Three Women, Three Ways

Three Beaverlodge Artists
by Catherine McLaughlin

Darlene Dautel, Simple Elegance, batik on rice paper

Darlene Dautel

“I love having a ‘Mary Moffat’ kind of day!” Darlene Dautel exclaims, explaining that Moffat was her maternal grandmother who delighted in multi-tasking creative activity.

Dautel lives on a farm near Goodfare and is the Education Coordinator at Beaverlodge Area Cultural Centre. She teaches a variety of creative arts and enjoys working with children.

Although she works in a variety of media, Dautel is perhaps best known for her batik. She has made it her own by exploring different tools than those typically used, including air brush. “Batik is a thought process,” explains Dautel. “I have to have a plan and think it through.” She tacks up pieces in progress so she can see them wherever she is in the house and studies them often. Dautel paints for herself and sees the piece finished before she starts.

As a child Dautel was encouraged to the utmost whatever her endeavour. Born and raised in the Kootenays, she was surrounded by creative, resourceful people. At age 13 she took her first art-related class as an extra-curricular option at school.

“I love to take a class!” exclaims Dautel, who attended her first adult art class in Grande Prairie in her early twenties. “Can I try that?” she asked, eager to have the brush in her hand along with the new materials. “I need to try it, do it for myself, see how it’s done,” she says. “Creative work is a passion, a fire, something I need,” she explains.

Vivian Farnsworth, Dreaming of Spring Series #1, Mixed media on Yupo

Vivian Farnsworth

Keys, locks, doors and hinges are the subjects of many of Vivian Farnsworth’s paintings, a fascination that began when she was a child, collecting the small keys from canned meat. Her paintings usually depict objects, people, flowers and pets.

In 1999 Farnsworth attended a watercolour class taught by Marjorie Henn and became excited by its magic, the science of pigments and their reactions with the paper. “My head was reeling,” she exclaimed. Watercolour is her main medium today, although she also works in oil pastels and charcoal and has tried many other media, crafts and art forms.

For the last four years Farnsworth has operated Artsy Fartsy Custom Framing from her home on the farm north of La Glace. This business reduces the cost of showing her work and allows her to help other artists “finish their visions.”

Teaching art is a pleasure for Farnsworth who has been an Artist in the Classroom in Grande Prairie and given many other classes.

Farnsworth says she must make art. “Deep down, it has something to teach me. I make art over and over, like a dog with a bone.”

Marjorie Henn, Winter in the Peace, WatercolourMarjorie Henn

“I’m not happy when I’m not making art,” explains Marjorie Henn. “I need to do it, no matter what else is happening. It’s an emotional, spiritual kind of thing,” says the full-time artist who lives in Beaverlodge. The power of place dominates her work. “The Peace Country is so deep in me,” she states, referring to the landscape, the shapes and structures of hills and cliffs. “This is something I can see into.”

As a very young child, Henn made art. Her mother studied art by correspondence, then taught Marjorie the lessons. Her father, who encouraged as he critiqued, made her really look at things and challenged her to “show me!” “I have to know about a subject,” Henn explains when describing her habit of intensely studying her subject matter.

Henn’s diploma in commercial art from the Alberta College of Art in Calgary led to a 25-year career as a commercial artist, creating architectural illustrations from plans for houses and public buildings. Attention to detail is expressed in Henn’s work today. “Where does the eye go?” asks Henn, who is interested in realism and design, detail, drawing and composition in her preferred medium, watercolour.

Experiencing nature in solitude is her preference; she produces her best work while alone. “Getting into my studio and making art is like soft water flowing over me,” says Henn.

These three Beaverlodge Art Society members have exhibited their work in many venues including the 2004 Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition (TREX) curated by Prairie Art Gallery.


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Three Peace Area Artists by Jody Farrell & Wendy Stefansson

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Cheryl Brown" align="right" height="217" width="250" /> Beadmaking: Cheryl Brown

Grande Prairie artist Cheryl Brown, widely known for her unique pottery and playful children’s furniture, says her recent passion for glass beadwork is partly fuelled by its immediacy. In no time, she fires up her small studio torch and taking a skinny glass rod from a well-organized assortment of materials, melts it into a bead. From there, she does all manner of pulling and prodding, using “stringers,” or thin, taffy-like wisps of glass to make dots and stripes to render the bead a tiny glass treasure. Further manipulation turns the beads into perfume bottles, witches’ brooms, and glass bobbles. Imaginative new creations appear to Brown in her many “bead dreams.”“It’s fun to watch,” she says of the process, in which the glass changes colours as it heats and cools. Future plans for the ever-inventive Brown include combining the beadwork with pottery.

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Jonathan Kostuk" align="left" height="300" width="180" />

Lampworking: Jonathan Kostuk

For Grande Prairie artist Jonathan Kostuk, “playing with fire” is admittedly part of the intrigue of lampwork. While this small-scale version of glassblowing, named for its original use of oil lamp and foot pump, has emerged as a leading artform, Kostuk only knows of a handful in Alberta who do the work, particularly using the plastic-glass medium borosilicate (Pyrex.) The artist works over a specialized torch, manipulating and blowing the molten material into finely crafted art including wine glasses, bottles, and pipes. Elaborate lampwork creations are listed online for thousands of dollars.The interactive process, with glass colours reacting differently to differing flames, demands constant movement and a keen sense of chemistry. Split-second decision-making and skill in using a myriad of special tools is required for turning and blowing the glass. “It’s like getting to make a little universe inside a bubble,” Kostuk says of his love of the work, which he currently does full-time. “It requires using both your brain and your emotions.”

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Geri France" align="right" height="237" width="250" /> Slumping and Fusing: Geri France

Peace River artist Geri France might be better known in some circles for her work in clay, but the kilns she uses for her pottery are also central to her practice as a glass artist. In them, France fuses together fragments of hand-cut glass, the heat causing the melded mass to slump into the clay or metal mould in which she has placed it. Many of the moulds are themselves Frances’ creations, creativity in one medium spilling over into another. The results are small sculptures or luminous and functional vessels; solid glass suspending bubbles of air, colour and light in elemental forms.Through years of trial and error the medium itself has been her best teacher. “The more you do it, the more predictable it becomes, but there are always surprises,” she says. Spurred on by the surprises France continues to try new things. “Even something that breaks in the kiln teaches me something that I didn’t know before.” She will look at it and think, “Here is a starting point for something totally original and new.”
11 years ago

Three Peace Area Artists by Jody Farrell & Wendy Stefansson

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Cheryl Brown" align="right" height="217" width="250" /> Beadmaking: Cheryl Brown

Grande Prairie artist Cheryl Brown, widely known for her unique pottery and playful children’s furniture, says her recent passion for glass beadwork is partly fuelled by its immediacy. In no time, she fires up her small studio torch and taking a skinny glass rod from a well-organized assortment of materials, melts it into a bead. From there, she does all manner of pulling and prodding, using “stringers,” or thin, taffy-like wisps of glass to make dots and stripes to render the bead a tiny glass treasure. Further manipulation turns the beads into perfume bottles, witches’ brooms, and glass bobbles. Imaginative new creations appear to Brown in her many “bead dreams.”“It’s fun to watch,” she says of the process, in which the glass changes colours as it heats and cools. Future plans for the ever-inventive Brown include combining the beadwork with pottery.

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Jonathan Kostuk" align="left" height="300" width="180" />

Lampworking: Jonathan Kostuk

For Grande Prairie artist Jonathan Kostuk, “playing with fire” is admittedly part of the intrigue of lampwork. While this small-scale version of glassblowing, named for its original use of oil lamp and foot pump, has emerged as a leading artform, Kostuk only knows of a handful in Alberta who do the work, particularly using the plastic-glass medium borosilicate (Pyrex.) The artist works over a specialized torch, manipulating and blowing the molten material into finely crafted art including wine glasses, bottles, and pipes. Elaborate lampwork creations are listed online for thousands of dollars.The interactive process, with glass colours reacting differently to differing flames, demands constant movement and a keen sense of chemistry. Split-second decision-making and skill in using a myriad of special tools is required for turning and blowing the glass. “It’s like getting to make a little universe inside a bubble,” Kostuk says of his love of the work, which he currently does full-time. “It requires using both your brain and your emotions.”

