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'Big mess of creation': Creative flair floods Innisfil art show

Artwork created by students from Barrie's Maple Ridge Secondary School among pieces included in digital slideshow

The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library showcased the works of a dozen local artists for the Innisfil Studio Tour this past weekend. 

Artists displayed one-of-a-kind works of art, sculptures, paintings, works of pyrography, and jewellery, in addition to scarves, clothing, tote bags and greeting cards that made art enthusiasts and gift-givers alike smile as they perused the unique items for sale at the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library in Alcona and Masonic Hall (Manitoba Lodge) on Queen Street in Cookstown.

“Usually, the studio tour has individual studios and a couple of group locations,” explained Sydney Hardie, chair of the Innisfil Arts, Culture and Heritage Council. “The library is so accommodating.”

“We are thrilled to be supporting the local arts community through the Autumn Art Show and Sale,” said Erin Scuccimarri, Innisfil ideaLAB & Library CEO. “As a creative and cultural hub, the library is an ideal venue to showcase our incredibly talented artists and to allow our community to engage with culture and the arts in Innisfil.”

This year, Hardie and Jeanette Luchese, who is the vice-chair of the Innisfil Arts, Culture and Heritage Council, were excited to incorporate the 2022 Youth Art Show as part of the tour. Artwork created by students from Maple Ridge Secondary School and Banting Memorial High School has been included in a digital art slideshow that will be on display for another week at the Alcona and Cookstown branches of the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library.

“It was very exciting to be able to bring them on board and have them participate. And the schools are equally excited,” Luchese said.

Beyond acquiring one-of-a-kind artistic creations over the weekend, the artists generously offered insight into their processes.

“I always worked in acrylics,” artist Jamie Hardie said. “Unlike watercolour or oil, they’re really easy because they’re water clean-up.”

Artist Beth Evans works with a company in Montreal that transfers her art to textiles, like scarves, skirts, and pillows.

“They use sustainable products, (and) everything is machine washable. Everything is made right in Montreal, too, so they don’t ship it overseas so it’s definitely a Canadian product and a great company to work for," she said.

Artist, author, and poet Ron Haist said he has been sketching his entire life, and pyrography is simply sketching with a hot knife. In addition to his other works, he has been creating beautiful pieces of art on wood for 14 years.

Diane Kaczmarek, president of the South Simcoe Palette Club, said the artists who gathered in Cookstown were pleased to share their craft and expertise.

“It’s been a really, really good experience. The first time we had a show here was three years ago just before COVID, and I have to say, this year is better. This year, we’ve had a lot more traffic coming in (at 4 Queen St.) … Sydney Hardie and the Innisfil Tour people, they have been incredibly supportive and I can’t praise them enough. They’ve been great to us," said Kaczmarek.

Sydney Hardie says she is excited to resurrect the tradition of the Innisfil Studio Tour as it existed pre-pandemic. She explained that driving from studio to studio brings a lot of people from out of town and that everyone enjoys being invited into artists’ studios to witness the “big mess of creation."

When she looked around the Alcona library, she said the Innisfil Autumn Art Show and Sale worked so well, she thought, “Why can’t we have more than one thing a year?”

Keen to continue engaging the community while shining a light on local artists, she said, “maybe we (can) have a studio tour in the fall and an art show in the spring.”

Be sure to look at the Innisfil Studio Tour’s website for announcements.

“I’m always amazed at the talented people who live (in) and call Innisfil their home. It’s great to be out and to have this opportunity to get back into the community and immerse myself in the beautiful artwork,” Mayor Lynn Dollin said while checking out the works at the Alcona location. “Any community is a community, but it’s this type of event that makes communities unique.”

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Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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