Winter 2021 Vol. 30 No. 4
Special Issue: The Art of Craft Fibre I Wood I Glass I Paper I Metal
A publication of the
MESSAGE FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Janet Jarrell, Executive Director email@example.com Fiona Campbell, Communications Director firstname.lastname@example.org Heather Christiansen, Program Director email@example.com Andrew Gray, Graphic Designer firstname.lastname@example.org Kim Lidstone, Bookkeeper email@example.com The Quinte Arts Council is a not-for-profit, charitable organization, registration number 107869448 RR 0001. Publications mail agreement number 40667523. Published by: The Quinte Arts Council, P.O. Box 22113 Belleville, Ont. K8N 2Z5 Printed by: Mr. Print, Belleville, Ont. Material may be reprinted only with permission. Umbrella is mailed to members and delivered to distribution points throughout the Quinte Region. The information contained within is believed to be reliable, but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. We do not assume responsibility for any errors and/or omissions related to submitted content.
QAC programs are funded in part by:
John M. & Bernice
PARROTT F O U N D AT I O N
In 2021, the Ontario Trillium Foundation supported the work of the QAC through the Resilient Communities Fund to create a new website and brand to better support and promote artists and a new app connecting community with arts and culture. The brand has been modernized while still leveraging the equity of the previous logo. We thank the team at THEY Integrated for making our vision a reality! The full project nears completion and will provide a website with upgraded functionality and new opportunities for artist members and community partners, such as upgraded online artist profiles and searchable directory, virtual art gallery, Umbrella magazine, virtual workshops, event listings and promotion via marketing tools and app, and artists in schools opportunities.
and downs; we are unfortunately getting used to ‘cancel culture,’ and we are figuring out how to safely work, play and enjoy arts and culture. We feel strongly about our work in celebrating all that you do! As an umbrella arts organization, it is the clear mandate of the QAC to support an inclusive and equitable culture of diversity. Our authentic commitment to these values is unwavering – they are central to our mission and to our impact across all disciplines of the arts. We know that having varied perspectives helps cultivate creative ideas, and inclusion is how we unleash the power of diversity and creativity. This special issue dedicated to The Art of Craft is a beautiful way to visually understand our umbrella mandate within the Quinte region. We know that you will agree, celebrating all disciplines elevates all artists, opens us all up to new ideas and inspirations, and strengthens this community as a whole. Thank you for the special work you do.
We believe it is crucial for both the recovery of the QAC, our artist members, and arts and culture in the Quinte Region that our website and online tools are reimagined and modernized. Funding these digital initiatives is a long-term investment in Finally, please join us as we welcome our creative community. Heather Christiansen to the QAC Team. She joins us at a time when we are It is with some hesitation that I mention we launching new and exciting programs are still amid a pandemic. No one would like professional development for artists have thought almost two years later we and a local arts and culture podcast - we would still be hearing about lockdowns, have lots to look forward to in 2022! outbreaks and variants; yet here we are. We have experienced some major ups Cover: Amy Liden
Back: Hilary Rice
Table of Contents
Message from the Chair + Welcome new staff
The Art of Craft: Recognizing our local artists and artisans
Amy Liden, Liden Forge: Blacksmith
Christopher Walker, Cabin Boy Knits: Knitting
Lucie Kovarova-Weir, Lunacy Glass Studio: Glass
James G. Walt, aka “Grumpsy”: Wood turner
Laurie McRae, Eilean Donan Studio: Rug hooking
Rebecca Maracle: Mohawk Feathersmith & Healer
Hilary Rice, Mother Earth Studios: Weaving
Kayo O’Young: Ceramics
Teena Surma, The Fanciful Doll: Doll artist
Bill Stearman: Quilt maker
Paul Epp: Furniture
Joanne Rich, Sculpted Light: Paper artist
Artist to Watch: Dorian Widing, Broken Tower Culinary Sponsored by the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board
MESSAGE FROM CHAIR OF THE BOARD As we come to the end of 2021, I am so grateful to be surrounded by a wonderful team on our Board of Directors, an incredible QAC staff, students, volunteers, artists, writers, community organizations, and members that all make the Quinte Arts Council what it is today. We warmly welcome Heather Christiansen to our staff. She has taken on the role of Program Director, and we are so thrilled to have such an incredibly skilled and hardworking team member in this work.
