For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features Ray St. Hilaire, from Lac du Bonnet, who plays guitar and bass, and sings.
Fifty years ago, he watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and realized that he needed to grow his hair long and buy a guitar. On his twelfth birthday, he got one. And, as they say “the rest is history.”
After taking lessons for six months, he recruited friends to form a rock band. They performed at school variety and talent shows, and at university frat parties. Then he started playing in Winnipeg bars and travelling with various bands from The Pas to Emerson. As he says, there are “not too many Manitoba towns I haven’t played in.”
He’s been in so many bands he can’t remember all the names. Here are a few: Four and a Quarter, The Missing Link, White Rabbit, The Rich Hippies and Big Brass Band.
His other love is motorcycles and he’s performed at many Harley riders’ celebrations and shows. For four years, his band played at the Thursday Night Riders Children’s Wish benefit. This year, it will be held on October 25th at Canad Inn Transcona.
St. Hilaire enjoys teaching guitar, and is very proud of his “number one student,” his fourteen-year-old grandson, Darien Tayler, who is starting his own band. St. Hilaire’s son is an accomplished drummer who just returned from three and a half years playing in the Middle East, and his granddaughter Calista is following in this musical family’s footsteps.
He has often played at Casey’s in Lac du Bonnet, and, when he retired from his job as a journeyman industrial mechanic, he decided to settle on the Winnipeg River.
St. Hilaire calls himself a “Gear Head” because of the numerous guitars, basses, amplifiers, drums and microphones he has acquired. He also works as a sound technician and he’ll be providing sound production for the 4P Festival in Powerview-Pine Falls on the Labour Day weekend.
St. Hilaire recently played at Pine Falls Legion with current band “Rice and Beans.” He says, “Seeing the dance floor packed with smiling faces and gyrating hips brought me back to that magical night in 1964 when John, Paul, George and Ringo mesmerized me.”
Pinawa Art 211 organization began in late 1989 with artists from Pinawa and eastern Manitoba. Vivian Thomson, an art teacher from Whiteshell School District, was mentor and catalyst. She started giving classes for adults interested in developing their “inner artist.” From these classes came Pinawa Art 211 – a reference to both the town and the provincial highway.
Initially the group met in Pinawa Secondary School but moved to the closed W.B. Lewis School. They provided space to local artists, held meetings and mentored younger people. In October 1998, Art 211 shifted to Kelsey House (Wilderness Edge) and later to houses and then back to the high school.
Over the years, members have hosted art sessions and workshops. In 1990, they started exhibiting members’ work in art shows. To raise funds, they produced the ever-popular calendars, which highlighted members’ artwork.
In 1997, due to AECL restructuring, Art 211 became dormant. Remaining members continued meeting to develop skills and some joined Eastern Manitoba Artists’ Co-op.
In January of 2011, President Irene Friesen encouraged newcomers and former members to rebuild the organization. Although the initial focus was marketing, they became known for creative programming. Artists from surrounding communities joined and soon the group was 24 members strong.
The same year, Art 211 produced “Art in the Forest,” partnering with the Manitoba Forestry Association. They created “art about the forest in the forest” at Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre near Hadashville. These works remained on display for a full year in both Sandilands and Pinawa.
In August 2012, Irene Friesen and Arlene Bohn produced “Green Water Art Show” in Lac du Bonnet, partnering with Winnipeg River Arts Council and Fire & Water Music Festival. Fifteen Eastman artists sold art during the two-day sale.
In 2013, the organization renamed itself as a collective. Members exhibited work in Selkirk at Gwen Fox Gallery, in Winnipeg at Cre8ery Gallery and annually in Pinawa during birthday weekends.
To honour Pinawa’s 50th birthday, Art 211 hosted Eastman Judged Art Exhibition, adjudicated by professional artists, where Eastman artists displayed and sold work. Recently, they opened “The Gallery” in Lewis Business Centre. This initiative created Pinawa’s first gallery, now used for exhibitions and workshops.
During Pinawa 51st Birthday celebrations (July 18-19, 2014), in the Lewis Business Centre, EMAC and Art 211 will hold “Artisan Square,” co-hosted by The Gallery. Regional artists and artisans are invited to display and sell their work.
(To rent a table contact Viv Thomson at 204-753-8350).
