Blue Mind: a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peace, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.

Our Artists

Ceramics

Suzanne Babineau

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Suzanne Babineau

Suzanne Babineau is a studio potter located in Notre-Dame, NB. She graduated from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Fredericton with a Certificate in Ceramics in 2005 and also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa.

Over the last 15 years she has been developing her career as a ceramic artist and her work has evolved into a range of functional and one-of-a-kind pottery combining modern simplicity and whimsy. Her work strives to bring a sense of tranquility and playfulness in its minimalist design. She currently has several lines of functional pottery in galleries and shops around the Maritimes and is part of many private collections across Canada and abroad.

In conjunction with her production practice, Suzanne has also been learning the art of wood-firing for several years as well as exploring the combination of pottery and basketry techniques to create unique organic vessels.

Julian Covey

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Julian Covey

Julian Covey is a Halifax based ceramic artist. He was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia and has spent much of his life in Montreal, QC. He completed his ceramics education at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2018 and he maintains both sculptural and utilitarian ceramic practices.

Beyond the studio, Julian works as a kiln technician, teaches classes and is currently the president of the board of directors of Visual Arts Nova Scotia. He is passionate about ceramic art and its ability to record and communicate complex concepts through material culture.

Julian has been the recipient of several awards. While at NSCAD he received the Kevin and Karen Lynch Scholarship for Ceramics, the MacAdam Trust Scholarship, the Alexander J. McDonald Memorial Award, the Walter Ostram Scholarship for Ceramics, the World Encounter Scholarship and was nominated for the Starfish Student Award in his final year.

Since completing his studies, Julian was selected for the Centre for Craft Nova Scotia’s airCRAFT and Craft LAIR residencies and was awarded a creation grant from Arts Nova Scotia’s Equity Initiative.

Artist Statement
As a mold maker and ceramic artist, I explore movement and pattern through modular porcelain forms. I am interested in capturing and examining space through relief and openings within the works as well as through the areas in-between the individual modules within each composition.

I employ modularity in my work because I am interested in its capacity to create unexpected and complex systems and forms out of simple components. The arrangements I create reflect my belief that all systems, including civilizations, are much greater than the simple sum of their parts.

Contextually, my work fits into dialogues around production and the tension that exists in the viewer’s relationship with ceramics and its inherent fragility. Rather than drawing inspiration from the rich history of Ceramics, I prefer to work within contemporary conversations around identity, design and issues surrounding digital fabrication.

Rachel de Condé

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Rachel de Condé

I’ve always been working with my hands, imagining and building.  As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get to the library to check out the National Geographic magazines, which even included the index book.  My dad was a huge fan of nature shows, so as a Canadian child of the 80s, I have fond memories of Sunday nights, watching the Magical World of Disney followed by the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. From some combination of these things, I was inspired to build a “blind” out of our lawn chairs in our Montreal backyard, so I could observe and document the natural behaviour of our local wildlife: the grey squirrel.  I can’t tell you how many images I shot, with my Fisher Price camera, of a pixelated grey dot (the squirrel) through the gridded back of the lawn chairs (the white grid is visible in every photo).  But my parents never discouraged me, especially my mom, who faithfully took the film to be developed. 

My mom always encouraged my sister and I to play and build.  Early on, I had the box of simple wooden blocks, eventually replaced by Lego, which I used to build houses, complete with landscaped yards (thank you Lego bushes).  I loved building epic forts from the sofa cushions, sheets and whatever other furniture was at hand. The one-time purchase of a new fridge left me with a fridge box, easily one of the best things I’d ever had. Into that I built a new fort, which led to hours and days of fun, until the box finally collapsed. Books, forts, homemade playdoh, self-hardening clay, dirt in the backyard (I had a penchant for digging holes in the garden with my Tonka excavator); all of these things were the building blocks to where I am now, along with the freedom to play and imagine.

When I moved back to Nova Scotia in 2009 after finishing graduate school at the University of Washington, I worked on a dairy farm. Caring for and tending to all those animals, the physically hard work, left me exhausted daily but satisfied. After two years, though, I was ready to return to making and I was invited to begin teaching at NSCAD University in Halifax.  Around this time, I began to renovate a vacant building, turning it into a studio. From this space, I have developed functional ware, while every so often fitting in the time to explore installation-based work.   

In the meantime, it would seem my partner and I have become small farmers.  On our 6-acre piece of the world not far from Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, we keep honeybees, raise hens for eggs, turkeys and chickens for meat, and grow vegetables for our own use.  I love gardening and every year add more beds and flowers to my ever-expanding perennial gardens. Amid the gardens, you’ll find our rescued animals: Abby, our big lovie Rottweiler mix, and the 3 cats – Bruiser, The Fuzz and Peeper – I found abandoned on a local road. In my world, creating and growing and playing is a never-ending project, and I love it. 

Process

Many years ago when I first started studying ceramics at NSCAD University, I was drawn to throwing on the wheel. For the first little while, I thought I would be a production potter. But as I continued my studies, I was eventually introduced to the technique of mold making and slip casting and I was hooked. For many years, I used it to produce large scale installations, but upon returning to Nova Scotia and setting up a pottery studio, I turned this skill into making molds for functional mid-range porcelain ware. In my studio I design new work using a variety of techniques.

 

For some pieces, I have carved asymmetrical forms using a softer plaster compound. Sometimes, I use the wonderful ability of molds to cast found objects. I find it a playful thing to cast ceramic forms normally found in other materials. However, in recent years, I have begun to turn plaster using my trusty old pottery wheel. In about the 10 minutes I have before my plaster sets and becomes too hard, I quickly carve out the form I want, using sharp trimming tools and sandpaper. I begin with a paper template, figuring out proportions, dimensions and form. With this pinned up in front of me, I use it as a visual guide while I carve the plaster. From these positives I make molds. Using a clay recipe that I have worked on and developed over many years, I mix a cone 6 semi- porcelain casting slip using raw ingredients and with that clay, I pull clay positives from my molds. 