Quinte Arts Council
Please join us in celebrating our new branding! You will see us rolling out an incredible new logo, website design, signage and more. Along with our freshly renovated space and magazine, the look is modern and sleek while Andrea Kerr still representing our almost 55-year purpose: to serve as an umbrella organization to artist members and community partners all across the Quinte Region. As always, we are keeping the arts on the table. Thank you to THEY Integrated, to our Executive Director Janet Jarrell, the QAC team, and the many volunteers for the hours of work sanding floors, archiving files, carrying boxes, and making way for creativity. We are looking ahead to a brightly coloured and harmonious future in 2022. There will be learning opportunities for artists and writers, there will be programs for students and youth, and there will be ways for all of us to soak up local culture and perspectives of every kind. No matter how long it takes to pull through this pandemic, the arts will continue to quench our spirits and pull us together. Please hold up, share, like, donate, fund, recognize the folks that keep our communities thriving. This is our commitment to cultivating creativity… it matters.
WELCOME NEW STAFF We are thrilled to introduce Heather Christiansen as the QAC’s new Program Director. Heather is an arts educator and arts administrator, and her 23 years of experience extends from Ontario to British Columbia working with a variety of non-profit arts organizations, ranging from youth and professional orchestras, community choirs, dance and musical theatre groups. Heather has a Bachelor of Music degree from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. She began her career in Toronto working for LIVENT, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the North York Performing Arts Centre gaining experience in arts marketing, development and operations. She followed her passion for the performing arts and directing choirs to Vancouver to pursue her love of arts education, the ocean air and the thrill of hiking mountains. Moving to the Quinte area in 2017, Heather is excited to join the QAC team to support the growth and collaborations of artists and arts organizations in the Quinte community. In September we said goodbye to Creative Director Adam Gray who has been a part of the team since March 2019. Adam has been the co-catalyst for many of the great changes and work over the past 2-½ years, including redesigning Umbrella as a magazine. We know he will have great success in his new role at The Empire Theatre and we wish him all the best. 02
By Fiona Campbell “Craft can be complex, simple, subtle, loud and everything in between.” - The Canadian Crafts Federation
comes in all
forms: fibre, wood, pottery, glass, metal and more. From the 13th century onwards, practitioners were traditionally
associated with a Guild, the decline of which corresponded with the Industrial Revolution and mass production. Craft as an ideology came about during the 19th British Arts and Craft movement as an antithesis to modernity. According to the Washington, DC-based James Renwick Alliance for Craft, “Craft is a particular approach to making with a
strong connection to materials, skill, and process. Art is most traditionally thought of as drawing or painting that is a visual depiction of a personal expression.” The trouble starts with questions around the relative value or hierarchy of that which is utilized (craft) to that which is admired (art): writes Margo Jefferson in her New York Times piece ‘Beyond Cultural Labeling, Beyond Art Versus Craft’: “It’s the utilitarian versus the high art tradition. But why must high mean better? Why can’t it just describe a certain history of techniques and practices?” She adds, “Happily, institutions and individuals are deciding to throw out the old debates about the relative values of art designated fine, folk, high or utilitarian. The point is to understand each tradition. The point is to open one’s eyes to any artist who, as Joseph Conrad said, can make us hear, feel and above all see.” We couldn’t agree more. Within these pages you’ll find 12 Quinte-based craftspeople expressing their art through their craft. We see the lines between Art and Craft blur in innovative and exciting ways. We hope you will too.
Quinte Arts Council
The Art of Craft: Recognizing our local artists and artisans
Amy Liden Liden Forge Picton, Ont. Think of any medieval movie with swords and there’s most likely to be a blacksmith; often a hulking sweaty man pounding away on an anvil. Based on representation in popular culture, it would seem blacksmithing is a maleonly profession.
After Haliburton, Amy moved to the County to apprentice with local master blacksmith Bruce Milan at Island Forge. “I was drawn to pursue blacksmithing as a career after working with Bruce,” she says. “He showed me how to work with clients and how to apply my creativity to projects to support myself financially.