Born in Winnipeg and raised in Pine Falls, she is primarily self-taught, since childhood. Through the years, she has gathered knowledge and experience from several sources. In 1993, she attended Mount Allison University for first year Bachelor of Fine Arts, working mainly in acrylic, watercolor, textiles and mixed media.
In 2009, Laliberte began using digital media and creating digital line art illustrations for use in crafting and digital scrapbooking. She has also done freelance work in graphic design, setting up and creating graphics for websites.
In 2010, Allard Library in St. Georges selected her to work on an art installation for their new building. She collaborated with Denise Prefontaine to create The Storybook Garden, a thirty-six panel installation with each 16”x16” panel illustrating a cherished children’s book.
In 2012, Laliberte teamed up with Tanya Magnan, administrator from École Powerview School to get an ArtsSmarts grant from Manitoba Arts Council. She has continued to do arts integrated teaching in the school, working with teachers to bring the arts directly to education.
Powerview School has applied for three other art grants with Laliberte. Heritage, Culture and Sports contributed the first grant which produced The Northern Lights installation. One hundred and forty-seven students learned about the northern lights and worked on this installation.
A second grant from Community Access allowed about one hundred and forty students to participate in an installation called Future Flight Path. The students learned about Canada Geese migration and each student created a feather with their dreams and aspirations written on it which have been used to create the wings and tails of the geese. This installation will be completed by June and the unveiling will be announced
The Winnipeg River Arts Council features artist Kathryn Jones, a potter who lives along the shores of Pinawa Bay.
After finding a pottery lesson in Winnipeg Leisure Guide in 2000, she has worked with clay ever since. She says, “I had a high stress finance job and I needed something to help me relax. After my first class, I knew that I would do this for the rest of my life.”
In 2003, still working full time and taking pottery lessons, Jones, along with her husband James, purchased 2.5 acres of untouched Canadian Shield where they spent the next few years building their dream log home. Because they were so busy, splitting their time between Winnipeg and “the lake,” pottery took a backseat for a while.
It wasn’t until 2006, when they moved to their cabin fulltime, that she could again focus on pottery. Although Jones says, “I couldn’t make a matching set of mugs if my life depended on it,” this is where her passion for her craft really flourished.
In 2011, she seized the opportunity to purchase another piece of property and a run-down business. The couple renovated the building into a gift shop and Jones filled it with unique pieces from Canadian artists and artisans, and gourmet food. The seasonal business she now owns and operates is called Cottage Country Co. With time and luck, she hopes to include a studio, where she can create and share with others the fun and beauty of clay.
Today, you can find her at 20 Hard Rock Road, off highway 11, outside of Lac du Bonnet. She says, “This address strikes me as kind of ironic, given my love of clay.”
The business is open from mid to late April until just before Christmas and she is always looking for work from talented local artists to showcase in her store. She invites everyone, tourists and locals, artists and lovers of good food, to stop by for a visit.
Winnipeg River Arts council features Pinawa Public Library, located in the same building as Pinawa Secondary School and Community Centre. Nine volunteers serve on the board and the library draws from a pool of approximately fifty volunteers who work alongside staff, checking books in and out, shelving items, covering new books and doing whatever else might arise.
In addition to attending monthly meetings, board members play a hands-on role in overall operations. In contrast to most libraries, Pinawa Public Library has Adult and Junior Selection Committees who meet, suggest new purchases, and, after often lively discussion, produce a list of books and DVDs to be ordered. Their choices, plus items purchased by the librarian and book donations from patrons, make for a diverse and interesting collection.
Chair Michael Luke also serves on the Selection Committee. Ann Quinn, Chair of Operations, runs meetings when Luke is away. Secretary Anne Shifflett records minutes. Treasurer Donna Wuschke also serves on Adult Selection Committee, chaired by Elaine Greenfield. Michelle Long chairs Junior Selection Committee and helps organize the story time program. Jenny Peterson, Resident Administrator of LGD of Pinawa, is the liaison with Town Council. Patty Drew coordinates library presentations. Lyn Ewing, Member-at-Large, keeps an eye on the books and identifies those ready for deletion. Actual weeding of the collection is done through a collaborative process.
Besides specific board duties, all of the above contribute to discussions at meetings and guide development of library policy. Staff eager to greet patrons includes Head Librarian Marg Stokes, Library Assistants Audrey Miller and Cheryl Michaluk, and Student Assistants Kaeli Wilcox, Shannon Gibson and Sophie Hanson. Because their combined work week totals just forty-one hours, the library relies heavily on volunteers.
