Diana Jackson — Eclectic Creativity - theHumm September 2023

Diana Jackson — Eclectic Creativity - theHumm September 2023

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

Whether she’s sculpting in clay or silver, painting impressionistic acrylic abstracts, or designing new gardens or printed circuit boards, Blakeney artist Diana Jackson brings an extraordinary wealth of creativity to her chosen task. From her own words at her website dianajackson.ca : “There’s no better way to wake then to open your eyes and be eager to dive into a day of work where creative opportunities abound and possibilities are endless.”

Jackson thrives on possibility and adventure. She embraces new artistic challenges with gusto and aplomb. From intricately wrought sculpted silver earrings to huge cement sculptures, she tackles each project with the enthusiasm and unbridled creativity of a kid. Unlike a kid, however, her creativity is supported by a broad acquired skillset and knowledge base that allow her to imagine and explore possibilities in endless ways.

When I arrive at her personally redesigned home set in a gorgeous natural setting along the bank of the Mississippi River in Blakeney, she invites me to witness the unveiling of her latest sculptures. She leads me to her outdoor kiln — a metal barrel — that has been cooling since an overnight firing the day before, and extracts a wonderful clay fish sculpture that I know my fisher son would covet. Not surprisingly, part of Jackson’s pleasure comes from the uncertainty of what she will discover when she brushes off the ashes and reveals the final touches the firing has added to her sculptures. She doesn’t use a glaze. Instead, she adds various combustibles, salts and oxides into the barrel to create random flashes of earthy colours on her abstracted forms. She is never bored.

Back inside her recently completed major house “renovation” (more like rebuilding) project, Diana shows me her latest artistic foray. For many years she was the primary caregiver to her terminally ill husband in their previous home. She began painting as a way to be immediately available, and to preserve her own wellbeing. Her richly coloured abstract landscapes allow her to “freely explore colour and composition without any tethers to an accurate representation of form.” They reveal her fascination with the colours and shapes and forms that nature so generously offers if we only take the time to see.

Jackson augments her gift of extraordinary perception with a marvelously inventive and unfettered imagination. Her artworks seduce you into expanding your own imaginative horizons to explore new possibilities. Scientists in the emerging field of neuroaesthetics have confirmed that wonder enriches us in many ways.* Contemplation of Diana’s abstract landscape paintings is a great place to stretch your wonder capacity.

“Everything Feeds My Artwork”

Diana divides her time between electronic printed circuit board layout and her varied art media. She thrives on variety, and switches happily from solving stimulating mental challenges while designing electronic circuits to exploring her creativity in sculpting and painting. And gardening. And teaching. And attending formal courses in university settings and workshops by artists in their studios.

She is a seventh-generation member of a Stittsville farming family who moved to Almonte when she was twelve years old — art school was not considered an option. In the 80s she participated in a government-funded educational program for women in non-traditional jobs and earned a diploma in electro-mechanical design at Algonquin College. She got a job at Mitel and was introduced to circuit board drafting, where she learned the rules of design for 24-layer puzzles. Perhaps as an antidote, she acquired another diploma from the University of Guelph in landscape design over six years, and continued her lifetime pursuit of exploring a myriad of other arts.

Fortunately, a book titled Refuse to Choose validated her innate drive to pursue her wide range of interests and passions, and she has never looked back. She has pursued formal studies at the University of Ottawa, Red Deer College in Alberta, Haliburton School of the Arts and the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. It is through workshops, however, that she has honed her technical skills — with sculptural artists in ceramics (Christina Cordova), metals (Cappy Conard), and cement (Steve Kornher and Wouterina de Rad).

Diana loves being part of a rich arts community, and truly appreciates the support and mentoring she has received from local artists Jennifer Ryder Jones, Chandler Swain, Leta Cormier, Stephen Brathwaite and many others.

Ultimately, though, she finds, “there is nothing like diving into the medium to learn.” And dive she does. At her previous home she created massive cement sculptures to visually enrich both her indoor and outdoor environments. I was searching for a word to describe her versatility, but as a long-time feminist, I abhor the term “Renaissance Man.” So I was delighted to read this at Wikipedia: “From the polymathy perspective, giftedness is the ability to combine disparate (or even apparently contradictory) ideas, sets of problems, skills, talents and knowledge in novel and useful ways. Polymathy is therefore the main source of any individual’s creative potential”. Diana Jackson is decidedly a polymath.

