. As a child she remembers acting out history with brothers and sisters, riding into battle as Queen Boadicea on a chair. Brought to England by the advent of the Great War, Pat had little formal education until the age of ten, when she attended a well loved convent

boarding school. There she learned stagecraft, participating in three major productions a year. Summer holidays reflected her lifelong love of adventure: sailing, camping on Dartmoor, archaeological digs, French with cousins in Normandy. A storybook childhood. Knowing Pat today, it is easy to appreciate that her deep interest in people and sense of service led her to choose nursing as a career over archaeology. At the age of nine she had decided she must go to Kenya. On graduation, with additional certificates in midwifery, she joined a group based in Nairobi dedicated to nursing people in the outlying areas of East Africa. This was a remarkably responsible, independent, and adventurous life for a young girl in the 1930s. Pat flew cross-country in bi-planes, delivered babies in outposts and learned Swahili. It was here she met her Canadian husband Harold, a surgeon with the Colonial Medical Service. In 1947, after hectic war years in the port city of Mombasa, Harold and Pat came to


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Canada seeking a secure future for their three children. They loved the West Coast and the sea. Harold took up practice on Vancouver Island, and Pat started a very successful theatre group in their village of Lantzville, made up of enthusiastic loggers and fishermen, their wives and sweethearts. A true community involvement. Pat’s children began to move east for school by 1959. When her husband Harold died, Pat spent a few years more years out west, working as librarian, driving a bookmobile the length of Vancouver Island. Then she moved to Toronto. One weekend in 1967, Pat, her daughter Nancy Knudstrup and son-in-law Peter drove through Elora, saw the abandoned Chalmer’s Church on Henderson Street, and bought it that very day for Peter and Nancy’s Pottery. Amid renovations, Pat helped with the small grandchildren. Elora, with its influx of artists and artisans was exciting: what a great place to start a community theatre! Fourteen years of stage productions have passed. Pat’s austere senior’s apartment continues to be a workshop of costumes, papier maché and props. Its few decorations are meaningful, but reflect an increasingly simplified life: three watercolours of the Ngong Hills outside Nairobi face a radiantly spiritual painting by Elora artist John Haas. Between is a wall of bright windows, with plants, flowers and tomatoes, tended as carefully as stage crews or neighbours. From this base Pat continues to venture and achieve. Behind the graciousness and beauty, one

senses determination. “Women’s lib?” Pat says, “I always lived as if women were liberated.” by Beverley Cairns, March 1986 IN MEMORIAM - 1991 In December 1991, Pat Chataway died while still actively involved in her beloved theatre and the community life of Elora. In 1992, a posthumous award made Pat the first Elora ‘Citizen of the Year’. Her influence was strong in bringing about the acquisition of Theatre On The Grand in Fergus by Hugh and Lorraine Drew Brook. Pat would certainly rejoice in the fine renovations of this building, its year-round theatre productions, and the growth and success of the Elora Community Theatre in recent years.

Elora, with its influx of artists and artisans was exciting: what a great place to start a community theatre!

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1986

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CHRISTOPHER YOUNGS

Q A

and

ART CURATOR

Between California and Kassel, West Germany, independent curator of art Christopher Youngs discusses his work in progress with John Chalmers.

Your earliest involvement in visual art

to originate simultaneously in Canada and

was as an artist during the mid-sixties,

Great Britain. We’re actually far ahead of the

in San Francisco.

U.S. in that regard, with over seventy parallel

That’s true, but I quickly realized from my experiences that artists seldom get a fair shake

galleries now in existence in Canada. I fully intended to eventually start showing

in terms of exhibitions in commercial galleries.

my own work again, but became increasingly

They end up selling maybe four works and

involved in being a dealer or in a sense an art

break even or lose money in the process.

facilitator. I think it’s foolhardy to combine

I arrived in Toronto in 1967, and shortly after set up the Nightingale Gallery in a down-

being a curator with making art. I’d rather do one thing well than two things poorly.

town converted warehouse. I operated it initially as a commercial gallery for a few years

After a year with A SPACE you left

but soon realized that the type of art I wanted

to become Curator/Director of the

to show had no place in the market at that

Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison

time, so I decided to start what is now referred

University in Sackville, N.B. During

to as a parallel or artist-run gallery. The gallery,

those five years the gallery developed

called A SPACE was probably the first of its

a reputation for ambitious programming

kind in Canada and is still in existence today.

combined with thoughtful exhibition catalogues.

Had there been a history of artist-run galleries in the U.S.? No, the alternative space galleries seemed

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Mount Allison offered an idyllic situation, after Toronto, since construction had just begun on an art gallery which really became


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the most impressive facility east of Montreal. A major problem, however, was our small

During your final year, the Art Bank was generating over $450,000 from

three person staff. With such limited human

rentals. It’s remarkable that the agency

resources it becomes nearly impossible to

has been able to consistently return

commit the time required to do serious

40% annually on its investments.

in-depth research. However, as a result of

The objectives of the Canada Council

having to do pretty much everything it takes

have always been to support the arts, but it

to run a gallery, including drive the delivery

was always understood that a very limited

truck, it did allow me the opportunity to

commercial market existed, so that Art Bank

meet many artists.

was created to encourage a market. But more

While in Sackville I helped establish the

importantly, because that could become an

city’s community arts centre, a beautiful old

official situation, to try to promote a context

six-room schoolhouse which had previously

in which the public on a day-to-day basis

been deserted. We rented it from the province

had contact with the best of Canadian

for one dollar per year, opened a gallery and

contemporary art.

began running classes. It was the kind of

So it was the educational aspect with its

centre that would do well in a community

subtle seeding through exposure which was

like Elora.

and continues to be the most significant.

In 1976 you became Director of the

Is there a way in which to estimate

Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa.

or evaluate the long term impact of

What exactly was and is the mandate

that policy?

of the Art Bank? What the Art Bank does is purchase works

Not really. Although from talking with artists over the years I’ve found that they do

by living Canadian artists and in turn, leases

receive a substantial response to their work

those art works to public offices across

while on public view and that as a result their

Canada and around the world. By “public”

work sells more readily.

we meant anywhere other than the private sector, since we didn’t want to compete with

At any given time how much of the

the commercial gallery system. In my first

collection is on public display?

year we had a budget of $1.1 million and

Usually sixty to seventy percent, either on

in my fifth year $1.5 million, of which the

lease or part of various touring exhibitions. The

majority of the budget was allotted to the

remainder is housed at the Art Bank warehouse

purchase of art.

in Ottawa where it’s available for viewing.

While in Sackville I helped establish the city’s community arts centre, a beautiful old six-room schoolhouse which had previously been deserted.

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You left the Art Bank in 1981 to become

Documents 8, held every year in Kassel,

a freelance curator. Can you talk about

West Germany, but certainly your most

the role of the independent curator?

consuming project is the Toronto

I was interested in exploring new directions and working independently on projects that

Project 1990. That’s a project for the City of Toronto in

I was committed to. For a while I acted as

collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario.

an arts consultant to the federal government

The theme is “Art at the End of the Century”

but found that often my research recommen-

and it will look at post-modernism with a

dations were never implemented. And if I

reassessment of the modernist tradition. It’s

did initiate change, the results might not be

dangerous to think of the importance and

seen for five or six years and I just didn’t have

success of this type of exhibition as measured

the patience for that.

in terms of revenues and attendance figures

As an independent I didn’t so much

alone. There are more accurate yardsticks

sacrifice my credibility when I left the

which measure in terms of quality and

Council, so much as actual power. If one

relevance rather than quantity.

has done a good job in any capacity that credibility stays with you although you may

It’s ironic that given your international

no longer have the same degree of influence,

scope, you and your wife decided to

which is power.

leave Ottawa to live here, in a small

I decided to give myself five years, as I

One of my central objectives is to promote Canadian art internationally.

Ontario village. Do you ascribe to the

had done with the Art Bank. In my present

McLuhan notion of “The Global

status as an independent curator/consultant I

Village” in terms of communication?

can’t depend on a regular income, but still

Ottawa doesn’t have what I would refer

encounter a good deal of frustration, often

to as a visual arts community and certainly

doing months of work purely on speculation.

not the activity of say Toronto. We wanted

At the same time it’s much more satisfying.

to live in a smaller community while being

One of my central objectives is to promote Canadian art internationally. I looked around

close to Toronto and its international airport. One disadvantage is being physically

and saw that the official systems were just not

outside of the urban arts communities, so

doing it adequately.

it becomes important to stay well informed about what is happening. Living “outside”

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Internationally you’re preparing a

is healthy from the point of view that your

major exhibition on Michael Snow for

perception rather than being myopic is much

the U.S., you’re a curatorial advisor on

more objective.


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When you visit New York, L.A. or a city in Europe, you quickly realize that Toronto is not the centre of the universe. Would you apply the same principle to those involved in art production as well as arts promotion? A good artist will survive no matter where he or she lives, by being strong enough to be independent and creative. More important is the problem of finding a system in which to market the artist’s work. There is such a

A good artist will survive no matter where he or she lives, by being strong enough to be independent and creative.

proliferation of galleries, public and private and parallel that it’s not very difficult for artists to get their work shown in this country. However we’re living in a vacuum here, and that’s really why I’m interested in promoting Canadian artists internationally, because artists don’t have very much of a focus for their visions. I think by operating in the international milieu we’ll realize that potential. – by John Chalmers, May 1986 UPDATE Christopher Youngs is now the Director of the Freedman Gallery at the Albright College Centre for the Arts, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA.

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1986

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NOEL EDISON

N

CONDUCTOR, MUSlClAN

Noel Edison believes that “you can turn people on to any type of music, if you capture their imagination”. It is this philosophy which inspires the Artistic Directorship of the Elora Three Centuries Festival. Noel first came to Elora when he was 18 in order to continue piano lessons with his teacher who had moved to Elora to teach at St. John’s - Kilmarnock School. By the time Noel was 19 years old, he had mastered the organ, become choirmaster of the girls’ choir at St. John’s Anglican Church, and was teaching music theory and singing at St. Margaret’s School while pursuing a degree in music at Wilfred Laurier University. The youngest of four children, he was fortunate to grow up in a family sensitive to the arts. His mother, a former member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, encouraged her family’s involvement in music. His father, as he puts it, “has two tunes: one is God save the Queen – the other isn’t”! It was inevitable when Michael

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Purvis-Smith wrote a proposal for an early music festival to be held in Elora, that Noel would be invited to participate. In 1979, with Annette Smith as legal advisor, and Dr. William Ellis, an astute businessman and musical devotee, they formed an executive board and the Three Centuries Festival was born. In the second year Noel began the Festival Choir, and when he assumed the position of Artistic Director in 1983, he broadened the musical base of the festival and established its choral focus. The critical acclaim that his choir receives attests to his singular talents and devotion to the art of singing. His personal goal has always been that of professional musicianship, from the time he sang for the Queen Mother as a boy soprano at Westminster Abbey to the present day, as he makes plans for a chamber orchestra and choir which performs and records on a regular basis. “Art should form an integral part of life and not be merely a social adjunct to it. – I would


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like to see Canada develop the rich cultural fabric of Europe.” A cosmopolitan at heart, Noel’s favourite cities are Venice and New York, and he would like to take a year or so to study under an orchestra conductor in Europe. Elora, however, is his home, and his personal preference for chamber music repertoire ideally suits the small and charming atmosphere of the village. “I enjoy challenges,” Noel states, and certainly each of his demanding commitments as teacher, choirmaster, organist and artistic director have the element of challenge in common. They all require dedication, enthusiasm and innovative approaches to stay fresh and intriguing. This has not proved a problem for Noel who dreamed up “The Concert In The Quarry”, a now legendary success. With the special affinity he feels for water, what better way could he have chosen to combine his two passions? The challenge of programming for the Three Centuries Festival is apparent as Noel works within stringent budget restrictions to achieve not only unusual and interesting programming for the current season, but also, to shape the Festival for its future role as the major choral event in Ontario with a summer school for voice and instrumental students. This process demands a strong sense of purpose and artistic vision to carry it through. The Festival, he says, “should mature as a multi-media presentation incorporating drama and dance to complement the music”. But for this,” he says, “we need support of the other artistic groups in the area, and I want to let

them know that we are eager to join forces and work with them.” As a conductor, it may be expected that Noel places a high value on co-operative effort. He views Elora as an amazingly rich pool of specialized talent and resources, which can be effectively shared to generate dynamic growth in all artistic endeavours without duplication of effort. Making an effort to avoid the dangers of insularity, Noel belongs to the major choral associations, subscribes to international music journals and attends workshops in places such as Toronto, Montreal and New York. He feels strongly that it is important to challenge your own standards. For him this means not resting comfortably on past repertoire and the standard already set, but to inject new life into an ensemble by introducing singers into the choir whose vocal range and personalities “add a new dimension to the sound.” He points out that choral music does not really have as great a scope as operatic or symphonic repertoire, “because in these there are a rainbow of colours and in a choir, you have only four different colours to work with.” Being alert to the ever-changing tastes of the public keeps him on his toes, as he says, “the main thing is to stay fresh.” His perception of the seventh season of the Festival is that of a promise: “a promise to all those who have given so much to us, and for those who have yet to acknowledge us, that we are here to stay and grow.” He explains that Three Centuries Festival is well established as

Art should form an integral part of life and not be merely a social adjunct to it.

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It takes composers, performers and listeners to make good music.

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a valid artistic event in the professional music world, and that the strong choral component interwoven with the summer scenes “offers a rare and special theme" which should be cherished. This year the Festival affirms and enriches the vocal element with the talents of the Toronto Boys Choir and Mark DuBois. The move into other artistic media is evidenced by the narration of Nicholas Pennel in “Nine Lessons and Carols for Summer”, and the introduction of Rod Beattie in his one-man comedy play for the Cabaret. Extra drama and spice is added in the complex production of “African Sanctus” which uses a slidere presentation, tapes of tribal drums, special sound effects as well as percussion, electric guitars, piano - and, of course, the choir. After matters artistic were settled, Noel spent a long, hard spring of performer contracting, production scheduling and developing promotional strategies. His summer “vacation” comprises holding a choir camp in Muskoka before returning to Elora for intensive rehearsals in preparation for the Festival. The man who spells his name, “you know, as in Christmas and light bulbs”, does not seem to have the word “relax” in his vocabulary! Where is the time for private life? “Music is my life,” he claims, “With a recording of Jesse Norman in the background, good friends, a game of bridge and an unbruised martini in hand... life’s not bad!” by Hazel Jones, August, 1986

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UPDATE - 1997 In the intervening years since 1986, the name has changed to The Elora Festival, but Noel continues as its innovative and dedicated Artistic Director. In 1997, more of his original vision became reality with Dance programmed for the first time. Now Director of Choral Studies at Wilfred Laurier University and Director of Music at St John’s Anglican Church, Elora, Noel is also a regular juror for the CBC, Ontario Arts Council, Juno Awards, and on the Board of Directors of the Association of Choral Conductors of Canada. He is the founding conductor of the Elora Festival Singers, and tours with them throughout the year. Noel has commissioned many new works from Canadian composers. His career expands with ambitious projects, like the 1994 Festival production of the commissioned opera “Florence” by Timothy Sullivan, Berlioz “Requiem” in 1995 and the 1997 performance of Bach’s “Mass in B Minor”. Noel is an avid golfer and gourmet in his personal life. “It takes composers, performers and listeners to make good music,” Noel says. “Fine people make fine music - this is always my goal. That, and a good golf swing.”


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UPDATE Noel is now the conductor of the 180voice Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the newly founded, 65-voice Toronto Mendelssohn Singers. He also serves as organist and choirmaster of St. John’s Anglican Church in Elora, one of the few all-professional church choirs in the country. The Elora Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2004. Noel has overseen the growth of the Festival into one of the finest summer festivals in Canada. Over the last decade, Noel has made 10 CDs with plans for two more over the next year, and commissioned some 40 new works. He conducts his own Festival Orchestra, which is in residence at the Elora Festival each summer, and is the orchestra for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir concerts. In 2002, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Guelph. Noel makes his permanent home in Elora, where the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce has honoured him for his longstanding contribution to the economy of the community.

The Elora Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2004. Noel has overseen the growth of the Festival into one of the finest summer festivals in Canada.

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1986

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ELLEN LANGLANDS

I

In 1975, the old stone building on the hill between Elora and Fergus seemed the perfect home for a county museum and an opportunity for historian Ellen Langlands. Ten years later, and now Director/Curator, Ms. Langlands vividly remembers that first year as only one small moment in the Wellington County Museum’s never-ending, ever-challenging history. In the early 1900s, the historical branch of the Women’s Institute began collecting cultural artifacts and storing them in a barn near Guelph. Tragically, everything was lost in a fire. However, dedication to the idea of establishing a museum did not disappear and by 1952 the first museum was able to open its doors to the public. The growing collection was cared for by the Wellington County Historical Society. In the first year of operation, it was honoured as the best regional museum in Ontario. Over the next 20 years the museum flourished. When it became dangerously over-

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DlRECTOR AND CURATOR

crowded in its building by the Elora bridge, at the corner of Metcalfe and Mill Streets, the Society lobbied to have the premises of the former Home For the Aged, built in 1877 as a county house of refuge, made available for museum use. Wellington County agreed to this proposal, and in 1975 assumed responsibility for the Museum’s future operation and transfer of artifacts began. Ellen Langlands was initially hired as Museum Researcher with added responsibility to transfer the Museum contents from the “old” to the “new residence”. Born and raised in Toronto, Langlands turned a general interest in history and culture into an honours B.A. and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. While at university she studied under many of Canada’s foremost historians, and eventually, did her masters work on modern day China under John Saywell. On graduation she was hired on a three month grant by the Department of Lands and


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Forests (now the Ministry of Natural Resources), working as an historian at a turn of the century farm in Bronte Creek Provincial Park. Her time at Bronte was extended to three years of active historical research. During her first year at the Museum’s new quarters, Ellen was faced with recataloguing the Museum collection. With financial help from federal and provincial grants and relying heavily on volunteers, the Wellington County Museum was able to open its doors to the public in July 1975. “There is always a danger that an historical museum could itself become an artefact storing artefacts” Langlands notes and insists that the Wellington County Museum must work to reflect our modern culture as well as our cultural history from the distant past. Langlands personally feels an obligation to contemporary artists, especially local artists and artisans. With the Museum’s renovations and additions she is hoping that she will be better able to serve the community in this regard. Two years ago the Province of Ontario passed a new fire code requiring public buildings to be brought up to code. The Community Facilities Improvement Program was set up to fund those institutions in need of renovation. The Wellington County Museum, when completed, will boast an extensive “facelift” and the addition of an exhibition wing. If all goes as planned, Ellen Langlands will continue as Director/Curator in the “new”

...the Wellington County Museum must work to reflect our modern culture as well as our cultural history from the distant past.

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Museum as of January 1987. Langlands wants the Museum to be not only educational but inspirational by providing a glimpse into our cultural past and present. She has seen the Wellington County Museum grow and mature in the past ten years and hopes to be an integral part of its historical/cultural future. by Beverley Cairns, October, 1986

Langlands wants the museum to be not only educational but inspirational by providing a glimpse into our cultural past and present.

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UPDATE - 1995 The 1986/7 renovation restored the full beauty of the 1877 historic stone structure. To the beauty of the old was added a spectacular new Exhibition Hall. Amongst other functions, the Exhibition Hall now houses the Elora Arts Council grand piano and a series of afternoon concerts and the EAC’s Spring Youth Concert. Music has come to the Museum. The Exhibition Hall also provides a spectacular home for the EAC’s INSIGHTS exhibition of juried art now in its 17th year. The Museum also hosts joint and individual shows of area artists. Now into its third year, the annual “IN LOVE WITH ELORA” exhibition brings together contemporary views of the area with the historic landscapes of Canada’s A.J. Casson. Art flourishes in the Exhibition Hall and spills out beyond its confines with a successful children’s art program (now in its fourth summer) and an adult Summer Art Workshops program for 1995. The Exhibition Hall also features exhibits of the diverse cultures found in Wellington County. The Museum has ventured to

Pakistan, Turkey, Mexico, China, and Aboriginal Canada. Museologically, the eight years have also marked significant changes. Lexicons of terms have arrived along with structured fields of entry and a computerized database. Computers have vastly altered the museum field, freeing hours of time from manual entry of records, to provide more time for public programs. Finally, but not least, the years have brought the adoption of its dual identity, the Wellington County Museum & Archives. Ellen Langlands is now Director and continues to enjoy the challenges and vitality of this richly historical and artistic community. IN MEMORIAM - Autumn 1997 Three lighted windows in the tower of the darkened Wellington County Museum shone out the night of Ellen’s farewell service in 1997, a fitting symbol and acknowledgement of her vision. The Elora Arts Council will sadly miss one of its most stalwart and inspired friends. County artists owe a great deal to Ellen’s idea of a museum as a place of support for contemporary art, reflecting society not only historically but as it exists today. Ellen herself personally had the mandate of the Museum extended to include a concept which has made the Museum a hub of artistic activity. The annual Ellen Langlands Award of the INSIGHTS Juried Art Show is sponsored by the Elora Arts Council in her memory.


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Three lighted windows in the tower of the darkened Wellington County Museum shone out the night of Ellen’s farewell service in 1997, a fitting symbol and acknowledgement of her vision.

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1987

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FRED THOMPSON

ARCHlTECT, TEACHER

Fred Thompson in conversation with Susan Larabee:

Q A

and

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You’ve lived in Elora since 1969- you’ve witnessed and been an active part of a great many changes. Of course Mill Street, as it appears today, simply didn’t exist. It was a virtual ghost town. A slum. Where the Yarn Bird is now, a dead African Violet sat in one window and the back of an old TV in the other. Aileen Harris bought the old brick building closest to the Mill and I bought and renovated the building that now houses The Desert Rose. No one could understand why. It certainly must have changed the complexion of the places at the time. Elora was beautiful before Mill Street was “cleaned up” but ironically there were few of us who thought so. Acceptance by the village was a long time in coming. There was then and still is now a very legitimate concern as to just how the village should grow. There are signs now that promote us as “Ontario’s Beautiful Village”. You can bet that anyone who can make money off this beauty will be here to capitalize on it - people who feel no

responsibility to the village as a whole. It’s a matter of values – yours and mine – what happens in the future. As an architect who could make a contribution visually, where do you see the responsibility for the village? Because of the way the Ontario Association of Architects dictates how an architect can legally function, it is nearly impossible for me to serve in a professional capacity on as many projects as I would like. With the things I’ve done I’ve tried to get in touch with “the spirit” of the place and work within that context. When my son was small I worked out for him a simple definition of what an architecture is: “The point of architecture is to help people build houses they enjoy as their homes and the people of the Village can enjoy as part of their bigger home.” There’s that dual responsibility, the content and the context. A home within a home, not a house within a house. In respect to this, as an architect I cannot compromise my responsibility to Elora. I have to live with my reputation.


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It sounds like there is a vast difference between building a house and designing a home. Definitely. Again, I believe a “home” implies responsibility and care and the establishment of values before cost. That’s an ideal. The mentality of most of today’s purchasers leads me to the observation that they don’t want a home so much as they want a short-term investment. Most houses today are not designed to be valued or taken care of but rather to simply give an impression - one that the bank will buy. This superficiality, unfortunately, is what sells best. And where does good design and aesthetics come into the picture? That’s the other side of the coin: a good design is the best that can sell. I have files full of beautiful drawings but unless they get built ...? Of course, beauty is a matter of taste but there is such a thing as “good taste”. Most people are accustomed to just wanting to be “fashionable”- fashion is superficial and often very temporary. Good taste has more to do with style and grace and longevity. In my research on the Orient I’ve come to fully appreciate their way, which is this: a thing is least beautiful when new and only gains beauty with age – a process whereby that thing is caressed with the eyes and the hands – it is that care that makes it finally and truly beautiful.

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Is this good taste a matter of luck or education? Probably both. Most people are not aware of how their taste, “good” or “bad” has been formed. To a great degree the media controls our tastes; just as we are persuaded to buy a certain cola, so are we influenced as to what’s merely “fashionable” in terms of our environment. Despite this, if a child grows up in surroundings that are cared for and worth admiring, that person is more likely to appreciate his surroundings, and place them in higher priority. Most people, for whatever reasons, are not willing or interested in putting the care or thought into their houses. Is good taste expensive? Not necessarily. A house can be very impressive in a visual sense and still not be a home. “Home” also has to do with the mythology that surrounds it, the depth of feeling that comes as a result of familiarity and a certain timelessness. A patina. Sounds like love! Yes, for an architect building a home has to be a work of love – it’s a losing proposition financially. Now, my own home – we’ve been here 17 years and we are still working on that patina. Of course we plan on being here for a very long time.

What do you see in Elora’s future? There is an inherent danger in being “Ontario’s Beautiful Village”. We don’t want to become a “Disneyland” do we – or do we? Again, It’s a matter of values – yours and mine. by Susan Larabee, December 1987 UPDATE - 1997 The property owned by the Thompsons on Mill Street West, Elora, was badly damaged by fire in 1990. Its restoration, effected with quality, attention to detail and loving care, reflected more than words the convictions expressed by Fred Thompson in the above interview.

UPDATE Fred Thompson still lives in Elora, and says he continues to watch new developments in the light of his original interview.

Elora was beautiful before Mill Street was “cleaned up” but ironically there were few of us who thought so.

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1987

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RALPH BENEY

Q 26

TEXTlLE ARTlST

Quilt designer Ralph Beney reflects that he has “shifted gears” and is “operating with a different octane of fuel” these days. Invitations to exhibit in two prestigious shows indicate growing recognition of his originality in this art form, which has been so linked to tradition. In May he will be represented in the show which accompanies the Quilt Canada conference in Montreal. This summer, the 10th anniversary show of the Vermont Quilt Festival has asked to exhibit his work ‘Tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe’, termed by one critic “an apotheosis of a quilt”. In terms of creativity, as well as appreciation, 1986 was a fine year for Ralph Beney. “Fabrications”, a two-month solo exhibit of 14 quilts at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre was complemented by an intensive period of creativity leading to the concept of his “Current (Magnificent) Obsession” series. The group of 18 designs, which are variations of three basic patterns, illustrated the dynamic interaction between production and the

recognition of art. Early in 1986 Ralph took part in a show linked to the conference of the North American Weavers and Spinners Guild. While writing for the catalogue a pad of graph paper lay on the counter beside him. He began to fill in the squares. In one (magnificent) night of spontaneous creativity the 18 designs were completed. Assured that Macdonald Stewart was mounting his solo exhibition in June, three very large quilts in this series were executed in a three-month span, “like automatic quilting... as if the pieces had a life of their own”. “I have had a lifelong interest in the interaction of fibre and colour, also in expressing myself through a medium which combines design and intuition. My pieces reflect their time...” Ralph writes. He attributes his foundations in imaginative design to the solidity and breadth of the training he received at the Ontario College of Art. A studio extension course first brought him to the University of Guelph and a subsequent degree


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in Fine Arts. The following year he taught experimental textile design and weaving. In 1978, he studied weaving at the Banff Centre with a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. Ralph came to Elora and then to Fergus with his wife Louise and two children, Jordan and Carson. His home life immediately reflects his present interests. One is struck with the degree of seclusion and tradition, as the Beney home forms part of a picturesque complex of stone buildings by the Grand River, belonging to the old Blackburn farm. The studio, once a 19th century cattle dipping shed, has large windows looking onto the river below. One year ago a weaving loom shared the space, reflecting Ralph’s extensive work in weaving and tapestry during the previous decade. Now the loom has gone to Elora weaver Elizabeth Fasken and the spools of yarn have given way to shelves of neatly folded swatches of material. The living room, with its wood stove, minimal furniture, and wood floors has a clarity and openness similar in quality to the “Current (Magnificent) Obsession” quilts. A child’s rocking chair has a small quilt, and two others are on the floor. A striking square of vibrant colour dominates the wall. This is Ralph’s favourite quilt of the last two and onehalf years, ‘Prayer Square for an Astral Traveller’ ...freeform, untraditional and humorous, integrating sequins and beads and spinning asteroids. A framed collage speaks of the future; an antique cabinet and hope chest speak of the past.

...like automatic quilting...as if the pieces had a life of their own.

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There is no formula for his intuition. Some of Mr. Beney’s designs are planned and others are spontaneous.

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The hope chest represents a strong traditional element in Ralph’s early life in Brantford. It was passed on to him by his grandmother Gladys Beney, an Ontario farmwoman and a fine quilter in the traditional style. No doubt it was partly due to this influence that one day, while designing a tapestry, Ralph suddenly conceived it instead as a quilt. This was made into a crib cover, a welcoming gift for his first born child. Very gently quilts, as a form of artistic expression, edged out weaving and tapestry. There is no formula for his intuition. Some of Mr. Beney’s designs are planned and others are spontaneous. Sketches may be made to scale on graph paper, with small squares of relevant colour below, to be matched with pieces of material, samples for the eventual quilt. Other creations like “Prayer Square for an Astral Traveller” take their inspiration from the fabrics themselves, interesting prints and random shapes. The floor of the studio is frequently the design board. Once the cloth is measured and carefully cut, Ralph sews the shapes together on the machine and hangs the finished design from clothespins against the wall. The complementary quilting lines are then marked in with hard soap. These will hold the batting firmly in place, and form a subtext of the greater design in fine stitching. The Elora Quilting Group have received much praise for their fine execution of actual quilting on Ralph Beney’s works. For the past eight months, Ralph has been learning the difficult but necessary techniques for art promotion in addition to driving his

regular school bus route. “This ensures that I will always have a definite schedule around my work”. And what about the turning toward collage, a fascination one senses below the surface? “That’s on the back burner,” Ralph answers. “Perhaps one day it will gently take over from quilts as quilts edged out tapestry.” But for now he hopes to enjoy again the intense and productive life of the last year. And, of course, he’s looking forward to the summer! by Beverley Cairns, March 1987 UPDATE - 1997 Gears shifted, and the quilt/fabric artist has branched out to include hand and machinery embroidery, with increased attention to surface detail and embellishment, stimulated through workshops with instructors from Maidenhead College (Britain). Since 1992 Ralph has taught Design for Textiles at Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, with pleasure and verve. UPDATE Ralph Beney has continued with fibre and thread constructions. “Postcard From Byzantium” was accepted by the Ontario Juried Quilt Show for inclusion in the 2004 Waterloo Quilt Festival and won the Canadian Embroiderers’ Guild award at the 2004 Insights Juried Arts Show. “Waters Known, Uncharted” won two Ontario Needle Network awards at Threadworks’98, the


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Design for Machine Embroidery Award, as well as the Use of Pattern in Design Award. This piece and numerous others chosen from that show went on to travel across Canada for two years. Since 2000, Beney has been a member of Connections, a group associated by mutual involvement in stitching and textile art. In collaboration with the Woodstock Art Gallery (W.A.G.), Connections planned to tour a show based on the works of Canadian artist Florence Carlyle. Each participant chose a Carlyle painting on which to develop a textile piece, Beney’s being “Room For One More”. The show ran throughout the 2004 summer season at W.A.G., then toured Woodstock, England. And of course, Ralph is looking forward to another summer! Ralph Beney no longer lives in Fergus, but is nearby in the Waterloo region.

...the quilt/fabric artist has branched out to include hand and machinery embroidery, with increased attention to surface detail and embellishment.

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1987

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RESA LENT

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CHAlRPERSON OF THE THREE CENTURlES FESTl V AL OWNER AND CHEF OF THE DESERT ROSE CAFE

It is difficult to get to know Resa Lent. Not that she’s difficult to talk to. Quite the contrary. She just doesn’t sit still long enough, and this year Elora’s Three Centuries Festival will reap the benefits of Resa’s boundless energy. Despite her humble claim that there are others who know far more about music than she, the Festival nominating committee, impressed by Resa’s vibrancy, business knowhow and dedication to the betterment of the community, appointed her as chairperson of the Three Centuries Festival. “It’s a pretty incredible experience to be given,” says Resa “I do have fears about not being able to give enough time to it, but I’m at ease with that because everything else in my life is so crazy!” Resa made Elora her home 10 years ago. Prior to this she was travelling, having traded in her university books for a knapsack and heading off to Europe, Africa, Mexico and Colombia. She ended up in Quebec where she was “away up north doing the back to the

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land routine, using wood stoves, raising animals and no running water.” When circumstances in her personal life dictated that she live near her family in Toronto, Resa knew she didn’t want to live in the city. She remembered Elora from a previous visit and decided to check it out. The ease with which she secured a job and found an apartment (which took a total of two hours) convinced her this was where she was meant to be and she hasn’t looked back. Resa worked in various establishments in the village, including The Nightingale Tea Shop, now home of the Desert Rose Café. “I used to sit in here and dream about what I could do with this place. I really wanted a place to put my energy into,” she says. Finally the opportunity presented itself and despite the knots in her stomach, because she had never owned or operated a business before, she plunged ahead, creating The Desert Rose Café. Resa is by no means a conventional


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business person. Writing down business plans and figures is her style. She knows in her heart whether something is going to work. “My business I run from my guts”, she says. And as far as she is concerned the philosophy has paid off. “I know where my business is going, it’s steady, people love it, and they really feel at home here,” she says, referring to her restaurant on Mill Street, Elora. Resa’s philosophy of life has her living each day as if it were her last. “I want to live life to the fullest because it’s a great gift we’ve been given. I get really frustrated when people are moaners and are always complaining because I feel we have the choice to do what we want in our lives if we take the power and do it.” In keeping with her philosophy of life, Resa is not afraid to try new things, although she admits there is a part of her that is fairly reserved. Her most recent attempt at trying something new was in January of this year when she joined an ice sculpting team and participated in the United States International Snow Sculpting Competition in Milwaukee. Her team was one of three from Canada and the only all women’s team. Resa proudly displays a trophy they received after winning the Artists’ Choice Award and she’s determined it won’t be the last! She readily admits ice sculpting has become her newfound passion. Resa is a businesswoman as well as Chairperson of the Festival and this is important, she says. “What the town needs is more life outside of just shops and stores and

I know where my business is going, it’s steady, people love it, and they really feel at home here.

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I’m a workaholic. I’m active and I’m not afraid of trying new things.

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restaurants and I think the Festival is one of the main attractions that we do have,” She has been involved with the Festival for four years and she envisions numerous areas of growth, including more free concerts, greater variety in repertoire and quite literally, people singing in the streets. “I would like to see more theatre involved,” says Resa. “There’s an eclectic combination of things you can have with music and theatre and I think we really need to expand that way if we’re going to continue.” This entrepreneur would also like to see the Festival and community combining their efforts in the winter to bring about a week of music and winter activities which would result in The Festival, the Chamber of Commerce and the service clubs working together. “We need to be more solid. We need to be like a growing trunk of a tree because I see us being too separate,” she says with conviction. The Chairperson would also like to see the general populace of Elora becoming involved. “We have to start providing other kinds of music and get people to realize that we want to produce a Festival which everyone can enjoy,” she says. Resa realizes these changes will be a while in coming and has set a more immediate personal goal for herself – learning how to run a successful music festival. As the summer looms ahead her only concern is for the Festival’s success and the hope that she will be involved in its ninth and tenth seasons. So if Resa isn’t running her business, working out in the gym, which she does daily,

or carving a block of snow somewhere, you’ll find her ironing out details for the Festival’s eighth season. “I’m a workaholic. I’m active and I’m not afraid of trying new things” says Resa. All excellent qualities to have as she embarks on her first year as Chairperson of the Three Centuries Festival. by Terry James, May 1987

UPDATE - 1997 Resa continued on the Festival Board from 1987 to 1989. In 1995 she returned to the Festival (now named The Elora Festival) Board. She owned and ran the Desert Rose Café on Mill Street until October 31, 1990. On that date, while on a short-lived sabbatical from the restaurant, the building housing the Desert Rose burned in a tragic fire. With a change of pace, Resa worked at Portage, a rehabilitation centre for young people, as first cook, as well as taking palliative care courses and volunteering with Hospice Wellington. She also worked at a camp for children with cancer in the summer. In the spring of 1995, to the delight of her many former clients, Resa Lent re-opened the Desert Rose Café in a new location on Geddes Street, Elora – a rose coloured building which evokes the glowing warmth that abides within.


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UPDATE Resa’s focus is still with the Desert Rose, of course, but beautification of our streetscapes has become an important direction for her. This started initially with Communities In Bloom and then with the Guerrilla Gardeners, a community garden intensification movement, highlighted in an HQ TV documentary on Communities In Bloom. The rose-coloured restaurant is now enhanced with luxurious potted flowers. In 2002, Resa received the well-merited Chamber of Commerce Business Beautification Award.

In the spring of 1995, to the delight of her many former clients, Resa Lent re-opened the Desert Rose Café in a new location on Geddes Street, Elora – a rose coloured building which evokes the glowing warmth that abides within.

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1987

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TERESA RANDALL

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BALLET DANCER AND TEACHER

“To have to sit still and express myself in words?” Teresa Randall is arrested in midmovement at the horror. “I couldn’t express myself; take dance away and I would shrivel up and die.” The 29 year old, now living in Fergus, opened her dance school four and a half years ago and since that time the number of students has quadrupled. The 200 ballet, tap, and jazz students are enjoying the benefits of her training, experience, and philosophy on the place of dance in one’s life. Teresa was born in Nottingham, England to a real “ballet mum” – that timeless breed that knows no extinction – who sat up until 3 a.m. sewing costumes, crossed continents for competitions, and dug up tuition when the father was out of work. “I don’t know how they did it!” However, their dedication and her love of dance made Teresa different from her peers in the end of town where “dads went to the pub after work and mums tidied the house.” Although it has taken her time and distance to appreciate her own parents’ sacrifices, she now sees, and is grateful to, the ballet “mums and dads (who) enrich the entire school, always available – just pick up

the phone.” Teresa’s original goal was to become a “good company dancer,” and she would likely be there today were it not for the onset of puberty. “I’ve these shoulders and not those sleek little thighs – you could take all the skin off me and I still wouldn’t be under 100 pounds.” Although she was congratulated on her dancing, she was counselled to teach. Her initial disappointment has given way to feeling that this alternative, this life, is one of challenge, action and growth. Teresa also feels that in becoming a teacher she is honouring those special people she admired as a student and now, to see the transformation dance effects on certain students, “that’s something special”. Teaching children is definitely a challenge. “There are things those little bodies are not capable of doing.” And as she carefully pushes towards those limits, she also tries to stay tuned to the differences and sensitivities of the children. “They all learn differently. The visual, audio and kinaesthetic learners.” Ballet is the root discipline of all other dance; the fine motor skills, the control – it has to be there for


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the jazz and tap classes. For many of Teresa’s students, ballet and the accompanying classical music are acquired tastes and most are more comfortable “wriggling” to jazz and tap. She considers dancers finely trained athletes – “If only the boys realized that.” Teresa regrettably has no male students. Some have started and thoroughly enjoyed it only to be “discouraged” by their peers. And she says sarcastically, “A true hockey dad wouldn’t let his boy go dancing!” It’s a lot to ask from a youngster, to be both athletic and artistic. Her other frustrations come from residing in such a small community. There is always a lack of adequate space to dance as studios are usually rented by the square foot and the rent alone for dancers becomes exorbitant. Only a lottery win would build her dream performing arts centre. The other “small town” frustration is overcoming prejudice. “One is in a small town because one happens to live there, not because one is no good.” Even some examiners have been caught blurting out, “I was really surprised at how good....”. So good in fact that four of Teresa’s students were chosen to perform in the Pittsburgh Ballet’s “Nutcracker” at Centre In The Square. A few years ago Teresa started exercise classes for some interested “ballet mums”. The watered down jazz classes are supplemented with knowledge gained from anatomy classes taken during her own training. She is typically saucy and

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deprecating when teaching an exercise class: “What good is the icing on the cake –” indicating the pretty face- “if the cake is no good” – a baleful gaze at the length of the body. And in further analysis, “The body doesn’t want to do things you want it to do!” Body mechanics, counting, phrasing, obscure and reluctant muscles -a lot to think about. But the will over the obdurate body, the trials of performing, the development of self-confidence and self-knowledge – it is a unique discipline, this mastery of dance or exercise. Teresa’s immediate family, husband Frank and daughters Cassandra and Nadia, also augment her dance work. Both children are dancers and Frank runs the business side of things. “If I was the type of person to know where the dollars are coming from and going to, I wouldn’t be a dancer. It’s the old right brain, left brain bit.” Having been here just short of five years “settling in”, Teresa expects to be here for some time yet. And all the while pushing herself and her students, “Keep at it, keep working at it. If they’re willing to put in time, work, and every ounce of energy they’ve got - they’ll get there!”. And there’s Teresa Randall teaching – dancing, talking, pointing, explaining... “Well, why is the pas de basque like this? Because it comes from a folk dance and they tried to make it a little more elegant by turning the leg out like so.....”

