Walk through mini main street at weekend arts festival

 In Events, News, Visit Creemore

Visitors to the Creemore Festival of the Arts this weekend will have a chance to stroll through a town within a town.

Imagine feeling like a giant as you walk amongst miniature models of Mill Street buildings constructed at a 1:32 scale. The main street buildings have been carefully recreated by stop motion animator and set designer Amber Harloff using little tiny bricks and shingles. Hairpins and paper clips have been repurposed as metal railings and sign brackets. She even called upon Shane Durnford, the maker of the signs in Creemore’s downtown, for a tutorial in sign making.

The whole thing will be pieced together as one of Purple Hills Arts and Heritage Society’s two-day arts festival. Harloff’s The Little Village With a Big Heart: Tiny Edition is one of three featured exhibits in addition to more than 30 artists and artisans who will be showing and selling their work at 20 locations in the village.

Harloff said the idea for the project came to her eight years ago. She just loved the buildings on the main street and wanted to pull generations together to learn about the history of the village. So she enlisted the help of students Anna Dinsmore and Sadie Finkelstein to do some research and went to talk to Gerry Blackburn, about the origins of the buildings. She isn’t able to include every single building but most of downtown will be represented.

Harloff said she was inspired to recreate the street with extreme detail. She has made every brick using a tiny mould and has cut tiny cedar shingles from full size shingles. Working full time on the project since May, Harloff said she has gone through more than 100 scalpel blades and bottles of crazy glue.

The show will be set up in Room 2 at Station on the Green. Harloff will be present throughout the exhibit and will make presentations at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. both days.

Next door, in Room 1, Peter Adams is also taking a micro look at life with 20 small paintings done in iPhone boxes, called iPaintings, which will be part of his show Things We Take With Us, Things We Leave Behind. It will include a carefully curated arrangement of objects representing the urbanite’s 20 years of rural living and at the centre will be an uprooted 80-year-old ash tree that has been segmented and reassembled.

Adams, who recently moved to Collingwood, describes the show as a mixed media installation involving paintings and miscellaneous fragments gathered over 20 years of living in the Creemore community. It will explore themes of inspiration, sentimentality, nostalgia, mortality, hoarding, and letting go.

“When I participated in the Labverde residency in Brazil last year, I painted the remarkably grand and complex Amazon rainforest inside of handheld mint and cigar tins.  I saw these pieces as tiny souvenir boxes, which symbolized our desire to always take something home from our travels; as well as echoing the desire of a scientist to contain a small specimen for further study,” said Adams. “More recently, I have begun making paintings within the uniquely beautiful packaging of Apple products. I see these paintings as a comment on the ubiquitousness of consumer packaging of all kinds and as an acknowledgement that (the essentially useless) packaging of many products is sometimes part of the appeal of consuming the product itself.  I also see these pieces as symbolizing our changing relationship to the natural world. Increasingly, we experience the larger world through miraculous pieces of technology.”

Adams will be presenting at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days.

For a third featured exhibit entitled Time Immemorial: Mnaandendmowin, Adrian Kahgee and Debbie Ebanks Schlums will transform the interior of Creemore Log Cabin through installation, audio, and participatory performance, with the focal point being a large loom.

“Since time immemorial, the Anishinaabek have looked over and engaged with this land. Travellers and guests who live here arrive every day and respect the treaty that governs this territory,” say the artists.

“Enter a space where Nish time meets Island time, where a past, present and future treaty partnership is symbolically woven with the sacred space of a medicine wheel and the domestic space of a log cabin is adorned with a travelling scroll and quilts made by Saugeen community members.”

“As artists, and all of us as neighbours, we will realize by weaving, moving, writing and drinking tea together, a wampum that connects the spirit and threads of all previous and future wampums. A wampum of respect for the layers and complexities of history of the land, trees and water, and the relationships that have developed and will develop with and on Turtle Island.”

Creemore Festival of the Arts is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 28. Artists in the Village will be set up at the Hort Park, local studios and many of the main street businesses. Pick up an event map at the information booth at Station on the Green and at businesses throughout town. Information is also available online at www.phahs.ca.

The arts festival runs in conjunction with Small Halls Festival. For a full list of events, visit www.smallhallsfestival.ca.

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