Another new product for my booth at Market on the Plaza :)    Thursday, August 11, 2016

I just finished painting one of the shingles that I will have for sale at my booth. It's mixed media - water-based oils, acrylics and wood-burning! 

 

 

Market on the Plaza - August 27, 2016 'Florals are done!'    Monday, August 8, 2016

Whew! Well, I am adding a few new items to my booth - I just finished the floral arrangements and thought I'd give you a sneak peek ;) I've 11 and may get the even dozen done but I'm off to do the other products - stay tuned!

Roses in old-fashioned shoeGreens & Creams with OrchidsRed, red rose...A taste of Fall

 

 

OPEN HOUSE for 'Whimsical Transformations'    Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Well! We had a lovely, lovely open house on April the 11th for 'Whimsical Transformations' - an art program I developed and taught as part of the LEAP (Learning Elders Arts Program). We had a two hour class every Thursday over the previous eight weeks.

This is part of the description that I wrote for the main display board:

"The colouring books were flying offthe shelves at work...and I do mean flying!

So much so, it made me stop and wonder why? What was all the fuss about?

That conjured up images of childhood delight over the aroma of opening up my box of crayons, turning through the pages of my colouring book to pick just the right one (nevermind that in the long run they'd all be coloured!) and settling down for a lovely hour or two of colouring. 

No one cared if I coloured outside the lines or which colours I chose – childhood liberties that are "tut-tutted" out of you as you age. Everything I did the adults proclaimed was 'wonderful'! No second thoughts or doubts about what I'd just finished, I merrily went on my way to do another.

It was so much fun (or as we say in adult-speak 'Relaxing, meditative, enjoyable') to disappear into that world of whimsy and colour!

You often hear "Be kind to your inner child"...So who's the grinch that made off with our colouring books?

Can't have that, can we? Better still...what if we make our own?

And so the seed for, "Whimsical Transformations" was born. 

The objective of this course was to learn to dissect what makes a colouring page (or any other piece of art/design) 'work'. Then, taking inspiration from personal photographs, sketch up several quick thumbnails before honing the final sketch into a black & white template to be copied and used for colouring.

We also learned about composition, colour theory/psychology and how to make a homemade smudge-stick!

The template copies were coloured using coloured pencils, pens and solvents to produce the lovely work you see presented here tonight.

So long Mr. Grinch!"
 

A Visual of the Steps:

I was so fortunate to be able to work with such creative students - I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and hope that they continue with their art endevours.

 

After the photos - please see acknowledgements below!
(Please excuse the quality of the photos - they were taken with a poor, old phone camera, I'm afraid!)

This is our class :)

(This class was hosted/administered by the First Baptist Church Outreach Ministry under the direction of Rev. Annette Wells - standing at the back on the left). 

Class Collage LEAP
Artwork below: Top left: Lloyd, Bottom Left: Louise, Right: David
Lloyd, Louise and David
Artwork below: Top left: Lynn, Bottom left: Flora, Right: Mada
Lynn, Flora and Mada
Artwork below: Top: Marlene, Bottom: Marjorie
Marlene and Marjorie

Open House - April 11, 2016

Display Boards

Open House - Whimsical Transformations

(Note: On the round table above were free colouring pages taken from the student's templates for visitors to take home.)

The Learning Elders Arts Program (L.E.A.P.) is funded by the Prince Edward Island Department of Education, Early Learning  and Culture under the direction of Hon. Douglas Currie and administered by the PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation. This program is part of the First Baptist Church outreach ministry under the direction of Rev. Annette Wells. This course was developed and taught by artist Wilna Clark-Gerami.

The Annual 2016 PEI Buyers' Market will be here January 15-16th!    Thursday, January 7, 2016

Getting Ready for the 2016 PEI Buyers' Market!

 

As winner of the 'Best New Product' award at last year's show -
'Nature Grooves' is on the cover this year!

Love the way they've displayed my cards - makes my eyes happy ;)

2016 PEI Buyers' Market  

L.E.A.P. (Learning Elders Arts Program)    Sunday, December 20, 2015

Hello everyone! 
I will be teaching a class through the "Learning Elders Arts Program" (LEAP) this year in downtown Charlottetown.

The title of the program is "Whimiscal Transformations".

