article # 111



by Dorothea Burstyn
(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
   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 Anne Barros, Alternative fuel # 1, 2008
   Beth Alber, Girl Talk Series, Pink Tea:
   Cocktail pitcher, 2008
   Anne Barros,
   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
   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 innovative ideas.
Charles Funnell, Ascension teapot, sugar, creamer, spoon, tray, 2006 Kye-Yeon Son, Teapot, 2008 Myra Tulonen Smith, Table jewellery, 2008
   Charles Funnell,
   Ascension teapot, creamer,
   sugar, spoon, tray, 2006
   Kye-Yeon Son,
   Teapot, 2008
   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 former students
   Middle Lois Betteridge, surrounded by her former students
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: . Other interesting websites to visit in this connection are and
Dorothea Burstyn is the Editor of the Silver Society of Canada Journal.
- 2009 -