ENRICHED LIVES: Artfest in the esplanade: bigger and better!

No matter what your age, if you live in Pickering, you are in an outstanding community that is growing and developing wonderfully.IMG_0892

In mid May, the city with assistance of many community groups put on the Artfest in the Esplande.

What a show!


For those interested in art ranging from photography to painting, painting on canvas, painting on wood, on stone and on furniture, the Artfest was spot on.

If you were unable to attend, mark it on your calendar for next year. The number of vendors displaying their artistic endeavours was the biggest and best show yet and augurs well for future ones. If you attended, then I am preaching to the converted.

IMG_0883So much to see, so much to admire and so much to consider buying, the show was excellent.

Handicraft is always interesting. See the productivity of local artists, be awed by their creativity and innovative inspirations. Again this year, there was much to see. Though I liked many of the booths displaying their artistic wares, I found three to be especially attractive.

IMG_0801First, Fran Sancroft, along with her husband Joe, were exhibiting a new Dutch art product called Paverpol. I am out of my league in writing about it, but suffice to say it makes starch, plaster of Paris and use of clay, things of the past. Fran and students from her Paverpol workshops are very creatively producing unique sculptures from a variety of objects found in a typical home: doilies, paper flowers, t-shirts, old scarves, and more. Watch for her signature on every piece she produces, a red rose, sometimes very small and unobtrusive, other times, upfront and central signing her intriguing piece of art. I especially liked her Phantom of the Opera mask with the red rose…awesome.

Next, I was intrigues by the use of beeswax in the “encaustic booth.” Once again, I can only say what I learned in a couple of minutes speaking with the husband and wife duo who created the artwork for this booth. These art pieces used beeswax and paint in ways I could never imagine, amazingly unique and artistically innovative pieces of creativity. I think one is limited only by their own imagination. Just standing there, admiring the paint brush-paint cans creation made my mind flutter with mental creations and modifications to what they had produced.


Finally, Josie and James Beech were selling a product I know I would use all summer long on the back patio and deck when barbecuing and entertaining: wooden serving trays. But to say ‘wooden serving trays’ is like saying ‘tall giraffes’. You aren’t doing justice to ther incredible work. Their art pieces, wooden serving trays made from the wood of wine crates, sanded smooth, and painted with a protective, water repellent coat would be the talk of your back yard.


These trays were real art pieces of obvious professional and quality workmanship. It was unfortunate that my busman’s holiday along with my independently minded four legged companion of the day, Fermo, prevented me from taking advantage of the buying opportunity this time. I am looking forward to J & J’s next showing where I will take the time to examine their creations more closely and buy one, or two, or three…gift giving ideas. These are unique products that have a real practical purpose and the icing on the cake is that they are beautiful. I liked these products. Very unique, very professional and very high quality.

There was so much at this show.


Bloomers and Britches’ booth, was a gardener’s delight: seedlings galore, potted baby plants ready for transfer to your own garden, and blooming plants also ready for transplanting. If Trish Stephens, convenor of PROBUS Pickering Garden Club, is indicative of the calibre of “clerks” working this booth, you just had to talk to these people as Trish is as “professional a planter” as can be, not only working in the industry for many years, but also landscaping her own back yard so that it could and should be highlighted by Homes and Gardens. Another winner of a booth.


There were so many more outstanding displays, works of photography which were camera users’ masterpieces, oil paintings worthy of being hung in any gallery, delicate needlepoint bracelets and woodcarvers’ carvings being made as you watched. I was envious of how creative and artistic these people are.

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There was music, exercise aerobics for the young, and of course, being in the Esplanade behind the outstanding Pickering Public library, there had to be events sponsored by the library. There were, “10 minute how to” classes teaching participants a new skill in 10 minutes. It was such a marvellous opportunity to learn, to try out, to investigate and to see. You simply had to have been there. Kudos to Cathy Grant, CEO of the Library Board and her staff for integrating the library into the Pickering community again. If you aren’t a regular patron of our Pickering library branches, you are missing a lot of opportunity for entertainment, education and elucidation. Go to the library and get with it, Pickering living to the fullest!


Even CARP, the Canadian Association for Retired People, was there, represented by Keith Ward, local president and Randy Flipinski, newsletter moderator. CARP is steering itself away from just dealing with older folks, promoting itself as being more inter-generational, in its goal of integrating all sectors of Pickering community groups from the young to the older people in the community. The important thing is that“It ain’t just for old folks, no more!”


Finally what would anything in the Esplanade be without some good old fashioned hot dogs and sausages roasted on the grill and washed down with a pop or a juice. I could rant here when I compare our socializing and summer community get-togethers compared to those in Europe, especially Germany, France and Italy. We are so puritanical and straight-laced. The European communities see these events as social gatherings which are to be enjoyed to the hilt…a little bit of wine and a glass of beer. Oh why, oh why can’t we be as open minded and also responsible to make these events much fuller than they are now.


The Artfest was the best I have ever attended. I compliment all the volunteer organizers and Pickering city staff who were involved in its organization. A marvelous job does not compliment them or give them enough credit.

If you did not attend, you really missed out on a great afternoon of art appreciating, good eats and wonderful people watching, clearly confirmation that Pickering really is the pick of places to live in Ontario ! 

And Fermo loved meeting everyone !

Fermo socializes at Artfest

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