UPDATE - 1997 In October 1996, Teresa Randall was one of two Canadians taking part in a two week tour of China with an international delegation of dance. She was chosen by the Royal Academy of Dancing. The tour group surveyed and discussed Chinese and Western traditions of classical dance and teaching methods. UPDATE Teresa Randall has studied dance pedagogy in China, Russia and London, England, where she qualified as a ballet examiner for the Royal Academy, only one of eight in Canada. Teresa Randall ran her own ballet studio for 15 years. Her experience in teaching adults and children has led her to Canada’s prestigious National Ballet School, teaching in both the Junior Associates and Teacher Training Programs.

“A true hockey dad wouldn’t let his boy go dancing!” It’s a lot to ask from a youngster, to be both athletic and artistic.

by Sandra Cairns, August 1987

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1988

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THE BRUNZEMA FAMILY

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The Brunzema Organ Factory of Fergus is one of perhaps half a dozen mechanical tracker organ factories in Canada, made possible by the superb craftsmanship of renowned, German-born, organ builder, Gerhard Brunzema. The factory employs six people, three of whom are members of the Brunzema family, including his wife, Ruth and son, Friedrich. Thirty-three organs have been built here since the factory was established in Fergus in 1979. These instruments are all built to order, ranging from the tiny Kisten Orgel which can be put in the back of a car, to the massive six and half meter high, two-manual, 25 stop organ currently in progress. Gerhard Brunzema, master organ builder, Artistic Director and Tonal Manager of the firm, was trained in the extensive apprentice system in Germany. A man of exceptional training and experience, he was a journeyman for seven years with the famous Paul Ott at Gottingen and later attended the Brunswick

ORGAN BUlLDERS

State Institute for Physics and Technology. He then spent eighteen years building and restoring many famous instruments in Europe and the U.S. in conjunction with Jurgen Ahrend of Leer, East Freisland. He received a Master’s degree in 1955 and was co-recipient of the State prize for craftsmanship in 1962. In 1972, Mr. Brunzema was invited by the world famous Canadian organ builders Casavant, St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, to become their Artistic Director, responsible for tonal and visual design. A change in the management of the century-old firm of Casavant, precipitated the Brunzemas’ move to Fergus. Their choice of location was guided by their desire to be not more than one hour’s distance from a major airport, in order to facilitate shipment of the custom-made organs, 80 percent of which are built for American customers. Since coming to Fergus, Ruth has become an integral part of the working team, usually making small precision parts and tiny elegant


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pipes for small organs. The Brunzema’s son Friedrich, has continued the family tradition by training extensively in Europe as an organ builder and recently, furthering his studies in mathematics, acoustics and music at the University of Waterloo. The Brunzema’s daughter, Meta, is an architect, presently doing her Master’s at Columbia University in New York. Her designs for elegant panelling and restrained decoration have contributed to the visual beauty of Brunzema Organs. These instruments are of clean, contemporary design, constructed in traditional oak: durable, resonant, and insect resistant. The keys and stops are of ebony and bone, set in rosewood. The precision and intricacy of the interior of the instruments is amazing to the visitor who rarely sees the ligaments, muscles and bones of a mechanical tracker organ. At present, the metal pipes are imported from Germany, but the Fergus factory will soon expand to manufacture them. Large organs are usually given as donations to a church, frequently by an individual, or as a memorial. Two large Brunzema organs which can be seen in this area are the twomanual instrument at the Church of the Holy Family on King St., Toronto, and a one-manual at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament on Blockline in Kitchener. Some organs are designed to fit the acoustics and volume limitations of an apartment; the smallest are portable for musical ensembles. “To own an organ does not cost more than to own a boat”, says Ruth Brunzema. “In fact, a well-made instrument should last 100 years.

It becomes a family heirloom.” The Brunzema family would like to find an apprentice to help carry on the tradition of Brunzema Organs. by Beverley Cairns, July 1988 UPDATE - 1997 Unfortunately the Brunzema Organ Factory closed in the Fall of 1992, a short while after the death of Gerhardt Brunzema, and despite the great efforts of his wife Ruth to continue the business. A deep regret was felt by those who knew the world class craftsmanship that the Brunzema family had brought to Fergus. UPDATE Centre Wellington now has a second outstanding organ building enterprise, Gober Organs of Elora.

The precision and intricacy of the interior of the instruments is amazing to the visitor who rarely sees the ligaments, muscles and bones of a mechanical tracker organ.

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1988

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LINDA RISACHER COPP

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Batik is an Indonesian word, meaning “wax writing”. It’s an ancient art dating back to the 13th century courts of Java and Bali, and perhaps back to ancient Egypt. For Linda Copp it is a technique of painting the landscapes and flowers of her everyday life in and around the hamlet of Salem, by the Irvine River. Each morning Linda and her husband Terry take a long walk through the countryside. It grows familiar with its colours of various seasons, and the light of various skies. She photographs it and distils it in her memory. One day it fuses into the design for a new batik, and she begins to record it on a pure white piece of 100 percent cotton. Her studio is a garage beside her house, screened off by evergreen trees from the new building taking place all around Salem. Here Linda works regularly every day, from 8:30 or 9 till lunch, and again two or three hours in the afternoon. Within the studio is a long wide table, and at the end a small pot of paraffin and beeswax, sitting unobtrusively on a single electric coil,

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ARTlST lN BATlK

with three brushes. The light from large windows pours over the worktable and the many framed batiks of different stages of development hanging on white walls. The dyeing of batik is not done here but in the laundry room of the house, where there is running water. Originally Linda studied Fine Arts at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. For a number of years she painted. Then one year, married and with children and living in Montreal, she took a six week course in Batik at the ‘Y’. It is her only formal training in this exacting resist technique. “I’ve always liked clear and vivid colours,” Linda says. “I’ve worked hard at keeping them, and I’m still working at it. Still exploring.” Her early batiks are simpler, but lacking in the richness of her works today. In a very difficult medium which requires inverse thinking, planning the waxing and colour dyes from light to dark, she is at present working to master details and clarity. For Linda however,


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the wide potential of the medium itself is less important than what she is trying to do. She always uses the same dyes, the same wax combinations, few brushes, content to explore these in expressing what she sees. At 15 years of age, Linda worked in a flower shop and absorbed a love of flowers, which is reflected in the irises and poppies seen frequently in her pictures. Perhaps her most formative experience took place when, as a child of seven, it was discovered that she was short sighted and needed glasses. “When I got my glasses I was so thrilled with what I could see around me, I haven’t stopped looking since!” she explains. Linda has been a naturalized Canadian for fifteen years, and seems very happy in this community. Her husband Terry is a professor of Canadian History at nearby Wilfred Laurier University, and Linda does the maps for his Military History of Canada, now in its fifth volume. She is active in the Arts Council, working with the INSIGHTS Show and Studio Tours. The youngest of her three children is in high school and she now has more independence and freedom to work. The diffused, gentle warmth of her personality leads one to believe Linda’s art will yet develop through many different stages. Although she has not exhibited far beyond this area, she is already a remarkable artist in her medium. by Beverley Cairns, September 1988

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UPDATE - 1997 Linda has participated annually in EAC’s Studio Tour and recently exhibited at the “In Praise of Gardens” and “In Your Own Backyard” shows at Wellington County Museum. “After 25 years, batik seems the most natural medium in the world to me”, she says. “It is the landscape and the light I pursue.” In the autumn of 1996 Linda Copp was Artist In Residence at the Queens University International Study Centre, Herstmonceaux Castle, East Sussex, England. Linda’s batiks celebrating the flourishing gardens and dream-like architecture of Herstmonceaux were displayed in a two person exhibition “A Place In Time”, with Toronto painter Katherine Harvie, at the Library of Queens University in June - July 1997. Linda continues to work at her studio in Salem, expanding the subjects of her batiks and the subtlety of colour. UPDATE May of ‘99 was the opening of “A Year on the Grand”, a show comprising 30 works centred on the Grand River, with music by Wayne Bridge. This exhibition travelled for a year from the Wellington County Museum and Archives to the Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Glenhurst Art Gallery of Brant, and the Homer Watson House and Gallery. The Grand River Conservation Authority awarded Linda a certificate of appreciation for her artwork in November 1999.

Linda exhibited with other area artists in “Portrait Of The Artist” at the Wellington County Museum and in “Water” at the Elora Centre for the Arts. The year 2003 saw the publication of two of Linda’s batik images as limited edition gicleé prints: “The Bridge At West Montrose” and “David Street Bridge, Elora”. “Rivers Of The Grand” is an exhibit focused on the tributaries of the river. It opened in September 2004 at the Wellington County Museum and Archives.

When I got my glasses I was so thrilled with what I could see around me, I haven’t stopped looking since!

Colour image pg 179

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1989

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JOE SOMFAY

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ARCHlTECT

Villagers of Elora are delighted that the design of their proposed Town Hall has received an Award of Excellence from The Canadian Architect magazine. Plans will be featured in the December issue. It is fitting that this important civic building should be the conception of Architect Joe Somfay, whose style has strongly influenced the Elora-Salem area since 1969. This was the year Joe and Fred Thompson opened a partnership in Architecture, with offices above the present Desert Rose Cafe. Together they carried out much of the renovation of Mill St. Fred Thompson had influences from his studies in Sweden and Japan that were similar to Joe’s. “We respected the vernacular, but we didn’t want to recreate the past, and couldn’t. We both valued simplicity, so we stripped the buildings back to basics,” Joe explains. The local renovation style of “White and Wood” unglazed red quarry tiles, exposed interior walls of stone and brick date from those days, remembered as exceptionally creative and almost mythological by

those who shared them. Joe Somfay grew up simply, on his grandparents’ subsistence farm in Hungary, without electricity or running water. For toys he packed mud in match boxes and cooked the small dried rectangles into miniature building bricks. From his family he inherited a bent for hands-on work which led naturally to construction architecture. Recently he built his own glider, for off work hours when he loves to fly. In 1956, Joe left Hungary during the uprising, and joined his father in Australia. He finished secondary school and Architectural training in Sydney, and is still an Australian citizen. After graduation, he set out to see the great cities of the world. A year passed, and he was still looking up at New York skyscrapers. Everywhere he went he inquired at graduate schools. Visiting the University of Toronto in his travels, he found a remarkable master course in Urban Planning offered to nine students to be chosen from around the world. Joe applied, and was accepted.


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“It was a very intense and exciting year,” Joe says. In the summer he worked for course Professor Jack Diamond and Barton Myers on the trend setting renovation project of York Square. During the academic year he paid his way by teaching first and fifth year classes of Architecture. He shared the urban planning course with Fred Thompson. They became close friends. In 1969, with Masters degrees, Joe and Fred joined the teaching staff of the School of Architecture, University of Waterloo. Joe started his own architectural firm in 1971. In ‘73 it was a time of oil shortages, and the name of “Somfay” became associated with simple solar design technology, for which he won HUDAC and Ontario Hydro awards. “I noticed the warmth of rocks in the gorge after the sun went down, I remembered warm tidal pools in Australia, and hot rain running off my roof in summer. I noticed Canada had its clearest sunshine in winter, when the angle of the sun was low.” These realizations he combined with his knowledge of tropical architecture to design innovative solar heated homes, a number of which can be seen in the Elora-Fergus area. These days Joe Somfay has a booming architectural firm in Waterloo, with co-op students in training and innovative designers like Lawrence Kortweg, Michael Hannay and Stephen Petri, who assisted Joe in planning the Elora Town Hall. Joe and his wife Debbie are awaiting the arrival of their second child. They are still

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part of our communities, living at the edge of Fergus, in West Garafraxa. their home is a collection of log buildings tucked away in the cedar trees, twenty feet from the Grand River. Thank you Joe, for giving Elora a town hall we can be proud of! by Beverley Cairns, December 1989 UPDATE - 1997 The Town hall design which won Joe Somfay the Canadian Architect’s Design of Excellence award in the winter of 1988 unfortunately never materialized as a focal point of downtown Elora, with the advent of the new Village Council. However Joe’s commitment to architecture of quality and innovative design is attested to by the extent and variety of buildings designed and built since the above Profile was written. The Health and Social Services Office Building, Waterloo, the Academic Sciences Building, Wilfred Laurier University (in association with Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners), and the Wet-dry Recycling Plant for Guelph are among the roughly 50 projects in building and renovation undertaken by Joe Somfay Architects Inc. over the last ten years. Recently Joe Somfay moved from Fergus back to Salem with his wife Debbie and children Jesse and Erik.

Information Technology for the University of Waterloo, jointly produced by Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners, Stephen Teeple and his office, all of whom share a Canadian Architect Award. Joe is currently working on a variety of projects for both Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo, apartment buildings for developers, office buildings for various clients as well as the occasional residential project when, he says, his creativity will be challenged. He regrets that the more he pursues the business of Architecture the less he gets to roll up his sleeves to sketch, draw and design. Other artistic activities have fallen by the wayside and are replaced by not enough flying of gliders and single engine aircraft and the ever-present home renovations. Joe continues to live in Salem, and work from his office Joe Somfay Architect Inc. in Waterloo.

I noticed the warmth of rocks in the gorge after the sun went down.

UPDATE Joe Somfay has continued with his active architectural practice. Recent projects include the Centre for Environmental and

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1989

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DEBORAH AND PETER SKOGGARD MUSlClANS AND HOLlSTlC HEALERS

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Peter and Deborah Skoggard are a composer and singer who live in the very centre of Elora. They have a small daughter Emily, four years old. They believe it’s time for the individual creator to give way to something more co-operative and integrated; time to let go of our individual boundaries, to allow for group creation. With their vision they challenge us all. They hope to start a centre for transformation through the arts, and through innovative productions help people to hear music with immediacy and fresh perception. Deborah and Peter explain: Deborah “I started singing very young. When I was eight or nine, living in England, I sang Britten’s “War Requiem” at Coventry Cathedral, with Benjamin Britten conducting the massed school choirs. “I was born in Scotland, but grew up in England. My father was English and my mother Canadian. I moved to Toronto when

I was 12 and went to Lawrence Park because of its music programme. I sang in St. George’s United Church choir. Most of Canada’s young singers now were in that choir at one time. “I started studying singing at 15, and went into the Kiwanis Festival and won everything. I won the Rose Bowl when I was 18, which was the top prize for vocal. But in Grade 12 I decided I hadn’t fitted into the social scene so I became a cheerleader, and I lost my voice. That was real suffering. I had to have throat surgery, and the doctor said I wouldn’t sing again. “I went to McGill to study cello, but only wanted to sing. I found a wonderful teacher, Rugana Herlinger, a 90 year old Czechoslovakian soprano. She made me hum for a whole year, called Boca Chiusa, and I got my voice back. I give her credit for that. “Subsequently, I studied at the Guild Hall in England. I then went to the Mozarteum in Salzburg for a summer, stayed three years, and graduated. I had to learn French, Italian


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and German. I spent a lot of time in cafés but also did some wonderful singing. I sang Carmina Burana under Orff. He was very old and deaf, but an incredible man! I sang with Von Karajan conducting. When you work with people like that it gives you standards. “I came from Salzburg to the San Francisco Opera Company, and that’s where the heartbreak began for me. I realized that the Inner Call was stronger for me than a career. I looked to achieve something meaningful there but it was impossible. This all came to a head in 1979 when I went to Paris and won the Mozart Prize in the International Vocal Competition. When I was standing on the stage and everyone said I should be happy, I know I had achieved something, but not what I felt was my God-given gift. “I was a very unhappy person. I was displaced. I had been pushing very hard when I was young. But I knew I loved singing. “The Inner call grew stronger and stronger. I found a place inside me, and a connection between my heart and my soul. I couldn’t deal with a career, so I started teaching.” “When I came to Canada and met Peter I continued teaching. I also worked on aspects of Inner Transformation, of the Inner Path. Now all of a sudden in this last year it’s come together for me. I see how music can serve that vision. Now I’m quite clear what I really want to do.” Peter “I grew up on Long Island, New York. Like Deborah, my mother was Canadian from

Toronto, but my father was American, born in Sweden. My grandfather was a painter. My father was a writer with strong feelings about creativity. I started piano in Grade 3, after hearing my brother play Chopin’s Grand Polonaise. I learned the basics. Very early I did write little pieces of music and my father encouraged me. But it wasn’t consistent. I wasn’t a Mozart. Over the years I’d set a friend’s poem to music. I was always doing things that had the right feeling of being just beyond my limits. “But it wasn’t till I opened a restaurant in Toronto with my brother that I began to write melodies for e. e. cummings’ poems. To memorize them I set them to music. I had dropped out of university after my third year. Composing tunes was a way of looking into poetry, of keeping the spirit from getting bogged down in the quagmire. “After a few years I decided to give music a try and enrolled at the Conservatory. I studied piano, Baroque recorder and music theory. There you learned things but you weren’t always sure what you’d do with them. I was writing. It was a way of working with spirit, to keep from feeling bleak or sad. “I wrote and learned by discovery. I’d say ‘Oh my gosh, it does work!’. It was dumbfounding. I’d take these miraculous things to my composition teacher and he’d put a mark here and there. My reaction was: it’s incredible. Can you believe this? “I remember hearing a piece by Ravel many years before I studied music. I had a feeling of what he was trying to do, even in

I found a place inside me, and a connection between my heart and my soul.

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The music I write seems to be an offering, to speak of Man’s relations to life.

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key and rhythm. He was taking old forms and playing with them...like painting a portrait and putting blue on the nose, and green and red and just making the whole thing dance and come alive with wild juxtapositions of colour, yet with classical form. I was always exploring keys and rhythms and harmonics. I began to write piano accompaniment. I was 22 or 23 then and I sang in a choir; I learned about choral music, how four voices can sing different tunes and emotions and all fit together. As Mozart said, that’s how God must see it, the music of the world. The music I write seems to be an offering, to speak of Man’s relations to life. It’s like bringing angels and carpentry together. When you build you have to have a certain shape to be a chair to sit in. Instead of wood you have emotion wood. You bring and lead and take people weaving through, and you lead yourself, following the words...usually poetry. Somehow you’ve gone into a world where form and content don’t contradict each other. And that’s like words before they sprouted and divided. You’ve touched something there. “A year and a half ago I entered three choral competitions and got three prizes. For the Amadeus Choir I won first prize unaccompanied, and also fourth. For the Jubilate Singers I got a fourth in competition with seventy-two composers across Canada. Very encouraging.” “See, it’s the path of discovery and exploration. It will take a while before I get to orchestral music. But I’m writing quartets,

and arranging my Credo for string accompaniment. “It’s always one step at a time.” by Beverley Cairns, February 1989 UPDATE - 1997 In the intervening years Peter and Deborah have come closer to their goals, Deborah training and working in holistic healing and nutrition and Peter qualifying as a Registered Massage Therapist. In May 1997, Peter’s “Blake Choral Songs” were performed at the Guelph Spring Festival. Peter gave lectures relating to Blake’s vision, illustrated with slides of Blake’s artwork. “Missa Brevis” received Honourable Mention in the Choral Competition of the Jubilate Singers. UPDATE In 1998, Peter and Deborah opened the Oasis Healing Arts Centre Clinic in Elora, where they offer a wide range of services. Deborah works in holistic healing, energy medicine and “inner mind technology”, and holistic addictions therapy. Peter does Nutrition, Massage Therapy and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Their daughter Emily is posed (barring anything unforeseen) to represent Canada at the 2008 Olympics in Show Jumping on her mount “Super Mario”. Deborah: Deborah says: “My passion and my project now is my book, five years in the writing, and soon to be published” (in negotiations).


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“What On Earth Do You Think You Are Doing?” is a marriage of science, spirituality and consciousness. It is an allegorical journey of three characters through cosmic evolution to biological evolution to conscious evolution. Its premise is that conditioning has closed us to our true potential, has made us mechanistic and limited (Newtonian physics) as opposed to the creative, limitless (Quantum physics) beings we were (God) designed (us) to be. “As you can imagine, it is a huge undertaking but immensely rewarding!” Peter: Peter continues to be amazingly creative and original. In 1999, “The Bird of Perception” was staged at the Guelph Spring Festival, settings of poems by e. e. cummings, W. H. Auden, and Peter Skoggard; In 2001 the Guelph Spring Festival premiered “Moon Over Eguchi” based on 14th c. Japanese Noh Drama. Year 2003 saw a collaborative workshop production of “somewhere i have never travelled”, 13 of the 16 Settings of e. e. cummings’ poems with four choreographed by David Earle for members of the Dancetheatre David Earle, Temple Studios, Guelph. Peter’s most recent work was presented in December 2004 at the River Run Centre, Guelph. “Bayt Lahm”, the other Bethlehem Story, is a dramatic oratorio with poetry of 11 Arab Women, one Israeli Peace Activist, and Canadian diplomat R.A.D. Ford.

Deborah works in holistic healing, energy medicine and “inner mind technology”, and holistic addictions therapy. Peter does Nutrition, Massage Therapy and Cranio-Sacral Therapy.

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1989

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STUART OXLEY

S

ARTlST AND TEACHER

Stuart Oxley says his art today is the result of a five year process of change: “a quiet evolution”. During this period, maverick, incongruous ideas sometimes surfaced, foreshadowing his present work. Last year Stuart built a studio behind his house on Chalmers Street, Elora. In it, the transition is taking form. Early black and white austere abstracts, influenced by Spanish artist Antoine Tapler, are giving way to flowering colour, and many large sheets of pastel works-in-progress surround the room. On the wide work table finely colourgraded pastel chalks are temptingly laid out: objects from Pandora’s box, each with its own language, emotional connotations and personality in interaction with other colours. These are the tools of challenging exploration. In the centre of the studio is a large press for print making. During his Art studies at Sheridan College and University of Guelph, Stuart’s development came to focus on printmaking. As he familiarized himself with the medium

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he could use it ever more spontaneously to serve creative expression. Much of his early work is in the print medium. After graduation with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Stuart continued to work as a print technician in the U. of G. Art Department. He helped students print their work 40 hours a week, and often spent eight hours a night in creative work at home. He suffered from fumes of the print acids. One morning he said to his wife Marion, “That’s it!” Within two weeks he was on his own, free to explore his own talents. What stimulated Stuart’s interest in the visual arts? His mother was an artist. He remembers an amazing moment in childhood when he sat at the kitchen table in England with paper and pencil. His mother walked by, took up the pencil and just drew a horse! Suddenly, the horse took form on paper through his mother’s magic. With his non-conformist parents and sister, he moved often and to many countries as a child. This


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was destabilizing. He felt himself to be different and isolated in high school, but retrospectively Stuart thinks this led him to look to his creativity for fulfillment. His Art teacher encouraged him, and his French teacher proved her enthusiasm by buying two of his works. Thrilled with success, he decided his future direction. He would study Art. Stuart’s wife Marion, a teacher at CWDHS, has been with him since university days, and he greatly values her support. They have two children: Jenna five, and Steven eight. Being close to their developing lives gives Stuart much happiness. Each year Stuart tries to have one show. Last year he had shows at both the Hamilton and Kitchener galleries. He finds it takes much courage to go out and sell himself in the art world, to chase and harry dealers. Last week Stuart’s own dealer and lifeline to galleries and buyers regrettably went under – a harsh reminder of the frailty of the art business. Staying home the last two years has given Stuart needed quiet and peacefulness. “Finally I’m in the space where I should be”, he says, “In my work I’m looking for spirits and essences, for the space between things. The energy between this cup and this ash tray as they stand near each other, the energy between two people sitting at a table. That’s what’s important. I’ve carried some elements in my work for years, despite change. If you laid all my work out from here to Fergus, you’d see a common thread. That’s good. That’s stabilizing.” Stuart Oxley, one is very aware, lives on

In my work I’m looking for spirits and essences, for the space between things.

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the plane of creative thought and essences. But there is humour too, and much appreciation. “There is little time for creativity,” he says, “even if we had all the time in the world, it would still not be enough for the richnessof our creativity”.

show touring a number of Canadian galleries. In the summer of ‘97 Stuart will act as one of two jurors for the EAC’s INSIGHTS art show. UPDATE Stu Oxley is a faculty member of the Fine Arts Program at the School of Design and

by Beverley Cairns, April 1989

Visual Art, Georgian College, Barrie. Oxley’s reputation as an artist has flourished in recent

Even if we had all the time in the world, it would still not be enough for the richness of our creativity.

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UPDATE - 1997 Stuart Oxley is now owner and Master Printer of Riverside Studios, producing limited edition prints of works by numerous artists. In 1991, Stuart received an Ontario ATS Council’s Materials Assistance Grant. In ‘91, he made the Dean’s honour list, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario when he was awarded his Ontario Teacher’s Certificate. In 1995, he was awarded the degree Master of Fine Arts from University of Waterloo. Stuart has had numerous exhibitions including participation in ‘91 Graficni Bienale in Ljubijana, as well as a Solo exhibit at Macdonald Stewart Gallery, Guelph, the same year. His work has been acquired by the University of Waterloo Gallery, where he participated in the Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition in 1994. In 1995 he had a show with C. Ruddoch at Harbinger Gallery, Kitchener. Stuart was Sessional Instructor in Printmaking at University of Waterloo, ‘93 and ‘94, and has continued personal work in this medium, taking part in the “Riverside”

years; his work is represented in numerous public galleries and in collections across Canada and England, including: Canadian Pacific, Imperial Oil, Nova Alberta Corporation, Esso Canada, Bank of Montreal, Nickle Arts Museum, London Regional Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, University of Guelph, Wilfred Laurier University, Queen’s University and St. Mary’s University. Stu Oxley is considered one of Canada’s premier artists working within the medium of Intaglio. Highly respected, Stu Oxley has earned the reputation of master printmaker and continues as the director of Riverside Studio. Recent solo exhibitions include; – Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary; Jill George Gallery, London, England; Jennifer Kostuik Gallery, Vancouver; Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary; Edward Day Gallery, Toronto; McClaren Gallery, Barry, and in February 2005 at the Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto.


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Stu Oxley is considered one of Canada’s premier artists working within the medium of Intaglio.

Colour image pg 177

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1989

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PERCY RUNNELLS

O

IN MEMORIAM

Sutherland Highlanders for active service in

On April 14,1989, Percy Runnells, the

the war, becoming a corporal. He was

artist who recorded Elora and the surrounding

stationed at Nanaimo, then in Jamaica

area for half a century, died. He was a familiar

from which he sent tropical scenes back for

figure, painting village churches and houses

exhibition in Elora. Sent overseas, he was hit

from the back of his studio-station wagon, his

in the knee by shrapnel in action at the Falaise

stiff leg propped up and a shy greeting for the

Gap, France, leaving him with a lifelong

many people he knew. He is remembered not

disability. Runnells was invalided to Christie

only for his art, but for his kindness to

Street Veterans’ Hospital, Toronto, where

neighbours and elderly friends. Percy Runnells was born in Elora, April 9, 1920. He was brought up, one of nine children, by his grandmother, living at 75 Price Street, the red brick house built in 1845 for James Allan, blacksmith and farrier. In later years he often painted the Mill across the way. He attended Elora High School, in the present Junior School building. Already he

fortunately art was looked upon as therapy,

was taking art lessons by correspondence, and he would likely have seen the annual shows of the Ontario Society of Artists which came to the area. Runnells enlisted in the Argyll and

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ARTlST

and a room was set up where veterans could paint at any time. He learned a good deal about perspective, line and colour, and met Louise Paul, a former student of Arthur Lismer of the Group of Seven. Her portrait bust in black of Runnells from this time shows a handsome, fine featured and sensitive young man. After discharge, he continued studies at the Ontario College of Art, graduating as an associate in 1950. In Elora he built a studio in his grandmother’s woodshed and exhibited in store windows and Carnegie Hall. His paintings of people of Elora, square


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dancing, playing hockey and walking on the streets, as well as local landscapes were reproduced in “Saturday Night”, and won him Honourable Mention in the O’Keefe Competition. He worked at Beatty Brothers from 1951 to 1961, mounting exhibits and displays with Russ Plyley, Edward Hotson and Les Taylor, enjoying the company of fellow local artists. During this time he also taught beginner classes and experimental graphics courses at the Doon School of Fine Arts in the summers of 1956 to 1961. At night he taught Art for the Board of Education in Fergus, Mt. Forest and Drayton. He remained in Elora despite pleas by friends like Charles Comfort to go elsewhere, because of his grandmother. It was a great disappointment to Runnells that he could not buy the house on Price Street when it was put up for sale. For a short while he lived next to the old town hall, in central Elora, then he put up a prefabricated Muttart home on a lot at the corner of John and Moir Street. He built on a porch, filled his house with his paintings, and held a show here every two years. When Beatty Brothers closed down, he worked as a designer and layout artist at CKCO TV, Kitchener from 1962 to 1974. With the opening of St. Margaret’s School for girls in Elora, Runnells’ good friend Shirley MacRae urged him to take a position teaching Art. His wonderful creativity and imagination must have influenced many children. He produced woodcuts for school programs, and each

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Christmas sent original watercolour cards of local scenes to his friends. He designed two memorial windows for St. John’s Anglican Church, and produced a series of watercolours of the churches of Elora, later made into a calendar. In later years his works were becoming more simple. His bookshelves held many artbooks on artists such as Bonnard, Edward Hopper, Barker-Fairley and Japanese prints. On the walls were bright Bermuda flowers and abstracts related to nature. There were few figures in his paintings outside of the Virgin and Child at St. Mary’s School. He frequently painted his favourite flower, Queen Anne’s Lace. The last canvas on his easel was of the lighthouse at Kincardine. The Wellington County Museum has acquired three large oils, which will be permanently displayed: The Fergus Train Station, and two of joyous colour and freedom of execution: “Mill Street Elora” from across the river, and the turn of the road at the Salem bridge. His last palette and easel will also be displayed at the Museum, in tribute to an Artist who truly loved his home area. As Canon Hulse said of Percy Runnells at his funeral, using the quotation on the Memorial to Sir Christopher Wren in St. Paul’s, London, “If you seek his monument, look around you.” Through his brush he has caught our village and countryside in timeless elegance of line and colour. by Beverley Cairns, June 1989

UPDATE It is heartening to go into many homes and see cherished paintings by Percy Runnells, portraying the streetscape or house of the owners.

His last palette and easel will also be displayed at the Museum, in tribute to an Artist who truly loved his home area.

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1989

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STEPHEN KITRAS

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GLASS BLOWER

Even among blown glass artists, Stephen Kitras’ craft is unusual. His tumblers, bowls and vases are not blown into a mould, but each is original, with subtle variations in form that are the signature of a Free Glassblower. On the weekend of the Studio Tour visitors to Glassmakers at 680 Gartshore St., Fergus can watch as Stephen gathers glowing molten glass on the long blowpipe from a furnace heated night and day to 2,300 degrees. He shapes it in a second fire, the reheating chamber, then twirls and swings it, expanding the glowing ball periodically with quick, hard injections of breath. The form expands and takes shape before our eyes through a process demanding intricate coordination, speed, agility, and the three dimensional vision of a sculptor. Stephen is drawn to glass by its qualities of transparency, clarity and lightness. While at the University of Toronto, first in Engineering, later abandoned for Philosophy and Literature, he liked to visit the glass collection at the ROM. After graduation, to support his wife, Elke, and their child, he was

attracted to glassmaking as a craft but believed he would have to study in Europe, which he could not consider. One day Elke saw a glassblowing workshop being given at Harbourfront and encouraged Stephen to take it. Through his teacher he discovered the three-year course given at Sheridan College. While he was good with his hands, he had had no previous art experience before he applied, and he credits Sheridan with an openness that allowed him to explore an entirely new path, unproven. Because of family obligations, his time at Sheridan was strongly directed towards production. Not having the money for experiments in colour, he set himself to explore every possible shape and learned to work with speed and fluidity. Watching an Italian craftsman, Stephen learned one of the greatest secrets of glassblowing: work hot! It was a revelation to Stephen to see glassblowing “so free and quick and hot and effortless”. To blow glass you have to love fire and heat. Stephen says: “Since I was a kid I’ve always


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loved watching and being near fire, and I hate the cold!” Because of the fast cooling time of glass, there are many designs difficult to execute without a team. “Working alone, there are some things that demand incredible timing to achieve so they don’t blow up. I could do it, but it would take twice as long and be twice as exhausting as with a team.” Also, there is the cold work of glass finishing. The final grinding and polishing of finished pieces demands too much time away from creativity. To resolve these problems, Stephen is looking for an apprentice to whom he can teach the craft. The market for glass is excellent, and with smoother production he hopes for more freedom to design art pieces. He and Elke, now with four children, recently bought the old Fergus Firehall to convert into a new home for Glassmakers. Stephen’s large wok-like spun bowls can be seen at “Present Dreams” in Elora. “They’re kind of quiet, they just sit there and hum.” Sets of tinted long-stemmed glasses and tumblers are recent undertakings, demanding consistency. Best sellers are his Sun Catchers, transparent balls swirled with opaque and translucent globs of colour, reminiscent of Stephen’s favourite European folk glass, once produced as a cottage craft over bunsen burners: the original Christmas tree balls. Hang one in your window to diffract the light! Stored on the shelves of Glassworks are many heavy glass bars of intensely distilled colour. The opaque bars are bright, but the

transparent ones are all mysteriously black. These days Stephen Kitras is exploring the magic of colour related to the light-loving qualities of glass. Watching him work by the glow of the furnace, one feels there is surely an element of alchemy in this ancient art, where silica and toxic oxides combine with fire and breath to make such fragile beauty. by Beverley Cairns, September 1989 UPDATE - 1997 Stephen Kitras continues to produce colourful and contemporary glass at his studio, Glassmakers, 680 Gartshore Street, Fergus. His unique pieces are exported across Canada and the U.S.A. UPDATE By 2001 the Kitras Art Glass Company had expanded to over 40 employees and a new facility was built to accommodate increased production demands. Even in the midst of these production increases, the imagination of Stephen is evident in every design. A leader in completely hand made glass, Stephen personally continues to handle new product development and oversees the training of all staff. Kitras Art Glass can be seen in shops in Elora, across Canada and the U.S., marketed through Trade Shows in Atlanta, Chicago, Toronto, New York, Alberta, California. Recently Stephen has returned to one-of-akind glass creations – elegant collectors’ items, the works of a master glass blower. www.kitras.com

Since I was a kid I’ve always loved watching and being near fire, and I hate the cold!

