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  Monday, September 22nd   

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An Artist & Artisan Tour (37 Photos)

Carol Zarudenec Smith for local2 sault ste. marie
September 16th, 2012 at 10:01am | Last Updated at 10:06am



Sylvan Circle, an Artist & Artisan Tour

It was a lovely day to take a leisurely drive and stop along the way to enjoy the many talented people who displayed their amazing wares.

First stop was the Echo Bay Hall. It featured an array of interesting people like Lisa MacDonald Waite who uses her imagination to design her fur bears. She not only sews bears from expensive old fur coats but also fashions other animals such as bunnies, beavers and racoons. As if these adorable creatures weren’t enough, she also had leather handbags, moccasins and mitts for sale made from recycled leather coats.

Sylvie and Steve McNaughton have a very unique business. From cedar trees that he cuts down, he strips off the bark and begins his process of forming rustic indoor and outdoor log furniture like chairs, swings, stools, head and foot boards for that special bed, plus benches and double chairs with a handy table between them. They sell themselves with their remarkable craftsmanship that Steve takes great pride in.

From Turning Point, Helene Caldwell makes some very clever candle and figurine designs that are appealing to the eye and functional, although I personally could not burn them. They are too beautiful. Each one is 100% beeswax. As I scanned them, every one of them said “buy me.” Also from Turning Point Errol Caldwell produces functional and artistic woodturnings made from native and exotic woods. All are quite impressive pieces and I for one would find it a challenge to choose just one to buy.

If you’re looking for something totally different, Renee Anne Bouffard-McManus has just what you’re looking for. Her delightful artwork is constructed from recycled paper and ribbon. Besides that she produces fabulous watercolour paintings with various background designs. How refreshing to see new ideas incorporated into making art.

Next stop was the Bar River Hall. Again awesome artwork was on display for sale. Rose Sundaram from Roses Art Gallery and Framing had an excellent example of her talent with portraits, sceneries and still life in various mediums as pastels, charcoal and watercolours. Very functional items are made by Gil Sachro. His one of a kind pottery can be put in the microwave, freezer, oven and dishwasher. His work is not only lovely to look at but practical too.

Lotte Steube is a remarkable artist who works in watercolour, pastel and mixed media. She mainly does landscapes and portraits. I had to get up close to her work. They were so detailed that it looked like they were photographs from afar. Simply amazing!


One Good Turn by Vince Riddell had pieces made from burl wood with contrasting wood grains. I must remark that it was very impressive to see what he produced.

Multi-talented JoAnne Nicholls has a multitude of items to choose from. She sandblasts glass, mirror, ceramic, stone and metal. She makes memorial stones, garden stones, pet memorials and intricate etch work that is truly something to behold.
Sylvan Circle, an Artist & Artisan Tour

The next leg of my journey took me to the Laird Hall. Another treat was in store for me there with more gifted artists. As I walked into the hall, my eyes focused on a very unusual piece that featured leaves. As I approached it, I was not quite sure it was a painting. I asked the artist Ellen Hadath who works in watercolour how she developed such a look. I was told that she used tissue paper in the background. I thought that alone would be very delicate to handle. But when she explained her technique on the “real” leaves in this frame, I was awestruck. The time and effort involved must’ve been staggering. It never ceases to amaze me how all these very talented people I saw today are always exploring various avenues to bring a new look to their work. I commended her on her originality.

Diana Madill is a master at her craft working with copper and metal to incorporate into jewellery, art and decorative painting. I would imagine it would take quite the patience to devise some of her beautiful pieces.

Oh silk! Gabriella Doleske supplies items that appeal to the sensual woman inside every one of us with her hand-dyed silk scarves and camisoles. A soft silk scarf around the neck is pure heaven. Each one is a completely unique piece of art that cannot be duplicated twice.

Zoey Wood-Salomon’s paintings definitely reflect her Odawa heritage. The brilliant colours in many of her scenes are breath-taking to behold. To have such a talent must be very rewarding for her to be able to produce such stunning creations.

I’ve seen natural driftwood on beaches before. However, I have NEVER seen pieces like Gerry Hucko has honed. On many of them he has added an amethyst or a stone to give them an elegant touch and enhance their natural beauty. This is truly a labour of love to design such one of a kind wooden art.

