December 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Birch bark makes beautiful cards, tree decorations and gift tags. Just a few tips before you start your project:
- Collect birch bark from fallen trees only.
- Soaking in water and flattening the bark under a rock for a few days will get the curl out.
- Cut birch bark into small shapes with scissors.
- Use twine to hang your decorations, in keeping with a rustic look.
- A wood-burning tool is great for writing your greetings and outlining your design (but a sharpie does the job, too!)
- Paint with acrylics or colour with markers.
- Happy Holidays!
November 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
100 years ago, Canada was on the brink of the Great War. Raging on European battlefields from 1914 to 1918, the First World War took the lives of more than 66,000 Canadian soldiers. Out of the horror of the trenches, however, came inspiration for many artists. The most prominent art project is the monument at Vimy Ridge in France. Designed by Canadian sculptor and architect Walter Seymour Allward, it took eleven years to build.
The towering pylons and sculptured figures contain almost 6,000 tonnes of limestone. The largest piece in the monument is a cloaked figure of a mourning woman, standing at the front. She represents Canada—a young nation mourning her dead.
There were also artists among the soldiers who huddled in the caves of France, waiting to be called to battle. The fragile images that they carved in the chalk walls serve as a reminder that these young Canadians, many of them still teenagers, were proud of their country.
Finally, artists across Canada created memorials like the bronze sculpture in downtown Haliburton.
This Remembrance Day, think about the importance of art and the part it plays in depicting history, memorializing those who served their country, and reflecting social change.
Ode of Remembrance
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam
October 2, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Susan Hay, HSTA graduate, is a regular exhibitor in the Haliburton Arts Community. She is inspired by the tranquil, natural wilderness found by her Portage Lake cottage, and along the shorelines of Ontario . She is also well known in Huron County where her paintings are displayed in several spaces. If you haven’t had a chance to see her work, stop into the Ethel Curry Gallery before October 15th to see her solo show!
Since graduating, I have continued to paint mostly landscapes, implementing what I learned in the course. The most important lesson I took away from the HSTA VAF course was a three word message that Rod Prouse wrote on my easel support: ”make it dynamic”. I have been emphasizing and simplifying shapes, exaggerating colours, modifying textures and building my own canvases.
When I got home after the VAF course, I summarized what I had learned on paper after looking through my sketchbooks and my notes and then wrote this in point form on my blackboard in my studio. I look at it from time to time to remind myself of various opportunities that I might have overlooked when creating a piece. I have worked steadily over the past couple of years to produce a large body of work from which I could choose the best pieces for my shows at the Blyth Centre for the Arts in August and also the Ethel Curry Gallery this fall. I have also been on the Tour de Forest for three years. I have applied for Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grants and have gratefully received grants for each of my shows. I have been building my resume, keeping my website updated and looking for ways to “get my work out there”.
How do you choose the settings for your Haliburton landscape paintings? Do you have any favourite spots in the county?
I have a large file of photos that I have taken over the past 15 years in Haliburton while paddling a canoe with my husband or walking along cottage roads in the fall or visiting Ritchie Falls or the Wildwater Reserve in Minden.
I’d say work hard in your medium until you’ve got a significant body of work and then work hard on marketing and promotion. ”Make hay while the sun shines!”
September 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
September 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Have you ever wondered what happens to our incredibly talented VCAD graduates? Where do they go? What do they do? Are they still thinking about us up here in Haliburton? Well, I’ve been talking to VCAD Photo Arts grad Lauren Ogilvie, and she’s answered a few of these pressing questions…
In case you never had the pleasure of meeting Lauren in the hallways, she did the VCAD program in 2011. She uses her work as a form of personal confession and confrontation, enabling her to achieve a stronger sense and acceptance of self. She believes the combination of art and the natural world to be an unstoppable duo of which she is very much a part of. (I got that from her website…you should check it out! www.laurenogilvie.com)
Here’s a look at our conversation:
So Lauren, why did you choose to take the Photo Arts certificate at HSTA?
I chose the photo arts certificate fairly last minute. I was actually enrolled in the fibre arts program and on the final day to confirm courses I had a weird panic and decided I wanted/should do the photo program instead. I always loved taking pictures and when I actually thought about all the work I had done in the VCAD program the year before (heavily photo based) I decided it was a better fit for me.
