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August 07, 2011

Art & Craft for Discerning Tastes on Salt Spring

One of the best things about living on Salt Spring Island is the very thing that made its reputation in the first place: the never ending supply of high quality art and crafts.

Many of the formal galleries are situated in or near Grace Point Square. You can take the Studio Tour, visit the gallery space at ArtSpring, drop into the newest co-operatively-run Salt Spring Gallery of Fine Art on McPhillips or throughout the year see if  The Point Gallery near Fulford village has an exhibit in its cute little two-storey barn structure.

Twice a year, see what's happening at  ArtCraft and Winter Craft at the big yellow Mahon Hall.

I visited Mahon Hall last long weekend and took a few photos. This, in no way, represents all the artists/craftspeople who exist on island, but these captured my attention on the day I was there.

I love Stefanie Denz' art. There's something about it that feels like I'm about to begin reading a novel by Alice Munro. There's a Canadian familiarity to her work even though it's often very people focused such as the exhibit she currently has at the Salt Spring Roasting Company. I love the tactile nature of this piece. I believe it's a painting of the stairs on the Mayne Queen (a ferry). It's on a piece of wood with an iron latch smack dab in the middle of the work. There's just something so alive about her work that it feels to me that if you turn your back for a minute, it might just walk away on its own. Stream of consciousness people. That's where that comment came from. 
Visit her website at Stefanie Denz

This piece below is by Gillean McConnell. I especially like the miniature collage that is on  top of the painting near the bottom left. Look closely. I thought that was a really cool idea. If you want to learn more about McConnell and her work, watch this video.

The vibrant blues of this piece and the number of pieces in it really captured my attention. How could it not? How long did this take to make? I thought it was stunning. The artist, Beulah Gordon, calls them glass paintings. They are lit from behind.

When I saw this work, just because I happened to be reading a book that compared the works of Georgia O'Keeffe to Ansel Adams, it reminded me, in stone, of some of the dark paintings O'Keeffe did of New York that are less well known.This is very stark but my brain clung to the uniqueness of it. The artist is: Gerda Lattey
Unfortunately, this photo (below) does not even come close to accurately representing the amazing talent of Carl Sean McMahon but his work is so wonderful I want you to visit his website to get a sense of it. His Breaching Orca III is situated outside of ArtCraft made entirely out of recycled steel and recycled wooden chairs. He also has a studio on Churchill Road. You must take a look at it here. 
This felted owl was made by Aki & Akiko Otsu. They live on Salt Spring but are originally from Japan. They have the cutest children in the world and they make both felted creatures and wonderful vegan and gluten free seaweed rice treats from their Roly Poly Rice Ball company. You can find them at the Tuesday Farmers' Market and the Saturday Market in the Park seling both of their items.
I also like the work of zendotstudio The photo below, once again, doesn't do the work justice but their work is focused on "tranquility and spirit" as it says on Carole Leslie's business card really appeals to me and many others I'm sure. 

 There is so much talent in one place at ArtCraft. Pottery. Jewellery. Lavendar coffee. Beautiful felted scarves. Little girl dresses. Wonderful pottery. Watercolour paintings. Hand-made journals. Wool slippers, and so much more. Even if you've lived here 20 years, it's worth reminding yourself of the talent in our midst by dropping by Mahon Hall just for a peek.

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