By Karen Graham
This year artists in and around Bethany are opening their doors again for Mother’s Day weekend. The artists work in a wide variety of media, creating works of beauty, purpose and often whimsy to express their creative vision in their unique settings. From quilts to photographs, beautiful and useful clay pieces, paintings, wood sculptures and jewelry, there is no shortage of inspiration in these studios.
Many of the featured artists have work on display in town at Williams Design Studio, including the leather and brass pieces of Paul Williams and wife Beverley’s unusual decorated hard-shelled gourds. Also in that central location you will find photographs from Walter and Peggy Cracknell, both experienced photographers with a background in film who now operate out of their own studio and lab in Omemee. They produce high-quality fine art photographs. Each piece is unique as customers select a digital image from the photographers’ gallery featuring landscapes, plant specimens and unusual rock formations and colourations. The image is then customized as purchases select to have the image printed in the studio on canvas, water colour paper or photographic quality paper. Many pieces of the Cracknells’ work are featured in private collections in Peterborough, Lindsay, Toronto, Orillia and Europe.
One of the more recent arrivals on the tour is pottery artist Jodie Hames who moved to the area a few years ago having spent over 20 years on the shores of Georgian Bay near Parry Sound. In 1996, armed with a fine arts degree from Georgian College, Jodie began her professional art career painting in oil. After working with a local potter, she shifted gears and found inspiration in clay, finding the multi-dimensional possibilities of carving and sculpting this medium more interesting than working on a canvas. Having relocated to Bethany in 2012, she now draws from a different environment which is just beginning to show its influence, and dragonflies feature prominently in her work. Her playful creations include garden creatures such as frogs, fish and toads, and even the pieces for the kitchen are playful. She particularly enjoys creating larger pieces such as bird houses and bird baths.
The event spans two days, from at 10 am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, so hope in the car and enjoy a leisurely drive through the Bethany hills from Pontypool to the ski hills. With twelve artists in ten locations, there will be plenty to see.