Blog

Art Opening! Tina Farmilo’s “Stories & Dreams” August 11, 7 – 9 pm

I’m just getting ready to host Tina Farmilo’s new show “Stories and Dreams” this evening. There is a long-overdue and very welcome sprinkling of rain falling on our parched little island – I think we’ve been without rain of any consequence for at least 3 months.

It’s been two years since Tina exhibited at Shavasana Gallery, and I’m very pleased to be welcoming her back, and enjoying her display of colour, whimsy and story. They say every picture tells a story and this is most true for Tina’s work.

IMG_2977 Persephone in Summer (in her mother’s house)

Tina has been producing art for over 40 years and practices the concept of “beginners mind”…with “openness to possibility, eagerness and a lack of preconception – always at the beginning, free with her material and tools, with inspiration, imagery and expression.”

IMG_2976

“Two of the big pastels are part of an earlier series of rarely shown works which explore Tina’s fascination with the House as metaphor for the Self and the Body.” She has included these images as they fit so nicely with the exhibit theme “Stories & Dreams”

IMG_2974

If you are unable to attend the show (or would like a little preview of the show before you are able to come by) here is a walkthrough of Tina’s show with some of my rambling commentary 🙂

This show runs from August 9 until September 3 – hope to see you soon!

A fabulous evening of Bluegrass with “5 on a String”

Bluegrass Band 5 on a String put on a great show for Mayne Islanders last Wednesday evening August 1st, at Shavasana Gallery. With ferries plying Active Pass as a scenic backdrop, the boys entertained a crowd of 75 for over 2 hours with a great selection of original and traditional bluegrass tunes. We have a very inviting grassy area behind the Gallery which makes for lovely outdoor concert seating, and the weather, which has been quite hot recently, shed a few degrees to make the evening comfortable for all.

 

Band members Hugh Ellenwood (Fiddle, lead and bass vocals), Garry Stevenson (Guitar, lead and baritone vocals), Gordie Sadler (Banjo, lead and tenor vocals), Dan Mornar (Upright Bass, lead and tenor vocals), and Tim Eccles (Mandolin, lead and tenor vocals), have been playing together for nearly 30 years http://5onastring.com/ , and their on-stage humour and camaraderie reflects this lengthy bond – as does their music!

The Band also quite generously donated 50% of the door to a worthy local cause – “Arts on Mayne”, which, along with the proceeds from some delicious baked goods donated by local bakers – Astrid Bellem & Brenda Webster – brought in over $650 for the organization.

Here’s a video from the evening which gives a nice feel for the mood and the music of     5 on a String:

Art Opening! Tina Farmilo – “Stories & Dreams”, Saturday August 11, 7 – 9pm

Tina Farmilo returns to Shavasana Gallery & Café, after a 2 year hiatus, with brand new Paintings and Drawings. Her show is called: “Stories and Dreams” and we are preparing  an Opening Celebration on Saturday August 11th from 7 – 9pm – come on down for a chance to meet the artist, and to partake of the refreshments & conviviality – hope to see you there! 

Outdoor Bluegrass Concert at Shavasana – Aug. 1, 7:30pm

Bluegrass Band “5 on a String” returns to Mayne Island for an outdoor* concert which will be held at Shavasana Gallery & Café on Wednesday August 1 at 7:30pm. Last year they gave a fabulously entertaining show when they performed at the Groove as part of M.I. fundraising activities in support of saving St. John Point – thanks Guys! This year they are once again – quite generously – donating 50% of all ticket sales to “Arts on Mayne” (formerly known as the Mayne chapter of the Southern Gulf Islands Arts Council) before they continue on their way to a gig on Saltspring and then onwards to the annual Bluegrass Festival in Coombs.