Currently she is focusing on contrasts between our organic and technological worlds. It is a logical choice for an artist who designs both electronic circuit boards and gardens. It is her attempt to strike a balance between the two — i.e., geometric vs. organic, technology vs. the natural world. As she puts it, “It has allowed me to achieve some balance in my own life… a peaceful acceptance that the two can live side by side.”

Autumn Art Exhibition

Diana Jackson’s clay sculptures and abstracted landscape paintings will be on display at the Mill of Kintail Museum for more than a month. This lovely natural setting at 2854 Ramsay Concession 8 in Mississippi Mills is an ideal location to enjoy the diverse gifts of this polymathic artist. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, September 17 from 2–4pm. The site will also host several additional artists in the Gatehouse as a stop on the annual Crown and Pumpkin Studio Tour on Thanksgiving Weekend. Fortunately, feasting your eyes expands your imagination — not your waistband. Coordinates are available on the back of her Artist Trading Card at the top of this page.

*I highly recommend Your Brain on Art — How the Arts Transform Us by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross.

Artist Trading Card


Diana Jackson — Eclectic Creativity - theHumm September 2023

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

Whether she’s sculpting in clay or silver, painting impressionistic acrylic abstracts, or designing new gardens or printed circuit boards, Blakeney artist Diana Jackson brings an extraordinary wealth of creativity to her chosen task. From her own words at her website dianajackson.ca : “There’s no better way to wake then to open your eyes and be eager to dive into a day of work where creative opportunities abound and po......


Paddle and Parade Partyin Lanark Highlands
Free Event with Special Guest Appearance by Sarah Harmer
- theHumm September 2023

Sarah Harmer is coming to Lanark Highlands, making a special guest appearance on September 16 as part of the Reform Gravel Mining “Rock” Tour of Ontario this summer. Harmer will appear between 3:30 and 5pm on an outdoor stage at Wheelers Maple (1001 Highland Line in McDonalds Corners), along with other local musical luminaries and guest speakers. But that’s not all! Arrive early and participate in a ceremonial paddle around nearby Barbers Lake.

Attracting local supporters, mu......


It’s Time to Hitthe Back Roads!
North Frontenac Back Roads Studio Tour
- theHumm September 2023

Get ready for the tenth annual North Frontenac Back Roads Studio Tour, taking place on the weekend of September 23 and 24. This year there will be 25 artists exhibiting in 15 different locations from one end of North Frontenac Township to the other. From Cloyne, through Fernleigh and Ardoch, on to Plevna, then Ompah, Snow Road and Mississippi Station, the tour wends its way through some of the loveliest wild countryside in Ontario, at possibly the most beautiful time of year.

The 22 re......


Fibrefest: A Festival of the Fibre Arts - theHumm September 2023

Come out to the friendly town of Almonte on September 9 and 10 for the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum’s 28th annual Fibrefest almontefibrefest.ca . Taking place at three locations — the Almonte Community Centre, the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and the Almonte Old Town Hall, admission to Fibrefest is only $8 per day and grants access to all sites. Local guilds will demonstrate spinning, knitting, weaving, rug-hoo......


Westporch Festival 2023 - theHumm September 2023

Come to Westport on Saturday, September 23 from noon to 9pm for the return of the popular Westporch event, where visitors and residents meet businesses on front porches around the village for fun, food and fabulous entertainment!

Westporch is a free outdoor walking tour of Westport, as front porches become a showcase for regional artists, musicians, activities and treats.

This year’s event will feature 15 porches with live music and entertainment throughout the day. ......


Sundance Artisan Show
Free Outdoor Show on Labour Day Weekend
- theHumm September 2023

Celebrating its 17th year, the Sundance Artisan Show invites you to spend time along a beautiful riverbank setting with 40 local artists in Maberly, Ontario during Labour Day weekend.

Peppered across two acres of forest, field and riverfront will be a diverse group of creators specializing in various art forms: pottery, wood, sheet metal, stained glass, artisan soaps, fibre art, jewellery, clothing and blown glass, to name a few. The artists have been working hard ov......


