The Permanent Collection was established in 1985 to represent those works of art which document and represent the artistic
excellence of the Muskoka Arts & Crafts and the diversity of its membership.
The collection is permanently housed at the Chapel
The Sum of Our Parts
- MATT CHURCH
was the 1988 recipient of Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ Student Art Award,
when he graduated from Gravenhurst High School. He continued his studies
at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver in order to
become a more skilled craftsman and learn how to become a professional
art always held a fascination for Matt for he grew up watching his father
in his blacksmiths studio. For Matt, art is the way he sees, interprets
and solidifies his perceptions of a dynamic world. He currently works
side-by-side with his father in Severn Bridge.
Sum of Our Parts is a painted steel sculpture that is a classic example of
Matt’s skill and inquisitive vision as an artist. This sculpture can be
seen as symbolically representing our organization that is made up of so
many different members and is most deserving of being selected to be part
of our Permanent Collection in this, our 50th year.
on canvas, 121.92 cm x 137.16 cm
- BILL URBAN
Bill Urban received his BFA in
Painting with minors in Sculpture and Design from the Carnegie-Mellon
University in Pittsburgh. During the 1960s, Bill was influenced by
abstract expressionalism and the East Coast art movement that was
flourishing in New York City at that time. Later, Bill attended Queen’s
University to earn his teaching credentials and had a 28-year career as an
art teacher. Working from his studio in Huntsville, Bill is an active
volunteer with Muskoka Arts & Crafts and participates in the Life
Drawing Open Studio at the Chapel Gallery. Having shown his work in both
the United States and Canada. Last summer, Bill had a solo exhibition of
his strong and dynamic paintings at the Chapel Gallery. With influences
from the likes of Ellsworth Kelly and Stuart Davis, Bill approaches his
canvases with honesty and directness, using clear hard lines and an
extraordinary sense of composition to explore personal symbolism and the
everyday world around him.
Deer & Heron
wood carving, 71.12cmx102.87cm
- JIM DRURY
Jim Drury was born in
Sudbury, Ontario, and has had a lifelong interest in wood-carving, nature,
drawing and photography. In 1958, he married his wife, Donna, and together
they raised two children.
Jim had an 18-year career in the
Royal Canadian Air Force, and during those years spent his off-duty time
carving crests for offices and individuals in Canada and other countries.
He left the services to teach woodcarving at the Catherine Whyte
Multi-Cultural Center in Cold Lake Alberta, and in the summer of 1975,
received a grant from the Alberta Government to travel overseas and
research woodcarving. Jim also taught woodcarving courses at The Alberta
Vocational College, as well as seminars in parks, and evening classes
through Northwest Community College. When the Center closed, the Drurys
moved to the Queen Charlotte Islands, where for five years Jim fished
halibut, but continued his carving. In 1983, the Drurys came to Muskoka.
They were enthusiastic, active
members, and participated in many shows. Jim has been awarded the Patricia
Boyer award at the 1996 Spring Members’ Show, an Excellence in
Woodcarving in 1992, and many honourable mentions. During his twenty years
in Muskoka, Jim accepted commissions for wood-carving in homes and
cottages throughout Canada and the United States. Among these were the
doors and chapel furniture for St. Margaret’s Church in Midland, a large
puzzle map of Canada for Glaxo Smith and Kline in Mississauga, and
carvings in the round produced as award presentations for Tourism Industry
Association of Canada. The creator of the well-known comic strip,
"For better or For Worse," commissioned two carved doors.
Jim has always credited Donna as
a full partner in his artistic endeavours. In fact, he asserts that his
role – doing the drawing and carving – is by far the easy part. He
maintains that Donna’s contribution – which includes not only
finishing the pieces, but also preparing for the shows, keeping the
accounts, providing constructive criticism – is a more than equal share.
Jim and Donna now reside in Sidney, on Vancouver Island.
In 2004, Jim and Donna were made life
The Good Old Boys
on canvas, 50.8cm x 39.37cm
- IRIS GAMMON
Iris Gammon was born
in Parry Sound and has lived all of her life in Muskoka. Her love of the
landscape surrounding her MacTier family home began in her earliest
child-hood and has remained a life-long infatuation. A gift of oil paints
on her sixteenth birthday gave Iris her first opportunity to capture what
she saw on canvas. It was the beginning of an artistic relationship with a
landscape that, for Iris, would never lose its allure. In the years that
followed, as she raised seven children and a pursued a teaching career,
Iris put her artistic leanings on the back burner. But she kept them
simmering, waiting for the time when she could continue her creative
Twenty years ago, Iris took up
that journey in earnest, painting the craggy shores, windswept pines and
weathered barns of her beloved Muskoka. Largely self-taught, Iris
nonetheless learned what she could. She visited galleries, read art books
and enrolled in workshops. In 1982, at one of those workshops, Iris met
fellow painter, Jean Forder, who suggested they venture out-doors together
to paint. Soon others joined the intrepid group that be-came known as the
"Brown Baggers" – so named for the paper-bagged lunches they
carried on their weekly excursions.
