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Priestly life celebrated in art – Christmas – The Catholic Register

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Christmas is a time to celebrate for Fr. Herman Falke each year, but that celebration will be special as he marks the release of his latest book.

Though A Celebration of Life and Art may be tough to get shipped and wrapped under the Christmas tree, the book by Mosaic Publishing will be readily available come the new year.

One of the few artists engaged in Catholic-themed art, Falke hopes the beauty and the challenge of the images put forth will speak to people throughout the Christmas season, into the new year and beyond.

Given the freedom from his editor to curate the book however he would like, for the retired priest, this book is the artistic story of the evolution of him as a man and member of the religious community whose passion for art has been non-stop over the years. The 93-year-old, who lives in Ottawa, can still usually be found in his studio working on a new sculpture. The latest is one of the Samaritan woman, for no particular reason other than to keep his hands busy.

With decades of stories to tell, the author of several texts on his art over the years says this book is perhaps his most personal yet.

“In this book I proposed how I felt the book should be and what images should be used, leaving (my editor) more or less free to agree or disagree and he practically left it up to me,” said Falke. “It’s exceptional if he had a word or a phrase that he changed. It’s my book, no doubt.”

The book paints a chronological history of his life and art from his roots in Holland, development as a young artist, his personal renaissance which occurred during his years in Uganda in the 1960s and ’70s, resettlement in Canada, right through to his golden years.

Falke is author of other titles such as Spirit and Life in Sculpture, From Uganda with Love, Scripture Sculptures in Wood and Clay and Sculpted Swan Songs. What sets A Celebration of Life and Art apart, he says, is his intentionality in providing detailed information about each piece of art included. Expecting the biblical imagery to be obvious to most readers, in previous coffee table books he left the art to speak for itself. With many not as versed in the Scriptures as he might be, Falke later came to learn that it was not enough context for some of his readers.

“I realized much later that even my best parishioners and friends still had no idea about two-thirds of all these images that I gave to them, what they meant,” said Falke. “Here in this book I intentionally made sure each painting and sculpture is explained in the text. It’s the opposite of my first books. Slowly I’ve come to realize that people are more illiterate with regards to Christian images than I expected.”

For Falke, the book also reflects on the issues that have deeply concerned him in his art. Chapter seven tackles his frustrations around the areas he feels the Church needs to be more progressive, such as the role of women and greater acceptance of scientific advancement. Some of his more controversial pieces, such as those depicting a mother Earth, and how the failure to curb sexual excess impacts spiritual complicity and evolutionary stagnancy, stand as contemplations on the state of our world. The artist, who doesn’t own a cell phone, has also expressed concern for the loneliness that many are facing due to technology and apathy with human suffering. 

Falke has been frustrated by a lack of will by many to usher the Church into more modern times. The ancient language in the breviary he uses daily and the language in Mass readings and prayers he finds too ancient and tied to tradition. Recognizing his views might be a challenge to some, he’s preferred throughout the years to allow his art to do that talking.

Despite such challenges, Christianity has been a great good in his life.

“I have remained faithful to the practices of the Church because it has great value, and it has proven to be of great value,” said Falke. “I’m too old to say I’m going to change it. It’s not I that can do that. I’m willing to wait for other people who are experts to come up with ways to salvage the beautiful things of Christianity.”

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Cultivating Creativity: Celebrating the 'Art of Craft' – Belleville Intelligencer

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Quinte Arts Council

Craft comes in all forms: fibre, wood, pottery, glass, metal, paper and more.

From the 13th century onwards, practitioners were traditionally associated with a Guild, the decline of which corresponded with the Industrial Revolution and mass production. Craft as an ideology came about during the 19th century British Arts and Craft movement as an antithesis to modernity.

According to the Washington, DC-based James Renwick Alliance for Craft, “Craft is a particular approach to making with a strong connection to materials, skill and process. Art is most traditionally thought of as drawing or painting that is a visual depiction of a personal expression.”

The trouble starts with questions around the relative value or hierarchy of that which is utilized (craft) to that which is admired (art).

For our most recent Umbrella magazine, the Quinte Arts Council dedicated the winter issue to celebrating the Art of Craft and how the lines between the two often blur in innovative and exciting ways.

We profiled 12 Quinte-based craftspeople who express their art through their craft.

The first is blacksmith Amy Liden, of Liden Forge in Picton, Ont.: Think of any medieval movie with swords and there’s most likely to be a blacksmith; often a hulking sweaty man pounding away on an anvil. Based on representation in popular culture, it would seem blacksmithing is a male-only profession. It’s not.

While women smiths are a minority, the Holkham Bible of the 1300s includes an illustration of a woman forging a nail. And this year, 30 percent of students in the Artist Blacksmith program at the Haliburton School of Art and Design are women – the same program Amy graduated from in 2016.

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Liden’s background is in fine art, graduating from OCADU in 2013 with a major in Sculpture and Installation. It was there she discovered metal as a sculpting medium. “I love how malleable metal can be,” says Amy. “I love being able to manipulate such a structural and rigid material just by changing its temperature. I think its versatility allows me to challenge myself creatively to push the limits of what has traditionally been done with blacksmithing and fabrication.”