If your looking for something natural in jewellery, Jeanne Dumas has just what you’re looking for. Her organic natural stone items reflect a native flair creativity which is very eye-catching. Anyone would be happy to have one of her necklaces gracing her neck.

Back in the car again I travelled to my next destination at the Desbarats Arena. This was another feast for the eyes. Heather Jordan makes a jewellery statement with her wire-wrapped fossils, meteorites, semi-precious stones and crystal. Each one is truly a treasure.

You have to look twice at Peter Cool’s hand carved waterfowl, Upland birds, song birds and fish. They are so realistic I swear they were ready to take off or swim away. Obviously many hours went into carving such detailed specimens. I really enjoyed eyeing his carvings.

A Mixed Bag features custom artistic handbags in many styles crafted by Louise Young from new, used and leftover scraps of fabrics and yarn. Each delightful one is unique, stylish and useful. They come in all various shapes and sizes for various needs. She can make a handbag to match your new outfit for that special occasion. You can never have too many handbags!

Marilyn Mills favours watercolour. She concentrates on landscapes and florals of Northern Ontario. Viewing her work, I felt drawn into some of the tranquil canvases. Now that’s what I call art when it lured me right into the scene.

Nothing is more cozy than snuggling up into a soft, warm blanket. Lise Portelance provided such lovely things on her table and rack. These traditional woven blankets are known as “catalognes.” All one had to do was decide on a pattern and colour and you‘d be snug as a bug in a rug wrapped up in it.

Jack Dunning loves his stoneware pottery and playing with glazes to make each one completely unique. It is not only decorative but functional too. Trying to decide on one of his gorgeous pieces would be difficult indeed.

As I approached Donna Nelson, she was demonstrating her oil painting. Her animals and birds on sliced rock were so realistic, I thought they were photos glued onto the rock. To be blessed with such a God-given talent is precious indeed.

At the Bruce Mines United Church, I was in for more talented artistry. Russ Mason accomplishes weaving like I’ve never seen before using hand-dyed yarns and intriguing textures. Glass art designer Carson Merriefield’s specialty is jewellery made in a kiln. Many of her items reflect wilderness surroundings. I have never seen anything like her work before. She also had attractive framed pieces depicting a green glass tree or brown glass moose. Karen Nisbet’s pottery comes with a sculptured twist. Her pieces are a delight and very unique. To have the talent to produce such perfect pieces must be very self-satisfying. She sat at a table and gave a demonstration on how she starts her pieces. It was interesting to watch her at her craft.

As I came around the corner, I was totally thrilled to come across a form of art I’d never seen before. Sheri Myers, an emerging artist on the scene, has come into her own with her large scale acrylic paintings. She creates her artwork with multiple layers and washes. The giant leaves and stag head on display were incredible to behold. I had to purchase one of her cards. I wished she had more card designs of her paintings. I hope I see her there next year.

Bruce Station Hall was my final stop even though I didn’t complete the entire tour this year as I always had in past years. Rhonda Ferris had an attractive display of all types of jewellery to choose from. They consisted of carnelian, turquoise and jasper semi-precious stones in her necklaces and earrings. There was something for everyone’s taste at her table. It was wonderful to see Garry Enosse with numerous birch bark pieces on display. Every item from baskets to holders were all made for specific purposes. No doubt it took time to find the perfect bark to construct these functional pieces and hand stitch the edges of each one. Sheila Currie has a way with a paint brush. She makes a watercolour scene look so lifelike that you can almost smell the fresh air. How can you perfect that?

Wooden eggs anyone? Lidia Silvestrova has a knack for hand painting the most exquisite patterns on her eggs and traditional Russian style Matryoshka dolls. She specializes in Christmas, nature and Easter themes. It must’ve taken many, many hours to complete just one. The end result, however, is well worth all her time and effort.

As I headed home, this proved to be another annual success for artists, artisans and all those who came to admire their work. Looking forward to next year.

Photo credit: Carol Zarudenec Smith

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Sylvan Circle, an Artist & Artisan Tour

Sylvan Circle, an Artist & Artisan Tour


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