The Royal and Chetwyn Farms welcome artists-in-residence Marina Dempster and Tanya Fenkell November 3rd-5th for an inspiring weekend of art, creativity and conversation. Friday evening launches the artists’ exhibition, ‘amend,’ at the Royal Annex gallery with an opening reception from 4 to 6pm. ‘amend’ is a dynamic constellation of contemporary works celebrating possibility, renewal and vision, as well as the reimagining of place. Then, all day Saturday Marina and Tanya lead their workshop entitled ‘Art Journaling as Creative Portal’ (registration required). Join them at the Studio Loft at Chetwyn Farms in its newly converted 1800s barn for a day of exploring a variety of art and craft techniques to create a personal daily art practice in a stunning setting. The workshop space is open and airy with a spectacular view of the alpacas in the nearby pastures. Sunday at The Royal Annex is an artist talk by Marina Dempster and Tanya Fenkell, as well as another opportunity to see ‘amend’ and join a community ‘stitch-in’ from 10-1. All are welcome.
Marina Dempster is a multidisciplinary artist, curator and professional photographer. Her sculptural fibre art has been exhibited internationally in a over a dozen art museums including the Cheoungju International Biennale, representing some of the best of Canadian Craft, while her commercial and portrait/documentary photography work has seen her win awards, including a Juno.
Her meticulous sculptures are both playful and sacred ‘artifacts’ that intertwine form with function. Influenced by the patterns and cycles of nature and consciousness, Dempster cross-pollinates traditional craft techniques to transmute forms, materials, and limiting habits of thought and emotions.
Stitch by stitch, loop by loop, bead by bead, she asserts our interconnection and the archetypal tensions influencing the polychromatic ways we choose to orient ourselves. Meetings of opposites throw all questions open, bring levity to gravity and are an invitation into previously unimagined insights. Marina Dempster’s artworks embody a humble and universal reckoning and movement from shame to grace, fear to love and woe to wisdom.
In tandem with her sculptural art practice, Marina is a professional photographer, collaborative curator, intergenerational mentor, and mother of two, most enlivened by what happens when personal practice meets community. She is passionate about arousing nourishing creative habits and rituals which foster both self-knowledge, creative development and community connection, leading to positive social change.
Tanya Fenkell is a Canadian artist and writer who lives in Toronto with her husband and sons. She is a self-taught artist, but throughout her life she has worked on developing her skills both in writing and the visual arts.
Tanya holds a BA in English Literature from McGill University, an MA (English) and an MIS from the University of Toronto. Tanya’s love of all things literary manifests in her poetry, which has appeared in various small journals. Her creative practice has included study of various arts and fibre-related crafts, especially knitting, drawing, sewing, embroidery and bookbinding; she has also been a knitting instructor.
She has spent many years focused on raising three sons, prior to which she worked as a Photo Librarian at The Globe and Mail and was later co-owner/designer for Cloud Cashmere with Marina Dempster. The solitude and isolation specific to raising small children allowed her to delve deeply into watercolour (so portable and quick-drying), now her chosen medium for tranquil, moody landscapes and figures. She is lucky enough to spend time up north, mostly in the area around Baptiste Lake, and had her first solo show at the Art Gallery of Bancroft in 2022. Tanya exhibits her art regularly in Ontario and her work is held in private collections in Canada and the United States.