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December 1-31, 2015 we present two simultaneous exhibitions:

TREASURE BOXES: Small Wonders in Wood

Oliver Drake, Pasi Nuutilainen, David Solomon and John Ward provide us with fine examples of woodworking at its best. The General has enlisted them with the task of making unique boxes for containment of treasures, trinkets… whatever your pleasure. The results  exhibit quality and creativity that will make for impressive collecting or gift-giving during the holiday season!

Opening reception: Sunday December 6, from 1-4pm.

Ottawa St. Bridge  Riverwalk I by Jennifer Noxon


Jennifer has always been an interesting painter of abstracted impressions from nature. Being a long-time resident of Almonte, she recently set her sites on the iconic symbol of this small community – the Mississippi River. Many a town in the Ottawa Valley owe their existence and prosperity to the Mississippi, but Almonte in particular because of the beautiful way it gently meanders through the old town core, cascading down no less than three sets of  rocky stepped falls.

Many artists have captured its quiet strength, but Jennifer captures a series of perspectives that take in its beauty and also the surrounding vistas of human habitation and industry. Sourced from life and drawn in a computer illustration program, the prints have a liveliness that belies this technology. She finds compositions that offer dynamic contrasts of shapes and tones, demonstrating her skillful visual sensitivity. As in her paintings on canvas, Jennifer plays with colour and hue, texture and pattern to create fantastic impressions of the landscape.

Join us and meet her during the opening on Sunday December 6, from 1-4pm. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

November 3-29, 2015:     SILVER LININGS   

LILY SWAIN new paintings    MEREDITH KUCEY  fine jewellery

reception/meet the artists: Sunday November 15, 1-4pm



The November feature at General Fine Craft promises to be a feast for the eyes. We are lucky to have two buzz-worthy emerging artists showing their work together in a feature called Silver Linings. The title is wonderfully descriptive of the literal and metaphorical elements of the exhibition which opens November 3.

Both working professional artists, Meredith Kucey, a jeweler with her degree from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and Lily Swain, a painter with her degree from Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver, bring a lot of skill and intuition to their practice which makes the resulting work dynamic and compelling.

Meredith makes some interesting links between her work as a jeweler and Lily’s work by saying: “ When I build my works, much like Lily, I consider the rules of a strong compostition such as dominance, unity, movement, balance …layers of thought and subject, the physical response to cololour choice and overall imagery…..we are also building these new works while embarking on new chapters in our lives ..so that’s sort of a subconciuous similarity……”

Lily is balancing full time parenting her year old son with her painting practice and has been investigating the industrial history of her new hometown, Almonte . She and her family are living in a newly renovated mill workers cottage causing her to think of families that might have called this little house their home. Former residents might have worked in one of the many mills in Almonte in its heyday. Now a 21st century family lives here: how are they linked across a century? What images emerge for a visual artist working in this place? Lily’s partner is, interestingly, a 21st century millwright.

Meredith is currently broadening her jewellery practice , or perhaps “enlarging” the use of metal in her practice with welding: it will interesting to see how this skill set will be influencing the jewelry in this feature.

Both artists live and work in Almonte, adding to the growing population of strong voices in art in our community. The Gallery is honoured to be able to show the divergent yet subtly linked work of these exciting artists and will have a reception for them on Sunday November 15, 1-4 pm. We urge you to support these committed full time artists by coming to see what is possible when one’s life is art and art is life.


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September 29- October 31, 2015 :

LOUIS HELBIG: Beautiful Destruction  aerial photography of the Alberta oil/tar sands

Helbig’s photographic series of the Alberta Oil/Tar Sands project has been instrumental in shedding light on complex issues surrounding the oil industry including: environmental degradation, climate change, economics, political impact and social implications.

His recently published book Beautiful Destruction is a collection of photographs and essays exploring many different viewpoints on the project. It is a brave and profound look at what is perhaps Canada’s most important and least understood (or discussed) on-going issue. Helbig’s dedication to initiating a dialogue through creative and open thinking is an asset to Canadian culture.

Please join us on Sunday October 18 from 1-3pm when the artist will speak about this project.

Strong elements of composition, coloration and pattern dominate a first glance at much of Helbig’s work, bringing to mind American Colour Field painters such as Morris Louis or Helen Frankenthaler. A second look distinguishes it as aerial photography. This perspective helps to express the deeper meanings of Louis’ work: a poignant contrast between the beauty of the imagery and the very real destruction that the oil sands industry has left on an otherwise pristine boreal landscape.

With issues relating to Canada’s energy policies looming large during this Canadian election campaign, the importance of Helbig’s work is especially prescient. Since Helbig and his family will be moving from Ottawa to Australia in the coming months, this is the last exposition of his Beautiful Destruction series in Canada for the foreseeable future. Please take the opportunity to experience it.

As well as photographs, hardcover editions of Beautiful Destruction are available for purchase. This recently published 12 x 14” hardcover book contains hundreds of Helbig’s photographs and fascinating essays by 15 influencial minds exploring many different, unedited viewpoints on the oil sands project.