I will guide you through the steps to help you transform your photograph(s) into whimsical adult colouring sheets. 
We will be working with coloured pencils and you will learn different blending techniques, composition and colour concepts. I chose coloured pencils as they are easy to keep nearby (along with your colouring pages on a clipboard) to pick up and relax with much like a crossword puzzle.
You will also have from two to several (depending upon your work pace and how detailed you want to be) black & white colouring pages which you can copy and give to friends and family. They make lovely, unique, personal gifts when tied up with a bow along with a few coloured pencils!

The class runs from 2-4pm for eight Thursdays in a row starting January 28th. Final class exhibit will be from 7-8:30pm on April 11, 2016.
If you'd like to know a bit more, please contact me at stoppenlook@gmail.com. You can register with Annette at the First Baptist Church 902-651-2773. Space is limited so please register early.

A little bit about me:
For those of you who don't personally know me, besides doing illustration work, while living in Montréal, I graduated with honours from a full-time three year Professional Photography program and then went on to complete (with honours) a full-time three year Graphic Design program. I also managed the production unit of a large photography studio for over eight years and have dabbled in animation, ceramics and stained-glass to name a few other interests!

'Poppa's Bunnies'    Friday, August 29, 2014

'Poppa's Bunnies'

(Note: This blog was written for my old site but since I am now offering this print as a Greeting Card I thought it might be nice to know the story behind it all...)

"Poppa's Bunnies"

On November 11, 2011 my husband and I walked up to the tomb of the unknown soldier in Ottawa to pay our respects and lay our Poppies with the others. My father was very near that day. He was a WWII veteran who was 22 months at the front...through Italy to Ortona and then up through Holland before coming home. Total service: 5 years; 4 months and 19 days. He would not speak of it for years but when I was about 16; I noticed that he always slept with the blanket pulled up over one ear. Curious, I asked him why he always slept like that. He explained a little about his time overseas and said that that is how he use to try to sleep over there... to try to keep the noise out. It had just become a habit.
My Dad had a difficult life from early childhood onwards. He was a dear, gentle, patient, understanding soul who was my best friend. He would constantly remind me, even in the later years when he was full of pain, that in each and every day there was a gift for all of us. You'd have to open your mind and heart to find it some days... but, it would be there. It bothered him terribly that he was not there for me when I was small. No matter how often I tried to tell him how much he meant to me; I felt that I really wasn't reaching him.
One day I sat down at my easel and started to draw. I drew with my heart and soul hoping that I could convey to my father how I felt. It was Christmastime and I couldn't get home that year but I completed the picture of the Poppa bunny and the little bunny snuggled together by the tree...making sure to pull the edges of the blanket carefully over one of the Poppa rabbit's ears so he could get a restful sleep...
I sent the drawing home with a small note to him saying; "Poppa...this is the way you make me feel. I love you." Well, when my Dad opened the drawing and read...They told me that tears came to his eyes. When I spoke to him later that morning and I asked him if he now understood; he said, "Yes, dear." And from the sound of his voice; I knew that to be true. After I hung up the phone; I was very quiet for a long, long time...my "cute" little drawings, that I had not held in much esteem after having heard some dismissive remarks about such work not really being 'art' per say, had left my hands, lay in another's and touched their heart more soundly in one instant than a lifetime of searching for just the right words...

(I am offering this very special print as a greeting card - you can find it in the StoppenShop under the Seasonal Greeting Cards section).

Point Prim Lighthouse    Saturday, July 26, 2014

Point Prim Lighthouse - The Island's Oldest Lighthouse

Point Prim Lighthouse Road

(Above image - 'The Road to Point Prim Lighthouse' ©StoppenLook)
First day of operation:  December 4, 1845

Point Prim Lighthouse is located at the tip of a very long penninsula that juts out into Northumberland Strait - almost a beeline over water, past Rocky Point to Charlottetown. Hence it was a perfect location for guiding, among others, those ships on the old Pictou-Charlottetown run. Not only is it the oldest lighthouse on the Island but, according to the sign out front, it is the only round brick lighthouse in Canada!

I would like to share with you part of an article that I found in the Charlottetown Guardian dated Monday February 9, 1948 that was written by Mr. Hedley Ross in 1904. Mr. Ross, a native of Stanley Bridge, is lamenting that the 'fireside tales' he is so fond of are falling by the wayside and in danger of being lost, so has put together some notes from a conversation he had with a Mr. Dougald Henry...