Over the years, I have developed a variety of glazes to use, developing colours and surface through extensive glaze testing and taking inspiration from the rich colours I find in my gardens and natural surroundings. For my ceramic Floral Collection, I hand draw all the flowers and use underglazes to create colourful juicy surfaces. Ultimately, I take great care in creating each piece. I design these objects to be not only visually pleasurable, but to also bring you joy while you use them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them.

Toni Losey

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Toni Losey

Toni Losey is a ceramic artist working in the city of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  She received her BFA from NSCAD in 2018.  While there, she drew upon her 15 years of experience as a studio potter to develop an exciting body of sculptural work.  She had the opportunity to show this work at SOFA Chicago, NCECA, and in several private and public gallery spaces.  She has been published in Ceramics Monthly and has taught workshops and classes at NSCAD, NSCCD and several other community studios.

Nature has always been a part of her work.  Losey grew up on the Canadian Prairies and drew inspiration from the big skies and wide open spaces.  Now living in Nova Scotia, Canada, Losey’s coastal surroundings have opened up new ideas and influence on her sculptural work.

Megan MacKinley

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Megan MacKinley

Megan MacKinley is a ceramic artist living and working in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She received her education in ceramics from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, graduating with a Fine Craft – Ceramics Diploma in 2016. In addition to clay, MacKinley has trained in drawing and painting at both NBCCD and the New Brunswick Community College, Miramichi campus, earning honours in each program.

In addition to her full time career as a studio potter, MacKinley is also a volunteer in the arts community, currently serving as the Vice President for Craft NB and the Secretary for the New Brunswick Craft Foundation.

Iris Patterson

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Iris Patterson

I have always loved the ocean and it’s many creatures, but a trip to Staniel Cay in the Bahamas changed everything for me. It was my first time snorkeling in such clear and beautiful waters and was truly inspiring. The vibrant colors of starfish and the way the seaweed and sea-fans sway in the water was just fascinating. I was hooked, and now enjoy making these things come alive on my work. I still love to go out and snorkel here in Nova Scotia to watch life under the sea.

Clay has always been a passion of mine. Even as a child, I was always exited to get a new package of clay to play with, and sometimes I would make things with dough in my dad’s bakery.  

Most of my work is in functional stoneware. I like the idea of serving food in a beautiful vessel; I feel it makes the dining experience much more enjoyable. I also create “belly bowls” for expecting mothers, and have been known to play a little with Raku

Much of my work is inspired by the sea. My studio overlooks Three Fathom Harbour where I take many walks along the shoreline and get much of my inspiration. Driftwood, seaweed, starfish, jellyfish and other sea creatures can be found on many of the pots I make.

Susanna Steinitz

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Susanna Steinitz

Susanna Steinitz and her husband, Hans Katzur, live and create out of their studio, Riverside Pottery, in Bear River, Nova Scotia. They have designed a whale fluke motif exclusively for Blue Mind Gallery. Each piece of pottery has been individually thrown, carved and glazed by hand.

Our Artists

Fibre / Leather

Ashley Brown

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Ashley Brown

Born and raised in a small rural town on the Atlantic coast, the traditions of hard work and resilience carry over into every thread of my craft. What began as a basement hobby has now grown to a small business that supports my family.

From our signature line of bookmarks featuring repurposed leather, to our minimalistic compostable packaging, you will find each element of our work thoughtfully crafted with a mind for our future.

With a commitment to quality materials and time-honored designs, we believe in well made goods built to last a lifetime. Crafted to endure, our goods will become storied with a rich patina and marks of your journey with everyday use.

Laurie Dolhan

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Laurie Dolhan

Hello. My name is Laurie Dolhan, and I am the artist behind the Hook, Line & Tinker craft studio in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia. As part of my journey to date, I have been a Jersey Girl, a Yukon Sourdough, and now I’m what some Nova Scotians refer to as a CFA (come-from-away). Like my favourite things, I have been lost, found, and creatively reworked. Throughout my life, I have always been making something or other. Craft has given me joy, comfort, and taught me patience too.

Hook, Line & Tinker launched in October 2017 with a line of modern embroidery patterns and kits using my own original illustrations. My business is a reflection of my values – care for people, respect for the environment, and a deep desire to create something meaningful and real through a shared act of making. I’m grateful for the opportunity to create and share my craft with you.

 

Process

All of Hook, Line & Tinker’s embroidery illustrations are original and designed by me for beginner stitchers. I focus on creating patterns that are unique and modern in style. The limited colour palette and use of recurring motifs is purposeful – finished hoops hang well as mix-and-match groupings and tell a cohesive story within a theme. Some patterns are easy peasy (Level 1), others are more ambitious (Level 3). But all allow for creativity, experimentation, and calm.

 Each illustration is repeatedly rendered through the craft of hand embroidery using a variety of basic, introductory stitches to build texture and a pleasing design. The 100% cotton fabric is cut and prepared by hand, and all finalized patterns are printed onto the fabric in our studio using inks that maintain their integrity during the stitching process.

Environmental Impact

Our studio is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded lands of the Mi’kmaq people. As settlers, of Halifax and the world, we make every effort to operate sustainably and with respect for our beautiful planet. All of our packaging is designed to be lightweight and compact to reduce environmental impacts via shipping. Paper, including recycled content when possible, is used in lieu of plastic. By the end of 2021, each kit will be entirely plastic free. We creatively upcycle production waste when possible.

Community Give Back

We believe in universal access to basic needs such as housing and food, and as a company, we’re committed to fighting housing and food insecurity. As of July, 2018, a minimum of 5% of profits are donated to help women and children experiencing homelessness. Hook, Line & Tinker currently supports Adsum for Women and Children through financial contributions and regular volunteer efforts. Our team also comes together to cook healthy meals through Shelter Nova Scotia’s “Adopt-a-meal” program.

