Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bright Lights and Bonfire

At this time of year...
...the shortest days ...
the sun rises almost directly out in front of us...
far across, on the horizon of the coastline of Nova Scotia..
we have to wait for it... when we get up early...
I love waiting for it
 Especially this day...
with the fishing boat heading out...
into that almost purple haze of seasmoke
on our always offering Bay of Fundy... 

Later in the day
we offer back...
our light...
with fir and spruce thinnings...
warming crisp air...
  glowing stones in a circle...
calm evening, calm sea, 
but for snapping, hissing, crackling... 

Fireworks were hiding inside those trees...

Then once again...
the setting sun offered back its light...
like a game of catch

 inside by the glow...
dogs know...

....Lights of the season powered by Nature...

My Very Best Wishes to Each and Everyone

***photos taken in December at St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quote by William James

This quote feels intensely romantic,
 don't you think?

William James 1842 - 1910... Philosopher, Psychologist... Thinker
...brother of Novelist Henry James

*   i   LoVe  TypOGRapH*

.... especially Calligraphy

"When the fruit is ripe, a touch will make it fall"

...in 5½ " x 8½ " sketchbook,  india ink, crow quill,  FW acrylic artists ink, script brush

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sterling Silver Dragonfly on Copper Square

I have been making bugs... using my pen and my torch...
I like to study bugs.... 
they are small,  with lots of delicate working parts, amazingly strong for their size... 
some nasty, some nice... 
and there are so many different kinds... and they do so many different things... 
Bugs are just all around very  interesting subjects to get to know more about..

We designed and created the sterling silver  Dragonfly  on copper square early in the year
and it is time to build up stock again.. not a good season to be running out of popular designs...
although I have to admit there are a few other styles that I am very low on,
if not completely out of at the moment..
and I should have had more made...  but alas... time... energy....... a good book.

Lots of tiny Dragonfly parts all prepared... cut, shaped and hammered ... 
little dragonfly wings, little dragonfly bodies and little tiny silver grains for the dragonfly eyes... 
That is one in the middle, there's more in a little wooden dish to the left... 

 We usually split up the jobs..  
Johns' hands are stronger than mine, so he gets to handcut all the copper squares
 and do the heavy hammering.. 
I layout all the tiny parts and set them up..  

 ... sometimes my tools or my big hands have accidentally knocked my board 

.. Not a good day when that happens...

Here they are all covered in carbon.. it has to be removed
  but the texture and color is gives for taking a photograph suits my fancy ...
 I really love this contrast.


I absolutely Love the Pattern they make all lined up like that...
I imagine quilt patterns, floor tiles, rugs, fabric ...

I start rearranging them
to see what they might look like with all there tails touching 
or their little pairs of eyes all staring at each other

 Then I am imagining them all divided by long bands of another metal 
or fabric if they are a quilt  and what kind of borders could be invented.. 
 or maybe designs inlaid in wood.. or a surround for a fireplace 
or borders around the edge of an illuminated book.........

oh once it starts it is hard to go back to work... 
 the Dragonflies are distracting me from the Dragonflies...

 but I'm sure you know what it's like 
and how one thing leads to another and another....

Back to reality... 

Now they are ready for the pickle pot
-  a nice name for being dunked in a scalding acid bath - which will remove all the built up carbon. 

  John drills holes in the tops with the flex shaft...
  We sand and polish them in the vibratory tumbler.
Then I make the earwires and attach them 
and we are all stocked up again...

$25.00 pr.     ...approx.  1½" from top of ear wire to bottom of copper square
...bug drawings (in first photograph)  from my sketchbook 

  Pearl Jam...  "BUGS" 

All handmade at our DESIDERATUM Art Jewelry studio 
in St. Martins, on the Bay of Fundy,  New Brunswick, Canada

...click for more of our Whimsical designs

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Sketches and watercolor washes...
trying to put ideas down quickly ...
not worrying about perfection...
just in having a good time, just like dogs. 

A protector...

an entertainer and companion...

... loyal...

... interested in every-little-single-thing-that-you-say and do

 ... never argues or complains...

...best friend...

"A Dog has the Soul of a Philosopher"........ Plato

...crazy to see you again
even if it was only 5 minutes ago that you left the room...

....and always ready to go
before you even know you are.

Our New Copper and Sterling Silver Dog earrings inspired by our gang
...simple little design of dogs with curly tails

... alias the Queen... Miss Energy... see how high I can jump...
what's you wanna do now Butch, huh, huh?? come on, lets go, come on, come on!

... alias Shy-girl, Sweetheart, sleepy-head, lover not a fighter..
her motto to a thief: here's where the good stuff is, I gotta go back to bed.

... alias Stinky, need I say more..  super-sensitive, super-smart, likes to steal...  
oh and his feelings get hurt very easily..