Also visit the website: http://www.beautifuldestruction.ca for a myriad of reviews and other information. See Louis Helbig’s bio: http://generalfinecraft.com/?page_id=5107

Exclusive to The General: copies of Beautiful Destruction are always available for purchase. Visit the gallery or arrange for us to ship to you. We also offer a selection of Louis’ photographs (from various series) to choose from.  ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 1-27, 2015:      MAGIC OF THE WOOD KILN 

wood-fired pottery & sculpture group show featuring: Anne Creskey, Tony Clennell, Michael Doxey, Jen Drysdale, Marcelina Salazar, Raymond Warren

Join us for the opening reception and meet some of the participating artists on Sunday September 13, from 1-4pm Come and explore what lures potters to the wood-fired kiln! Get a better understanding of the processes, aesthetics, techniques, and history behind wood-firing. See what inspires and motivates these women and men to give their work over to the unpredictability of this most intense process – and the beauty of chance. Read more below

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The magic that compels potters to tackle the huge amount of work required to fire a wood-fueled kiln is truly a quest. Achieving amazing individual pieces, transformed by the hard-to-master fiery dragon that is a wood kiln, is a big part of what draws ceramic artists to such an intense and ancient process.

At The General we are lucky to be exhibiting the work of six of the best wood-fire Potters working in Canada today: Anne Creskey (Farellton PQ), Tony Clennell (Aylmer ON mentor to most wood-firers in Canada and retired Sheridan College School of Craft Professor), Marcelina Salazar (Chatsworth ON), Raymond Warren (Maniwaki PQ), and local potters Jen Drysdale (Carp ON) and Mike Doxey (Portland, ON).

Since the pots from wood kilns have a quiet, simple aesthetic, they often get overlooked except by those who understand what has gone into getting through the process from mud to finished vessels. Wood-firing is very different from the popular technique of loading pottery into an electric kiln, setting a computerized controller and then coming back the next day to unload the resulting fired work.

Revered in Japan, Korea and China for thousands of years, wood firing has been adopted by many modern-era studio potters. It incorporates the extreme heat of a specifically-designed kiln, carefully stoked over many hours or days, with the random effects of ash deposits and the path of flames throughout the kiln playing an important role in the aesthetic outcome.

As a way to show casual admirers what is possible with such an ancient technique, we have gathered information to illustrate how these clay artists make and fire their pottery or sculpture. It’s a powerful story we’ll tell through the use of photos, text, and of course with brilliant examples of the craft from participating artists.


You can catch the “wood-fire bug” and have a chance to acquire pieces made by contemporary Canadian masters. Come and meet some of the participating artists (maybe even drink from a wood-fired tea bowl!) at the exhibition opening reception on Sunday September 13 from 1-4pm ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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August 4-30, 2015:

KATHERINE McNENLY   QUIESCENCE   still life and portraiture in the realist tradition

Opening/Artist’s talk: Friday August 7, 7-9pm  

General Fine Craft is delighted to be presenting the work of Almonte’s Katherine McNenly in our features gallery during the month of August.

The exhibit’s title suggests a sense of tranquility, peace, being in the moment… all things that one may feel when looking with care at Kathy’s incredible oil on linen paintings. She works within a very traditional genre, one which dates to Old European Masters. The technique involves building up many, many translucent layers of oil paint to achieve depth and luminosity.

McNenly paints exclusively from life, which gives an entirely different quality of tone than the more common practice of using photography as a source. She spends many hours with live models to achieve highly compelling portraits with thoughtful presence. Capturing a likeness from life requires immense skill. As the sitter moves and breathes, the painter has to find the essence of what’s happening in real time to achieve insight into the subject.

As well, her carefully constructed still life compositions exude balance and a playful use of perspective, their surfaces full of amazingly subtle nuances of light and shadow that accurately describe form, texture and reflected light.

McNenly has been a finalist in The Kingston Prize (Canada’s premier bi-annual portrait competition) and The Portrait Society of America’s International Competition (Award of Merit, 2012). These accomplishments and others place her within an internationally distinguished group of realist painters working today. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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June 30-Aug.2, 2015:

STEFAN THOMPSON   Leaf People  a collection of new shapings and paintings

Opening/meet the artist: Friday July 3, 7-9pm

Those familiar with Stefan’s work know to expect the unexpected. Here is an artist who is able to peer into the lives of animals. Once you’ve seen his compositions of inter-twined figures, you’ll be enticed by this incredible symbiotic relationship.

Through his beautifully rendered drawings, paintings and carvings (all made with found materials and home-made non-toxic paints), he depicts a world of creatures as they exist in all their innate wildness. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________


June 2-28, 2015:

SUSIE OSLER    Memento Mori, Memento Anima: remembering death in life new work in ceramic and mixed-media

Opening/meet the artist: June 5, 7-9pm

“The richness of spring is for me an exuberant time of abundance, promise and hope but also an exercise in non-attachment. It invites me to notice new sounds and presences, and to celebrate in the life-filled transformation of my surroundings.

Yet it is fleeting. For me the intense surge of joy brought to the season by birds is tinged with the somewhat tragic awareness of its eventual demise. Birds… to me, they are the spirits inhabiting the verge between earthly and heavenly realms – animating the air with movement and song and coaxing me to reveal richly in the present. They represent Anima, which in Latin can mean air, wind, breath, breath of life, soul.

Becoming aware of the transience of time somehow helps to ‘fatten’ each moment. In its exuberance and ephemerality, birdsong – like the flush of greens and blossoms that unfold in the landscape – is a constant reminder of the passage of time.

