I know, I know. Spring is supposed to be here. At least the
Equinox happened, and that was supposed to be the first day of Spring, right?
But look at my back yard! Does that look like Spring?
The equinox fooled some birds, too. I have heard some
foolish flocks of geese flying overhead the past two nights. They seem to be
following the river, vainly looking for a stretch of open water to land on. Good
Luck! I worry about them – they are going to have to survive by eating snow for
quite a while.
And I have been hosting a poor little mourning dove for the past
couple of weeks. It comes to my bird feeding station. I thought it had perished
during that last awful snow storm we had, but this morning I heard its sad little
“whoo – whoo”. I hope it gets the best little mourning dove mate of the season –
it deserves her.
Anyway, here are some neat things to do during this sloppy season.
and congratulations to Jolanta Solkalska, whose work in glass became the awards handed out to Winnipeg realtors recently, given on their Annual Gala Dinner in the Convention Centre in late February
each realtor winner is holding an award made by Jolanta.
In Plain View artist, Michel St. Hilaire has some work to show you. If you would like to visit Michel's home gallery, just contact him:
69 Maryland St., Winnipeg, MB
Phone: (204) 956-5008
Steve Robinson passed away
on January 4th, 2013 at the age of 57. But he will not be forgotten.
Steve leaves a legacy of touching many
lives during his lifetime. He was a strong influence to many as friend and
mentor, as well as being an exceptional artist in his own right. Steve had an
innate gift of being able to be in the present moment and greet everyone he met
with genuine openness. His keen determination, yet gentle Zen-like manner,
guided him in his quest to create that ultimate Raku piece, and in so doing,
guided his excellence in becoming a master of "true Raku". The
mastery of the expressive nature of his work’s evolution never failed to
astonish, within the exquisite shapes, textures and glazes. Steve's work is
proudly exhibited in many of our homes, and in homes and galleries across the
In like manner he traveled and gave
Raku workshops across Manitoba, and soon became a caring mentor for a close
group of students. Steve guided his artist students in their own individual
quests for the honest expression of "true Raku". So began the
infamous exhibitions as the newly formed Raku group began to show together
within Winnipeg's Exchange District galleries. The exhibitions -"Out of Steve's Kiln" evolved into
"Under The Cover of Darkness" and the group showed for over ten
years, with the final "Raku Reunion" in 2011.
I was fortunate to have been invited
into the fold in 2006, during personal crossroads in my life. Steve was indeed
instrumental in reawakening my own passion for creating with clay and Raku
firing , and in so doing inspired my own personal expression of the
"Spirit Shield'. This is the thread of a theme that continues to evolve in
my work even today. Raku firing with Steve was always respectfully celebrated
as a quite spiritual ritual. He loved Rakuing in the snow and the cold, and the
first firing of the day was begun with a symbolic toast to the Raku gods from
the bottle of Sake that he'd warm up at the side of his kiln. The blessing was
served in tiny little Sake cups that Steve hand built for each of us, for each
firing .They are special mementos. His teachings involved gentle reminders for patience
during the day as the flow of turning up the propane torch, watching the glaze
blister and smooth over, waiting for that moment of lustrous sheen through the
spyhole to prepare us to unload the Raku kiln, and lift the hot glowing pieces
into the air, then directly into the darkness of the reduction chambers.
Patience was needed still, till the billowy smoke was released and we were able
to dig out our blackened pieces and roll them in the snow to set, and only then
carefully hold up the finished
treasures to the light for quiet
inspection. Steve would guide us with a twinkle in his eye, supportive nods and
humorous wit, accompanied by his faithful companion Moon who sat aside his
master and kept reverence. Always a magical experience.
Steve will always be known as our
"Raku Guru" and our very special friend.
One of the member's of Steve's Raku
group, as well as my studio partner, artist Gina Roth said it well ..
" When I look up into the sky and
see dark fluffy clouds, I will think it is Steve doing another Raku firing in
the great beyond".
Yesterday I was privileged to see and hear Steve Robinson's family and friends as they shared stories and memories of his life with those present at his memorial service.
Steve died after a staunch struggle with cancer last Friday, Jan. 3.
Steve was one of our earliest members, joining our group for the first couple of years.
He enriched us all with his wonderful raku work, but also with his quiet, retiring yet straightforward attitude. Patient and dedicated.