What was your most memorable experience as a student here? I think finishing a bajillion photo projects in 15 weeks is pretty memorable. Sometimes it felt totally impossible given our timelines but when you find your focus its pretty amazing to see what you (and others) can do. I also really liked having my first art show in a Gallery when I was in VCAD.
What are you doing with photography today, and how has your time at HSTA influenced your current artistic practice?
I’ve been really lucky, all of the work I am doing today is photo based. I work (fairly) full-time as a freelance photo editor for Canadian Business Magazine. On the side I have also been pursuing my own career as a photographer; I have a really random list of clients and jobs that I’ve done (definitely not a one genre kinda gal) so I couldn’t tell you what “kind” of photographer I am but I’m getting there. I’d really like to focus on environmental portraits and photo essays. I’ve also been doing a bit of film and I’m starting to break into the world of interactive book making for tablets. My time at HSTA created my artistic practice…I don’t think I had one before I entered VCAD. I had artistic inclinations and ideas but I really had no idea how to zero in on them. I was totally intimidated (by art making) but HSTA helped me learn how to navigate those thoughts make something useful of them…like art.
While you’re here, check out the Photo Arts video Ogilvie worked on while she was here at HSTA:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q91HWak8UYw
September 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Rob Stimpson is certainly one of the most adventurous faculty members here at HSTA. He has been a full time photographer for over 15 years, best known for capturing stunning images of Canadian wilderness. Paddling Arctic Rivers, guiding expeditions, doing stills for a film on climate change, and travelling the world with his camera are just a few of the journeys this wilderness-obsessed instructor has embarked on.
Rob’s photography has come to represent Ontario through his work for Ontario Tourism, Ontario Parks, and Ontario-based magazines, calendars and national ads.
Here’s a look at his connection to our school, and to the Haliburton Highlands:
Q: You’ve been a valued faculty member at HSTA for many years. What
brought you to the school initially?
A: About 10 years ago I met Shelley Schell at a Arts in the Wild marketing initiative with Ontario Tourism and from there she invited me to run a one day workshop with Kevin Callan – that started my long relationship with HSTA.
Q: You’ve practiced photography while adventuring across the country
and around the world. What keeps you coming back to Ontario, and more
A: Originally from Montreal, my travels have taken to many amazing places but Ontario is now home and has been for many years. I live in the Huntsville area – about 25 kms from Algonquin Park. But as for the reason keeping me coming back to Haliburton, I love teaching photography and sharing my knowledge of the medium with others – HSTA is a great venue, provides many with so many creative pursuits. I love being imersed with so many like minded people.
Q. As an artist-educator, do you have some advice to pass onto others
who feel drawn to the path of educating in the arts?
A: I get this and similar questions about how does one make a living in the arts – whether you are an educator, artist or both – following your heart is one thing but learn business, networking and stay on top of what your medium is doing and where it is going. Our world changes constantly – re-invent yourself to stay with it.
In closing – I have been a freelance photographer for 15 years. It is as I call it – an unconvential job in a convential world. If you like stability, then this is probably not for everyone but the rewards in my business are many. It is not all roses but what job is. I have been to many places on the planet – my work has been published internationally, my fine art images hang in places throughout the world – and I shoot for tourism agencies in Ontario – it is a good life.
For a more in-depth look into the wild world of Rob Stimpson, check out his website: http://www.robstimpson.com, and think about signing up for his Fall Equinox Photo Workshop!
May 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Visual and Creative Arts Diploma Graduate Hilliary Dunford has launched her business, HilliaryCustomLiving, on Etsy and recently spoke with HSTA about her starting her business and how her experience at HSTA has helped her.
Custom wedding cake toppers, delightful pet sculptures and remarkable house ornaments are just a few of the whimsical treasures offered by HilliaryCustomLiving. Hilliary has built a unique home and keepsake décor business that has captured the imaginations of her customers. Her artistically designed custom keepsake sculptures and ornaments are available exclusively in her Etsy shop. Each one of her creations is painstakingly handcrafted to perfection and makes a memorable keepsake to celebrate life.
