| Aug 15, 2018

The Cloyne Showcase Art & Craft Sale just turned 46, and although the number of exhibitors was down slightly this year, most of the exhibitors reported they were doing just fine, boding well for the future of the show.

“I’ve been coming here consistently for 14 years and it’s always been reasonably good,” said woodcrafter Ken Waller. “People have been coming up to me saying ‘I bought a bowl from you years ago.’

“I tell them, ‘good, you probably need another one now.’”

The show, which has always been a fundraiser for the North Addington Education Centre to secure art supplies for its students, continues that tradition.

“It’s also a way for students to show off their works,” said organizer/art teacher Katie Ohlke. “The students have two tables here.”

It’s always been that way, said Eileen Flieler, who taught at the school for 20 years and was involved in the first show.

“This started as a way to display works of students,” she said. “I was involved in that first one and I helped out with the posters.

“I was also in the show for several years with teddy bears and crib cults.

“I still put up posters — all the way from Myer’s Cave to Arden.”

And then there’s Marion Young, who at 89 still displays her hooked rugs and wall hangings. She proudly displays a patch that proclaims “Love Those Hookers.”

“In those early days, you knew everybody and you had to be a local taxpayer to get a table,” she said. “Then about 12-15 years ago, they opened it up for everybody.”

Gwynneth, who has been painting oils in an impasto technique (“I have 50 palette knives”) has returned to the show after a long sabbatical.

“I used to be here from ’76 to ’83,” she said. “Last year was the first one back since ’83.”

And then there’s Bill Vanwart.

Despite painting for 40 years, teaching art for 30 years (of which five were spent at NAEC), this was not only his first time at this show, it was his first show, period.

“Yeah, I taught here, Odessa, Napanee, even Northern Manitoba,” he said. “I sometimes wonder how things would have been if I’d lived in Toronto or Montreal.”

That’s a good question.

Vanwart is one of those rare finds you sometimes see at the various art/craft shows and you wonder where he’s been hiding all these years.

His acrylic technique shows a gift for rendering, be it people, landscape or animals (he had an excellent moose on display). One series features various characters playing hockey on frozen ponds.

“I’m interested in the ice,” he said.

But what made Vanwart stand out was his series of surrealistic dancers, flights of fancy that bring to mind Chagall or Dali.

“I started doing those in university sketchbooks,” he said. “It only takes about a day to paint one once I finally got around to doing it.”

Serious art collectors might want to make a note of Bill Vanwart.

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