Sunday, April 19, 2009


Meet Ontario, Canada artist Kate Lesko-Smith

Kate introduced herself to me when I was operating my first Artisan Gallery in 1999. As a result of that meeting, I then offered her Heirloom quality hand made dolls in the gallery.

We got to know each other more, and when I moved my gallery to a location in our downtown core, Kate and her dolls moved with me. She became my right hand woman and helped keep me going when the going got tough. I taught her pottery and she helped me move beyond the knit stitch. We continue to get together to knit and gab, compare notes on our latest projects and ventures and offer each other advice and commiseration.

Celtic Bird

Kate, how did you come to be an artist?

I fell in love with art in grade school and in high school, art was my favourite class. I also loved Home Economics, where I learned to sew. My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet. Creating became part of my life as I grew up.

Beaded Blue Flower

How did you learn your creative skills?

My school studies, and my grandmother’s teaching, got me started. I learned a lot on my own.

As a young mother, I became a representative of a Needle Arts company and I taught myself to embroider and cross stitch in order to pass those skills on to my clients. I then discovered Shoshiko embroidery, doll making and quilting as well. Over the years I taught myself more advanced knitting skills and began to create my own designs for everything from hats to slippers. I also enjoy creating little knitted critters of all sorts.
I learned to work with clay from you.

Celtic Luck

And what media do you work in?

I work in many mediums, but professionally I create hand made cards with stitched, painted and beaded elements.
I got started making cards after seeing a book about embroidered paper greeting cards. I loved the method and started coming up with a bunch of ideas and just started making them. As I progressed the painted and beaded accents became part of my repertoire.
I prefer classic designs with a historical or cultural theme. I’ve been designing medieval and Celtic flavoured designs and Japanese, Egyptian and Mexican are coming too.

How do you come up with your designs?

Ideas come to me in my sleep. In fact I am always making things in my sleep, lately I’ve been knitting booties. A colleague is expecting, I guess that is the reason.

Bluebird of Happiness

How has your career developed over the years?

For many, many years I created for myself or for gifts. In 1999 I approached a local Gallery, yours, with my Heirloom dolls and I worked with you for several years.

In 2007 I opened a shop on Etsy, Kate’s Kards, and it is the best thing I ever did!

For the future I am working towards creating cards full time. I look forward to seeing the evolution of my work over many years to come.

Modern Christmas Tree

What motivates you to create?

I am very passionate about what I do! As new designs come to mind and evolve to the finished product I am constantly moving towards the next design or series of designs.

Twelve Days of Christmas Sampler

Please visit Kate at her Gallerys on Etsy and Zazzle, and view her Cross Stitch designs at Artists Alley! for Cross Stitch designs.

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Watch for more artist profiles, and sneak peeks of what is coming up from me too!

Many thanks for coming by, cheers ruth ;D

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Sometimes events in our life are living art and capturing those moments is a challenging task. This is the story of some of those moments.

Although I was born and have lived in this region much of my life, I had never before visited 'the sugarbush'. This year I decided it was time I experienced it. In March we visited Matthew's Maple Syrup.

Entry sign at Matthew's Maple Syrup on a mild, sunny day! From the left, our youngest child Victoria, myself and DH, David.

This is the syrup processing barn. Matthew's uses reverse osmosis for most of the condensing of the sap into syrup. The final process is a heat process. Inside the barn there is also a shop where visitors can purchase maple syrup, maple candy, maple sugar, maple jellies, sauces and more.

Under the blue canopy, Mrs. Matthew's poured syrup onto a tray of ice and we twirled it onto small wooden paddles to create a toffee pop. It was delicious!!!

This is the way the trees are tapped, into a miles long web of gravity drained lines. These lead into the larger gravity fed main line.

This is the main sap line to the processing barn. The line is about three inches in diameter and you can see and hear the sap running, by gravity, down to the barn.

Historically, sap was collected in buckets hanging on taps, which would be put in anew, with a hand drill, each season. It was quite an undertaking in a large operation. The sap would be collected in a huge tank, pulled around on a sled, by work horses. Then it would be brought to a boiler which was fueled by a wood fire. It would have been gruelling work! This photo is of Matthew's Opening Tree Tapping Ceremony this year. This gentleman is drilling a tap hole.

Installing the tap.

Hanging the sap bucket.

Putting on the cover to keep out rain, snow melt, creatures and contaminants.

Is the sap running yet?

One of the Matthew's beautiful dogs.

Old fashioned sap boiling. That kettle was constantly at a rollicking, rolling boil, fuelled by a roaring, wood fire.

The First Nations people processed their sap by filling a dugout log with sap, then adding hot rocks from the fire. This boiled the sap and reduced the sap to syrup, or even to sugar.

Push and Shove, mother and son sleigh horses. Both stunningly magnificent!

Sugar Bush sleigh ride pulled by Push and Shove. Historically, this sled would be pulling the sap tank, not visitors!

New Friends! Victoria and Push.

Visit Matthew's Maple Syrup at for more information about the history and operation of their sugar bush, maple syrup and their products.

If you get the opportunity to visit a sugar bush, take advantage of it. Making maple syrup is a practice that is centuries old and no matter how it is done, it is part magic and completely amazing!

Prints, cards and other items featuring some of my photographs from our adventure will be available at*.

Following our visit to Matthew's, we tapped the maple trees on our property and I made my own maple syrup! But that's another post . . . stay tuned! ;D

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Meet Cincinnati,Ohio artist, Barbara Klocke!