It’s not. While women smiths are a minority, the Holkham Bible of the 1300s includes an illustration of a woman forging a nail. And this year, 30 percent of students in the Artist Blacksmith program at the Haliburton School of Art and Design are women - the same program Amy Liden graduated from in 2016. Her background is in fine art, graduating from OCADU in 2013 with a major in Sculpture and Installation. It was there she discovered metal as a sculpting medium. “I love how malleable metal can be,” says Amy. “I love being able to manipulate such a structural and rigid material just by changing its temperature. I think its versatility allows me to challenge myself creatively to push the limits of what has traditionally been done with blacksmithing and fabrication.” 04
Blacksmithing is steeped in history: the first evidence of smithing dates back to 1350 BC in Egypt. In her practice Amy strives to incorporate traditional blacksmithing techniques and design principles into her work. “I love utilizing the forge itself to apply heat to the steel, using the anvil and
hammer to forge scrolls and a variety of shapes, and the leg vise to bend and twist bars,” she says. “ I think it's these skills that help me stand out in the community of metal fabricators.” Amy opened her Picton-based Liden Forge this past May and has been focused on commission-based custom work. And while she feels incredibly supported by her community, she recognizes she is still an anomaly: “As a young woman blacksmith, I’ve been faced with doubt in my capabilities, but I feel like that has also driven me to keep pushing myself. I’m constantly trying to expand my knowledge so that I grow with each project and can keep taking on bigger and better projects.” lidenforge.com IG @lidenforge.com
Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
Christopher Walker Cabin Boy Knits Stirling, Ont. Fibre artist Christopher Walker has fond childhood memories of listening to the clicking of his grandmother’s needles as they watched Hockey Night in Canada. “My grandmother definitely planted the knitting seed, [but] as a boy I wasn’t encouraged to knit,” says Christopher. “It wasn’t until I was an adult that I ran into other male knitters and decided to learn.” Today, Christopher is the founder and owner of the label Cabinboyknits, a company producing eco-friendly naturally dyed yarn to clients globally. Through his use of fibre, fashion and people, Christopher’s work often challenges society’s perception of gender and sexuality. His work has been featured on the runway and at art gallery showings, and he frequently lectures
and teaches in Europe and throughout North America. His atelier is in a pre-confederation log cabin in the Oak Hills. “I can’t think of a more idyllic place to find inspiration and create,” he says, adding “I have always been fascinated and inspired by my natural surroundings. I feel it is innate to use nature to obtain colour through the use of botanicals, minerals and insects to create the fibre used in my art and designs.” Knitting and wool have a long and storied history; while the exact history of knitting is unknown, due to the biodegradability of natural fibres and implements, the oldest knitted artifacts (made from cotton, not wool) are socks from Egypt, dating from the 11th century. Knitting evolved from function to fashion, and then declined in popularity before a resurgence in the 21 century, alongside the “Handmade Revolution.” 06
Knitting Christopher balances paying homage to the past with his natural yarn dyeing practices, while simultaneously disrupting societal norms: “Prior to 1868, (the invention of acid based dyes), all dyes were derived from plants, insects and minerals. I use many traditional recipes, as well as create colours and techniques of my own.” At the same time, he acknowledges how traditional gender roles (i.e., knitting as ‘women’s work’) influences his art: “I challenge viewers to question binary gender perceptions, and stereotypes, both through performance art and art installations,” he says. He takes inspiration from nature, art, people, fibre and fashion, and also in the works of Canadian artist Janet Morton and Australian artist Casey Jenkins.
Christopher has a YouTube channel with over 12,000 subscribers that showcases natural dyeing, fibre and design. cabinboyknits.com FB @cabinboyknits IG @cabinboyknits Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
Lucie Kovarova-Weir Lunacy Glass Studio Tweed, Ont. Lucie Kovarova-Weir was born in a small town in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic. The eldest of three daughters, in a family full of teachers, chemists, and engineers, she is something of an anomaly, having chosen art as her profession.
“I happened upon hot glass by chance through my lifelong love of, and interest in, glass beads and beadwork,” says Lucie. She started flameworking in 2002 with a textbook in her lap. “In those days I worked with glass mostly out of curiosity, without a purpose or significant goal – I just hoped to see how beads could be made.” She adds: “Flameworking is very technical, and the hands-on nature of the material was very attractive, fuelling my inspiration.”