...alias Bouncer,  Mr. Runaway Hobo, happy go lucky.. 
...come whenever I feel like it, but that's OK isn't it?

and if you like a few laughs.. check out Andy Rooney ... 
He prefers dogs to people.... and  he is funny.

... Dog Portrait Photos by my son, Max Ackerson...  September 2011

*in memory ... about a week after this post,  Andy Rooney passed away.. 
 I was very sad to hear this.. I always enjoyed his "Rants".  He will be missed by many.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Not long ago I received a request....
to use one of my watercolors sketches - the Human Skull -
as the cover for a new book...
in paper and ebook form (available on Nook and Kindle)
 It was totally unexpected and I was...  and still am,  thrilled ... 

  The author is  Kevin John Grote

 The Book is   TYBURN 

It belongs to his series "Letters of Fire and Sword" 
...an ambitious undertaking of 16 books
which he has been working and doing research on for years...
 His historical novels take place in the 1740's and 50's
in the UK (Scotland and London) and in North America.

If you go to the TYBURN link above you can read some of his book on Amazon...
Hope you enjoy... I did!

Kevin previously released "Skye" and is presently working on "TALLY-HO!
...this is a link to his twitter

I love Books... and historical novels are some of my favourites.......
I wish him the very best .

Saturday, September 03, 2011

St. Martins Art House ... Our Desideratum... Sold

This is the home we built from scratch.. first we found this cut-over forest... all the trees had been cut and the slash was completely covering the land with  tall bushes growing up through it. it was so very difficult to walk through we had to inch our way around the neighbours property border just to look at it.  we did pick our way through the mess with great difficulty to try to see the view... as this land was on top of a hill overlooking the ocean. no one had ever lived up on this hill before.. they just ravaged it. the beauty that it overlooked was out of this world... the ocean, the Bay of Fundy and the sweet village of St. Martins lying below... facing full south... where the sun and the moon rose over the water... you could not ask for more.We bought the land within a week in the fall of 1998.

We sculpted the land, designed  and built it it ourselves. we hired people when we needed them but most everything was our work, planning and ideas, labour... the blood, sweat and tears. it was an adventure and a pleasure and a dream of creativity. we landscaped, built rock walls and stone staircases, stone walled firepits,  planted apple trees, roses in abundance, twining vines and all the fields.
This was a very long project... and this is the documentation of our work.

We had this 50 foot bluff uncovered to expose the amazing sandstone rockface... we used the earth to help build the road... as there had never been a road to the top of this bluff before . Our son climbed this rockface several times a day for the sheer pleasure

We gathered and built into our house beautiful architectural finds to give it a sense of history to fit it into the very old village. we finished the heated concrete floor for a finished floor. it was an artistic undertaking all by itself.

We salvaged antique stone fireplaces and built them in

we built a large covered verandah around 2 sides of the house facing the ocean and the moring sunrise.

very old doors rescued from an old churchand put back in use

One of a Kind 10' tall Art Sculpture Steel Fire Shield in the Great room created by artist owner, John Ackerson... 
interesting note, we were building these in the back yard the day the Twin Towers came down in New York.... 
one of those dates you never forget.


Polished, varnished, insulated, stained concrete with in-floor heating...

Arched doorway leads to custom built kitchen also created by John Ackerson and Gwen Buchanan.

 designed and built this 9 foot long island. topped it with a 12 gauge stainless steel counter 

we built storage into both sides. these salvaged antique ceiling panels we refinished and attached to solid wood to become 4 cupboard doors on the back

Beautiful Jotul wood stove and handmade woodrack and fireshield at ceiling

heavy steel 8 foot tall pot rack built by John Ackerson, owner.

We designed and handbuilt the cupboards... they all have wire rack pull out drawers for easy access. The stainless steel countertops we found and fitted into our kitchen

From this room with windows on all sides, you can view the 4 directions of North, East, South, West

We found at a second hand shop the 10 foot tall wooden quatre-foil window casing and brought it back to life.. refinished it, and solidified it with black steel bars. We then took a drawing of the shaped of it to the window makers and had them make a insulated glass window to fit the opening that faced the ocean.

we built outside graveled patio areas around the house

it was a fabulous kitchen to live in and with

The second antique fireplace that we salvaged and installed.

John Ackerson's oil paintings hang throughout the house

 antique beamed entrance created from beams rescued from the original property

These stair treads were salvaged from a 120 yr old house being demolished in Saint John. we made the unique 6 ft Newel post from 2 newel posts we had salvaged.. we drilled a hole through them and connected them with the handle of a shovel that we had worn out digging in the gardens.

Handmade custom designed steel and antique staircase and railing created by John Ackerson, artist owner

Close-up of antique railing.