"...Of this number, is Mr. Dougald Henry, born 1817, who will accordingly be 87 years of age on June 19. His trade being that of a blacksmith for about fifty years, he pounded an anvil in different sections of the Island and for most of the time in the village of Stanley Bridge, where on the banks of the lovely river he set up his roof tree in view of an expanse of land and water, whose charming combinations made a bit of scenery as picturesque as that which hangs in the great galleries of the world. The following notes were gleaned from, Mr. Henry in the way of conversation:

'I left the land of my birth, Malpeque, 64 years ago and came to Cavendish, where at that time ship building was carried on by Alexander and James Simpson. They used to launch from their yard two vessels a Summer. My brother was their blacksmith. I went to learn the trade with him and was there five years. From Cavendish I returned to Malpeque where I finished out my trade. My next move was to Winsloe Road, after that to Charlottetown to work for a man named Charles C. Davis. This was about the year 1846. I worked for ten months in Charlottetown, part of the time with Thomas Robertson. That was the time the old Colonial Building was built. Pierce Lacey and I made the iron door and the vault that went with it.'

Point Prim Light

'While I was with Robertson, he had the job of buidling the Point Prim lighthouse. I was one of those sent out there to put up the lantern. This would be about the first lighthouse on the Island. There was none then in Malpeque, New London, Rustico, Georgetown, Souris or Summerside. On Governor's Island there was a spar light on which they used to hoist the lantern by hand. That same year we mounted the bouys, that is hooped them and made ready for placing. There were nine of us working in the blacksmith shop. We had five fires going.'

The article then goes into more detail of his working days in Stanley Bridge and thereabouts but I'll leave that for another day :)

There are two wonderful sites that I would direct you to for further architectural/historical details. The first one, Point Prim, PE from Lighthouse Friends.com gives a detailed narrative of the history of this lighthouse. The second one, Point Prim Lighthouse, from the PEI Lighthouse Society, gives a lot of the building's construction stats along with detailed descriptions of the light-keepers. Both are well worth a visit!

 

 

SS Prince Edward Island 1917-1968    Friday, July 4, 2014


SS PRINCE EDWARD, circa 1960 (Photo credit: marineatlanticjourney.ca)

When I was a very little girl, my father (Lloyd Clark) who worked almost all of his life on "the boats", took me onto "The Prince". The only memory I have of The Prince is standing next to my father (his knees actually) at the newsstand and being mezmerized by all the shiny wood and brass!

I was researching through copies of old Island newspapers when I came across the following article which I thought you might enjoy and may well bring back a few fond memories to Islanders ;)

The Charlottetown Guardian (p.9)
Monday, April 1, 1946

DESCRIBES TRIP ABOARD CAR FERRY STEAMER
(By Island Traveller in Halifax Herald)

