Judy Gingell

Don Stuart

Emily Carr


July 27 - August 24
Public Reception: Saturday, July 27, 1pm-4pm with remarks by Don Stuart at 2pm

Homage is a collection of 40 framed neckpieces created by renowned jeweller Don Stuart as a celebration and tribute to Canadian women throughout the ages and across the country in a wide range of professions and contributions to our society. As a contemporary jewellery artist, Don has used the familiar form of the necklace to explore history from a fresh perspective. To date, this exhibition has been presented at galleries across Canada as well as in the United States, and now will be shown at Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge.  

One of the oldest forms of human adornment, necklaces were worn by both men and women. However, from approximately the 19th century onward, they were predominately worn by women to denote style, status and wealth. Necklaces are archetypal symbols of power and importance and are a fitting vehicle to represent influential women in Canadian history.  

One of the biggest challenges in creating this collection was in choosing which to women honour when there were so many worthy options. In choosing his subjects, Don tried to create a balance across both fields of experience and between traditionally famous women. Women like silent film star, movie producer, studio founder and America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford to women who have made extremely important contributions to society, but may not be well known outside their region or field of expertise such as medical missionary Leonora King or geologist and diamond mine founder, Eira Thomas. He also tried to have a balance between contemporary and historic figures. Within that framework, Don also choose to honor a few of the outstanding women who have had a personal impact on him, like Inuit artist Malaya Akulukjuk.  

In designing these necklaces, Don looked closely at what made a particular woman outstanding. Was it her art, scientific discoveries, business acumen, athletic ability, courage, strength as a mother or compassion to others? Using his subject’s key accomplishments as his guide, Don then determined how to represent that in a necklace. To do so, he had to blend materials into pieces that told a story, sometimes a very literal story about the woman he was honouring. The 40 necklaces in Homage include the expected silver, gold, diamonds and other precious materials, however, they also include a wide range of unexpected materials such as antique piano keys inlaid with gold, carefully shaped bits of Mooshead beer cans, a drill bit and Canadian Tire Cash Bonus Coupons.  

As one of Canada’s leading gold and silversmiths, Don has earned an international reputation for his work in jewellery, hollowware and architectural installations. During his celebrated career, Don has received more than 30 significant awards for his artistry in gold, silver, platinum and diamonds, including the top prizes in many competitions. He has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions and has been the subject of many one-man shows. Don’s work is found in national, international, public, corporate and private collections. He is constantly in demand to give lectures and workshops across North American and beyond. In 2002, Don was awarded Canada’s highest honour, the Order of Canada, in recognition of his illustrious career as a craftsman and educator. At the investiture, his citation read, “his effect on Canada’s arts and crafts industry has been profound and lasting.”  

Wherever Homage has been shown, it has received favourable and enthusiastic responses due, in part, to the significant change in the role of women in Canada over the past few decades and the impact they are having in many areas. Over the past few decades, there has been significant change in the role of women in Canada. They now make up the majority of college graduates and nearly 50 percent of the workforce. With their increased financial power, their influence over family purchasing decisions and their entrepreneurial spirit, they are in a position to drive the 21st century economy. People are fascinated how the necklaces showcase each woman in a very personal, distinctive way and with the use of a wide variety of materials such as metal, fibre, wood, stone, glass and gems.  

Homage is on display at Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ Chapel Gallery from July 27 to August 24. A public reception takes place on Saturday, July 27 between 1pm and 4pm with remarks by Don Stuart at 2pm.  

The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation. 

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please send an e-mail with your request including your full name and e-mail address.

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