 

Jane Fowler

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Jane Fowler

For as long as I can remember I have always made things. As a child I would make soft toys using remnants, buttons, beads, and lace from the local fabric store. As a young adult, I enjoyed designing my own clothes and sewing items for my home.

Once I became a mum, my life became hectic and wonderfully busy; the sewing machine made way for books, toy trucks, paints and crayons. Now that my family has grown, I find myself with the time to once again indulge in the creative process of using my imagination to sew beautiful things.

 I hope that you enjoy my products as much as I enjoy creating them.

Debbie Kirton

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Debbie Kirton

Debbie Kirton lives and creates in Bear River, NS, under her studio name, Pumpkin & Peaches. She moved with her family to Bear River in July 2012 from the United Kingdom. Leaving behind a career as an accountant and inspired by her new surroundings, she wanted to do something more creative with her time. As she had already spent many years crocheting and knew that this was an activity she loved, Debbie decided to begin selling her work at the Annapolis Royal Farmers & Traders Market in 2013. She currently makes a wide variety of items for both children and adults – many of them now also sold at Blue Mind Gallery.

Shari MacLeod

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Shari MacLeod

Shari MacLeod lives and creates under the studio name Red Twig Brown Twig in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She started needle felting as a way to incorporate a new element into baskets she was creating and fell in love with the technique and beautiful fibres she was working with.

The flora and fauna Shari creates with wool and silk are her way of expressing delight in the real and imaginary world that surrounds us. She is an avid gardener and loves to hike the coastlines and wilderness of Cape Breton Island. Most days, inspiration is just a footstep away. 

Anna & Leo Proskuryakova

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Anna & Leo

We are Anna and Leonid, a Vancouver-based couple of felt artists. We love nature and we love craft. Several years ago we started exploration of wet and dry felting techniques and we discovered needle felting. We found it quite amazing that a piece of raw wool could be sculpted into a little animal, each one with its own personality ( – sometimes not exactly as we initially planned).

Each toy takes many hours to fully complete, from a day or two for the smallest ones, up to several weeks for the larger creatures, and they are never identical. We really love our work and it’s always such a pleasure to hear from others that our little guys cheer them up in the morning and keep them positive during the day!

Jennifer Pullin

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Jennifer Pullin

Jennifer Pullin is the founder of Fibres of Life – a Halifax-based company that works with fair trade organizations and artisans to create beautiful, ethical products. While items are designed by Jennifer, Fibres of Life products are made by artisans in Nepal:

Fibres of Life all came about by chance – or so it seems – when I, working in community development and conservation, popped out of a public transport vehicle in Kathmandu, Nepal, on my way to an information interview, and landed straight in front of The Association for Craft Producers – the first fair trade association we began work and who we now share a deep partnership with. While I watched others come and go from breathtaking mountain treks, I had begun to question my insanity of buzzing around the busy and sometimes polluted streets days at a time to meet with people in the country working on thought provoking social and environmental projects. Should I have sent my trusty hiking boots home in that hockey bag? What was I doing? But I do believe that the story isn’t over until it is over – and that was the day Fibres of Life, as it became, began – as I walked excitedly into ACP and felt the first sense of possibility and reality in months of travel and seeking. Over the next few days, before I knew it, to buy product, I had withdrawn $3000 from the bank machine in multiple small withdrawals, and realized I had no idea how to export and ship the goods. Never one to be shy, a coffee with others in the area pointed me in the right direction and so it landed on Canadian soil.

While my main motivation and passion with Fibres of Life has been to be a part of an international collaboration to support social and environmental development, this project has called on myself, and those who I work with, in unexpected, and often, deliciously surprising ways. Discovery #1 to 10 – No fair trade project or artisan can succeed economically or otherwise without gorgeous, unique products that inspire. Early on, with no ‘design’ background, I quickly had to learn how to observe the creative capacities existing in the fair trade groups we work with, and locate my own skills to design and develop products that would demonstrate the unquestionable value of handmade, ethically produced, quality products. Products that would draw people in from their originality and progressive style, and inspire people who may not have cared about fair trade or socially responsible consumerism to think about it, support it, and spread the word. I believe we need to create products that are not bought charitably. No beige, no ‘do good’, no ordinary. We strive for color, whimsy and intelligent design that people will WANT and will be moved to think about intentionality and to care – to think about where it came from, and their role as an ethical shopper.

Fair trade products have taught me that beauty inspires. It engages our own creativity when we see it, and ignites us to tap into our spirited and resourceful side to be great creators in our own way for good. Beautiful, ethical products just look different – smart – edgy – pushing for more. It gets great people at the supermarket and on the street asking about them and starting interesting, change making, conversations between themselves. Now isn’t that a trippy and important experiment to be a part of?! It’s amazing what pretty and purposeful in a public domain can do.

This is the adventure of fair trade we are on. Along with the unexpected twists and turns, administrative headaches, bumpy jeep rides, hot masala chai’s, gentle laughing artisans, and street dogs on our way – from farmer or artisan to buyer, it brings fantastic people together who are injecting more into the world. It’s a movement – not perfect, but growing and improving our capacity as we go. Thank you to everyone who keeps this project bouncing and bumping along!

More information about the social and environmental commitments of Fibres of Life can be found at:  www.fibresoflife.com .

Sanna Rahola

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Sanna Rahola

Sanna was born in Finland and, as a young child, quickly became familiar with the vernacular of weaving. She used tapestry weaving as her vehicle of expression until she learned how to felt. It was like weaving without the mechanical—imagination, perpendicular layers of unspun fibres, and her hands.

After studying the pliancy and subtlety of wool felting, Sanna developed a unique ability to ‘paint’ with fibre. Vividly coloured and deftly rendered, her images are sometimes mistaken for pastel or paint, further underlining her virtuosity as a textile artist.  

Each of Sanna’s fibre art pieces is made with handmade felt, her images formed by alternating layers of carded wool. As a painter works layers of paint, Sanna layers her hand-dyed fibres, accentuating them with other raw fibres, like silk and linen, that reflect light and add additional depth and texture. 