Colour image pg 180

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1990

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PAT MESTERN

A

WRlTER AND HlSTORlAN

As a child growing up in Fergus, Pat Mattaini Mestern’s early years were spent in an eccentric, chaotic environment geared to titillate the senses. Pat absorbed history through the vibrant lifestyles and memories of her grandmother, parents and a plethora of interesting characters that lived in the area. She was surrounded by books, music and stimulating conversation. Her mother, Edith Scott, numbered among her ancestors, a direct link to Sir Walter Scott. Her father, J.F. (Jimmy) Mattaini was born in Canada to parents of Italian heritage. Jimmy’s maternal grandfather worked on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France before immigrating to Wellington County, Ontario. Jimmy’s father, Charlie Mattaini, designed and built the beautiful bowstring bridges seen throughout Wellington, Grey, Dufferin and Bruce counties. Pat’s grandmother, Marie Landoni Mattaini, ran a boarding house through which a large number of immigrants passed, each with an interesting story to tell. Pat found history as taught in school, boring but revelled in the anecdotal/folkloric variety

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that she heard around the dining room table. She was, and still is, an avid, fast and rententative reader. Her ‘learnin’ included attendance at St. Joseph’s Separate School, Fergus High School and Guelph Business College where she admits that she went more to learn how to type – fast – then for another other reason. When Pat was 20, she married South African Ted Mestern, and moved into c1879 “Stonehome” on St. David Street N., Fergus where she still resides today. Assuming the role of wife and mother in this heritage home, that was so powerfully evocative of the past, matured Pat’s potential as a writer of historical fiction, and local history. Her creative bent was further stimulated by a stint at Wellington County Museum, 1975 - 1983 when her love of history really came to the fore and took flight. After moving into “Stonehome”, Pat’s creative bent became focused on Clara Young the main character in her first novel. Clara, an eccentric spinster, owned “Stonehome” 1879 through 1931. Pat began to keep journals. She researched primary source material, gathered


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folkloric stories and finally turned to her first love – after hubby, of course – writing; in particular penning works of fiction. She well remembers the pivotal point in her writing career. As she got up from the dinner table one cold November night in 1977, Ted asked what she had planned for the evening. “I’m going to write a novel,” Pat answered. And she did, over the course of the next seven months. “Clara” was published in 1979 and Pat has never looked back. Pat likes to write longhand, using a pencil. She reads and corrects the text several times before typing it. She has finally forsaken her trusty IBM Selectra for a computer. For each book, she works from primary sources and researches extensively in the appropriate historical time period before committing anything to paper. Pat absorbs speech patterns, clothing styles, physical environments and often recreates “period atmosphere” for visual stimulation. She fully admits that she has no idea how each storyline will evolve. She introduces characters and lets them “play out” their involvement in a book’s plot. During the “heat” of writing, the inner vitality of her creativity comes close to overwhelming daily reality and routine. Needless to say, Pat lives with a very understanding husband who realizes that she has to “go with the flow”. The most difficult days for any author are experienced while the manuscript is being printed, and just after the book has been released to the general reading public. Pat asks herself – “Do I really want to share these

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characters that I’ve created and know so well? They have,” she says, “inhabited my mind, shared my life. Will readers understand them? Accept them?” Pat’s writings are often so realistic that she has to continuously emphasize that her novels are truly fictional. Along with the outpouring of enthusiasm for each of her books, there is always a handful of people who accuse her of “bending history”. Pat’s published works include “Clara”, 1979; “Anna, Child of the Poor House”, 1981; “Rachael’s Legacy”, 1988; and “Magdalena’s Song”, 2003. Her fifth fictional work, “Makem’s Rant” is due for publication in 2005. Pat is working on her sixth novel, “Granite”, set in Dufferin and Wellington Counties c1960. Non-fictional works include “Looking Back”, a two volume local history, 1983; “Fergus, A Scottish Town by Birthright”, 1995 and “So You Want to Hold a Festival – the A-Z of Festival & Special Event Organization”, 2002. In addition, Pat has had a full length manuscript “The Contract” serialized in a regional paper, 1992-93. She also writes a bi-weekly local history column for the Fergus Elora News Express and rounds out her time by penning travel and lifestyle articles for a variety of North American publications. Pat observes that at the moment, she is probably better known as an author in the U.S. than in Canada as she’s now under the wing of High Country Publishers, a quality publishing house out of Boone, North Carolina. She is the first Canadian author

that this company has published. And it’s difficult, she admits, to get one’s books prominently placed in Canadian book stores when the publishing house is relatively unknown north of the border. The literary scene in Canada can be tight-knit, la famiglia dello scelto venti. Under the circumstances, marketing oneself becomes an ongoing and never-ending process. Pat knows first-hand that making herself always accessible to her reading audience is important. On many occasions people have shown up at “Stonehome” wanting to meet the author of books they’ve enjoyed. “The cookie jar is always full,” Pat says. “And there’s room in the drive for a tour bus. And don’t think that scenario hasn’t occurred!” But in conversation with Pat, one senses that no reading of her works of fiction can take us into the deep, compulsive level of creativity that this novelist experiences and accepts as another strata of her life – a plateau as mysterious as some of the characters in her novels. And this deep level of creativity is what makes Pat’s novels so compelling. They come from the heart and soul of the writer. by Beverley Cairns, January 1990 re-written by Pat Mestern 2004

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1990

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PETER KNUDSTRUP

W

POTTER

When Peter Knudstrup came to Elora in 1967, a new appreciation of the simple beauty and earth-quality of pottery was alive, nurtured by the flower children of the 1960’s. With imagination and a sense of adventure he and his wife Nancy bought the old stone church on Henderson Street, which became Peter and Nancy’s Pottery. Originally a Presbyterian church, then an early cinema and a furniture finishing workshop, it now became the first of many artisan studios that were to revitalise Elora. The characteristic blue-grey and ochre-brown of Peter’s Earth n’ Sky pottery has slowly evolved over the last twenty years. Trained as a Ceramic Engineer in his native Denmark, he is different from many potters in that he understands the chemistry of glazes and can make and alter recipes. He also uses an original clay body, made from five clays, blended in the blades of a pugmill. Peter’s love for pottery developed when, as a boy, he played with clay and helped to fire the kilns of a small ceramic firm near his father’s country inn in Denmark. Later, looking

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for a practical but artistic career, he studied ceramics in a five-year apprenticeship program. For a short while he worked in Norway and Denmark, but Europe’s ongoing recovery from the devastations of war caused him to feel “pent up” and itch to go abroad. With his brother and two friends, Peter made plans to sail to Nigeria to build oceangoing vessels. When this enterprise crumbled, he looked for another opportunity. Wandering down the street he passed a free film showing a travelogue for Canadian National Railways. The panoramas of the waving wheat fields, mountains and sparkling rivers of Canada were an inspiration. Peter walked right over to a travel bureau and asked for his passage to Canada to be arranged. Transport was still scarce, however, and it was six months before he was able to sail to Canada. The 1951 voyage was certainly a trying one. Aboard an old Liberty Ship run by an international refugee organization, 1,000 passengers endured 11 hurricane- whipped days before finally arriving in Quebec City. Heading up to Toronto, a quick survey


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revealed no prospects for employment in ceramics. Peter went north, to become chief dynamiter on the logging roads of Temagami. He parallels his life there to that of a concentration camp. It was impossible to walk out of the wilderness in -40 deg. weather. Mail was censored, living was rough. One night, by chance, he heard a supply vehicle arriving. Quickly gathering his goods together, he jumped on for a ride back to civilisation. Back in Toronto, Peter found employment with Alcan, a company which appreciated his chemistry experience. While at Alcan, he met and married a company nurse, Nancy Chataway. Independent by nature, he felt himself “owned and swallowed whole” by the large multinational company. With the favourable climate for pottery in the 1960s, Peter began to search for ceramics equipment, learn English ceramics terminology and hunt down a studio of his own. When the Knudstrups first saw the abandoned old Chalmers Church in Elora, snow was piled against the door. Zoning for the building was non-existent, though they were told that too much noise or an abattoir on the site would be unwelcome. With the help of friends, they spent the summer shingling the roof. Peter bought the necessary ceramic equipment at auctions and finally, after two years, the couple came to live and work in the church, naming it Peter and Nancy’s Pottery. Since their adventurous relocation in Elora, the Knudstrups have raised three children: Lisa, Martin and Kirsten, and have

contributed much to the community. Nancy has returned to nursing and Peter’s imaginative studio is visited by many tourists. Other artisans have sometimes shared the space but the high ceilinged nave of the church remains undeveloped and continues to stimulate dreams. Peter discusses the possibility of setting up a school to pass on his knowledge of glaze chemistry to young Canadian potters. But the freedom and independence he experiences as a solitary craftsman would be hard to relinquish. Do we adequately express the value to our society of Peter at his potter’s wheel, preserving age-old traditions and the unique beauty of hand crafted ceramics? By Beverley Cairns, February1990 UPDATE - 1997 Earth n’ Sky pottery is still handthrown, glazed and fired at the pottery in the big stone church on Henderson Street. A wood-stove now heats the place in winter, warming all who visit. In the summer, the thick stone walls provide an oasis of coolness where Peter can be found working at the wheel.

When the Knudstrups first saw the abandoned old Chalmers Church in Elora, snow was piled against the door.

UPDATE Peter and Nancy sold the pottery property in 1998. Peter has created a small studio at home and continues to make some pottery articles for old customers, family and friends. He also enjoys his greenhouse and does a lot of gardening.

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1990

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LORRAINE DREW BROOK

F 58

For many years it seemed Lorraine Drew Brook was a legend in this area. After her marriage in 1973, she frequently came to spend weekends on the cliffs above the Irvine River in Sem Whistler’s mill, beautifully restored by her husband, Hugh. The couple lived in Toronto, where Lorraine taught singing and performed. We heard she was a remarkable woman. In 1986, the Drew Brooks retired to the mill in Salem, and our communities became enriched by Lorraine’s vision of community life, her involvement, her voice and her joy in living. Born in Galt (Cambridge), Lorraine remembers declaring at three years old that she would like to be in the music world. During her school years she spent the week with her grandmother and frequently heard her singing over the woodstove in a high, clear English voice when she woke in the morning. Her entertainment was singing songs around the piano with the family. During primary and secondary school she took part in musicals, madrigal groups and sang in many festivals. Lorraine’s early life was shadowed by almost

SlNGER, VOCAL TEACHER

yearly eye operations in an effort to save her vision. She had been born with glaucoma. She reflects that the love of her parents and the caring people around her were her support through pain. When she was 17, while preparing for the wonderful role of Yum Yum in “The Mikado”, she was told by the doctor that nothing more could be done to retain her sight. Lorraine recalls leaving the Medical Arts Building in Toronto with her mother, and hearing a street violinist playing by the door. She said then “Mum, I’m going to amount to something.” That day she went home, set the table and prepared for supper: “I decided then I’d make my life worthwhile.” Lorraine continued voice studies through the months that followed and took her ARCT practical examination at 19. Four years later she enrolled in the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, worked her way through and graduated first in her class. She studied with many outstanding Canadian musicians: John Beckwith, Gretle Krause, George Lambert, and Weldon Kilbourn who taught Lois Marshall.


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She took pedagogy and Leider with Axel Schultz, who told her she was a natural teacher for singing. At university she d eveloped an understanding of the many styles of music, and also an appreciation of other arts and the place of music in history. A life-long dream was fulfilled when she won a scholarship to the prestigious Aspen Summer School of Music, Colorado, for which only 500 people a year are selected. “They were wonderful times,” she says today. What is her favourite music to perform? She loves whatever she is doing at present. “I love too many things,” Lorraine says. “I think I may be a dreamer!” She likes to try good modern music, asserting that each style has its character, corresponding to something within us. She sings many traditional folk songs, but also Oratorio. Among her favourites are French art songs, like those of those of Faure and Poulenc. Modern music has a mathematical appeal, while Bach evokes a sense of spiritual affinity. Why does she love to teach? “I love to have some responsibility for the technical and musical development of a voice.” Now living in Salem, she continues to teach. She is also very active in the Arts Council, organizing numerous concerts, and is a founding member and president of the Gallery Music Group. Lorraine is also a gourmet cook and an ardent traveller, having visited China, Europe, Britain, and recently New Zealand, where she and Hugh bought land and are building a vacation home. Lorraine has also served six years on

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the board of the national CNIB and is currently chairman of the music library for CNIB. “What enriches my life is my association with other people,” Lorraine says, “I need friendship. I also enjoy quietness in the house and working towards goals”. Certainly her positive nature is remarkable in giving courage to others. When she sings it seems that sunshine is in her voice, and her obvious joy is conveyed to those who listen. by Beverley Cairns, April 1990 UPDATE - 1997 Lorraine and Hugh now enjoy winters in New Zealand at Geraldine, near Christchurch. Lorraine performs frequently in her winter homeland, fundraising for the South Canterbury Hospice Association and other good causes. In 1993 Lorraine was recipient of the prestigious Lescarbot Award for volunteer work in the arts. She continues her active involvement, co-organizing performances for the Gallery Concert Series, which has as its motto “By the Community, For the Community”. Lorraine found a dramatic new interest when she and Hugh courageously bought the Theatre On The Grand, Fergus, on November 1, 1991, rescuing it from going commercial, renovating it and saving it as a valuable space for the performing arts.

UPDATE Now, in 2004, the theatre building which was saved through the timely and caring action of the Drew Brooks is owned by the Township of Centre Wellington, and continues to play a vital part in the cultural life of the community. In recent years Lorraine has continued to work as a vocal teacher. A source of joy is her newly acquired musical instrument, the flute. Lorraine is a student of Paula Elliott. Lorraine continues to work with the Gallery Music Group at the Wellington County Museum, finding performers for this excellent, low cost concert series.

I decided then I’d make my life worthwhile.

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1990

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TONY SEPERS

T 60

ARTlST

The President of the Elora Arts Council for 1990-91 is Tony Sepers, co-owner of the art supply and framing store Sun Art of Fergus and a fine artist with seven one-man shows behind him. As a boy, Tony lived in a small village at the edge of Leyden, Holland. At age 11, his family emigrated to Guelph. He has memories of pushing his scooter into Leyden and ambling by the old Rhine River. Holland, recovering from the war, was revitalizing itself with idealism. At 11, Tony had already read classics like Don Quixote, and the Romantic and the Ideal became forces in shaping his future. Despite a love of learning, he was continually in conflict with the education system, even as early as kindergarten when he fought his teacher with fisticuffs! This problem persisted throughout his high school years in Canada, when he felt himself, however subliminally, to be different and unadjusted to his new country. During high school, art classes were a refuge where like-minded iconoclasts gathered. Tony read omnivorously about the lives of great artists, especially of Vincent Van Gogh. Before the end of Grade 12 he left school to work,

sketching in every spare hour. Through Manpower he studied commercial art, grateful to his employer who encouraged his true interest in fine art. Then followed the most intense, exhilarating and exhausting period of his life when he went to Montreal in 1967-68. He lived in the English art world, modelled for Arthur Lismer’s classes, waitered on weekends and lived with such intensity that he scarcely knew whether life was a dream or reality. This was reflected in the surrealistic quality of his paintings. He concluded from his experience that “Truth does not exist, everything lies”, but at the same time new and vitalizing perceptions ripened: “I could see the air, but I could also see between the air, I became aware of a binding energy. Van Gogh, I’m sure knew it, and many early socialists knew it.” After two years he came home, burnt out. “I had tried to live the image, then I became the image, then it was time to give up the image.” Returning to the Guelph area Tony lodged with the sculptor Joseph Drenters at Rockwood. Later Janke de Voss lent him a


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schoolhouse she owned near Belwood where Tony prepared for his first one-man art show, often walking 17 miles into Guelph. It was at the schoolhouse that he first came in touch with the Baha’i faith, through a summer farmhand. While studying that faith, Tony met his wife Karen in May of 1968. In December they married and moved to Salem. Tony describes his paintings as linear, but they are also rich with a love of colour. For him, his own paintings must answer for their existence. They express ideas: “I see a painting as having a meditative function. The thing happening on the wall sits and meditates and its meditation strikes the viewer.” He expresses the total absorption of the artist: “When you paint you are a big, sensitive sponge, with nerves and tentacles that reach out into every corner of being.” Finally, at the age of 29, with a wife and children, Tony gave in to formal education. He graduated with honours and a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Guelph. “Everything I knew was confirmed,” he says. “I grew immensely.” He also became a political activist, head of the Fine Arts Union in the turbulent ‘70s, and Chairperson of the student gallery. At this time Sun Art was started by Karen Sepers with partner Kate Phillips, to supply materials for local artists, and framing. Today Tony and Karen work together at Sun Art, always busy. Tony is President of the Business Improvement Association of Fergus, and his paintbrush waits beside an unfinished, unresolved canvas to which he will certainly return. Concerning his priorities Tony says, “Being

a Baha’i is first and foremost in my life”. Tony and Karen’s large stone house, Kirk Hall, built in 1842 as the Freechurch Manse, is the centre of the Baha’i group in Fergus. Tony is very positive about humanity, and its future. “Knowledge is becoming circular,” he says, “the world is becoming an interconnected whole.” What does he hope for himself in the future? Tony says earnestly, “I hope to become a deep and sonorous person. I would like to resonate with the richness of a cello.” by Beverley Cairns, July 1990 UPDATE - 1997 In 1997 Tony Sepers is Chair of the Elora Arts Council for the second time. During the intervening years since ‘91, his fine artistic taste has contributed to augment the aesthetics of the Town of Fergus through his work with initiatives of the Business Improvement Association (BIA). Sun Art, with its central location and owners who remain strongly committed, continues to be a focal point for the visual arts in the area. UPDATE Tony and Karen sold Sun Art and went to live in the Lake Of The Woods area of Ontario. Free to return to creative art, Tony is working on an extensive new series of drawings and paintings. They are stacked between sheets of styrofoam, under the spare bed mattress. Needless to say the spare room bed is getting higher and higher. It seems you have to be pretty tall to get into it these days!

I see a painting as having a meditative function. The thing happening on the wall sits and meditates and its meditation strikes the viewer.

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1990

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KARIN BACH

T 62

ARTlST lN CLAY

These days Karin Bach’s mind is on the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, a unique site of bizarre animal life. At her studio, 480 James St., Salem, and in collaboration with potter Tim Isaac, she fashions tortoises and lizards, fish and sea creatures in the earthy textures of raku fired clay. Sales of these works will fund an anticipated spring trip to the Galapagos, where a world of inspiration will be explored, perceptually stored and later interpreted through Karin’s subtle and sure artistic vision. After three years of recent commercial work with extended commuting, Karin is once again a freelance, fulltime artist: “I decided commercial work wasn’t worth the trade-offs.” Whether working in copper enamel, clay, or shaping her large terraced garden, Karin always seems to be related to the earth. Her artistic subjects, colours, and the ambience of her brick and pine studio reflect a close identification with nature. Sometimes, for fun, she piles stones into sculptural structures in the Irvine River: a playful form of contemplation. There

is even something of the wood nymph in her personal style and smiling eyes. Karin was raised in urban Toronto. However, she perceived her real home to be the family cottage by a wooded lake in Haliburton, designed by her architect father. Through a soaring glass roof the northern lights, clouds, trees and stars could be seen from within the cottage. The indelible imprints of these elements are translated today into landscapes of simple form, expressed through the medium of flattened clay cut in odd interrelated shapes, glowingly glazed and mounted on wood. Throughout public and high school, art was an important part of Karin’s development. It was a strong focus in the home, too. Her father being an architect and her mother a commercial artist, paints and crayons were always at hand for play and creation. At 18 she was earning her living through work in colour transparency, retouching and black and white photo assembly. She also attended art classes three or four nights a week at Central Tech. In 1979, Karin decided to try her luck as an


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independent artist and, after much searching, put an ad in the Toronto Star for a country house. Lewis Guzzy of Sticks and Stones, Fergus, responded immediately with a dossier of available houses in this area. Driving into Elora she found the atmosphere exciting, and the people on the street interesting. Karin bought her present house in Salem and maintained her creative freedom for seven years, before returning to the commercial world for three years in 1987. Each Christmas she has a show of recent works in her home. This August, celebrating her return to artistic freedom, Karin opened her living room and garden to the public as The Bach Gallery, inaugurated by a show with six area artisans entitled Bach Again with Friends. The proposed spring trip to the Galapagos will provide a first hand knowledge of animal, bird, fish and reptile subjects suitable to Karin’s increasing interest in garden art. She is exploring techniques to make possible limited reproductions of sculptural clay pieces. The smoky finish of raku firing and the burnish of copper glaze will harmonize the sculptures with garden elements of grass, soil, and flowers. Karin has also had considerable success in snow sculpture, leading a group of Elora women to the United States International Snow Sculpture Competition for five consecutive years, and last winter taking first prize. Karin’s art has been represented in shows at Reflections Gallery, The Bookshelf Café, Wellington County Museum, Peter and Nancy’s Pottery. Recent work can be seen at The Shop On Francis Lane. by Beverley Cairns, September 1990

UPDATE - 1997 Karin has moved to Albert, New Brunswick, where she has built a home and studio along with former Kitchener and Elora Clay Artist, Tim Isaacs. Inspired by a view over the Bay of Fundy, they have developed a garden to showcase creations in sculpture, stoneware tiles and bronzes. In 1994, soon after establishing the New Brunswick studio, Karin won the Gail McManus Memorial Award for most promising newly juried member of the New Brunswick Craft Council (NBCC). The originality of her tortoises, tree frogs, manatees and gargoyles could not be missed. Karin’s work can be seen in this area at Toucan Gallery, Elora; Gallery Quest, Elmira, and individual pieces can be found at the annual One Of A Kind Show in Toronto.

The smoky finish of raku firing and the burnish of copper glaze will harmonize the sculptures with garden elements of grass, soil, and flowers.

UPDATE Karin is still living in Albert, New Brunswick, working in her studio along with former Kitchener/Elora clay artist Tim Isaac. She continues to explore clay sculpture and has recently returned to oil painting. Karin and her son Jacob, born September 1997, thoroughly enjoy the rugged natural beauty of the Fundy coast. There, with a wonderful view of the bay, they have developed a beautiful sculpture garden, open for travellers and naturalists, to find respite. If you’re passing through New Brunswick, look for Karin Bach’s work at Joie de Vivre, 5702 King Street. Riverside-Albert, New Brunswick, Canada. Karin’s work can be seen at www.joiedevivre.nb.ca/isaac&bach

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1990

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ESTHER FARELL

W

MEZZO-SOPRANO

We hear Esther Farrell’s warm lyric mezzosoprano voice blended and woven into the music of the Elora Festival Singers, or the St. John’s Parish Choir, a voice among many. We also hear her as a soloist, standing before us small and eloquent, black eyes shining in the stage light, the intensity of her interpretation of opera and art songs touching us with deep communication. We, the audience, are part of Esther’s every song. We store the memory of this song inside us, knowing she is only with us for a short while, on her way to the major challenges of the professional performing stage. Esther’s formal training as a singer began when she was 24. She had received a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Toronto, specializing in Psychology, and intended to study Medicine when the path of her life took a sharp turn. After graduation from U. of T., wanting a change of pace, she went to the Canadian Bible College in Regina as music director. There she took some voice lessons and was encouraged to continue studies under Victor Martens at Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo. As part of her vocal training at WLU she

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was introduced to Opera and stage performance. “I guess the bug bit me,” Esther says. “I had never sung in another language before. Now my favourites became French Opera and Art songs. But really I love all Opera.” She played the part of Annie, a 16 year old girl, in a production of Porgy and Bess, and enjoyed the sense of family onstage and the opportunity to project into a character, her psychology training complementing her music. Esther has been singing since she was three or four years old, in the Evangelical tradition of the Wesleyan Church, Toronto. Esther remembers the church as “a great place for young people to grow up in friendship and security”. Through her many church centred activities she developed a calm assurance and sense of sharing reflected in her performances today. She played piano in the church, and was Junior Choir Director and Sanctuary Choir Director, as well as belonging to a small choral group which performed across Canada and the U.S.A. Singing with the Elora choirs gives Esther the opportunity to explore a wide repertoire of good music. She believes it to be a good


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transition to a solo career because choral work augments musicality, and makes the singer listen to what the composer is trying to say. She is aware of the body as a musical instrument that must treated with moderation and the care accorded a cello, if it is to perform well. A singer must learn to compensate for changes in temperature and humidity. Esther enjoys performing at St. John’s Church, the choirs’ home in Elora, where excellent acoustics and intimacy of space allow sound to flow, making it possible for the voice to achieve maximum fluidity, nuance and expression. Because of the many rehearsals necessary for the choir, Esther came from Kitchener to live in Elora, but she continues to work part time as Music Librarian at Wilfred Laurier University. Esther has had two solo recitals, and has appeared as soloist with the Guelph Spring Festival, the Wellington Winds, the Gallery Music Group, and in numbers of church oratorios. Her exciting performance at the Arts Council’s recent Cabaret evening confirmed our perceptions of her as a performer of unusual calibre and warmth. She is grateful to her family who are supportive of her singing career, being very musical themselves. While at present committed to the choirs, Esther has been in contact recently with a Manager in the U.S.A. Hopefully he will help her towards her goal of a career in Opera. She is prepared to live simply, describing her values as more spiritual than material. Her great desire is to find the opportunity to work with dedication, preferably in Opera. “If I can share the music of the composer with the audience and

they can be moved by it, then I’ll be content.” by Beverley Cairns, November 1990 UPDATE - 1997 With the revival of the musical “Show Boat”, Esther’s career took on new dimensions of travel. She performed throughout Canada and the U.S. with this very successful musical production for three years. She travelled from Toronto to Vancouver with stops along the way in St. Paul, Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis and Minneapolis. UPDATE Since 1997, Esther has regularly performed in New York Harlem Productions’ tours of Gershwin’s opera “Porgy & Bess”. It has taken her to audiences around the world, to such places as Sardinia, Venice, Cologne, Bremen, Leipzig and Oslo; on her most recent tour with the company she performed in Austria, Sweden and Japan. And closer to home (at the Centre In The Square in Kitchener), she was the featured soloist with the K-W Symphony in a program of George and Ira Gershwin compositions. She continues to perform with local ensembles: the Elora Festival Singers, the Mendelssohn Choir, and the St. John’s Anglican Church Choir. She also sang in the 2004 Guelph Spring Festival concert performance of Glen Buhr’s opera, “Flux”, and the 2003 world premiere of Ruth Fazal’s “Oratorio Terezin.” Esther has recently opened a voice studio in Elora.

...the intensity of her interpretation of opera and art songs touching us with deep communication.

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1991

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MAUREEN DWYER AND PEPE FERNANDEZ ARTlSTS lN SlLVER AND GOLD

P

Pepe and Maureen have been creating elegant silver and gold jewellery in their

process, cutting it to even lengths and

workshop on Mill Street for three years, but

flat-weaving the strands in an ancient textile

Elora has been familiar to them for a long

mode to fashion a wedding ring.

time. In the days of the ‘70s when they

From 1975 to 1985, Maureen, along with

travelled to craft shows across Ontario, they

Pepe, designed and made jewellery using a

marked it as a rich, nourishing and

variety of techniques. As the business grew,

cosmopolitan community where artists could

Maureen began to handle the retail and

make a contribution to the life of the village.

administrative aspects of Pepe and Maureen

The heart of Maureen and Pepe’s store

Ltd. Now in the workshop she focuses mainly

is the metal and stone workshop with large

on quality control and details demanding

windows overlooking the Grand River. Their

patience, while Pepe works on the construction

lives are completely integrated with the

of jewellery. Essentially they are a team. “The

designing and crafting of silver and gold seven

strength and popularity of our work derives

days a week. In the workroom are clamps,

from the combination of our personalities,”

tools, workbenches with large magnifying

Maureen says, “Craftspeople become so deeply

glasses, polishing machines for metal and lapis

involved in creating, they don’t always see if a

lazuli stones from Afghanistan. Pepe, with

piece is in balance. Another pair of eyes leads

a flair for the theatrical, flourishes in this

to a finished result.” Jewellery created by Pepe

workshop open to the public. We are brought

and Maureen is guaranteed life-long care by

close to the life of the craftsman as we watch

the designers.

Pepe pulling gold into ever thinner filaments,

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heating it with a blow torch in the annealing

Both artisans are very independent people,


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and enjoy the freedom of a work life which

jewellery in the workshop of a Toronto patron.

allows them to make their own rules. Maureen,

This studio was a centre for the South

from Rochester, N.Y., studied History at

American refugee community, seeking to work

University of Toronto. While a student she

out the frustrations of a new culture through

developed a love of Spanish culture through

the catharsis of metalwork.

work in a remote Mexican village in the late

In this studio, Maureen met Pepe

‘60s. To reach the village she rode six hours by

Fernandez. Pepe had fled Chile two days after

horse through the mountains from the town

the military coup of 1973. Leaving everything

of Pisa Flores. Though the inhabitants of the

behind, he took refuge in the Mexican

village spoke Spanish, they were not aware they

Embassy and was granted asylum in Mexico.

lived in a country called Mexico. For three

His 14 years working in the Bank of the State

months she taught literacy, sanitation and first

of Chile were now useless for a career. A highly

aid, learning Spanish herself through total

creative and imaginative man, Pepe fell back

immersion. The experience of living in this

on a self-taught hobby of copper etching. In

simple, traditional lifestyle brought into

Chile he had established “Taler”, a studio

question everything she had learned at home.

making copper plates, wall hangings and trays

Every assumption was pulled from under her.

for sale. Now in Mexico, Pepe taught copper

A strong, clear vision of essential values still

etching at a community service institute, INPI.

shapes her decisions today.

He visited the silver centre of Taxco. Drawing

After returning to U of T and obtaining a

on the resources of his Theatre Arts degree

B.Ed. Maureen taught grades seven and eight

from University of Chile, and his natural

in Toronto. To counterbalance mental and

sympathy for labourers, Pepe produced a

intellectual preoccupations, she sought an

documentary film “Life of the Artisan”,

evening craft course at Central Tech. Her

depicting the silver labourers of Taxco.

interest was weaving, but because registration

In 1974, Pepe accepted political asylum

was full she accepted the option of metalwork.

offered by the Canadian Government to a

This decision changed the course of her life.

number of Chilean refugees. Life in the safe

Subsequently she took summer courses at

harbour of Canada proved very difficult. This

Sheridan College given by Silversmiths Paul

was a bitter and traumatic time for Pepe. A

and Michael Letki. She observed with

very verbal man accustomed to expressing his

fascination the focused lives of craftspeople

life through the Spanish language, he felt

immersed in their work. That autumn she

keenly the problems of communicating in

reduced her work to supply teaching, enabling

English and adapting to a different lifestyle. In

her to continue experiments in hand-made

his frustration he welcomed the opportunity to

Jewellery created by Pepe and Maureen is guaranteed life-long care by the designers.

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return to metal work, and creative

Toronto, among them a presentation of works

self-expression. With no resources he began to

by poet and playwright Jesus Lopez-Pacheco,

work scraps of copper in the Toronto studio

as well as a production in tribute to the poet

where he found many South American

Antonio Machado.

compatriots, and his future partner, Maureen Dwyer. It was 12 years before Pepe returned to

display space in the Village By the Grange,

visit Chile, a time of painful separation from

opposite the AGO. This became a retail outlet

his family, language and culture.

for their jewellery for four years. In 1981, they

With typically intense willpower and

store into one large, well-lit space at the Village

self-employed in his new country. Maureen

By The Grange. They hoped to de-mystify the

joined him in bringing their jewellery to small

artistic process by opening their workshop to

craft shows, encouraged by Pepe’s drive and

the public.

vision. There was excitement, danger and

In Toronto Pepe and Maureen developed

challenge in being self-employed, and the

a clientele for custom-made jewellery, which

craft world was vibrant in Canada in the ‘70s.

provided a firm base for their business when they relocated in Elora in 1988. Frustrated

basement workshop on Adelaide Street, where

with the pressures of the recession of the early

they refined their skills in hand construction

1980s in Toronto and the materialism and

techniques of silver and gold. They moved

competitive attitude they saw about them,

to 404 Queen St. W, near Spadina in 1978,

the artisans chose village life in Elora where

living above their shop, as did most people in

they made their home above the shop at 16

the neighbourhood. They enjoyed the rich

Mill Street West. Here they could live the

tapestry of Queen Street: the Jewish needle

integrated life they valued, contribute to the

and thread industry, Eastern European family

creative life of the community and enjoy many

businesses, art studios and bookshops. Life here

cosmopolitan friends.

in the ‘70s was cheap and fun and exciting.

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amalgamated this outlet with the Queen St,

determination Pepe decided to be

In 1975, Maureen and Pepe took a

Through the ancient arts of silver and gold work Maureen and Pepe join themselves to artisans of past ages.

Maureen and Pepe opened another small

Travel is a big part of the lives of Pepe and

Pepe’s theatre training and love of the

Maureen. They live simply in order to afford

Spanish language found a focus in Toronto.

travel through which they educate themselves

He directed one play a year for the Spanish-

and experience the cultural visions of the

Canadian Cultural Alliance. For two years

world. Craft has had cultural dimensions

Pepe developed a theatre group with friends

throughout historical time. They have visited

called “La Caratula”. Three productions were

and studied Mayan ruins and have made land

staged in the George Ignatieff Theatre,

trips to many ruins and remote villages in


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Mexico and Guatemala, as well as fascinating

development. Explorations of watercolour veil

visits to Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina.

painting and clay sculpture hold particular

Through the ancient arts of silver and gold

fascination for her creative impulses.

work Maureen and Pepe join themselves to

Maureen and Pepe also identified the need

artisans of past ages, crossing the time gap with

for change in the business. They renovated

eloquent designs and techniques, which echo

and refashioned the concept of the store from

the beauties of other civilizations and cultures.

“retail store” to “custom design studio”. This change reduced the pressure for inventory and

by Beverley Cairns, May 1991

allowed Pepe to apply his knowledge and expertise to more challenging jewellery in gold

UPDATE - 1997 Maureen & Pepe are treasured as artisans at

and precious gems. He directed his energies to the creation of unique, custom-made jewellery

the heart of Elora’s art community, with their

and continued to charm customers with his

welcoming shop on Mill Street West.

flair and passion for his craft. In 1997, Pepe was excited to offer his unique, wire techniques

UPDATE Since 1994, Pepe and Maureen have

along with other exciting custom designs not only in gold but also in platinum. Then, in

continued to thrive, evolve and explore new

2001, he leaped enthusiastically into the

horizons – together and separately. With

difficult technique of “Mokume Gane”, the

Maureen’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in

ancient technique of metal layering developed

1993, her vigorous role in the business halted,

by Japanese swordsmiths. With the creative

presenting both her and Pepe with demanding

use of this technique, he unveils beautiful

new challenges. Maureen turned to poetry and

patterns in the layered metals (with amazing

art and made life-style changes necessary for

resemblance to watercolour)! This mysterious

healing. With her intense, creative spirit intact,

technique continues to capture Pepe’s

she attended art courses in Guelph and

imagination and thrill his spirit, leaving

Toronto and on several occasions exhibited and

everyone in awe at his never-wavering capacity

sold her art in the shop on Mill St. W. In

for creativity!

2004, very strengthened, she dedicated herself

Maureen and Pepe are treasured as artisans at the heart of Elora’s art community.

In 2005 Pepe & Maureen Ltd. will

to the study of spiritual science and immersed

celebrate its “30th Anniversary in Business”…

herself in the “Art-Capacities For Life” course

the “business” of Art!

at “Arscura”, an art school in Toronto based on the anthroposophical, spiritual view of art as an important catalyst for healing and social

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ELSKE ALBARDA

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PlANlST, TEACHER

Even in the early morning the Albarda’s old stone house by the Grand River fills with music. This is Elske’s favourite time of day to practice for trios, duets, and accompaniments, or just to play for pleasure. Beside her RÖSLER grand piano is a small, graceful spinet built by her husband Jan. Arranged in brackets on a wall of her music room are the baroque instruments which Elske also plays: polished wood recorders and a viola da gamba. Shelves of books, sheet music and records range in rows to the high ceiling opposite a large window. Surely students who come for piano lessons to the Albarda’s home will never forget the experience of learning music in this room. Elske came to Canada from Holland in 1951, but her early life was spent for the most part in the Dutch East Indies. She was born in Bandung, situated on the slope of a volcano on the isle of Java. Her father was an educator, charged with setting up an education system for all of Indonesia. Her mother, born on the island of Bali, was a Governess in the Resident’s household before she married. The youngest of three children, Elske has happy memories of the

freedom of life in the tropics, close to nature. Her parents, both Theosophists and Vegetarians tried to give Elske and her brothers a special sense of values. She attributes to their influence much of the awareness and direction of her life. At 15 years old, Elske finally settled in Holland She had already attended ten different schools there or in Indonesia. By the end of High School in the Dutch system she spoke four languages. To these she added written and spoken Javanese when she studied DutchIndonesian Law at University, intending to return to Indonesia and make her life in the Far East. But marriage, a daughter, Karen, and the advent of World War II changed her direction. Elske had studied piano from the age of nine. Her home had been filled with the music of her brothers’ violin duets, and piano accompaniments by an aunt. She had also performed in Modern Dance for several summers while at University. During the long days of the German occupation of Holland, Elske found a focus of concentration in continuing her music studies. She attended the onservatory in Rotterdam, until the family was forced to go


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underground after Jan narrowly escaped execution by the Nazis. Elske remembers the last days before the Canadian liberation of Holland, when the family occupied a small corner of the attic in a country chateau crowded with people. She was playing the piano in a concert designed to keep everyone busy in stressing times, when she glanced out the window and saw the first allied bombs falling: after years of German occupation, the liberation of Holland had begun. Following the war, their son Hans was born and Elske and Jan decided to emigrate to Canada. Through the war years and the liberation Dutch people developed a special feeling for Canada, and Jan had hoped since he was a boy to come to the “new world’’. The Albarda family went first to Peterborough, then Thistletown. With young children, Elske helped in the co-op nursery school. Subsequently she attended the Institute of Child Studies and became supervisor of this school. She retains a strikingly direct contact with children when teaching them music today. In Thistletown Elske was asked to be the organist in a small church. Together with the choir she performed many rewarding cantatas and oratorios. Urged on by this and the desire to teach more advanced grades of piano, Elske became a student again, finishing a degree in Music at the Conservatory in Toronto. Shortly after she was asked to teach for a new branch of the Conservatory in North West Toronto. At this time Elske also enjoyed participation in the

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visual arts through painting classes with the Franklin Carmichael art group. In 1975 Elske and Jan Albarda moved to Elora, seeking a more rural lifestyle. They bought a classic stone home, which had once belonged to the Dalby Brewery and Tannery. Here Jan built harpsichords, while Elske continued to teach a wide range of piano students. Since arriving in Elora, Elske has been very active in the community, serving for a time on the Boards of the Arts Council, Gallery Music Group and the Elora Environmental Action Group (being a co-founder of the latter two). Lithe and energetic, she has been active in many sports, encouraged by her mother who was a strong proponent of women’s rights and equality. She played basketball and field hockey, skied at a time when people climbed a mountain before enjoying the exhilarating descent, swam, played tennis, and in recent years took up squash. In her personal style and elegance Elske is contemporary. Sometimes she dreams of living in a small solar house, and a time with more leisure, when she can set to music the distilled eloquence of many short poems. The fine quality of her life is based on simplicity and essentials. The birds at the feeder by the window, the fire in the hearth, a flower in bloom, the good design of a cup or bowl, these are meaningful accents that add colour. But music is a special enrichment of every passing day.

UPDATE - 1997 After Jan passed away in September 1993, Elske sold their lovely old house by the river and moved with her grand piano into first an apartment, then to a small, central house in Elora. A large part of her music collection went to Wilfred Laurier University where it is being put to good use. IN MEMORIAM - December 2003 Elske Albarda’s remarkable life ended in December 2003. It was always her wish that her RÖSLER Grand Piano, on which so many local students had learned to play the instrument, be donated to the new Elora Centre For The Arts. Elske’s family generously agreed to donate her piano. In December 2004, Elske’s piano returned to Elora, to be part of community life at the Centre and was dedicated April 30, 2005. Many friends, admirers and former pupils have contributed to the partial rebuilding of the piano. It will be a wonderful resource for concerts, receptions, master classes, and teaching. The Centre is very grateful to all who have made this acquisition possible.

