In August, at the ‘Art in the Park’ event in Oakville, one of my booth visitors asked where I had exhibited my work. We determined that she had seen my encaustic mosaics at the December to March 2012 exhibition at McMaster Innovation Park (‘Art in the Workplace, 10th exhibition). She introduced herself (Nathalie de Caen, event co-chair – 2013 JDRF Promise Ball), and asked if I would be interested in participating in a live art demonstration and donate my completed artwork to the silent auction to help raise money for Juvenile Diabetes – and I said ‘Yes!’
The 2013 JDRF Promise Ball took place on Saturday November 16th in Woodbridge, Ontario at the Paramount Convention Centre. It was a huge black tie event (+550 guests), with an enormous silent action with all proceeds donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Toronto. There were numerous food stations and aperitifs, and the guests were able to circulate during the cocktail hour to see all the items.
In addition to the fabulous items (ranging from jewellery to spa trips to even a Harley Davidson motorcycle!), Nathalie had organized a live art demonstration as part of the entertainment. Me and two other artists (Debora Sloan and Louise L’Abbe) were positioned up on the stage, and we could be seen from across the ballroom.
In front of the stage, there was a table with our artists’ bios and business cards, and most importantly – the silent auction’s bidding sheets. The bids started at $200.00 and we were all hopeful that they would go up in value quickly!
Each of us brought our own art supplies and our respective pieces at a certain level of completion. I brought my encaustic mosaic mostly finished, as I did not want to have to deal with hot wax and blow torch at the event! I did bring my ‘step-outs’ for how I make my encaustic mosaics to show guests the artistic process. (Luckily, I still had all my demo pieces from my article in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine).
Debora Sloan came with a completely blank canvas and all her acrylic painting supplies, ranging from household paint to high-end pigments. Debora’s style is ‘Abstract Expressionism’, and while she currently lives in Ottawa, she is originally from Toronto and she shows her work in galleries across Ontario and Quebec. Nathalie met her at the Queen Street Art Crawl, and asked her if she would be interested in participating in the night’s fundraising event.
The third artist in our group was Louise L’Abbe, an artist friend of Nathalie’s. Louise brought a big canvas that had been given several layers of plaster and a few coats of acrylic glazes. She started her piece on the ground, working the glazes in the plaster. Louise’s day-job is to create beautiful faux finishes for interior designers in newly renovated mansions in the Toronto area.
During the cocktail hour, guests were able to circulate among the artists to watch them work and ask questions. It was also a great learning time for me to see how the other artists used their techniques and supplies to create their work. I loved the ‘drizzle’ effect that Debora used on her painting and I also loved the old ‘crackle’ finish that Louise used in her work.
All the works were completed by the end of the reception while the guests enjoyed their dinner and lovely hosts at the 2013 JDRF Promise Ball.
The silent auction went until the end of the evening, but we were all tired out by then (it’s a lot harder to create art on a stage with people asking questions as you work). Nathalie contacted us later on the week to let us know how our artistic contributions helped the fundraising efforts for Juvenile Diabetes:
“In addition to collectively raising $1,425, the feedback I received from the guests was fantastic. They really appreciated seeing you completing your works of art, and felt it was a great addition to the evening program.”
It was a unique opportunity and I’m very glad that Nathalie and I crossed paths at Art in the Park this past summer!