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International Woman’s Day happens this week; in celebration The Asphodel Norwood Historical Committee is privileged to present “Homage” by acclaimed master gold and silversmith artist Don Stuart; on Saturday March 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Norwood Town Hall (2357 County Rd. 45). The special exhibit and lecture (at 1 p.m.) will feature a unique collection of necklaces created by Don to honour approximately 40 Canadian women that have helped to shape our culture and country. Taking inspiration from the accomplishments of these famous Canadians and by using a wide variety of materials and techniques, each necklace is a visual art form that embodies the character of each woman.

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Stuart is a highly respected artist, teacher and designer whose work has been displayed and exhibited across Canada and the globe, his incredible contributions to Canada’s arts and crafts has been recognized with many prestigious awards and distinctions including the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

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This is a free event and all are encouraged and welcome to attend.

Stuart’s work is mostly one-of-a-kind custom creations designed from and with input from clients. In Stuart’s own words, “I respond to the wishes of the client, inspired by their needs, but fulfilling my desire to create something beautiful and unique.” His approach to the subjects of his Homage Exhibit is much the same, where the individual woman’s story becomes the inspiration.

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Always fascinated with history and historical figures, Stuart decided he wanted to create something to celebrate women’s contributions to Canada; his exhibit “Homage” is the result of this passion. From his reading and research he developed a potential list of women that he felt should have their stories shared, the list was then pared down with more in-depth research on each of the women selected. He chose to create only necklaces to represent them, as they are the largest form of jewellery expression. The necklace designs vary with the inspiration and the person. Examples include the incorporation of antique piano keys for Diana Krall; exotic and glamorous materials for Elizabeth Arden; tongue in cheek humour for Laura Secord and the double entendre of the feather quill pen for Pauline Johnson. Materials were selected as appropriate for the person or their story with every aspect analyzed and considered.

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Each necklace and biography is accompanied by a sketch of the individual woman drawn by Homage Curator Susan Benson, CM, RCA helping to bring reality to the stories of all of the outstanding Canadian women featured in the show.

Stuart has earned an international reputation for his work, as mentioned he is the recipient of numerous awards for his artistry. He has participated in national and international exhibitions and has been the subject of many solo shows. Stuart’s work can be found in national, international, public, corporate and private collections. He has and continues to give lectures and workshops across North America and beyond.

Born in Toronto, Stuart graduated from the Ontario College of Art (AOCA) in 1967 and in 1981 he received a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from the School for American Crafts, Rochester, NY.

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In 1969, Stuart initiated the unique weaving studio for Inuit women at Pangnirtung, on Baffin Island, Nunavut. This environment became the source of inspiration for many of his designs. In 1995 Pangnirtung honoured him for his “dedication and contribution to the people of Pangnirtung”. In 2010, he was invited for the 40th anniversary celebrations where he witnessed just how important this enterprise has become for the Inuit people. Today this project continues to thrive as a very successful enterprise and is the largest hand-weaving studio in Canada. In 2002 The Canadian Museum of History mounted a 30-year exhibition of the Pangnirtung tapestries.

In 1972, Stuart joined the Design Arts faculty of Georgian College. The first program he initiated was in weaving, and then in 1989, he launched the unique Jewellery and Metals Program. His passion for excellence resulted in many national and international honours for his students. Upon retiring from full-time teaching in 2001, he was made the College’s first Professor Emeritus. Stuart took early retirement to concentrate on his freelance studio work. Since 2003, he has had six major solo exhibitions including Homage, which has been shown in more than 20 venues.

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Stuart has been a very active volunteer serving on the executive of various arts organizations including the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO), where he served on assignments with native groups in Canada and with a variety of jewellery and craft industry projects in Lesotho, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Bolivia and the Philippines.

“I want to design and make beautiful objects in such a way that the beauty and craftsmanship speak for themselves.”

International Woman’s Day was established well over a century ago due to the efforts of one woman called Clara Zetkin. At that time, women in most countries did not even have the right to vote. Clara was one of many women around the world working to change that, however Clara also had a dream “that a celebration would be held on the same day each year in every country so that women could gather together and advocate for their rights”.

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In 1911, Clara made her dream a reality when she organized the very first International Women’s Day. Now, 113 years later Clara’s dream continues to be celebrated each year on March 8.

Taking things a step further the entire month of March has actually been designated as Woman’s History month, a time to recognize the accomplishments, contributions and historical significance of women; it is also an opportunity to highlight the achievements of women across various fields, from science and politics to arts and business.

St. Paddy’s Breakfast

The Norwood Lions will host their final Community Breakfast of the Season on St Patrick’s Day this coming Sunday, March 17 at the Norwood Town Hall, 2357 County Rd. 45 from 9 a.m. to noon. Club members will have their aprons on and their grills fired up to prepare a full array of breakfast victuals including pancakes, scrambled eggs, peameal bacon, sausage, baked beans, fruit, coffee, tea and juice. The cost is $12 for adults, $7 for children under 12 and those 6 and under eat for free. All monies raised will support the Lion Clubs ongoing mandate of community betterment projects.

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