Artist of the Week – Kim Warne

April 26, 2012 § 5 Comments

Artist of the Week – Sculptor Kim Warne of Soundings Studio

A deep and gentle voice recounts to me this incredible story. Its soothing rhythm and pitch have no doubt stood this inspiring man in good stead as he helped people through various periods in their lives, good and bad, performing his ministerial duties.

It is not his unfailing lifelong dedication to helping others, though, that will be the subject of this article. Instead, this article will touch upon the incredibly lucky turn of events that united this outstanding sculptor with his passion for soapstone carving, and helped to shape one of the most down-to-earth artists I’ve ever met…

Born and raised in London, England, it was no secret that Kim Warne would never grow up to be an artist. His art teachers never ceased to tell him that he lacked ability. Warne recalls one assignment in particular that he was required to paint: “Nelson’s Fleet”, showing the great tall-masted ships of Nelson himself. Perhaps he was ahead of his time, perhaps he was simply unappreciated for his ability to think outside-the-box, but needless to say, Kim’s rendition was not well received. He’d painted a grey smudgy background with a few vertical sticks poking through it with the familiar red, white, and blue of the British Ensign proudly snapping in the wind. The piece was titled “Nelson’s Fleet in a Fog”. Anyone who’s ever been to London on a foggy day would likely understand the accuracy of Warne’s depiction. Sadly, it did not win him any favours with his instructor.

As a young adolescent, he and his family braved the war years in London.  Even today, he is still able to recall the horrors of the bombings that rocked his city to its foundations. At age fourteen, shortly after the war, he and his family moved away from London, across the ocean to a country kept safe only by its inaccessibility: Canada.

Due to his sporadic education during the war, Kim had a nearly insurmountable challenge before him: catch up to his peers in school. While he excelled in English and the Humanities, his poor showing in mathematics and science were a chore to get through. Most notably, though, was perhaps his art education: after only a mere three weeks of classes, Warne’s father received a call from the art teacher – a call that would not only change the course of Kim’s life, but also destroyed any chance of the budding artist inside reaching its potential.

In short, the art teacher explained that Kim had no skill in drawing. Unless he dropped the course, the young Warne would stand no shot of gaining entrance to university down the road. The course was dropped, another Humanities was picked up, and Kim’s skill in art was all but forgotten.

The next fifty years consisted only of art appreciation. Not even his children’s school projects could coax the crushed artistic spirit of Kim Warne from the deep, dark, place of rejection from his high school days.

It wasn’t until, approaching retirement, his artistic wife Wilma forced him to find a hobby that he began searching for his niche.

He already knew that drawing and painting were not for him. A lackluster experience in stained glass convinced him that melted sand and hot lead were also not in his future. By pure happy coincidence, a friend of his invited Kim over to try his hand at stone carving. Armed with some spare tools and a piece of stone, Warne set-to with a will…

… And discovered in himself an innate and untapped ability for laying bare the stone’s soul.

“There’s excitement that comes of creating something out of a boulder – the boulder looks ugly – but there’s something beautiful inside it,” he explains.

One of his mentors, a renown Inuit sculptor, would encourage him and urge him to perfect his technique and figures. Looking at Warne’s pieces, he would turn them over in his hand and would make suggestions, inspiring Kim to seek out areas for improvement. At one point, his mentor was looking at a piece, turning it about. Warne was sure he was going to spot some flaw that he’d overlooked. Instead, his mentor spoke the five greatest words for any artist to hear, “That is a piece of art.”

His initial subjects were the loons and bears of the Canadian Wilderness. His style is recognizable as minimalist, but by no means lifeless; in his eyes, the animals should appear as if they could just get up and walk away at any moment, despite their sleek finish . Warne has since branched out into inuksuit, whales and dolphins, and even frogs. The penguins happened along after an inspirational visit to the Falklands Kim and wife, Wilma, took a few years ago; they waddled into his collection this past winter. He has also begun creating a unique line of “Comfort” statues: a mother cradling a child, but with the child offering comfort to the mother as well.

In 2004, Warne’s work was selected to be given to 26 delegates of a week-long international NATO conference. Close upon the heels of this incredible honour, Kim was nominated to the International Guild of Master Craftsmen in 2006. It was a juried selection that took place in London, England, and was hosted by a customer already possessing eight or nine of Warne’s pieces. More recently, Canadian soldiers who travelled to Holland to celebrate the liberation of the Dutch nation after the Second World War took various pieces as thank you gifts for their host families.

Over the course of the last decade and a half, Warne’s work has been shown across the country and has been displayed in various galleries. His award-winning sculptures are spread out across the globe in Germany, Australia, Holland, Norway, England… Every year, they travel slightly farther afield and find some new remote corner of the globe to reside in.

There is no denying how humble he is about his work either. “It’s a real pleasure to have people want to have your work in their home,” he confides. No customer is taken for granted.

While he may have slowed down slightly in the last couple of years, he is still very much enjoying every moment of carving. The idyllic setting of his studio, overlooking Minnicock Lake, certainly inspires.

And his story, we hope, inspires as well.

For more information about Kim Warne’s work and his studio Soundings: Discoveries in Stone & Fabric (in partnership with Wilma), please go to www.soapstonecarvings.com

I Made It! Student Show ‘n Sale

April 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Did you miss out on this semester’s show?