She’s been a student of art since she was six, eventually earning a masters degree in animation from the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague. While she has always loved working with her hands, with regards to glass, she is largely self-taught.
“I have a love for fairytales, gardens, flowers and animals. The way their shapes get translated into some of the folk art patterns, designs and illustrations makes my heart skip a beat.” From her Lunacy Glass Studio in Tweed, Lucie makes fantastically intricate and animated murrine cane and glass beads. (Murrine are coloured patterns made in glass cane that are revealed when the cane is cut into thin crosssections.) Her work has been exhibited throughout North America and Europe.
When asked why she enjoys working with glass, Lucie says: “Glass is a very versatile and widely used material. It can 08
be worked while hot, in the kiln, at the torch or furnace, or cold by cutting and grinding it. In my case, every time the glass is molten in the flame and starts to move, I am hooked. It never gets old. I love that there never is an end because you are always learning.” Murrine making has its origins in the Middle East over 4,000 years ago, and while Lucie has researched different historical periods, her inspiration is more personal: ”Most often I look into my own story - how and where I grew up,” she says. “I have a love for fairytales, gardens, flowers and animals. The way their shapes get translated into some of the folk art patterns, designs and illustrations makes my heart skip a beat.” “The work is characteristic, because my hands made it,” she says. “I have never really thought too carefully about building my own style; I just hope to get to the studio and do the work." lunacybeads.com FB @lunacyglass IG @lunacyglass Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
James “Grumpsy” Walt Trenton, Ont.
in Scotland, Switzerland, Greece, Mexico, Iran, the United States and across Canada.
James G. Walt (aka Grumpsy) came to his craft only after retirement. While he’s had a lifelong passion for wood and woodworking, it was a small hobby lathe and basic tools that set him on his current path. Since then, he has progressed to using professional grade lathing equipment, and excels at finding ways to try new and more challenging projects. His pieces can be found
Jim is a wood turner, which means he transforms blocks of wood, from both local and exotic species, into bowls, vases and other pieces using a lathe. He’s self-taught, having spent countless hours watching professional turners on YouTube. He’s also a member of The Quinte Wood Turners Guild and the American Association of Wood Turners, organizations offering both community and mentorship.
He shuns sticking to a particular style: rather he prefers to “continue to explore my own style using various woods and ways to embellish and/or change it in many ways.” He’s completed a number of custom, commissioned pieces for clients wanting to have keepsakes made from a cherished family tree that’s been cut down. He also turned a bowl (now on display at the base) from a tree donated by the Royal Family to CFB Trenton in 1953 that died in 2016.
Like a true craftsperson, Jim respects the qualities of the wood he’s working with and says his favourite piece is his “next one” - “I know that sounds peculiar but the true enjoyment for me is in the creation of each piece and dealing with the uncertainty of how it will ‘turn out,’ pun intended.” That said, when it comes to the wood he uses, he does have a preference: “My favourite wood to turn is the burls that develop on some trees, mostly hardwoods,” says Jim. “There is no proven reason why they grow the way they do but they make for the most interesting colour patterns and grain patterns.” When asked where he finds his inspiration: “Nature provides all the inspiration I need,” says Jim. “Knowing what is hidden inside a tree and knowing how to turn that into a useful and or artistic piece is what I enjoy. I see the beauty before it's visible to the eye.” FB @james.walt.71 firstname.lastname@example.org Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
Laurie McRae Eilean Donan Studio Wellington, Ont.
says, purchasing her first rug from an artist in Mahone Bay, NS. Years later she attended a quilt show in Wellington, Ont., where a vendor was hooking a mat from her booth.
Laurie McCrae is a multidisciplinary artist: she paints in oils, and she paints with wools and other textiles.
“I was mesmerized by the action of pulling loops through a linen backing and was asked if I wanted to try my hand at it,” says Laurie. “From the moment I sat down at her frame and started pulling loops, I knew I was smitten with the process.”
