Robert Reid; Waterloo Region Record; Mar 9, 2011; C.4;
Eric Rumble; Alternatives Journal; May 2, 2012; Art & Media 38.3; 21-22;
The Record Saturday, December 1, 2012
UpTown Gallery event celebrates creative variety
It was the latest newsletter from the members of UpTown Gallery that drew my attention to an event coming up next week that involves an unusual combination of fields of creative endeavour.
The official unveiling of Homegrown and Handmade, a limited edition chapbook (pocket-sized booklet), will take place at the Gallery next week Saturday.
It’s a literary arts event, obviously. In addition to the gallery setting, the visual arts elements include fibre art, illustration and graphic design. And, as the title suggests, horticulture and agriculture are also part of the picture, as well as handcraft production.
Homegrown and Handmade is an essay by Karen Kliewer of Little City Farm in Kitchener, illustrated with textile art by Diane Eastham, designed by Karl Griffiths-Fulton, edited by Judith Maclean Miller, and published by Stonegarden Studios. It was printed in Kitchener by the Pandora Print Shop.
Judith Miller is well-known in the community as an academic (she recently retired from the position of director of English programs at Renison University College), as a writer and editor, and as a stalwart supporter of the arts.
The Arts in the Mid-Sized City program that she led about a decade ago now stands out among the many cultural development initiatives that have been undertaken here recently in that it was firmly centred on the contributions, aspirations and needs of artists in all disciplines.
A profound respect for the role of the creator is also what drives the Stonegarden Studios project, “a non-profit press, a collective of skills” that specializes in creating “chapbooks which link visual art with text.”
A celebration event for the studio’s most recent publication was held at the University of Waterloo Bookstore this week: Toronto, Toronto combines Kitchener artist Jon Tobin’s plein air paintings with poems by Bruce Lumsden
Homegrown and Handmade will be the eighth addition to the Stonegarden catalogue. As Miller points out in the foreword, Karin Kliewer and Diane Eastham may “appear to live in different worlds, but they have much in common”: They have both “chosen to withdraw from what we think of as the usual working world.”
Kliewer and her family left the mainstream to create Little City Farm, which she describes as “a sustainable urban homestead on one-third acre near the downtown core of Kitchener” where they grow things, make things and live a “slower, simpler life.”
At the end of her essay she presents a list of “ten principles for starting an urban homestead.” Principle No. 1 is “stay in one place.”
Eastham left a successful career as a teacher and vice-principal for “the precarious way of life as an artist” who specializes in fibre art, painting, photography, writing and mentorship.
The list of organizations she is involved in shows the range of her work: Creativity Coaches Association, Canadian Authors Association, Ontario Poets Society, Cambridge Writers Collective, KW Society of Artists, Society for Layerists in Multi-Media, Royal City Calligraphy Guild, Highland Glen Camera Club, Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, and more.
At the top of the list is the UpTown Gallery and Workspace, an artists’ collaborative project located in Waterloo Town Square. Eastham is one of 27 members involved at present.
The Gallery now has extended holiday hours. One-of-a-kind art cards and affordable “square foot art” pieces are a seasonal specialty. The current show Translucence — “glowing drawings and luminous encaustics, festive and elegant fused and stained glass, and fabulous fibre art” — opened last week.
Martin DeGroot writes about local arts and culture each Saturday. You can reach him by email at [email protected]
Homegrown and Handmade book launch
Waterloo Town Square
Saturday Dec. 8, 3-5 p.m.
All nine Stonegarden titles are available at $20 each. For more information, go to www.stonegardenstudios.ca.
UpTown Gallery will be open to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays until Christmas, as well as 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and from noon until 4 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, including how to apply for membership, visit www.uptowngallerywaterloo.com.