Catch up on what you didn’t see by checking out these amazing pics!

Artist of the Week – Cassandra Hincks

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Cassandra Hincks

Art: it inpsires, it thrills, it liberates, it shares, and of course, it makes us feel. Feeling does not always come when you’re an observer; occasionally, art does not move people at all. But most often, it moves people differently. Three people all looking at an apple see the apple in very different ways… But, when you’re looking at a painting of an apple, what do you feel then? The awe and wonder the artist has for such a delicious and beautiful fruit? Do you understand the loathing for a healthy snack, forced on the artist for years by health-conscious parents? Or perhaps, there is no feeling at all: a lifeless, wonderless piece of art?

This week’s Artist of the Week, Cassandra Hincks, offers to the viewer a true bevy of emotion. She evokes everything from whimsical fancy, to adventure, to the very stuff of a coulrophobe’s worst nightmares. The emotional journey this emerging artist can inspire is breathtaking… But how did she start?

Her journey began with horses, her first subjects, at a very young age. Their grace and majesty filled pages in her sketchbook as she was drawn into the world of art. “It then grew into a sort of therapy for me and helped me to forget about the world for a bit,” she explains. “It was something I could get lost in and just become completely focused on and I loved it.”

Needless to say, her focus was worth the effort, as her passion grew so, too, did her skill. She began to explore the minutist details of nature: water droplets on a leaf after a rainfall, a misty morning in the woods, the tufts of hair on a beloved cat. Her eye for detail became ever more attuned to the world around her. And what catches her eye serves as inspiration. It allows her the freedom to choose various subjects, to try new things and to explore the limits of what can be transferred to a canvas or a sheet of paper.

“My inspiration comes from many things, but mainly thoughts, experiences, and just random ideas that pop into my head. I’m pretty much just exploring everything that I can and trying to find myself as an artist as well as a person.”

No stranger to a small-town atmostphere, Hincks understood she was never meant for the “big city”. Raised in Nippissing, it was the quiet presence of nature that first drew her to the Haliburton School of the Arts: the intense dislike she feels for the fast-paced environment of city-life was not the ideal headspace for her…

While attending her program, Hincks explored the connection between fibre and painting, weaving the mediums together into intriguing compositions. “[At] school I learned so many things, it made it really hard to find a medium I absolutely love; I enjoy little things about them all so I combine them a lot  and switch back and forth. Right now, I’m exploring graphite on raw canvas and embroidery.”

And her explorations are certainly poignant: although the experience might differ for every viewer, there is no question that every viewer will certainly feel something when they experience Hinck’s works.

Cassandra can be contacted via email at cassandrahincks@hotmail.com .

To view more of her work, please go to www.cassandrahincks.weebly.com .

Artist of the Week – Brittney Howe

February 5, 2012 § 6 Comments

Brittney Howe

“I have always had a passion for horses and how they work: the muscle connecting to the ligaments, the ligaments to the bones. Creatures so strong yet so delicate, and yet they move with such grace. Power-driven hind quarters fuel their bodies with grace and finesse; they become like butter in your hands, all 1200 pounds melting together with you… When riding my horse, my heart is no longer following the rhythm of my body, but beats with his: we become one. Imagine the greatest moment of peace you’ve ever experienced, then, multiply that by a million, and you may begin to have a glimpse of the pure joy I receive from these majestic creatures.”

Originally from Delhi, Ontario, Brittney tells us she’d always had a gift for drawing. Intrigued after discussing various arts programs with a Rep from the Peterborough Campus, Brittney decided HSTA was the place for her. From the moment she set her steel-toe-booted foot on the concrete floor of the blacksmith shop, she knew exactly what she wanted in life: to be an artist.  Manipulating and forming metal utterly fascinated her, she says: “How it starts off hard, and once yellow-hot is malleable like clay; you’re able to do anything with it.” She realized that not only did she possess a gift for drawing, but also for 3-dimensional sculpture, in particular the noble equus. “Throughout this past year, I have been diligently studying the horse: uncovering every bone, exploring every muscle, revealing new forms to better express its complex anatomy,” explains Brittney. “My study has included multiple sketches and image transfers, and 3D sculptural creations of tile and clay.”

Being pushed out of her comfort zone, she says, was the best thing that ever happened to her. Exploring different materials, different mediums, allows her “free rein” over her creativity and boundless possibilities in her work. “Once I felt comfortable with my understanding of how the horse was made, I began to create sculptures of these magnificent creatures out of scrap metals such as brass, copper and mild steel. Just as my initial study of horses began, my works are finished in the same way: layer by layer, manipulating the various metals to lend shape and form..”

  After she has completed her Ceramics and Glassblowing courses next year, she plans on setting up her own mixed-media studio called “In His Image Creations Inc.”. Without jumping the gun, she reminds us that metal is where it all began. “Combining copper, brass and mild steel to create an abundance of colour fascinates me. To be able to fashion life from the various forms and shapes of scrap [metal] pieces… taking a bare substance, manipulating it with heat to mould and shape my work, and create life, gives me purpose.” But, glass and ceramics require heat as well – perhaps she’s on to something? We can only wait and wonder at what the promising Miss Howe can come up with next…

You can catch Brittney’s feature article in an upcoming issue of The Anvil’s Ring.

Brittney can be reached at 705-457-0207 or via email at bv.howe@hotmail.com

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