Memento Mori, Memento Anima reflects on how death and life are in some way united. It examines the very human tendency to try to capture, contain, and hold onto moments/things as mementos – specimens, photos, objects – and how, by doing this, ‘alive-ness’ may be lost.

Yet birds are having a tough time with the challenges we humans have thrown at them and their numbers are declining rapidly. I fear a time where then voices and feather so familiar to me, will be accessed only through documents, memory and mementos.”  – S.Osler _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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April 28-May 31, 2015:

converging voices LESLEY McINALLY ceramic forms   SUSAN UKKOLA encaustic painting and prints

Please join for the opening: Friday May 8, from 7-9pm

The exhibition converging voices pairs two artists whose work is vastly different in media yet shares similar aesthetic concerns. Their differences complement each other in interesting ways – including how they each consider the effects of time an important factor in their processes.

Lesley McInally is a ceramic artist living near Cookstown, Ontario. Her Narrative Series explores everyday narratives that come with parenting a young child: lullabies, storybooks, child-like drawings that depict home and surroundings. They convey uncomplicated views of everyday life in cheerful detail, appealing to everyone who appreciates contentment and a sense of nostalgia for simpler times.

The Orkney Series has a cultural history context, influenced by McInally’s impressions of the landscape, seascape, weather and archaeological sites of Neolithic monuments found in the Orkney Islands of her native Scotland. Innately raw and exposed to the effects of time and the elements, the textured surfaces of these man-made stone structures tell stories of human influence throughout history.

She is interested in human connections pertaining to “the dialogue between the ancient and the contemporary”, best seen in the graffiti left on man-made stone structures. Ogham, Pictish, Norse and Victorian carvings in stone surfaces give the contemporary viewer a feeling of continuity and a connection to the ancient past. Stone and ceramics have similarly hard surfaces. While raw clay is soft and easily pliable, responding to the touch of the maker’s hand and tools, through the extreme heat of a kiln it transforms into a material permanent as granite.

McInally constructs her forms methodically of clay slabs, pushing and pressing them together to create loose-walled  vessel forms.  Layers of thick clay (slip) brushed and dripped over the exterior surfaces are then marked with scratched lines, words, images and textures. Wisps or dots of coloured slips and glazes accentuate the pale exteriors, while the insides are often glazed with black to create a contrasting rich, dark abyss. Though vessels are traditionally used for the containment of foodstuffs, McInally’s may be said to also contain imaginings of the past. They mimic the scrawlings of human history, the effects of rain and wind, the bleaching effect of sun and time.

Her titles are contemplative reminders of quiet moments spent among ruins on an exposed clifftop in the Orkneys, or perhaps in a farmer’s field behind her Ontario home. In either case, they imbue “a humbling sensation to feel the presence of those who came before us.”

A sense of time also runs through the work of Dunrobin, Ontario painter and printmaker Susan Ukkola. This is evidenced in the layers of shapes, lines and textures that Ukkola fuses into an alchemy of hot beeswax and pigment on a white-primed wood surface. The technique is called encaustic, the oldest surviving examples of which date to Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits of 1st century BC. Ukkola’s paintings are primarily abstract; her process guided by creative spontaneity. The quickly cooling wax imposes a limited window of time to manipulate it before hardening.

For Ukkola, this opens up a space for reflection that allows her to “respond to the painting’s surface” as it develops, letting a vision of the piece unfold before her.  By manipulating with heat, re-adding more material, collaging bits of printed paper, scratching through areas to reveal what’s beneath, scrawling gestural lines, bits of text or images, primitive patterns and swaths of contrasting colours, she expresses the idea of pentimento – the revealing of previous layers from a previous time.  These built-up surfaces essentially capture a creative thought process, generated without hesitation and embedded now for the ages.

Working in series of perhaps dozens, Ukkola’s abstract compositions are titled to reflect some personal truths about life. With titles like Cycle Series and Vanishing Line Series, she alludes to the belief that we are all continuously moving and responding to the elements;  that there are no absolutes in life – we are all living ‘in the moment’ where emotions can be  raw and tangible.

May 2015 interview with Susan Ukkola in the gallery: https://youtu.be/eWYltrQafZ0 __________________________________________________________________________________________________

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April 2-25, 2015:            from down under   CYNTHIA O’BRIEN  a ceramic garden installation

Please join us for the opening and meet the artist on Saturday April 11 from 2-4pm

This work is based on an installation I created at the Tank Art Centre within the Flecker Botanical Gardens in Cairns, Australia.

I spent a month being taught by nature to see plants from all angles, lights and moods. My hands learned to move the clay to bring out the strength and delicacy of each plant.

Australia has a very tough policy that nothing is brought in or taken away from their fragile environment. I abided by these rules. What struck me later in February, as I sat in my cold Ottawa basement studio, is that I did collect a good deal of their plants through the physical memory in my hands. Working again on these plants gave me great joy and I could feel a great lightness and warmth of the lush foreign garden I learned so much from.

The flowers I created in Australia are gone, dissolved in water back to the natural state of clay. I cannot assume to replicate nature; the flowers I make now are a mix of reality and fiction. They all have many stories within the garden and in the minds of who view them. My story tells of beauty, sadness, adventure and new growth. The flowers float around the space, grounded only by the weathered fence boards creating a new garden, a space for reflection.

