Danny started his career as a boy working with his father at their family memorial business just as his father did when he was a boy. After 15 years learning the trade, Danny decided to pursue the craft further and in 2002 he moved to England to study architectural stone work at Weymouth college in Dorset. Following college he stayed an additional 3 years to do an apprenticeship with the company Centreline Architectural Sculpture. Since returning to Canada in 2006, Danny has worked as shop foreman with masonry contractors rehabilitating important heritage buildings in the area. In 2012 he co founded Smith & Barber – Sculpture Atelier Inc. for the rehabilitation of the West Block on Parliament Hill where they produced nearly 2000 carved replacement stones. Danny now runs his company Barber – Carving & Sculpture Inc. where he produces custom stone carving commissions and teaches courses in various craft disciplines.
Andrea Belcham is the owner of the Quebec-based yarn label Renard Et Fleur, which offers plant-dyed yarns from primarily Canadian fibre farms and mills. She leads workshops on a variety of topics related to natural dyeing and sustainable textile arts, including indigo resist-dyeing, Boro patchwork, and eco-printing.
Scott Dobson has been building traditional, old-style, cedar rail fences for over 20 years. He grew up on a farm in Smiths Falls and first began building fences as a teenager. This is a job that suits him well, while he loves working creatively with his hands in the great outdoors. Traditional rail fence building has long been considered a dying art but Scott Dobson is keeping the tradition alive in Eastern Ontario. He not only loves the actual hands-on craftsmanship of building fences, and the sourcing of materials, but also delving into the history of local fence building traditions in the area.
Scott Dobson is lucky enough to run a successful business without a website. So, trust us in saying that his skills and talents are well worth passing on through his workshops.
Jason Gibson has spent over 15 years building and restoring timber frame buildings in Eastern Ontario. Jason and his wife, Kandace Brown, worked together to start and operate their own custom timber framing company, Gibson Timber Frames just outside of Perth, ON.
Jason has been running private timber framing courses for the past 16 years. He has also instructed timber framing courses at St. Lawrence College (Kingston, ON), Algonquin College (Perth, ON) and Willowbank (Queenston, Ontario).
Jason runs a safe and fun workshop. Within the company, all of his employees are highly skilled craftspeople.
Kaajuk Kablalik is an Inuk artist who grew up in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut Canada. In 2007, he moved with his wife and children to Iqaluit, Nunavut where he took the Jewelry and Metalwork program at Nunavut Arctic College.
Kaajuk now lives in Almonte and works as an artist and entrepreneur/consultant. He has over a decade of experience in the arts and a lifetime of experience in his Inuit culture. The various art mediums he works in are traditional Inuit tool making, Jewelry making, pottery, sculpting (soft metals, stone, ivory, muskox horn, baleen, and caribou antler), drawing and glass fusion.
His style is a mix between traditional and contemporary Inuit art and his artwork has been shown at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, in Finland and in Denmark. He won the BMO 1st Arts award for Nunavut in 2010 with a copper etched print called “When We Were One”.
Kaajuk is an active member of the urban Inuit community in Ottawa and the surrounding area. He is the vice president of the board of directors for Tungasuvingat Inuit, in Ottawa. This is an organization that provides social and cultural services for urban Inuit.
Dawn King is the previous owner of the property that the Cordwood Studio sits on and she built the house (that is now the studio) herself in 1979. She moved to area, along with a handful of other like-minded individuals and back-to-landers who were seeking out a peaceful, community-minded lifestyle. She worked as a gardener, midwife, weaver, and cedar furniture maker while raising four children.
Dawn has been growing garlic for many years and braiding these pungent bulbs into beautiful hangings, decorated with flowers, to dry and be a constant source of beauty and ingredient through the long winters. This was just one of the many late summer traditions that came and went every year after the garlic harvest for herself, friends and family to participate in together.
Likewise, pickling and canning were a weekly task while the cucumbers, beans and tomatoes were quickly ripening from late summer to early fall. For several years, she had a small pickle business, providing the Green Door Restaurant in Ottawa with pickled cucumbers and fiddleheads, as well as local families.