...music is a special enrichment of every passing day.

by Beverley Cairns, May 1991

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GEOFFREY STEVENS

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The challenge of an exhibition of his clay works as a complement to the colourful quilts of Ralph Beney encouraged Geoff Stevens to follow new directions this past year. Vessels and plates have been enriched with landscape and story themes. A rising spirituality sometimes finds expression in non-functional forms. “I’m moving in a sculptural direction,” Geoff says. “The vessel will always be an enormously potent, fertile and voluptuous form for me. I’ll never leave it entirely, but I’ve discovered in myself an endless font of images, the creative blood flowing. It’s challenging, mysterious, even scary and I have a desire to realise it.” In the early 1970’s, the introduction through a friend to clay and its potential spun Geoff ’s life around. He was in his final year of Psychology and Philosophy at York University, about to do his bachelor’s thesis on Phenomenology. Captivated by clay, which he found “engrossing, hypnotizing”, he failed to attempt any thesis, until a wise professor understood the impasse. Geoff changed the

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POTTER

subject to The Psychotherapeutic Uses of Clay, wrote the paper in two weeks of outpouring synthesis and earned top marks. With the support of his family, he began to take clay seriously. Georgian College in Barrie had just opened and for two years Geoff took courses there under British potter Robin Hopper. The early 1970s were Renaissance years for crafts in Canada and nourishing times for a young potter. Geoff built a high temperature kiln at his parents’ farm in Georgetown and accepted the offer of a five-year lease on a combination studio, showroom and home beside the Inn at Terracotta. During these years, he explored the aesthetics of high temperature firing, with a strong emphasis on form. His early passion was for 12th century Sung porcelain, with its deep, transparent glazes of ox blood and celadon melded to the clay surface through intense heat. It was ethereal and cosmic, and the forms were strong and masculine. When his lease was up in Terracotta, Geoff


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moved briefly to Guelph and married his wife Deanna. They searched for a small village where Geoff could again experience the familiarity, the sense of safety he had enjoyed as he grew up in Hog’s Hollow, near Toronto. They chose a post-and-beam home and studio on Church Street, Elora. At this crucial time, Geoff ’s work was devastated by setbacks. His parents moved and his old kiln was unavailable to him. Used burners bought for an Elora kiln failed to produce adequate heat, and all his money was spent. He was forced to a resourceful solution. At the time, he was researching clay goblets of the Middle Ages to fill a commission from the Centre for Medieval Studies, Toronto. Their low firing techniques led him to Majolica, in which glaze is baked onto the clay like icing, and emphasis is put on colour, brushwork and spontaneous decoration. In resolving a need, Geoff explored the playfulness and freedom of Majolica, developing the style we see today. Geoff Stevens was born in Singapore, adopted by his Australian mother and British father. With the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in World War II, his mother was evacuated to England on the last boat, and his father served in the navy. The war rings down through the years in Geoff ’s family. His realization that he is of the first generation in many centuries not to be called to war is strikingly reflected in some of his sculptures. His parents emigrated to Canada, and since early days here have owned a cottage on Georgian Bay. “This is my place in the world, my paradise, my sweet-water ocean,” Geoff

When myth and tradition are being smashed around us, it’s humour that saves us.

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Once, in making a Celtic pot, it was a deep experience...to unravel all those gorgeous, sensuous loops and swirls.

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says. “I feel at ease, nothing is dangerous there.” Georgian Bay is a major new theme in Geoff ’s pottery, evoking pieces like “The Spirit Keeper”, a vessel fired with gold and topped with a wind-blown pine tree. Geoff is a Past President of the Elora Arts Council and has served on the board of the Elora Festival. Through the Festival he came to music concerts in St. John’s Anglican Church. To this association he ascribes an upwelling of spiritual consciousness. In his series “The Beginning of the World”, he explores what he considers to be Elora’s gift to him through music and religion. Though intrigued by the Far East in his University years through his birth in Singapore and his interest in Chinese and Japanese culture, he now seeks to affirm the West. “Once, in making a Celtic pot, it was a deep experience for me to unravel all those gorgeous, sensuous loops and swirls. I acknowledged that to be my culture, my background and heritage. I’m a Western man, and I want to develop our traditions. I’m also an existential man. This is life and there’s no dress rehearsal. When myth and tradition are being smashed around us, it’s humour that saves us.” In future Geoff wants to work towards life-sized figurative pieces in clay. He’d like to model his two lovely daughters while they’re young. “I’m grateful for the opportunity of this present exhibition,” Geoff says. “I think now I’ve finished my apprenticeship.” by Beverley Cairns, September 1991

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UPDATE - 1997 Over the last years Geoff Stevens has pursued a new theme in his work, that of the Garden of Eden, weaving autobiographical material into that of the great myth. After all the distractions of running the production studio, teaching, taking courses at University of Waterloo and single parenting, the Garden of Eden theme draws him still. A visit to North Queensland, Australia, only inspired him further. Paradise calls. UPDATE - THE ELORA POTTERY, TWENTY YEARS IN 2004 “I didn’t know it in 1984, but creating The Elora Pottery was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The challenges that confronted me there changed my life, infinitely for the better. “Looking back over the last 20 years, I find myself amazed at all of the changes – creative, practical, emotional and spiritual, which occurred in that time. Right from the start, my brand new gas kiln failed me, leaving me with a wife and child to support and no means by which to do so. All that was available to this production studio was an old electric kiln incapable of the high temperatures and reduction atmosphere that my work at that time depended upon. Without this crisis, I would never have developed the “Majolica” technique that became a staple in the gallery and represented a creative breakthrough that bloomed into a large variety of colourful themes and


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expressive techniques. And so it went. Inspired by the village’s nurturing community of creative spirits, pushed by a growing body of faithful patrons and endlessly challenged by the medium itself, I was led to produce everything from baptismal fonts to burial urns and all things in between. Tableware, garden sculpture, bathroom basins, tiles, raku and pit-fired figures, totems, platters and planters, the muse sometimes seemed relentless. Some of my happiest memories are of teaching friends and neighbours the mysteries and magic that I found in the clay and the fire. Above all, the greatest creations and the best gifts bequeathed by these last 20 years in Elora are my three gorgeous daughters. “But now it is all over. In the spring of 2004 I sold the pottery, passing the reins of the studio into the creative hands of a former student, Stacie Barron. For reasons of health, although I suspect it is that restless muse at work again, I must make a bigger change and move on in life. I’ve elected to become a teacher of English as a Second Language and so step away from my beloved Elora and try myself in the wider world. With all that I have learnt and experienced here, I feel that I am well prepared for Life’s next creative challenge.” Geoffrey Stevens

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WAYNE BRIDGE

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GUlTARlST, TEACHER, COMPOSER

Wayne Bridge has left music three times, and three times he’s been lured back to the life and training of a professional musician by the fascination of the guitar. His recent move to a house and studio on Mill Street East, Elora, backing on the Grand River, is nurturing his creative abilities. The century house appeals to Wayne’s strong sense of history, and there’s something about the natural aesthetics of Elora that gives him an emotional high: the limestone rock structures of the river gorge and the cedar trees. “Sometimes I see a heron or an osprey by the garden. I feel good about myself and my music. I’m composing after a hiatus of five years.” Wayne performs on classical guitar for the Gallery Music Group, or for an occasion, but the main focus of his music is teaching and composing. He also repairs fretted instruments and sells them. With his own varied music background, he is equally comfortable teaching Classical, Blues, Rock and Roll or Jazz guitar. Wayne is strong on technique,

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especially left-hand technique because it opens the way to the performance of any type of music. Wayne says he has made “every mistake known to man” in learning the guitar himself. Initially he was self-taught. “At Guelph’s John F. Ross high school I became a social misfit, closing myself up, replaying and imitating recordings with tenacious determination. At 16 my sole goal in life was to be the next Beatle!” While still in school he played in a Lounge Band, and in the late 1970’s formed his own Blues band, impassioned by Black American music. Wayne claims to have come by his tenacity and musicality through his mixed German and British ancestry. His family goes far back in Canadian history. His mother’s family were pioneer Mennonites originating in Alsace Lorraine and emigrating to Pennsylvania. During the American Revolution they moved north and Sam Cress became the first settler in the St. Jacobs area. His maternal grandfather and grandmother were both


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stringed instrument musicians. His father’s family came to Canada from England as Pioneers to the Queen’s Bush. The pioneer spirit is strong in Wayne’s approach to life, shaped by German pragmatism and the English bulldog tenacity. In time Wayne’s development on the guitar ran into the limitations of his selftaught technique. Discouraged, but persistent, he took classical guitar lessons to break bad habits and turned to Personnel Administration with a multinational company – the real world! Shortly, feeling the need for more education, he enrolled at the University of Guelph in Sociology. He had been out of school for 10 years. Offered two elective courses, he was lured back to music. Studies in music history and composition drew him back to his old love like a centrifuge. “I guess I was just ready for the richness I found around me. I was like a sponge; I absorbed everything”. Here Wayne met Dr. Charles Wilson, a composer who became a major influence in his life. Dr. Wilson said, however, that his enthusiastic pupil was “a tough nut to crack” because he was locked into the 5-1 cadences of pop music. Fortunately, studies in composition and music history effected the transformation and Wayne graduated with a B.S. in music. Wayne was now married to Bonnie, a child-life worker at present in a Mississauga hospital. He set his sights on becoming a professor of music and attended York University, Toronto, focusing on

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Wayne is strong on technique, especially left-hand technique because it opens the way to the performance of any type of music.

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His background in ethno-musicology and music history enriches his composition.

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ethno-musicology, Blues and Jazz. But the big-city style of York was confusing and oppressive, and to escape back to a more pastoral life Wayne and Bonnie came to live in Inverhaugh during the final year of the Master’s program. Wayne began to teach guitar, and his thesis was left uncompleted. Eventually he took a studio in Fergus, teaching for two years behind Birdland Music before relocating in Elora. Wayne often takes long walks in company with his daughter, Jessica, now three. He tries to capture with his camera the nature around him. This summer he enrolled in a professional photography course. “I would really like best of all to be the Robert Bateman of colour photography”, he says with enthusiasm. Camping on weekends with the family is another way of sharing nature. Recently, reading the poetry of Pauline Johnson by the campfire, Wayne was inspired to begin the composition of a series of guitar interpretations reflecting the moods of numbers of Johnson’s poems. His background in ethnomusicology and music history enriches his composition. Wayne hopes to perform his new pieces as preludes to readings of each poem that inspired them. Wayne particularly loves live music, and this year is on the board of the Gallery Music Group. His love of history involves him in the

Wellington County and Guelph Historical Societies. He feels his life to be enriched by his music students; four of them are at present pursuing post-secondary musical training. Composition, however, brings together all of Wayne’s ardent interests in history, nature and ethnology and wraps them in music. Of this difficult taskmistress Wayne says, “Music is the most unique of the Arts, the most ineffable, one might say almost ethereal, crossing time and space with immediacy, speaking directly to the listener.” by Beverley Cairns, November 1991


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UPDATE - 1997 The ‘Pauline Johnson Suite’ has had several performances. Wayne Bridge now lives in Fergus, with a teaching studio at Groves Mill. He shares his love of nature through a weekly newspaper column and calendar Nature Watch, and through colour photography. UPDATE The ‘Pauline Johnson Suite’ was recorded in 1994. In the year 2000 “A Year On The Grand” was recorded and continues to sell. The CD is a collection of Wayne’s solo guitar compositions musically depicting the Grand River from its source to Port Maitland. It was part of a tripartite project – fine art, music and video – the brainchild of Elora artist Linda Risacher Copp and her husband, Terry Copp. “A Year on The Grand” toured the Grand River watershed throughout the year winning much critical acclaim. In 2004, Linda, Terry and Wayne again cooperated on an art and music project. Wayne teaches from his home in Fergus where he lives with his wife, the former Elizabeth Louise Breithapt of Kitchener. They both sing in the St. Andrew’s church Sanctuary Choir in Kitchener.

Music is the most unique of the Arts, the most ineffable, one might say almost ethereal, crossing time and space with immediacy, speaking directly to the listener.

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1992

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JOHN CHALMERS

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ClNEMA OWNER, PHOTOGRAPHER

With the founding of the Elora Arts Council in 1985, John Chalmers became the first editor of the EAC publication Communiqué. He is also owner and manager of the Gorge Repertory Cinema on Mill Street West, Elora. With this first issue of The Gorge, many interests have come together. For the most part, however, John’s contribution to art has been through photography. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, his family moved to Oakville in 1967, during his high school years. A child of the ‘60s, he was inspired by the film “Blow Up”, which featured a young photographer involved in the vacuous world of high fashion but who interprets the plight of miners through his photography with empathy and realism. Leaving high school, John studied photography at Sheridan College. In 1972, not yet finished at Sheridan, John was approached by a group of Toronto photographers to participate in a show at one of Toronto’s first photography galleries, the Baldwin Street Gallery. His contribution consisted largely of portraits taken on board the

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ferries plying between Toronto and the islands. The success of this show led to his involvement in the collective gallery Mind and Sight with 11 other photographers. Represented were a cross section of formative, established people like Michel Lambeth and young talent beginning to explore potentials. The gallery derived its name from a quotation from Alfred Steiglitz: “Of what use are lens and light To those who lack in mind and sight.” Through association with role models like Lambeth, whose work was more mature and sophisticated, John developed high standards and began to be aware that a living could be made through personal photographs. Formal elements were not primary in his own work; the use of unmanipulated landscape and portraits to present social issues interested him more than light and shade. The confrontation between the natural and contrived landscape, the interaction of people on the street, these were subjects for which his skills provided both incisive and ironic comment.


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John points to the social legacy of Canadian artists like photographer Lambeth and the National Film Board’s John Grierson. Years later their influence is still working its way down through younger generations in this country. In 1974, desiring to make a different statement than his Toronto contemporaries and influenced by the rural movement of the times, John came to the Elora-Fergus area. The Gorge Cinema had just opened and held an interest and attraction for him even then. During the next five years he won two Canada Council major awards and had individual photography shows in Rochester, New York, at the University of Guelph, and in Bowmanville as well as taking part in two group shows at the Art Gallery of Ontario in ‘75 and ‘77. Selling and exhibiting, with some help from grants, he made a living on his own terms. “What I like about still photography is that one is the sole author of a work and there is no need to compromise.” After five years of rural life, John felt the need to be part of a community of artists once again and went to Concordia University in Montreal. There he finished his Master of Fine Arts degree and taught for a year. Subsequently he taught at the University of Ottawa as well. In 1981 he returned to Elora. Inspired and rejuvenated by the contacts he had produced in Montreal, John Chalmers made his best photographs in the Elora area between ‘81 and ‘86. During this time he had seven individual exhibitions and

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his photographs were widely published and collected. Perhaps the most striking were a series of unposed but formal portraits taken at the Elora Quarry and landscapes from the surrounding lakes. Hopefully one day we will see them exhibited in our community, bringing to the familiar a more universal dimension through John’s insight and skill. Decisions, John believes, are the result of circumstances and conditions. About 1985, still active in photography, John started to work as projectionist at the Gorge Cinema now and then. As his photography output declined, his work at the cinema increased. Three years ago, when the Gorge suffered fire damage, John had it redecorated in the Art Deco style of the ‘30s and brought in a new projector and sound system. First manager of the Gorge Cinema, he is now the sole owner. John has been part of the founding group for the National Organization of the Canadian Independent Repertory Cinemas Association (CIRCA). Nine of the Ontario members of this organization are now involved in a pilot project to promote Canadian films, which John believes are on the rise often better received outside the country than at home. John has attuned himself now to the practicality of running one of the oldest repertory cinemas in Canada, and he has again found autonomy. Taking another new direction, John Chalmers looks forward to the creation of this area’s first arts publication, “The Gorge.” by Beverley Cairns, January 1992

UPDATE - 1997 The Gorge Cinema continues to be a valued source of culture, entertainment and inspiration, under the direction of John Chalmers. Its stone walls and intimate setting are just right for our community. A new sound system now augments the assets of the cinema. In February 1997 John collaborated with EAC to bring us a Gorge Cinema Winter Film Festival. It was a great success and we hope it might become an annual event. UPDATE In 2004 John purchased the midnineteenth-century building in which the cinema is located, guaranteeing The Gorge Cinema an excellent future.

What I like about still photography is that one is the sole author of a work and there is no need to compromise.

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1992

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JOEL MASEWICH

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ARTlST

A true love of colour and the exciting, dynamic interaction of colour with shapes – these are the wellsprings of creation for Joel Masewich. Exploration of this interplay in large format abstract canvasses has brought him artistic success. Through a complex surface of dragged, opaque pigments, bold and distinct areas are scraped away to reveal lower layers with new relationships of colour, form and depth. Joel’s studio in a century stone building in Salem is stacked with large pots of acrylic, huge brushes standing in pots alongside a variety of trowels. For Joel, “A trip to the hardware store is a real source of inspiration.” The walls of his studio are prepared to receive mural-size canvases which Joel mounts on commercially made stretchers. With these tools he tries to capture a spontaneous moment, to use his years of training and experience to access ideas with freshness and directness. The final gesture is very immediate. Joel began as a high-realist wildlife artist, when he entered Central Technical School in Toronto on the advice of a guidance counsellor. “Suddenly,” he says, “all my horizons expanded.”

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Students were drawn from every borough of the city, and Joel met types of people he had not known at school in Etobicoke. They shared his goals. He studied under outstanding teachers like Alex Turner who taught the science of colour. Joel gives credit to Central Tech. for the freedom allowed students to explore their own directions, and he recognizes the invaluable support of his parents for his chosen profession of visual artist. A trip to New York with the school was a major turning point. As Joel saw the work of contemporary American artists like Robert Motherwell and Rothko, abstract art became living and viable, and large format canvases opened new directions to him. In 1984 he began to explore. “I had so much energy, just to paint!” For four years Joel worked as assistant to Ed Bertram in King City, learning the disciplines of printmaking. Today he continues to enjoy the freshness and immediacy of monoprints, which he creates with Elora artist Stuart Oxley. He also attended the Ontario College of Art for two years and the University of Victoria Outreach


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Campus in Nelson, B.C. Approximately 60 percent of his works are sold to individual homes. They brighten the large wallspaces of custom-built modern houses or the family room additions of renovated older homes. Initially tentative about large abstracts, people who live with them over a time come to appreciate their depth. Forty percent of his works are sold to business. Joel is represented in Toronto by Gallerie Beaux Arts and Affairs of the Art and in Montreal by the Shayne Gallery. He also has a number of consultants who actively market his canvases. A recent buyer was the Supreme Court of Ontario. Joel is a very active and participating father of two small children, Tyler and Avery. He came to live in Elora after marriage to Jill McGeorge. When they were courting, Jill attended the University of Guelph, and they often drove here: “Elora was magical to us.” Now Joel’s parents also live here for the summer months. Recently Joel has been trying to resolve new directions, washing his mind clear with explorations of planes and elementary shapes. He goes back to a sketch book with Prism colour pencils and graphite. He draws. There is no path, no bridge, except reliance on his own artistic instincts, honed by experience. by Beverley Cairns, March 1992 UPDATE - 1997 Since 1992, Joel has built a new studio at home. Eaton’s has commissioned numbers of

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oversized paper pieces and paintings from Joel for stores in several provinces. Paintings, monoprints and intaglio etchings commissioned from Joel now decorate the walls of the Supreme Court, and numerous corporations and banks internationally. In 1995 Joel’s abstract paintings graced the Elora Festival poster. UPDATE In 2000, Joel had an exhibition at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. “Passage to Salem” provided an overview of the paintings that developed between 1997 and 2000. This period was a time of moving from Elora to Salem. A limestone coach house was converted to studio and home. Joel and Jill oversaw this project and did the vast renovation together. The paintings in the show were collage based, assembling the elements into a new vision. A crossing into abstraction. The invitation to “Passage To Salem” showed the Irvine Bridge, which today is a symbol of Joel’s work. Stainless steel collage was the focus of the large scale paintings. Lazer cut shapes are placed over top of a large abstract canvas. In 2004, as chair of the Elora-Fergus Studio Tour, Joel worked with several artists to develop a full colour guide. Complete with local advertising, the guide book showcases 37 local artists. The Studio Tour has become a main fall event for showcasing his own latest paintings. The main galleries where Joel’s paintings can be seen are: Davis Canadian Art in Stratford and Circle Arts in Tobermory. Both these galleries provide a professional

venue for his new work. Summer 2004 Joel embarked on a Nahanni river trip. The Northwest Territories would provide a new expanse of inspiration. In March 2005, Joel’s painting won “Best in Show” award at the Naples National Art Festival, Florida.

There is no path, no bridge, except reliance on his own artistic instincts, honed by experience.

Colour image pg 179

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AREND NIEUWLAND

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In his home studio overlooking the Grand River between Elora and Fergus, Arend Nieuwland works to carve a loon from a rock of Brazilian steatite. Within the irregular shape he has seen the bird, its head turned downward over the left wing. In the rock the form of the loon has been roughed out with a saw, then refined with rasps and chisels. When polished to a fine finish with sandpaper of varied grades it will be a smooth, compact shape in grey-green variegated stone, a sculpture of beauty in form, texture, colour and interpretation. Arend uses art media with true versatility; large acrylic canvases, finely detailed pencil portraits, sculptures in clay, limestone, soapstone and bronze all reflect a man whose secure technique frees him to communicate complex insights with directness. He sees the critical difference in art to be in objectives. Many of his works speak of time, remembrance and evolution. They sell extensively, but little importance is given to marketing or competition. When his works

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SCULPTOR, PAlNTER, TEACHER

leave the artist’s inner world of creation, they leave his focus. In inner dialogue he asks himself, “is personal fame really important?” Arend was born in South Holland, land of islands and dykes. His family were housepainters who spent their leisure time painting Dutch landscapes. In 1959 Arend came with his parents to Canada. Entering high school in St. Thomas, he explored Commercial Art through a strong program offered in the curriculum. After working a year in a factory to fund further education, he extended his art studies by two extra years at H.B. Beale school in London. He attended the Ontario College of Art for four years, majoring in sculpture and winning the Emmanuel Hahn and Goldman scholarships. Two further years of fine art at the University of Guelph led to a Bachelor of Arts degree. While considering teacher’s college after graduation in 1975, Arend took a part-time job as art instructor at the Guelph Correctional Centre (GCC). He has continued to work there for 16 years. When


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he arrived, inmates of GCC worked at limited crafts in their cells. He began drawing instruction in a small room, which became increasingly crowded as the creative arts program grew in popularity. The unexpectedly strong response of prisoners and the positive effects of Art Therapy led Arend to promote the idea of a true studio space within the Centre. In the early ‘70s, the present enhanced facility was constructed as part of a new recreation area, and Arend became a full time instructor. The studio is also a creative centre for his own work. Teaching at the largest middle security Correctional Institute in Ontario, Arend has been trained in security procedures, but he reflects that there is little conflict in the studio, because the inmates participate by choice, on their own time. There are no guards in the studio. The freedom inmates experience here contrasts with the restraints of prison discipline and revives desirable orientations towards life. Achievements in the studio give offenders a chance to establish themselves on a new foundation. Feelings of satisfaction, personal uniqueness and pride begin to replace perceptions of worthlessness as the creators become aware, “This is mine! I am producing something meaningful from my own inner self.” In approaching art, Arend teaches his pupils to look for the simple essence of a complex entity in order to solve problems. This skill can be transferred to problems in relation to society as well. Arend says: “When I resolve problems I face in my own art at the

The unexpectedly strong response of prisoners and the positive effects of Art Therapy led Arend to promote the idea of a true studio space within the Centre.

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When I resolve problems I face in my own art at the studio, the students learn as I learn. They feel my creativeness and see it as a path to their own freedom.

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studio, the students learn as I learn. They feel my creativeness and see it as a path to their own freedom.” He projects to the prisoners a strong belief that bad can be a positive force when analysed in constructive ways. In all bad there’s good, it is the underlying need that must be understood. His many years of work with offenders have affirmed Arend’s conviction that people who fall afoul of society should not be isolated in prisons, but should be brought closer to communities to discover more productive and satisfying ways of life. Arend is a Director on the Board of the Prison Arts Foundation, which displays artwork of prisoners throughout the country. He is active in promoting and raising funds for the Foundation’s annual Juried Art Show in Brantford. The show not only provides incentives for the inmates, but also contacts with the public that diminish the prisoners’ fears of dealing with the outside world. When possible Arend takes one or two inmates at a time to visit galleries and exhibitions. Arend parallels the effectiveness of art in fostering self-worth and identity in prison inmates with similar needs he sees in our own communities. He observes that the elements of building a foundation are the same for a village as for an individual. Public art in parks, streets and buildings should affirm the identity of the community as a true cultural stronghold and cannot be puppetry. He believes tax structures should provide funds

for the artistic enrichment of a community and the preservation of cultural heritage. The Nieuwland family has lived above the Grand River near Fergus for 15 years. In the garden where Arend planted many trees, deer can frequently be seen. An Osprey visits the river below the steep rock face, and a Great Horned Owl lives by a familiar cove. Inside the large, white house are many of Arend’s pencil portraits, sculptures and paintings. A striking, large acrylic canvas hangs on the wall by the upper staircase in which are depicted his sons, Justin, Roben and Jordan in bright sun hats, remembering themselves rushing in from the waves of a lake in summer. Gulls in the sky, a dragon, a unicorn barely seen in the clouds, convey the fantasy element of childhood. When Arend himself was a child in Holland, he and his wife Janny, were neighbours and playmates. They met again when Arend returned to visit Dutch relatives at 17. They wrote letters. In a few years Janny came to Canada and they married. The loon sculpture Arend will soon finish is one of a series focusing on Canadian wildlife. Interpretations of buffalo, great horned sheep, stags, bear, and dolphin have already been completed. This sculpture series will be part of a group show at the Paul Burdette Gallery in Orton, May 29, as well as a show at Wellington Place in September with David Bloem. His work is represented in Waterloo by Aaron’s Gallery. For Arend Nieuwland art is an international


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language, like laughing and loving. Through it we acknowledge and communicate who we really are. by Beverley Cairns, May 1992 UPDATE - 1997 Arend is still teaching art at Guelph Correctional institute, and busy creating modern clay and soapstone sculptures in his Fergus studio. Recently Arend has ventured into his own custom art business, Newland Fine Arts, which specializes in paintings and drawings from customers’ favourite photographs, objects, and/or interests. Arend enjoys visitors to his studio, where he has a fine collection of works on display. He also shows his pieces professionally at various galleries. UPDATE In 2004, Arend Nieuwland retired after 26 years of teaching art at the Guelph Correctional Institute. He is pursuing painting and sculpture, and planning an expanded studio at his home.

For Arend Nieuwland art is an international language, like laughing and loving.

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WENDY HUMPHREYS COLORATURA SOPRANO AND CELTlC HARPlST

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Opera Canada has said that the tones of her voice are “agile, crystalline, shimmering or melting, as required, creating vocal magic”. Coloratura Soprano Wendy Humphreys moved to Elora when her husband Baritone Alec Tebbut came here to sing with the Festival Choir two years ago, and they fell in love with the village. Since March 1991, Wendy's career as a singer has found new wings, but she continues to teach and perform on her much loved instrument, the Celtic harp. “Even today when I sing,” she says, “my fingers want to touch the strings.” Music has always been the focus of Wendy’s life. Since she was very young she studied singing and was a natural talent on the harp. Born in Edmonton, of a Welsh family for whom music was a priority, she moved to Vancouver at the age of three. During high school years, she played in the Junior and Senior bands and sang in school choirs. “Music was everything in my teen years.” Her direction led to the Royal Manchester College of Music in England, where she studied harp, voice and piano for four years. She earned tuition money by working at a Jacobean Banquet, held in a gracious period mansion. Wendy sang madrigals and played the harp as a

prelude to the feast. Returning to Vancouver, in 1974 she auditioned with the Vancouver Symphony and became the second harpist during four years, playing the large pedal harp, an important instrument in many French, Spanish and contemporary works. Continuing vocal lessons established that her voice was not in the Contralto but in the Coloratura Soprano range. One day she dubbed for an Opera Workshop at UBC. Hearing the participants sing gave her confidence to audition herself the following season, and she was accepted. Her career turned towardsher vocal gifts. She trained with Steven Hendricson, whom she credits with giving her technique, and won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions for Western Canada in 1980. However, at this time her voice was not big enough for the large opera houses of Canada, and her diminutive physical stature led to more intimate recital settings, often accompanying herself on the Celtic harp. When virtuoso trumpeter Stewart Laughton looked for a vocalist in 1988, his sister suggested Wendy Humphreys. Laughton was exploring solo trumpet repertoire and the rich Baroque masterpieces written for Trumpet and Voice. Through the exultantly decorated passages of


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Bach and Scarlatti, Laughton and Humphreys became a remarkable partnership. Wendy identifies March 1991 as a turning point in her life when she and Laughton received a major Canada Council Grant to study Baroque music in England. She studied with Jessica Cash, the teacher of Emma Kirkby. Through superb instruction her voice was transformed in volume, richness, fullness of tone and colour. When she returned to Canada with her amazing new voice, she secured the demanding role of “Alice” in Del Tredici's chromatic work for soprano, orchestra and dancer, the role which Karen Kain would dance for the National Ballet in the huge hall of Toronto’s O'Keefe Centre. Wendy gave three performances with artistry and newly found confidence. As a team, Humphreys and Laughton are now much in demand. Works have been written for them and they have commissioned music by Canadian composers. Wendy still loves to sing Hebridean folk songs and traditional Celtic music with the harp. She avows, “The harp is quite an addiction!” Wendy credits her expanding abilities to the One Brain Method of Kinestherapy. She is presently training as a facilitator in this method of centring, relaxation, harmony and well being. She hopes to bring its enrichment to a wide artistic community in Canada. by Beverley Cairns, July 1992 UPDATE - 1997 Wendy Humphreys is celebrated above all for her vocal gifts. The unusual flexibility and communicative power of her voice serve her equally well in baroque, classical and

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contemporary music. Wendy’s recording of R. Murray Schafer's “Theseus”, with Judy Loman and the Orford Quartet, was nominated for a 1993 Juno Award. Wendy performs with orchestras from coast to coast, and in solo recitals often accompanies herself on the Celtic harp. UPDATE Wendy Humphreys Tebbutt, now a two time Juno Award winner, lives at Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia and can be heard on an eclectic range of recordings such as “Opening Day” and “Baroque Banquet”, continuing her long association with trumpeter Stuart Laughton in the well known duo of Laughton and Humphreys. R. Murray Schafer and his music have figured strongly in Wendy’s career. For 10 years, Wendy sang the role of “Princess of the Stars” in the Epilogue to PATRIA: “And Wolf Shall Inherit The Moon”, as well as the title role in the Prologue to the theatre cycle, ‘Princess of the Stars’. Wendy is featured on the “PATRIA” CD, and the recently released CD of Schafer’s “Wolf Music”. In 2001, Wendy returned to Ontario for the Guelph Chamber Choir’s production of “Elijah”. Her performance of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Requiem”, with the Edmonton Symphony, garnered this review, “Soprano Wendy Humphreys sang with a crystalline voice and sounded like the work had been tailor-made for her voice…a wonderful blend of Baroque coolness and Romantic passion.” Wendy's singing students have won national and international competitions, performing in opera, chamber music, oratorio and musical theatre.

Harp is still a vital part of Wendy’s musical life. She established the harp department at Alberta College. Currently, she teaches Celtic Harp and Performance Kinesiology Techniques at the Pacific Institute of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts each summer on Vancouver Island. On the Sunshine Coast, Wendy’s harp ensemble of teacher and students includes “Rainsong” by Robert Evans, the Elora composer, in its repertoire. Her original vision of becoming a specialized kinesiology practitioner and instructor has become a reality. Wendy has created two stress release and performance enhancement programmes called “Performing on the Right Side of the Brain” and “Professional Performance Strategies”, taught at performing arts institutions throughout Canada. In 2005, she created a workshop entitled, “Switched-On Singing: The Power of Voice”, and has been invited to present it in several countries. Wendy feels she “lives in Paradise” and gets to use her musical talents and kinesiology skills both locally and globally. Her new website www.peakseminars.ca will include information on courses, seminars, and tools for peak performance in the performing and healing arts and business sectors. Wendy and Alec wish all their friends in Elora, Fergus and beyond a healthy and prosperous year, and look forward to visits in Ontario and on the West Coast.

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ALAN ARGUE

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ACTOR, COMPOSER, THEATRE DlRECTOR

From youth to his present undertaking managing the Theatre on the Grand, Fergus, Alan Argue has lived his life in performance and art. Twice he left the challenges and uncertainties of the entertainment world, gravitating back in time to the crafts and networks he knows well. “It’s a very small world in entertainment in Canada.” Growing up in Ottawa, his sharp interest in many fields of the art was encouraged by his parents. Lessons with excellent teachers in drawing, piano, and acting honed his talents. School years spent at St. Andrew’s College augmented a respect for excellence. Gradually drama pulled ahead of music and painting as a priority. He phoned Ottawa Little Theatre, pretended he was his mother, and asked if the “son” could join! His ambition was to act at the Passadena Playhouse. After high school and a whirl at a factory job, he settled in Kingston, which he still considers the best arts community in Canada. For 10 years he worked in broadcasting, FM radio, and television, ultimately becoming a

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programme director in radio and a producer in T.V. During this time he also wrote music and lyrics for reviews and children’s plays which “mom and dad enjoyed as much as the kids,” and he taught drama. Slowly, however, the pendulum began to swing back toward acting. He joined Actor’s Equity and got into summer stock with the Kawartha Festival. “Out of the fat into the fire!” Now absorbed in a performing career, Alan hired a good agent, and as he made his way in theatre, TV acting and films, spent increasing time in Toronto. Since childhood he had never perceived any barrier of “Fame”. Alan had known many famous people through his father, who was Director of the Canadian National Exhibition, where people like Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong came to perform. He had seen that off stage they were ordinary, accessible people. He acted in the film “Equus” with Richard Burton. “Those years were a lot of fun, with a lot of neat memories,” he reminisces. “But I tell young actors, if you’re looking for Fame and Applause, forget it. Do it for the


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doing of it, or you’ve lost it all.” This reflects strong identification with the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For five years he travelled across Ontario with Theatre Ontario’s Talent Bank, directing, teaching acting and make-up to Community Theatres. Pressures on his life became heavy, and he decided to escape completely. He drove to the airport and got a job driving a forklift, his first time away from the entertainment world. “I was happy slugging freight,” Alan says. But his drive for excellence was harder to suppress. Within a short time he found himself managing his own small Freight Forwarding company, on call 24 hours a day, successful but unbelievably stressed. When an opportunity came to teach Broadcast Journalism at University of Western Ontario as an adjunct for Post-Grad programs in 1980, Alan left the airport and used teaching as a base for freelancing, and return to the uncertain world of the Arts. Five years later, with the economy low, and twin girls, Alan and his wife Roxanne decided to leave Mississauga and come to Fergus. “It’s so cold and fast in the city”, he says. “We didn’t want our children to grow up there.” Roxanne reassured him: “Alan, you can change your life”. Since coming to this area, Alan Argue has often played piano in the lounges of The Elora Mill and Wellington Fare, started an all round performing art school for young people, CAST, was production manager for The Elora Festival, developed a Community Musical for Sudbury, and continued to write commercial scripts for film and TV. Recently

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Alan and Roxanne established Argue-Hall Enterprises, a firm of Theatre Management Consultants, drawing on long years of experience in many aspects of entertainment to organize theatres, physically and administratively, and to book shows. With the renovation of the Theatre on the Grand by Hugh and Lorraine Drew Brook, the opportunity has come on Alan’s doorstep for Argue-Hall Enterprises to vitalize the dormant potential of this building. But it’s not easy. Little audience development has been done in the past, and local people still don’t seem to believe great things can happen right here. “Hugh and Lorraine have done something remarkable for this community,” Alan says “and the community has not yet given this sufficient recognition and support.” He has formed the group Friends of the Theatre to act as a type of apprenticeship program for technical and administrative aspects of theatre, an initiative that has immense but to date insufficiently utilized potential. Alan says to all of us, “People have to believe the truth. They have to come out and give their support to the tremendous opportunity that’s here if they want this vision of Hugh and Lorraine, of Pat Chataway, to survive.” We are fortunate to have Alan Argue’s diversified and persuasive knowledge of the world of entertainment and theatre at work in our community. by Beverley Cairns, November 1992

UPDATE - 1997 In the year following this Profile, Alan returned to one of his many skills: freelance journalism. He has become a most important and vital voice for the arts, with his weekly column in the Wellington Advertiser. Alan continues to work as a water colourist and to exhibit. He has written original music and lyrics for his eighth music-theatre production. UPDATE Alan is once more managing the upgraded theatre building in Fergus, renamed “The Fergus Grand Theatre”. It is now owned by the Township of Centre Wellington. Under Alan’s management the theatre has become a busy place, and the number of local theatre groups has expanded with a secure performance space. This area has never before been so actively supportive of theatre. Alan Argue has written and directed several musicals recently, including “Seasons of the Heart” and “Tribute” and oversees the Wellington-Waterloo Players.

But I tell young actors, if you’re looking for Fame and Applause, forget it. Do it for the doing of it, or you’ve lost it all. 91


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TERI (CHMILAR) LAMB

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The untapped potential of Community TV Programming for the Fergus-Elora area has lured Media artist Teri Lamb back to studio work. Teri brings experience and strong vision to her new position as Programme Director for Fergus Elora Cable TV. She hopes to develop the Community Channel not only to record daily events with quality but also as a hands-on facility for people to express their views on local issues. These may highlight the effects of political decisions or simply present warm human themes. Teri’s vision is to promote F-E TV as a reservoir of equipment and expertise available for our use and expression. Workshops to teach on-location camera, script writing, film editing, production and post-production skills are part of her blueprint to change passive TV viewers into active participants. More familiar to the media world by her maiden name Teri Chmilar, she has worked in the medium of video since her days at Ontario College of Art. Her experimental and documentary films have been screened across

VlDEO ARTlST

Canada and internationally since 1976. She began at a time when the video camera was cumbersome, and elementary. She experimented with rhythmic images through editing. The hard-won results had a freshness and gusto which is absent in video today. “The innocence is gone,” she reflects. Commissioned by Women In Crisis to do a film on Family Violence in the mid ‘70s, the intensity and immediacy of the experience turned Teri toward documentaries on social issues. After visiting the Toronto transition home “Nellie’s”, she applied for a Canada Council grant, and produced a 42 minute on-location colour video which sought to present issues at “Nellie’s” with freshness and intuition at a mature level. She developed a direct style devoid of narrative which let eloquent images hold the story. At this time she met two women who were to be the focus of other Chmilar documentaries: Ada, the subject of a film chosen to represent video as a dynamic visual art in the 1983 multi media show on Women and Aging


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in Vancouver, and Pearl, an eccentric woman living and surviving on the streets of Toronto filmed over a period of five years. The textures of contradictions which are reflected in these films, the soft masking the hard, are typical of her work. She continued the Institutional theme in the award winning Sudz, presenting laundromats with humour and social insight in 1982. Teri’s artistry is a fusion of diversified visual training. Her strongly independent nature reflects the space and rocky landscape of Sudbury where she grew up on a 75 acre farm. In High School, she was fortunate to come under the influence of an art teacher who specialized in printmaking, and to find friends among developing artists already producing mature work with strong concepts. At 16 she left Sudbury with five dollars in her pocket to try her luck at the Ontario College of Art, and began school shortly after. A general course of drawing, sculpture and printmaking also introduced her to film making. In her fourth year she explored aspects of photography, Super 8 Video and 16mm films in The Annex at OCA, where innovation dominated. In addition, through summer and full time courses following OCA, she obtained a B.A at University of Guelph. In 1976, studying under Noel Harding at U of G, the scope and span of the new medium video caught and held her. During her last year of university Teri became involved with Ed Video, a cooperative in Guelph which provides access to expensive and essential equipment for video artists. The equipment, bought on a LIP grant to teach

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Video techniques in schools, ended up untended in a factory when the project was completed. In 1979, Teri gathered this together and co-ordinated Ed Video as a facility in a room adjoining her apartment. The cooperative grew and links were forged with other centres across the country as video itself became mainstream. In 1990, Teri was given the Ten Year Service Award by the Ministry of Culture and Communications. Through Ed Video, Teri began to edit and create the documentaries still screened internationally today. Since early involvement with the group she has been married to film graduate David Lamb. Her work with Maclean-Hunter TV Channel 8 in Guelph as Community Programmer co-ordinating ninety volunteers, and her freelance involvement in post-production design at OMAF slowed down with the advent of Isaac, their son in 1991. Now she’s ready for the challenge of programming with quality and substance for Fergus-Elora TV. “When video began, it was thought that one day the video revolution would hit the world and be the tongue of the people,” she says. That revolution is here. Perhaps Teri Lamb will teach us to speak with a new voice. by Beverley Cairns, January 1993

documentary “Birthdays”, which works with the testimonials of five mothers and fathers describing response to childbirth. In ‘94 Teri took part in the festive 15th Anniversary Project of Ed Video, Guelph. UPDATE Teri no longer works with Fergus-Elora TV. Her videos, like “Come Back” continue to be seen at festivals across Canada.