This years concert will be staged on the outdoor grassy area behind Shavasana Gallery (457 Village Bay Road) which has a stunning view overlooking Active Pass. Weather permitting, we will be able to enjoy their music while ferries ply the waters and the sun slowly sets over Galiano. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at Shavasana Gallery, Thursday thru Sunday, or at the door. A limited number of chairs, blankets and pillows will be available, but please bring a folding chair or blanket in case we run out 🙂

As an aside, I’ve known Gordie Sadler the banjo player for 5 on a String for over 40 years. We used to jam together and it’s so great to see him remaining true to his Bluegrass roots after all these years. Here is a little bio from their website:

“We began playing as 5 on a String back in 1989, when Gordie, Garry, and Dan got together with other musicians to play together informally.  One thing lead to another and before long the band was invited to play at some of the regions most prominent Bluegrass Festivals including; Darrington, Wintergrass, and Chilliwack.  About 10 years ago founding member Carrol Oldenburg (mandolin) left the band and we were pleased to add multi-instrumentalist and lead singer Tim Eccles in his spot. Another year later Vancouver fiddle player Hugh Ellenwood agreed to enlist after the retirement of our original fiddler, Val Dean.   It’s been wonderful to perform all across B.C., Alberta, and Washington state over the years and the friends, fans, and relationships we have shared are priceless to us.   We hope that we can bring our brand of mountain music to your venue someday soon.”

Here is a wee taste of what you’ll be hearing on August 1 …..

If you’re interested in booking them for an event or have any questions, you can reach them through their website: http://5onastring.com/

See you at the show!

*weather permitting…if it rains we’ll move inside 🙂

 

Previous Exhibit: Anita Edwards “My Landscapes” July 12 – August 6

Anita Edwards has returned to Shavasana Gallery with a fabulous collection of new Oil Paintings, and Pen & Ink drawings. Her current show is titled, “My Landscapes” and includes paintings that reflect her time spent on Mayne Island and on her property near 100 Mile House in the Cariboo.

Anita has a deft brush stroke and a palette that ranges from her compelling treatment of colourful gardens and glades to the depths of forests and swamps across our varied landscapes here in British Columbia.

IMG_2901

Anita also turns her creative eye to splashes of colourful whimsy through collage (here is a detail of “The Garden Shed”)….

IMG_2915

…and here is a sample of Anita’s work with Pen & Ink – these are a steal @ $15! 🙂

IMG_2905

Our Opening for this show was held on Friday July 13, 5 – 7pm,  to an appreciative audience…if you have been, as yet, unable to attend Anita’s exhibit please come by the Gallery Thursday 12 – 5, or Friday thru Sunday 10 – 5. For those of you who might be unable to attend in person, here is a little walkthrough of the show:

Previous Exhibit: “Breathe” with Joanne Thomson, Frances Beckow & Carmen Segger – June 14 – July 8

Our second show of 2018 is titled “Breathe” and brings together the combined talents of three Victoria-based artists – Joanne Thomson, Frances Beckow & Carmen Segger. Joanne is an accomplished watercolour artist with a deft mastery of her craft, she has brought two beautiful seascapes, four small ink & watercolour mandalas and five acrylic drawings of native wildflowers.

Picture

 

Frances Beckow shows her optimism in four large colourful acrylic paintings about the sea. She also has one smaller watercolour called “Octopus’s Garden”.

…and another compelling canvas from her Salish Sea series…

Carmen has a selection from her diverse practice with textured acrylic works and lovely hanging wood, bead and bauble works for gardens and patios.

Here’s a brief walkthrough of the Gallery where you can see all of the artist’s work close-up.

The show runs until July 8 – don’t miss it!

Art Opening! “Breathe” Joanne Thomson, Carmen Segger, Frances Beckow – June 16, 2 – 4 pm

Shavasana Gallery & Café is pleased to announce that Frances Beckow, Carmen Segger and Joanne Thomson of Victoria are bringing their show “Breathe” to the Gallery & Mayne Island on June 14, with an Opening Celebration to be held on Saturday June 16 from 2 to 4 pm.

Joanne will be showcasing her talents as a Watercolour Artist, while Francis will be displaying her beautiful Acrylic works and Carmen will exhibit her skill as a fabulous Mixed Media Sculpturist and Painter. This promises to be a beautiful display of these three artists collective talents. Please come down to the Opening for a chance to meet the Artists and to view their works.

Refreshments will be served…the show runs from June 14 until July 8, 2018.

Previous Exhibit – May 10 – June 10, Glenda King, Jody Waldie & Katherine Cox Stevenson

Shavasana Art Gallery & Café has just re-opened after a five month hiatus with a brand new exhibit titled, “Putting on the Pearls”. The show features the combined talents of three Mayne Island artists: Katherine Cox Stevenson, Jody Waldie & Glenda King. All three women share a love of nature which is reflected in the beautiful landscape & seascape oil paintings which they have recently created – some of which were created in “plein air”.

