The beginnin Artists group owes a lot to happenstance as local artists g of the Escarpment came together to lend their creative talents to the Rotary Clubs ‘Camel Race’ fundraiser back in 2013.

“We had a really fun time together,” says Diana Tuszynski, artist and business owner, “so why don’t we take this group and do something with it. We decided it would be fun to show together, as it would be an efficient use of our time as well as to pool our resources.”

Names were tossed around and ‘Escarpment Artists’ seemed to stick. “We needed a venue so I offered up my  home. It’s an annual show but if some artists can’t participate in a given year, we ask like-minded guest artists to join us. It’s obviously worked out well as the group celebrates its sixth year together.”

This year’s show took place the first weekend in June in Kilbride and the group enjoyed a gratifying visitor turnout. The artists each have their specific areas of subject matter, mediums and philosophies that produced a show that gave insight into each artist’s practice.

Milton artist, Louise Botha, adopts the stance that ‘art doesn’t just hang, it heals.’ Louise demonstrated her meditative
painting technique during the weekend.

“I’ve always found art to be a place where I can relax and it also helps me to focus. Creativity is very helpful for us; it helps focus and achieve mental wellbeing and reduce symptoms like pain or nervousness. There are benefits from looking at art especially in health care facilities, but creating art is definitely a way to relax and to produce a state of happiness and often very quickly. “

Jenny Panda, artist, illustrator, teacher and author was on hand to present her book talk on Saturday. Jenny is well-known for her inspirational talks designed to motivate creativity through an introduction to her books and artwork. “During the talk I showand-tell my artwork, illustrations and read short excerpts from my book. I answer questions and talk about my ideas, motivation and what is involved in writing books.”

For FASM Past-President, Ursula McDermid, who is involved with organizing and promoting the society’s diverse events, alcohol inks are her latest passion. I’ve worked with acrylics but this is a bit more exciting. I’m going where the energy is!”

Ursula adds that her role as an Escarpment artist allows her to be part of the group in contrast with her demanding role at FASM. “I think that the camaraderie is really an important factor. We all take an equal part in putting this show on and it’s a more relaxing experience overall.”

Linda Gallagher Ross has a long career as an acrylic painter and lately has taken up weaving rag rugs which she displayed at the show. Her rug materials are sourced from Value Village and are “bedsheets that come in every colour you can imagine from full-throttle brights to soft and soothing bedroom colours,” says Linda. “The rugs will help future paintings. The colour will happen in the paintings.”

The rugs are woven on a LeClair floor loom which is a typical classical loom made in Quebec. “It came to me as a mother’s loom that had been passed down to her daughter and her daughter passed it on to another person and so until it came to my spinning teacher who advertised it as ‘free’ with the proviso that it not be sold, but passed onto someone who would use it. I guess I’m part of the legacy now. “

Anne Marshall is new to the Escarpment group and was invited to display her chain mail jewelry. In 2014, just on a whim, I went with a friend to a wirewrapping course at a local crafts store. It was so fascinating and shortly after I started the wire weaving I saw some chain mail which is mostly now what I do. I work as a patent law clerk during the day and this is a total opposite to what I do at work.”

Denise Keats, who along with Anne Marshall hails from Rockwood, calls herself a full-time hobby potter since her retirement. Denise draws here inspiration from her Rockwood studio that overlooks a magnificent view. “

There’s an earthy theme to my work but when I go down to my studio space in Florida each winter, I do totally different work there.”

Howard Dickert is the luthier of Dickert Guitars. “It’s been a hobby since 2002,” says Howard. “All my life I’ve been dabbling with building stuff as well as playing guitar. In the late ‘90s, I came across a catalogue for luthiers that included instructions on how to build a fret job, and I decided to just go for it. And I was really lucky, it turned out really well. I found out later that doing a fret job is the equivalent of open heart surgery.”

Howard uses a lot of non-traditional woods in the acoustic guitars he currently builds using a lot of native woods including black locust as well as Brazilian rosewood. Howard admits that he is not a fast builder typically taking about 18 months to finish a guitar, but as a labour of love, he takes his time to build a guitar for which he is proud.

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