|Ivor and June Lynch|
We came to Canada from England in 1996. In England we had been hoteliers and upon moving here had absolutely no idea of what we were going to do to earn a living. We purchased our home in Dundas and decided to open a home based art gallery and school. We were both watercolourists and Ivor also paints in oils. We had both
completed The Fine Art Trade Guild course in picture framing in England so we were well prepared to run an art gallery. We sell only our own works but frame for our customers. The gallery is open 6 days a week.
I have been making and decorating cakes for the past 46 years. I taught cake decorating courses for the Board of Education and the Recreation Department in Burlington, Ontario prior to returning to the UK for a number of years. When I came back to Canada in 1996, I continued with the cake decorating side of our business (mainly wedding cakes) and I also teach some cake decorating classes at the gallery and have also done demonstrations for the Hamilton Spectator Go Cooking program and also demonstrated at many senior centres around Hamilton and Dundas.
We became involved with the Dundas Sunrise Rotary Club through students of ours and have endeavoured to help fund raise along with them when we can. We put paintings into all their fund raising auctions. We also awarded prizes to artists competing in the Ancaster Fair Art Show and the Rockton Fair Art Show. We believe in encouraging new artists and felt that our involvement with the various art shows would encourage them. We became involved with the Dundas Cactus Festival when it was decided to hold an Art In The Park show approximately 10 years ago. The show was not very successful and the organizers asked if we would take over the running of the show.
We accepted and decided to hold the show as part of the Dundas Cactus Festival. When we first started the show, we also included an art competition and awarded prizes for the winners. Over the years, it became impossible to continue with the competition due to the lay out of the art show so we discontinued that part of the show and just continued with vendors selling their original art. Last year we had 24 original artists take part in the show. We also gave free booth space to the local organizations who wished to sell items as fund raising for their groups.
It was a totally non-profit event and the money we collected from the vendors for their booth spaces was donated to the Rotary Club to be used as they wished. The funds have been put towards the creation of the skating rink in the Dundas Driving Park, the Christmas Tree of Hope program and also in the creation of the Community Garden on Governor's Road. Some of the fees collected were also donated to the parade committee for the Cactus Festival and also to the Dundas Little Theatre. Unfortunately, this year we were advised by the Cactus Committee that we would be unable to continue the running of Art In The Alley and the show has now virtually been disbanded. We are presently working on a new idea to bring the show back next year in a different location. We feel it is important to give back to the community as not everyone is as lucky as we are and our small offerings may help improve someone else's life and bring happiness to them.
2. Can you give us an example or two of how your work has been rewarding; an example or two where you know your efforts have made a positive difference.
Our work is rewarding when we see our students produce a piece of art worthy of hanging in their home. It is a good feeling to take someone who has never painted and see the look on their face when they produce a picture. Ivor has been invited to go into the schools and give painting lessons during career weeks. It has given the opportunity to paint to youngsters who would probably never get the chance to try their hand with a brush. We are taking part in the McMaster Open Streets on September 23rd. We will take a drawing and have anyone who stops by paint a section of the drawing. This will provide the opportunity for people to try out their skills.
The skating rink is always rewarding - when we go up there and see all the people enjoying themselves, getting fresh air and exercise it was well worth the effort to raise the funds to help with this project.
It is the same with the community garden, it is rewarding to see the produce being distributed to people who need some assistance with their food budget. Although we have been unable to work in the garden, we did provide a selection of tools required for the project to be started.
Obviously it is also rewarding when I receive a note and sometimes a photograph from a happy bride and groom on their wedding day.
I am the Hamilton Dundas administrator for the Canadian Cake Decorators Guild and hold monthly meetings at my home. Our endeavour is to encourage cake decorators of all levels to continue with their interest in decorating and to provide the vehicle for them to find out all about new ideas and products for their trade. I have one young lady who I am teaching my craft to at the moment and it is very rewarding to see her progress in the trade.
3. You’ve organized “Art in the Alley” at the Dundas Cactus Festival for the past 10 years. How did the idea come about, what reflections can you share about its success and what lessons have you learned that you can share with other Hamiltonians about how to make an idea come to fruition?
I have spoken about Art In The Alley in the section above.
We had the idea in the first place as we used to take part in art shows in England and decided we could organize one here. We mentioned it to someone and they went to a committee and presented the idea. But, as I said above, the event was not very successful as they did not really know how to go about organizing it and getting vendors interestedintaking part. When we took over, we spent many hours going to shows to select vendors to take part in our show. Over the years we build up a nice community of artists with many varied works. It took many hours of work and good organization to pull a show together but we did it very successfully and all our artists were very happy with the results and wanted to return year after year. One of the biggest problems was the weather as it was an outdoor show but we managed each year to be successful regardless of what the weather gods sent us! Above all, it is most important that whoever is organizing an event such as this must have passion and dedication to the task.
You also have to be very flexible as no matter how you plan, there is always something that goes against that plan. Patience is a definite asset to organizing a show involving many people. If you have the vision, it will happen.
4. What is next for June and Ivor Lynch and is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about your future focus?
As mentioned earlier, we are working on the structure for a new art show. We are working in conjunction with the Sunrise Rotary Club and hope to be able to have the show up and running sometime next year. We will continue with our gallery and the classes and also the cakes. We are both getting a little older and have so much living still to do. We are hoping to travel a little more - we go to a cake convention each year which is held in a different American state each time - I take classes and shop for new cake "toys" and Ivor fits in a little golf. We will also continue to put paintings into fund raising events and to offer our services to community events. Who knows what opportunities will arise in the future - whatever they are, no doubt we will be there to take part! Our philosophy is that if we can make someone laugh to-day, it has been a good day.
Thanks June and Ivor for sharing your story!
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