West Meadow Press on Culture Days tour

CLIFFORD – Wesley Bates participated in Minto Culture Days on Sept. 27 in Clifford. He welcomed everyone to his print shop, West Meadow Press, located at 15 Elora Street North in  Clifford.

Bates’ website notes, “Wood engravings, paintings in oils, acrylic and gouache, drawings, etchings, glass engravings, handmade books and letterpress work are what you will find when you visit the Wesley Bates’ gallery, studio, and printery.”

Bates is an artist and wood engraver. His engravings have been featured in books, magazines, and newspapers, and many are printed to create note cards.

In 2016, three of his paintings were featured on note cards for the International Plowing Match – a dapple grey horse, a ruling rooster, and a red barn.

Bates’ craft requires patience and an extremely steady hand when carving with his knives and chisels on the wooden block. He has a varied clientele and many of his pieces of art are displayed all over the world or kept in private collections. There are stories behind each drawing and his reasons for depicting a person, animal, or object in a particular way. A nurse’s cap, performing elephant, football helmet, or woman kneeling amidst a bouquet of blossoms are among the images he has captured.

Anyone who stopped by for Culture Days could see the steps it takes to create a print. Bates warned against getting too close to the green ink, as he showed how to place the note paper and turn the wheel to bring a first colour to the page. After drying, a second colour is added.

Town of Minto marketing and community development coordinator Taylor Keunen explained Culture Days is “a national annual event that invites everyone to explore, discover, and participate in arts and culture through free, hands-on, interactive activities that allow you to participate ‘behind the scenes’ – and to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, and designers at work in your community.”