Her first exposure to hooked rugs was in Nova Scotia, a “Mecca” for traditional hooked mats. “I loved them the minute I laid eyes on them,” she
Rug hooking has its North American origins along the Eastern Seaboard in the US, and in Atlantic Canada. Rug hooking was considered a “craft of poverty,” whereby women would use fabric scraps and burlap bags (for backing) to create their own homemade floor coverings. While Laurie prefers linen backing or Monks Cloth over burlap, she says, “What I do have in common with my forbearers is my use of recycled and deconstructed clothing which I cut into strips for hooking.” “I love the feel of wool cloth and chunky yarn but I also enjoy using many other materials including, hosiery, sari silks, velvets, metallic threads, jerseys, and 12
wool rovings,” she says. “I love the physicality of working with textiles and the visual effects I can create with the many different textures of the materials. For example, silks provide a wonderful sheen, metallic threads produce spectacular highlights on water in a landscape, velvets beg to be touched on a rendering of a bunny, wool rovings produce curly locks on a rendering of a lamb.” In the 19th century, rug hooking was considered a ‘country craft’ (a derogatory rank); today it’s considered fine art. When asked about her distinction between Art and Craft in her work, Laurie says, “The craft in what I do is in choosing the right materials, pulling the loops technically well and making the finished piece stable. The art in my craft begins with my intent to create a textile painting… Instead of a paint palette of oil colours, I carefully select the right colours and textures from my piles of cloth strips to achieve the desired effect. It is not so much a mental exercise as it is highly visceral and intuitive.” lauriemcrae.ca IG @queenoffibre Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer
Rebecca Maracle Mohawk Feathersmith Deseronto, Ont. Rebecca Maracle remembers travelling with her grandparents and parents in the 70s and 80s and seeing signs for “Indian Handicrafts.” But as a thirdgeneration Mohawk feathersmith, medicine healer and maker, she sees her work not as making “crafts” but about creating Indigenous healing art. “This isn't a hobby for me. This is my lifestyle. This is my culture. This is my tradition. It's what I've grown up doing. It's what I've been around my entire life,” she says. “I take what I've grown up with [as an apprentice under my grandfather and father] and continue making those jewelry items and hair pieces, but I elaborate on them. I work more intricately with the feathers and then create my own style." Rebecca is part of the Bear clan and her studio, based in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, is where she makes and sells framed mandala featherwork, wearable art, feather earrings, leather-
work, dream catchers, medicine shields, and more. Beyond their aesthetic beauty, each is imbued with healing. “The medicine shield is something that I created because of what it means to me, the teaching behind what it represents, and the medicine that it brings to me and my own healing every day,” she says. “To work with the Mother, to work with the feathers, to work with the bone and the wood and the sinew even. Everything that I put my hands to becomes medicine for me.” She says it’s interesting to see how people respond to her pieces. "Are they going to be receptive to the art in a way of just seeing the beauty of it? Or are they going to be receptive to the art because they feel the energy of the piece? I'm always trying to strike a chord with people, to draw out the emotion because when we draw the emotion, it means that there's something in there that needs to be challenged in each and every one of us,” she says. “I've seen people that will say, ‘Oh, that's so pretty’ and then I’ve seen other people stand in front of a piece of my artwork and they cry. And I think, ‘That's it. You feel what I felt when I made that.’ That's where that healing piece comes in.” 14
She says, “I know that people are drawn to my pieces for a reason, whether that energetic connection happens or not. I know that they are responding to the piece, even if they just think it's beautiful.” rebeccamaracle.com FB @rebeccamaraclefeathersmith
Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
