On Monday, July 8th, the St. Thomas Public Library kicked off their yearly summer program called “Meet a Maker”, which is hosted through the Children and Teens’ Services Department.

Meet-A-Maker is a weekly summer series that they began in 2017. It’s basically a highly interactive show-and-tell, featuring community makers from our community, geared toward families. With some sessions, participants make things to take home. With others, participants touch, taste, smell, etc.

The organizer – Rosemarie Johnson Clarke – gathers some of her inspiration for the program at the Railway City Arts Crawl in February each year. This year, she came across the printmaking done by Nicole Van Pelt, so invited her to be the first featured Maker for 2019.

Nicole Van Pelt Artist
Nicole Van Pelt at the 2019 Railway City Arts Crawl, Photo by Grayden Laing

Nicole admits that she has loved art since she was very small.

“2 years ago, my aunt taught me how to do printmaking and I have been having fun with it ever since. My inspiration comes from the beauty that I see in nature – I love the earth and the interesting animals in it.” -Nicole Van Pelt

Her aunt was in attendance on Monday, and was thrilled to see Nicole sharing her skills with everyone who came out for the event.

“I have loved making art in many different forms with Nicole since she was very young. There’s something to be said for the wonder and complete lack of inhibition that children embrace when creating art. Through the years, Nicole’s excitement and dedication to pushing the boundaries of her skill and expression have been – and continue to be – an inspiration to me. I love seeing the next generation of artists get involved in our community and share the remarkable pieces that they are creating. Many thanks to the St. Thomas Public Library for encouraging makers of all ages to step out of their comfort zone and share their wealth of knowledge.” – Sarah Van Pelt

In its first two years the “Meet a Maker” lineup has included:
(2017) Katherine Medlyn, Medlyn Stained Glass & Stained Glass Designs; Tamara David, Deerfield Pottery; Chuck Magri, bee keeper, Wildflowers Honey; Genevieve Scarfone, Seed Confections; Martha Fuller of Union Arts Craft Co;

Print Making at the Library, Photo by Sarah Van Pelt
Print Making at the Library, Photo by Sarah Van Pelt
print making at library
Print Making at Library, Photo by Sarah Van Pelt

(2018) Sarah Van Pelt, artist/miniature dioramas; Terry Lanning, Heritage Pens; Cindy Bircham, Elgin Harvest; Andie McGugan, Bracelets 4 Brains; Grayden Laing; painter/videographer/animator; Greg Wight, Harbour Guitars.

Our first maker this summer was Nicole Van Pelt who showed us the art of printmaking and allowed us to experiment and create our own designs.

“We were delighted to have Nicole join us this year; at 13, she is our second youngest maker in this popular ‘Meet-A-Maker’ series, now in its third year at our library. Twenty children and a few adults participated in printmaking under Nicole’s guidance; she did a superb job of engaging everyone.” -Rosemarie Johnson Clarke

Other makers in their lineup for this summer include Liam Jette, wood-carver on July 15; Em-Kay & Crew, all-natural lotions on July 22; Alanna Vreman, artist/Paint Night style on July 29; Avery Gardner, Opal Handmade on August 12. The programme begins at 2pm in the Ingram Room, St Thomas Public Library. No registration required; a free event.

Print Making at the Library, Photo by Sarah Van Pelt
Print Making at the Library, Photo by Sarah Van Pelt