At 16 she left Sudbury with five dollars in her pocket to try her luck at the Ontario College of Art.

UPDATE - 1997 In March ‘93, Teri curated an evening of artists’ videos: “Cultural Rhythms”, which explored the rhythmic characteristics of a personal culture. She also created the

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THE HONOURABLE PERRIN BEATTY, M.P.

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MlNlSTER OF COMMUNlCATlONS AND C.E.O. Perrin Beatty feels himself to be a product of the community of Fergus, where his family have played a key role for many generations. In coming back to his home town he rediscovers and reaffirms the sense of community, sharing and support which he takes with him when he returns to public life. On February 2, he celebrates 21 years as an elected member for Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe to the federal parliament. He has spent exactly half his life in public service. As a boy he lived in the brick house on Bridge Street, beside his grandmother’s home and opposite the present Fergus Market. At that time the market building was The Lower Shop of Beatty Brothers. Originally the firm was founded by his great grandfather, and was headed subsequently by his grandfather and father till the latter’s death in 1960. They received a great deal from Fergus, and they taught young Perrin that it was his duty to give to his community in return. He attended Fergus Public School, now renamed James McQueen. One evening when he was 12 years old he and a friend came out of a movie at the Grand Theatre and crossed the street. A family friend saw them looking through a display window

and came to speak to the boys, inviting them in. This was the campaign headquarters of the Conservative Party. Perrin Beatty helped in that election, and has been active in every campaign since, a total of six to date. At Upper Canada College he continued his interest in Politics and Canadian History. Later, studying these subjects at University of Western Ontario, he foresaw a possible academic career. However, as President of the student Conservative Club, he was already on the path to a political career. Just out of university, he was working as assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Health at Queen’s Park when he decided to run in the federal elections of 1972. Since that date he has never failed to be elected in his riding, and has held the Ministerial portfolios of National Revenue, Solicitor General, National Defence, Health and Welfare. He was appointed Minister of Communications in April 1991. The two portfolios he has found most similar are Defence and Communications. “First of all, both of them are involved with high technology, but secondly, both of them are involved in different ways in the protection of Canadian Sovereignty, speaking to our ability to maintain our independence as a people.”


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Defence deals with the protection of a land mass, Culture and Communications deals with the sovereignty we already have through our identity. “It’s the element of culture that speaks to our values and heritage and who we are as Canadians, so that it is another vital element in the definition of our national sovereignty.” The Minister asserts that Canada gained complete exemption for its cultural industries in negotiations with the U.S. on Free trade and NAFTA, and that this allows institutions like the Canada Council to continue without risk of countervail of the subsidies it provides to Canadian artists. In Canada, where the penetration of foreign books and magazines, foreign films and sound recordings is higher than any other country in the industrialized world, it is not xenophobic to defend the means of maintaining what is especially ours. To protect the Canadian Film industry, for instance, Mr. Beatty is eager to act on the Film Importation Bill tabled by Flora McDonald, but never passed. He would like to separate the American and Canadian film markets in terms of distribution. “Today when the distributors purchase the American rights, they usually purchase the right to distribute in Canada for no added money, as an adjunct to the American market. All the money that flows from distribution flows down to the United States.” The Film Importation Bill would greatly strengthen the Canadian film industry. “My hope would be that we see Canadian film production companies using the revenues they would get from distribution of foreign films in

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Canada to subsidise the production of Canadian films.” The difficulty so far, Mr. Beatty says, has been gaining consensus within the Canadian film industry itself. “I met with members of the industry last spring and I was disappointed to find that this consensus just doesn’t exist today.” When the Film Bill was originally tabled, it was less the Americans than other countries who objected. “It was really coming from other partners such as UK, Australia, New Zealand, who were afraid the provision of our Bill would have an impact on their ability to develop film industries in their own countries.” Mr. Beatty gives the analogy of the book industry, where three out of four books sold are foreign titles. Distribution of foreign titles is for the most part in the hands of Canadian publishers. Revenues from distribution of foreign books go to sustain the publications of Canadian authors, about 75 percent of whom are published in Canada. “We reserve to ourselves the right to make sure Canadian voices can be heard,” he asserts. As he travels across the country in his work as Minister of Communications, Mr. Beatty finds that the Fergus-Elora area is well known for music and art. “If you were able to generate figures for the economic contribution made through the arts and through tourism resulting from the tremendous cultural renaissance that’s taken place in this area, you would see the multiplier effects are enormous.” He encourages the vision of an expansion of Theatre as well, saying, “We are very well

positioned here in terms of location. We’re part way to Stratford and a short drive from Toronto. If we can generate a critical mass of artistic activity, it will give tourists several different things to do and visit.” At 42, Perrin Beatty has 21 years of political experience in many fields. He believes his philosophy and attitudes can all be found in Fergus itself, the town his family helped to shape, and where he carries on the tradition. by John Chalmers, March 1993 UPDATE The Honourable Perrin Beatty left politics and is now President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. Following the 1993 federal election, Perrin Beatty joined a number of private sector boards and worked as a consultant in the field of communications. He was an Honorary Visiting Professor with the Department of Political Science, University of Western Ontario, where he taught a course in Communications Technologies and Public Policy. As well, he wrote a weekly column on government and politics for a major Canadian newspaper. Mr. Beatty was appointed President and CEO of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1995 and assumed his current position with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporterson, on August 15, 1999.

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SARIE MARAIS

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SCULPTOR lN METAL & CLAY

Long, attenuated forms attract Sarie Marais. In designs for jewellery, or in her sculpted figures, these compacted shapes recur with essential, rhythmic grace. Last summer Studio Sarie Marais opened in Salem. It continues the atmosphere of joy and experimentation of its previous tenants, Tim Isaac and Karin Bach, and the original owner, Gordon’s Pottery. “I enjoy my work so much!” Sarie says. “When I wake in the morning I think, what shall I make today?” In her jewellery designs she has achieved a timeless style. There are echoes of the past in her use of soldered metals, of bronze and copper frequently left unburnished. With minimal tools, forms are cut from metal sheets. Gobs of metal are melted onto the smooth surfaces. When possible Sarie welds outside in the garden to avoid toxic fumes. The results are always different. The soldering flux helps to create variegated colours of pinks, golds, greens and blues. Even the outside temperature, the intensity of the acetylene flame and the wind help to create the unique design. Every part is created by hand, even the links which are

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prominent in long, heavy neckpieces. Accidents and surprise effects are incorporated, possibly contributing more colour variation on the bold forms of bracelets, earrings and hairclasps. “Making jewellery is a very playful thing for me.” In her personal style as well as in technical expression, Sarie prefers the very elusive and subtle art of asymmetry. Petite, lively, but thoughtful, she says, “Perhaps this comes from something rebellious and obstinate in me.” For Sarie the imperfect, the complementary, is the highest aesthetic. Born in Holland, in a family of six children, her creativity was stimulated within the family by having to make her own toys during the deprivations of post-war Europe. Worn and outmoded things could be revitalized through ingenuity and taste. Sarie came to Canada as a teenager, when her family emigrated to Hamilton to find opportunity, open spaces and greater freedom. For Sarie, though she loved Canada, there are many intangible things from her early life in Europe which she continues to miss. At 18 she married and raised three children. During this period she began to


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experiment with jewellery, taking courses at Mohawk College, and later Fine Arts courses at University of Guelph. She was particularly enriched by Art History. “If you look at Art from primitive times till today, you know where you stand.” After a marriage separation Sarie moved from Kitchener to the Middlebrook Schoolhouse, in the country outside Elora. She began turning her hobby of jewellery making and design into a viable business, selling to galleries and exhibiting. With characteristic flare, she also restored and redecorated the deteriorated building into a beautiful studio space. In time, however, she came to realize this well loved home was too remote and she felt a strong need to mix with people. Moving into a stone house by the river and bridge in Salem she found new balance. “I’ve rediscovered here a sense of smallness. This is what I missed from Europe, but it exists here in Elora and Salem.” Small spaces in architecture, intimate restaurants and gardens, and friendship in a supportive community have brought Sarie stability. Even more striking than jewellery at Studio Sarie Marais are the tall verticals of Sarie’s sculpted figures in raku-fired clay. In the mode of Giacometti and Modigliani, these sculptures are compressed, simplified human forms, reduced to universal symbols with spatial dimensions of their own making. Sarie calls them her “Guardians”. “They are not aggressive, they just stand and watch, and to me they are timeless. They could be

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medieval or today, or from some spaceship of the future.” With archetypal serenity they stand about the studio in various sizes, some with true faces and others only symbolized. Their metallic glazing projects great visual strength. Recently Sarie married Hydrologist Gordon Young. His work in Glaciology has taken them together into the high Alps, the Rockies and the Himalayas. Sarie has acquired the exhilarating hobby of hiking in the mountains. She is excited about the new undertakings in her life. “Every day I feel like I am just beginning.” by Beverley Cairns, May 1993 UPDATE - 1997 In the spring of 1995, Sarie Marais’ house by the bridge in the hamlet of Salem, adjacent to Elora, was converted to a studio and retail store. Sarie has combined her creative clay work with metal sculpture, frequently based on found objects. The role of jewellery has diminished in her intensive exploration of new, larger forms. Her personalized studio now houses a wide variety of metal sculptures. Sarie has recently designed thirty metal chairs on commission for the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, each one different, functional and aesthetic. UPDATE Starting in 1997, Sarie travelled to many countries and finally ended up in Europe, in The Netherlands. The town in which she

lives is located right at the North Sea. Sarie’s studio is only two streets away from the ocean! Sarie continues to work in different media. It seems that her work overall has become very colourful. Recently she made a number of clay chairs in orange, purple and yellow with metal rods for support. So far she has exhibited in four places in the Netherlands and has also had some private commissions. However, Sarie considers that her most exciting works have been made in the high mountains – rearranging rock slabs in nature! Leaving these sculptures standing behind as she descends, she feels she has given a personal gift to nature to play with. Except for a few photographs, most memories are only recorded in Sarie’s mind. “I often think back with fond memories of Elora. Those memories will always stay,” she says. But between Paris and Holland and all the great museums and architecture, she feels right at home in Europe, partly because that is where Sarie’s roots are. “I continue to play and the process is very rewarding.”

For Sarie the imperfect, the complementary, is the highest aesthetic.

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1993

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NEIL HANSCOMB

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STAlNED GLASS ARTlST

In teaching himself the ancient art of stained glass, Neil Hanscomb demonstrated his conviction that you can accomplish what you wish with perseverance and application: “I believe you should take your dreams and make them reality,” he says, “Radio and television fill the ears and eyes with aggressive energy. I choose to work in stained glass because I want my contribution to be meditative.” Since 1983, Neil’s work has explored many types of glass and he is developing a vocabulary of abstract forms, which represent human as well as physical elements and even emotions in his designs. “I figure it takes 20 years to make an artist, and I’ve done 10, but I’ve put in lots of hours!” Architectural decoration through stained glass techniques developed in Romanesque times and expanded from use in small clerestory windows to large translucent areas of colour in the Gothic cathedrals of the early 13th century. Because only small pieces of coloured glass were available in medieval

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times, craftsmen joined them with lead to produce meaningful designs. Today as then, stained glass diffuses the quality of ordinary daylight through warm and vibrant colour, lending it poetic and spiritual values. Most large works in stained glass are commissioned for homes or buildings, such as the 175-square-foot panel “Neufaktor” which Neil executed for the MacNaughton Building’s 25th anniversary at the University of Guelph in 1989. Frequently his commissions are for windows which are conceived not only around a subject matter but also to complement the particular space a window will occupy and the spirit of the people who will receive it visually and aesthetically. An element such as a tree outside or a special view may become a part of the composition. Other striking works seen at the Hanscomb Glass Studio on Church Street, Elora, are unique autonomous stained glass medallions. These are portable pieces of varying sizes, made to be suspended and


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interact with space. The medallions are intuitively assembled without preconceived design using flash glass of varying thickness, glass etching and decorative lead lines. “I would like to combine these medallions in architectural format with welded brass. I’m learning to weld now to explore this conception.” Born in Leicester, England, Neil Hanscomb came to Canada when three years old and the adventurous children’s literature of England continued to shape him in British traditions throughout his childhood. At the crucial age between public school and high school he experienced the upheaval of his mother’s marital change, and displacements of home and neighbourhoods. “I was always the new kid on the block; my drawing pads and guitar kept me company.” Eventually he went back to Bristol, England, to live with his grandparents, take his O Level exams, and travel in Germany writing poetry and songs. Returning to Canada, he apprenticed to fine woodworking craftsmen in Calgary for several years. On a leave of absence Neil came east to visit his mother in Fergus and liked the area. He chose Elora for his first studio. “There’s an energy in Elora. It’s a creative melting pot, broad and eclectically interesting”. He appreciates the autonomy of self-employed, and lives above his studio, close to his wife Gisela and their two children now one and one-half and three years old. Gisela has an artist’s tastes and knows the techniques and disciplines of stained glass. “I can’t do without

There’s an energy in Elora. It’s a creative melting pot, broad and eclectically interesting

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His reclusive role as an artist needs the stability, affection and involvement of family life.

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her support” Neil says. His reclusive role as an artist needs the stability, affection and involvement of family life. A major influence on Neil’s approach to design came through a workshop at Banff in 1987 with contemporary German master Johannes Schreiter, a dominant figure in the innovative German approach to stained glass over the last 40 years. Schreiter’s use of analogy, of large spaces against concentrated forms and of expressive, non-functional lead lines has opened for Neil a powerful range of visual and lyric expression in glass. With the heritage of old stained glass in our public buildings and churches, restoration is another aspect of work for the trained artisan. Even the leading of a good craftsman needs reworking after a hundred years. Neil has studied all the components of traditional windows and thinks stiff rules should be introduced regarding the preservation of this valuable legacy from the past. Working with a team, he has completed major restoration on two large churches and a chapel, renewing wood of frames and supports as well as ensuring the continued life of the intricately formed windows. Recently Handscomb Glass Studio received a commission to design windows for the new addition to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Fergus. Designs for these windows are presently awaiting approval. Neil has presented this design as part of a total concept of the extension which has 12 windows. His vision is to present the extraordinary qualities of mouth-blown glass in a context: cold

colours against warm, large open spaces contrasted with areas of tension, giving unity to the inner space. The design would seek to evoke a feeling of awe corresponding to the congregation’s perception and inner sense of God. He hopes to convince the sessions to let the design reflect the spirituality of the younger generation, “Congregations of today are dealing with computers and multi-national companies, their thinking is increasingly abstracted and should not be restricted by old iconography.” by Beverley Cairns, September 1993 UPDATE - 1997 Neil Hanscomb says his work is definitely on the course to minimalism. Less colour. Less, but greatly focused ornamentation. More rest. Less tension…time and an invitation to reflect. Searching for a confirmation of the existence of we, us, you in an I, me, world. In January ‘95. the shop closed to the public to launch a product line of environmentally friendly recycled glassware, selling across the country, giving Hanscomb Glass Studio a viable base and allowing Neil to be selective about the marketing of artwork. A major commission came in ‘95 - ’96 with the design and execution of leaded glass windows for the chapel of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Waterloo – the second largest Lutheran Church in Canada. At the recommendation of friends and associates, Neil is exploring the potential of working with artists in other disciplines.


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Mixing media holds a great deal of excitement for him, expanding the potential of glass. The studio is currently in dialogue with three ecclesiastical clients for contemporary artwork designs with the additions of brass, steel, castables etc. to the eternal beauty of glass. UPDATE Neil and his partner in life and art, Gisela Ruehe have travelled extensively with their two daughters over the last five years. Nine months of the year are spent in intense studio time, working to fulfil commissions and produce work for three main shows, the Fergus-Elora Studio Tour, The Fair November Craft Show, Guelph, and the One Of A Kind Christmas art and craft show in Toronto. Their imaginative storefront at 40 Church Street, Elora, is the ongoing display centre for Hanscomb Glass. For four years, Neil Hanscomb has worked exclusively in glass with no colour. In 2005, white and bronze glass are slowly being introduced into his work. One of his signature techniques is the inclusion of thick “rough cast” glass ornaments and expressive wire overlays. The overlays are frequently extensions of the expanded lead lines of varying widths. The beauty and originality of Neil’s creations can be viewed at the website www. hanscombglass.com

His vision is to present the extraordinary qualities of mouth-blown glass in a context: cold colours against warm, large open spaces contrasted with areas of tension, giving unity to the inner space.

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1994

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EVA MCCAULEY

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ARTlST, TEACHER, MUSlClAN

Last August Eva McCauley’s engraving “Mother and Child” was awarded first prize in the Elora Arts Council’s annual show INSIGHTS. The content of the picture encapsulates Eva’s life today. Conceived in two parts, the lower half depicting a child is complete on its own. The upper half, the mother, is Eva herself. When placed together, the child is seen to be held on the knees of the concerned mother. Lines of the drawing incised with a drypoint scribe are skilled and eloquent. Most striking, however, is the permeating universality of this print by a young artist. Eva McCauley has interpreted the archetypal subject of Mother and Child with modern sensibilities but timeless essence and beauty. Eva came to Fergus three years ago, alone with her son Jason, seeking a supportive community in which to work, teach and raise a child. Now, finishing the last course required for her BFA degree at the University of Guelph, she is exploring opportunities to

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bring her work to the public. She is contacting Toronto galleries, and preparing for an exhibition at the Wellington County Museum scheduled for the fall of 1995 with Tony Luciani and Sarah Palmer. Throughout childhood, Eva had a love of painting and the arts fostered by her family. Raised in Kitchener and of German descent, several times she travelled with her family to Germany where she visited galleries and museums. The old world lingers in her visual interpretations today. As a child she drew prolifically, mainly the fluid movement of horses. Later, at Forest Heights Secondary School, Eva explored oil painting, and the relevant techniques of old masters. “The artists I’ve always admired are those with consummate skill, like Rembrandt, Goya and Degas. As I explored painting I was aware of the need for essential knowledge and experience. I knew I had a lot to learn.” During a year’s study at Wilfred Laurier University in ‘79 she quickly acknowledged


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her real desire to specialise in art, with emphasis on studio work. When she entered Ontario College of Art at 22, Eva was already independent and mature, concentrated on finding direct expression through painting and drawing, detached from social life. Representational art, primarily the human figure, continued to be the focus of her work. Though a student herself at this time, she taught night classes for adults and developed the Toronto Studio School in cooperation with a more experienced colleague. Reflecting on her formal training, Eva perceives limitations: “I think schools now days can be restrictive because they reject tradition. They say we don’t need all those old skills because we are in the post-modern era. For instance, I had to teach myself perspective. There is an extensive vocabulary which we are not given, knowledge which has accrued over the centuries. Art needs boundaries or it becomes amorphous. As individuals, we can decide whether or not we accept the boundaries”. Graduating from OCA in 1983, Eva wanted to live the total life of an artist in Toronto, but found it wasn’t easy. She did freelance art work, taught courses in Structural Drawing, Portrait Painting and Watercolours at Sheridan College part time, and painted. Her canvases from Toronto days portray humanity in urban settings like Kensington Market: the gestural flow of figures juxtaposed by the geometrical angles of architecture. They speak of the context of a big city for humanity, reminiscent of the American artist Edward

Art needs boundaries or it becomes amorphous.

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Her experiments in drypoint and etching find relevance and inspiration in the German printmaker and sculptor of social realism, Kathe Kollwitz.

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Hopper. Her medium was oil paint, which Eva appreciates for its immediacy and directness. “I like to mix my own paints with pigments and oil and believe they’re better, more pure, than commercial products. I enjoy the preparation of materials in a physical and professional way; they have a tactile quality for me.” Almost immediately after graduation she married and became a mother. Three years later, on the break-up of her marriage, Eva came to Fergus, making her studio and home in an austere stone house built in 1878. She began the demanding life of a single parent in a new community. These were difficult times, their psychological landscape expressed in paintings, encaustics and drawings by night scenes and dark foregrounds. Subjects became more conceptual, less personalized. Despite the stress of life alone caring for her young son, Eva discovered she had a desire to learn new things. She was inspired by the work of Walter Bashinski at the University of Guelph, and when her search for remunerative work proved fruitless, she registered for a BFA degree and the opportunity to learn techniques of printmaking with Bashinski. University gave Eva a more cerebral understanding of art. Principally, however, it opened to her the possibilities particular to printmaking. “I may print an engraving in black and white, but I also like to produce a ‘varied edition’ in which each print from the same plate differs in colour and tone, making it unique”. Her experiments in drypoint and etching find relevance and inspiration in the

German printmaker and sculptor of social realism, Kathe Kollwitz. Eva has found Fergus to be a sustaining and vibrant artistic community. “I love this area, and I’d like to teach here.” she says. Her present goal is to acquire a press which enables her to experiment freely with printing techniques. She would like to open a Studio where she can instruct classes in printmaking and drawing. Possibly this Studio could be combined with a small gallery. We, too, look forward to the time when Eva’s respect for knowledge and technique can enrich art students of all ages who desire the foundation of an extensive visual vocabulary. by Beverley Cairns, February 1994 UPDATE - 1997 Eva received several printmaking awards and scholarships in ‘93 and ‘94, and went on to study for a Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking and Painting at University of Waterloo, completing it in April ‘96. Eva has had several etching presses built to specification. They are housed in The Glen Lammond Studio School adjacent to her house in Fergus, which will serve as a printshop as well as a school for teaching painting, drawing and printmaking to adults and children. In ‘95, Eva had an exhibition at Homer Watson Gallery, Doon and was part of a three person exhibition at the Wellington County Museum and Archives entitled “Human Landscape”. In ‘96, she won first prize for


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Printmaking at the Toronto Outdoor Art Show, and the Ernst & Young Purchase Award for Print. Six large-scale monotypes are permanently exhibited at the headquarters of the Waterloo Regional Labour Council. UPDATE This year finds Eva McCauley living in the country on 30 acres near Damascus. In 1996 she fell in love with piper and landscaper Robin Aggus. Her studio is part of their 140-year-old log home. Robin has helped Eva return to one of her first loves, Irish and Scottish music. Eva plays fiddle and mandolin, balancing a lifelong dedication to the visual arts with a passion for Celtic music and performance. She and Robin make music together at home, along with Eva’s son Jacob, and take part in the enthusiastic Friday night traditional music sessions at the Dalby House, Elora. Eva is the organizer of the School of Traditional Celtic Music. Since the fall of 2002, Eva has been Printmaking Professor at the University of Waterloo, teaching painting and drawing as well. Her list of shows continues to grow, with a solo show at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery in 1999 entitled “Momento Mori-Monotypes and Memory Boxes”. Also a solo exhibition “Ruptured Time” at Open Studio Art Gallery, Toronto in 2002. and “Memory of Water” at the Rotunda Gallery, Kitchener City Hall in 2004. She received a Canada Council “Quest” grant for emerging artists in 2000, and has had many Ontario Arts Council grants.

Currently Eva divides her time between creating paintings, monotypes, and mixed media pieces at her Damascus studio, and the joy of playing her fiddle and mandolin.

She received a Canada Council “Quest” grant for emerging artists in 2000, and has had many Ontario Arts Council grants.

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1994

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SOPHIE HOGAN

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PHOTOGRAPHER

In the open living space of the converted Middlebrook Schoolhouse, a black canvas backdrop hangs from high ceiling to the floor. Umbrellas stand open to diffuse light. This is the home of Photographer Sophie Hogan, where work is not far from coffee by the glowing wood stove. Annexed to the studio-living area is the Dark Room where Sophie develops the black and white film which emphasises her strength in composition, lighting and originality. In the early days of America, Native people called cameras ‘soul-catchers’. For Sophie, a photographer of the human scene, this is the challenge. “The basis of my photography is not about cameras. It’s just letting people be people, and documenting them as well as I can”. In September, Sophie began a nine-month venture, “The Body Image Project”, two-thirds funded by a Canada Council Explorations Grant. The conception of this innovative project is the use of photographic reality to break down stereotypes of the female body

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fabricated by fashion and advertising. This ideal has distorted the lives of many women. Sophie explains, “We all have forms. This project is an exercise in acceptance of the forms that contain us, so that we can get on with other valuable aspects of living”. To initiate “The Body Image Project”, Sophie wrote an article in “Motive” magazine: “Calling All Brave Souls and Their Bodies”. She requested volunteers of varied body types and weights, from 20 to 80 years of age, who would accept to be photographed nude in a short five-minute documentation. One hundred women will take part. Sections of these body images will be mixed and compiled to stimulate realization of the diversity of women as physical beings. Images may be j uxtaposed to emphasise the fundamental, true woman behind the playboy image or the career role. “The Body Image Project will be presented to the public at Toronto City Hall in February 1996, as an interactive experience related to National Eating


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Disorders Awareness Week. A buoyant, down-to-earth person with optimism and sympathy for people, Sophie is enjoying the depth of project-oriented photography. Perhaps this sturdiness and warmth reflects her family’s roots in the Maritimes. Her father, unwilling to work in the mines of Cape Breton, found a new career as a professional boxer and bar owner in Toronto, but each year Sophie returned with the family to Cape Breton. An interest in photography began after Grade 12. Sophie journeyed to Scotland, England and Wales to visit the origins of her family following the death of her grandfather, who had encouraged her in every undertaking. As she was about to board the plane, a friend thrust his camera in her hand. Sophie became intrigued by this faithful companion which could capture and hold her experience and memories. A year and a half later, returning to Grade 13, Sophie joined the high school camera club, spent lunch hours in the dark room, and built up a valuable portfolio of work to accompany an application to Photography at Ryerson. For the first time she was forced to think about the source of pictorial images through the probing questions of her teacher David Heath. “He was always asking me ‘why?’. This was strange. I didn’t know aesthetics were supposed to have a reason!” During four years Sophie attended Ryerson, taking the Photo Stills course. After graduation in 1988, to say “thanks” to her parents for their support through her studies, Sophie undertook a photo essay of Cape

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Images may be juxtaposed to emphasise the fundamental, true woman behind the playboy image or the career role.

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Gradually the attractions of Toronto dwindled, and she established a permanent studio at the Middlebrook Schoolhouse.

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Breton and Newfoundland. While visiting her grandmother in Cape Breton, she learned that the famous American photographer Robert Frank owned a farm nearby. She was fascinated by his work and the lifestyle of this man who walked the United States with his camera, recording ordinary life. Frustrated by circumstances through which she missed meeting him, and aware of Frank’s interest in the Maritimes, she began to send him postcards of her photos, annotated with notes and stories. Sophie became known to him as The Postcard Woman. Before his retrospective exhibition in Washington last year, and the publication of his book “Life Dances On”, Frank contacted Sophie to ask if he might quote the last words her grandfather spoke to her, poignantly recounted in a postcard story. He suggested they meet when he came to Ryerson in February. This was a happy experience for Sophie. Frank, whom she regards as a mentor in her photographic career, was one of three “appraisers” for her Canada Council grant . Returning to Toronto, Sophie did freelance photography for the Toronto Sun. Frequent excursions to Elora to enjoy walks in the country, the Café Flore and the Desert Rose were a contrast to her urban life. Gradually the attractions of Toronto dwindled, and she established a permanent studio at the Middlebrook Schoolhouse. In order to maintain her freedom to pursue in-depth photo projects, Sophie likes to do creative wedding photography, promotion and fashion shots, and portraits.

In future Sophie would like to do a photoessay on the elderly. “I’d like my photographic efforts to have substance”. Last Christmas she spent the day at Wellington Terrace, meeting people through the magic of her camera. She was struck by the sympathetic inter-relationship of elderly residents. She became aware of them as repositories of traditions and knowledge soon to be lost. Other fascinating sources of unique experience that she would like to record are war veterans. To create a permanent record of these traditions and the traces etched on the faces of the elderly by war and ageing would be meaningful. For Sophie Hogan, 1995 will be a special year. Not only will it be enriched by work which is socially meaningful and fulfilling, but Sophie will become a mother in the spring. Her well known photograph of a newborn baby: ‘Michael’s First Day’ speaks eloquently of the hope and tenderness of a new life in Sophie’s own, chosen idiom. by Beverley Cairns, October 1994 UPDATE - 1997 Since being interviewed, Sophie has finished work on “The Body Image Project”. It has travelled widely, and in spring of ‘97 is returning from St. John’s, Newfoundland. In September ‘97, the show will be exhibited at The Floating Gallery, Winnipeg. Sophie is being encouraged to publish it in book form. Sophie is now the glowing mother of a little girl.


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UPDATE When Sophie was studying in Maine last year, another student heard her story about writing postcards to Robert Frank, and told Sophie about an obscure book called “Thank You”. It is a compilation of postcards that were written to Frank over the years from numbers of photographers....and lo and behold, Sophie’s postcard was included in the book! In 2003, Sophie’s exhibit: “My Elora: The Grace of Belonging”, drew crowds to the new Minarovich Gallery at The Elora Centre For The Arts. “My Elora” was created out of the need to give back to the community Sophie felt has nurtured her through both vulnerable and joyous segments of her life. “Creating intimate portraits is my passion,” she says. This collection of representative portraits of local people, along with their personal statements on the value of community, are now being considered for a book. Sophie Hogan’s portrait photography has won awards at the INSIGHTS shows in 1997, 2002, and 2004. www.sophiehoganphotography.com

In 2003 Sophie’s exhibit: “My Elora: The Grace of Belonging”, drew crowds to the new Minarovich Gallery at The Elora Centre For The Arts.

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1996

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MIA ANDERSON

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POET, ACTOR

Oh I come from the slips of the South Saugeen Oh bottom land! My home looks over fields of unwashed ley,“Appetite” “Solitariness deeply attracts me,” Mia Anderson says. The search for solitariness lead her away from the Stratford stage to the inner realm of poetry. Farm life near Mount Forest and walks by the South Saugeen with her dogs became a refuge. Now, after 20 years away from theatre, Mia has synthesised the inner and the outer facets of word magic. Mia has always recorded thoughts and impressions, but in her youngest years writing was not a vocation. Though her mother was a poet, Mia’s creative energies were absorbed in the performing arts. After school at Havergal, she received a B.A. and an M.A. in English literature from university of Toronto. Summer stock theatre quickly led to the Stratford

Festival in the early ‘60s. She returned again in the late ‘60s and around ‘77 with Robin Philips. Red haired, lithe and elfin, many roles were open to her: “Everything worked in reverse. I started with older roles and got younger”. Mia played “Regina” in “The Little Foxes”, “Laura” in “The Glass Menagerie”, and eventually the utter ingénue “Julia” in “Two Gentlemen From Verona”. From the beginning she felt she belonged in Stratford and she loved the surrounding countryside. Then came a time when Mia sought a sabbatical. Theatre spoke of humans and her deep attachment to nature needed expression. “It was a conscious decision on my part to leave theatre temporarily. I didn’t know I would be so long returning. However there was an undertow of purpose in switching art forms,” she now reflects. Mia found refuge on her farm, and the inner peace of life close to nature and the river. In 1981, Mia’s husband Tom Settle, Professor of Philosophy at University of


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Guelph, took administrative leave. Mia and Tom spent the year in Vaucluse, Southern France. Words attached themselves to ideas, which half way through the year began to emerge as poems. Past the sheaves of Provencal lavender, the rivers, land and lakes of Canada recreated themselves in verse: Muskoka, Georgian Bay, the Saugeen, memories of the Mount Forest farm replete with sheep, goats, chickens, dogs and cats, scenes from childhood. This anthology of Mia’s memories and observations became her first published collection of poetry: “Appetite”. In Vaucluse, living in the house called “Le Puits”, Mia also kept a journal which matured ten years later into a second published book of poetry: “Chateau Puits ‘81”. In this collection her husband Tom is a repetitive motif as she explores the ways and delights of an ancient land. In her return to theatre after 20 years absence in “Writ Large”, Mia will dramatize passages she has chosen from recent works by Canadian authors, reminiscent of her earlier one-woman stage presentation, “10 Women, 2 Men & a Moose”. Selections have been crafted into a unified tapestry suitable for dramatization. Through juxtaposition of personalities and moods a range of emotion is explored. Children, men and women are all acted by Mia alone: “I’m finding the theatrical in literature rich and dynamic. This format, so much more sparse than the group and company of normal theatre, really bears a relationship to sitting at a desk and writing a poem.”

Poetry has proved to be not very different from acting. Both use the self to penetrate everyman. “In poems I use myself as a token of yourself,” Mia explains, “I don’t think of writing as self expression. I see myself as a light, a beam, searching for truth.” Mia concludes that Poetry’s real medium is silence, growing silence. Her task is to help the reader in to experience that silence. Ultimately, “Poets don’t have words”. Published works include “Appetite” (1988), “Chateau Puits ‘81” (1992), the unfinished but National Magazine Award winner “The Shambles”. by Beverley Cairns, Spring 1996 UPDATE Mia’s work “Practising Death”, was published in 1997 in the St Thomas Poetry Series. St. Thomas’ Church on Huron Street, Toronto, has maintained a “vigorous public association with poetry since 1988”, and Mia Anderson has taken part in their annual readings. The series focuses on works which are “witness to the religious meaning of experience”. Mia Anderson considers the work of another poet in “Conversation with the Star Messenger: An Enquiry into Margaret Avison’s Winter Sun”.

Poetry has proved to be not very different from acting. Both use the self to penetrate everyman.

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1996

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ELIZABETH FASKEN

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WEAVER

The soft nuances of weaving, gently toned and integrated “like one fabric”, reflect the inner poetry of Elizabeth Fasken. “I’m a minimalist,” she says, “overwhelmingly now, in weaving and in novels and music as well. We have so much, but the things that matter are so few.” Seeking only the essential and experimental, patterns are not a priority in her weaving. She prefers the “old colours” of natural dyes, quiet and subtle, combining them in her work with the sensitivity of an Old Master. Elizabeth’s four looms present various options, but her interest in one-of-a-kind pieces makes the easy set up of her Leclerc counterbalance loom which stands in the kitchen her favourite. With it she can do unbalanced, experimental weaving. “I’m an asymmetrical person,” Elizabeth says. Her home and studio in Elora are in the house by the Irvine River where she was born and lived until she attended Teacher’s College. She returned to Elora in the ‘80s to look after

her sick mother and found the village had become a good place for a craftsperson to flourish. “Elora is a gentle place, but there’s excitement here too, which has value. It’s important to have the sympathy of other like minds.” After Teacher’s College and travel Elizabeth took a degree in Fine Arts at Guelph, majoring in sculpture, studying with John Fillion whose strength and perspicacity in teaching echoes strongly in her work. Following university, Elizabeth went west, living on Mount Seymour near Vancouver. Without a studio or job, she was fortunate to befriend a neighbour who was a weaver. While the neighbour was away Elizabeth was invited to use her loom. Through this friend she also discovered the beauty of hand spinning on a West Coast Indian Spinner, still a favourite today. Elizabeth’s subsequent experience in textile design and application at the North Vancouver Fibre School confirmed her path as a weaver.


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This school was influenced by an early ‘70s show called “Delivered Entanglements”, featuring off-loom, non-functional pieces that were strong and sculptural. “Weaving was taken away from the traditional and given a modern statement.” Moving east, Elizabeth lived in New England next door to the Rhode Island School of Design. In this area rich with the old textile houses, her respect for the craft of weaving grew. She learned traditional spinning on a big walking wheel valued for the quality of softness it gives to the wool. Recently Elizabeth has been inspired by the Rya technique, developed for Swedish Rya rugs. In these designs some of the wool is pulled out, looping and making the woven fabric three-dimensional. This spring, preparing for the “Spirit Valley” show in Rockwood, she worked with metal artist Sarie Marais of Salem. The show was conceived to affirm the energy and life of a valley, appealing to Elizabeth’s love of nature. Striking possibilities for design of off-the-wall pieces woven to drape Sarie’s large welded metal sentinel figures emerged. The contrast in materials worked wonderfully. Soft lengths of woven light wool could respond to changes of wind and light, in sympathy with nature. During the summer these amazing figures, set on loosely anchored styrofoam bases, could be seen floating in the Irvine Pond, Salem. Their mysterious dignity confirmed a splendid alliance of talents. At present, experiments with Japanese Shibori dying techniques and fabric stiffeners

bring Elizabeth ever closer to the sculpture of student days, this time through woven materials bent and moulded to flowing form. Sailing and walking, Elizabeth grows, absorbing nature, noticing and translating every detail. Her weavings keep pace in their own way. “As you get smaller, you realize a new vastness within the microcosm,” Elizabeth says. Through her weavings we are privileged to share the evolution of her sensitized vision. by Beverley Cairns, Autumn 1996 UPDATE - 1997 Elizabeth has recently shared an exhibition with metal and ceramic artist Sarie Marais at Leyander’s on Mill Street, Elora. Many of her wall hangings, inspired by the Rya technique, graced the stone walls.

UPDATE Each summer “Joie de Vivre” hang Elizabeth’s work in their gallery along the Fundy shore in New Brunswick. In 2004 the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, New Brunswick, exhibited her works with Karen Bach’s paintings. Elizabeth’s long, woven hangings accompanied the ink works of Mat Nightingale, in a display at Groves Memorial Hospital, Fergus, to the joy of patients and staff. Shibori, dyed warp and paper fibre have been recent areas of exploration.

Elora is a gentle place, but there’s excitement here too, which has value. It’s important to have the sympathy of other like minds.

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1997

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GUY FEW

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TRUMPETER, PlANlST

As a powerful pianist and astonishing trumpeter, Guy Few delights audiences with his intensity and charm. He is in demand as a soloist and has played with all of Canada’s leading orchestras. Innumerable prizes for piano and trumpet performances have marked his career. Finalist in the CBC Young Performers Competition and the Grand Prize Winner of the CIBC National Music Festival, in 1988 he received the Sylva Gelber Foundation Award from the Canada Council of the Arts when he was chosen Most Promising Artist in both piano and brass categories. Born in Saskatchewan, Guy is a gold medal graduate of Wilfred Laurier University, and holds a fellowship diploma from Trinity College, London. At present he is head of trumpet studies at Wilfred Laurier University. He has been invited, as a professor, soloist, principal or recitalist, to take part in many summer festivals. Guy performs and records

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on a regular basis with a variety of artists and appears on CBC and CTV. His recent solo CD Exposures (on ibs label) features traditional and contemporary trumpet recital repertoire. Guy Few has been a resident of Elora for four years. Guy Few in conversation with Amy Appleford: Why did you move to Elora? I started to teach at Wilfred Laurier and didn’t feel comfortable with the drive back and forth to Toronto. I wanted to establish myself somewhere I would feel comfortable. I really like Elora. I’ve developed good friendships here. That’s important to me. Toronto can be impersonal; you end up having a lot of acquaintances. Here, it wasn’t long before I met artists and an intellectual and alternative crowd in touch with what was going on in the village and elsewhere.