I invite the viewer to come and contemplate the simple beauty of the world around them.”   – C. O’Brien, March 2015 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________


March 3-29, 2015:       HEAL

MARIA GOMEZ UMAÑA     encaustic and mixed media constructions

This exhibition includes two bodies of work: The Healing Alphabet, and The Nine Organs.  Both employ images, symbols and words to reveal the healing process.

Layers of drawing, paint, beeswax and stitchery create levels of interpretation for the viewer to contemplate.  

“All healing is a process that takes time. It happens in layers, as coatings of skin, streams of kind  words, soothing sounds and restoring actions. Healing requires enormous courage to face fear and to look at pain closely; it requires creativity and resiliency to carry on. Eventually, we are able to acknowledge its wealth and we are ready to admit the treasure it holds. It then becomes lush soil, rich humus, and abundant compost for the soul.”   – M.G.U. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________-


February 4 – 28, 2015:

MARY PFAFF    Open Lines: the August Suite Drawings

August Suite 16.8.2014    August Suite  graphite, pastel and watercolour pencil on Stonehenge4.8.2014    August Suite  9.8.2014

Please join us for the exhibition opening on Sunday February 8 from 1-3pm. Enjoy refreshments and hear the artist speak about “intuitive, expressive drawing”.

Mary Pfaff’s paintings have long been intriguing for their soulful and energetic use of paint, line and colour.

We are used to seeing her canvases completely filled with textured pigment. This new series of seven, done over a ten-day period after the death of her mother, leaves unworked ‘quiet’ areas which ground the dynamic, emotive drawings layered with visual complexity.

As well as being a Painter, Mary is also an Art Therapist and Educator. We are pleased to present this work in our new back space gallery, dedicated solely to feature exhibitions of fine art and fine craft. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

November 13 – December 31, 2014


The General has an amazing selection of exclusively Canadian-made functional craft, fine art and everything in between. Whether you’re looking for a teapot, scarf, pendant or a piece of art for someone who appreciates good work and originality, you’ll have choices here. The gallery will be filled with more items for this busy time of year and we’ll be open extra hours to make shopping a little more convenient for you.

November 18 – December 14, 2014 Diane Lemire  beyond felting

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Diane Lemire is a prolific and dynamically creative artist who lives in Chelsea, Quebec. She has a background in sculpture and, when she began to work with felt many years ago, she found the material to be highly malleable, with endless possibilities for creativity. She’s well known for her wonderfully eccentric approach to making wearable art including scarves, shawls, skirts and more.

It’s no wonder that some of her creations have sculpted qualities, making them unique in the world of felting. Diane’s understanding of her medium allows for a lot of play in her work. She’s able to combine texture, form, pattern and colour into items for draping the body, hanging on a wall or  in 3-dimensional forms of thematic exploration. see interview with Diane on Radio Canada: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/widgets/mediaconsole/medianet/7202318

Please join us for a special afternoon with Diane Lemire as she demonstrates her wearable art and constructions on:
Sunday November 23 from 1-3pm
Take advantage of this opportunity to wrap yourself in her creativity!
also showing:
Dushka Vujovic   contemporary jewellery

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Dushka is a Toronto, Ontario jewellerymaker with a splendid sense of design simplicity. With attention to the finest detail, she constructs necklaces, earrings and bracelets using sterling silver, precious and semi-precious gemstones. Her pared-down but sophisticated designs speak to the idea of ‘truth to materials’. They have an exquisite quality to them that is distinctly contemporary. We look forward to her joining our list of amazing gallery artists and anticipate a lot of interest in her work. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 14-November 16, 2014

Carmella Karijo Rother (fibre artist ) and John Ward (wood turner)

We’ve chosen to bring these two Makers’ work together because of the beautiful ways they complement and contrast each other. Both sensitively explore form and the innate qualities of their chosen materials; both express a joy in their process and continuing development of new ideas.

Carmella Karijo Rother is a fibre artist who hand-felts wool into quietly strong forms (vessels and wall-hangings) with beautiful textures and patterns. Her work is tactile and subtle in its complexities, evolving in content and technique. Having a background in science, she explores organic-inspired forms in a natural, warm and appealing colour palette.

Experiencing her work takes one to a crisp day, wandering woods with time to contemplate.

John Ward is a wood turner with abundant sensitivity to form, function and the tonal qualities of his material. He makes a wide range of elegant, functional items and small tables.

Undecorated, his finishes emphasize the grain in various types of woods. His inspiration is mid-20th century ceramics and furniture design (think Hans Coper and contemporaries), a distinct design aesthetic that was part of the early modernist movement and which has influences today. Ward tackles this theme with purity.

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September 2-October 12, 2014

Frost-bitten Mosquito-slapping Trolley-tippers: Contemporary Art from Manitoba 

curated by Diana Thorneycroft and Michael Boss

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This exhibition is comprised of a selection of artists whose work we know and admire; work done by friends and colleagues we have rubbed elbows with over the years in various capacities.

The show has no particular stylistic link; in fact, what is thematically consistent is the lack of consistency. What the work has in common, however, is excellence. Some of the artists are descendants of early settlers who arrived in Manitoba, and then, after a few floods, swarms of locusts, fish flies, black flies, wood ticks, more floods, prairie fires and so on, began to like it here. Others came later from the east, west, north and south and embraced this quirky place we call home – Manitoba.