Complementing Sanna’s fibre art we always find frames – and often exquisitely carved panels – made by her partner Douglas Drdul. Working with black walnut, birch, limewood, and more, his carvings reveal a sophisticated play of depth and shadow that accentuates the unique character of the material. 

Born in Canada, Douglas moved to Nova Scotia where he designed and built stringed musical instruments. His artistry as an instrument maker eventually led to a collaboration with Sanna. He first made frames that complimented her tapestries, but now his frames and carved wooden panels are often integrated completely with Sanna’s felt pieces. Douglas Drdul studied and trained with Finnish master wood carver, Oiva Kentte, at the Seinajoki Kasi Ja Taideteollisuusoppilaitos, in Jurva, Finland. He has shared his expertise through demonstrations such as ‘Decorative Carving’ at the Seinajoki Trade and Convention Center, Seinajoki, Finland. 

Rachel Ryan

Q

Rachel Ryan

Rachel lives and creates at her home studio in Greenwood, Nova Scotia:

I work primarily in textiles (having been taught how to sew by my mother and grandmothers from a very young age) but enjoy blurring the boundaries between artistic genres, often painting on fabrics and using the painted image as a surface on which to sew. I like to question whether a piece is ‘Art’ or ‘Craft’, a painting or a quilt; it serves to disrupt patterns, and signals quiet resistance to consumer/ misogynist culture.


 I’ve studied at Memorial University, College of the North Atlantic, Anna Templeton Centre for Craft, Art & Design, and the Alberta College of Art & Design. I’m from the Green Bay/ Notre Dame Bay area of Central Newfoundland, but now live and work in the Annapolis Valley, N.S. with my family. 

Our Artists

Jewellery

Ashley Brown

Q

Ashley Brown

Born and raised in a small rural town on the Atlantic coast, the traditions of hard work and resilience carry over into every thread of my craft. What began as a basement hobby has now grown to a small business that supports my family.

From our signature line of bookmarks featuring repurposed leather, to our minimalistic compostable packaging, you will find each element of our work thoughtfully crafted with a mind for our future.

With a commitment to quality materials and time-honored designs, we believe in well made goods built to last a lifetime. Crafted to endure, our goods will become storied with a rich patina and marks of your journey with everyday use.

Lynda Constantine

Q

Lynda Constantine

Lynda Constantine’s jewellery studio rests in the beautiful city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1997, after travelling and working overseas for nearly nine years, Lynda returned to Canada to become a goldsmith and pursue her passion for jewellery design.

Lynda’s inspiration is rooted in the visual memory and cultural experiences of years of extensive travel in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. She is also heavily influenced by the stories of the countless people she has met abroad and at home in Canada. Her experiences in other countries and with other cultures instilled in her a deep appreciation for the freedom Canadians have to define themselves and design their own lives.

During Lynda’s time abroad she expressed herself through photography and a dynamic form of shodo (Japanese calligraphy). It is in these art forms that she learned that beauty could be expressed with one intentional stroke of a brush or a simple strike of light. It is with this same intention that Lynda celebrates the beauty of simplicity in her metal work and incorporates a design sense fostered by the experiences of a world traveller framed in a streamlined modern context.

Whether in the densely populated urban centers of Asia and Europe, in remote African villages, the expansive geography of North America’s West or revelling in her daily ocean view, what is most striking to Lynda is how often simplicity truly reveals beauty and elegance. She finds this to be true as well in the incredible people she meets. She describes a sense of gratitude and is honoured by the stories of these people. Lynda explores natural beauty and feelings that evoke concepts of life, love and fulfillment. These observations and experiences stay with her through the creation of her jewellery. From a foundation respecting the basics, her work echoes all of her influences.

Lynda is thankful for her life in Nova Scotia and the people who share it with her; in particular, the amazing goldsmiths who work alongside her in the studio and help make her designs a reality. She credits these talented women with being her backbone; they are Nancy Cleghorn, Emily Dickinson and Managing Partner Katrina Doucette.

Lynda hopes you will discover, in wearing her jewellery, that your own individual sense of style will resonate, thrive and evolve.

Sarah Hill

Q

Sarah Hill

In 2019, Sarah graduated (honours) with a Diploma in Fine Craft, Jewellery/Metal Arts, from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, in Fredericton, NB. She has since also earned a Certificate in Advanced Studio practice and started working under her studio name, Saraphina Designs.

Sarah currently has two main product lines: Natural Spaces and Copper Leaves. Natural Spaces is the result of many hours spent in nature translated into a timeless and fluid design. She created this line of jewellery to be as special and unique as her customer; no two pieces are alike.

Her Copper Leaves series began as an exploration after her time tree planting in the summer of 2019: “Tree planting is a job that is described as awful, even by the people who enjoy it. I wanted to create memorabilia for the hot, sweaty, freezing, damp, exhausting, black fly filled days, I wanted to create something beautiful out of acres of deforestation.”  Through the program 1% to the Planet, Sarah donates some of her earnings from this line towards reforestation efforts based in New Brunswick.

K. Claire MacDonald

Q

K. Claire MacDonald

Hello! My name is K. Claire MacDonald, and I am the owner of KCM Jewellery Design & Sculpture. I offer comfortable sterling silver jewellery that is inspired by the Maritime landscape. The simple, clean lines of my designs create a classic aesthetic that can be worn with ease through the daily grind and special occasions. Each design is made by hand with a high level of care and craftsmanship.

The quality of the jewellery I offer enables the pieces to be worn and cherished for years to come. I create each piece with the hope that it will be a future heirloom that will one day connect several generations. The pieces of jewellery I hold closest are those that have been lovingly passed down to me from generations past.

All my work is handcrafted in my studio in Halifax, NS.