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And being a new homeowner? It’s the smallest house in the universe! But still it has a place for my piano, and my trumpets are here. It’s become my space for inventiveness, creativity and work. It keeps me focused and grounded.

I tried to show them this could be just as fascinating as any other multi media performance, whether it be dance or theatre or pop music.

Tell me about Visions(a program of largely Canadian music, including new works by Peter Hatch, Boyd McDonald, Christos Hatzis, Kathryn Delory and Milton Barnes, premiered at the Music Gallery in Toronto, March 22, 1977) With Visions I was trying to explore …my stage was set for experiencing dreams and those dreams function at different levels – completely realistic and more existential, relative to how the audience perceives them. In this programme, I wanted the evening to run without a break; to move from one dream experience to another. I wanted to create a complete environment for the audience to experience these challenging pieces on many different levels. Presentation can really influence the way an audience participates in, and enjoys, a concert.

There definitely is a vital contemporary music community out there. It isn’t something new, but it’s always being redefined. Organisations, such as Numus in Kitchener – Waterloo, are constantly being challenged to find spaces that work for their performances, to find funding that enables these performances – because, of course, new works have to be written to keep the scene alive - and that’s tough. We need people to accept these challenges.

Why did you choose this approach for Visions? We have to develop a new audience for music, especially for classical music. Our audience as classical musicians is disappearing. This programme was intended to challenge a younger, more experienced audience: they can take it as it’s thrown at them! The way I publicized the concert,

Do you think there is a vital contemporary music community in Canada?

Contemporary performance is only one aspect of your work… Yes. Although new music is the most publicized of the things I do, traditional performance experience is just as exciting in its own way. To conform to traditions of classical music and express what you have to give through that music is sometimes even more challenging than performing new work. Performing with Anne Marie Wright, (A Few Wright Numbers) we do everything from cabaret to serious classical programming. A cabaret is a big challenge! For me, playing a cantata in a church during a service needs to be a complete experience. If I have the opportunity to do something it has to go all the way. by Amy Appleford, Spring 1997

UPDATE Guy Few still lives in his “smallest house in the universe”. He is an adjunct professor of trumpet at Wilfrid Laurier University and The University of Western Ontario. Guy is equally at home in classical or contemporary genres. Through the CBC, the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council, he has had the opportunity to debut new works by Canadian composers including Glen Buhr, Peter Hatch, Melissa Hui, Boyd McDonald and Jacques Hetu among others. Jacques Hetu’s concerto, written for Mr. Few, is available on Canadian Trumpet Concerti (CBC SM5000). He has recorded with numerous recording companies, including the Grammy Award winning Credo of Pendercki with the Oregon Bach Festival, Helmuth Rilling conductor for Hanssler Classics. His new CD, “Vocalise”, with pianist Stephanie Mara, is available throughout Canada.

We have to develop a new audience for music, especially for classical music.

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1998

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BEVERLEY CAIRNS

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SCULPTOR

Beverley was born in Montreal of anglo/francophone parents, spent her teens in Hamilton, attended University of Western Ontario in London, but changed course to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal. In 1951, she married John Cairns, and the next day sailed for East Africa. During her seven years in Tanganyika, Beverley organized puppet theatre and folk dancing for young people as well as an export business in African Carvings of local artisans, learned to speak Swahili, and to top it all gave birth to and cared for daughters Sandra and Lisa. “Living in a traditional society provides a kind of measure in your life that stays with you,” Beverley comments. There were subsequently major forays to Nigeria and Paris, to follow John in his career during the next 17 years, interspersed with return visits and engagements in Canada. Beverley’s preoccupation during this period was the raising of five children – Sandra, Lisa, Stephanie, Eva, and Graeme – their schooling,

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their care, and their guidance. The positive impact of the international experiences would be profound for the family, individually and collectively. Beverley and John came to “the old McLean house” in Elora in 1974 to enjoy and contribute to the quality of life in a small rural community. While the children asked, “Why couldn’t they have a house like everyone else?” (the building would be under renovation for the next 15 years), it was the stone structure, the special array of plantings and vegetation, the neighbourhood, which held appeal. Shortly following arrival, Beverley encountered Pat Chataway and discovered common experiences arising from life in Africa, the Swahili language, an interest in theatre, and, later, an interest in the environment. Soon Beverley was involved in theatre production, direction, writing, and acting in conjunction with the Elora Community Theatre. Peter Scott planted the seed in the summer


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of 1984 for the creation of an Arts Council to coordinate events and foster the arts in Elora. Beverley helped organize the Elora Arts Council and has served on its board continuously in various capacities, edited the CommuniquĂŠ, conceived and produced this Profiles column on Elora artists, and ultimately published most of the collection in a wonderful book of the same name in 1997. Beverley met regularly with close friends Elske Albarda, Pat Chataway, and Nellie Webb to enjoy good food, stimulating conversation, and hearty debate on a wide range of issues including community enhancement in the broader context of a healthy environment. Beverley was the catalyst in the formation of a grass-roots organization, the Elora Environmental Action Group (EEAG), which attempted to respond to the evidence of waste, cost to the environment, and cost to human health which all of us were witnessing. The EEAG took these and other issues to various levels of government, to our young citizens in the schools, and to the public at large through a series of workshops, seminars, information meetings, and festivals. The sheer amount of time and energy devoted by Beverley to this organization and to the range of issues it addressed was truly inspiring. Nothing was considered impossible to contemplate for the purpose of change. The very successful Elora Centre for Environmental Excellence grew out of this organization. Latterly, Beverley has taken more time to develop her personal interests in art and art-making: drawing with Eva McCauley,

Beverley was the catalyst in the formation of a grass-roots organization, the Elora Environmental Action Group.

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In speaking with Beverley and with others who are close to her, one is struck by her commitment to her family, her community, and the environment.

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sculpting with Hanna Boos, improving her skill at the piano with Elske Albarda, and improving her Italian with Adnan Gokcen at U. of Guelph. Playing squash regularly has given way more recently to sailing and swimming. And then there are the gardens: the one in Elora, which she “guides in its haphazard state”, and the one on the family property in Quebec (another renovation project) to which she retreats for the summer each year. It is in Elora and Quebec that the five children and two grandchildren can come together to visit. In the meantime, there is constant and regular communication with the children, usually via e-mail. In speaking with Beverley and with others who are close to her, one is struck by her commitment to her family, her community, and the environment. For Beverley, everything is interconnected, including the constituent elements within both the cultural and the natural worlds. “She has a wonderful sense of balance. Just as she has guided her haphazard garden, she has guided her children in such a beautiful way,” remarks Elske. “The value of friendship, the gift of collective community, volunteerism, the grace of contribution without recompense, the sacred duty of providing for the people you love, these are values important to my mother,” comments her daughter Sandra. Beverley has recently travelled to China and India. John is presently away on a shortnotice consultation in Africa. Then there is

the outdoor sculpture exhibition in which Beverley is participating as both artist and organizer. For those fortunate to have worked with or become a friend of Beverley, it has been a privilege. She is truly a Renaissance woman. by Deryk Smith, Spring 1998 (with considerable help from Elske Albarda and Sandra Cairns) UPDATE After editing the first Profiles Book of the Elora Arts Council in 1997, Beverley is presently researching and editing this new, updated edition. Sailing has finished, but sculpture and gardens maintain their magnetic focus. For several years Beverley worked with a small advanced sculpture group that met at The Elora Pottery, under the technical guidance of Geoff Stevens. Her output is not great, but each piece is strongly individual. For the last three years she has once more undertaken to compile the Communiqué, the Elora Arts Council’s quarterly newsletter, as well as being Webmaster for this non-profit group and others. A strong focus of the last five years has been working for the establishment of the Elora Centre for the Arts in the heritage stone building that was once Elora Junior School. Establishment of such a Centre has long been a dream of hers. It was even one of the original purposes of the Arts Council when


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established in 1985. Beverley served on the Board of ECFTA for three years until 2004, acting as liaison for the Elora Arts Council with the Centre. Beverley believes that the interaction of many artistic disciplines creates a critical mass from which excellence will grow.

She has a wonderful sense of balance. Just as she has guided her haphazard garden, she has guided her children in such a beautiful way.

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1998

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DEBBIE STANSON

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THEATRE

Theatre People in Ann Arbor, Michigan, take note: Deb Stanson is coming to town! That makes it a good time to dust off those plans for a major project, give them to Deb, and... well... stand back and watch things happen! That’s right. Elora’s theatrical whirlwind is heading Stateside for a whole new life. Our loss is their gain. They just don’t know it yet! After eleven years in Elora, it’s fair to say that Deb Stanson has had a giant impact on the local theatre scene. In fact, that’s quite an understatement. From the birth of Theatre on the Grand to the rebirth of Elora Community Theatre, and – not incidentally – the creating of Centre Wellington Children’s Theatre and the Wellington Youth Theatre, this industrious, visionary woman has been involved in making things happen on stage and behind the scenes in so many different ways it’s impossible to produce a complete list. “Moving force” is the best way to describe her ten-year association with directing,

producing, and even writing plays; encouraging and training the players; creating, leading, and linking organizations; and orchestrating building renovations – all of which has put Centre Wellington literally in the theatrical spotlight. Fortunately, Deb is a “moving force” that knows how to attract other doers. So when she departs for her new Michigan home with her businessman husband, Mike, a cadre of strong, creative, and well-organized talent remains to carry on the good work... albeit with a very large gap to fill. A trouper to the end, Deb was almost impossible to interview in late August for this piece, as she moved her college-aged children to their various campuses, prepared to move from her current house, AND began directing her final Elora Community Theatre production, the hilarious 1936 classic, “You Can’t Take It With You”, opening November 13th at Theatre on the Grand. Six performances later she’ll slip away, drive down the 401, cross the


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Detroit River, and begin a new life. But she WILL “take it with her”. She’ll take the benefits of all that hard work: tremendous friendships, created in what she describes as a decade that’s been “very fulfilling – creatively and socially”. Not to mention the best wishes of a lot of grateful friends and admirers in theatre groups near and far. by Bryan Hayter, Summer 1998 UPDATE Debbie moved to Michigan in mid November 1998 only to find that her youngest child, who was attending college in the U.S., had decided he wanted to go to university in Canada. He needed to complete his OAC year to apply. What to do? They looked at Windsor, Ontario, about 30 minutes from the Michigan office, and by the beginning of December had purchased a home there. While attending a concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Deb had a chance encounter with Simon Wynberg, past Music Director of the Guelph Spring Festival. Through him, she became involved with the Ann Arbor Chamber Music Festival in January of 1999. She was on the Board of Directors and assisted with fundraising and publicity, while living in Canada. “I was introduced to many incredible musicians and singers as well as working with a very dedicated Board.” In March of 1999, Debbie Stanson was appointed Marketing Director for the

Windsor Classic Chorale. The Chorale is a 30 member mixed, auditioned choir, which performs regularly with the Windsor Symphony and on CBC. She has met wonderful people through this involvement, including working with three very different and talented conductors. David Buley, the conductor from 2000 - 2002 commuted from Huntsville to Windsor every Monday and would stay with Debbie and her husband every week. There was many a late Monday evening! After five years, this was Debbie’s final season with the choir: “I was elevated to Business Manager in 2000! It has been a great five years, making life long friends, listening to incredible music and creating an Outreach Program for the Choir”. During these last years she has also volunteered at the Capital Theatre and sat on three fundraising committees for the Windsor Essex Hospice. This fall Debbie Stanson plans on taking the much-needed leap back into theatre by working with a local music studio, directing a musical for teens. It will be a huge undertaking but one she looks forward to. The Arts in Windsor can be very much fragmented, unlike Elora. That is life in the big city. “Windsor is now my home, but Elora will always have my heart.”

“Moving force” is the best way to describe her ten-year association with directing, producing, and even writing plays.

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1998

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ROSALINDE BAUMGARTNER FlNE ARTlST AND PRlNTMAKER

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Rosalinde Baumgartner’s talents have been nurtured by experience in a variety of media. In the ‘90s the work of this sensitive and perceptive visual artist is developing sharper focus. Stimulated by her new studio at William’s Mill, Glen Williams, (near Georgetown) Rosalinde is using the fine technique she has developed over the years to explore the expression of inner convictions. In the mid-’70s, Corbett Gray’s studio on Mill Street, Elora, was a gathering place for artists. Reverberations from those days still echo in the memory and artwork of those who came to sketch and paint there, among them Rosalinde Baumgartner. She had first met Corbett in Guelph at the studio of P.D. Wolfond, when she was a student of Fine Art at the University of Guelph. Rosalinde reflects on the dedication, commitment and stimulation found in Corbett’s studio and the focus and inspiration small studios evoke in comparison with larger art schools. Rosalinde’s childhood was spent in Switzerland during the war years. Her Austrian

mother liked to paint, but there was little time. Life was unsettled. Her Swiss father came and went, and Rosalinde lived mostly on a farm, drawing mainly at school. After the war the family returned to Austria, but everything was lost. Coming to Canada in 1960, she lived first in Toronto, then moved to Guelph when her husband came to the University to study Agriculture, and eventually to teach. During this time the Baumgartners, with their three boys, shared a house with an elderly gentleman who was involved in the Guelph arts world. He provided an introduction to a community that corresponded with Rosalinde’s interests, and soon she began to take courses in art at the University. Over the years her interest developed into a voice: a means of communicating her deep love of visual beauty. This was augmented by the landscapes of county life when the Baumgartner family moved to a farm near Belwood. As their sons grew older, Rosalinde found more time and opportunity to explore


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painting, drawing and printmaking. In 1987 she had a solo show of prints and paintings at Guelph Public Library and, in 1990, she won the award for “best print” at a show in the Barber Gallery. Many awards, exhibitions and a degree in Fine Arts followed in succeeding years. Printmaking holds a strong interest for this artist. Rosalinde is now affiliated with Image Matrix Printmakers Association, Mississauga. She has studied lithography with Otis Tamasauskas, and at Open Studio, Toronto, as well as St. Michael’s Printshop, Newfoundland. She has been a teacher at the Springbank Art Centre, Mississauga. A love of the works of Mattise enriches her figurative drawing. Rosalinde believes that she can express emotions best through the human figure – though the moods of natural landscape hold fascination as well. Her recent drawing “Solace” demonstrates the maturity of technique she now brings to a weekly life-sketching studio at Eva McCauley’s Glen Lammond Studio. June 3 to July 5, Rosalinde will have a show at William’s Mill Creative Art Studio, Glen Williams, where 32 artists gather to work and exhibit. The lower floor of the “Mill Run” building houses her space, where whitewashed rough stone walls are broken by a large deep window with squared panes, looking out on a hillside of sturdy trees. Rosalinde’s exhibition will focus on the “power of two” and human form. These are explorations of the compassion and sympathy and depth of vision, which are visible priorities throughout Rosalinde’s work. by Beverley Cairns, Winter 1998

UPDATE Since 1998, Roselinde has had two shows at the Cannington House Gallery in Oakville. In the show “Love and Other Difficulties”, she used the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke as a theme for creativity. This area is one of continuing interest in her development. The other show, entitled “Mansions of Colour”, presented large oil paintings. The show “Gentle Reflections”, at the Williams Mill Gallery, was shared with Guelph sculptor Hanna Boos in 2000. In 2004 Rosalinde exhibited at the Toronto Art Expo. She takes part in many juried exhibitions, such as INSIGHTS and those in Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto. Rosalinde is now working at home in her studio near Belwood. A newly acquired Praga printing press is the fulfilment of a long held wish. She is developing and reworking drawings on this press. Life-drawing studios with Nancy Farrell and at the Elora Centre for the Arts are ongoing touchstones of Rosalinde’s artistic development. Rich changes of style and subject matter have taken place over the years in Rosalinde’s work. We hope someday to follow her evolution through a retrospective exhibition of her work. Rosalinde is represented at the Barber Gallery, Guelph, and Eldon Gallery, Waterloo, Williams Mill Gallery and Cannington House Gallery, Oakville. http://www.artevoke.com

Over the years her interest developed into a voice: a means of communicating her deep love of visual beauty.

Colour image pg 179

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1999

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MARILYN KOOP

I

ARTlST

In some ways, artist Marilyn Koop epitomizes the image of an Elora artist and at the same time defies the common stereotype of artists in general. She is a traditionally trained visual artist and freelance illustrator/ graphic designer, but does not fit the profile of a pretentious “I can get away with being a social boor because I’m involved in the arts” sort of person. Tucked away in her home studio on Carleton Street (does Elora have a Carleton Street?), she works away almost anonymously, yet she is anything but an antisocial hermit. Her influence in town is evident in her threedimensional signage (perhaps you’ve been to “Sweet Tooth and Thyme” or “Magic Mountain”) and it is obvious that she has not bought into the ostentatious style that shouts, “Hey, look at me!” On the contrary, Marilyn is a down-to-earth woman, the wife of a musician, and mother of a 10 year old daughter. Marilyn, who is the youngest of a large Mennonite family, is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art (1979-1982). She spent some 12 years in Toronto, working for the Mariposa Folk Festival and “finding her own voice”. The

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“need to be a member of the arts community” led her to St. John’s, Newfoundland where she pursued a career in commercial graphic design. It was here that she helped found an artist-run gallery named Eastern Edge. Several years ago, Marilyn made a pact never to show her paintings behind glass and in fact to create works of art that do not need framing. “I want my art to be complete in itself, not needing any addition to the presentation.” Many of her paintings are on plywood and explore domestic themes and images in bright colours. In contrast, a recent commission presented her with the challenge of creating a piece for an already existing frame. With ease, she was able to create images that express her own artistic style and, at the same time, complement the ornate, dark frame. As an artist, Marilyn is a designer, and has a preoccupation with domestic space. She believes that interior spaces are personal, and her home is evidence of this idea. “It is a work in progress,” she says. She is constantly experimenting with the relationships of three-dimensional objects. Her home is filled with her artwork – everything


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from hand-painted chairs to vividly coloured kitchen cabinets, to paintings and 3-D art boxes on the wall. Marilyn’s studio is a warm and busy space filled with projects on the go. It includes a table set up for Katie, her daughter, who shows staggering artistic potential. There is a threedimensional aspect to her work that has become a personal trademark, and it was a natural extension to move into public-site art in the form of signage and exterior design. Marilyn has designed the outdoor logos for Elora’s “Magic Mountain”, “Sweet Tooth and Thyme”, “Naomi’s,” and Mill Street’s newest addition, “Sparkles”. As well, she has consulted on interior images and colour schemes for these and other businesses. She has a dream to paint a triptych on the exterior wall of the Post Office in Elora. She imagines three five-foot by five-foot images depicting writing, mailing, and reading letters. The Post Office is enthusiastic about her proposal, especially since it supports Canada Post’s own advocacy of literacy. “My artwork is very contextual – it matters where it ends up,” says Marilyn. She is in search of a way to make site-specific art and looks forward to participating in the EAC’s annual Studio Tour, which takes place in October. She feels that the success of a Studio Tour is that artists can control the context in which their art is viewed. “I value the chance to set up my work and show it the way I want it presented.” Marilyn loves living in Elora and feels that it is the perfect place for artists to work. However, the lack of public art is somewhat disheartening.

“The finest artists in the area are represented elsewhere and this is a mistake. For a town so rich in artistic talent, there should be more art on display.” One hopes that her dream of the Post Office triptych will not only be endorsed financially by the town and Canada Post but also embraced by the local and tourist public audience searching for evidence that art is alive and well in Elora.

My artwork is very contextual – it matters where it ends up.

by Patricia Reimer, Spring 1999 UPDATE After a full year’s effort, Marilyn Koop did convince Canada Post to commission a piece for the Elora post office. Her triptych, entitled ‘The Letter’, was installed in the Fall of 1999 and can be seen on the outer wall. Since then she’s also completed murals for the Kitchener Downtown Development Association and the Waterloo Regional Government. These, and recent paintings and illustrations can be viewed on her website: www.marilynkoop.com. In August of 2004, Koop, along with five other artists, founded Village Idiot Productions, an Elora-based arts production company. They produce live concerts and visual art exhibitions, including “The Idiot’s Ball” and “The World’s Smallest Art Gallery”. For more information about The Village Idiots, visit their website at: www.villageidiots.ca. In June of 2005, Marilyn Koop joined several other artists in a show called “Women’s Work” at the Elora Centre for the Arts. Colour image pg 179

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1999

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MICHAEL HALE

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WRlTER

Michael Hale is known to many as a published author and a member of the community who is dedicated to promoting the arts. He will be a featured reader in the Elora Writers Festival sponsored by the EAC. (Sunday, July 4,’99, 1:00-4:00 PM at the Gorge Cinema in Elora.) Most people would think that this is a remarkable accomplishment, one on which to rest his laurels, but Michael thinks of his creative life as an open-ended journey. With “A Fold in the Tent of the Sky” as one of his signposts, this begs the obvious questions: where did Michael begin, what stops did he make along the way and where is he going from here? Michael Hale was born in Liverpool, and moved to Montreal at the age of seven. He settled in Aurora, Ontario where he spent his later school years. He enjoyed art, painting and comics. In spite of describing himself as “slow to read,” it was during his teenage years that he discovered science fiction — and then books of all kinds. American novelist John Updike became one of his favourite authors, and has become a major influence; Updike’s attention to detail became a benchmark to which he aspires.

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In high school, Michael played guitar in a rock band; he came to revere, among other great guitarists, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. A guidance class test suggested that he pursue his aptitude for writing. This prompted him to study English at the University of Toronto. But music, art and verbal abilities all ranked high among his talents; so from there, he eventually went to The New School of Art and spent three years studying painting, drawing and sculpture in a hands-on apprenticeship program. It was his intention to be a full-time painter and he was successful in several group shows. His painting, like his writing, is filled with intricate detail that appeals to people on many levels. Summer employment at a Toronto publishing company gave him the flexibility to work in the warehouse part time (moving books!) and still paint three days a week. Before long, he was involved in typesetting and graphic design, textbook illustration and writing copy for ads. It was only a matter of time before he formed his own graphic design business, M. J. Hale Graphics. In this age of pre-computer art, many of his clients


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were publishers. When asked to explain the connection between music, art and writing, Michael believes that nature doesn’t discriminate amongst the arts. “It all comes out of the same impulse to express yourself.” He has always kept a journal – a hardbound notebook of ideas. It was the follow-through of some of these ideas that led to his first novel. It was short-listed for the 1984 Seal Books First Novel Contest (under the title “Wakings”). Through a friend who had just started a literary agency, he sold this techno-thriller, about computers and reincarnation, to Avon Books in New York. It was published as “The Other Child” in 1986. His second novel (1992) remains unpublished. It has a non-traditional plot that is difficult to pigeonhole. Recognizing that an artist needs someone to open doors, Michael speaks highly of his current agent. Like a coach-athlete relationship, “an agent must steer you in the right direction without controlling you.” A good agent must possess a good sense of the market and the competition. It is important to be able to “take criticism and act upon it,” says Michael. His third book, “A Fold in the Tent of the Sky” (William Morrow, 1998) is a suspense thriller with elements of the supernatural. The common thread running through his fiction is speculation. He uses the concept of “what if?” to extrapolate to the next level of possibility. It is the job of a good author to create believable, loveable characters who “make you hang on for the ride”. Michael

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believes that the characters dictate the outcome. “If I knew how every chapter turns out, I wouldn’t be interested. To Michael writing is like “daydreaming with a goal in mind”. A good author creates a “fictive dream” for the reader, purging the writing of anything that gets in the way of that dream state. Michael has spent much of the last five years on the road, accompanying his wife, singer Esther Farrell, as she performed in Minneapolis, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis, and Germany. He has found travelling a stimulating experience, but loves to return to Elora. “It is a good, quiet, and peaceful environment for working.” While he believes that he could work anywhere, Michael prefers to have absolute quiet (he often wears headphones or earplugs) — and that fine balance between lots of coffee and a good night’s sleep. When asked if he has any advice for young authors, Michael says, “Just do it (write) as often as you can, every day, if possible.” He knows it is a luxury to be in a receptive position; one must discipline oneself to put creativity ahead of dealing with urgent matters such as phone calls. He reads indiscriminately, being open rather than selective. “Interesting characters and plots can come out of anything,” he says. “You never know what’s going to trigger a connection to something meaningful in your work.” Michael’s fourth book has a psychic detective as one of the characters. He sees his writing career as a stop on the expressive pathway to

other creative ventures. As well as working on his current book, Michael is collaborating with English composer Clement Ishmael on an opera. This is not the first time he has had his words set to music, and Michael is very enthusiastic about the project. What does the future hold for this creative mind? Perhaps a screenplay. Given that he once wanted to be a great guitar player, it would not be surprising to see Michael Hale’s creativity come full circle and embrace the performing arts. by Patricia Reimer, Summer 1999 UPDATE Along with pursuing various writing projects, in recent years Michael has enjoyed sharing what he has learned about the craft of writing. Every summer since 2001 he has taught week-long courses at Centauri Creative Writing and Fine Arts Retreat, in Bethany, Ontario. (“The Plot’s the Thing” in 2001; “Genre-Specific Fiction: Writing for Millions to Read” and “Writing Longer Fiction” in 2002; ‘Writing out of this World: The Art of Science Fiction’ in 2003; and “Writer’s Block and Other Excuses” in 2004.) Michael has also revived his passion for the guitar and has been performing electric blues with various combinations of musicians in and around Toronto. And the circle keeps turning: his latest novel is about Nazi Germany and the early blues of the Mississippi Delta.

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JANET K. SMITH

PHOTOGRAPHER

Originally in conversation with O. Domjan, revised by Janet K. Smith

D

Did you take art in school, or was it something you enjoyed? Art was something that I enjoyed. Both my grandmother and mother did oil paintings. I have done pastels, charcoal, pen and ink drawings and particularly enjoyed pointillism. I was involved with an artist-run gallery in Kitchener many years ago.

Tell us something about the equipment you use. My main camera is a manual 35mm Nikon FM2. I also have an old manual medium format Mamiya. Manual cameras allow me to make my own decisions on exposure and speed to achieve the desired effect I’m after for each image.

Why did you specifically choose photography for expressing yourself, as opposed to staying with drawing or another medium?

Do you do all of your own developing, printing, and so on? Yes, with the exception of developing slides. Temperature control is extremely important and therefore most slides are developed in professional labs. I take these slides and hand print my own Cibachrome prints. Cibachromes are archival prints with incredibly vibrant colours, sharpness and colour saturation. For black and white, I process my own negatives and prints. These prints are then toned using only thiocarbamide-based sepia toner, selenium or gold toners, which like Cibachromes, makes them archival. Archiving is a process that stabilizes

I took a photography course in Fergus. The instructor, Scott Grigsby-Lehmann really inspired me to pursue photography. Along with the basics he also taught me a few tricks. For instance, water...how you can stop the action or you can make it look beautiful and soft, like cotton. He made me take pictures of the same scene at different speeds and I started to get the first inklings of how you could use the camera to express your point of view.

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the print which allows it to maintain its integrity for over 100 years. When did you start doing black and white? I gather colour came first? Yes, I initially started in colour but within a year began working with black and white. I got into photography like anyone else. You know, you take pictures when you go on vacation. I was using colour negative film then. After the Fergus course I switched to colour transparencies, then decided I’d like to explore black and white as well. Would you consider your work to be more abstract or realistic? Abstract, especially for my colour work. I love it when people ask, "What is that?” I’m not attempting to document something per se...I just see things a certain way. I guess one of the things is that you can find beauty in even the most mundane objects. With my black and white work I’m moving away from straight printing to using alternative printing techniques that give a more “painterly effect”.

I guess one of the things is that you can find beauty in even the most mundane objects.

You’re doing a filtering process, only you’re doing it with a camera. You’re effectively editing in the same way a painter does. Yes, but it’s not that simple. A photographer must wait for the light and the subject to be just as you wish it to be... you can not create it the same way a painter could, editing anything that wasn’t just right.

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With photography you “capture” a moment in time. Yes, you can decide how much of the scene to record on film, how much is in focus, etc., but you cannot say, “Remove all the tourists posing in front of the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove”. Film also has its limitations. It cannot record light as the human eye does. The darkroom allows you to work around some of this issue, but not to the same extent as a painter could.

The darkroom allows you to work around some of this issue, but not to the same extent as a painter could.

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Are there any photographers whose work you particularly admire? Yes, John Sexton for straight black and white fine prints, Tim Rudman and Eddie Ephraums for alternate black and white, and finally, Freeman Patterson for colour work. You’re obviously interested in lith printing. What exactly is it? Lith printing is a process where you take normal black and white negatives and then print onto lith paper with lith chemistry. It gives you images that look more like drawings then photographs. (Quote from Tim Rudmans’ book) “Lith printing can be very rewarding but time-consuming and often frustrating.” So true! I love the results, but getting there is another story. The variables with this technique allow for a great range of artistic express but these variables can also lead to your downfall. After three days work, you are ready to pull your final print and out of nowhere, there are random blotches all over the print. Why??? That is lith.

The range of colours you can achieve with this process are stunning...blues, peaches, yellows, olives, various sepia shades and just plain old black and white. Throw in a few toning tricks and your options increase. You can shift the final print colour, intensify it or split tone it. Because of continuous time spent in the darkroom, my frustration level is now lower. The combination of paper exposure, chemistry dilution, chemistry temperature, developer exhaustion and toning are all becoming a little less unpredictable. How do you display your work? Do you have a gallery, do you do shows? I’ve done 17 exhibits to date. I started exhibiting in the fall of 1997, at the Kitchener Public Library. Other exhibits have included the Eldon Gallery in Waterloo, Wellington County Museum, Leyanders in Elora, INSIGHTS and the Studio Tour. I have recently opened my gallery here in Fergus. What are your aims or goals in your art? To sell it. Not something...mmm...normal like self-expression. Obviously, but it has been four years, and I find myself asking, “What am I doing?” My ability to produce far exceeds my ability to sell the finished pieces. It’s a very expensive means of self-expression.


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As someone who is self taught, I have found photography to be very challenging yet satisfying. I have learned a lot and there is still so much to learn. I am very much a traditional photographer and would like to explore more alternative processes. I would also like to dabble in pinhole photography, kind of like search for my roots. Digital photography holds no interest for me at all. Autumn, 1999 UPDATE Janet says, “I have had several more exhibits in Elora, Kitchener-Waterloo, and recently Toronto” but, she says, “alas, the work still keeps accumulating. I have had the great fortune to meet and work with both Freeman Patterson and Tim Rudman. Truly wonderful experiences!” Janet reflects: “I am currently taking a time-out from photography to enjoy my new husband, Oban our puppy, and to work on restoring our century home and gardens. But as with riding a bike, although I have fallen off, I will ride again. My antique and homemade pinhole cameras are calling me!”

I am very much a traditional photographer and would like to explore more alternative processes. I would also like to dabble in pinhole photography.

Colour image pg 178

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ELKE KITRAS

C 132

ENTREPRENEUR lN GLASS

Centre Wellington lost a successful entrepreneur when Elke Kitras succumbed to leukemia on July 27, 1999 after a three-year battle. As co-founders of Kitras Art Glass Inc., Elke and Stephen Kitras established Canada’s largest production glass-blowing studio in Fergus. Although Stephen’s ability to handle molten glass is certainly pivotal, much of the company’s success can be attributed to Elke’s natural entrepreneurial spirit. Elke had an instinctual understanding that people need beautiful things in their lives. As a child she collected shiny rocks from a neighbour’s driveway and peddled them throughout the neighbourhood. As an adult she founded two successful giftware companies, both of which continue to thrive today. According to Elke, “It is the mission of Kitras Art Glass Inc. to design and produce beautiful glass objects for the enjoyment of the general public. It is our belief that beautiful things enhance the enjoyment of everyday life. When surrounded by beauty the spirit is

uplifted. We feel that beautiful objects should be affordable, not only to the elite.” A difficult home life forced Elke to drop out of high school and she spent her early adulthood working as a waitress struggling to make ends meet. She entered university as a mature student, studying ethics and philosophy, concepts that she was later to apply in the business setting. At university she met and married engineering student Stephen Kitras. Elke’s achievements grew from a modest home-based craft business. As a young mother at home with small children, Elke experimented with a series of retail craft enterprises. She finally found success with salt dough Christmas ornaments. In the meantime, Stephen still searched for his calling, until Elke encouraged him to attend a workshop on glass-blowing at the Harbourfront Studio in Toronto. Elke’s teddy bear salt dough ornaments generated sufficient income to support the family and send Stephen to Sheridan College,


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where he studied the art of glass-blowing. This first business experience taught Elke the importance of good product design, efficient production, and consistent quality. One-of-akind artwork is admirable, but Elke realised that to generate consistent income a craft needs to be reduced to a formula that guarantees consistent quality. As her retail salt dough business grew, Elke eventually moved into wholesale trade shows and set up shop in the old firehall in Fergus. Elke began to carry Stephen’s blown glass as an additional line in her booth. Eventually she was faced with the enviable problem of choosing between two booming businesses. She made the decision to let the salt dough business go. (That business continues to flourish today; it is based in Vancouver and still has many of Elke’s original designs.) Elke chose to enter into partnership with Stephen to form Kitras Art Glass Inc. Her natural marketing savvy combined well with his technical design expertise. Over the last six years Kitras Art Glass Inc. has developed a highly successful giftware line including pressed, cast and blown glass products. Under Elke’s guidance, the focus has been on creating beautiful, high-quality glass ornaments priced so that they may be enjoyed by the average person. What began as a one-person operation, with Elke shipping product from the dining room table, is now a busy production studio employing over 30 people. The company does business all over North America, as well as in Great Britain and New Zealand.

Elke wrote, “It is the goal of Kitras Art Glass Inc. to be recognized as an excellent Canadian glass-blowing studio that produces beautiful and affordable decorative glass objects. We strive to foster skill and pride in the glass-blowing by offering opportunities to learn the art and to develop a local tradition for glass-blowing.” Elke was the personification of a ‘90s businesswoman. She managed the household, raised four children, and was an active community volunteer, as well as the driving force behind a successful giftware business. Many people knew her from her work with St. Joseph School, the Centre Wellington Children’s Drama Club, Fergus and District Soccer, the Fergus Flippers Swim Club, the Saultos Gymnastics Club, and the Guelph Synchronized Swimming Club. She led Kitras Art Glass Inc. not only in its creation of a top-quality product, but also in the development of a high standard of customer service. Her prime objectives were always to facilitate sales for her retailers and create a safe and stable work environment for her employees. She and Stephen managed to make artwork that they loved into a financially successful business. Elke Kitras will be missed, but her legacy will survive. In Memoriam by Marion Reidel, Winter 2000

We feel that beautiful objects should be affordable, not only to the elite.

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MELANIE MOREL

M

WEAVER

Melanie Morel has been fascinated by the loom and the art, craft, texture and mathematics of weaving for over twenty-five years. It might seem unlikely that someone who worked in law offices for many years should become a journeyman of the difficult art of weaving. As happens so much in life, her interest arose by pure chance. In l974, Melanie was living in Toronto’s Annex, sharing a house with a group of friends. One of them had a loom, and the complex device and the intricacy of the work it could produce intrigued and attracted Melanie. She assesses herself as the kind of person who tends to look at something and try to figure out how it works. Melanie began to take weaving lessons at the Village Weaver in Toronto. The owners, Robert Cawood and Jan Huk also owned the Schoolhouse in Belwood. In the fall of 1979, Melanie went to Belwood for a weekend retreat to learn about natural dyeing. She was hooked on these new interests and ordered

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her first loom from The Village Weaver – a four harness LeClerc “Fanny”. Over the next few summers she continued to take courses at the Schoolhouse. Robert Cawood provided excellent teaching, good food and a meeting place for fellow fibre spirits. In 1983, Melanie learned that the house next door to the Schoolhouse was for sale. She took the plunge and bought it as a retreat from what she laughingly terms “legal secretaryism” in Toronto. The name she gave her house (and laterally her business), “Bellevue” is a fanciful combination of the name of the village (Belwood) and the “view” of the lake from there. Melanie continued to take weaving courses and attend seminars. One she particularly treasures was Textile Design with William Hodge at O.C.A in 1988/89. This was followed by courses on colour theory and various weaving techniques. She feels, however, that colour sense is, to a large extent, an innate gift or intuition. Melanie also


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attended workshops and found new avenues for tools and yarns at Convergence, a biennial conference on the fibre arts, in Toronto, Chicago, San Jose and Washington, D.C. Melanie had begun to adopt a family of looms – some purchased, some found at garage sales. In 1984 she invested in the “love of her life” loom, an eight harness jack loom, lovingly built by the artisans of Fireside Fibrearts in Washington State. This custommade oak loom, complete with hand carved acorns, came to Belwood that summer. The 1990s brought enormous changes to Melanie’s life and art. She met and married the second love of her life; joined the Elora Arts Council as a volunteer Treasurer and found it to be a doorway to the vast local arts community and to a palette of new friends. She opened a weaving studio and craft/gift gallery on the Boardwalk in Elora. The Millennium year brought floods to the Grand River and a major change in venue. Melanie, her husband Peter and their two dogs, moved into their dream home. A foundation was clawed out of the West Garafraxa clay. Great pine logs from New Brunswick now house them all in quiet tranquillity on 95 acres of pine, tamarack and spruce (future) forest. Here Melanie continues to create her work – now in a loft studio – inspired by the flora and fauna surrounding her. Working mostly in natural fibres – silk, wool, mohair, linen and cotton, with a dash of chenille thrown in – Melanie produces mostly functional pieces for home and body, but

delves occasionally into mixed media pieces for fun and a creative outlet. A recent adoptive mum – of a four-yearold paint Quarter Horse – Melanie hopes her next few projects will be Navaho inspired rugs and custom saddle blankets. She is leaning less toward production weaving and seeking to create more spontaneous one of a kind pieces. Melanie feels her work is becoming finer and more imaginative as the seasons pass. She hopes to watch it grow slowly and steadily like the fir trees outside the windows. by O Domjan, Spring 2000 Updated by Melanie Morel

She feels, however, that colour sense is, to a large extent, an innate gift or intuition.