We live in the middle of a flood plain that breeds mosquitoes with remarkable efficiency and where temperatures in the winter are frequently colder than Mars. This is a province built on agriculture and founded by a mystical Metis leader who was hanged by the government of Canada, and about whom opinions are still sharply divided 129 years later.

This is the place that spawned the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike that set the tone for all subsequent labour movements in the country. It is a peculiar place with plenty of underlying tensions and idiosyncratic artists. It was, and still is, the Wild West; a province brimming with prairie beauty, cultural diversity and 18 skillful frost bitten, mosquito slapping, trolley tippers.

 –Michael Boss and Diana Thorneycroft

Participating artists: Robert Archambeau,  Michael Boss, Evin Collis, Erica Eyres, Peter Graham, Takashi Iwasaki, Dana Kletke, Heather Komus, Frank Livingston, Grace Nickel, Crystal Nykoluk, Mary Lowe, Paul Robles, Suzie Smith, Ione Thorkelsson, Diana Thorneycroft, Jordan Van Sewell and Seth Woodyard _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

August 5-31, 2014  

RENEWAL: new paintings by LILY SWAIN

Please join us for the vernissage and meet the artist on Friday August 8 from 5-8pm


Inspired by forms found in nature, urban landscapes, architecture and interior design, Lily integrates imagery and motifs from the history of the decorative arts, graphic design and illustration to create works on paper and canvas that are organic, subtle and sublime.

Her new work takes a strong and more minimalist approach to simple natural forms, rendered exquisitely in acrylic paint and graphite. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

July 1-August 3, 2014


vernissage/meet the artist: Friday July 11, 7-9pm

10 shenzi dogs

Erin Robertson is well-known for her beautiful representation of animals captured in moments of innate wildness. She skillfully captures the textures of life, whether they be in paint, clay, papier mache or bronze.

Her art is marked by “its whimsical and subversive play on everyday idioms, domesticity, urban landscapes and mythology.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

June 3-29, 2014:  LISA THOMAS – mixed-media sculpture


Lisa Thomas is a mixed media artist and a painter living in the Rupert valley in Quebec.

She sees her work as visual narratives. Both in her paintings and her sculptural pieces, she likes to express her ideas in a way that is akin to storytelling. They are not merely illustrations though, more like subtle and evocative visual compositions. She is drawn to the dark underbelly of the human condition but also to the quirky, humorous upside and is driven to explore the soulful, ridiculous and sometimes very sad elements that make us human.

In these mixed media sculptures, she is merging the elements of nature, technology and humanity to make them come alive. She uses clay, paint, wood, bones, stones, twigs,  seeds, rusted metal and machine parts and tiny findings of decrepit beauty. She models, carves, paints and assembles, gathering up little bits of memories to create something of essence. In this way something is evoked…something comes alive.

more photos, see Sculpture and Mixed Media

Also in June:  IN MOTION – bicycle theme in various media celebrating Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

May 6-June 1,  2014

HOT WORKED –  Mariel Waddell and Mischka Alexi Hunter – blown glass vessels and sculpture installation.

Opening/meet the artists: Friday May 9, 7-9pm

Glass is brought to life by light. Its colour, texture, pattern and nuances of form are enhanced when light penetrates it.

Mariel Waddell and Alexi Hunter are masters of glasswork; they know how to control the molten glass and how to bring out its innate qualities. Take the opportunity to see their recent exciting explorations in a venue that believes in pushing the boundaries of art and craft of all media.  Read more


April 1-May 4, 2014

STOP YOUR PIGS FROM STRAYING: animals represented in visual art of all media


Humans are fascinated with natural creatures and have represented them in art since we began to draw with sticks in sand. So different from us, they intrigue us to the point of projecting our own human characteristics onto them. Their images have been made to symbolize, mythologize and deify.

Most animals are wild beings which we have little understanding of and no control over. Many of the artists in this exhibition represent them as they are: wild and on the move, vicious when necessary, beautiful in their natural state of being. Others have stylized them, trying to capture something of their iconic roles in our society.

The work presented ranges from Robin Hollingdrake’s colourful painting of foxes amid stripes, Mary Philpott’s large hare sculptures, carved and decorated pottery by Chandler Swain, Amanda Sear’s yarn-wrapped deer skull, Barbara Mullally’s silver and stone ‘critter’ jewellery, to Susie Osler’s tiny porcelain rabbits, seated as if listening intently.

Come and see them all until Sunday May 4.

Participating artists: Lisa Thomas, Susan Rennick-Jolliffe, Chandler Swain, Erin Robertson, Stefan Thompson, Susie Osler, Robin Hollingdrake, Lily Swain-Brady, Maggie Roddan, Hanne Lawrence, Mary Philpott, Mimi Cabri, Amanda Sears, Saskia Praamsma, Louise Julien, Dale Dunning, Barbara Mullally, Tim Storey, Jill McCubbin, Amelia Ah-You _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

March 4-30, 2014:

UTA RICCIUS  PLASTIK  (multi-media installation).

Opening/meet the artist: Saturday March 8, 3-5pm.

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“I work with recycled materials that range from used cartographic maps, plastic blister packs collected from the curbside, found mitts and gloves, and used books. The media I choose to work with always carries a component of accessibility for the viewer, from reading a map, to plastic packaging from our consumer driven society.

