Artisans of the RMG Shop – soap and tea

The RMG Shop features creations by local artisans and artists. We’ll be profiling these artists and introducing them to you.¬†For this¬†instalment, we’re featuring two of our best selling artists¬†who create soap and tea.¬†Visit the shop to purchase one of these unique items!

michelle treen

Michelle Treen in her workshop. Photo by Jason Chow.

Michelle Treen is the face behind Aide Body Care, a small batch apothecary body care company that specializes in cold process soap and natural body care products. The traditional cold process technique uses a combination of natural oils and shea butter blended with alkali. Each bar is hand cut and cured for at least four weeks, creating a mild pH and a long lasting bar of soap.

Michelle uses top shelf plant based oils and Fair Trade shea butter in her cold process soap. Aide body care is rooted in natural ingredients and uplifting body care products. Each item is made by hand in small batches from the Aide body care studio in Oshawa. All of the soap made by Michelle is guaranteed vegan, bio-degradable, paraben SLS and phthalate free. Michelle  is passionate about the environment and makes sure the soap is bio-degradable.

Natalie Gilday

Natalie Gilday at the Honey & Tea store. Photo courtesy of Natalie Gilday.

Oshawa native Natalie Gilday has been on a mission since adolescence to change the world around her, advocating for the lost and broken-hearted. After living in three countries outside of Canada, Natalie returned home in 2009 with a vision to help homeless youth in her own neighbourhood. After researching and observing the success of Social Enterprise in rehabilitating at risk youth, Natalie founded Honey & Tea.

Honey & Tea is an Oshawa based loose leaf tea retailer who sources the freshest teas and provides the added value of tea themed events to our clients within Durham. Honey & Tea exists to turn profit into opportunity for homeless and at risk youth through mentorship, training and employment. We introduce the tea enthusiasts of Durham to an exotic array of premium teas, while educating health conscious consumers as to the lifestyle benefits of tea consumption. Tea talks and customized in-home parties are available for consumers who want to delve deeper into the extensive tea world. Honey & Tea is determined to define Canadian Tea Culture and improve the quality of our clients lives through natural RemeTeas.

Unique items by RMG Shop artisans

The RMG Shop features creations by local artisans and artists. We’ll be profiling these artists and introducing them to you.¬†For the third¬†instalment, we’re featuring three artists who use¬†materials¬†in innovative¬†ways.¬†Visit the shop to purchase one of these unique items!


shop artist

Courtney O’Reilly in the RMG Shop. Photo by Carla Sinclair.

Courtney O’Reilly studied Bio-Medical Sciences at the University of Guelph. During her studies at Guelph, she became interested in the overlap between her anatomy studies and yoga postures. After graduating, Courtney O’Reilly completed a yoga teacher-training course and became a yoga instructor.

Courtney’s wood burning art is created on thinly sliced trunk canvases that have been kiln dried to prevent cracking. Courtney creates because she enjoys the feeling of joy that she gets from making art. She describes this as balance, purpose and inspiration. Courtney studied science, she considers herself a self-taught artist. Her creations have hopes of instilling feelings of mindfulness and peace.

peter martin

Peter Martin with one of his inuksuk. Photo courtesy of Peter Martin.

Peter and his wife Thelma split their time between their home in Oshawa and their beloved cottage in Fenelon Falls.¬† This has allowed him to not only take the time to develop his talent further but also to participate in more shows. Peter still attends classes himself, mainly in Haliburton.¬† As he says, ‚ÄúYou are never done learning.¬† There are always new techniques to learn.‚ÄĚ

Peter generally works in Brazilian soap stone, Quebec soap stone, Alabaster stone from Spain and some stones from China.  He is currently working on a panda, carved out of aptly enough, Panda stone.  The stone most of us are familiar with is the green Quebec soap stone.  Much of it is used by the Inuit carvers that we often see.  It is quite a symbolic Canadian material. Peter’s carvings take many different forms.  He equally enjoys carving animals and landscapes.  Owls, bears, musk ox and wolves sit comfortably beside pine trees and schooners carved of stone.  The love of the outdoors and everything it encompasses shines through in Peter’s work.

callum donvan

Callum in his home making dolls. Photo courtesy of Julia Donovan.

Callum Donovan is an eleven year-old artist who lives in Whitby, Ontario with his parents, his younger brother and his beloved dog Jiggs. From about the time he was learning to walk, Callum showed a strong inclination towards expressing himself through art, preferably in three dimensions.