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‘RIKI’ ULRIKE WEILAND

W

“When I paint I can experience only one

Beverley Cairns at the Gage Sculpture Group

dimension...don’t get me wrong, I love

(a studio with model, started by the renowned

the language of colour and the energy of

Frances Gage). Later she furthered her studies

composition, but there is nothing like being

with Geoffrey Stevens in an advanced

able to express movement and emotion in

sculpture group meeting at the Elora Pottery.

three dimensions. The play of light on the

Riki was urged to enter a few pieces in the

surfaces as one moves around a piece. That

Sculpture Show, and she received such a

is what I love about sculpting.”

positive response that she was encouraged

As a student Riki concentrated on Painting

and Graphic and Structural Design. She

to continue her explorations. Why does she work in clay, rather than

obtained her degree from the Ontario College

another, more traditional medium for

of Art. One of her instructors encouraged her

sculpting? “I like the feeling of the clay as

to continue her formal studies. Riki applied

I manipulate it ...I love the warm textures

to the prestigious Cooper Union in New York

of the finished piece...it is a gentle process

City, winning a scholarship to study painting.

as opposed to welding or carving... perhaps

She graduated in 1963.

I love it because I was not allowed to play

Despite the fact that her father was a

sculptor, she did not come to sculpting until

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SCULPTOR, PAlNTER

with mud as a child.” Not only does Riki create arresting

she moved to Fergus in 1998. She met

figurative sculptures, she enjoys experimenting

Jo-Anne Harder and jumped in to help with

with textures and finishes in her sculptural

the first EAC Sculpture Show, held in parks

pottery. Riki is fascinated with the unpredictable

in central Elora. This inspired her to start

and magic results of various raku glazes. She is

working with clay under the mentorship of

anxious to include found objects in her yet-to-


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be formed creations. Riki has shown her work extensively. Her expressive and fluid figures in clay have been accepted at the INSIGHTS show, and she is currently exhibiting at Davis Canadian Fine Art in Stratford. Her work can be found in a number of private collections. In 2003, Riki moved to Elora, and in partnership with Pauline Groves and Shirley Al, she opened a Studio/Gallery called “Gallery 79” where she creates, fires and exhibits her work. She is also creating a series of large canvases, which she hopes to exhibit in the year 2006. Riki is a highly organized individual which allows her to juggle her artistic career with her many volunteer activities. She believes it is essential, when living in a community that has as much to offer as ours, to make a contribution… that it behoves one to give back to the community. Indeed, Riki is a tireless community worker, volunteering as chair

...there is nothing like being able to express movement and emotion in three dimensions... the play of light on the surfaces as one moves around a piece...that is what I love about sculpting.

of the Elora Arts Council (two terms), Chair of the Insights Committee and Vice Chair of the Studio Tour Committee. Does Riki call herself an artist? “I create art because I have to...it is what I do...it is who I am” Riki is greatly; appreciated as a teacher of clay sculpture at the Elora Centre for the Arts. In 2005 she moved to a small but fascinating studio just off Mill Street east, called “Studio Elora”, shared with clay artists Shirley Al and Jo Lomas. – by Patricia Reimer, Summer 2000 Updated by Riki Weiland

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GEORGE KUIPERS

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FURNlTURE DESlGNER

Working with wood is a life-long passion for George Kuipers. Born in Holland, he was always “banging around with hammers” as a child. His father ran a farm, and as he grew up George had a choice: work on the farm, or do something else. He was no good at milking cows, he says, so the choice was an easy one. At the age of about 15, he began to work evenings and weekends at the local carpenter’s shop. George’s fascination with wood was enhanced by his schooling. He apprenticed at a technical school, on the job four days a week and in class one day. He trained in both woodworking and architectural design, and also took fine art courses in Amsterdam. After finishing his schooling, he worked a couple of years for an architect. At the age of 23, George made the decision to come to Canada. He landed in Toronto, and started work at an architect’s office as an architectural technician or draftsman. Since he couldn’t speak, read, or write English, the job didn’t last very long! He soon landed a job with a construction company as an office estimator.

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Then he struck out on his own – and he’s remained independent ever since, for over 25 years. Living in Toronto, George had to rent space for his workshop and office. In 1996 he moved to the property between Fergus and Belwood where he presently lives. In its country setting, and with its large workshop close to the house, the property was just what he was looking for. Born on a farm, he wanted to “get back to where he came from”. Besides, he says, here nobody can increase his rent. His wife was not so enthusiastic; George jokes that it took ten years to convince her to move out of the city! George now does mainly commercial work. At the moment, he’s finishing the interior of a bagel shop, but he’s more often to be found creating furnishings for churches. He still builds furniture, but seldom develops his own designs any more. When asked why, he remarks that in the present economic and cultural climate there’s little call for them. Creating a design is a labour-intensive process, and George feels that nobody has time to wait nowadays. Clients


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may take half a year to make up their minds about what they want, but then they want it immediately; they don’t have the patience to wait the other half-year that it would take to actually construct the design. As he talks about working with wood, George’s voice grows enthusiastic. He uses cherry and oak for ecclesiastical furnishings. And “just about anything” for furniture: maple, cherry, exotics. Does he have a favourite? George says he prefers native Canadian woods; in fact, he no longer works with most exotics because he has become allergic to the dust. Tropical woods are toxic; many are used in making medicines. Mahogany and zebrawood in particular make him ill. Anyone familiar with George’s elegant, almost spare, perfectly constructed creations in wood will be able to guess at his personal heroes in the world of design. Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh tops the list; George glows when he talks about Mackintosh chairs. The American Frank Lloyd Wright comes a close second. George recounts his visit to Wright’s Oak Park house and studio and how much he enjoyed the whole ambiance. Shaker design and the Bauhaus are further sources of inspiration. George wants his designs to look architectural. Like Wright, he wished to create an entire coherent environment with his built-in cabinetry and furniture. Most people, he laments, no longer live with design; they just want a decorative piece here

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and there. Whether or not a piece fits into its environment doesn’t matter. If people like it, they want it. George emphasises that he designs for himself. He doesn’t want to make anything that he himself doesn’t like. If someone else likes one of his pieces that’s a bonus. George sold furniture of his own design through galleries for a while, in Toronto and Oakville. In his view, the cut taken by the galleries was prohibitive, so that he was making nothing for his time or on materials, which tend to be costly. His handiwork can still be seen at Kaolin Designs in Toronto, which is run by a potter and a sculptor. George builds the furniture designed by the sculptor. He has also returned to another early interest, “to keep his sanity” as he puts it. He recently attended a course on watercolour painting at Sheridan College, and has taken drawing classes with Eva McCauley. Next on the agenda is a course on making monoprints. George is his own harshest critic, regularly holding bonfires of drawings and paintings that fail to meet his exacting standards. He refuses to sell his graphic work, giving away pieces to those who enjoy them. George also maintains that he doesn’t want to exhibit his paintings, drawings, or sculpture, that that work is all done strictly for his own enjoyment: “The pleasure is in the doing, not the keeping.”

UPDATE George continues to design and build his elegant fine furniture for homes and corporate clients, as well as liturgical furniture in his workshop on the Orangeville Road. Quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail are combined with originality. Some examples can be viewed on his website www.kuipers.ca

Shaker design and the Bauhaus are further sources of inspiration.

by O Domjan, Autumn 2000

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2001

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HALBERT GOBER

I

ORGAN BUlLDER

“I love the music and I love to make what makes the music”, says Halbert Gober. What Hal makes are organs…Tracker organs, to be precise. Hal comes from Texas, and it was at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Baytown, Texas, that his infatuation with organs began when he was in his early teens. Hal started to study organ building in 1976, apprenticing in Regensburg, Germany with Georg Jann, in the classical tradition. Upon coming to Canada in 1981, he worked in Mont-St-Hilaire, Québec for an established builder who had played a role in re-introducing the art of building tracker, or purely mechanical organs. Tracker action, the original form of organ action, was utilized from the dawn of the instrument’s history in the Middle Ages, until the early 20th century, when it was eclipsed by electric action, especially in North America. Tracker action refers to the slender strips of wood that connect the keys to the pipe valves, assuring the most direct, sensitive, and dependable link between the musician and the instrument. In 1991, Hal set up shop in Toronto and

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started building handcrafted historical tracker organs. His work is on the cutting edge of design concepts, incorporating the best of the old and the new. “Our instruments draw on the full heritage of historical organ building.” He is quick to note, however, that blind adherence to historical principles does not make great organs; he does not make copies. Hal says with justifiable pride: “Some people assemble parts. We build from scratch. “The challenge is to go into a church and conceive and build an organ which maximises the luscious beauty of the flutes and the vigour and gutsiness of the principals and reed…always within the setting of mainstream music…always within the setting of the specific church.” The location of an organ and the acoustical environment of the space constitute essential parts of the sound system, so Hal’s skill in the proper placement of the instrument is as important as his skill in its construction. Hal’s practical approach to tonal design is based on a synthesis of classical, symphonic, and modern principles. It has allowed him to develop a tonal palette of great variety, in which


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the colour of individual stops is developed to the fullest extent. Hal met an especially interesting architectural and engineering challenge when he designed the organ for the Church of the Good Shepherd in Brooklyn, Ohio. The church has a high ceiling but no balcony, so “We took full advantage of the height of the church by placing a majestically tall, free-standing case over the aisle just inside the double entry doors of the church. This placed the pipes of all three divisions near the ceiling for optimal sound propagation.” Hal made this organ as visually dramatic as its sound. Photos of this organ bring Schelling’s famous words to mind: “Architecture is frozen music…since it is music in space.” Not only does Hal build organs; he also consults on organ pipemaking and voices tracker organs in North America and Europe. In addition, he is the curator of the celebrated collection of more than two dozen organs at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio. Our community is fortunate to have Hal building his magnificent instruments in Elora, at his facility next to Jefferson Elora Corporation plant. This is where Hal melts ingots of tin and casts them into metal sheets, which are then fashioned into pipes. This is where the rough wood is worked and crafted into organ components, where every piece is handcrafted and tested for musicality and dependability. Hal and his wife Laurette Larocque moved to this area five years ago. The

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polyphonic music of nature surrounds their home, perched on the banks of the Grand River in Fergus. What made Hal choose the area? While working in Quebec two decades ago, a Toronto friend mentioned a beautiful small Ontario town and its arts community. When the time came that he no longer enjoyed being in Toronto, he and Laurette started looking around Elora and soon found a house to their liking…though Hal travels a lot in his work. The boy from Texas who builds organs is soft-spoken. He hides a Cheshire cat smile under his beard. Hal is reluctant to speak about himself, but the words flow when he has a chance to expound on the organs he so loves. He plays the organ just well enough to voice it, and has a special affection for that all-important process. Who is Hal’s favourite composer for the organ? Johann Sebastian Bach, of course. As a youth, Hal liked the most robust and energetic pieces, but he has come to appreciate the more subtle works. It is fitting that this perfectionist organ builder should love Bach’s organ music, of which it has been said that it blends science with poetry, technique with emotion, virtuosity with nobility of thought, as no other music has, before or since.

Church in Oberlin, joining that distinguished collection as a teaching organ of the renowned Conservatory. Another just-completed project is the restoration of a 19th century organ for an historic preservation society for St. Patrick’s Church in Lagro, Indiana. That organ had stood unplayed for more than 50 years – vandalized, its pipes sold for scrap and recovered as a pile of twisted metal. All of the skills needed to build a new organ were brought to bear in bringing that instrument back to life.

The location of an organ and the acoustical environment of the space constitute essential parts of the sound system.

by Riki Weiland, Winter 2001 UPDATE Hal’s most recent, and, to date, largest organ, has just been completed for First

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2001

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JANE BALDWIN

T 142

WEAVER

The best thing that can happen to life is an artist. No matter how beautiful things are, a good artist can always make them better. Jane Baldwin was a good artist. Though the accident that took her life in May 2000 ended her creative time, her pieces serve as a constant reminder of just how beautiful art can be. In her youth Jane lived in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Her first love in the world of art was dance, particularly ballet, which she pursued for 10 years. When Jane auditioned for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, she didn’t make the cut because she was considered too short. However, her experience did inspire Burton Cummings, her first boyfriend, to write the well-known song “Stand Tall”! While studying to be a medical lab technician in England, Jane became interested in weaving. She took courses on colour theory and workshops on dyeing and spinning, her mind set on becoming a weaver. Now married, Jane moved to a rural

property near Elora about 20 years ago. Out of necessity (her two sons had allergies to processed foods), she learned to produce all the food for her family, including milk from goats. She excelled at gardening, even winning an award from Harrowsmith. She also began weaving again in earnest. Using three different looms, Jane created what she called her “bread and butter” work: placemats, shawls, and other useful items. Her preference for earth tones, combined with her use of chenille, gives a surprisingly soft and silky texture to these unpretentious, rustic-looking articles. Jane also enjoyed designing her own quilt patterns. She created everything from beautiful, yet practical, bed coverings to wall-hangings that expand the definition of fabric as art. “Ribbon of Confusion” is a large quilted hanging of bold geometric designs in vivid purple. The intersecting shapes are reminiscent of paintings by Kandinsky; even the stitching suggests overlapping squares, triangles, and circles.


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As her creativity evolved, Jane experimented with aspects of framing. In “The Messenger”, fabric forms a natural frame for a rectangular quilt, but shapes playfully extend into the border. Other quilts are framed in wood. The frame tricks the eye, and helps the viewer think of the pieces in a different way. Perhaps the pinnacle of Jane’s artistic career was realised in her fabric collages. Often inspired by nature and working from photos, she planned out her designs, and pinned the fabric together. She experimented with shapes, colours, and textures to create a desired effect. Then, with painstaking care, she hand-stitched the pieces. “Homage to O’Keeffe” is a fabric collage inspired by painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Jane’s tribute can be enjoyed on several levels. The image is not only beautiful visually but is also clever in a spontaneous, fun way. The giant G makes the viewer want to beg for a deeper explanation of the piece. One aspect of Jane’s talent lay in her ingenious choice of fabric. By combining just the right pieces of material, she created art that is rich both close up and from a distance. “The Tooth of Time” is an excellent example. Viewed close up, it makes one want to reach out and touch the material. What is it made of, and how does it feel? Inspection at a distance reveals a solid piece of rock with rushing white water flowing around it; the blue and white swirling fabric creates eye-tricking movement most convincingly. Jane’s fabric collage “Carpe Diem” depicts sky, a field, and a combine. It is characteristic

of this and many other of Jane’s collages that, while the images are clearly based in reality, an abstract freedom invites the viewer to appreciate form and colour for their own sake. Ease of seeing representation doesn’t lock the viewer into seeing only that. In this, one of her last completed works, Jane experimented with exposed, rough edges and partially fastened pieces of fabric. Active in the arts community, Jane belonged to the Guelph Weavers and Spinners Guild, submitted to INSIGHTS, and participated in the Elora-Fergus Studio Tour and Art in the Park. She drew inspiration and joy from nature. Even when she experimented with abstract images, they were firmly rooted in natural forms. She was serious about her work and created in a careful and deliberate manner. She loved texture and colour, pushing them to the limit with a clever sense of playful spontaneity. Jane’s bold, dramatic work is an open invitation to consider fabric art as art. In MEMORIAM by Patricia Reimer, Spring 2001 Many thanks to Jane’s husband Derek Gresham for his time and for his insights into her life and work.

She loved texture and colour, pushing them to the limit with a clever sense of playful spontaneity.

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MICHAEL CRESSMAN

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Michael Cressman does not remember a time when music was not a significant part of his life. He was born into a musical family. The 30-year-old Elora resident currently enjoys a thriving career in musical theatre and is among an elite group of singers that is classically trained. Although getting rich is not on his list of things to do, this young baritone, whose lyrical voice is as memorable as his commanding stage presence, is earning an international reputation as a multi-talented performer. Growing up in the Cressman household was a musical experience. Michael’s mother Janice plays piano and encouraged her youngest son to study the instrument; he took lessons until he was 17. His father Cal (also a baritone) sang in the Glad Tidings Quartet. Michael remembers when the group practiced at his home. Being a member of a contemporary Mennonite family, it was natural to sing and play in the St. Jacob’s Mennonite Church. When he turned 18, Michael began to study

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voice seriously with June Mellenbacher. In high school, he took drama classes and his teenage years were filled with musical theatre productions. By the time he graduated it was obvious that there was only one path for this singer. Michael attended Wilfrid Laurier University from 1991-1996 studying in the voice performance program. Here, he had the benefit of classical music training with an emphasis on serious technical study. His teacher, Dr. David Falk, was an enormous influence on the young baritone. Students of the famous vocal pedagogue not only learn about music, they get a thorough grounding in vocal physiology and career-lasting technique. Although Michael loves all genres of vocal music, his interest was opera. He pursued post-graduate studies in opera at Laurier and began subtly to make the transition to his first love – musical theatre. Upon graduation, Michael gave himself five years to “make it.” He performed the part


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of Papagano in “The Magic Flute”, and was in a production of “West Side Story” at the Centre in the Square. At this point, he was not an equity member and had no representation. A lucky break got him an audition at the Shaw Festival and his performance in “Chocolate Soldier” caught the attention of Bruce Dean of The Talent House (a management company out of Toronto and New York City). This talent agency represents artists whose strengths lie in musical theatre, TV commercial and film acting. Michael considers himself fortunate to have this professional connection. Tenacious hard work combined with a rich, resonant voice, and arresting stage presence has catapulted him onto the international stage. He has never looked back. Michael was part of the US Broadway touring cast of “Les Miserable”. This four-month job took him to a new city every week and was vocally and physically exhausting. Although it was a great addition to his resume, he declined the opportunity to continue and sought out a more relaxed setting: cruise ships! For eight and nine months at a time, he has, together with other singers and dancers, provided entertainment for cruise line passengers. The flashy Las Vegas style show is a lot of fun and he loves the traveling. “I didn’t mind being a big fish in a little pond in a big ocean!” Once his duties even included acting as assistant cruise director – a role that he embraced with artistic flare. When asked about the connection

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between opera and musical theatre, Michael says that if you can sing opera you are prepared to sing anything. He appreciates his classical training because it enables him to learn music quickly and to recognize the signs of vocal fatigue. At university, he studied “Acting for Singers” and says it helped rid him of the stiffness that is characteristic of many concert singers. Although he has done some straight dramatic roles, he prefers to combine his talents. He is the first to admit that dancing is not his greatest strength, but has worked hard to add this dimension to his artistic abilities. He enjoys working with choreographers to create believable characters that come alive on stage. His current role in “The Magic of Mozart”, at the Port Dover Lighthouse Festival Theatre, demands that he juggle. “I’ve never juggled before, but what the heck, you do what it takes!” Michael loves living in Elora. “It’s a great artistic community with a smalltown feel to it.” His future includes more of the same. There are musical opportunities at Stratford and Shaw and ultimately Broadway. Although living in New York is not something he considers a long-term option, he would embrace the challenge of working at the top of his field. In his spare time, he enjoys playing piano, cooking, knitting, reading and going to concerts. He is fascinated with dance and has an interest in fine art. Michael’s advice to young singers is to

stay in school and earn a degree. The professional music world needs well-rounded performers who will not burn out. “Also, you should audition everywhere and learn how to juggle!” by Patricia Reimer, Summer 2001 UPDATE Michael Cressman no longer lives in Elora. Hopefully he is singing in some glamourous setting, and enjoying it with his usual verve and vitality.

Tenacious hard work combined with a rich, resonant voice, and arresting stage presence has catapulted him onto the international stage.

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DAVID EARLE

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DANCER, CHOREOGRAPHER

It is a tribute to our community that a person of David Earle’s depth of perception and vision has chosen Elora as his home. He loves the river and its stone buildings reminiscent of the old world of Europe and pioneer days in Canada. Elora, David reminds us, is an area rich with natural wonder, a place that was sacred to people before us. It should not be treated simply like a playground. The value of beauty goes beyond that. “I’ve paid attention to everything, all my life.” This statement opens the door to an understanding of the remarkable career of David Earle, pioneer of modern dance in Canada, esteemed teacher and master choreographer of over a hundred works. Honoured by many awards, including the Order of Canada, David continues to be a man of refreshing directness, simplicity, and spirituality. He writes: “I am not interested in that which is new as much as I am in what is true.” It was this truth in movement which drew

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him to modern dance. In the words of his mentor Martha Graham, “I wanted significant movement. I did not want it to be beautiful or fluid. I wanted it to be fraught with inner meaning, with excitement and surge.” David studied acting at Ryerson, followed by four years of study on a scholarship at the National Ballet School. During this time he saw the Lithuanian dancer, Yoni Kvietys, performing the Laban technique in Toronto. Modern dance had seldom been seen in Canada at that date, and the power of the idiom to convey emotion opened vast horizons of personal expression to David. He trained with Yoni Kvietys and performed with her company before leaving Canada in search of other teachers. He first explored this new vocabulary of movement at the American School of Dance. It was here that José Limón made the statement that set the direction for David’s future teaching: “Of course, we cannot teach you how to dance in six weeks, but we


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can hopefully give you back something of yourselves.” At the same time David met the greatest influence on his career, Martha Graham, a dancer whose innovative and humane physical language remains the basis of his work to this day. David is counted in that seminal generation of artists inspired and trained at Graham’s New York studio on 63rd Street who have changed dance throughout the world. Later, when David was dancing with the José Limón Dance Company in New York, an extraordinary opportunity came to work in London, England. The Martha Graham Dance Company was touring in Britain, but Graham’s style, spirit, and social values were not understood. However, a wealthy recluse, Robin Howard, was so moved by the performances that he re-engaged with life, offering to establish the struggling dance company in London at his expense. Graham, whose identity was strongly American, felt unable to accept the offer. Howard then financed the London Contemporary Dance School and Company, which espoused Graham’s concepts. David joined the new company, later becoming assistant to director Robert Cohan. The late ‘60s saw many Canadians dancers return from abroad to share the evolving performance scene in Canada; David also returned to Toronto. In 1967, he joined with Peter Randazzo and Patricia Beatty to present “Fragments”, a work to a score by Martha Graham’s conductor Eugene Lester, choreographed by Peter Randazzo and

My dancers have always been individuals, powerful and clear. They have touched people profoundly on every continent.

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I’ve spent my whole life sharing and collaborating. Now the time is very limited, the wisest use of my last years would be to devote them to my own vision.

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presented by Patricia Beatty’s New Dance Group of Canada. It was enthusiastically received. In response, David, Peter Randazzo, and Patricia Beatty co-founded the Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT) in 1968. Theirs became the first Canadian company to devote its training and repertoire exclusively to modern dance. Canada loved them. “There was a growing appetite for more freedom of expression,” David says; “this was the ‘60s, and people were experimenting with consciousness”. The eight dancers of the TDT toured internationally, electronic music was introduced, and only original choreography was presented. In 1979 David initiated the TDT Professional Training Program, and in 1987 he was appointed sole artistic director of the company. He writes: “My dancers have always been individuals, powerful and clear. They have touched people profoundly on every continent.” Interwoven with these developments has been David’s prolific creation in dance choreography. He recounts how, when he was about four years old, he loved to take handfuls of buttons from the bins at his father’s Toronto button factory. He would bring them home and form patterns with them, designating roles through style and colour, moving them about as he later patterned his choreography. Even today he will cry “Stop!” as he drives along the road and sees a grouping of cows or a pattern of trees latent with potential for his work. Each choreographic creation has a corresponding

journal filled with handwritten notes, texts of inspiration, and images from his own rich photography and other visual sources, ancient and modern. In 1996, David left the TDT. It was a painful departure. He felt that the institution, the establishment, had taken over. But his great repertoire of choreography remains his alone, to set on his newly founded company Dancetheatre David Earle, or any group he deems worthy of its authentic interpretation. “I’ve spent my whole life sharing and collaborating. Now the time is very limited, the wisest use of my last years would be to devote them to my own vision.” The first performance of his company was at the Elora Festival in the summer of 1997, and they have performed constantly ever since. David views recent changes in his life as an energizing rebirth. His soft, thoughtful voice and calm exterior mask a drive to create, consolidate, and teach. His breadth of association in the world of dance and music brings many commissions, and recording his original works on film is a project just begun. In the present effort to establish a physical centre for the arts in the old Elora Junior School building, David is a moving force, urging us to seek quality and strong identity. Dance must take its place as one of the roots of this endeavour. The potential of the spacious third-floor room of the school, with its huge windows and hardwood floors, leads his ever-creative spirit to plan and dream. Of his own future David says: “When birth and death and love are out of


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fashion, then I’ll know that my work is no longer relevant.” by Beverley Cairns, November 2001

“Life is full,” David says. His projects seem too many to count. Commissions lie ahead. Queen’s University honoured David with a Doctorate of Law degree in June 2004.

UPDATE In June 2004 David Earle gave a Convocation Speech at Sheridan College in which he endeavoured to express in words the wellsprings of his silent art. He affirms, “The ability to achieve the exceptional is worth all the hours, days, weeks, months and years of effort.” David is greatly influenced by the visual, deriving inspiration from images, paintings and cinema, and keeps his camera close at hand. His photography is frequently exhibited. He continues to explore the expressive potential of the human body through Dancetheatre David Earle, which now make its home at Temple Studios in Guelph. Unfortunately, because of problems of commuting, he no longer lives in Elora. A book will be published on all David Earle’s choreographic works, so, as he says – all his children will be known and all be described. In July 2004, he received an award from the Canada Council of ten thousand dollars for his project to create, recover and record the lifelong relationships that have been his greatest reward. David gives this message, “Every moment is a miracle. To learn to take possession of it, that is the task”. And, “Care passionately – take a stand. Share your existence in Life and in Art.”

...the ability to achieve the exceptional is worth all the hours, days, weeks, months and years of effort.

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LINDSAY GRATER

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PAlNTER, PRlNTMAKER AND lLLUSTRATOR

Lindsay Grater was born in Cambridge, England. She has known since childhood that she was destined for the reclusive life of an artist. Lindsay recalls spending time alone with a pencil and paper, perfectly content to draw. Little did she know then that her “drawings” would capture the imagination of children and adults alike. She came to Toronto in 1972 in search of a new environment. Working as a production assistant for The Canadian Magazine, her destiny became clear. “Working on the edge of the art department brought out the frustrated artist in me.” She took some courses and time to assemble a portfolio and applied to the Ontario College of Art. She was accepted into the Fine Art department in 1976 and graduated with her diploma in 1980. Meanwhile, she married and started a family (she has two sons, Toby and Ben). Although her studies at OCA were focused mainly in the field of drawing, painting and print making, she did take a few illustration

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courses. This came in handy because she was able to work at home as a book illustrator. This is a difficult field to break into. Just because many children’s books are appealing in their simplicity, doesn’t mean that illustrating them is an easy job. One look at her intriguing illustrations and it is obvious that a great deal of research and thought goes into each page. She provided the art for 10 children’s books including “Cat and Mom’s “, published by Scholastic and Annick’s “Anna’s Red Sled”. In addition to these, there are four titles for which she is credited as author and illustrator. Her pictures are bright, colourful and the result is a perfect marriage of text and illustration. She is represented by The Transatlantic Literary Agency. As her children became more independent, she attended Sheridan College. Lindsay has always had a fascination with textiles as evidenced by her beautiful quilts, which hang on her walls. “Fabric is like paint you can cut out and hand-stitching is like drawing.”


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Indeed, she considers each project a unique challenge presented by particular materials – like a mini personal battle. “You can’t move on to the next until you pass the test.” As her domestic responsibilities subsided, Lindsay felt the increasing need to produce a creative body of work. “It’s not impossible to combine family tasks with serious artistic endeavours, but it is very difficult.” Stimulated by the need to work privately, she purposefully sought out this geographical area. “I realized that I didn’t need to live in Toronto to do what I do.” She has a great appreciation for quiet time and intentionally embraces a simpler, slowerpaced lifestyle. Lindsay has resided in Fergus since January 2001. She enjoys the artistic community but mostly loves it because it is her arts refuge. “A perfect day for me is one where I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything.” When asked how she would spend her day, she smiles and admits that she always has several projects on the go. As she prefers natural light, light levels often dictate her agenda. Lindsay enjoys working in watercolours, and etching, and has recently become interested in oil painting. “Working with oils is spontaneous, far more forgiving – a whole new toy to play with!” She searches for something real as a departure point (often using still life subjects) and then allows the images to evolve. She has shown at INSIGHTS and was the 2001 winner of the Breadalbane Inn Award. Currently, her work can be purchased at the

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MacDonald-Stewart Gallery in Guelph, at “Siren” in Elora and at “Davis Wood Sculpture” in Elora and soon Stratford. Although Lindsay thrives on long stretches of uninterrupted time, she also feels the need to “exercise my social muscles”. She is a successful teacher/workshop leader and enjoys the challenge of inspiring new groups of people. This summer she will be one of the featured instructors at the Southampton School of Art, the Tom Thomson Gallery in Owen Sound, and our own Wellington County Museum Art Workshops. Lindsay is a no-nonsense, down-to-earth person who is motivated by a genuine need to create. While she believes that “doing it” is as important as the final product, for her, unfinished work represents a kind of failure. She acknowledges the fact that in the grand scheme of things, the creative process is non-essential and in a way selfindulgent, but feels a personal need to do it anyway. “There is an addictive quality to my artistic output.” She never apologizes for her work and resists the urge to explain it. Her drawings are filled with skilled detail and her painting is rich in texture and colour; they completely lack the need to be intellectualized. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the artist in her own setting and view her work at the Studio Tour, October 5-6, 2002.

UPDATE Lindsay is now living in a converted rural schoolhouse east of Mount Forest with Christopher Andrew. Enjoying the tranquillity of Grey County. She has illustrated several more books, including “One Hundred Shining Candles” by Janet Lunn, and a book on the history and lore of bells: “And Round Me Rings” by Ann Spencer. She has been teaching some drawing classes at the Durham Art Gallery. Lindsay has discovered new opportunities, including having a show of prints and paintings at Left Side Gallery in Flesherton. She took part in the 2004 Autumn Leaves Studio Tour, but retains links with Fergus and Elora, participating in Art By The Yard at the Elora Centre for the Arts, and giving a talk with illustrations at the CANSCAIP show at the Centre in 2004.

by Patricia Reimer, Spring 2002

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ADRIAN HOAD-REDDICK AUTHOR, TEACHER, WEB DESlGNER

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What happens when you combine a word junkie with a computer enthusiast? You get Adrian Hoad-Reddick, a man whose passion for the written word has merged with his expertise in computer technology on the information highway. This Elora resident is an English teacher, an author of prose and poetry, the owner of his own Internet consulting company, and the recent creator of several interactive websites that promote reading and writing. Permeating all of his creative work is a witty sense of humour. Adrian received a Masters of Education from the University of Toronto (computer applications in education) and has had over 15 years of teaching experience in four independent schools. He moved to Elora in 1996 from Hamilton, where he worked as the acting principal and an English teacher at the Mississauga campus of the Toronto French School. He was attracted to Elora because of its beautiful environment and enjoys kayaking and spending time outdoors. He has two children: Kate is 13 and Matthew is 11. His wife Susan

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teaches Grade 1 at Arthur Public School. Currently, Adrian is head of the English department at St. John’s-Kilmarnock School near Breslau, but this is only one of many things that keep this industrious creator busy. Adrian loves to write and to inspire other young writers. He enjoys writing form poetry; e.e.cumings is one of his favourites. “I sit down to write prose and poetry comes out. “Poem Repair Shop” is the name of his novel in progress. It is set in Elora and chronicles the humorous story of a bookstore and its three unlikely and diverse owners who struggle to keep the store afloat. “Poem Repair Shop” is also the online headquarters for the Writers’ Craft course at SJK, developed and maintained by Adrian. Here, at this password-protected site, students use online portfolios to post their writing. Students receive feedback from their instructor and comments from their colleagues. Adrian is committed to promoting creativity and literacy and this is one of the ways that he encourages young people to engage in the act of writing.


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Adrian also loves to read. He is the creator of BookHooks.com. This website is “a unique on-line forum that puts kids in charge of creating their own Internet book reports.” The colourful, engaging site is ad-free and user friendly. It is supported by the Canadian publishers Kids Can Press and Raincoast Books and strives to promote Canadian authors and books. “It is a free book report tool kit that gives students from K-12 the opportunity to publish their own literary commentary.” The site has received over 260 illustrated book reviews from children all over the world, including Australia, Israel, thirty U.S. States and all across Canada. Adrian publishes his own book reviews under the pseudonym Paige Turner. In addition to the book reports section, BookHooks contains games and literary resources for students such as “Write Away,” a series of writing exercises for middle school students designed by Guelph teacher and author Jean Mills. There is even a section to help children overcome writer’s block. When asked what happens if students try to download someone else’s report and hand it in as their own, Adrian replied, “There is a mechanism in place to aid teachers to check for stolen reports. When Adrian receives a new entry, he gives it a brief run-through, to check its legitimacy, and then posts it. Children can log onto this website to find out more information about a book they would like to read, to publish their own thoughts and to offer comments on other

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kid’s opinions. If you love to play with words, just type in hoadworks.com to find educational, challenging and fun puzzles. Avocabo is a series of fun games designed to enhance high school students’ vocabulary. Wordly-Wise is a listserver that has been delivering word games since February 1995. By simply entering your email address in the subscribe section, you will receive a word puzzle a day. Everything from challenging crossword puzzles, to word manipulation games to vocabulary-building quizzes will entertain and educate you. When asked when he finds time to author all of these word games, Adrian just shrugs and smiles. “I love to play with words!” Adrian is enthusiastic about syndication and publication of his crosswords and puzzles in the future. As well, the completion of his much anticipated novel is a priority. Promoting the arts in Centre Wellington is high on his list of interests. He would like to see the Elora Writers’ Festival develop an audience size that is proportional to the richness of this artistic community. He knows Elora is an inspirational place for writers and wonders if there is a place in the community for a writer’s group. by Patricia Reimer, Autumn 2002 UPDATE There are dangers inherent in long summer holidays. For the chronically creative, the summer is a breeding ground

for new ventures… Adrian Hoad-Reddick has been busy, getting more and more involved in the Guelph-based Canada’s Fiction Magazine for Teens, “What If?” Adrian has helped to redesign the magazine. He contributes word games, edits the book review section and produces the cover art. As an offshoot to “What If?”, Adrian is producing a weekly radio show, “The Poem Repair Shop”, on CFRU radio, 93.3 in Guelph. The radio show (which is set in a fictitious book store within the Mill Street Mews) includes readings, interviews, great music and an events calendar. The show will soon move to an hour-long Live! Timeslot on Thursday nights, 9-10 p.m. Adrian has also started a writing school for aspiring writers, ages 12-19. The Elora School for Young Writers has started its first session of courses, and welcomes new students

Permeating all of his creative work is a witty sense of humour.

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DOROTHY COLLIN

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Dorothy Collin has a burning desire to create. This would be true even if she limited her creativity to quilting, knitting, and sewing (which she loves to do). However, Dorothy is also a potter. Dorothy and her husband George live in a beautiful century stone house on the outskirts of Fergus, where they moved upon retirement. Maplecrest Farm is not only a Bed and Breakfast, but also the location of the studio where Dorothy spends weeks at a time turning lumps of clay and powdered chemicals into beautiful pieces of art. Dorothy has a degree in Home Economics from the University of Guelph. It was while she was working on fruit and vegetable research that she sought a creative outlet. When asked why she chose pottery – why not something like bridge? – she replied, “I do that too!” Although she considers herself self-taught, Dorothy has taken many courses over the years at art schools, including Sheridan and Haliburton. A highlight of her life in pottery

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was a trip to Japan during which she was invited to visit the studios of artists and observe their creative process. Their attention to detail and luminous glazes remain a major influence on her work. In 1997, Sue Warden, host of the television show “Craftscapes”, filmed a segment featuring raku. Dorothy, together with Eleanor Hendricks, demonstrated this special low-fired procedure. Dorothy’s pottery ranges from functional kitchenware – one-of-a-kind mugs, platters, bowls, casserole dishes, and other glazed pieces (she has several complete dinner sets to her credit) – to garden art such as bird baths, wall planters, and toad houses. One particularly lovely lamp base features clay thrown on the wheel married to hand-build segments. As a personalized wedding gift, Dorothy was asked to create a platter displaying all the guests’ signatures. Original glazes and unique shapes characterize her work. Her decoration is loose in style, and her use of negative and positive space is engaging. The earthy unpretentiousness of her pieces mirrors her own personality.


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Dorothy acknowledges the importance of getting to know your clay and glazes. To this end, she is very methodical about her process. She keeps a record of how different types of clay react to different temperatures and durations in the kiln. Her glazing recipes read like a science lab report. So organized is this artist that she keeps an album of all her shows and accomplishments, not just for interested customers but to track her creative course. Dorothy is currently a member of Fusion, the Ontario Clay and Glass Association, and is a founding member of the Mississauga Potter’s Guild. She has been involved in the artistic life of the local community for the past ten years. She is an active member of the Elora Arts Council, giving many volunteer hours to the Studio Tour committee. The EloraFergus Studio Tour is held each year in the fall with studios open to the public. These self-conducted tours are excellent opportunities to meet the artists, see them at work, and purchase art for your collection. One of the things that attracted Dorothy to working with clay is the element of mystery. “I like surprises,” she admits. Whether it is experimenting with new formulae for glazes, dealing with the unpredictability of how the clay will react in the kiln, or the creative process of hand-building her own pieces, Dorothy never says no to a challenge.