Hilary Rice Mother Earth Studios Centre Hastings, Ont. Weaving is recognized as one of the oldest surviving crafts in the world. In fact, anthropologists have found evidence of woven fibres in the Czech Republic from 27,000 years ago. While throughout history different materials have been woven together (plant fibres and branches, for example) weaving is one of the principal means of textile production made (in simple terms) by interlinking a set of vertical threads (warp) with horizontal ones (weft). Today fibre artists such as Hilary Rice pay homage to both the traditions of her craft and her own distinctive style: “I work with the fibres and yarns, using long ago developed techniques. It’s part of the pleasure, knowing what I'm doing connects way back in time,” she says. “The resulting work, however, reflects my own sense of colour and design, influenced by my unique life experiences.” Hilary has a lifelong interest in textile work. As a child she learned to create simple embroideries inspired by her aunt’s beautiful work, but says, “it was the many hours assisting in my father’s woodworking shop that gave me a thorough grounding in creative thinking.” 16
Her exploration working with fibre didn't stop at sewing, dyeing, spinning and weaving. She learned how to manipulate fabrics, using heat to distort synthetic textiles, and developed skills in a large variety of techniques that she could apply to her ‘canvas’: “The body of work that I created was truly art.” “I am known as a Textile Artist among those in the quilting world. But at the root of my being, I am a maker,” says Hilary. “After almost 20 years of developing and marketing the ‘Mother Earth’ line of art quilt patterns, dyeing cotton yardage, and travelling throughout Canada teaching my techniques, I retired to my home studio where I returned to my original loves of spinning and weaving, and pottery making.” Woven textiles traditionally served a function, and her “practical pieces” - scarves, shawls, linens and blankets made on large looms like her 60” wide Glimåkra from Sweden - feature handpainted fibres, intricate patterns and even adornments such as glass beads. Her colour palettes often reflect the seasons. “Colour work is very satisfying,” she says. “Weaving a painted/dyed warp that ripples through a rich colour scheme is one of my most delightful tasks!” mestudios.ca FB @motherearthstudios IG @motherearthtoo Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
Kayo O’Young Trenton, Ont. Perform a Google search about Kayo O’Young and you’ll find an echo of accolades: recognized as one of Canada’s finest porcelain potters, his work can be found in ceramic collections across North American, including the Gardiner Ceramic Museum (Toronto), The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery (Kitchener/ Waterloo, Ont.), and the Hammer Museum at UCLA, among others. His commissions include External Affairs, and he has taught extensively across Canada.
Kayo was born in China in 1950 and emigrated to Canada in 1965 with his parents to escape the political turmoil of the era. It’s often written that Kayo is the son and grandson of potters, which isn’t true, he says; “I was born on a farm where we grew rice, and there was a lot of clay. When I came to Canada I took a ceramic class and it felt like home.” When asked what it means to be a “potter’s potter” as he’s often called, he says, “I guess I’m so busy just doing my work I don’t really pay much attention. I only do things I can control. I only do things from inside of me.”
His wife Diane (Nasr) O’Young, also a ceramic artist, continues the conversation. “He’s a person of few words,” she says. “I think at the school where he learned English, he just went to the ceramics studio and that’s what he’s always done. I think in some ways, the making of the pots expresses whatever he’s feeling. That’s his words, his language...He knows his clay and he’s happy there. It’s his world. He never tires of it.” O’Young’s works are known for their exquisite form and his brushstrokes on his pots like a painter to a canvas.
The O’Youngs recently moved from Kleinberg, Ont. where they’d lived and worked for 40 years, to Quinte West. It was daunting and disorienting, especially as Kayo was without a space to work. "But he immediately just started painting. He painted on everything he could find," she says. Despite COVID and moving to a “strange land,” Diane says the community's reception has been nothing but kind, warm and welcoming: “We are feeling so hopeful for the future.” kayooyoung.com Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
It is Diane who makes the glazes. “I was on a quest to find a glaze that feels right for me,” she says. “Also my father was a pharmacist… I immediately felt a connection to mixing glazes and the chemistry of it. To me it’s creating a liquid fabric, a textile,” she adds.
Teena Surma The Fanciful Doll Bancroft, Ont. Teena Surma is a self-taught doll maker whose work doesn’t easily fit one medium: sculpture, textile, fibre - Teena’s dolls include elements of them all. “I started making dolls probably about a little under 10 years ago. I've always had a fascination with puppets and dolls, and I actually originally wanted to do work with wood,” says Teena. “But then I discovered clay and I found that to be better suited to me. It was fast, it was fun, and it was also messy. So I really enjoyed that.”