Pinawa Public Library Board and staff strongly believe that library services should be free and open to everyone. They welcome all patrons who come through their door, wherever they live, and accept everyone for membership.
Winnipeg River Arts Council features tattoo artist Jodie Wentz from Lac du Bonnet. At a very young age, from the moment she first saw them on the television show “Happy Days,” Wentz knew she wanted to create tattoos.
The dancing hula girl tattoo shaking her hips with the flex of a muscle on “Happy Days” fascinated her, as she realized drawings that lived in the skin and on the body could add life to art. This allure carried on through subsequent artistic choices.
In the 1980′s, in small town Manitoba, one simply didn’t speak of tattoos. The response from the adults and their reaction to the TV episode was clearly negative, so Wentz simply told those who asked that she wanted to be an artist.
It took time and confidence to search out an apprenticeship in tattooing. A stickler for rules, the young artist didn’t tackle this learning independently. In April of 2004, she started her apprenticeship in Winnipeg and has been tattooing full time for eight and a half years. In late 2006, she opened Rock Road Tattoo, just outside of Lac du Bonnet.
Wentz continues to develop her skills as the industry changes. She attends seminars, does diligent research and states, “If a tattoo artist ceases to strive and improve, he or she may as well stop. What can be done with inks and machines is advancing so quickly that, if one does not keep up, he or she will become a fossil.”
Wentz is interested in other arts – throwing pottery on a wheel, making jewelry, and working on a series of gender bending fantasy creature illustrations for fun. She is also co-artistic director of Fire & Water Festival and vocalist and co-writer in the band “Carnival Bride.”
To sum up her creative talents, she says “I am a maker. But, of all the things I have made, my daughter is most certainly my proudest achievement.”
Visit www.rockroadtattoo.com for more information.
Walter Keller emigrated from Switzerland in 1967 and he now lives in Elma. In 1996, after years as a logger, forester, forest fire fighter, log builder and log building instructor, he discovered chainsaw carving. Totally self-taught, he has been self-employed as an artist since 2000 and has been teaching chainsaw carving courses since 2009.
Keller’s various careers gave him an appreciation for his medium – the natural tree trunk. Incorporating the natural features of logs or driftwood into his pieces, he has progressed from chainsaw carver to wood sculptor, and combines the saw’s bold strokes with the intricacies of hand tools.
Although he specializes in life-size forest animals, he sometimes sculpts free hand, to release the spirit of the wood into the world, creating whimsical creatures from stumps with intact roots, tree crowns, witch’s brooms, and forked trunks.
His pieces vary, according to the wood’s size and properties, and he even carves standing trunks. He scavenges from tree removal services, clear cut operations and land clearing sites.
In 2005, Keller’s partner, Alexa Hoerster, took up carving. Together they expanded their repertoire, integrating wood sculpture into buildings. They now carve beams, fireplace mantles, doors, cabinets, stair cases, furniture, and bowls, with styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, fanciful to disciplined, filigree to monumental.
Today, ninety-five percent of their work is commissioned, making it hard to find time to explore new subjects or techniques.
First Nations’ art has influenced Keller’s perception of nature. He finds inspiration in local forests and kayak trips throughout Manitoba, and from explorations across Canada and Europe. He takes frequent trips to Europe to reconnect with family and fulfill carving commissions.
Keller has demonstrated his techniques on occasions such as Canada Day, Red River Ex, various fairs, and competitions in Switzerland and Canada. A founding member of the Eastern Manitoba Artists Coop, he has exhibited work at the Manitoba Art Expo and Eastern Manitoba Art Exhibition.
In 2004, he was featured in CTV’s “Manitoba Moments.” Recently, he was interviewed by a professional videographer for a TV program, showcasing Manitoba artists.
Kelleer’s website is www.thetimberman.net-profiles.com
For the month of December, Winnipeg River Arts Council features musician Ken Palmquist who grew up on the north shore of Powerview in the Cheverfils District. When he was five, he got a plastic toy guitar for Christmas. And he has never stopped playing!
His desire to play was fueled at parties with local musicians, including many uncles and aunts. Soon he could play lead guitar. He had a natural ability to harmonize and honed his singing skill with the help of his mother Jean, who used to win many talent contests and even cut a 78 record in the 50’s.