Nancy Mackin

Q

Nancy Mackin

Nancy lives and creates in Digby, Nova Scotia. She is known for three distinct and creative lines of jewellery: her Enameled Penny Art Collection (enamel art on copper pennies), her Beautiful Beaches Collection (sea glass, seaweed, shells, tiny beach stones, fisherman’s rope and a tiny scallop pearl set in acrylic), and her Scallop Pearl Collection (scallop pearls from the Digby area – found in only 5% of shells, set in silver rings, necklaces and earrings). May you always have a seashell in your pocket and sand between your toes. – Nancy Mackin

Tanya Milne

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Tanya Milne

Nova Scotian artisan Tanya Milne uses her love of the natural world as inspiration for her wearable art and fine jewellery. Growing up in a small, coastal Newfoundland town, Tanya spent the weekends of her youth exploring the woods with her father, who was a lumber scaler. These excursions into the natural environment fostered a fascination with the textures of wood, stone, water, and other elements of nature. Every item of Tanya’s bespoke work is a beautiful, one of a kind piece.

Tanya works under her company name, ELLAments – a tribute not only to her daughter, Ella, but also a nod to the connection between strength and femininity. Tanya strives to create organic pieces of art that can be handed down from generation to generation. Her distinctive designs are loved and worn by Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, Jason and Naomi Priestley, as well as other celebrated individuals.

Jennifer Sarault

Q

Jennifer Sarault

Shy Giraffe began as Jennifer’s creative outlet, but quickly blossomed into a full-time business. Jennifer works out of a home studio located just outside Halifax where she lives with her husband and two young daughters. She is inspired by our beautiful Nova Scotia coastline, nature, fashion and colour! Jennifer designs and handcrafts her beautiful collections with Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls, natural gemstones, sea glass and Sterling Silver. Shy Giraffe strives to create elegant, modern designs that are affordable and easy to wear.

Kate White

Q

Kate White

Kate is a jeweller and multidisciplinary artist born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and now based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Her studio practice includes contemporary exhibition, custom, and production jewellery. She is a juried member of Craft NB and graduated from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design with a Certificate of Graduate Studies, a Diploma in Fine Craft: Jewellery/Metal Arts, and a Foundation Visual Arts Certificate. She also received a Bachelor’s of Applied Arts from University of New Brunswick in 2015.

As an emerging jeweller/metalsmith and multidisciplinary artist, Kate has already begun establishing her presence in the field of fine craft. In 2017, she was awarded the Arts & Infrastructure Grant for New and Emerging Artists from Arts NB. She also participated in the Craft NB Beneath the Surface artist residency and exhibition in the same year.

In 2016, Kate was selected as a finalist in the 2016 Giovanni Vaccaro Family Scholarship and her work was exhibited at Canadian Jewellery Expos in Edmonton and Toronto during the summer 2016. In 2015 she was awarded Best in Concept (Student Category) at the juried national Great White North Exhibition: Group of Seven. The juried national exhibition, formerly known as Zilberschmuck, is now organized by 18Karat Gallery in Toronto. The reversible hinged bracelet, In the Narrows, was featured in an editorial about the exhibition published in Jewellery Business Magazine August 2015 Edition. She launched Sterling Gale Metalworks in 2015 through a business accelerator program called The Summer Institute at UNB.

During her academic studies, Kate’s work exhibited at several NBCCD group shows (Hammered 2014, Sterling 2015, and Sterling 2016) at The Government House, the residence of New Brunswick’s Governors and Lieutenant-Governors. She has also exhibited her graduate studies body of work at The George Fry Gallery in the multi-disciplinary group show, Narrative 2016.

Since the beginning of her creative career path journey in 2012, Kate has regularly contributed paintings and jewellery to a local Fredericton, NB children’s charity silent art auction at Isaac’s Way Restaurant. The auction proceeds fund lessons in the arts for underprivileged local children, a cause she feels strongly connected to. 

Artist Statement

I strive to balance bold, organic, weatherworn surface embellishments harmoniously with or within delicate minimalist designs.

 
My rough-yet-refined style reflects the beauty created by natural phenomena of the earth such as meteorological, geological, chemical, and biological processes. I try to reflect the beautiful effects created in nature–such as weather, erosion, tidal flow, decay, rusting, and pressure–in a simplified form.


I feel connected to this aesthetic because it visually represents a metaphorical beauty that is the act of withstanding harsh elements by virtue of perseverance, resilience, and integrity. The ways that nature, both physical and human, endure and thrive under extreme conditions and unfavourable circumstances inspires me.


This philosophy provides me comfort as I adapt to uncontrollable forces within my own life. I am continually learning, growing, and trying to find meaning and purpose to my life as I learn how to adapt to and cope with chronic health issues due to endometriosis, ADHD, chronic migraines, and a rare inner ear condition called Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Syndrome.

 
My creative process is expressive, intuitive, and meditative. Dealing with the effects of these conditions, all which can be managed but not cured, sometimes makes me feel helpless to the chaos. My artistic practice plays a significant role in processing my experiences and provides me with an empowering voice and medium through which I can find meaning and beauty in the adverse conditions and events in life which are difficult to make sense of.

 I push the limits of my materials by carefully over-exposing them to extreme elements such as heat, pressure, and oxidation by using tools such as my torch, hammers, rolling mill, and patinas. I embrace the somewhat unpredictable outcomes and mindfully adapt my perspective in order to find the beauty in the imperfections of the outcomes. I embrace the resulting textures, forms, and elements and design from them. This process helps me find a calm within the chaos within my own life.

 
My hope is that those who connect with my work, recognize that not everything has to be “perfect” or as we think it ought to be, and are reminded of how resilient and strong they are as they too persevere the beautifully chaotic cycles of life.   – Kate White

Our Artists

Literature

Children Ages 0 - 3

Children Ages 4 - 7

Children Ages 8 - 11

Exploring Natural Nova Scotia

Exploring Nova Scotia Culture & Heritage

Exploring Nova Scotia History

Our Artists

Painting / Drawing

Cluny Maher

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Cluny Maher

His landscapes have been attributed with tender, meditative qualities. They glow. Softly dramatic and passionate in their interpretation, the paintings evoke a feeling as much as a place in time. Thoughtful brushstrokes are applied with a deep understanding. We are captivated by those universal moments that are the very essence of the rural landscape. Rich oils, wonderfully fluid watercolours, and skillful graphite drawings – this is the art of Cluny Maher.