IMG_2810

The hanging went quite smoothly, and their styles & techniques compliment each other very nicely – it’s a beautiful display and well worth a visit to the Gallery. We had an opening on May 11 from 7 – 9 which was very well received – I think there were between 60 and 70 people in attendance, the catering was done by Astrid and the food and fruit punch were delicious! (Very little remained at the end of our show!)

Here’s a little walkthrough of the exhibit which I made the day after the show:

– I always love the energy and joy that a new show brings to the Gallery – it’s great to be back in business on Mayne Island! See you soon 🙂

 

 

Mexico – Tragedy, Jewellery & Serendipity

I’m sitting in a cool establishment in Puerto Vallarta called Vallarta Factory*. Although I initially came for the coffee, the place can’t be easy defined as a café. The few meals I’ve had here have been great and the owners have also branched out into cigar making, chocolate making and coffee roasting – all ingredients (or most) of which originate in various states within Mexico. I’m sitting near Pancho who is one of the family members who run the place – an interesting brother who is giving me a rundown on the Factory’s 20 years in business, and their diversification which has made them much more than a coffee shop.

It turns out that Pancho manages their website and does their social media, so when he saw that I was there to do a little writing he confided that he too was a writer – dabbling in a little fiction and political writing. “Can’t that be a little dangerous here?” I asked. “Journalism is one of the most dangerous jobs in Mexico, that’s why I keep most of my commentary about the US” he replied. He then offered me a shot of hooch – some type of tequila distilled from an Agave varietal. “Lo siento Amigo, yo no beber alcohol”, I said…”I will try one of your Café Olé’s though”…a house specialty of cinnamon and grated orange in a locally hand-thrown mug. Who knows how the evening may have progressed if I were still in full-blown drinking mode, but I had no interest in breaking my resolve of six years – so, coffee and journalling it is…ok…maybe I did have a piece of their delicious pecan pie as well 🙂 I find that it’s always good to chat with the locals, it’s the only way to get the back story and you just never know when a serendipitous moment may come of such conversations.

I was treated to some lovely serendipity a few days ago when I happened to go off the beaten trail here in Puerto Vallarta on one of my lengthy daily walks. I ventured over one of the bridges spanning the Rio Cuale, into the Emiliano Zapata neighbourhood. On this day I decided to follow a road called Rivera Del Rio which is a lovely tree-lined street hugging the Cuale – a beautiful stroll beside nature, which is so much more serene than the otherwise traffic congested streets. I am in the habit of saying Hola or Buenos Dias to nearly everyone I encounter on my walks, and on this day when I did so to a woman who was dreamily looking at a row of houses on the street she countered with, “It’s a beautiful part of the world”. I took this as an invitation to engage in conversation and began a small dialogue with her. Her name is Laura Reeves and was, in fact, the owner of the house we were standing in front of. She had bought the property 12 years earlier for $39,000 and built the 3 story house from the ground up with the help of local contractors. A large sign on the second floor indicated that a suite was for rent for $950 a month. When I expressed interest she offered to show me the suite in case I might be keen to rent it in future trips to PV. While viewing the suite I happened to mention that I had a small Art Gallery in BC, and, as it turned out , she had an array of paintings and jewellery that she represented for several Mexican artists and craftspeople. Of course, we had to go down to her suite to have a look.

Although I didn’t come to Mexico on an art purchasing trip for my gallery, it’s been on my mind that it would be a cool way to connect more deeply with this country and some of her talented artisans. Laura had an interesting selection of paintings from several artists that – although beautiful – were too large for me to carry back to the Pacific Northwest. She also indicated that the postal service was unpredictable at best, and corrupt at worst – word has it that packages go missing and that posties may be pilfering – so shipping was ruled out. She next pulled out a collection of crystal-beaded jewelry that included earrings, chokers, necklaces, bracelets and belts – handmade by a Mexican woman named Laura Meza.