After Haliburton, Amy moved to “The County” to apprentice with local master blacksmith Bruce Milan at Island Forge.

“I was drawn to pursue blacksmithing as a career after working with Bruce,” she says. “He showed me how to work with clients and how to apply my creativity to projects to support myself financially. Blacksmithing is steeped in history: the first evidence of smithing dates back to 1350 BC in Egypt.”

In her practice Amy strives to incorporate traditional blacksmithing techniques and design principles into her work.

“I love utilizing the forge itself to apply heat to the steel, using the anvil and hammer to forge scrolls and a variety of shapes, and the leg vise to bend and twist bars,” she says. “ I think it’s these skills that help me stand out in the community of metal fabricators.”

Amy opened her Picton-based Liden Forge last May and has been focused on commission-based custom work. And while she feels incredibly supported by her community, she recognizes she is still an anomaly:

“As a young woman blacksmith, I’ve been faced with doubt in my capabilities, but I feel like that has also driven me to keep pushing myself. I’m constantly trying to expand my knowledge so that I grow with each project and can keep taking on bigger and better projects.”

The Winter 2021 issue of Umbrella magazine is out now.

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Halifax councillors to consider smaller $3 million contribution to new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia – Halifax Examiner

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Episode 63 of The Tideline, with Tara Thorne, is published.

Josh MacDonald is a veteran of stage and screen, familiar to Halifax audiences through films and shows like Diggstown, Spinster, Little Grey Bubbles, and Sex & Violence. As a screenwriter his works include the horror film The Corridor and the coming-of-age story Faith, Fraud and Minimum Wage, which was based on his play Halo. He’s got his playwright’s hat on when he visits the show this week to discuss #IAmTheCheese, his adaptation of Robert Cormier’s 1977 bestseller. On January 30, he’ll discuss its evolution along with the show’s director, Ann-Marie Kerr, as part of Eastern Front Theatre’s Early Stages Festival.

Listen to the full episode here.

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Cornwall Hive's Art 4 All event hopes to grow – Standard Freeholder

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It might have been virtual, but the first ever Art 4 All still yielded some good results on Saturday.

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The event, organized by the Cornwall Art Hive, aimed at getting the local artistic community together to discuss the craft, create connections and of course, create. Initially, it was to be hosted at the Cornwall Square mall, but health and safety restrictions meant that it had to take place over Zoom.

Despite a smaller turnout that anticipated, Richard Salem, executive director of Your Arts Council of Cornwall and the SDG Counties (YAC), is hopeful that future Art 4 All events can be held in person.

“We felt that rather than not have anything that this would be better than nothing,” he said. “We are trying to keep the events as consistent as possible. We want to have one every month and hopefully by next month, the third Saturday, at Cornwall Square, we will have an event in person.”

In all, three local artists too part in the event — Salem, Yafa Goawily, and Liv Bigtree.

“Right now I have work showing at the Brooklyn collective which is a gallery space in North Carolina,” said Bigtree, 19. “Right now, I’m not really doing much, art-wise. I’ve been taking it easy, taking a little break.

“I like to do that when I’m not really working on big projects, I just come back to this space where I just have fun.”

  1. The Your Arts Council of Cornwall and SDG unveiled a new logo in collaboration with the Cornwall Art Hive at its general meeting on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 over Zoom. Handout/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network

    Your Arts Council struggled in pandemic, but excited for the year ahead

  2. The old Bank of Montreal building on Pitt Street on Friday July 6, 2018 in Cornwall, Ont. The building will soon become Cornwall's new arts centre.
Lois Ann Baker/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network

    YAC interested in running Cornwall’s arts centre

Goawily, which produces a wide range of visual arts, said creating art has always been relieving. She also explained that although the pandemic has created some issues for artists, it has had the effect of growing the local art movement.

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“We are growing not just with events and support, we are growing because we can reach different people – that is our main goal,” she said. “The community knows now that we are open for them.”

“Art is so important not just for artists but for everyone,” said Bigtree. “You don’t have to have specific skills. I really think that everyone is an artist. I think that it’s part of what makes us humans.

“Art is about freedom and that is what art hive is trying to create.”

Even with the pandemic, the Cornwall Art Hive and YAC still managed to host well-attended events in the summer, in Lamoureux Park. According to Salem, the happenings attracted residents from all walks of life and grew fast in popularity.

“Of course that it’s sad (pandemic restrictions), but I think that we learned to support each other more,” said Goawily. “I was new to Cornwall and did my first solo exhibition here. I find that yes, we are tiny but we are mighty. We are growing fast and we support each other truly.”

“We started buying art from each other and we had some groups going sharing what we had accomplished. We are stronger together.”

Anyone interested in gaining insight on the local art community can do so through a variety of videos uploaded to the Your Arts Council Youtube channel .

Fracine@postmedia.com

twitter.com/FrancisRacine

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