Cluny Maher was born in 1941 in Frampton, Dorchester County, south of Quebec City in the province of Quebec. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts (1963) and a Bachelor of Education (1964) from Loyola College in Montreal, he taught for twelve years in the public school system. In 1973, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sir George Williams University (Concordia).

In 1977, Cluny moved to Nova Scotia with his family and, a year later, settled in Tupperville in the Annapolis Valley. This beautiful rural landscape continues to be an inspiration for his artwork. He has exhibited and sold his work in several locations throughout Canada and the United States, including from his own gallery, the Maher Gallery, which operated in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, in the late 1990s and 2000s.

“Through my painting, I am attempting to express, in a personal way, my reaction to the landscape in which I live. It is my hope that each painting captures a bit of the visual excitement, at times dramatic, but more often of a quiet pastoral nature, which abounds in rural Nova Scotia. The old homesteads, wooden barns, uncluttered vistas and twisting country roads are a dwindling resource along the eastern seaboard of our continent.

My ambition is to apply color to my paint surface in a spontaneous and immediate fashion so as to convey and amplify the impact of the landscape and share this experience with the viewer. You must use expressive color and break borders. It is the breath of life and it takes a lifetime to master.” – Cluny Maher

Elizabeth Meyer

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Elizabeth Meyer

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Elizabeth Meyer married a Canadian and immigrated to Ontario, Canada, in 1979, at the age of nineteen. She has since lived in various parts of Canada and has travelled extensively in both Canada and the United States.

Elizabeth has always had a passion for art. In the early 1990s, desiring to develop her technique, she made a great effort to attend evening art classes. However, at the time, raising 6 children (in addition to milking 60 cows twice a day!) made it difficult to find time for her artwork.

Having fallen in love with Nova Scotia while residing here for six years in the 1980s, Elizabeth and her husband returned in 2017 for their retirement years. Since then, she has spent many happy hours painting in her Bear River studio, River View Art, overlooking the majestic tidal river.

Elizabeth’s compositions are primarily in alcohol ink or watercolour, but she is always trying something new. Most recently, she has enjoyed painting with acrylic on stone. No matter what medium, it is clear that Elizabeth enjoys the challenge of executing fine detail. She is inspired by what she perceives around her in nature; her focus lies in depicting the beauty she sees in creation and in capturing the life of her subjects.

Guy Hobbs

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Guy Hobbs

Guy Hobbs is an entirely self-taught artist who specializes exclusively in wildlife art. His paintings are collected internationally and he has won a number of prestigious awards and accolades.

Born in England, he had a passion for both art and wildlife from a very young age. He is a self-confessed ‘bird-nerd’- an interest that was kindled in his childhood during long walks with his parents.

His first experience of pristine wilderness came when he worked at a safari lodge in the Kafue River Reserve, in Zambia, surrounded by stunning riverine forest and some of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife.

Continuing his love for the wilder places of the planet, he later relocated to the Kootenay region of British Columbia where he lived for nine years before relocating to the South Shore of Nova Scotia in 2016. He considers himself very lucky to share his back yard with deer, bears, coyotes and raccoons- not to mention a huge variety of birds.

Guy has worked for most of his career in graphic design and illustration, having established a successful agency while in England. During that time, he was also constantly developing his skills as an artist until he took the plunge and committed to his art full time. Since then, he hasn’t looked back. “I have the best job in the world” he claims.

Artist’s Statement

It amazes me that it took so long for me to marry my love for wildlife with my passion for art. Obviously it takes far smarter people than me to make such profound connections (in this case my wife), but once made, it changed my world.

I have had an interest in both drawing and painting my whole life and, when the suggestion was made to focus on wildlife, I decided to go ‘back to the drawing board’ quite literally. Since then, I have been developing a technique that combines layers of acrylic paint, coloured pencil and transparent acrylic inks, a process that really allows me to capture the subtleties and intricacies of nature.

My highest priority when portraying a subject is to capture its consciousness. My subjects are engaged with their world, watching things beyond the confines of a frame – often regarding the viewer directly – or something out of frame. This is important to me, birds and animals are seldom random or vague, they are focused on their world with real intensity. It is this intensity I want to capture. When you encounter a wild thing in its own habitat there is a moment where you regard it and it regards you and the rest of the world just becomes background. That is a very real and special connection and one I want to share through my art.

Huguette Despault May

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Huguette Despault May

Huguette Despault May holds Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts / Tufts University.  Earlier, she had studied at the Schuler School of Fine Arts (a classical atelier in Baltimore) and also received an Associate of Arts in Photography with honors from Dundalk Community College, Baltimore, Maryland (now Community College of Baltimore County.)

In the 1990’s, May owned and operated Art & Image, a professional photography of art and digital photo restoration business. During this period, her pastel work appeared in the Annual Open Exhibition “For Pastels Only” at the National Arts Club in New York while a member of the Pastel Society of America. May’s photography was featured in Finding the Charm in Charm City (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

The artist moved from Maryland to Massachusetts in 1996, maintaining a studio in New Bedford, Massachusetts from 2005 – 2017, the last 10 years of which were at Hatch Street Studios, a 100-year-old mill building with ideal light and space for creating and exhibiting her large charcoal drawings.  During this same period, she exhibited her work annually during New Bedford Open Studios for which she was also co-chair and organizer (2015). May also served as curator for the contemporary drawing exhibition “Affirming the Hand” at the Courtyard Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2005) while completing her MFA.

In 2015, May’s Hawser Series of drawings and related photographs completed a 12-city two year tour of university galleries and museums in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States. May’s “Paper Nest” series drawings and “Satellites” photographs were exhibited at Highfield Hall and Gardens, Falmouth, Massachusetts, 2015. In 2020, the new Hyatt Centric Los Olas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida opened, with each of its 245 guest rooms featuring one of two of May’s Hawser works as wall murals.