My process involves recycling ideas, by starting with something that already exists and re-inventing it into something new, allowing for accessibility on more levels than one. And by reusing a familiar object in a new way I am inviting the viewer to see things differently.” – U.R.

Uta Riccius remembers how her Grandmother was an avid recycler of plastics and other man-made materials, well before it became common practice. This may have impressed upon her the need to be conscious of the environmental load humans are exerting on the Earth. An artist and art teacher for twenty years now, Uta’s work deeply considers this notion of environmental responsibility.

At her studio in an old stone farmhouse near Ashton, Riccius pulls a piece of plastic packaging from a pile, holds it above eye-level, considers its design and imagines it re-created into solid form. Resting on a shelf below are some of these forms, cast in hydro-cal (gypsum cement). They are pure white and resemble the fossilized remains of once-living organisms like sea creatures, seeds, fungi. They are interesting shapes: sculptural, out-of-the-ordinary and able to stand on their own as pieces of art or remnants of life.

However, Uta envisions something beyond them. They inspire her to create images of what these ‘fossils’ may have looked like if they’d once been alive. The resulting drawings are beautiful, dynamic and colourful – wonderful imaginings full of visual energy.

Never afraid to venture into new processes, she digitally reproduces some of these sculptures and drawings, newly assembling them in the manner of 19th century curiosity cabinets or like the detailed illustrations of German artist/natural scientist Ernst Haeckel.

Riccius’ various two and three-dimensional pieces explore many interestingly layered themes. These are strange and wonderful creations which draw us into, as Uta states, a world of “specimens derived from the waste of our consumer-driven society”. She has indeed made wonder from waste. Read more _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

February 4 – March 2, 2014: ON THE EDGES OF NOH – paintings and pastel drawings by Norman Takeuchi  

Please join us for the vernissage and meet the artist on Friday February 7, 7-9pm OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For some artists, making art can be a deeply personal and challenging process – painful at times, riddled with self-doubt and taking years to achieve real creative satisfaction. But the results, over time and transitions, can be life-changing.

The development of Ottawa, Ontario artist Norman Takeuchi’s work can be described as a journey through cultural identification and aesthetic experimentation peppered with peer encouragement and, as Norman says, “lucky” opportunities.

The Takeuchi family was one of 22,000 first and second-generation Japanese Canadians whose rights were stripped after the implementation of the War Measures Act of 1941. Overnight, they were no longer free human beings, labelled as “Enemy Aliens”. The effect was devastating for these hard-working people not deserving of such upheaval and humiliation.

This was the backdrop for Norman Takeuchi’s childhood, spent in a small British Columbia town. He took an early interest in art and, after finishing high school, he enrolled at the Vancouver School of Art. This was a delightfully eye-opening experience and a bold introduction to his new life as an artist.   READ ENTIRE ESSAY _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

December 2013: GIVING SPECIAL THINGS – holiday gift ideas

We’ve brought in extra stock of small to medium sized items for the holiday season. There’s a price range for everyone and unique pieces for every taste. There’s a Gift Wish List available for you to identify your favourite pieces, then send in your loved ones to buy them for you. Gift certificates are available too! Join us for our open house event Saturday December 14 from 10am-5pm and Sunday December 15 from 11am-4pm. We’re open Mondays in December 10am-5pm, Thursdays and Fridays 10am-7pm for your convenience. Come and see all the great things on offer!

“What you intuitively collect reveals so much about yourself” – Douglas Coupland


November 15-Dec.31, 2013:  

ROBERT PAULY – carved Tagua collection and new Millinery

Robert Pauly is a sculptor who has worked in all manner of media. His functional creations are in the realm of wearable art including jewellery, millinery, clothing design and, most recently, quilting.

This selection of Tagua (a variety of South American palm seed known for it’s similarity to elephant ivory) necklaces and brooches exhibits his facility for detailed carving of fantastical organic imagery. Strung on silk with carnelian, jade, fossilized ivory, gold beads, red coral, amber and other semi-precious materials, they have a living presence.

Robert’s latest fascinators accompany this work, made with traditional millinery tools, techniques and materials sourced from around the world. The General is honoured to make this rare showing of truly exquisite items available to the public. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

November 5-December 1, 2013: 


The landscapes we live in are inescapable parts of our lives. This exhibition shows dozens of interpretations on a theme that has enticed artists for hundreds of years.

Through painting, mixed media constructions, textiles, photography and clay, these artists express the power and beauty of the world around them.

Participating artists: Amelia Ah-You, Lia faiL, Maggie Glossop, Louis Helbig, Robin Hollingdrake, Aili Kurtis, Diane Lemire, Patti Normand, Blair Paul, Karen Phillips-Curran, Carolynne Pynn-Trudeau, Susan Rennick-Jolliffe, Marjolijn Thie, Lily Swain, Nancy Young, Mimi Cabri

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Field Road, acrylic on canvas by Blair Paul OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Watson Lake, acrylic on paper by Robin Hollingdrake OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Ce qui reste, hand-felted wool, silk by Diane Lemire OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Somewhere In Between, acrylic on canvas by Lily Swain ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 1-27, 2013: 


For the month of October, we shine the spotlight on gallery artists who are participating in the annual Crown & Pumpkin Studio Tour of Mississippi Mills.

