Collecting Art: in which you get to know Mich and Janet’s taste in art

Mich and I have both spent a lifetime collecting art and other quirky objects; and buying and selling collectibles, antiques, art and decorative objects. We have lots in common, but in other areas our individual interests and approach to life couldn’t be farther apart.


Mich was born 50+ years ago in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.  This is a town of less than 6000 people midway between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, some of it at an elevation of 1200 feet above sea level. It began life as a major point on the Transcontinental Rail System and has evolved after the discovery of gold at Red Lake, and an upsurge in both Tourism and lumbering in later years into a strong economic base for the population, yielding higher than average median salary and lower unenployment rates than most of the country. There is a large aboriginal component to the population.,_Ontario

Janet (moi) was born a year or so before the start of the Second World War in the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The largest city in the maritime provinces, but still having a population then of less than 80,000, Halifax had several universities and a college of art and design, and in addition to being the seat of the province’s government was an army and naval base since its founding in 1749 and was subject to boom in wartime and bust when the current war was over.  Growing up in wartime Halifax was a very gritty experience as it was the base for organizing and manning the convoys and was therefore on the edge of the frontlines; but once that was over, Halifax was quick to further develop it’s amenities to include new housing developments, a symphony orchestra and public art gallery, as well as both amateur and professional repertory theatre.

It’s quite likely both Mich and I developed our particular tastes in art during our growing up years in two very different cultural environments – Mich, of course is primarily interested in collecting and dealing in art by First Nations artists, and in addition nationally known Canadian artists such as Harold Town and Jean-Paul Riopelle, and since his home has been in Victoria BC for some time now, regional artists such as Tony Onley, Ted Harrison, and Sid Barron.

I find that as well as the nationally known and collected artists of the 60’s and 70’s such as Town, Riopelle, Alex Colville etc, I have tended to be drawn to art produced from the East Coast school of ‘magic realism’ sparked in his students by Alex Colville through his many years at the Department of Fine Art at Mount Allison in New Brunswick; and in addition I collect and deal in Folk Art and moan that I can’t afford Maud Lewis and Joe Norris!! My quilt designs are informed by the coastal experience both in subject matter and colour choices.

Our later lives have also diverged – Mich is still working for the BC Government while running RedKettle in his spare time and

lives in the very urban and cosmopolitan setting of Victoria BC

while I returned to Nova Scotia in midlife from Ontario and after living and working here for some years took early retirement to start my own business – quiltmaking and dealing in folk art and other vintage delights. I live in a very isolated and rural coastal community near the Bay of Fundy.


By the way, Mich is currently downsizing, and has asked me to mention that he has for sale  five very attractive and unique handcrafted cedar lamps. Contact him – As well, several of the pieces of art shown here from his inventory are also for sale.

As for me, if you see anything among my pictures that interests you, contact me to enquire: 

Until next week – Janet and Mich say goodbye from their opposite ends of the country!



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