Drawings from May’s “Hawser” series of rope images have been juried into four volumes of Studio Visit Magazine, A Contemporary Exhibition in Print (The Open Studios Press, 2008/09/10), and were featured on the cover of Volume Six of the publication. More recently, her drawings were included in The Magic of Lines II: Line Illustrations by Global Artists (CYPI Press, 2016).

Her work is in the corporate collections of MediTech in Fall River, Massachusetts, the Ciba Vision Global headquarters in Duluth, Georgia as well as in private collections. Her work is in the collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts and was included in their exhibition “Thou Shalt Knot: Clifford W. Ashley”, 2017, and in “A City for the Arts: Masterworks of Greater New Bedford”, 2020-2021. In 2020, May served as guest curator for a major online art exhibition, “What Matters Most”, conceived and hosted by artist Lisa Kellner, in response to life adjustments imposed by the C-19 pandemic.

May lives in Nova Scotia, having moved from Massachusetts in 2017 to be closer to nature and to continue exploring the creation of art inspired by proximity to the Province’s extensive and diverse protected natural wilderness heritage.

Kaitlin Bauer

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Kaitlin Bauer

I’ve been drawing and painting since I could hold a pencil, and always seemed to gravitate toward wildlife of one kind or another. I love the beauty, character and occasional silliness that animals display, which helps inspire my artwork.

I was born and raised in Powell River, B.C.; however, while visiting Nova Scotia in 2010, I fell in love with the Maritimes and decided to move in 2013. For a short time, my artistic pursuits were put on hold, but I was able to rediscover the love I had for my artwork after moving with my husband to a new house where I could have a dedicated space for an art studio. In early 2016 I decided to pursue my passion on a more full-time basis, and I’ve been creating ever since!

My continual goal is to create works of art that share my love of wildlife and inspire others to see the beauty in the world around us.

About My Art

I focus mainly on realistic wildlife illustrations and work with graphite pencils, erasers, and some sculpting tools for indenting in the beginning stages of my work. Once the piece I’m working on reaches a point that I’m happy with, I start working over the pencil in fine tip pen to add contrast and darker values to the drawing. I work using both pencil and fine tip pen until the piece is complete.

I have worked in coloured pencil, acrylics, oils, watercolours, and pastels before, and while all of these mediums are beautiful to work with, drawing was always my first love. I always feel like I’m “coming home” when I start a new drawing, and I feel like this shines through in my work. There are so many different mediums and choices for artists, and while it is fun to experiment, I feel everyone has something that they connect with, and drawing happens to be mine. I hope you enjoy my work!

Sherry Deming

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Sherry Deming

Sherry Deming is the owner of ​Nature’s Treasures, a home-based business that was created from her love of nature and painting.

After a busy career in the furniture retail business, Sherry chose to retire, and found herself lured back to a life that included horses, gardening and the beginnings of painting.

Being creative has followed Sherry all of her life. Other than high school art classes, her painting technique is completely self-taught. She endeavours to capture the essence of nature’s offering by re-creating what she sees, feels and imagines to my best ability.

In 2016, Sherry and her husband made the move from Ontario to Digby, Nova Scotia, where she was immediately inspired to express the beauty of the lands and oceans of her new home. The shells, rocks and driftwood she gathered from her local beach were treasures and seemed the perfect canvas for her love of nature. She found that combining their rustic nature with detailed, vibrant paintings was enchanting. Recently, Sherry has also been painting on canvas with enjoyable results.

Our Artists

Wood / Stone / Glass / Metal

Jeff & Shallin Bauer

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Jeff & Shallin Bauer

Jeff and Shallin Bauer, owners of We Craft Wood, are a husband and wife woodworking team living and creating in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. Dedicated to making products for people to enjoy, they craft artisan woodenware, home decor and hardwood furniture pieces:

Making quality products for people to enjoy. That’s our goal, Pure and simple. I’ve been self-employed for most of my life. Some jobs are much better than others, but woodworking has always been my passion. When you love your work, the saying is true: “When you do something you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.”

My work caught the attention of a highly skilled carpenter in Annapolis Royal, and when he asked me to work with him, it was a dream come true. We worked mostly on heritage buildings, within the Annapolis town limits. Restoring antique homes back to their former beauty. 

Learning to dissect and rebuild the work of real craftsmen teaches you a lot. The ingenuity and care, the time and labor invested, it can’t be replaced by a CNC machine. The joinery technique, the tool usage, was all invaluable experience for me working with top notch craftsmen. But the most beneficial thing was learning how to think through a project to the final piece. Understanding the concept of what needed to be done so that none of the craftsmanship was lost. This is the most valuable thing I learned and the thing I endeavor to carry forward in my own work.

Then I married the other love of my life, Shallin. She brings a spark to every part of my life. Her ideas push me to create, problem solve, innovate. Raw materials to finished product. If I can visualize it, it’s as good as done. And with the help of my very creative wife the ideas keep coming.

Tim Carr & Jason Tucker

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Tim Carr & Jason Tucker

Our business, School Street Studio Glass, originated as Studio Glass by Sharon Laska.  She had been designing and selling fused glass from her own gallery in Maitland, Nova Scotia, for many years.  She retired in 2014, and we decided to purchase the business. We trained with her for a few months, and then jumped in head-first, moving tons of glass, tools, equipment and products to our home-based production studio on a very cold day in January, 2015.  After several years of working at home, we’ve moved our production to a retail space at 53 Main Street in Hantsport, where we also now offer workshops and a full selection of our hand-made fused glass, as well as other fun art and gift items from local artists.

We continue to offer many Studio Glass products and have also created many new original designs. The majority of our glass is destined for shops and galleries across Canada.