Over the years, Iris’s has
developed her technique and honed her painting skills, but she declares
she will forever be learning. Nevertheless, she is very proud of the
Crystal Palette Award she earned for Best of Show at the Chapel Gallery’s
Annual Brown Baggers exhibit. In the days since her childhood, Iris has
traveled and seen the world, but today as always she remains enamoured
with the rugged landscape in which she was born and raised.
The Herons Have Gone
on board, 40.64cm x 29.21cm
- JANE GORDON
Jane Gordon was born
and raised in Toronto, but moved to Muskoka more than thirty years ago. As
a child, she was introduced to its pine-filled vistas, rocky outcroppings
and many lakes when her family built a log cabin on Skeleton Lake. In the
years since, she has remained captivated not only by the rocks, pines and
sunsets, but also by the quiet solitude of Muskoka’s wetlands. Where
others see only rotting stumps and reed-clogged stagnant waters, Jane
discovers visual treasures.
Today, she finds Muskoka as
compelling as ever, asserting that it remains the place she wants to be
and the subject she wants to paint. She has continued to paint it
throughout a busy life that included the raising of five children. A
member of the Brown Baggers for more than twenty years, Jane be-gins her
paintings on site. Later, she completes them in the studio of her
Bracebridge home which overlooks the Muskoka River.
Jane’s paintings are as richly
textured and vibrantly opulent as the scenes she so loves to depict.
Preferring to work on board with a palette knife, her expressive technique
captures the rugged countenance of the Muskokan terrain. Although her work
has earned her awards at the Spring Show, Jane’s true reward comes from
the sheer joy of sharing her lifelong love of Muskoka.
And The Memory Lingers On
- JEAN W.A. FORDER
Born in Skipton-in-Craven, Yorkshire
England, in 1918, Jean W.A. Forder’s professional career was in the field of
social work with placements in Manitoba then Muskoka. Retirement for Jean
meant beginning an active career by developing her artistic talent and
zestfully contributing to the art community in Muskoka. She took classes
in her first love – watercolour – and expanded her interest in other
media as well. She won a number of ribbons at the Bracebridge Fall Fair
and several awards from Muskoka Arts & Crafts for her work.
In 1985, Jean began the Brown Baggers, a group of artists dedicated to developing their talents,
encouraging each other and setting artistic goals for themselves each
year. Trips were taken to such locations as Algoma, Algonquin Park, as
well as many local sites. In 1989, the Brown Baggers showed their
paintings for the inaugural show celebrating the establishment of the
Jean was a member of the Board of
Directors for Muskoka Arts & Crafts, actively working to develop the
arts side of the organization. In 1991, she received a volunteer service
award for her service to Muskoka Arts & Crafts. In the spring of 2001,
Jean was made an honorary life time member
in the organization.
Jean’s talents were many –
encouraging, networking, mentoring – and she attracted many, many
friends to her with her ability to accept, encourage and find the positive
in all. Jean died on May 31, 2001.
welded steel sheet & rod, glass
- HILARY CLARK COLE
The Brazing Hussy series is a group of artistic
statements by Hilary Clark Cole, an artist, a woman, a welder. This series
began quite simply as a literal interpretation of a lacy, feminine
garment, created out of steel. They are ironic, and quite disarmingly
charming. They are one of kind life-size female forms, which could be
described as a bustier, bodice or sculpted torso. Muskoka Mammaries is one
The general perception of steel is that it is a
cold, masculine, industrial material. To Hilary Clark Cole it is none of
those things. She loves to explore its warm, malleable, filigreed
possibilities, and these particular sculptures give her that opportunity.
But after creating several traditional lacy steel images in this form,
Hilary took a philosophical leap. The upper torso is such an expressive
part of the body, a centre of emotion. She began to create bodices out of
masses of welded steel fern fronds, bunches of steel-and-brass buttercups,
delicate wire feathers. They became living, growing works of art. The
Hussies dance, some lush with fruit and new emerging life, some sensual
and provocative, and others moody and thought provoking.