Last week I had the pleasure of looking over the car ferry "Prince Edward Island" while on a business trip to Cape Tormentine. On the voyage over from Borden in the morning, I met and talked with several members of the crew and on the return trip in the afternoon, I was shown through the ship from stem to stern. It was one of those beautiful March days and although there was considerable drift ice in the Strait, it did not hamper the progress of the ferry and the crossing was made in fast time. This is unusual for the time of year, as March is generally one of the most difficult months of the year for the ferry to operate, due to the heavy ice.
Considering it's age this boat is providing outstanding service, and during the past two or three weeks it has been operating almost continuously, averaging six or seven round trips daily in order to transport the large number of freight cars which always collect on the mainland during the winter months. When ice conditions are bad, crossings are limited, thereby causing a congestion of freight traffic on mainland sidings which otherwise would not occur if this province was provided with continuous and efficient transportation. A few weeks ago there were 500 freight cars at various mainland points awaiting transportation to the Island but the early break-up has enabled the ferry to practically eliminate this freight bottleneck within a comparatively short time.
My guide for the ship inspection was the ever-obliging Joe Kelly, the second steward. We started from the bottom and worked upwards, so the engine room was the first point of interest. Here I preceived (sp?) the signals being received from the bridge as the ship pulled away from the Tormentine wharf.
Dan Edmonds was the engineer in charge while nearby was Lloyd Howatt, another engineer. I met Willard Crooks and Mydrick McKenzie, oilers, and in the stokehole I saw John Deegan, Charlie Love and Joe MacDonald. We proceeded by way of a narrow passage between the boilers to another engine room where I watched with interest engineer Reg McAleer, oiler John McKenzie and water tender John Williams carrying out their respective duties.
We left the engine room and came up to the railroad deck, which was completely loaded with freight, mail, baggage and express cars. Located on one side of this deck, whether it is the port side or the starboard side, I wouldn't know, are the crew, cooks, mess rooms, etc. On duty at the time were two cooks, Richard McCarville and Aeneas Hennessey. A third cook, Urville Leard was missing as he is on night duty. As we passed the mess room I saw the chief engineer, Frank Dalziel talking with Reg Rogers, the engineer in charge of the power house at Borden. As we moved on I saw another oiler in the person of Bill Doyle and several deckhands including Art Jay, Charlie McInnis, Bert Dickie and Clarence Waddell.
Our next clim(b) upwards took us to the main deck where Joe Kelly left me as I entered the restaurant to appease my growing appetite. With quite a large number of passengers on board, the restaurant staff had few idle moments on their hands. The headwaiter, Frank Westhaver, was a busy man as also were waiters Jack McIssac and Ralph Leard. Equally as busy were Elmer Stordy, Harry Ross and Camille Arsenault, the cooks who were responsible for preparing the food for the hungry travellers. At the news stand I bought some cigarettes from Norma Howatt and then I went on to obtain my landing ticket from purser Frank Campbell. In the ladies' rest room I could see Nadine Howatt attending to the needs of the lady passengers. While meandering around this deck I met George Birch, the chief officer; and Herb McKenzie and John McDonald, other officers; Bill white, the quartermaster; and William McIvor, the chief steward. I was informed that second officer Tom Paquet returned to the ship recently after a long period of service in the navy. Another important member of the crew who I must not forget to mention, is Gordon Campbell, the ship's carpenter.
Then I arrived at the bridge where the master, Capt. John Maquire holds forth and directs the movements of the ship. Capt. Maguire, formerly from near Mulgrave in Nova Scotia, is a well-known figure on this run as he has been stationed here for a number of years. Capt. Albert Jay is what you might call the second captain in charge but at the time of my trip he was on his holidays and Capt. Wylie Irving of Cape Traverse was relieving him. The crew of the ferry numbers approximately seventy and at the present time they are working in three eight hour shifts.
On the homeward crossing there were about a dozen automobiles on board and it is not often that this number of cars are seen heading for the Island in March because in former years the roads would be blocked with snow. And with that, "the boat bumped into the dock and another voyage was over." I expressed my appreciation to Joe Kelly and then I went ashore and climbed aboard the train for Charlottetown with pleasant memories of a grand trip among as fine a bunch of men as you will find aboard any ship anywhere.

A photo of the diningroom on the old Prince, circa 1915 (Photo credit: Earle MacDonald)

If you'd like to see more photos of this lovely old ship, you can find them on the Marine Atlantic site in Darrell Mercer's article: Proud of our History - the SS Prince Edward IslandI am particularly fond of the photo of her docking at Borden (see my Welcome Page, bottom right). I walked down that pier many, many times to take a trip with my Pop on "his Boat" ;) be it the Prince, the Connie, the Abby, the Fuddle-Duddles, the Lucy...

(Note: I did see the Abby in Chicago - her new home. That oval "hole" wasn't near as big as I remembered! A member of the Yacht club took me down to the engine room and up through the old cabins. Pop was really happy to see how they had restored all of her shiny brass - the staircase was lovely! I'll post about that in another blog :)

Grampy's Boxer Shorts    Saturday, June 28, 2014

This little Peekabout™ was inspired by two dear family members - my Grandfather Stewart and my Uncle Earl.

My grandfather was a quiet man - a gentle soul who enjoyed his pipe. He also loved his morning grapefruit - there was always a glass jar of grapefruit spoons on the table at their house. I was quite small but memories of him are very special. I know that he meant a great deal to me as he was quite often fiddling with the old floor model radio in the livingroom and, to get to him, I had to cross over a dreadfully scary heating grate at the foot of the stairs. There was just no way to get around it so I had to muster all the courage I had and make a hop-run for it! Then soon after I'd be up in his lap and, with his one left hand (he had lost his right arm in a workplace accident), he'd fish into his pocket and bring out a Scottish peppermint for me.
We were great buddies and I followed him around everywhere - even watching him shave in the small alcove off the kitchen...much like Grandpa beaver above (except I didn't have to hide in a laundry basket!).

My uncle Earl was my Dad's 'classy' brother. My father used to grin and say that Earl got all the class but he'd got all the looks ;) Uncle Earl and Aunt Teeny used to come to the Island to visit every other summer. They'd drive up from Elkton, Virginia and a visit with them was right up there with one from Santa! They would stay at a motel close by and I would usually get a chance to bunk over with them for a night. I was a little in awe of my Uncle Earl as he did have something about him that, when he stepped into a room, made folks wonder who he was...I guess you could say he had the 'X-Factor' ;) So you can imagine my surprise when Aunt Teeny and I were under the covers and ready for bed and my Uncle Earl shouts from the bathroom, "Don't look anybody! No peeking!" - Well...What's a wee girl to do? I peeked! And my Uncle Earl came running out of the bathroom wearing these white boxer shorts with HUGE red polka-dots all over them!! I'm sure my eyes were big as saucers as I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing. I'm also sure, now that I'm older and know how mischievious he was, that both he and Aunt Teeny had trouble muffling their laughter knowing full well they'd shocked the socks off their little niece!
 

StoppenLook's first trade-shows!     Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stoppenlook Trade-show signWell, just back from back-to-back tradeshows...my first! Both unexpected so bit of a scramble to say the least :)

Upon my decision to enter the 2014 PEI Annual Buyer's Market at Confederation Centre of the Arts (here in Charlottetown) I got busy making a large display sign. I worried that it would come off looking too craftsy but I think it came out rather cute :) Then there were catalogues and info signs to make, frames to buy...oh my! But, I managed to pull it all together in a remarkably short time, if I do say so myself! 

The day before the trade-show, my very sweet and patient husband, Reza, helped me pile everything into our car and off we went. They were really kind and helpful at the loading dock at the 'Confed' Centre (as we call it here at home) and Reza and I were set up in jig time. There had been a couple of cancellations so, as you can see, I had a good sized booth. (see below) The next day, with my sister Marilyn along for support, we headed off to my very first trade-show... butterflies and all! (My other sister Sandi stayed behind to cook and fed us two tired 'showsters' later that day when we straggled home tired and hungry!) 

StoppenLook's Booth - 2014 Annual PEI Buyer's MarketBefore the end of the Charlottetown trade-show, I was offered a spot at ACTS ('Atlantic Craft Trade Show' in Halifax) pending another artisan taking her own booth instead of being with the PEI Collection of first-time trade-show artisans. I didn't have to wait long and the next thing I knew I was off to Halifax!

I learned a few things very quickly...like having comfortable shoes! I also learned to smile even though, at times, discouragement tried its best to pull my spirits down.

I also learned to accept the fact that it seemed most buyer's come with pre-determined lists of what they need and that first year exhibitors must be patient and prove their staying power. Over and over I heard from various exhibitors at both shows that the first year may garner a few sales but the true sales start when the buyers see you back in the second year, even more so in the third. These are hard dues to pay when you've put out so much time, energy and money to attend and you begin to realize that you will not be getting enough sales to cover your costs. But that's not the whole story and these ventures cannot be broken down into whether or not they were a success solely by their financial gain or loss. You began to realize that the true value lay in the feedback so that you can see what may need to be changed, what can be enhanced or more developed. You began to focus. It lays in the support, inspiration, contacts and friendships made...finding those buyers who are genuinely interested and excited by what they see you are trying to accomplish and taking note of who those buyers are and their market. I made the grand total of two sales from both shows. But I was "picked up" by The Showcase at the Confed Centre and they have proved to be a delight to work with. The other store was Barton's Toys...in South Carolina! (Now the learning curve for exporting begins ;) I am thrilled at both and also at the fact that I do have a number of buyers who would like me to follow up with them so I am still hopeful more sales may follow. (See ACTS booth below)

ACTS 2014 - StoppenLook's BoothIt is extremely hard and humbling to put your heart on a table, tag it for sale and have people walk by without so much as a glance. That being said, I am grateful that I was given the chance to attend. I learned a great deal. I could also hug (and did...most of them! :) my fellow artisans and artists, family and friends who gathered round with support and advice. It was/is so appreciated.

Today I will rest, tomorrow is a new day.

Let the dance begin...

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