These are local artists and craftspeople who open their doors to the public for 3 days over Thanksgiving weekend, to share their work and workspaces, a bit of their homes, gardens and lifestyles too.

Participants included:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Barbara Mullally, jewellery       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Robert Pauly, millinery OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Saskia Praamsma, pottery        OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Meredith Kucey-Jones, jewellery OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Linda Hamilton, paper arts      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Colin Hamer, pewtersmithing OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Richard Skrobecki, pottery _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 3-29, 2013  

TEXT ME!  an exhibition of letters and words in visual art

The General hosts an invitational exhibition of art in all media related to the concept of using text in visual art. From Illuminated texts of 11th century Europe to Graffiti tagging in the streets, from only the privileged few who were literate to writing for all to see – Words and Letters  have great power.

How are contemporary visual artists reckoning this element in their work?    see full essay following these photos

featuring work by: Judy Bainbridge (calligraphy), Karina Bergmans (soft sculpture), Mimi Cabri (clay), Holly Dean (painting), Scott Dickson (printmaking), Dale Dunning (bronze sculpture), Lia FaiL (painting), Adrian Gollner (sculpture), Maria Gomez Umana (mixed media constructions), Derek Hollingdrake (printmaking), Harlan House (porcelain sculpture), Roberta Huebener (painting, paper arts), Elizabete Ludviks (jewellery), Kim Lulashnyk (clay and mixed media), Barbara Mullally (jewellery), Mary Pfaff (painting), Karen Phillips-Curran (mixed media), Carolynne Pynn-Trudeau (clay), Jacob Rolfe (printmaking), Susan Rennick Jolliffe (mixed media), Beth Ross (paper collage), Richard Skrobecki (clay), Chandler Swain (clay), Lily Swain (painting), Susan Ukkola (encaustic painting), Doris Wionzek (calligraphy)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA >Watr-Erth, a Water Prayer by Roberta HuebenerOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA > PCX, by Harlan House, RCA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA > Alice et le Cochon de Feu, by Lia faiL OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  > Font II, by Dale Dunning

From the illuminated texts of the Middle Ages in Europe to graffiti tagging in 21 century streets, from only the privileged few who were literate to writing for all to see, Words and Letters have great power. How are contemporary visual artists reckoning with this element in their work?

General Fine Craft in Almonte has assembled over 25 artists who use text in their art in imaginative, challenging and unique ways. We are inundated with words every day in emails, newspapers, books, tattoos, greeting cards, street signs and advertising. Words are ubiquitous. Some become iconic. Think of “SOS” or “I heart NY” or seeing your name in print: in the right or wrong place. It’s all information. Communication.

If visual art is a form of communication why use words or letters? How can their use in a piece of art elevate and not reduce it to something banal? This was my question when I looked around at what our makers were doing in the gallery and beyond. What makes the work relevant and interesting?

My fascination with this particular element in art likely started with seeing Joyce Weiland’s magnificent True Patriot Love show at Av Issac’s Gallery in Toronto when I was a student at the Ontario College of Art in the 70’s. One piece in the show called Reason Over Passion is a quilt with 3 dimensional stuffed letters attached to it. Weiland’s use of mixed media and text was for me revelatory and inspired me to pursue an artistic practice in the material arts…and it happens using text on my own ceramic art.

Another famous and inspiring text based piece is Robert Indiana’s huge 1970 steel sculpture of the letters L and O sitting on a V and E. The letters are painted bright red with an intense blue interior between the front and back of the sculpture. In your mind’s eye you will be able to conjure up a clear image of one version, which sits beside a New York City sidewalk and is over 15′ tall. The details of this iconic artwork are lodged in our memories as are the details of the Mona Lisa`s face or Tom Thompson’s Jack Pine…but it’s a word. If I simply Type LOVE here, it doesn`t have the same force as the word transformed by a visual artist into an object that stood for the time: a time when the groundswell to end the war in Vietnam was huge and John Lennon was in trouble with US government for singing Give Peace a Chance.

You could argue that words should be unnecessary in what we deem a piece of fine art or craft. The communication should be done with paint, clay, bronze, fibre, glass, colour or imagery….like for example, Picasso’s Guernica:  the huge painting he did to address the horrors of the Spanish civil war. No words are necessary. We understand fully the dynamics and subject of this masterpiece of painting.

I have no answer to the question of why text in visual art is OK…..or not…I am merely curious and attracted to text based art, especially beautiful, complex graffiti which seems almost an antidote to our current obsession of reducing communication using the typed word on a screen to 140 characters. Marks on electronic screen lack the emotion and nuance of a hand written letter, which is no longer a compulsory subject taught in school.

After mulling this subject over in preparation of our exhibition, I went to see Sakahan: Aboriginal Art from around the world at The National Gallery. A number of powerful works were text based and only increased my fascination with this dichotomy: text and art. Much of the work in Sakahan is mixed media based as well. The show, just over, was truly an inspiration and reenergized me for all that we was necessary to mount our September feature at General Fine Craft Art and Design.

We are showing work in bronze, fibre, paint, clay and all manner of mixed media. We invite you to come and see what the artists in our exhibition have to offer this genre during the month of September. Chandler Swain – September 5, 2013 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An exceptional painting: The Beekeeper by Katherine McNenly

Portraits can be very ordinary, stilted, lifeless. Then there is a portrait by an artist. An artist whose work makes you stop in your tracks. What is it about the artwork of a master that grabs you? This is such a compelling question and has driven collectors since humans attempted to communicate about the human form through visual means.