While here at Fleming College’s Haliburton School of the Arts, Hilliary studied a wide array of artistic mediums and explored self-expression. She also learned about various artistic techniques from master artisans like Brian Smith and Adrienne Alison. For Hilliary, there is nothing more rewarding than having the ability to touch another person’s life with her artwork. She enjoys all aspects of the creative process from sketching the design, to sculpting it and then finishing it off to perfection.
You completed your Visual and Creative Arts Diploma with the generalist option (completing 14 varied credit courses in the semester immediately after the foundation year), how was that experience?
For sure! I did do the generalist option for VCAD, I personally loved it! It was just enough time for each course to get a small experience of that medium or style of art. I liked how many options you had and all the different types of art I could explore, not to mention how beautiful Haliburton is during the summer months, it’s almost like Mother Nature is giving you inspiration on a silver platter! While doing the summer option I loved meeting all the artistic people from around the world and being taught by amazing self-made artists. It makes your working environment much more relaxed and open, everyone’s ideas just kept feeding off one another till we all we’re proud of our different works.
What are some things that you learned from the VCA diploma program that have stayed with you while you have started your business?
Something that has stayed with me since I started my business was something Dar [Darleen Bolahood, faculty and VCAD coordinator] once said in the beginning of our course “Know whether you’re working for someone or yourself”, now my works are mainly craft, I am creating pieces for others, but I believe I’m doing it for myself more than them. I still work on other art mediums while creating custom pieces for my customers but I get artist block and have a break in between large paintings or sculptures that seem to last months sometimes, so working on my customers pieces keeps me fresh and ready for when inspiration strikes again. Don’t get me wrong, making custom pieces also brings me great joy, I love hearing my customers tell me how much they love their keepsakes because I know it’s something they can treasure for a lifetime with proper care.
How did you happen upon the idea for your shop and your main keepsakes?
My idea for my shop started with being tight on money, we were getting closer to Christmas and I had just gotten engaged, so we were also saving for a wedding at the time. My in-laws were also doing an extension to their home that they had been dreaming of, and my parents had just bought their second home in 15 years! So I wanted to make something for them that would mark these special occasions and started sketching. The idea sort of just came to me and next thing I know I was experimenting with some old clay from VCAD and made my first house ornament. It wasn’t much, but I still have it. Since then I just started making them for houses on the internet that I didn’t even know and was encouraged by my fiancé and family to try and touch others with these keepsakes. I opened my shop on November 12th and made my first sale on November 14th, the satisfaction of knowing someone I never met before wanted something made by my hands has been the inspiration that keeps me working in my studio from sunrise to sundown and I really wouldn’t want it any other way.
My process in creating my keepsakes starts with a sketch of each home so I can catch any angles or small detailing in the image before I start carving. Once I’m done sketching, I start sketching on a rolled out piece of clay the same image then cut it out. From there I carve till I feel I’ve created a slightly 3 dimensional feeling with depth. Once carved I bake them then paint each one by hand, once painted I add their ribbon and they’re ready to ship! In the VCAD program I did explore clay and one of my exhibitions was of 3 dimensional women inside large boxes with only one view point. I did not however explore polymer clay while at VCAD, which is my main material and a little harder to manipulate then the clay I used in the VCAD program.
Is there any advice that you’d like to give other artists/artisans about starting an online business and using Etsy?
If I was to give anyone advice it would be take your time. Don’t rush you artistic process in trying to find an idea to sell. And don’t get discouraged to fast; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Etsy is a wonderful place to even just get your name out there for cheap advertising on your artworks. Even if you don’t want to sell on Etsy, go there to shop for gifts! Support fellow artists over large box companies. You will find unique handmade items that you won’t find anywhere else.
Inspired by the handmade movement, Hilliary enjoys offering her clients the opportunity to preserve their most precious memories with a custom keepsake. Whether it is celebrating a new marriage or the signing of the mortgage on a new home, HilliaryCustomLiving has something for everyone.
Hilliary has found a very comfortable selling niche online. Commitment to customer service and around the clock accessibility are two traits that Hilliary prides herself upon the most. As she continues to build a steady customer base, Hilliary seeks to expand the availability of her line to stores and designer boutiques. For interested buyers and store managers, please use the below contact details to discuss availability with Hilliary personally.
Hilliary Iaiana Elizabeth Dunford
Tel: 705 957 6785