Tag Archives: Heather Lair

The Wave- Art in the Interlake

I did The Wave recently.  Together with three friends I set off for Manitoba’s Interlake to explore the galleries and homes of local artists. Alluding to the proximity of Lake Winnipeg, visitors were invited to get ‘drenched in art’ as they did a driving tour of the areas near Gimli, Winnipeg Beach, Selkirk and Sandy Hook, stopping along the way to explore the work of jewelers, quilters, woodworkers, painters, sculptors, and potters.

Wave signs are posted on the yard of each participating artist

Wave signs were posted on the yard of each participating artist

Although more than forty artists had the uniquely designed wave logo displayed on their properties we only managed to fit in nine studios during our tour. But what a variety those nine represented 

My Nose in a Book statue purchased at Evelyn Richter's studio

My statue purchased at Evelyn Richter’s studio

Evelyn Richter uses clay to explore the curious. I couldn’t resist buying one of her fluid and cleverly constructed figures immersed in books. My friend was drawn to the pieces inspired by hearts.

Getting a tour of Evelyn Richter's yard and heritage home

Getting a tour of Evelyn Richter’s yard and heritage home

Not only Evelyn’s studio but her beautifully landscaped yard feature all kinds of intriguing work- everything from an artistically constructed scarecrow in the garden to a quartet of buried shovels in the flower patch, their handles lined up in a soldierly row.


WIth my friends at the Mermaids Kiss Gallery in Gimli

With my friends at the Mermaids Kiss Gallery in Gimli

I’d seen Heather Lair’s quilts on display at the St. Boniface Hospital’s Buhler Gallery so I was excited to discover more of them at the Mermaid’s Kiss Gallery. Heather is a landscape artist who uses carefully selected materials to stitch together stunning recreations of the vistas around Lake Winnipeg. Quilting is a traditional art but Heather explores it in a new and lovely way. It’s as if she paints with fabric.

Card I bought at The Paper Fifrildi

Card I bought at The Paper Fifrildi

  We enjoyed meeting Milli Flaig-Hooper who gave us a tour of the studio where she produces hundreds of cards out of recycled paper collected from churches, schools and other community places in Winnipeg Beach. Her pastel color schemes and unique designs had us all getting out our wallets to make purchases. She has named her art enterprise The Paper Firfrildi after the Norse word for butterfly. Her biography states that Milli’s successful business has proved that Down syndrome and autism can’t limit a person’s creativity.

 We watched artist Jace Richarde at work on a sketch of the renowned Canadian canoeist Don Starkwell and his two sons as they set off on their epic adventure that would be recorded in the book Travel to the Amazon. Richarde also makes interesting jewelry and specializes in painting portraits of animals. He is in the process of painstakingly covering a bleached bison skull with tiny words, symbols and images important to the First Nations community.

Beach Boy Restaurant Gimli

Beach Boy Restaurant Gimli

We took a break from touring to enjoy lunch at the Beach Boy restaurant in Gimli overlooking the lake. The thing to try is the fish and it didn’t disappoint. Then we were off to painter Joanne Gulluchasen’s farm. I was anxious to meet her in person having seen her exhibit at the Mayberry Gallery last year. 

Old Tractors on Joanne Gullachsen's family homestead

Old Tractors on Joanne Gullachsen’s family homestead

Joanne’s family homestead was charming and she was pleased to see us.

Posing with Joanne Gullachsen

Posing with Joanne Gullachsen

Every room in her little house was filled with art much of it a reminder of a rural 1950’s childhood.  Her genuine hospitality provided a perfect ending to our tour.

Ice cream with our feet in the sand on the beach

Ice cream with our feet in the sand on the beach

Although many of the artists featured delicious snacks to munch on as we viewed their art, we still managed to find room to round off the day with ice-cream enjoyed with our feet in the sand along the lakeshore in Gimli. 

There will be another Wave tour the August 31weekend so you still have one more chance to explore the artists of the Interlake this summer. 

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Joanne Gullachsen, Maude Lewis and Me

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Filed under Art, Canada, Culture, New Experiences, T-4s

Quilts Galore

 I visited the Quilts: Past and Present display at the Buhler Gallery at the St. Boniface Hospital here in Winnipeg. My favorite quilt was called a crazy quilt, made by a young woman named Sarah Hamm in 1882. A crazy quilt has many, many different pieces of all shapes and sizes stitched together in a sort of random way. Sarah’s crazy quilt had velvet,silk, cotton and wool pieces. It was like a beautiful piece of abstract art. 

Silk Road Treasures by Heather Lair

Most of the quilts in the display were by a woman named Heather Lair from Gimli, Manitoba. Gimli is on Lake Winnipeg and some of Heather’s quilts show scenes from the area around her home. Heather is not a traditional patchwork quilter, some of her quilts are more like fabric paintings. One of her quilts called Silk Road Treasures won a prize at the 2011 Canadian Quilting Exhibition. 

This quilt is on display in Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach which was my home congregation for more than 40 years. Recently the church celebrated its 50th anniversary and Linda Klassen a talented quilter from Grace Mennonite unveiled this quilt at the anniversary. She spent two and a half years designing and creating this quilt about our church. She has included things in her design that represent the different buildings where the congregation has met, the activities, people and mission of the church, and the things and ideas the congregation values. This quilt tells a story. 

I saw this quilt at my friend Kelly’s when I visited her in Chicago last week. An aunt of hers had this quilt made for her. It was pieced together with old T-shirts of Kelly’s. Each T-shirt square represents a place she has studied or lived, a destination she has traveled to, groups she has belonged to, or a camp or conference she has attended.  This quilt is a memory keeper and a history of Kelly’s life. 

My mother-in-law Anne was a quilter, although she was forced to give up the art in the last two decades of her life because of her severe arthritis. She made quilts for my sons’ cribs and beds and a wedding quilt for us when we got married. Once when she came to visit us in Manitoba from her home in Ontario I was just about to begin doing a series of workshops in Manitoba churches called Parenting for Peace and Justice. I explained what I would be talking about to Mom and she designed a quilt that was a visual representation of my message.

My son Joel and his friend Jon Peters are holding the finished quilt. It’s message was that ‘when the home, church and school work together they can reach out and  change the world.’ I received so much positive feedback about the quilt when I displayed it at my workshops. This quilt sent an important message.

Quilts can be pieces of art. They can be landscape paintings. They can be history or memory keepers. They can tell a story. They can send a message.  And besides all of that they can keep you warm at night.


Filed under Art, Culture, Retirement