Last summer he began experimenting with the creation of art dolls and has been passionately constructing them ever since. They are made from a variety of materials, including paper clay, wire armature and stuffing. He hand sews all the clothes. Callum is very excited to be sharing some of the characters that live in his head and hopes people enjoy looking at them as much as he enjoys making them.

When he grows up, Callum aspires to become a professional artist, perhaps expanding into theatre and film design. Callum has recently started an art school fund and any proceeds from the sale of his dolls are being deposited in the account.

Glass artists in the RMG Shop

The RMG Shop features creations by local artisans and artists. We’ll be profiling these artists and introducing them to you.¬†For the second instalment, we’re featuring two¬†glass artists.¬†Visit the shop to purchase one of these unique items!

glass casting

Angela Legere casting glass at Sheridan College. Photo courtesy of Angela Legere.

Angela Legere is a glass artist from Oshawa, Ontario.  She is currently in her final year of the Craft and Design Program at Sheridan Collage where her major is in glass casting and kiln forming. Angela enjoys making functional objects although her main focus is body casting and working with the female form.  Angela is looking forward to embarking on her new career.

After three years of exploring glass making in various forms, Angela has found a passion for mold making. Most of her studio time is spent in the sand casting area or kiln casting room preparing molds and learning about new materials. She enjoys making functional objects although her main focus is body casting and working with the female form.


Rhonda Davey’s jewellery in the RMG Shop. Photo by Alex Ross.

Rhonda Davey has been a creative artistic person, making handmade items since her youth. She finds it very rewarding seeing a finished item after spending hours coming up with the idea, figuring out what materials to use and then completing the task.

When she was young, she worked with her grandfather in his workshop building furniture. She was in grade school when she started to make her own jewellery. In her jewellery design she uses a combination of glass and acrylic beads with semi-precious stones, memory wire, beading wire and chain. She finds inspiration from nature and architecture.

Her passion is working with stained glass to design unique panels and sun catchers. She was inspired by stained glass church windows and wanted to learn what goes into making them. She uses the copper foil technique, which involves each piece of glass to be hand cut, the edges are smoothed with a grinder and copper foil is wrapped around each piece. It is then laid out on the paper pattern and soldered together.
Whether she is painting or working with glass, all of her pieces have been hand crafted with attention to detail and high quality materials.

RMG Shop artists using colour

The RMG Shop features creations by local artisans and artists. We’ll be profiling these artists and introducing them to you. Visit the shop to purchase one of these unique items!

For the¬†first instalment, we’re featuring three artists who use bright colours in their work. From prints to handbags to scratch-boards, all three artists use colour in a unique way.

kelly grace

Kelly Grace in her workshop.

Kelly Grace

Kelly has two approaches to creating art. One is a more traditional style of painting and the other combines elements of more than one different art process. Kelly’s mixed media style combines drawing, painting and a print making process called pigment transfer. Typically this image transfer is used as a photo transfer technique but Kelly is transferring her own pencil rendering images instead of photographs. One pencil sketch acts as a collage template for a small edition.

wizard of oz kelly grace

Some of Kelly’s Wizard of Oz editions.

Every piece of art that Kelly makes goes through several layers of hand applied process. Despite the images of the one style being made in editions, every piece has it’s own unique qualities and no two pieces look the same.

kiri martin

Kiri Martin posing with one of her handmade bags.

Kiri Martin

Kiri has been sewing since she was a kid, but only recently took that passion and turned it into a business, instead of just doing it for family. Kiri’s shop came about as a result of her love for fabrics, sewing and creating unique designs.

kiri martin bags

Some of Kiri’s bags on display in the RMG Shop.

One thing that gives Kiri distinction from other fabric based artists is her variety of fabrics. She also works with her clients to bring their ideas to life, making connections with her supporters. Kiri likes the challenge of taking someone else’s vision and doing collaborations with her clients.

Lisa Martini-Dunk

Lisa posing with one of her etchings in the RMG Shop.

Lisa Martini-Dunk

Lisa takes her daily life and puts it into her artwork. Everything she sees, feels and experiences influences her art. She has a strong pull toward nature and architecture. As wide as her influences, Lisa‚Äôs use of different mediums gives her work a sense of a primitive state, as if her art doesn’t comply to a style, but merely her untouched thoughts.

Lisa uses her artwork to tell the stories of life. She has always felt like an observer and can now tell the stories to her personal audience, through her artwork.

