Little diamonds hiding amongst the trees

MADAWASKA VALLEY – It was a beautiful day for a drive, and it seemed that many would agree with the numbers that turned out at the many stops throughout the Studio Tour on September 29 and 30.

The tour consisted of local artists displaying their work, while standing by to sell, and explain their process along with certain pieces of art.
Janusz Charczuk was one of the artists featured that day, creating iconic masterpieces in his backyard studio.
Charczuk has been crafting icons for 15 years, and says it was as though it was something he was meant to do.
“The icons were always behind my head somewhere,” he said. “I think my inspirational journey, you know, brought me to this. I just felt that I had to do it.”
Iconography is not something easily learned, explained Charczuk.
In order to understand and grasp the technique completely you need someone who is willing to teach you the practice, and he was fortunate enough to know someone to do just that.
“I was lucky to meet someone who would show me the secrets of iconography,” he said.
Charczuk said there is nothing wrong with recreating pieces that were originally done thousands of years ago.
Starting an icon from scratch can take several months to a year to finally polish it off.
“It depends on size, it depends on complexity,” Charczuk said.
Complexity is something most artists can relate to, whether painting, sculpting, or even weaving.
The Fibrefire Textile studio is filled with different fabrics, colours and textures, and for Annie Wall, is a dream come true.
The business was started when she took a look at her art, and realized she had too many things.
“We started selling it. I really enjoy making and selling,” said Wall.
It was as if she knew that she was meant to weave after she took a class with her friend many years ago.
“It was love at first sight, love at first weave,” Wall said.
The one thing she seems to love most about it is the materials she gets to work with.
“I just love fabrics and yarns, and just making stuff with it,” said Wall.
Standing in her studio you are surrounded by the many different types of yarn she has strewn about the walls.
“If I wasn’t weaving what would I do with that, and that, and the stuff that’s in the bedroom, and the stuff that’s in the porch?” Wall said. “I’ve got to do something with it, right?” she continued.
“It starts with the thought, then you find the yarn, and you put the thought and the yarn together,” Wall said.
The thought process that goes behind creating the rugs and scarves seems to take the longest, almost.
Wall is required to hand-thread each string into her loom in order to create the pattern she longs for.
Just around the corner from this wonderful studio is another local artisan, Sigrid Geddes.
Geddes creates skin care products out of all natural materials.
Using only ingredients grown close to home, Geddes hand chops beeswax and calendula seeds for her
merchandise, putting love and hard work into each product.
Not too far from Sigrid Natural Skin Care is the Wilno Hills Gallery, a small studio filled with paintings created by Linda Sorensen.
Sorensen is one for landscapes in the Madawaska area, so it is no surprise that some would recognize the trees, lakes and buildings she has painted in the past.
Her favourite piece is consistently the one she is working on at the time, taking it in each morning, wondering how she could improve her own piece of work.
Story continues in the October 3, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.