Monthly Archives: May 2011

Thamesville: Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail

Two hundred years ago our community was involved in a war with the United States of America.  Longwoods Road played an important role in the War of 1812-1814.

We hear about the battles and the fact that neither side actually won the war.  What do we know about the suffering of the people?  What do we know about the First Nations families and Nations who were affected?  What do we know about the settlers? The women and children whose homes were destroyed?  What do we know about our history?

The aim of the Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail project is to tell the story of the people through the arts – quilting, weaving, beading and painting.  The goal is to interpret the social history of the War of 1812 and the early 19th century.  The main attraction will be barn quilts lining an arts corridor down the Longwoods Road  where key stories, landmarks, and sacred places will be represented by barn quilts. We’ll tell the story via social media on-line.

Re-enactors, historians, and quilters are collaborating to plan a project that would feature two 30-block quilts telling the story of how the war affected the First Nations and settler families.  Once the quilts are designed and the colours and quilt blocks chosen, the communities living along the route can start painting the quilt block designs on murals 8-foot square.  These “barn quilts” will be installed on heritage timberframe barns to mark significant historical locations on the trail.  Key locations include the sites of the Battle of the Thames and the Battle of the Longwoods anchored by the British Encampment (Delaware Speedway) at the east end and Thamesvile at the west end.  The trail will continue west marked by the Tecumseh Parkway which is also in the planning stages.  It is hoped that barn quilts will continue right through to Amherstberg on “Route 1812”, the larger historical loop linking War of 1812 sites scattered throughout rural Ontario.

On May 30, 2011, the Thamesville Historical Society invited Mary Simpson and Denise Corneil to tell them about the project.  Driving back to Chatham after the meeting, quilters Dianne Blonde Pinkerton and Nancy Kominek from the Chatham-Kent Quilt Guild evaluated all the barns west of Thamesville.

While Mary and Denise are currently focussing  on this 65-mile stretch of old Queen’s Highway No. 2, they hope that community groups all over southwestern Ontario will catch the fever.  Inspired by the Temiskaming Barn Quilt Trail, Wardsville stitched their George Ward Commemorative Quilt and painted thirty matching barn quilts in and around Wardsville in 2010.  Oxford, Elgin, Brant, and Norfolk Counties are now planning trails.

For more information call Denise Corneil at 519 693-7002 or Mary Simpson at 519 287 3566

Ailsa Craig hosted quilts from the Netherlands 2011

Ailsa Craig presents Quilts of the Netherlands.   May 23 – 28, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This quilt show coincided with the big quilting conference, Quilt Ontario  held at University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.  May 24 – 28, 2011.

May 1-5, 2012.  Ailsa Craig hosts Quilts of Denmark.

Rick Sommer, Made On Earth Art Gallery, Wardsville

Made On Earth, the world’s first environmentally-friendly art gallery, opened in Wardsville August 3rd, 2009.  During Wardsville’s Bicentennial in 2010, Rick was Wardsville’s artist-in-residence, supporting and advising the painting of the  8′ X 8′ barn quilts.

Rick’s art gallery is exactly the kind of unique destination our community needed.  Rick has a great community development vision and working with him is a dream come true.  He is an amazing artist, a master gardener, carpenter, and has impressed his neighbours and community with his hard work. Welcome to Wardsville, Rick.

Drop by and visit his gallery just a kilometre east of Wardsville on Longwoods Road.  He’s there all the time.  24/7.

Eco-art gallery opens in Wardsville

By the Chronicle, August 2009

Rick Sommer of Wardsvile has opened Made on Earth , the world s first environmentally friendly art gallery on Longwoods Road. The gallery includes a courtyard which is available for other artists to use to show off their own work. Above, Rick sits with one of his works of art entitled Earth, which like all his works, is made entirely of recycled materials. Earth is made of an old tabletop, a picture frame, a tripod, vacuum wire, and other material.

Rick Sommer has set out to make his art gallery and culture centre as environmentally friendly as possible. His art supplies are often whatever he finds at the dump. All his work is recycled. He paints on things including discarded tabletops and doors. His paintbrushes and even his paint is all gathered from what other people throw away. His paintings, carvings, crafts and other works are displayed across his yard at 2504 Longwoods Road, Wardsville. Starting next week, it will be open for people to browse and buy his art.

Sommer has been doing research into eco-friendly art for the last 15 years. He said he’s heard about other eco-art galleries, but some of them cut down trees to make room for themselves, or have some other non-environmentally friendly practices. His gallery, Made on Earth, should be the first to be eco-friendly on this high a level.

Made on Earth includes a courtyard which will be for other artists and vendors to display and sell their work. Vendors with original, homemade crafts, food and products may call Rick Sommer at 519-693-0904. Sommer hopes to have the vendors’ courtyard open by April 2010.

Sommer aims for his gallery to have a positive impact by giving local artists a space for their work, and also by drawing business people willing to invest in the community from the larger urban centres, such as Toronto.

“This isn’t about me or my artwork. It’s about rebuilding a community,” said Sommer. “What I’m trying to do is rebuild the community using recycled materials that are environmentally friendly… I want to find the original artists. There’s a lot of great artists out there, they just don’t know how to promote themselves.”

Sommer grew up in a log cabin in the wilderness of northern British Columbia. He said he was born an artist, and he’s kept it up all his life. When he was a kid he would make his own toys out of river clay.

As a young adult, Sommer joined the American Military and served two years in the 82nd airborne and three years in the Special Forces. After a honourable discharge, he moved to Toronto and decided to get back into artistry. At first he sold his art on the street, and he would later spend the next twenty years working in carpentry and landscaping for mansions. It was during this 20-year period that he would paint murals at the Dovercourt boys and girls club in Toronto. He said his painting activity had a way of drawing in kids from the streets.

“I realized that, silently, I can help people without them knowing. I decided I was going to find a place to sell my art work, do it professionally,” he said.

Sommer said he met Prince Charles during his time with Dovercourt, and the two had a conversation about the environment that helped prompt Sommer’s decision to do an eco-friendly art gallery.

“Prince Charles, when I met him in Toronto, he said the earth has less than 200 months, and it’s now down to 93 months before it’s too late to save the ecosystem,” said Sommer.

Sommer moved to his home on Longwoods Road with his wife May 2008.

Sommer works in art styles including painting, poetry, music, carving, martial arts and others. He’s also working on ‘fusion art’, art that includes different mediums rolled into one. Some fusion art is paintings with poems packaged along with them, but for some fusion art he tries to incorporate all five senses in art that is visual, is scented, and even includes an original recipe for taste.

“I want to go beyond the canvas on the wall. I want to put scents and music and poetry all in one art form,” said Sommer.

Link to article by The Chronicle.

%d bloggers like this: