Monday, May 23, 2011

Portrait of an Artist - Gerdine van Woudenberg

Today's Art Fayre artist is Gerdine van Woudenberg of Dunvegan, Ontario.

 Gerdine was born in Holland and emigrated to Harvey Station, New Brunswick when she was seven years old. We'll let her tell you about her work in her own words:

"I have spent 16 years in post secondary education, including degrees/diplomas in:  Equestrian certificate from Kemptville College, a paralegal degree from Algonquin College, a Bachelor’s of Arts (specializing in human rights) from St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, a Master’s degree from  the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University (specializing in Development Studies) and I have completed 6 years of a PHD in Anthropology at McGill University."

"Since living in Glengarry County since 1997 (when I came to do my Masters at Carleton) I  started working part time with my Master Carpenter partner finishing his cabinetry and furniture. I then moved to the lathe, hand carvings and eventually into building canoe furniture and historic reproductions. Having carved stump men and gnomes for years by hand, the move to the chainsaw enabled me to go larger, quicker and work with unique pieces of wood otherwise too large for the workshop. The passion and love I feel for the chainsaw was unexpected, and has opened a whole new array of artistic expression." 

"This venture has only just begun for me. Despite the fact that my education is in a totally different venue and invested so much time building my intellectual passions on paper (I graduated with top honours in many of my degrees and won several big scholarships), the years my mother spent as a young child teaching us girls the ‘handicrafts of a woman’ (we were 4 girls raised on a dairy farm and had to learn the work of a farmer for economic reasons) came back in my later life. I feel  like I have spent half of my life developing one side of my brain, and now I am giving the opportunity to re-develop the other side (why they used to offer art classes and music in schools.)"


"When it comes to chainsaw carving, no piece of wood is the same, and I have to think carefully about every piece. The mushrooms and fungus have captured my interest as they are so unique and every piece of wood brings a new one alive either through the grain of the wood or the stump I am carving it from. I am now moving into carving some creatures coming out of the wood (all of which are natural /existing branches ) and adding a splash of colour to the carvings. My dolphin carvings are meant as lawn ornaments meant to view the lawn as an ocean. All these carvings are carved from tree crotches, which has the most colourful and beautifully unique growth rings."

Join us at Art Fayre 2011 to meet Gerdine and add one of her lovely carvings to your art collection! You can also visit her website.