We could look to the famous examples… works by Rembrandt or Leonardo. Why is the Mona Lisa proclaimed such a treasure? What can we take from her smile? What do we gain from gazing at her gazing at us? Maybe it is that there is no concrete answer that keeps us speculating. Regardless, a beautifully rendered portrait is as compelling to us as the human face is to a newborn.

The subject of Katherine McNenly’s The Beekeeper is somehow familiar: a woman of a certain age with long silvered hair, braided, wise eyes and serene expression. She stands in a field with her hives in the distance. She is in her keeper’s gear. She cradles a large jar of new honey. It is a moment we understand. Read entire article _____________________________________________________________________________________________________


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  ??????????????????????????????? Kiviuq by Emily Illuitok

Year after wonderful year, Almonte’s Puppets-Up! International Puppet Festival features entertaining and thought-provoking shows. But have you ever wondered: how are these puppets made? what are they made of? what skills go into making them?

For this exhibition, we asked puppet-makers, puppeteers and collectors to loan their beautiful marionettes, hand-puppets, shadow-puppets and characters to The General so that we may give the public a taste of the variety of methods, materials and magic that go into their creation. These puppets are presented unanimated (standing or hanging) so that we can see them close-up, away from the performance tent, theater, parade, film or television screen.

Many of these puppets are examples of puppetry traditions that have existed around the world for millenia,  having symbolic, spiritual or mythological value within their culture of origin. Others are more purely for entertainment, made for specific children’s television productions… or just for fun!

All of the puppet makers are extremely talented and enthusiastic about their craft.We extend a huge thank-you to Noreen Young, Vicki Veenstra, Matt Ficner and Marla Limousin for allowing us to feature their wonderful work. Big thanks also to those who have loaned pieces from their private puppet collections.

A little about puppet history…

For some 4000 years, humans have been creating puppets to express something of themselves and the world around them. Archeological evidence shows that the oldest known puppets were animal forms found in the Indus Valley (parts of present-day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) made of terra cotta with one or two moving parts that would have been fitted with string.

Puppets have since become story-tellers, preserving important oral and cultural traditions. Growing in scope and color over the millennia, regional cultures have developed their own types of puppets, construction techniques and cast of characters.

What attracts us to puppets?

It is the story-telling ability of colourful puppet characters, together with honesty and humour, that has drawn generations of North Americans to such classics as Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy, Jim Henson’s Kermit The Frog,  Ernie Coombs’ Casey and Finnigan and Noreen Young’s  Gloria Gopher.

Puppet characters have taught children how to laugh, to experience emotion, to listen and learn. They often reflect something of our human selves in their thoughtful nature, free spirit, joyful expressions, inquisitiveness and kindness to others. A connection is experienced between puppet creation and human audience, and this is the magic of the art form.

Though these little storytellers will be shown in a static state, it will be their own stories that are brought to life.   _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

July 2-31, 2013  


The General turns it’s focus to its first true love: ceramics. For the month of July we feature the work of over 30 potters/clay artists, highlighting new work gathered in recent weeks.

The idea of people creating with clay is literally as old as the hills – and the possibilities are infinite. Our clay artists represent many aspects of ceramic art production in eastern Canada: functional, non-functional, sculptural; palm-size, larger-than-life; traditional origins, original design; earthenware, stoneware, porcelain clays; electric-fired, wood-fired, reduction-fired, salt-fired, raku; hand-built, thrown, slipcast; monochromatic, colourful; formal, expressive, controlled, playful.

Whatever descriptors one uses, the commonality is that they can all enrich our everyday lives by bringing a smile to a quiet coffee break, colour and fun to a simple dinner, texture and form to a feature display area, and fabulous expression to a handful of ditch flowers. Potters know these things – that’s why they make what they do. Come and picture some of their work in your life too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA > ’Wash Day’   clay construction by Maggie Roddan, Quebec OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA >’Bricks’  clay constructions by Lauren Blakey, Toronto Ontario OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  > porcelain teapot by Kinya Ishikawa, Val David QC OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA > ‘Bask’  porcelain sculpture by Susie Osler, Maberley ON ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

June 1-30, 2013  


June is Bicycle Month in Mississippi Mills and our community goes a little ‘bike crazy’ with fun activities for all fitness levels. Come explore bike culture and art inspired by it.

The General is happy to host an exhibition featuring the work of gallery artists who have used the theme of bikes to create paintings, sculptures, prints, jewellery and more. Their inspiration can be yours – all items are for sale but the early bird gets the worm. For photos, see MMBM

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA > MMBM plate, porcelain with carved black slip by Chandler Swain   ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

May 4-30, 2013  


We’re honoured to be featuring a special exhibition of sculpture and pottery by Ottawa artist Mimi Cabri.

Mimi is one of Canada’s most recognized ceramic artists, having been a creative force since her arrival in Canada in the early 1960′s. Her expression is a world of joy, dance and playfulness; her energy is unstoppable and contagious.

She was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2003. A reception for Mimi was held on Sunday May 19.

See her artist page for more information and photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA > Mimi Cabri with her vase ‘Two Figures Dancing in a Fountain’