 

Although I am not well-versed in the current trends in Women’s tastes in jewellery (I do carry a small array of necklaces, bracelets, brooches and pendants) I found these pieces to be eye-catching, colourful and fun. Laura Reeves has a large collection of Señora Meza’s work and is looking for outlets for her. The pieces were small enough for me to carry back to Canada in my carry on luggage so Laura (Reeves…I am now dealing with two Lauras) suggested that I take a decent selection of each item with me to sell at Shavasana – on consignment. (Here’s a pic of some of the pieces – I preferred the jumble of colour to a symmetrical layout)

IMG_2647

Serendipity. A casual hello turned into an invitation to view art and jewelry, and ultimately to a handshake deal to walk away with several hundred dollars of product – on consignment. I was surprised yet flattered that Laura felt comfortable enough with my “façade of honesty” 😉 To send me away with the goods. Perhaps it’s a long shot but we’ll let the merchandise reach the summer tourist market on Mayne for at least a couple of seasons to see if it has legs. At the very least it’s my first foray into being an international import merchant🙏👍😄

(*Travel and little time have put a some distance between the start of this article and my current writing location – I’m back in Vancouver at the BeFresh café on Broadway, and, if you’ve managed to read this far, keep going, as I’m about to explain the tragic aspect of this tale…)

As Pancho mentioned, there are certain occupations in Mexico which come with inherent risks. I have not yet had an opportunity to meet Laura Meza – my new Mexican jewellery maker – but I did learn some details of her life from her friend Laura Reeves in Puerto Vallarta. Many years ago when their five children were quite young, Laura’s husband was employed doing investigative work for a branch of local Government. One day, in the course of his duties he – and 4 other co-workers – were kidnapped and murdered –  never to be seen again. Everything changed for Laura on that day. The father of her five children, and their sole means of support, was gone, and she was left a widow searching desperately for a way to feed, clothe and house her kids. Like many before – and after her – she took the dangerous routes north to the US where she managed to find work picking lettuce in the fields of southern Arizona to survive. Eventually Laura was able to return to Mexico, and her children, to continue with their upbringing. And now she makes crystal-beaded jewellery as an additional means of income for herself and her family.

It’s now mid March, 2018, a few days after I published/posted this article. My Puerto Vallarta contact just forwarded me a photo of Laura Meza – which is my first glimpse of the artist, and which I’ve included – below. Laura is on the right seated next to a Tarahumara woman named Maria (80 years old). This was taken last summer while the two Laura’s were in the Copper Canyon. Apparently this was Maria’s first ever bed, and the two Lauras  were winterizing her log cabin.

image1

So please, drop by Shavasana next time you are in the neighbourhood and have a look at Laura’s work – it’s fun & sparkly stuff.  If you do find a piece of her jewellery that you’d like to take home with you, at least you’ll know that your purchase is helping a deserving woman overcome adversity. There’s always a back story if you look for it.

IMG_2643

 

 

Shavasana Gallery is closed until May

It’s January 9, 2018 and I’ve just returned to Mayne Island and Shavasana Gallery after a 3 week Xmas break. Winter is in full swing and the days alternate between cool and cold and wet and drenched. Today, the surprise visit of the sun, offered a very welcome respite from the seasonally monotone grey skies. As one who suffers from a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder (apt acronym S.A.D.) any hint of blue sky is greeted with enthusiasm.

I’m on a five month hiatus from running the Gallery/Café side of my business and will be using the space as my personal studio: www.clayandbone.com for the duration. I have several masks that I’d like to work on, perhaps a few new necklaces, and – if time and inspiration permit – sketches and paintings. It’s also my intention to do a little writing on my two websites, and – God-willing – a trip to warmer climes. Receiving this photo today from my friend Jon – who is on extended vacation in La Manzanilla, Mexico – provides ample incentive to assist God in this matter 🙂

IMG_4443

One thing I like about writing as a creative outlet is that it’s very portable. If I do make the trek down south I’ll definitely dedicate time each day to either journalling or creative writing. I have a lot of material, it’s just a question of connecting with the Muse and buckling down – doing the work as it were.

Cheers & Hasta Luego!

George

ps. The feature image of masks as shown is from a dedicated wall at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café where I exhibit some of my ceramic work. The next actual Art Opening is scheduled for May 17 – details to come sometime in early May – hope to see you there!