The Process

The glass we use is “System 96” fusing glass (made in USA and Mexico), which is pre-tested to ensure that all the different colours will fuse together without cracking or breaking.  We have a palette of about 40 transparent and 30 opaque glass colours, and the glass comes to our shop in 2ft x 2ft sheets.  Glass requires special tools and safety gear for cutting, and all the finished pieces are fired in electric kilns we keep on site 

Our products have anywhere from 2 to 50+ individual pieces, which we produce in quantity by following our own unique hand drawn patterns.  After scoring, breaking, and often grinding and washing the many pieces, we assemble them with a little bit of glue.  Some pieces also require special glass paint and/or “frit,” which is crushed glass that adds texture, and they’re kiln-fired to a temperature of about 1425˚F (about 770˚C).  Pieces which require shaping, like trays, bowls, or candle holders go back in the kiln a second time at a lower temperature to “slump” or bend the glass into special molds.

Every bit of glass can be used, down to the smallest scraps, leaving almost no wasted materials. Best of all, the bright colours of glass will not fade, even in direct sunlight.

John Fowler

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John Fowler

John was raised on a small family farm in rural Cornwall, England. While living in England, John trained and worked as an Electrical Engineer.

After traveling extensively through Europe with his wife, Jane and their two sons, the family traveled to the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia in 2004. The family liked what they found; like many visitors to Nova Scotia, they loved the natural beauty of the area coupled with the warm welcome they received everywhere they went.

They decided to stay and make Bear River, Nova Scotia their permanent home. John learnt the craft of Windsor Chairmaking from a fellow chair maker and the family now lives on a small homestead, nestled in the rolling hills of Bear River.

John harvests lumber from his own woods to use in the making of his chairs. He enjoys the challenge of combining his knowledge of engineering principles with the creative aspect of designing and building a piece of furniture that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Most recently, John has been making other types of furniture such as benches, stools, or whatever else he is inspired to create. Sometimes his furniture can be found at Blue Mind Gallery, where he also always has a selection of lovely, natural bread boards.

When John is not busy in his workshop, you will usually find him somewhere on the farm or in the vegetable garden.

Susan George

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Susan George

Susan is the founder of Fernwood Fairy Doors. She lives and creates these beautiful little doors from natural elements in Lake of the Woods, Nova Scotia. 

Bill & Donald Gimby

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Bill & Donald Gimby

Bill Gimby started working with stone during the restoration of a 100-year-old stone house, “Cornerstone”. It is now the family home on the shores of St. Margaret’s Bay in Nova Scotia.

The stone restoration evolved into furnishings, stone landscape and commission work. Bill is self- taught and, following retirement, progressed to making stone lamps, vases, stonescapes, lanterns, wall art and centerpieces. For the past 20 years, he has developed a reputation for unique and natural decorative and functional stonework. His inspiration comes from the surrounding shorelines, tumbled beach rock, driftwood, and the natural setting he lives in. Bill works with naturally formed, colourful granite and limestone from Nova Scotia, layered colours of gneiss from Newfoundland, slate from Vermont and limestone and sandstone from New Brunswick.

“Cornerstone” has grown to the point where Bill’s son, Donald, has joined to help fulfill demand. Their work is shown in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

Chris & Shelley (Beckett) Jette

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Chris & Shelley

Canoe Cove Studio is an Island-based glass studio that has developed an award-winning product line since entering the craft industry in 1992. Christopher Jette founded the company and has expanded it to include a successful contemporary fused glass product line called INFERNO.

Canoe Cove Studio now serves national and international wholesale, retail giftware and art markets. Canoe Cove Studio has marketing representatives in the New England and New York City marketplaces.

Christopher Jette, founding partner, is the company’s primary product designer. He is also a registered architect and owner of architecture 360 inc. and currently practices architecture on Prince Edward Island. He runs Canoe Cove Studio with his partner, Shelley Beckett Jette, who has extensive marketing and sales experience gained across Canada and the UK. Shelley manages Canoe Cove Studio sales, production, product design and development.

Gilles Korent

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Gilles Korent

Gilles is a self-taught model builder/maker. His interest began as a child as he watched his Dad build scale models of period ships in the family home in France. He is now living and creating in Pubnico, NS.

From intricate 18th century ships to simpler, small water craft models such as canoes and kayaks, his attention to detail is what makes his work so interesting and realistic.

Gilles is best known for his miniature wood-strip canoes. Each canoe is built out of strips of cherry wood: this includes the hull as well as the ribs. The canoes are built upside down over a series of cross stations secured to a building base called a strongback. The basic raw finished hull fitted with ribs, decks, seats, yoke and paddles takes approximately 35 hours to build. Once the construction has been completed, varnishing can take place and consists of 6 coats on the outside and 2 on the inside. Finally, the seats, yoke and paddles can be fitted in place.

Colette Samson

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Colette Samson

Originally from Newfoundland, Colette Samson is a glass artist living in and operating Image Glass Studio in Shubenacadie East, Nova Scotia. Working primarily in fused glass techniques such as kiln casting, fritography, and kiln carving, her work seeks to evoke emotion and memory, and to reflect nature in color, shape and texture.

Colette creates her pieces with practical use in mind although, most collectors choose to display her pieces for the artworks they are. Her work can be found in private collections nationally and internationally, both in use and on display.

David Stepan

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David Stepan

David Stepan enjoys and explores the nature of materials: the warmth and immediacy of hammered copper, the peculiar grains of wood, the way materials capture time and place.

Employing his Bachelor of Fine Arts training and decades of experience as a bespoke furniture designer maker, David blurs the lines between art, service and décor, creating objects that transcend their purpose.

His passion is now directed to a more immediate expression of his interest in materials – especially how objects from sustainably sourced materials can look and feel beautiful, and have their story evolve.

Recently having moved from Ontario to Caledonia, Nova Scotia, with his wife Jody, they are renovating a derelict early 1900’s feed store to become their home and studios.

Blue Mind Gallery, Fabric
Blue Mind Gallery, Painting

1888 Clementsvale Road | Bear River, Nova Scotia | Canada | B0S 1B0
bluemindgallery@gmail.com
902.467.1212

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