Spirits of theCounting House
Paranormal Investigations at the Museum…
- theHumm September 2023

Are you intrigued by the paranormal? If so, Spirits of the Counting House is your chance to learn about paranormal investigations! The Counting House, now the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM), has been in use for over 150 years. It’s seen many people come and go, but have any of them lingered? Join G.H.O.S.T. Canada and Nightwatchmen Investigative Team as they look into this very question on Saturday, September 16.

They will be teaching a workshop from 3–5p......


Friends of MMPLFall Book Sale - theHumm September 2023

The Friends of Mississippi Mills Public Library are holding their annual book sale in Almonte from October 20–22. September is the month to go through your books and bag the ones you would like to donate to the book sale. The funds raised from the sale will go towards supporting and expanding the programming in both the Almonte and Pakenham branches of the library.

Already this year the Friends are proud to have been able to help cover the cost of the children’s summer programming. They also hope to be able to allow both branches of the library to expand programming in the coming mont......


Learn Again in Almonte this Autumn - theHumm September 2023

Learning Again in Almonte welcomes back popular presenter Tom Shoebridge with a course entitled Exploring the Magic of Cinema. Commencing September 14, participants will view six films followed by informed discussions where participants share their insights and reactions. While the titles are a secret, they include Canadian and international features and one remarkable feature-length documentary. Prepare to broaden your experience of cinema! Reserve your seat by registering now at


Raise Funds for a Good Cause (and Many Paws!)
Arnprior Humane Society’s Fall Fundraisers
- theHumm September 2023

By Submitted the Arnprior & DistrictHumane Society

The Arnprior & District Humane Society is proud to be a No Kill shelter for cats and dogs in our community.

We provide a safe haven for lost, abandoned and neglected animals. We ensure that all critters in our care are provided shelter, food, veterinary attention and lots of tender loving care. Our dedicated staff and volunteers labour each and every day to keep animals safe until they find their forever home.

We are not funded by government. The daily operation of the sh......


A Meal for All - theHumm September 2023

By David Hinks

I recently enjoyed a great breakfast and stimulating conversation organized by a community group with a mission. “A Meal for All” is a relatively new initiative created by an enthusiastic group of volunteers in Almonte. Breakfast is served every Thursday from 8:30–11:30am at the Community Presbyterian Church at 111 Church Street in Almonte. Breakfast is free and everyone is welcome. A free will donation may be made.

Food insecurity is a reality for many throughout Mississippi Mills. A report by......


MAG Artists’ Studio Tour
Popular Tour Returns on Sept. 30 & Oct. 1
- theHumm September 2023

It’s been a while, but the Merrickville Artists Guild (MAG) Studio Tour returns at the height of autumn for one weekend only – September 30 and October 1 from 10am to 5pm each day.

For the past two years MAG chose caution, particularly for participating artists and studio visitors, with a hiatus on in-person tours. Now it’s time for local artists to throw open the studio doors and welcome the public back again, as has been the tradition since 1985!

This year’s 22 participants are eager to......


The Colours of the Bells - theHumm September 2023

If you think that a drive through the country on a crisp Fall morning will stir your senses, there is no better place to drive than to the Perth Farmers’ Market, especially on the morning of Saturday, September 30. Not only will the pungent sights and smells of autumn be found wafting through the air, but the sounds drifting out of the Crystal Palace will further enhance the experience.

The “Belles of St. Paul’s” are delighted to return to this locale to play pieces that were learned for the Ontario Guild of English Hand Bell Ringers Festival in Kingston last spring. It has been said ......


CAMMAC Chorus Performs in Arnprior - theHumm September 2023

By — Rosalind Spencer is President of CAMMAC OttawaGatineau, and Cochair of CAMMAC Ottawa Valley

On September 10 at 3pm, the CAMMAC Ottawa Valley chorus will perform their annual choir concert in the spectacular cathedral setting of St. John Chrysostom Church in Arnprior.

Now in its 70th year, CAMMAC (Canadian Amateur Musicians / Musiciens Amateurs du Canada) draws choristers for a summer choir from up and down the Ottawa Valley, including Pembroke, Cobden, Almonte, Pakenham, Carleton Place, Arnprior, White Lake, Waba, Braeside and Sand Point.

