Local Artists Featured in National Magazine
Mostow, Record Correspondent
Photos by David Anderson
Several local artists received national recognition in the June issue of Chatelaine magazine. Their products were displayed in the lavish photographs showcasing the 19th-century Knowlton heritage home of Nils Fluck and Jodi Mallinson. Fluck derived a great deal of satisfaction from restoring their gracious post-and-beam clapboard home purchased in 1998. Owned prior to 1861 by Sarah Knowlton, the house was rolled down the street in the 1920s from its original location on what is now Victoria Street to its present location on Benoît Ave. Its easy for me to fall in love with a house that needs work, says Fluck, who studied woodworking at high school in England from one of the countrys finest woodworkers. Nothing much had been done to the house for more than half a century so it still retained most of its original fittings. I changed a few things but strived to keep it true to the period.
Owners of Hurricane Grace in downtown Knowlton, Fluck and Mallinson are great believers in supporting local artists and the local economy. We design and produce all our clothes locally ourselves, so were a part of the same economy that we want to see grow and flourish.
It was wonderful to be able to decorate the house with original pieces from dozens of different local artists, adds Mallinson. Beyond their intrinsic beauty, they give the house an authentic Townships feel.
All the artists featured here, and many more, will open their studios to the public on the Tour des Arts, from July 14 to 22. For more information, call 1-800-565-8455 or visit www.acbm.qc.ca/tour-des-arts.
Hurricane Grace, located at 285 Knowlton Road, Knowlton, carries womens and childrens clothing designed by Jodi Mallinson. For more information, call (450) 243-0164.
Jane Walker, known for her gay hand-painted designs on textiles, is also an accomplished water colourist. She started painting t-shirts, hats and canvas bags in Montreal 20 years ago and branched out from there. Four years ago, she and her artist husband Jack Walker left Montreal to settle permanently in their West Bolton country home, where they now work from home-based studios.
Jane Walker creates one-of-a-kind painted pillows, pillow shams, floor cloths (the modern equivalent of oil cloth), linens, and decorative fire screens (surrounded by twig frames created by her husband). While Jodi Mallinson chose Walkers bright wildflower motif for her living room throw cushions and bedroom pillow shams, Walker paints many other designs, including old-style furniture, reptiles, birds, animals and other motifs mostly inspired by nature, she says. Jack Walker, a woodworker, specializes in furniture and folk art (bird feeders and twig pieces).
Robin Badger marries beauty with function in her trademark line of blue-pottery tableware. All her pieces go in the oven, microwave and dishwasher, making them perfect for everyday use. I pay attention to details like weight, performance, ease of use, says Badger. My pitchers have to be beautiful but they also have to pour well and be sturdy. I live with all my designs. My kids load the dishwasher with them. We try them all out first.
Each original, signed piece from her potters wheel is decorated with a triangular abstract pattern imprinted using an original ceramic stamp to give it a classic touch without being dressy or the popular wheat sheaves that she carves into each dish while still damp. Badger designs her serving pieces to be multipurpose: a pasta bowl can double as fruit bowl or be used to bake a betty in the oven. These are the kinds of pieces I reach for in my kitchen all the time, says Badger.
Badger and artist husband Robert Chartier also produce custom architectural tiles, for use as backsplashes, wall murals and tabletops. They are currently working on a master tile for Mallinson and Fluck, for use as a border above the wainscoting in their Hurricane Grace boutique. This textured tile will reflect the stores blue-and-white gingham theme.
Adding a finishing, country look to the pine floors of Mallinsons and Flucks restored dining room is a large, oval, braided rug in beige and navy, custom designed and produced by Anne Johnston in her West Brome home-based studio. A regular at local craft shows, Johnston began creating her braided products six years ago, when she bought and learned the business from a woman down the road.
Johnston specializes in braided oval or round area rugs (in sizes up to 8 x 10), hall runners, stair treads, chair pads and placemats. After choosing the colours with the customer, she machine-braids the yarn and assembles the product on her sewing machine. Made of sturdy polypropylene yarn, her old-style, homey creations are both washable and durable.
Anne Johnston, Brome Braids, in West Brome. For more information, call (450) 243-5432.
In daily use in the bathrooms of Mallinsons and Flucks heritage home are a variety of handmade, cold-pressed soaps from the soap factory at Station Knowlton. This funky old-style country emporium cum café makes dozens of kinds of all-natural, handcut soaps from goats milk, to watermelon, to sage and cedar and sells a wide range of bath accessories, gift items and antique reproductions.
Station Knowlton at 7 Mont Echo, Knowlton. For more information, call (450) 242-5862 or visit www.stationknowlton.com.