(click on photos to enlarge image)
News from the Canadian Metal Arts Scene
Celebration, The Legacy of Lois Etherington Betteridge,
was an exhibition at Jonathonís Bancroft Snell Gallery in
downtown London, Ontario, from November 6 - 16, 2008. It was
meant to celebrate Loisí 80th birthday, but rather than choosing
the format of a solo exhibition or retrospective of her work
Lois Betteridge wanted Celebration to be a group
exhibition of her work and those of selected students. While
there are of course many metal artists active at work in Canada,
Celebration served as an introduction to "Who is Who" on
the modern Canadian metal arts scene. Jonathon Bancroft Snell
has made a name for himself and his gallery, being an excellent
promoter of modern Canadian ceramics and it is to be hoped that
he will do the same for metal artists signed up with his gallery.
Lois Betteridge is considered the doyenne of Canadian
silversmithing. She was born in 1928 in Drummondville, Quebec.
She has graduated from the University in Kansas in 1951 and then
with a M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1956. Despite
American offers she preferred to teach in Canada, recognizing
the real need for art teachers at the university level. She also
worked as studio artist since 1952 and resides in Guelph,
Ontario since 1986.
Defined by aesthetic beauty, creative vision, technical finesse,
outstanding craftsmanship, consistent excellence and perfect
finishing, her works are in many public and private collections
including the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Victoria and
Albert Museum, London and the Royal Scottish Museum.
Lois Betteridge, Jewish Wedding Cup, 1991
Lois Betteridge, bowl 2008
The list of her numerous solo and group exhibitions is long
and international, she is the recipient of numerous awards and
honors including Citation for Distinguished Professional
Achievement, University of Kansas, 1975, Election to the Royal
Canadian Academy of Arts, 1978, the Saidye Bronfman Award for
Excellence in Crafts in 1978, the M. Joan Chalmers Award in
1991, the Order of Canada in 1997 and the YM/YWCA woman of
Distinction Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002. Commissioned
works include many presentation pieces for the Canadian
government as well as many trophies, the McLuhan Teleglobe
Canada Award, the Imperial Oil Trophy and the Peace by Peace
Trophy presented to Canadian Prime minister P. E. Trudeau.
Lois Betteridge has taught at Ryerson Institute of Technology in
Toronto, the MacDonald Institute of Technology in Guelph, the
Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design and since 1984 at the
Fleming College, Haliburton School of Fine Arts. Her students
praise her generosity in sharing her professional expertise, her
accessibility and all incumbent care. The booklet: Teacher,
Silversmith, Mentor, 20 years in the Highlands with Lois
Etherington Betteridge, is proof of her popularity as a teacher
and shows her dedication to the instruction and guidance of
generations of metal arts students.
In the following you will find highlights of the exhibition
Celebration at Jonathonís Gallery.
Beth Alber exhibited a cocktail pitcher, strainer and stirring
spoon from her "Girl Talk Series". Beth is a professor at OCAD,
Toronto and has just finished an important commission: the mace
for the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology. While
Beth Alberís work centers on womenís issues and their role in
society, Anne Barros incorporates actual problems into her silver
pieces. Alternative fuel # 1 Ė is a teapot. Anne suggests tea,
chocolate and maple syrup as alternative fuels, which will be
enough to run your car all day. Anne Barros is a celebrated
Canadian silversmith with awards from the Canada Council, the
Ontario Crafts Council and DeBeers Diamonds. She is the author
of Ornament and Object: Canadian Jewellery and Metal Arts,
1946-1996, (Erin, Boston Mills Press, 1997) which is the first
comprehensive survey and history of Canadian metal crafts.
Beth Alber, Girl Talk Series, Pink Tea:
Cocktail pitcher, 2008
Alternative fuel # 1, 2008
My favorite piece in the exhibition was Brigitte Clavetteís
teapot which zoomorphic forms gave Brigitte endless technical
difficulties, which - as you can se - she mastered beautifully.
Brigitte Clavette is the head of the Jewellery/Metal Arts Studio
at NBCCD. She also had various witty serving and condiment
spoons in the exhibition. Talking of whimsical, Jackie
Andersonís cocktail rings come to mind; combinations of sterling,
jade, onyx and bakelite they are more ornaments than jewelry.
Outstanding and whimsy are the anatomically perfect metal
insects by Halifax artist Elizabeth Goluch, each containing a
hidden treasure. Beth Biggs, for years teaching at Nunavut
Arctic College, is mostly influenced by the power of nature
- doubtlessly experienced up north. She is now living in
Fredericton, NB and teaches at the NBCCD. Her work is in many
public and private collections; most notable is her Clarkson
Cup- a trophy for womenís hockey. For Celebration she submitted
"Host(ess), Milkweed" a mixed metal, enameled creation.
Brigitte Clavette, Coq Teapot, 2008
Elizabeth Goluch: Beetle, 2008
The assistants at Jonathonís sported beautifully twisted and
cleverly designed silver necklaces decorated with pearls and
semi-precious beads, smart creations of Charles Funnell, an
artist who maintains a studio and shop in Cobourg, Ontario. His
tea set Ascension uses fluid organic forms to create a feeling
of dynamic movement. Another teapot of more traditional design
was made by Halifax silversmith Kye-Yeon Son. Kye-Yeon is an
Associate Professor at NSCAD University. Endearing for its small
size (12x12x7.5 cm) this teapot is another expression of
Kye-Yeon Sonís intention to create utilitarian objects which
evoke feelings of experiences, people, places and cultures. Myra
Tulonen Smith fascinates with her technical brilliance and
Ascension teapot, creamer,
sugar, spoon, tray, 2006
Myra Tulonen Smith,
Table jewellery, 2008
The opening of the exhibition was a celebration in itself
with many artists attending. There was much good cheer and
reminiscing at the parties connected with the event.
Middle Lois Betteridge, surrounded by her
As mentioned before these are only highlights of what was
shown at Celebration.
I hope that the published pictures and descriptions have wetted
your appetite to learn more about Canadian modern silversmiths.
Many more pictures of the exhibited work can be found at
Jonathonís Bancroft Snell Galleryís website: http://www.jonathons.ca/ .
Other interesting websites to visit in this connection are
www.metalartsguild.ca and www.loisbetteridge.com
Dorothea Burstyn is the Editor of the Silver Society of Canada Journal.
- 2009 -