Jeff Green | May 29, 2019
The Doner family and “Doner Studio at the Mill” kicks off its summer season this weekend by hosting their annual art festival
It is, in part, a fine craft show with 40 guests artists who produce a stunning array of work; paintings using various techniques, potters, glass artists, a found object sculptor, weavers, woodworkers, in addition to soaps, skin products and teas. All of the artists are chosen by Randall and Darlene Doner to ensure that the show reflects quality and variety.
The guest artists will be displayed on the grounds of the mill property. Randal, who sculpts in metal, shows his work in the mill studio and in the sculpture garden on the property, Darlene’s jewellery studio and The Baby Jane and KSSD studios, featuring the works of their daughter and daughter in-law, will be open as well.
The restored mill and grounds make for more than a mere backdrop for the art, they are a second feature of the show.
When the Doners bought the mill in 2003 it had been vacant for 35 years and needed a great deal of refurbishing, but its history had not been lost. The property was the home of a water powered sawmill, which was torn down when the Rideau Canal was built. In 1861 a grist mill was built on the property and the mill was the basis of a thriving business through to the early 20th century. The grist mill was torn down in 1942 and replaced with a hydro generating system which still operates.
Joshua Kiell and his son Keith operated their own electrically powered mill, in the former storage elevator at the site, between 1943 and 1968. In 2003, when the Doner’s arrived, Keith Kiell, who lives in nearby Joyceville, was an early visitor and has assisted with research as the Doners restored the property.
One of the must-see elements to the art fetival is a visit with 92-year-old Keith Kiell, who will be on hand once again this year to show and talk about some of the archived material from the colourful history of what locals still call the Washburn Mill.
Christine Harvey, of the My Drama Queen, will be running kids activities all weekend, musicians Doug Reansbury (Saturday 10am -1pm) and Craig Jones (Saturday 14 and Sunday 10-4) will be performing all weekend, and there will be food. Mio Gelato with artisan gelato and sorbetto will be there, and a food truck from Glocca Morra Grills Food Truck will be available all weekend as well.
On top of all that, the Heritage Costume Club of Kingston will be holding a picnic on the site during the weekend. The club is devoted to making or purchasing, and wearing Victorian Clothing and dressing up for events. Their presence will make a stunning visual at a property that was originally developed during that very era.
The show runs from 10am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday at 1439 Washburn Road (From Inverary take Moreland Dixon to the end, turn right and then left on Washburn to 1439)
For information, go to Donerstudio.ca and click on the Art Festival link.