The earthy unpretentiousness of her pieces mirrors her own personality.

by Patricia Reimer, Summer 2002 updated by Dorothy Collin

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2003

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JO-ANNE HARDER

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ARTlST lN METAL

Each day after breakfast Jo-Anne Harder works in her studio, located in the barn beside her square-cut log country home. A regular schedule helps to deepen the focus of her work in metal, a medium requiring large blocks of time. Recently her metalworking space has been partitioned from the large woodworking shop of her husband, builder Ed Harder, providing her with a private studio. Inside, a 6 x 9 foot work-in-progress dominates the room, with copper, zinc and steel reflecting the cool winter light from the window. Carefully placed panels of varied shapes make up the structure: a large tapestry in metal, awaiting definition and detail. A band saw, welding equipment, boxes of metal scraps, files of drawings and pots of paint are tools waiting at hand. Through a door, a small showroom houses many of Jo-Anne’s elegant metal sculptures. A small courtyard leading off this room has been planned for the spring. It will provide an outdoor display area under natural light for sculptural pieces to be viewed by appointment, or during the yearly EAC

Studio Tour. Jo-Anne’s growing reputation as a metal artist is likely to draw visitors and clients. Since the spring of 2002, Jo-Anne has been working on her second large commission. The purpose of this privately funded piece is to explore, through a series of panels, the every day life of Mennonites and the beliefs, history and religion, which have formed Mennonite society today. The large panel, made mostly of sheet copper, appears like a giant metal collage. It will be housed in the new atrium of Conrad Greble College, home of Anabaptist studies in Waterloo. The commission is to be completed for the atrium’s inauguration this autumn. While researching the project, Jo-Anne has learned much about her own roots in the Mennonite Community. Because of their strong beliefs in peace and justice and their refusal to serve in armies, the history of Mennonite communities has been one of persecution and survival. Jo-Anne’s parents were driven from Russia by the Communist regime in the 1920s, and prior to that time, had left Holland. They settled in Canada on a


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farm near Niagara-on-the-Lake. Recently Jo-Anne has studied photo etching on metal to be able to enrich her project with historical portraits and photos of Mennonite immigrants. She will also combine techniques of intaglio, metal attachments, printing, painting, and use polishes to modify the subtle colour tones of metals. For instance, she will attach a print plate for the music of a song that was sung by Mennonites when they finally got beyond the Latvian Red Gate, on being expelled from Russia in 1924. As a child in her father’s workshop on the Mennonite farm, Jo-Anne was encouraged to build: “I always loved to work with my hands, to feel surfaces and textures. My interest in metal art was stimulated by interesting shapes of pieces of metal lying about the barn. I still learn on the job, starting from shapes that exist – putting down and taking away.’’ She was given freedom and space and raw materials and tools. “Also, my mother was very visual,” Jo-Anne says. “She taught us how to see. If we were driving in the country we were required to look at the scenery, so we could appreciate it in every way.” During the years when her own children were growing up, Jo-Anne was a weaver and fabric artist. Her involvement in metal work is an extension of the wall hangings she created then. When she learned welding from a neighbour, she felt the sky was the limit. She received her first large commission three years ago, when asked to design a piece which would honour workers at the Fergus

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plant of Wolverine Ratcliffs Inc. Jo-Anne believes that culture is important for the health of a society – If we have an emotional response to art, music, literature, this will have an impact on how we live our lives; how we treat one another and our environment, and even how we view ourselves. If children can be exposed to art from day one – not only creating, but learning how to see and appreciate the world around them, they will also learn compassion and respect. Though travel has broadened Jo-Anne’s experience, and she no longer lives in a tightly knit Mennonite society, her sense of community is still strong. “I feel I would like to do my part to make this a good place to live for others.” Of her present life, so closely integrated to her art, she says, “Every day when I walk to the studio I stop and think, how lucky can a person be! I feel so for people who have great frustrations in their lives.” Jo-Anne has contributed strongly to the Elora Arts Council, first through serving on the INSIGHTS Committee for five years; after this she was the Chair of the Arts Council for three years and many innovative projects were undertaken through her imaginative leadership. Two years ago, with the formation of the Cultural Committee of Centre Wellington Council, we asked Jo-Anne to be our special representative. Her term on this committee will end in December. She brings a sense of steadiness, perception and high standards to every

community involvement. This year Jo-Anne is once more on the INSIGHTS committee, and looks forward to planning for the 25th anniversary in 2004. by Beverley Cairns, Winter 2003 UPDATE The large copper wall sculpture was installed at University of Waterloo in November 2003. Since then, there have been other similar commissions and up coming shows to work toward. Jo-Anne is able to spend more time than ever in the studio and continue to explore the seemingly endless possibilities of metal itself.

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ROBERT EVANS

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COMPOSER, POET, PHOTOGRAPHER

Some people hear the name Robert Evans and associate it with photography. Others think of Evans, the composer. Still others know him as a retired music teacher. He is all of these and more. This talented creator has been an Elora resident for the last twelve years and has distinguished himself not only as a prolific creator but also as the man who likes to go for walks in winter wearing shorts. Robert was born in Toronto in 1933. Although his father Gordon was not musical, his mother Nelda encouraged him to sing. His first musical memories involve singing in John Hodgins’ choir at Grace Church on the Hill. Here he learned to sing, read music, and play the piano and organ. At the young age of eight, he sang for Sir Ernest MacMillan. As a teenager, he got a job playing piano in a dance band. His parents had a cottage in Muskoka, and at that time it was a regular occurrence for big band greats like Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and others to perform at the dance halls.

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“Everyone could afford it back then, and I listened and learned by osmosis. I experienced the joy in music.” He attended the Faculty of Music at U of Toronto from 1954-58. There he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Glenn Gould, Jon Vickers, Harry Somers, Teresa Stratas, and others. “Of course nobody was famous yet, but we all learned together.” His earliest compositions date from this time. Robert’s first job out of university was teaching strings at a junior high. After modest success, he was promoted to the Head of Music at Victoria Park Secondary School. “These were great years and I still get together with my colleagues.” It was a fortunate time to be a music teacher because the atmosphere was enlightened and the limitations for experimentation almost non-existent. In 1965, Robert became the Assistant Coordinator of Music for the North York school district. This was the perfect position for him because he had the opportunity to develop curricula that


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he had already tested in the classroom. He enjoyed sharing his experience with teachers in a consultative role. In 1970, he bought his first camera. He received a Canada Council Grant to study contemporary music for young people. After a year’s trip to England, Warsaw and Prague he settled in the South of France and began to experiment with light in photography. Most of his pictures were landscapes taken with natural light. He was interested in getting closer to the spiritual essence of nature, hoping to “see things with different eyes”. All the while he was writing music. He studied composition privately with Samuel Dolin who encouraged him to explore new directions. John Weinzweig and Harry Somers were also significant influences. His last years in teaching were not as enjoyable due mainly to the demographic changes that caused the arts to take a back seat to more “practical” concerns. Robert believes that humanity is gained through contact with the arts. Armed with this personal creed, and because writing was beckoning, he took early retirement in 1989. He headed for Auckland, New Zealand where he taught a five-month stint in a private college. Many photos came from his travels to South Island, Fiji and Hawaii. In May of 1991, Robert settled in Elora and began to learn how to market himself as a composer. Taking risks is inherent in the arts. “You have to put money out to make money.” His compositions have garnered several awards including first place in the Amadeus Choir Christmas Carol Competition. Subsequently,

Robert believes that humanity is gained through contact with the arts.

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I love tangents and find that the lines that don’t go straight are often much more interesting.

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this exuberant, syncopated carol “Ring-a-theNews” has been recorded five times. In 1996, he hosted a three-day festival at the Wellington County Museum. “A Flourish of the Arts; In Your Own Back Yard” was a series of four concerts that sought to demonstrate the interaction of the arts. The combination of 22 artists, composers, singers and instrumentalists was inspiring and when asked about it, Robert says, “I did it because no one else had done it yet and it needed to be done.” His association with St. John’s Anglican Church has deepened his faith. Many of his compositions are sacred including “Shalom”. This vocal piece which uses the word for peace in 32 languages is a cappella, save for a pedal D tone, wind chimes and a drum. With this piece, Robert makes a profound political statement: occasionally hate intervenes, but it is always squashed by peace. Often inspired by tragic events, he wrote “Kyrie in MEMORIAM” in response to September 11. In 1998, he was commissioned by the Toronto Children’s Choir to write a cantata. His response, “For the Children”, won the National Choral Award. The exhibition “Passages” held at the Wellington County Museum, in 2003, included “Carved by the Sea”, a CD of “Cantata 4”, with the Tactus Vocal Ensemble. A handmade leather book of photographs and poetry attempted to break down the barriers between the arts to make “vital connections”. Robert considers this past decade to be the richest time of his life. He considers himself lucky because when he reaches a point in his

creating where the next idea isn’t coming, he turns to writing poetry or shooting pictures knowing that in an hour or a few days, the path will emerge. “I love tangents and find that the lines that don’t go straight are often much more interesting.” Every year, he vacations in France. He calls this his “what if ” time. It allows him the chance to explore new voices, and to look at new ideas. He comes home to Elora with a deepened understanding of who he is. “When I come to understand who I am, then I can offer others something to think about.” For more information including examples of his photography, log onto his interesting personal website www.evansartworks.com by Patricia Reimer, Spring 2003 UPDATE In 2004, “Song of Becoming” for chamber orchestra was accepted at the Saskatoon Symphony Festival of New Music. Evans was announced as grand prizewinner in the Outside the Bach’s Choral competition in Fort Worth, Texas. In March Evans was finalist in the Mattia Poetry Competition. The score, notes and CD of “For the Children – Cantata 2”, were accepted by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre for their exhibition and archives. His Cantata “Bridges” was based on the poems of youth at Portage (near Salem, ON), Quebec and Nova Scotia, following their journeys from alcohol and drug addiction through rehabilitation, hope and redemption.


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In July 2004 he wrote “Ghost of the Gorge” for the Elora Festival’s new Children’s Voices Programme. IN MEMORIAM March 10, 2005, Robert Evans died after living the most creative period of his life in retirement from teaching. He enjoyed new commissions, broadcasts, new recordings of his work by Tactus, as well as winning photography and poetry awards. He will be missed in our artistic community. His piano is willed to the Elora Festival, and fittingly will be played at many coming concerts. His funeral at St John’s Church, Elora, was unique and unforgettable. The combined choirs of the Elora Festival Singers and the Parish Choir of St John’s Church sang five of Robert’s original compositions.

When I come to understand who I am, then I can offer others something to think about.

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ANITA STEWART

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TRAVEL WRlTER & CULlNARY ACTlVlST

One’s first impression of Anita Stewart is of boundless energy and enthusiasm...she exudes a passion for life and particularly for her favourite subject – Canadian cuisine. She refers to herself as a Culinary Activist and is the founder of Cuisine Canada. Anita is working on her Ph.D. and she shared her thoughts with me. She not only loves the tastes, aromas and sensual beauty of food, she also sees it as a philosophical and cultural experience...the following quotation is one of her favourites: ‘We are already one. But we imagine that we are not And what we have to recover is our original unity What we have to be is what we are.’ She believe that food is at the heart of what we are as a culture and of how we express our culture. Anita is considered one of Canada’s premier food writers and authors, and is the first recipient of the Founder’s Award from Cuisine Canada. It was presented to her with

heartfelt affection and admiration at the organization’s bi-annual “Northern Bounty” gathering in Halifax, where its members — food writers and restauranteurs, among them met to celebrate and advance the profile of Canadian food. It was Anita who founded “Cuisine Canada”, and therefore it is a fitting award, and more than an obligatory show of appreciation from the organization that adopted her personal credo of “actively promoting the growth and study of our distinctly different food culture” as its mission. The award recognizes Anita’s infectious passion for uniquely Canadian food, how she stimulates that passion in others and how she has taken it to a whole new level. In culinary circles her opinion counts. And she certainly has some opinions about Canadian cuisine. Consider the opening line from her book “The Flavours of Canada”. ...Canada overflows with magnificent flavours! Our ingredients, of the land and sea, link us with our past, our present and our future. As a culinary explorer, I have been one of the most privileged people in the nation. I have tasted my


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land–savoured it deeply. As a food (and travel) writer, Anita has experienced Canadian cuisine from coast to coast. In doing so, she’s found a richness she believes few other cultures share. “We’re not a melting pot,” she says. “We’re a smorgasbord.” In some cases, the components of this smorgasbord are major parts of a meal in themselves. Describing some particularly delectable items, she can make your mouth water. “Consider these: purple-hinged rock scallops from the Strait of Juan de Fuca; linecaught Chinook salmon skewered and roasted on fire-hardened sea spray branches; platters of Mennonite smoked pork chops and homemade sauerkraut.” Yum (and I mean it)! She points out other instances where it’s the bits and pieces going into our meals that distinguish us from other cultures: cold-pressed canola oil from Saskatchewan; near-priceless balsamic vinegar; Trappist cheese from southern Manitoba; the legendary maple syrup from Wellington, Waterloo, Woolwich Counties and beyond; and the shore-scattered iceberg from Newfoundland that fizzes in your drink. This richness is nothing to be modest about, she says. By nature, Canadians aren’t loud, passionate or flamboyant about much of anything. But Stewart says that shyness must change, if indeed we’re to truly realize – as a country – what’s available here, and help it to flourish. The evening I meet with Anita she was excited because she had just started organising a country wide barbeque ....her vision to promote Canadian Beef by organising groups all across

Canada to hold culinary feasts in celebration of Canadian beef ...Last night she was interviewed on television ...speaking with the same passion about the success of this endeavour. Bringing Canadian Cuisine to the fore, exactly as Stewart suggests, is a progressive and creative way to help crystallize our national identity. by Riki Weiland, Summer 2003 UPDATE Dubbed the “Patron Saint of Canadian Cuisine”, Anita Stewart holds a Master of Arts (Gastronomy) from the University of Adelaide in South Australia and was recently awarded an honorary P.Ag. from the Ontario Institute of Agrologists for her outstanding contributions to Ontario agriculture. The World’s Longest Barbecue, a crossCanada celebration in support of the agricultural community was repeated on Canada Day in 2004 and 2005. The event has attracted the participation of thousands of Canadians. In November 2004, Anita appeared in the Ontario Agricultural College public lecture series, and in March 2005, Anita was Facilitator and Symposium MC at the first Ontario Culinary Symposium Round Table, where producers, processors, chefs and culinary professionals are invited to start a provincial dialogue, network and build awareness between industries. Anita can frequently be heard on the CBC, enlightening us on the subtleties and qualities of Canadian grown food products. Her knowledge of the subject is encyclopedic. www.anitastewart.ca

“We’re not a melting pot,” she says. “We’re a smorgasbord.”

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GARY BRYANT AND JULIE WHEELER BRYANT ACTORS, THEATRlCAL DlRECTORS

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Recently the Elora Community Theatre (ECT) changed its home to take up residence in the Elora Centre for the Arts. Performances take place on stage in the municipally owned Fergus Grand Theatre. ECT has grown steadily stronger over the years since the days when it had neither rehearsal space nor permanent stage facilities. Gary and Julie Bryant have been two of the mainstays of ECT throughout the 32 years of its development, finding their own introduction to acting and directing through ECT productions, and contributing to its progress and stability. Gary and Julie were strongly in favour of the move to the new Centre for the Arts, believing that this would further integrate the ECT into the community, and increase group and individual access to it. Recent lowering of rents at the Fergus Grand Theatre are also spurring a wave of local theatre presentations at present, including those by WellingtonWaterloo Productions of Alan Argue, Rob Goodale Productions, Not So Grand Players, and the three yearly plays of ECT. A rich choice for a rural community! Gary’s initiation into theatre came in the

second production of the fledgling Elora Community Theatre back in ‘73, with “Come Blow Your Horn”. I fell into the clutches of Pat Chataway,” Gary laughs. “Pat would pick people off the street, accost them in a store; if she saw a likely person for a role, it didn’t matter that you were a stranger!” Many people were lured into the Theatre by its intrepid founder, Pat Chataway. Suddenly Gary discovered in himself a passion for the stage, which has never left him. After Gary met Julie in 1982, he quickly introduced her to theatre as well. “I was hauled off to auditions really fast,” Julie says. In May ‘83, they acted together in “Not Now Darling”. ECT’s practice space was in the old stone building at Salem, now upgraded as Joel Masewich’s Studio. The Bryants remember the cold rehearsal hall with the intransigent centre post, the thunderbox, the diesel smells emanating from Nichol Township snowploughs in the garage below. Julie was a natural on the stage. Her warmth flowed over the footlights to the audience. Like Gary, she found a second life and friendships in amateur theatre. She played


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roles in “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “Another Season’s Promise”, “You Can’t take it With You”, and most recently in “Twelve Angry Jurors”, directed by Gary. Gradually, while preparing a part, Julie thought what it might be like to be the person making decisions about staging the play. Her first attempt at directing was a Oneact staged at Melville Church, while the Grand Theatre was being renovated. The cast seemed plagued by sickness and the black cardboard that shut out the light kept peeling from the windows. It was a baptism of fire! Julie came to direct plays frequently for ECT, among them “The Dining Room”, “Another Season’s Promise”, “The Cocktail Hour”, as well as summer performances at Theatre On The Grand (as the present theatre was then named), in the ‘80s. In February 1990, Gary and Julie collaborated on “He won’t Come In From The Barn”, by Ted Jones, with Julie as Producer, and Gary the Director. This play rocked not only the town, but all the countryside. Every one of the nine performances was sold out by Christmas, with the audience even sitting on steps backstage. The box office was in crisis! It ran two extra performances and the play became a legend in local theatre. The cast was a big draw, as was the fiddle music, but the greatest attraction was the Cow onstage. The show outside was about as good as the show inside, as people lined up to watch the unloading of the Cow from a van each night. The Cow was led down the aisle of the theatre and up a ramp into a pen, where

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her slightest move upstaged everyone. Joan McCauley made an entrance, the Cow stood up, and the audience roared! Would Gary or Julie direct again? If they found material they were excited about, they would. The time element is important. After the play is chosen, it takes a year to absorb its potential and conceptualize the production. “You have to live a play, whether Directing or Acting, so it’s important to choose a play you love”, Julie says. Each production demands a complete immersion and a good support system. Gary and Julie have alternated on the Board of ECT almost continuously. There have been about 100 productions. Over the years, Gary collected programs and memorabilia of local theatre. He realised their value as an historic trace of one aspect of the life of the community, and arranged for them to be kept safely at the Wellington County Archives. He continues to add to this documentation, including the playbills of other local theatre groups as well. Even programs from the original Elora Players, a group which performed in the Elora Drill Hall in the 30s, are archived. RETIREMENT In their professional lives, Gary and Julie were both teachers. Early retirement to part time teaching allowed Gary to expand his acting skills through courses at U of Guelph throughout the ‘80s, working with world calibre Artists in Residence. This gave him a different perspective on acting, attempting difficult, sometimes outrageous parts. He

became a member of Actors Equity. He now prefers characters which are closer to his true self. “Give him a good character part,” says Julie, “and he’ll be happy”. He will soon appear as Charles Dickens in ‘Humbug’ (hence the beard!). Gary has also contributed significantly to the community through Tours of Elora. These are bus tours, where Gary is the step-on guide, giving a history of the area to visitors, as well as entertaining them and encouraging them to visit shops and to return. Since retirement, Julie has taken several new paths. She became an actor with ‘Puppets Elora’, a once a week commitment. “It is amazing how you get involved with your character”, Julie says. “I love puppets because they allow me to play fantasy roles like a frog, a wizard or king, which I could never play onstage”. She enjoys watching the actors grow in the characterization and animation of the beautiful puppets! Julie and her dog, Gus, also take part in the Pet Therapy program of the St. John’s Ambulance, visiting patients weekly at Wellington Terrace nursing home. by Beverley Cairns, Autumn 2003 UPDATE The ECT no longer makes its home at the Elora Centre for the Arts. However, the theatre group continues to perform at the Fergus Grand Theatre. Gary keeps a web page for ECT, which documents the long history of this community theatre.

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GWEN SWICK

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SlNGER, COMPOSER, ARRANGER

According to the London Free Press, Gwen Swick is ‘one of the most imaginative singer/songwriters in the country’. Remarkably, this multitalented musician lives right here in Elora. Her work as a solo artist has distinguished her across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Gwen has been a member of the prominent folk trio “Tamarack” and is currently a singer with the popular vocal group “Quartette”. She is known not only as a touring performer but also as an arranger and composer. Elora is lucky indeed to have this creative individual contribute to the artistic community. Gwen Swick was born in Winnipeg to a father in the Armed Forces and a teacher homemaker mom. Her father’s career afforded her the opportunity to live and travel across Canada and to this day she loves to travel. Gwen is one of five daughters. The family finally settled in Ottawa where her parents still make their home. Gwen attended York University, Toronto. She entered as a piano student in pursuit of a music education degree, but soon her talents

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sparked other interests. She learned to play viola da gamba, guitar and electric bass. Time at school led to an important revelation: “All I really wanted was to play in bands!” She enjoyed rock and roll and country music and wanted to sing back-up harmony in these styles. If she could do it all again, Gwen says she would study composition. Her enigmatic voice, together with an obsession with harmony, make her an ideal choral composer. “I think in harmony.” She hears inner voices just as strongly as melody. Folk, country, blues and rock idioms are approached with proficiency and a deep respect for words. The K-W Record calls her songs “hip, intelligent and sophisticated, equal parts whimsy and serious commentary with a feminist edge”. Gwen’s marriage to percussionist Randall Coryell took place in Elora, and during a return visit in 1988, the couple decided to relocate here (from Toronto) with their two year-old daughter Anna. They live in a century home with a large window looking out on a


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lovely back yard. “I get a lot of inspiration from looking out my kitchen window.” Gwen enjoys regular visits from birds at her feeder. She loves the way everything is within walking distance. She finds this a wonderful community in which to raise a child. It is safe and artistically nurturing. The problem is that at some point you have to leave. In the early 1990s, Gwen recorded five albums with the traditional folk trio “Tamarack”. In 1996, Gwen joined the group “Quartette”. It consists of four ladies’ voices: Sylvia Tyson, Cindy Church, Caitlin Hanford and Gwen. A trio of instruments accompanies the four voices: drums, guitar and bass. This popular vocal group is busy touring and recording. Gwen especially loves the Christmas concerts. ‘Quartette’ mainly plays to audiences of 350-500 people in intimate venues. Playing in small towns, the whole community gets involved. In addition to “Quartette”, Gwen performs as a solo artist. Reviews from her previous solo releases “Gwen Swick” (1993) and “A Pebble of Mercy” (1995) compared her to artists like Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones. Her latest release “Love and Gold” is hailed as an “intense solo work that swings from jazz to folk to pop…”. Although there is a strong guitar base, her beautifully controlled voice is always in the foreground. This recording is rich with lush and sophisticated songs in keeping with her style. The Toronto Star describes “Love and Gold” as “a dynamic and complex recording, a

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series of lyrical poems about faith and spirituality, lost love, daily obsessions…and cats, surrounded by instrumental textures and underpinned by clever rhythmic embroidery”. Gwen has an agent who represents and markets her talents. She is known as a vocal arranger for other recording artists and has written and arranged music for children in dramatic performances. A number one goal this year is to be more active in placing her songs with other artists. She approaches people in direct contact with performers who would be appropriate for her music. She is a popular choice for CBC radio programmes, having had the distinguished honour of appearing on “Morningside” with Peter Gzowski and on Stuart McLean’s “Vinyl Café”. The Vancouver Folk Festival, the Edmonton Folk Festival and Germany’s Women in (E)Motion Festival are among the more prestigious venues she has graced. Gwen reflects on the unusual opportunities to travel for a performing artist. This offers time to get to know her fellow musicians. They write songs on the road and use each other as a sounding board. Speaking of “Quartette”, she says, “we have enough in common to be able to speak the same musical language but are different enough to keep things interesting”. Gwen has been actively involved in the Elora Centre for the Arts since its inception. Currently, she is in charge of the popular Library Concert Series at ECFTA. This venue provides the perfect intimate setting

for jazzy, blues music featuring local performing artists. The title “song-writer” does not do justice to Gwen. Her work, best described as pop art songs, has a way of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. Her poetry explores seemingly simple life vignettes to comment on life’s larger issues with perception and imagination. by Patricia Reimer, Spring 2004 www.gwenswick.com UPDATE Gwen Swick, along with Caitlin Hanford and Suzie Vinnick have formed a group called “The Marigolds”, accompanied on percussion by Randall Coryell. They performed as the opening night entertainment for the Culinary Tourism Symposium, Ontario, in March 2005. In the summer of 2005, Gwen organized the Starlight Jazz and Blues series in connection with the Elora Festival. These after-hour evenings took place in the garden of the Elora General Store, by the Grand River on Mill Street East, and featured many of the areas fine musicians with guest artists.

...intelligent and sophisticated, equal parts whimsy and serious commentary with a feminist edge.

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SHIRLEY AL

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GRAPHlC DESlGNER AND ARTlST

With impossibly red magnolias which burst from a background of silver, Shirley Al’s design for the Elora Festival’s 25th Anniversary poster live up to impossible expectations for this Jubilee year. It is selling wildly: a collector’s item. But really it is no accident. Look at the 2004 brochure, the exquisite colours, the poetry of font combinations. They reflect the eye of a graphic artist with skills developed through years of observation, assessment and total commitment to harmony and detail. In many variations and with characteristic quality, Shirley Al’s work is being seen everywhere. About 7:30 in the morning or in the evening light, Shirley can be seen bicycling around town or out to the countryside, her Nikon camera in the bike basket. She loves the springtime, when the leaves seem to pop into life. The images she gathers, combined with her own drawings, provide the materials of her designs, layered and mutated through digital magic. Trips are made to Waterloo

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Library, and she arrives home with an armful of books to ponder. The process is focus, the focus of an educated graphics observer. A Saskatchewan girl, Shirley pursued fine arts and teaching degrees. After a fling in Europe, she came home to find she spoke a different language. She finished her Honours BFA in Waterloo in ‘79. One day she came through Elora, and while sipping a lemonade at Floreal’s, she decided: “This is where I want to live”. Just out of University, she opened an art gallery on Mill Street : “Nepenthe”. A brave move, but she found she was not a shopkeeper. There were too many wasted hours, away from creativity. Life took her to Palo Alto, California for four years, attending a school of design. There she focused on graphics and product design. At that time graphics were done by hand, with the precision of the Rapidograph pen, cut and paste techniques, making film in a dark room. It was hard, but it ingrained the basics of fine judgement in a young designer. At this time,


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in the early ‘80s in Silicon Valley, Shirley saw the unveiling of the “Apple” logo, and watched the birth of revolutionary computer graphics. In ‘84, she was travelling back from California, crossing the mid-west south of Saskatchewan, free to go anywhere. She decided not to go home, but come back to Elora. She remembered: “I was happy there and had friends”. She became the product designer for Lambda Crystal in Fergus, and when it folded, she started Liberty Graphics, on Mill Street, Elora. Still, Shirley felt a great need to learn skills. She took work at Thompson Graphics in Paris, Ontario, commuting every day. During her eight years with Thompson’s, computer graphics saw a huge revolution, and she was well placed to keep abreast of the many changes that were to come. Styles are ever evolving in graphics, and it is important to know how to interpret a client’s wishes in the contemporary idioms. But life is too short for commuting. After eight years Shirley said “Enough! I want more time for me. I went out on a limb. You know they say, ‘Take the step, and the bridge will be there’. So it has been for me.” She would freelance from her home in Elora. The very day of this decision, the bridge appeared for her to explore clay sculpture at The Elora Pottery. The hours are long and uncertain, designing for the Elora Festival, the Sanderson Centre in Brantford and the Federated Health

Charities. Deadlines are solid. Whether you’re ready or not, even if it means all-nighters of work, as in theatre the show must go on! But despite the stress, Shirley has made time for Monday sculpture studios at the Elora Pottery. Wistful, poet-like heads with colourful hats and turbans, horses blest by the fire-god of raku, the uncertainties and mysteries of sculpture have opened new, amusing paths for creativity. At once romantic, practical and humorous, her imagination is set in free flight Shirley is sharing Studio 79, a small space on Geddes Street, with sculptor Riki. Visit her on weekends in the summer, or during the Studio Tour in autumn. Unfortunately graphic design also means dealing with committees. “Some clients are hell to work with, some a blast,” Shirley says. She’d like to divide her time in half, part given to graphics, the other half to sculpting, painting, gardening and travel. We have not seen enough of the fine lines of her drawings, or the results of her augmented colour sense on canvas. But they will come, she says. It’s all a matter of time.

At once romantic, practical and humorous, her imagination is set in free flight.

by Beverley Cairns, Summer 2004 UPDATE In April 2005, Shirley, along with Riki Weiland and Jo Lomas, moved to a small stone studio that they called “The Studio Elora”. It’s a happy creative space where they conduct workshops and share inspirations.

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PUPPETS ELORA

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Laura Fairfield, who had previous puppetry experience with the Maycourt Puppeteers and Kids on the Block, founded Puppets Elora in the fall of 1994. Laura recruited five volunteers through networking and local media. Before the first performance, the cast constructed the theatre, sewed the curtains, chose a light and sound system, built puppets and props, adapted scripts, practiced puppet manipulation and, last but not least, learnt the lines. Of course they also had to recruit an audience by advertising the troupe with press releases, playbills and a public performance. Fortunately the Elora Arts Council gave the troupe an initial start-up grant which was repaid during the first year. Since then Puppets Elora have continued their good deeds by contributing some of their proceeds to other art programs. One of the principal characters, the Giant, presents the cheques and appears in all of the troupe’s publicity photographs. (In this way the face of Puppets

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Elora has remained the same, even though the artistic director, producer and some of the actors have changed during the intervening years.) When the old Elora Public School building was transformed into a new home for the arts, Puppets Elora was one of the first organizations to donate funds, renovate a room, become a member and move in. We are happy to support the Elora Centre for the Arts in this endeavour. The mandate of Puppets Elora is to “bring live puppet theatre to school audiences around Wellington and Dufferin County” through performing fairy tales, folk tales, and original stories. The troupe is able to travel to and perform in a variety of locations, and has even entertained an audience at the Fergus Fall Fair adjacent to the cattle show! The cunningly constructed theatre fits into most cars when it is disassembled and set-up takes less than thirty minutes.The company repertoire ranges from perennial favorites such as “The Frog


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Prince”, to the less familiar “Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde. These timeless stories appeal to young and old, and have been well received by many different and memorable audiences. At Alma PS one of the students asked the Giant for an autograph. When the troupe performed "The Frog Prince" at Portage, a home for troubled youth, the audience was so enthralled that one teenager advised the princess to take group therapy. The troupe’s handmade puppets with elaborate costumes make it easy for the audience to be swept into the land of fairy tales. Puppets Elora producer Annerose Schmidt individually sculpts the heads using Styrofoam and air-drying clay. The troupe sent her to a sculpting workshop by Dutch doll artist Annie Thiesson to upgrade her skills and the investment has really paid off. Beverly Matson replaced Laura Fairfield as artistic director when Laura left in 1997. She too was sent off for workshops with the Puppetmongers in Toronto and now builds the puppet bodies and costumes as well as casting and directing the plays and coaching the puppeteers. The members of the troupe range from experienced live performers to eager beginners. All have worked diligently to master puppet manipulation and performance skills. One of the most frequently asked questions after a performance is how the puppeteers can have so many different voices. Very close attention is paid to casting the most suitable voice for each part. The entire company has also participated in voice workshops led by drama

professor Kim Renders and drama teacher/actor Gary Bryant. With the presentation of its new show “Babushka’s Doll”, the troupe has incorporated a wider array of puppeteering skills, including puppets that dance and perform pantomime. The company will be staging the new play at the public opening of its tenth season at the Elora Gorge Cinema. Through its membership in the Ontario Puppetry Association, Puppets Elora took part in the Mississauga Puppetry Festival, met fellow puppeteers, saw a show in Toronto and received valuable input for the production of “The Frog Prince”. Puppets Elora is looking forward to hosting the AGM of the Ontario Puppetry Association in October 2004. by Annerose Schmidt, Autumn 2004 UPDATE In the summer of 2005, three members of Puppets Elora spent a week learning to make soft sculpture puppets with moving mouths, in a course given at the Haliburton School for Fine Arts. Five of the puppeteers took a further weekend course in puppet manipulation.

The troupe’s handmade puppets with elaborate costumes make it easy for the audience to be swept into the land of fairy tales.

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2004

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ARLENE SAUNDERS

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Arlene Saunders has been a resident of Elora for only two and a half years, but in that short time she has quickly become integrated into the world of expanding art and art education in Centre Wellington. Arlene is the Administrator for the Elora Centre For The Arts, in touch with the music, the visual art, the children’s and adult programmes which take place in this stone heritage building. Her own watercolours and mixed media interpretations of buildings and streetscapes of Elora and Provence, France, can be seen in the Elora Mill and at “Estate of Mind” on Mill Street East. Elora. Giclée reproductions of her watercolour originals make affordable memories of Elora for many visitors to the village. Arlene grew up in an artistic family of six children, on a farm in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Their life was isolated from much of society. They went to private, religious school, and when not helping with the many chores on the farm or in the house, the children

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ARTlST AND CARTOGRAPHER

turned to artwork, exploring their own inner expression through simple materials provided for them by their parents: paper, pens, crayons, watercolours, and even mud dug from the pond bottom, cleaned and dried for use as sculptural clay. Arlene’s parents were of Dutch descent, and valued artistic expression through music, drawing and painting. Though art was part of daily life, the family was not competitive, and perhaps this helped individual visions to flourish. Even today Arlene and her sister will often make art together in the social context of a visit or sharing a glass of wine. When Arlene arrived at High School, she found she had already progressed beyond the average student in technique and knowledge of art. In Grade 10 she chose to take Art as a subject. The perceptive teacher encouraged her, allowing Arlene to express herself through the portraits, pointillism and other techniques she had developed in her home life. But still, she continued to avoid competitions


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or seek rewards. Married at 20, she moved to northern Manitoba, where Arlene worked as a Surveyor for the City of Thompson. “I worked in the bush with the burly survey crews” Arlene says, “but you know, that worked out all right! And of course I did mapping as well.” Eventually she returned to Southern Ontario and worked for an environmental consulting firm in Toronto, with a focus on mapping and graphics. This led Arlene to develop her own mapping company with a partner. She was with the company for 12 years. It produced all types of maps and publications, and even put out a Visitors Guide to Toronto. During the last five years, the company became involved in remote sensing and satellite images, rendered in natural colour, showing the amazing views of earth from space. Arlene and her partner held the rights for Canada, Europe and Australia, publishing posters, puzzles, and educational resources for schools and other distributors. The company and her longtime business partnership ended when Arlene left her marriage of 17 years. Shortly after she met and married Chris Saunders. Arlene says that it was Chris’ influence which brought her to commit to work in the field of fine art full time Having moved to Oakville, Arlene volunteered with the Oakville Art Society, helped with activities, served on the Board, and for several years was the Gallery Director. Two and a half years ago Arlene and Chris and their sons left Oakville in search of a small town receptive to the arts, with a setting

of natural beauty, and so they rediscovered Elora, It had been a place for weekend visits away from the growing metropolis. Arlene says the family’s move to this village has worked out well for everyone. In fact, the opportunities this area affords to mix with interesting, cosmopolitan people, to further art interests and to live a peaceful life have truly been beyond their expectations. Shortly after arriving here, Arlene opened the “Old Soul Gallery”, just off Mill Street East, Elora. This was a vital introduction to the art world of her new village, even if the gallery didn’t survive for long. She came in contact with people in the graphics and arts communities, received commissions for paintings, and acquired a Giclée printer to reproduce her own watercolours. When an opening came at the new Elora Centre for the Arts, for the position of Administrator, Arlene Saunders applied and was chosen. Her calm efficiency and business experience of the past have been a great asset to the Centre, as well as her life-long commitment to the arts.

...to further art interests and to live a peaceful life have truly been beyond their expectations.

by Beverley Cairns, Winter 2004

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2005

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JIM REED

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ARTlST AND TEACHER

A well known artist throughout the area, Jim Reed identifies strongly with Elora where his pursuit of art was reinvigorated in the mid-’70s at the studio of Corbett Gray on Mill Street West. This studio has now become a legend. It was centrally located, accessible and had an excellent and experienced mentor. Mentoring, Jim says, is the oldest form of teaching, and Corbett Gray, master painter, was a resource to all. The studio attracted a group of talented artists, among them Jim Reed, George Todd, Terry Golletz, Rosalinde Baumgartner, Murray Code, Gerry Bosch, Karin Bach, Judy Fredricks, Ken Hewitt. “Corbett’s was Paris of the ‘20s,” Jim says with nostalgia. Nothing has quite replaced it. Slowly he gained confidence in the supportive community of artists. He tells of Sunday morning outdoor painting sessions with a model in the park. One day a troop of Boy Scouts came through! Ah well! Jim came to painting from a background of teaching. Teaching experiences ranged from

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teaching adults at Jofriet Studio in Guelph, Willow Road Senior Public School, and for most of his 32 years, at the elementary school in Hillsburgh. In the K-7 school as a librarian/technology and design teacher, he brought in an innovative pilot programme. Many students preferred to create rather than have recess! After several years painting at Corbett’s studio, Jim sought an international art school in Nice, France, where living in art became a reality. Students from many cultures brought their talents to the school, which was fascinating in itself. Most enriching, however, were the opportunities to visit galleries and museums offering retrospective shows of individual masters. Here Jim could see for himself the development, the slow clearing of the inner eye, the journey to synthesis. Synthesis, the fusing together of experience and knowledge, Jim acknowledges to be the highest use of the brain – but it takes many years to achieve!


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In searching for his own path, Jim remembers the advice of an architect – look to what is current. How are paintings conceived? For Jim, they incubate in the mind, and their execution should be honest and spontaneous. The challenge is in achieving a balance and stopping there. What you take out is important, and the brush strokes should have immediacy and relevance. Jim Reed says he rarely spends more than three hours on a painting. More than most artists, Jim Reed seems aware of the viewer. “The picture must allow the person to connect- everything is about connection! It could be the colour, the line of an arm, a lively section at the bottom of a painting that draws the viewer in- anything! Then it’s a conversation, not a confrontation.” Jim’s innovative use of recycled doors and windows as frames has led to many works of interesting shapes, with unusual impact. For a long while he worked in oils, but now he moves freely from one media to another, frequently on the same canvas. Recently he discovered historical house paints, which have 40 percent more pigment. “You can look right into the colour, and it changes dramatically with the light.” This inner movement allows viewers to bring themselves into the picture, to make a connection. For three years Jim Reed had his dream studio at Jackie Maidlow’s on Mill Street West. The shop had long been an antique store. Its gracious space, with large oriental

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rug and the light from the balcony over the Grand River was ideal and Jackie was a wonderful support. A beautiful, fresh portrait might stand in the window, beckoning one to explore. International clientele visited because of the former antique business and the studio’s proximity to the Elora Mill. The diversity and quality of tourists who passed through Elora was a revelation. One of his strong influences from that time was Jim’s friendship with David Earle, a major figure in modern dance, who lived on Mill Street. Jim was receptive to David’s directness, to his ability to truly see and to respond, and to Earle’s permeating philosophy that we must let people be who they are. Jim comments on the benefits of a group exhibition like INSIGHTS for an artist. Here, he says, you push the boundaries, but you find you are really not so far out when you measure your work against others. This encourages you to be bold, to explore. A painting is controlled freedom – you set the borders and fly within them. It is keeping things that speak and throwing everything else aside. A person who sees beauty in the old, the unconventional, in the patina of Venetian plaster, or the irreplaceable integrity of a bridge, Jim’s aesthetic does not fit well with the commercial ethos and disposable tendencies of our economies. He has preserved a more real, holistic vision, relating to the potential of the

individual, demanding commitment and a connected approach to development of every kind. by Beverley Cairns, Spring 2005 UPDATE Jim Reed’s paintings can be seen at the Barber Gallery, Guelph, and Karger Gallery and Gallery ‘79, Elora.

What you take out is important, and the brush strokes should have immediacy and relevance.

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If you hear a voice within you saying “you cannot paint� then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. Vincent Van Gogh

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Corbett Grey pg 4

Jim Reed pg 174

Stu Oxley pg 46

Eva McCauley pg 102

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Janet Smith pg 128

Arlene Saunders pg 172

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Jo-AnnHarder pg 156


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Marilyn Koop pg 124

Joel Masewich pg 82

Linda Risacher Copp pg 38

Rosalinde Baumgartner pg 122

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Rober Evans pg 158

Shirley Al pg 168

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Stephen Kitras pg 52


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The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. Thomas Moore

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Profiles II