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Geri France" align="right" height="237" width="250" /> Slumping and Fusing: Geri France

Peace River artist Geri France might be better known in some circles for her work in clay, but the kilns she uses for her pottery are also central to her practice as a glass artist. In them, France fuses together fragments of hand-cut glass, the heat causing the melded mass to slump into the clay or metal mould in which she has placed it. Many of the moulds are themselves Frances’ creations, creativity in one medium spilling over into another. The results are small sculptures or luminous and functional vessels; solid glass suspending bubbles of air, colour and light in elemental forms.Through years of trial and error the medium itself has been her best teacher. “The more you do it, the more predictable it becomes, but there are always surprises,” she says. Spurred on by the surprises France continues to try new things. “Even something that breaks in the kiln teaches me something that I didn’t know before.” She will look at it and think, “Here is a starting point for something totally original and new.”
11 years ago

Three Peace Area Artists by Jody Farrell & Wendy Stefansson

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Cheryl Brown" align="right" height="217" width="250" /> Beadmaking: Cheryl Brown

Grande Prairie artist Cheryl Brown, widely known for her unique pottery and playful children’s furniture, says her recent passion for glass beadwork is partly fuelled by its immediacy. In no time, she fires up her small studio torch and taking a skinny glass rod from a well-organized assortment of materials, melts it into a bead. From there, she does all manner of pulling and prodding, using “stringers,” or thin, taffy-like wisps of glass to make dots and stripes to render the bead a tiny glass treasure. Further manipulation turns the beads into perfume bottles, witches’ brooms, and glass bobbles. Imaginative new creations appear to Brown in her many “bead dreams.”“It’s fun to watch,” she says of the process, in which the glass changes colours as it heats and cools. Future plans for the ever-inventive Brown include combining the beadwork with pottery.

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Jonathan Kostuk" align="left" height="300" width="180" />

Lampworking: Jonathan Kostuk

For Grande Prairie artist Jonathan Kostuk, “playing with fire” is admittedly part of the intrigue of lampwork. While this small-scale version of glassblowing, named for its original use of oil lamp and foot pump, has emerged as a leading artform, Kostuk only knows of a handful in Alberta who do the work, particularly using the plastic-glass medium borosilicate (Pyrex.) The artist works over a specialized torch, manipulating and blowing the molten material into finely crafted art including wine glasses, bottles, and pipes. Elaborate lampwork creations are listed online for thousands of dollars.The interactive process, with glass colours reacting differently to differing flames, demands constant movement and a keen sense of chemistry. Split-second decision-making and skill in using a myriad of special tools is required for turning and blowing the glass. “It’s like getting to make a little universe inside a bubble,” Kostuk says of his love of the work, which he currently does full-time. “It requires using both your brain and your emotions.”

http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/cherylbrown.jpg" alt="Geri France" align="right" height="237" width="250" /> Slumping and Fusing: Geri France

Peace River artist Geri France might be better known in some circles for her work in clay, but the kilns she uses for her pottery are also central to her practice as a glass artist. In them, France fuses together fragments of hand-cut glass, the heat causing the melded mass to slump into the clay or metal mould in which she has placed it. Many of the moulds are themselves Frances’ creations, creativity in one medium spilling over into another. The results are small sculptures or luminous and functional vessels; solid glass suspending bubbles of air, colour and light in elemental forms.Through years of trial and error the medium itself has been her best teacher. “The more you do it, the more predictable it becomes, but there are always surprises,” she says. Spurred on by the surprises France continues to try new things. “Even something that breaks in the kiln teaches me something that I didn’t know before.” She will look at it and think, “Here is a starting point for something totally original and new.”
11 years ago