This year the concert showcases......


Help Interval House to Help Youth Survivors - theHumm September 2023

The increased demand for youth support services at Lanark County Interval House and Community Support indicates the pressing need for interventions and programs that address the specific needs of these young individuals who have been exposed to family violence. By providing comprehensive protection and support services, LCIHCS can help youth survivors and those at risk of violence to break the cycle of abuse and prevent future instances of harm. In addition to direct support services, public education and awareness-raising initiatives in schools play a crucial role in preventing and addre......


A New Season for Almonte in Concert
World-Class Music in anAcoustically Exceptional Venue
- theHumm September 2023

By — Maureen Nevins is the Artistic Director of Almonte in Concert

Once again, it is time to mark your calendars for another season of brilliant music performed by an array of exceptional artists. Discover new favourites and hear masterpieces and classics you love. There will be something for everyone’s ears to enjoy!

The series opens on October 28 with pianists Agne Radzeviciute and Dmitri Levkovich. These young artists boast international careers as soloists and as a duo. On the program of this piano extravaganza: works written for 1 to......


We’ve Seen the Future - theHumm September 2023

By Glenda Jones

If I’d known then (1960) what I know now, I’d not have fallen for the old adage that girls could only be teachers, nurses or secretaries. Maybe I’d have been brave enough to have donned a hard hat, visi-vest and boots, and become a forestry student. However, those were the days when forestry people were all men. Forest firefighters were enlisted among the guys in the bar. If you were old enough to drink, you were old enough to get your butt out the door and protect your community. All y......


Artisan Village at the Falls - theHumm September 2023

By Kris Riendeau

Artisan Village at the Falls is a funky new endeavour housed in a fabulous building in the heart of downtown Smiths Falls. Committed to providing a space for creative thinkers to explore and express their art, the Village’s retail artist studios provide a place for painters, sculptors, jewellers and other creators to showcase their work. They also offer rental space for individuals and groups looking for a place to get creative. theHumm dropped by with some copies of our August issue and ended......


Public Pottery Studio Opening in Athens - theHumm September 2023

The Clay Studio Collective (CSC) is set to open this fall in Athens, Ontario as a permanent public pottery studio for all ceramic artists in the Leeds & Grenville Region.

The Collective is an enthusiastic group of potters that will run and share the pottery studio. Membership is either monthly, hourly or event-based to attend classes and workshops. Once open, their facilities will offer a staggering amount of equipment, with ten pottery wheels, kilns, hand building equipment and storage space......


The Seven Gifts — Good News! - theHumm September 2023

By Submitted Mississippi MillsAll My Relations

Mississippi Mills All My Relations (MMAMR) is delighted to report that we have reached our fundraising goal of $130,000 for our Seven Gifts Truth and Reconciliation project! The generous support of local individuals, businesses and organizations in our community has been vital in helping us reach this goal. We would also like to acknowledge the funding received through the many grants that aided this immense project to come to fruition. These include the Canada Legacy Fund, Cana......


Mississippi Squares
Dancing in a Vibrant Community
- theHumm September 2023

By Vince and Debbie Guthro

Mississippi Squares, a vibrant and spirited square dancing club, has been a dynamic part of the community since its inception in 1986. Nestled in the heart of Lanark County, this lively club draws its name from the nearby Mississippi River and Lake. It’s an area rich in community spirit, and Mississippi Squares has embodied this spirit for decades.

Offering a warm welcome to all, Mississippi Squares has evolved into one of the most prominent members of the Eastern Ont......


Explore Art in the Madawaska Valley
Local Artists Open Their Doors During Popular Autumn Studio Tour
- theHumm September 2023

With fall colours on full display, the majestic landscapes of the Madawaska Valley transform into a natural work of art at this time of year. It’s easy to understand why so many artists and artisans are drawn to this rugged yet beautiful part of the world. Their art and their inspiring surroundings will both be on display during the two-day Madawaska Valley Studio Tour, taking place on September 30 and October 1. It’s the perfect opportunity to take in the spectacular scenery and experie......