We had hardwood floors laid through the second floor...
... view, looking from master bedroom down the hall to the far side on the west to a super fun kids room

loved this bedroom.. it had 2 windows to watch the rising sun and to see the ocean

Triple doors, antique, salvaged and refinished
the hardwood maple floors draw the eye through the entire second floor

Copper 8 ft tall copper clad shower with patina

we made a 5 foot window seat with leather cover, and rustic antique lumber scalloped border.

Copper clad with steel tub surround, 7 foot air jet heated, tub for 2

All ceilings on the second floor are Cathedral ceilings and rise 12-13 feet high

A salvaged antique marble sink and backsplash.. we built the base from salvaged floor boards from a 150 year old house then designed and handcut the scalloped design as a border... and used old newel posts for the legs.  so cool... I just love this bathroom

We created this Door  from an antique church window and the bottom of an old door and then created the gothic opening.  I love this door!!!!!

Gothic arched door threshold...

the other side of the gothic door is Gwen' studio... super bright and breath taking view of the ocean and surrounding village

This room was so beautiful to be in that I spent most every day here. to look out upon that view was magical.

This sliding door leads to the rooms over the kitchen

I love this tiny narrow dormer window

.More salvaged beams used as the door frame

heated radiant floors

tiny bedroom that also has a loft and a tiny blue antique domed door.

the 3rd floor tower room was our writing room.. and viewing room. had windows on 3 sides

Salvaged antique doors with porcelain doorknobs saved, repaired, + painted were used throughout the house

kids room ... ladder leads to castle loft

 a fireman's pole... polished stainless steel

it is fun to slide down from the loft

A real fireman's pole.  The kids love it.

the loft room

looking down the hall to the master bedroom

front covered verandah... the ornamental cedar window trim we designed and installed all over the exterior to highlight the windows

Ornate original designed cedar trim details created by artist owners surround the front door and  all the windows.

Handmade Cast iron and Brass bell by Alan Stanley

We salvaged these wooden doors, created the triangular arched door design and  installed insulated glass. han

the west side sheltered firepit.. named the secret garden.
.. surrounded by rock walls, cedar hedge, lilac hedge and tall Spruce trees wall... it leads to the childrens camp nestled in the shrubs

 from bottom of the garden ...kids camp and recycled greenhouse

Amazing 8 foot wide handbuilt stone staircase, by rock walls and cedar  and lilac hedge

This was such a reward

Sunrise  early one morning.

John's magic work with stone... the 40 foot wide stone inset firepit.

Relaxing and satisfying wide coastal view of the Bay of Fundy from the above fire-pit.  Far across the water is Nova Scotia where lights can be seen sparkling on clear nights.

The house and property contains many special features..  this property was created with passion by us the designer/owners over several years.. till we made it just the way we felt it suited this marvelous panoramic acreage and the historic shipbuilding and fishing village lying below.

Some of the multitude of roses  and an upcycled quatre-foil window ... the property has masses of roses

 The view is ever-changing. Better than TV.

We hope you enjoy the culmination of our Labors and 
what much Love from our Head, Heart and Hands have brought to Life...

Below are a few pictures of St. Martins village and the salt water seashore
 Walk on the Ocean floor of the Bay of Fundy at low tide... there is plenty of time to explore as the tide takes 6 hours to go out and another 6 hours to come back in again.

looking towards Quaco Head and the Bay of Fundy

 This Flower Pot Rock is easily reached on foot at low tide from St. Martins public beaches or kayak at high tide..

 Gorgeous sandstone outcroppings to explore on the West Quaco beach...

 Lobster and Scallop fishing boats

the gorgeous saltwater marsh attracts migrating birds and bird-lovers...
during the full moon and the new moon it totally fills with the highest tides. Magic, isn't it.

 ...experience mystery and magic when the fog drifts in...

 The charming St. Martins harbour at Midnight and low tide

 Solitude, beach-walks and beach-combing while experiencing vast views towards the Fundy Trail Parkway and across the Bay of Fundy. The fabulous Fundy Trail Parkway is only 7-10 minutes from the village
 The famous St. Martins Sea Caves carved by the Fundy tides... easily reached  at low tide and the entire beach in St. Martins is for public use.

The picturesque harbor with the fishing boats sitting on the ocean bottom at low tide.

Early one winter morning when the sea-smoke was rising from the bay...  the salt water never freezes and the beaches are free of snow in the winter... excellent expanses for beach walks with your dogs.


Thank You for taking the time to see what we have been working on these last few years. ..created from scratch from a cut over forest left in a mess.  It was a thrilling Adventure...  but as artists create they must eventually let go, so they can continue on their creative process and someone new can share and enjoy in the finished creation. 

The home and landscape was passionately designed and created by us, the owners, Gwen Buchanan and John Ackerson,  Artists/Designers/ Builder.

SOLD September 2016

 St. Martins,  New Brunswick,  Bay of Fundy,  Canada