Pictou will be bustling next week as artists from the area gather to share their talents. It’s the fourth annual Artisans in Action. These are some of the artists you will meet…
Art is healing.
Carolyn Vienneau has felt that way for 10 years, since her husband took a stroke and she began dabbling in art forms other than painting.
“I teach painting and fuse glass, which I got into 10 years ago when my husband had several strokes,” she says.
“The personal tragedy steered me toward other forms of art that I could do and still look after him. Fuse glass isn’t as time-consuming as painting, and it gave me the opportunity to do crafts with him.”
Vienneau began painting 35 years ago and started teaching 29 years ago.
“I teach people with disabilities, seniors, private classes and I do programs in the school,” she says.
Doing crafts with her husband opened the door for her to become more patient and compassionate.
“That’s how I got into teaching art to the disabled,” she says.
“Art is healing, it’s a coping mechanism.”
Vienneau currently has 35 students who are showcasing their work at the Hector Exhibit Centre for the month of June as well as pieces at Stone Soup Cafe and the Indigo Blues Cafe in Pictou.
Vienneau and her students will be taking part in this year’s Artisans in Action as well.
“We will be showcasing at Scotia Bank for the Artisans in Action,” says Vienneau.
The Scotia Bank will be home to water colours, oil paintings and acrylic paintings as well as some of Vienneau’s fuse glass pieces of art.
Vienneau will also be taking part in the demonstrations that will be going on during the festival at the Hector Heritage Quay.
“Artisans in Action is important because it creates an event to draw tourists into the town,” says Vienneau.
“It promotes art and it makes Pictou an important part of art. There is so much left brain activity. Art helps develop cognitive thinking, problem solving and analytical skills.”
She believes the annual program has many spin-offs in the community and can help to develop Pictou as an art destination.
Keith Matheson has been perfecting his craft for some 45 years and says he still loves every minute.
Matheson is an artist by all accounts and spends his time, while not volunteering at the Hector Heritage Quay, carving, namely wood.
“It’s more about the material,” says Matheson referring to why he enjoys carving. “With the wood, you never know what you are going to find. Each piece is made of a unique material, it’s a life form in and of itself and I am always surprised by what I find inside.”
When working with wood, Matheson tries to use what he finds to enhance the carving, which he says he can’t do with stone or other materials.
“I feel the most important thing when carving is to expose what you find in the wood. There are so many possibilities and as soon as you make that first cut, the material starts to dictate what needs to be done. You really need to be aware of the nature of the wood.”
It’s all about the attitude you go in with, when working with wood.
Matheson enjoys his craft so much that he takes every opportunity to share it, through teaching as well as carving demonstrations.
Matheson will be one of 20 artisans performing demonstrations throughout the four-day Artisan in Action festival in Pictou June 13-16.
“I will be doing demonstrations along with some of my students,” he says. “Most of my work is done on commission, so I don’t have a lot to show, but I have done some carvings at the Quay where the demonstrations will take place.”
Matheson is a big supporter of the arts and has been involved in Artisans in Action since the beginning.
“Anything to promote the arts is worthwhile,” he says. “It’s what we are as people, culture, art and emotions make us human.”
Matheson enjoys being part of anything that showcases art and artists.
“It also helps others to learn to appreciate art,” says Matheson. “We need more appreciation of art, every time cuts in funding are made; the arts are always the first to go because they are seen as frivolous.”
He believes art is a crucial part of all of our lives and things like Artisans in Action help expose people to the importance of art.
“Art is an illustration of who we are and what we do.”
Photography has been her strong focus throughout the years, but Anna Pereda has been introduced to other art forms she has come to enjoy.
Pereda became very involved in photography in the mid 80s and continues to tweak her craft regularly.
“I am always growing and learning,” she says. “Especially going from analogue to digital, it’s a process.”
Pereda was a fan of fibre art which she had been doing for quite some time when she and Artisans in Action co-organizer Donna Bullerwell visited a fibre art festival in Amherst.
“I was very impressed at how everything had come together for the festival and wanted to do an artisan festival here,” she says. “We had talked about it quite a lot.”
And so bloomed the idea for Artisans in Action.
Over the years there have been a number of fibre art shows as well as weaving demonstrations during Hector Days which Pereda was involved in, but Artisans in Action rolls all forms of art together in a four-day art extravaganza.
“It’s a wonderful experience,” says Pereda referring to Artisans in Action. “It’s a great way to see a showcase of artisans and artists together in one festival.”
What she enjoys most is the opportunity to get together with other artists.
“So much of what we do is on our own, so it’s nice to be in a group. It’s a gathering where everyone does their own craft. It’s a celebration.”
At this year’s Artisans in Action Pereda will have a photography display at an empty storefront beside Sunrise Realty on Water Street and will be doing demonstrations of spinning, knitting and weaving at the Hector Heritage Quay throughout the festival.
This year, Pereda also used some of her photos to design the poster for Artisans in Action.
“Two years ago, I took photographs of people’s hands as they did their craft, so I put them all together to make the poster.”
Pereda says the majority of people who find their way to the Artisans in Action festival are often people with a love of crafts and are seeking something new.
“They are there to discover and share,” she says. “You really get to meet a whole lot of people and it’s such a great camaraderie. I enjoy it hugely.”
Her hope is that anyone who is able will visit Artisans in Action.
“Come watch the demonstrations and enjoy the celebration we have in Pictou. It’s quite fantastic and you get to meet so many people, you would be amazed at the work and artistry we have in this community.”