Teena has been creating since she was very young: “My dad was an artist, so he was big into sketching and wood burning, so I dabbled in all kinds of things. I had lots of exposure to just playing around with watercolours to doodling, to pen and ink, to the wood burning that my dad did,” she says. Her grandmother was an oil painter, but her skill with a brush wasn’t the only influence on Teena’s creative expressions: “One really big piece of the inspiration behind the doll making was the tea parties and stories from my grandmother,” she says. “From telling us nursery rhymes, fairy tales to her own made up stories, that's such a big part of my childhood and my memory. And I think that that's where a lot of these dolls come from.” Teena’s dolls are each one-of-a-kind and can take up to one week to make. “I don't use any moulds or anything,” she says, and she works on only a few at a time so each can be truly individual. Each is hand sculpted with air dry paper clay, and once dry, sanded, painted, strung together, and then she creates the costumes. ”I like to use vintage fabrics when I can; you can get some really funky old or tiny patterns, which is nice for the size of my doll. And it's also nice to upcycle.” The hair is all natural fibres; sometimes it's braided, sometimes it's needlefelted. “It just depends on my mood that day.”
their hair, facial expression and clothes. She makes “critters” too whimsical racoons, foxes and frogs are some of her latest creations. Each has a name - Stella, Coco, Petal, Emma & Ethel Frog - and she’ll sometimes post to Facebook for suggestions.
Teena has made countless numbers of dolls over the years (“hundreds”) and each has a different personality, from
thefancifuldoll.com FB @thefancifuldoll
Her dolls have travelled throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe to find their homes. She has her favourites, and says she enjoys when customers send her photos of the dolls in their new homes: "It's fun to see them… Like, what are they up to now?”
Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
Bill Stearman Picton, Ont. Bill Stearman struggled with storytelling as a way to make sense of his life for many years. And then he discovered his voice in quilt making. In March of 2014, he had a serious leg injury that left him in significant
pain and medication that “killed his brain.” So he threw away the pain meds and sought another solution.
“The power of my one voice can inspire another and another to join in until there is a c horus, and t he n , c h a n g e is possible. That notion influences every quilt that I make; every story that I tell.” “I have no idea where the notion came from, but I decided to try quilt making as a way to deal with the pain. I bought a $100 sewing machine, or22
dered some fabric online, found a few YouTube videos, and started to make a quilt,” says Bill. “What I quickly discovered is that when I am working on a quilt, I don't feel pain. Every sense, every part of my body, every corner of my brain, even my heart, is focused on what I'm doing. Close to 200 quilts later, I get to call myself a quilt maker.”
He adds: “I am a quilt maker, but I am also a storyteller. The two go handin-hand,” says Bill. "The stories cover topics not usually associated with quilts. And often these stories are not ones that folks expect, or want to hear talked about.” For example, his Canada Day 2021 quilt (pictured page 22), is made with 215 pieces of orange fabric
and quilted using text from the United Nations definition of genocide; in his “Reclaiming Pride” (pictured page 23) he uses braille and morse code to present the hurtful names he was called growing up gay, “to take words that were thrown at me as slurs and present them as something beautiful.” Bill has a formidable belief in the power of one voice, and the obligation to call out what he sees as inappropriate or unjust. “The power of my one voice can inspire another and another to join in until there is a chorus, and then, change is possible. That notion influences every quilt that I make; every story that I tell.” Even the fabric he uses tells a story: “My goal is to primarily use fabric designed by folks I know, or fabric that I have dyed myself. But I am also drawn to fabric that has history; that is made using time-honoured, traditional techniques. Japanese yarn-dyed fabric, South African Shweshwe fabric, and Tanzanian fair-traded and hand-made batiks are current favourites." 23
Bill is quick to give credit to the woman who does most of the quilting on his work: Deanna Gaudaur of quintestudios. com. “While I design the quilting for my pieces, it is Deanna who executes those designs so beautifully through her handguided, free-motion, long-arm quilting.” billstearmanquilts.blogspot.com IG @bill_stearman Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
Paul Epp Picton, Ont. It was the late 1960s and 18-yearold Paul Epp had a store in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. He would buy things from wholesalers and try to sell them. Then he'd get an idea of an item that would sell, but if he couldn't find it
he'd sketch it up and get it made. “I was very, very unselfconsciously involved in the manufacture of things,” says Paul. “I ended up hating being a storekeeper, but I liked that activity of getting things made. So I became a designer without even knowing what design was.” Paul grew up in rural Alberta where there were no art courses or discourse about
art and design, and only a limited sense of what an artist was, like a landscape painter. A year after his store experience, faced with the prospect of another job he hated, he asked himself: “What would make my life better?” He reminisced of the time when he was making things and thought, “Maybe I could keep doing that. So I looked into it, and I realized there was a category of occupation called design and there were schools for it. I thought I’d just won the lottery.” Paul attended the Sheridan College School of Design (photo from school project, 1972), where there was “a strong sense that you should make what you designed,” he says. “I thought that if I can make what I design, the more I know about making, the better a designer I would be.” He chose furniture, mostly because he liked the scale of it, and a lot of furniture was made with wood: “My getting involved with wood came about, in a sense, almost accidentally.” He adds: “I like [wood’s] warmth, its feel, its smell, its complex colouration and figure, and that it comes from trees, which I very much appreciate.”
