110401-Newsletter-1From the Editor…

I’m not sure if you ever have experienced the sorts of disappointments I can feel in early March when friends from warmer climates start to declare the names of flowers emerging from the ground… when all we have to celebrate in Ontario is an occasional view of a puddle!  But now, as the snow recedes and grass is finally revealed, when our late parade of blooms begins to stretch up towards the sky, I like to think we deserve spring more than those others do! I am also quite certain our collective enthusiasm makes the colours and smells more vivid than they would otherwise be.  Spring is our gallery new year when we have triumphs to celebrate and also plans for improvement. The former Heritage room is up and running with room either to enhance feature shows or by allowing for special installations of artworks by members, making wonderful “featurettes” such as the one deb uman sures and Barbara Buntin made, as they expanded on our group theme “Layers”.

We are expecting to have our washroom up-dated and wheelchair friendly this year along with repairs that will me made to a problem wall in one of the gallery rooms.  Claus Heinecke’s fabulous sculpture “Empathy” will be installed in front of the gallery very soon after having had an unexpected delay in the autumn that took us into freeze up.  Read on for more news!   – Annie McDonald

110401-Newsletter-2Women Who Wood II  is the second show by a group of women who have been firing two cross draft kilns since May 2004.  It all began at Monica Johnston's (potter) and Paulus Tjiang's (glass blower), "Frantic Farms", in Codrington, Ontario. Monica asked a master kiln builder Mark Peters, from North Carolina, to come and give a kiln building workshop.  We were part of that group.  It was a week of long hours, sweat, tears, laughter, and hugs.  Under the patient tutelage from Mark, and much help from Paulus, we did get a beautiful kiln built which we named the "Hog Barn Baby".  At the end of the workshop we fired the kiln with wood that we had split and ended up with some pretty nice wood fired pots. We were hooked! A couple of years later, Barbara Murphy asked Mark up to her farm close to Waterloo, Ontario to come up and give another workshop. . . so now there were two kilns that we could use and fire.

We are women of all ages, mostly well into our 50's, 60's and myself in her 70's. We come from different areas of Ontario, and have all been making vessels out of clay for many years. Though we fire together, we work separately, and our work consists of a wide variety of form and surface treatment.  Our schedule is to stack the kiln during the day, then slowly begin the firing with small sticks of wood, gradually increasing the size and amount of wood put into the kiln.  We work in shifts and by dinnertime the next day, the firing is usually complete reaching a temperature of between 2300 to 2400 Fahrenheit.  In a few days the kiln is cool enough to open up and see the pots that we have fired.

This experience has led to close friendships and a sharing of knowledge, as well as growth in our work.  The participants are Celia Brandao, Shirley Clifford, Heather Daymond, Kim Harcourt, Monica Johnston, Carol-Ann Michaelson, Zsuzsa Monostory, Barbara Murphy, Marie Paquette, Terry Osborne, and Liz Willoughby.  Women Who Wood II opens June 4 and continues through July 10.  -Liz Willoughby

110401-Newsletter-3C.A.G. Spring Concert

Local musician and songwriter Stuart Macdonald will be performing a concert at the Colborne Art Gallery on Saturday May 28th beginning at 7:30. Featured songs will include some of the original compositions that were performed last year as one of the winners of the local song-writing competition for the Shelter Valley Folk Festival. The show will also feature songs from the CD Second Wind, including “The Day John Henry Died,” “Keep me in your heart” and “40 Shades of Blue” as well as new material. The mix of folk, country, Celtic and rock will make for a great evening of song. Doors will open 7.00 p.m. There will also be an art auction of artwork donated by gallery members at intermission along with refreshments.  – Avril Bull

The Big Art Show

Many of you have been to one of the big art shows in Toronto – the Toronto Art Expo (TAE), the Artist Project (TAP), the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE) – but you may not know what is involved behind the scenes. Here’s a glimpse into the costs and benefits for the artist.
The TAE and the TAP are similar, in that they are run by large organizations. TAP, in fact, is run by the marketing/trade show group that also runs the One of a Kind Show. It’s more exclusive than TAE, smaller and better-juried in my opinion, although the juries in both these shows remain unknown. Although TAE states it is not for profit, both are equally costly for participating artists. TOAE is different – It is a charitable non-profit event run by volunteers, juried by a panel of established artists, with high standards for artists to meet. Costs for artists are very low, partially due to the donated use of city property for the venue.

Financial costs: At TAE and TAP the artist is charged for the floor space, booth walls, an electrical connection and lights.  Other costs might include marketing materials and signage, parking, van rental, gas, food, and possibly a hotel for 3 nights. If you want to be able to do charge card transaction, beyond the set-up and monthly fees, you pay a fee to the show for a connection. I have been in TAE twice, and in TAP twice – my average cost per show has been $3200.

110401-Newsletter-4At the TOAE the booth charge is minimal, you can rent wire mesh walls, and you can rent a tent if you are inan exposed area. No electrical or lights are needed as the show is outdoors and closed at night. Again, you may need marketing materials, a van, gas, food and a hotel. Last year the TOAE cost me $800, much less than the indoor shows.

Other costs to the artist:

Physical costs – these shows are gruelling – up to 11 hours a day standing or perched on a stool, with poor air circulation, usually in a cold and dry environment. At the TOAE you also take your show down at night and put it back up in the morning, and you have rain and heat to contend with. The food is poor, the floors are concrete, and your back hurts.

Emotional costs – you are exposed to tens of thousands (tens of thousands for the indoor shows) of people strolling past, while you perch in front of your labours of love. They may not even look at your booth, or at you. They may spend some time examining a work, then walk away without making eye contact. You have to be confident in yourself and your work to survive these ongoing examinations and judgements.

Benefits – yes, there are some! You have the opportunity to have thousands of people see your work – that’s pretty amazing if you think about it. And you have great conversations with some of them – about your techniques, about the subject matter, about what drives you to paint. You make new contacts, meet new art fans, and, finally, you may even sell something!

So the next time you stroll through one of these big art shows, think about the artist as well as the art – and say something nice to us – we probably need a boost!
-Pat Stanley

110401-Newsletter-5In “crossroad”, a collection of Pat Stanley’s recent work, the artist uses two distinctly different perspectives to render aspects of her ongoing theme: the uneasy coexistence of the built environment with the natural world.  Opening reception at the colborne Art gallery on Saturday April 23, 2011 from 2 – 4 p.m. Show continues until May 29.  All are welcome!






Pat Stanley April 23 – May 29
Women Who Wood II  June 4 – July 10
Heather Roy July 14- August 21 (with Annie McDonald in the third gallery)
Irene Osborne August 27 – October 2
Veronica Derry October 8 – November 13

Each show has a reception from 2-4 pm on the opening day, when all are welcome to attend!