Talking Across Difference
How Can We Have Conversations that Bring Us Together?
- theHumm September 2023

By Deborah Conners, PhD

Conflict in communities, in families and among friends seems increasingly visible, and the resulting separations can be painful. How can we have conversations that bring us together rather than drive us apart? Many of us were raised in families and communities where disagreements were pushed under the rug, or the “answer” imposed by a parent or community leader. Being able to engage in conversations from different points of view without ending up making the situation worse is a skill that is desperately needed in our communities today.

Would you like more skills for engaging in diffic......


Literary Evenings in Almonte
Presented by Mill Street Books at the Almonte Library
- theHumm September 2023

Almonte’s Mill Street Books is delighted to present a series of literary evenings with favourite authors from near and far this autumn. They will take place from 6:30–8pm at the Almonte Branch of the Mississippi Mills Public Library and are free of charge, but registration is required at missmillslibrary.com .

An Evening with Roy MacGregor is first on the roster, on Wednesday, September 13 from 6:30-8:30pm. Come spend the evening......


Community Theatre Expo - theHumm September 2023

If you have ever participated in, or even been curious about community theatre, here’s your chance to find out more about it! On September 9 from 10am to 5pm at the Osgoode Community Centre, a group of local troupes are holding a Community Theatre Expo. This free event is open to all ages and features acting and production workshops, ongoing demonstrations, and information about local theatre companies. There’s even a costume photo booth, a video puppet show and face painting for kids!



Back to School Portraits
Supporting the Mississippi Mills Public Library
- theHumm September 2023

Stephanie de Montigny, owner of Pure Natural Portraits, has put together an exciting event for a great cause. This year’s annual Back to School portrait event will be held on September 10 at the Almonte branch of the Mississippi Mills Public Library (MMPL), where children can enjoy a day of portraits and exploring educational opportunities in celebration of the new school year, all while supporting the local library. All proceeds from the registration fee will be donated to MMPL ......


Two Terrific Tributes - theHumm September 2023

This autumn, Dream Rock Promotions presents two terrific tribute bands at Perth’s Farrell Hall. Both are 19+ events that start at 8pm, and tickets can be purchased from Tickets Please (TicketsPlease.ca, 485–6434) for $34 plus fees (or at the door, if available, for $39).

On September 23, Bootleg Creedence presents the timeless sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty solo albums. Based on the shores of southern Georgian Bay, they may not have been Born on the Bayou, bu......


Expressions of Art - theHumm September 2023

The West Carleton Arts Society is delighted to announce that its signature show, Expressions of Art, is returning this fall! Taking place on October 7 (8am to 4pm) and 8 (10am to 4pm), this exhibition and sale will showcase the creative talents of more than thirty top artists from the Ottawa region, all selected through a formal independent jurying process. The show has been held annually for more than 25 years, and is currently presented at the Carp Agricultural Hall.


Valley Players AlmonteArt and Community at Play - theHumm September 2023

By Submitted the VPA Board

It is with much pride and excitement that we are announcing a re-launching of Valley Players Almonte!

Valley Players Almonte (VPA) is a theatre of and for our community, led through the inspiration and efforts of the volunteers who comprise our theatre family. We are committed to providing high quality, inclusive, and diverse theatre for Almonte and the Ottawa Valley, with at least two productions per year. We are starting with It Had To Be You in December 2023 and moving to an imme......


Perth Autumn Studio Tour - theHumm September 2023

Mark your calendars for a captivating weekend of artistic immersion at the 31st annual Perth Studio Tour. Taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend on October 7 and 8, this year’s tour offers a unique opportunity to explore a myriad of artistic expressions at four rural stops, while also spotlighting the talents of emerging artists.

For over three decades, the Perth Autumn Studio Tour has been a testament to the vibrant creativity that defines the community. As the tour cele......


Come Sing with Us! - theHumm September 2023

By Pauline Cherry and Kris Riendeau

If you love to sing but prefer not to perform, have we got a choir for you!

We are a small community choir based out of Almonte, some of whom have been together for about 13 years. Currently our members come from Almonte, Perth, Kanata, Carleton Place, Pakenham and Arnprior.

Since we are not a performing choir, but rather a workshop and teaching choir whose repertoire includes several genres of music, we are able to tackle some of the more challenging choral music because we don’t have to prepare for concerts. As a choir comprising many seniors, we know that “music makes you smar......