These bustiers continue to evolve into statements
about being alive. There is joy and sadness in each of them as you hold
them by the waist and listen to them speak. They will tell you of
perceived beauty, of painful shyness, of rich memories, of wicked gossip,
of temptation…. or, in this example, of her love of this part of the
world, with tall White Pines of welded steel and a stained glass sun
glowing in its heart.
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, Hilary Clark
Cole graduated from the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, Ontario, 1969.
She has lived and worked in Muskoka since 1971. Public installations and
commissions are numerous and include: Cadillac-Fairview Corporation
(Toronto, Ontario), Tilley Endurables World Headquarters (Toronto,
Ontario), Stelco Head Offices (Toronto, Ontario), South Muskoka Memorial
Hospital (Bracebridge, Ontario), and the Bethune Memorial House (People’s
Republic of China). In 2008, Hilary was made an honorary life time member
in the organization.
duochrome photograph from a paper
negative, 7.8cm x 11.5cm
- GERRY ALLABY
Gerry Allaby's black and white images concentrate on architectural studies and musings about the symbolic landscape, yet, he
also creates small, evocative images emerging from experimentation in a variety of alternative printing techniques. Gerry
graduated from Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia in 1965 with a BA in history and an MA from the University of New
Brunswick in 1972. Gerry joined Georgian College (Barrie, Ontario) in 1971 as a professor of art history, photography, and
Smoke Lake - Algonquin Park
oil, 29.5cm x 49cm
- JOHN BRDAR
John Brdar painted for close to thirty years. Self-taught, John's teachers were the impressionistic painters. His aim was to
achieve a spontaneous and uncomplicated interpretation of the landscapes and streetscapes of Central and Eastern Ontario.
John preferred to paint outdoors in order to capture the elusive quality of light and colour.
John was born in Kast, Croatia in 1931 and came to Canada as a child of
five years. He spent his childhood in Val D'Or, Quebec, later moving to
Toronto. In the late 1980s, John moved to Muskoka to pursue his love for
landscape painting. John died on November 10, 1999, in his 68th
- LINDA HRYNYK
Linda Hrynyk studied pottery at Georgian College (Barrie, Ontario). She makes a variety of functional dinnerware as well as
whimsical birdhouses, sculptural birdbaths, and fountains. Orchid Vase was built using the technique of slab contraction and
has a wax resist design. Linda was the 1999 recipient of the Ontario Crafts Council's Design Award, given at Muskoka Arts
& Crafts' Spring Members' Show.
hand blown glass, 20cm x 7cm
- JAMIE SHERMAN
Jamie Sherman is known for his modern art glass. Intrigued by old blown glass forms and processes, he has developed
reproductions for the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. this bird is a replica of a Roman, hand blown glass cosmetic
container from the first century AD. Originally transparent in colour, time and environmental exposure changed their
appearance, visually approximated in this replica with metallic lusters including gold and silver.
sterling silver, 27cm
- PENNY VARNEY
Penny Varney's work is an eclectic mix of styles, materials, and techniques. Simplicity in design, however, is Penny's common
theme. In 1991, she graduated from the Jewellery Department at Georgian College (Barrie, Ontario) after experimenting with
ceramics and painting. Penny enjoys exploring different materials and techniques in her quest to develop an undiscovered
watercolour, 25cm x 35.5cm
- ROMA KASSIAN (HOPKINS)
Roma Kassian sees potential paintings in the stuff of everyday living. Of particular interest, is the beauty of the fleeting quality of
light. The detailed paintings are the result of years spent honing the powers of observation. Trained in print making at the
Ontario College of Art, Roma switched to watercolours in the 1980s when searching for a more direct approach to working
pastel, 15cm x 11cm
- NANCY GRAY OGLE
Nancy Gray Ogle was introduced to pastels over twenty years ago. Specializing in wildlife, her paintings have won numerous
awards. Her art depicts more than an accurate rendering of the animal. Through the eyes, the emotion and personality of each
animal is successfully captured. She currently exhibits her work along with other top Canadian wildlife artists, in the annual
exhibition, Art in the Park, held in Algonquin Park.
viscose chenille, novelty rayon, cotton, silk &
44cm x 59cm
- LYETTE BEAULAC
Lyette Beaulac has been weaving for over twenty years. Self-taught, Lyette's weaving is a labour of love. This vest was a
departure from her customary palette of colours and encouraged her to explore new ways of using colour. Her woven clothing
has won many awards and Lyette has shared her extensive knowledge by teaching workshops.