In high school, with his musical confidence firmly established, he started to play at talent shows all over Manitoba. Palmquist said, “I just enjoyed the thrill of entertaining and competing!”
At sixteen, he entered a competition with his Uncle Frank on the “Ray St. Germain Country Talent Caravan” and won. After that, he went on to perform with many bands, playing everything from Gospel, country and bluegrass to rock and roll and heavy metal. In his home studio, he recorded three original songs which made it onto the radio.
Presently, Palmquist plays all the different styles and categories of music he loved as a young man and also enjoys blues and jazz. He admitted, “I am now close to being a pensioner, but I still love to play anything pleasing to the ears.”
He has performed at the 4P festival on three different occasions with different friends and family, and he hopes to do again. His dream is to play on cruise ships in warmer climes when he gives up his day job. His wife Jo has always supported his endeavors so it may happen.
Palmquist started building guitars and finished his first one this summer. He plans to continue construction and repair of guitars, and hopes to give lessons in the future.
His family has carried on the musical legacy. Daughter Tamara is an up-and-coming songwriter and grandson Chance loves guitar. Son Myles, accomplished guitarist and singer, is working on his second album. Palmquist said, “They all make me very proud!”
For the month of November, Winnipeg River Arts Council features artist Brian Knockaert, a self-taught wood turner. Born and raised in St. Boniface, Manitoba, he moved to his cabin in St. Georges in 1998. He spent most of his working life in the steel industry and also worked at Pine Falls Hospital before retiring in 2008.
Knockaert combines his creative artistry and woodworking knowledge to create unique pieces. Over the years, he practiced his art and used various resources to build his skills; books, YouTube videos and internet research have been the most helpful.
His love of woodworking started with refinishing old furniture. This led to restoring old clocks and building his own. He began to carve birds, caricatures and walking sticks for family and friends.
After someone gave him an old lathe, he started to create pieces from the trees around him. Then he bought a bigger lathe from his brother and started to “play with turning wood.” His wife, Donna-Rae, teases him that he has a lathe addiction. The larger lathe helps him craft more intricate creations, protecting the natural integrity of each piece.
Knockaert can look at the block of wood and see a finished piece. Local woods such as Manitoba maple, black and white ash, birch and willow are commonly used. Many friends and neighbours are always “on the lookout” for distinctive chunks of wood, which he crafts into works each with their own character, style and finish.
Selling his creations was never his plan; this was a simple hobby of love and creativity to share with those he chose. But when family and friends started to ask to buy his objects, he started to sell them. It still surprises Brian when someone wants to purchase one of his works. The most interesting part of selling is where the pieces have gone – throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, Switzerland and Australia. Currently Brian’s works are sold locally at “Through the Arbour” in Pine Falls or by email (click here).
For October, Winnipeg River Arts Council features Pinawa artist Irène Loire-Maillard, a member of both WRAC and Pinawa ART 211. Her work has been exhibited often in Eastman region and she has been a student and practitioner of fine arts for many years (oil, acrylic and watercolour, drawing, clay sculpting, stone carving and photography).
She has studied in various cities across Canada and of late, Southern Spain. She was also privately tutored in stone carving by an Inuit carver in Nunavut.
Her paintings reflect a blend of science and art. She has travelled extensively and uses memories of colour, sounds and smells of various cultures. Currently her passion has led her to create abstract landscapes, using various techniques to create texture, form, colour, composition, layering and clean lines. Fascinated with the origins of the universe, she is in awe of the beauty of naturally sculpted forms.
She states, “Abstract art evokes thinking, feeling and seeing with one’s own interpretation.” This is what she strives to accomplish with her art.
Loire-Maillard’s acrylic painting, “Influenced by Caravaggio,” won the first prize at the Eastman Judged Art Exhibition, held in Pinawa during June of 2013. This piece was displayed, along with other award winning works from rural and Northern Manitoba, at The 11th Annual Rural and Northern Art Show (September 9 to October 6) held in the Pavilion Gallery Museum in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg
Loire-Maillard is interested in art forms of all kinds. She has lived and worked in Canada’s Arctic where she collected many fine examples of local visual arts and carvings. For several years, she belonged to a creative writing group based in Pinawa. Also, her husband, Roger Dutton, is a long-time member and fervent supporter of the Pinawa Players so she sometimes gets persuaded to become involved in their ever-popular community theatre productions.