After graduation he spent a year in Stockholm, Sweden as a private student of James Krenov, Master Cabinetmaker,
before returning to Canada to work as a furniture designer. Since those early days, Paul has been a professional designer in many capacities: furniture, products, exhibits, interiors, marine, graphics, sculpture, plus production, one-of-a-kind manufacturing and as a teacher. He’s also worked as a craftsman. When asked if he has a preference,
he says: “They’re similar but not the same thing. When I’m making things myself, I feel there’s more of me in it… There’s something about that activity that gives you an opportunity to be present in what you make in a different way than it would in a more remote process of design.” paulepp.com Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
When asked about the influence of 20th century Scandinavian design in his work, he says: “Scandinavia developed a great, great lexicon of how to use wood in which way that I had been unaware of and I was immediately taken by it.”
Joanne Rich Sculpted Light Stirling, Ont. Joanne Rich was first introduced to lantern and papermaking at a high school enrichment camp in Toronto, where she spent five days living, learning and working with a professional artist. A decade later, after studying advertising at OCAD and working in a few agencies, only to realize it wasn’t for her, she thought back to that time: “I was sitting
in my garden and kept thinking back to the experience in art camp, missing nature and daydreaming of making paper from my garden,” says Joanne. So through research, trial and error, and support from the Ontario Arts Council, she relearned the techniques for lantern and papermaking. Papermaking was invented in China about 2,000 years ago, and the process, tools and techniques haven't changed to this day. “As a Canadian-born Chinese, making paper by following the Eastern
papermaking techniques, is my way of connecting with my culture,” says Joanne. In her search to buy a proper Eastern papermaking tool, commonly called a sugeta in Japan, she quickly discovered it was very expensive. “So with help from my dad [a carpenter], we made a simplified version of [that] tool and started selling them online worldwide.” Today, Joanne continues the tradition of using fibres native to her region. “Ever since I started making paper from plants, I’ve learned more about my backyard.
Her favourite plant for papermaking is the common milkweed, native to Ontario and host to the endangered monarch butterfly. Harvested in the fall after the mon-
archs’ migration, “Paper can be made from the bast fibres (found in the stem), and the fluff,” she says. “Milkweed fibres can be dyed too. I make my own tannin from staghorn sumac leaves, and have dyed my papers in shades of yellow and orange from marigolds and goldenrods.”
want to raise environmental awareness and self sustainability through the use of my process and materials. The light, a symbol of truth, knowledge and guidance, shines through the materials, celebrating nature’s gift that surrounds us.”
When asked about the distinction between Art and Craft, Joanne says: “I see my lanterns as a blend of both: Craft, because papermaking and lantern making is a learned skill and technique, and Art, because I
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Unless noted, photos sourced from artist.
I am learning about the plant’s name, its growing condition, whether or not it’s invasive, and the biodiversity it supports,” says Joanne. “I use twigs and vines to build the frame, paper made from plants, okras grown for formation aids and wheat starch for the glue. With so much plastic waste, it’s important to think about a product’s ‘after life.’”
Dorian Widling has been a musician for 25 years, a photographer for 15, a writer for 10, and a maker-of-things since he could stand. At the age of sixteen he had the audacity to try making a knife using nothing more than a small barbecue filled with charcoal and that little anvil you find on the back of bench vises. It goes without saying that the result was horrible and useless, but so began his fascination with knife-making. It wasn’t until 2019 that Dorian went on to found Broken Tower Culinary, where many of his life’s greatest pleasures have come together in creating custom kitchen knives for clients across North America. With the company growing and his range of products expanding, Dorian continues to follow his vision: to provide passionate cooks with the highest quality kitchen tools. btculinary.com IG: broken_tower_culinary
Content created in collaboration with the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board