In 2000, Lyette was made an honorary life time member
in the organization. That same year, Lyette, along with her husband, moved to Nova Scotia to pursue
their dream of living and traveling on their sail boat.
- CRAIG PORTER
Craig Porter is a multi-media artist. He received his BFA from York University and an AOCA from the Ontario College of Art. Objects ground and comfort Craig and, in his art, are symbolic manifestations of his interaction and enterprise in the world. His installation works and sculptures are intended to invoke a sense of allegory and to bring the vastness of personal experience down to an intimate scale.
cherry,13cm x 25.5cm
- PETER TAYLOR
Peter Taylor began bending wood to make Shaker baskets and boxes. His appreciation of the simplicity and perfection of
these designs led him to experiment with his own. His bentwood baskets and sculptural forms are crafted from local
hardwoods and hand rubbed to a sensuous finish. This basket was inspired by a raku vessel given to him by potter Mas
maple, 27cm x 14cm
- DOUG GATCKE
Doug Gatcke has been carving since the late 1970s. This bowl marked a dramatic departure from Doug's carving style in that
the exterior was carved to highlight the unusual lightning burnt interior. A past-president and long-time member, Doug was
given an honorary life time member
in 1996. The Members' Choice Award for the Spring Members' Show was renamed in
Doug's honour in 1997.
11cm x 26cm
- ELEANOR BISSET
Eleanor Bisset discovered china painting in
1971. In 1975, she was accepted into the International Porcelain Artists &
Teachers Incorporated (Dallas, Texas). For Eleanor, china painting represented a never-ending challenge and a constant
learning experience. Eleanor freely shared her knowledge with others by teaching workshops. After twenty years of
experience, Eleanor believed that she had just started to explore the possibilities of china painting.
Eleanor died on September 7, 2001 at the age of 91.
32cm x 18cm
- Mieke Martin-Soontiens
Mieke Martin-Soontiens believes in developing an infallible technique, then allowing inspiration to complete the process of
creation. After two decades, the Dutch-born artist still sees herself as a student. Inspiration comes from her world-wide
treks. Mieke adds texture and patterns to her work using sgraffito, a method by which designs are incised through the clay's
surface. In 1997, Mieke was made an honorary life time member
in the organization. She moved from Gravenhurst to Nova Scotia in 1998.
Hand Bound Leather Guest Book
22.5 x 29cm
- TED WILLIAMS
Ted Williams moved from Toronto to Bracebridge in 1978. Ted, along with his wife,
Dorothy (Dodie), regularly exhibited their
art at the the Summer Show. His first love was photography and later hand bound books. When Ted passed away, Dodie
established the Ted Williams Memorial Award to encourage new and innovative work.
The award ceased after the death of Dodie in 2007.
Pottery Painting #1
45cm x 67cm
- JON PARTRIDGE
Jon Partridge trained at Georgian College then taught at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, before moving to Muskoka in
1974. Jon finds endless personal fulfillment in exploring new designs, making and finishing one-of-a-kind sculptural vessels,
decorative stoneware tableware, and clay paintings entirely by his hand. After working with clay for thirty years, Jon has the same
enthusiasm for the medium as when he threw his first mug. In 1995, Jon was made
an honorary life time member
in the organization.
- BETTY REYNOLDS
Betty Reynolds learned the fundamentals of her craft by attending numerous workshops. An accomplished silversmith, Betty
has also taught courses.
Betty shared her craft with Walter, her husband. Together, the Reynolds were inventive as Walter constructed their own silversmith equipment as well as cutting, tumbling, and grinding tools. Betty was born in 1922 in Bracebridge where she and Walter continue to live.
In 1993, Betty and Walter were made honorary life time member
in the organization.
13cm x 25.5cm
- JOE FAWN
Joe Fawn was born in 1911 in Toronto, Ontario. He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather when he started a five year apprenticeship as a stone cutter but then worked as a tool and die maker. When Joe moved to Muskoka in 1971, he became interested in woodcarving and his work has won many awards.
Joe died in 2004.
21cm x 28cm
- FRANK & PHOEBE ROADS
Frank and Phoebe Roads were born and raised on the Gibson Reserve, just outside of
Bala, Ontario. Frank
was born in 1909 and Phoebe in 1917, they married in 1933. For as long as they can remember, Frank and
Phoebe have been involved with native crafts. Their craft work included items made from birch bark and
deerskin, but they are best know for their traditional baskets made from
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