Dawn took over 50 years of experience growing and preserving food with her when she moved to the U.S.A. to manage an organic garden and preserve food at a Buddhist retreat centre serving up to 40 people on a daily basis.
Dawn does not have a website, but she’s very computer savvy.
Zoë Lianga began working as a felt maker and instructor in 2014. Since starting this work, she has been dedicated to refining her skills and to deepening her understanding of the unique styles and ways of making felt.
Earlier, Zoe completed a two-year program in fashion design and then spent a year biking around New Zealand. It was there that she continually stumbled upon beautiful works in felt by a wide range of New Zealand felt makers. She sought out two well-established felt who were also instructors, and spent 6 intensive days learning from them. The methods she learned there have enabled her to design and construct her work from single fibres to finished pieces. The nature and characteristics of the individual fibres fascinates Zoe, as does the felt making process itself – a process that dates back to 4000 BC.
For the past two years Zoë has worked to connect with local sheep, alpaca, and goat farmers, and with local fibre mills, so that she can integrate more ethical and sustainable practices into her business. Zoe’s choice to be part of of her local ‘fibre shed’ means she does not support unethical animal husbandry practices and poor working conditions for factory workers. It also means the environmental impact of worldwide shipping is lessened. The hard working individuals within her own fibre shed have become her working family. It’s a lovely family to be a part of.
Zoë continues to make strong community connections and to derive inspiration for her work from property and forests surrounding her home. She is the owner and operator of the Cordwood Studio, where she lives with her partner, Ben Hendry.
Lene Rasmussen of Lakeshore Willows grows basketry willows that she uses to create unique, beautifully-woven pieces.
Inspired by the willow fences and hedges in her native Denmark, it was during a visit home in 2005 that Lene says she got the idea to pursue a career selling willows and baskets from her current home in Wainfleet, ON.
Lene now grows 30 varieties of cultured willow without the use of chemicals or pesticides, and sells willow cuttings, dormant willow rods for planting, and dried willow for basketry. She also offers workshops and regular classes in willow weaving and basketry.
Lene is committed to promoting and reintroducing this ancient craft to southern Ontario and parts of the US, and to developing interest in willow and its many uses. She has been privileged to study with some of the finest basket makers around and continues to seek opportunities to learn new techniques. As she incorporates these into her own body of work, she is happy to share her knowledge, experience, and expanding repertoire of skills with her students.
“Since willow basketry has not yet enjoyed the renewed popularity in North America as it has in Europe, I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to connect with willow basket makers in Denmark,” she says. “Rekindling interest in this time-honoured craft and carrying on its traditions inspired me to to establish Lakeshore Willows.”
Erin Richan is a young, entrepreneurial, first generation farmer and forager. She runs Highland Gem Farm in Elphin, ON. She is committed to growing and enjoying high quality food by learning from traditional animal-vegetable-mixed farming practices, focused on small-scale regenerative farm management, while un-learning damaging rural colonization practices.
She studied at the University of Guelph and apprenticed on farms and gardens around Ontario before settling down on rented land at Elphin Gold Organic Farm, home of five generations of Brownlee farmers.
Highland Gem Farm is a proud member of the National Farmer Union and Ecological Farmers of Ontario.
Erin uses fermentation as a creative tool to build self-sufficiency, health, and expand the seasonal palate.
Ali Ross is the owner and operator of Swallowtail Farm.
Dr. Shawn Yakimovich, graduated from McGill University with a BSc in Human Nutrition in 1999. After working in the natural food and supplement industry for three years, he began his medical studies at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, graduating as a naturopathic doctor (ND) in 2006.
Now in his 14th year of practice, Shawn confidently blends all of the naturopathic treatment tools, including nutrition, lifestyle counselling, herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, acupuncture and hydrotherapy. Shawn is passionate about teaching the principles and practice of naturopathic medicine, especially on the topic of herbal medicine, and has been conducting medicinal herb walks for the public for nearly a decade.