Kingston WritersFest
Celebrating the 15th Anniversary in Grand Style 
- theHumm September 2023

By John Pigeau

In late September, the Kingston WritersFest will be celebrating its 15th anniversary with a terrific lineup of exceptionally talented authors, as well as a focus on “the art of the word beyond the printed page.”

The theme of this year’s festival is “Unbound.”

“We wanted this year’s theme to highlight the fact that written art is not relegated to one style, one form of print — it is alive in song, screen and stage, it defies genre, it is playful, experimental, weird and wonderful,” Festi......


Glorious Gloria Gopher
New Statue along Almonte’s Alameda
- theHumm September 2023

By Heather Phaneuf

If you walk, run, ride or dream along the Almonte Alameda, take time to stop and inhale not just the fresh air but the stories all around you. Wonder how a gopher, a much-loved puppet character, earned a classical bronze statue from friends in the community.

There have been rumours for months, but that’s all behind us now! Just there, facing the recreational trail beside the children’s section of the local library, Gloria Gopher has been bronzed, patinated and raised on a class......


Capturing a Moment: Nat Capitanio at MERA - theHumm September 2023

For the month of September, the art of Nat Capitanio will be on display at the MERA Schoolhouse. You are invited to McDonalds Corners for the show’s opening event on September 9.

Nat has been an artist all his life. His family immigrated to Canada from Italy when he was three years old. He showed an interest in art, and especially drawing, from an early age. He attended a three-year intensive arts course at the Central Technical School in Toronto. There, he challenged himself by learning ar......


A Country Music Mission
Harmony Concerts Presents Freddy Vette & His Rhinestone Plowboys in Perth
- theHumm September 2023

On September 23, Harmony Concerts kick-starts their 2023/24 season at Studio Theatre Perth with a performance by Freddy Vette & His Rhinestones Plowboys. This show is sure to appeal to country fans in the Valley, as their goal is “keeping traditional country music alive, one hit at a time!” theHumm reached out to Freddy to find out more about their upcoming show.

theHumm: I love that you describe traditional country music as “crying steel guitar, heartbreak harmonies, r......


Generous Helpings
A Safari Dinner Fundraiserfor The Hunger Stop
- theHumm September 2023

By Denise Beaulne

Almonte has grown over the last few years, and so have the needs of the Lanark County Foodbank — The Hunger Stop, especially as we’ve seen food prices soar. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to reignite the Almonte Safari Dinner fundraiser.

A safari dinner (or progressive dinner) takes the form of a dinner party in which each successive course is prepared and eaten at the residence of three different hosts, all within a ten-minute drive of the Almonte Old Town Hall, where one of......


The Pied Piper of Pizza… and Organs! - theHumm September 2023

By Robert Sneyd

A native of California, Dave Wickerham first played with an electronic organ at four years of age, and was at the pipe organ six years later. While living in Arizona for twelve years from his early teens, he became assistant organist at three Organ Stop Pizza restaurants. Emerging as a gifted entertainer, he graduated from university having studied classical organ for six years.

Moving to the Chicago area in 1984, he carried on this “work and play” duet: staff organist at Pipes and Pizza, a......


Rideau Artist of the Year Competition
Everyone is Welcome to Watch the Artistic Fun!
- theHumm September 2023

On Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10, Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum will host the 2023 Rideau Artist of the Year Competition. Spectators are invited to the picturesque grounds of the museum, where artists will be creating original works that capture the beauty of Smiths Falls — where industrial heritage meets the natural landscape — in the tradition of en plein air art making.

For more information, please contact Megan McIlvenna by calling 283–6311 o......


Hope Requires Action!
Climate Network Lanark Presents 5 Do-able Ones
- theHumm September 2023

By Chandler Swain

This summer we have witnessed the Climate Crisis in relentless action across the planet. For decades, climate scientists have clearly predicted exactly what is happening with our increasingly violent weather. It’s caused by rising temperatures. Simple as that. Greenhouse Gases are keeping the heat in. Burning fossil fuels is responsible. More than ever, citizens are wanting to act to slow the progress of the devastation.

I attended the Climate Network Lanark (CNL) Strategic Planning......