Chickadees, Barbara Klocke

I first met Barbara, whom I now call Sunshine, on March 22, 2007, in my first days as a Gallery owner at She was my third fan!
We became friends and cheerleaders to each other. As I slogged through the learning process of setting up the Gallery, learning posting protocols, Zazzle etiquette, etc, Barb always cheered me on, and encouraged me.

Barb is insightful, tremendously funny, and caring and giving to others. Her fans and friends span all age groups, art styles and genres. She is a delightful woman who sees the divine in all and everyone she sees and knows.

When not creating, Barbara spends time with her family and friends, reads, gardens, knits and crochets and practices the healing practice of Qigong.

Old Barn, Barbara Klocke

Barb, how did you come to be an artist?

“Art has always been a part of my life. It has always been a source of joy and expression for me. Having others enjoy my work is the highest form of success for me.

I suppose that my love of art began with my first coloring book. I decided that I wanted to be an artist at a young age. I was fortunate enough to have an artist neighbour as a child. I would visit her often and ask her what I needed to do to become an artist and then I taught myself how to do it.”

Earred Grebe, Barbara Klocke

And what media do you work in?

“I used to work in oils, but now I work in acrylic and sometimes watercolour. I work on canvas or paper, but I worked extensively on rocks for some time. Recently I began experimenting with coloured pencils.”

Wood Duck, Barbara Klocke

How has your career developed over the years?

“Over the years, I entered numerous art shows, both amateur and juried. My work was accepted for shows in Sofia, Bulgaria and Athens, Greece.

The prestigious Clossens in Cincinnati, featured my rock art for six months.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Tempo-art section, featured two articles about my Rock art. I also appeared on a local TV show with some of my rock art. My Granddaughter was permitted to go on with me, so that was great fun!

Two local Cincinnati galleries featured my work for several years.”

Pelican, Barbara Klocke

Has your work changed over the years?

“I paint a wide variety of subject matter, including wildlife and florals. A number of years ago though, I began researching the Native American culture in an effort to learn more about my own heritage. As a result I painted many Native American inspired paintings as a tribute to that Culture. “

Sunflowers, Barbara Klocke

What motivates you to create?

“I see the expression of God's love all around me, in Nature, Animals and people. I suppose that is my main motivation, to try and capture some of that beauty and love. The Native American art is more spiritual in nature, and many of those paintings came to me in dreams. To Native Americans, nurturing one's Spiritual side is as important as nurturing the physical side. They feel that true happiness can only be found by having balance between the two.”

Please visit Barbara on Zazzle!

buy unique gifts at Zazzle

Next Time: An interview with an artist who I met here at home and have worked with for many years, Kate, of Kate’s Kards on Zazzle and Etsy.

Many thanks for coming by, cheers ruth ;D

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Story

So, fine, I’ve finally started my very first blog EVER!

I’ve read that I should SEO the content, etc, etc…..

For now, I’m just going to get the thing started; I’ve procrastinated on this TOO LONG already.

So Search Engines, Yoooooo Hoooooooooo, I’m over hee eere *waves hands*, Come and fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind meeeeeeee! Helloooooooooooooo? Hellooooooooooo?

Oh well, if that doesn’t work, I will do the SEO thing, …. eventually……..

I’m told that in a blog, one should use ones own ‘unique’ voice. I only have the one voice, is that the unique one? Am I missing something?

I am not a person to embellish or embroider things much; a Capricorn with a Libra twist. I’m not big on emotional, mushy or cute. I am passionate about integrity, kindness, courtesy, tolerance, gratitude, love, fun and helping others achieve their full potential, in whatever large or small ways I can.

I’ve heard that folks like to know more about an artist, to have an affinity with them and some understanding of their creative motivation. So what might they like to know about me I wonder???

It all started on a snowy Christmas morning long ago …… I can sure imagine what my fiery, out spoken, red haired mother had to say about that!

The next 30 years were a mish mash of character building circumstances. Suffice it to say ‘forged in the fire’ might be an accurate description. I say ‘GOOD’, I wouldn’t be who I am, but for all that, and I bloody like who I am.

Per that ‘bloody’, I may have picked up my mother’s penchant for British slang. She by the way has been departed from this earthly life since 1975.

Throughout my life my creativity was encouraged in ways large and small, as a ‘hobby’. The older I grew, the stronger the inclination to create became. In 1994 I became a potter. Kick wheel, kiln, and the whole nine yards. I opened a Gallery, taught students AND worked full time at a J.O.B.

A medical crisis stopped life as I knew it in 2003.

My families support and alternative treatment strategies have aided my slow, and to date, incomplete return to health, physical mobility and strength. Throughout my recovery journey, it has been spiritual study and creative endeavours that have soothed my mind, provided necessary mental and physical therapy and given me hope that my efforts to heal would lead to a brighter, stronger and healthier future.

A little over two years ago, I discovered the online world of Print on Demand, P.O.D. Here was a way to market my art, to get it out to the world, despite my physical limitations.

I began to delve into digital art and image manipulation. This led me to rekindle my relationship with the camera. A wonderful friend on Zazzle, Perlyyyy, introduced me to Apophysis and my love of Generative art was born. Today, Generative Art is my focus and passion.

Next Time: An interview with artist Barbara Klocke of Ohio and a look at some of her beautiful work. Barbara is a wonderful, talented and accomplished lady who I like to call ‘Sunshine’!

cheers, ruth ;D