by Marshall Ward
The artwork available at the Melissa Kristensen-Smith Gallery at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market is created through a marriage of old-world craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. And, as it happens, a marriage between two people as well.
Melissa and her husband Andre create beautiful pieces of photography printed on pieces of reclaimed wood.
“We have worked together our whole married life,” says Melissa. “He’s always worked with wood and I’ve always been a photographer, and finally technology caught up which allowed me to print my photographs on wood, which really made me happy.”
Printing on reclaimed wood added a whole new texture and dimension to her images, Melissa discovered.
“I just love how the surface of the wood changes each photograph, as we want all the grain and anomalies and saw cuts to show through,” says Melissa, who only uses reclaimed lumber made of enduring woods like ash, oak and maple.
Melissa has been involved with photography since age 12, when she was given her first camera.
“I love photographing the buildings in Toronto,” says Melissa, who was born and raised in the city. “I love architecture, so I am more drawn to city scenes. So in my photographs you’ll see Cabbagetown, Bloor and Runnymede, the backs of all the storefronts and apartments.”
The Melissa Kristensen-Smith Gallery is inside the market’s log cabin, formerly home to Quilted Heirlooms for many years, and it makes for the perfect gallery space for Melissa’s work.
“The log cabin had always been a quilt shop, and when I first saw the inside of the cabin it was empty and I thought, ‘Ah, I’ve got to have this space!’ Just the history of the building, the countryside, and everything else lends itself so beautifully to my work, and it makes me happy. I love high ceilings, lots of natural light, it’s an awesome space for an artist.”