Father’s Day is Fast Approaching

Mark down Sunday, June 19 in your calendars! Father’s Day has been around for over a hundred-years and we continue to celebrate all that our Dads have done for us. From teaching us how to ride a bike to driving a stick shift, they have always been there for us and it‚Äôs time to pay them back for their efforts.

Father’s Day is fast approaching, but no need to worry because we have the perfect gifts for Dad in our shop.

wood utensils

Wooden Kitchen Utensils by Hardwood Hill.

Here’s a set of handy kitchen utensils made by Hardwood Hill, handcrafted by Darren Neil. The Muddlers and spice boxes are perfect for any father that enjoys homemade drinks.

Assorted wooden housewares.

Assorted wooden housewares.

We also have an assortment of wooden utensils, not specifically for the kitchen, but are still perfect for Dad. There are prism corkscrews, magnetic wooden bottle openers and even cutting boards by Brent Rourke Designs.

beer soap

Lemon Mint and Barley beer soap by Aide Body Care.

If your dad loves beer why not get him one of the special lemon mint and barley beer soaps by Aide Body Care, made in collaboration with local brewery, 5 Paddles Brewing Co.

shaving soap

Gentlemen’s Shaving Bar by Aide Body Care.

Grab some more products by Aide Body Care made especially for men. Aide Body Care’s Gentlemen’s Shaving Bar is perfect for Dad when paired with a shaving brush.

Treat your dad to something special and stop by the RMG Shop to pick up on of these, and more, fantastic gifts for Father’s Day.

Mother’s Day is around the corner

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation for Mother’s Day, designating the second Sunday of May to be a national holiday. Since then, we have celebrated over 100 years of moms taking care of us 24/7, since we were born.

If you are looking to give back to your mother for all she has helped you with, join the over 80 countries who will celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.

To help repay some of the debt you owe to your mother consider taking her out for a Mother’s Day brunch on May 8th. Hosted by the RMG in Arthur‚Äôs on the 4th with catering provided by Pilar‚Äôs Catering. There will be two seatings at 10:30am and 12:30pm. Reservations are required, email to secure your spot.

Arthurs of the 4th

Photo by Brilynn Ferguson

There will be an assortment of fresh pastries and baked goods along with a variety of options for meals and a dessert buffet to follow.

Along with the brunch, we have our regularly scheduled OPG Second Sunday with a special Mother’s Day theme. Children will be creating a unique tile mosaic, a beautiful card and gift wrap for the special person in their lives.

There is no reservation required for OPG Second Sundays, just drop by the RMG from 1pm to 3pm.

mom and kid

Now let’s talk gifts for mom!

Don’t forget to stop by the RMG Shop before May 8 to check out some of these, and more, unique locally made gifts for the special lady in your life including:


Some new supplies for culinary endeavors.


One of these handmade Wizard of Oz themed editions by Kelly Grace.


Some of these fantastic body products by Aide Bodycare.


Or a great Canadian product for your Canadian mom.

Make sure to treat your mom extra special on May 8 and the rest of the year too! Don’t forget about Father’s Day on June 19! The RMG Shop has plenty of locally made dad-friendly gifts.

RMG Shop Volunteer Field Trip

Here at the RMG we have a beautiful boutique showcasing local artisans. A team of dedicated volunteers make sales and provide customer service, while Carla Sinclair, our Manager of Community and Volunteer Development buys new merchandise and contracts consignment work. Our vision moving into 2016 is to support even more Canadian handcrafted items while providing meaningful opportunities for our amazing volunteers.

These goals influenced Sinclair to initiate a field trip with her volunteers. A group of 8 ventured to Peterborough on the weekend for a day of art show hopping and lunch, guided by the RMG’s Leslie Menaugh. Leslie manages our Public Programs and ArtReach. She is connected with a large community of Artists in the Peterborough area and offered to helm the art tour, introducing our eager crew to some wonderfully talented folks!

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs so important that the volunteers know each other and bond. When Carla asked for location suggestions for the trip, two really exciting art shows came to mind. The Focus fair, downtown Peterborough and Eddy Creek.¬†This is my personal stance but my sense is that the RMG wants to adopt an economic model that starts with community building. We do this with our volunteers in designing these kinds of programs. Bringing people together. Looking for work produced in Ontario has become very important in bringing awareness to how fruitful this area is in terms of creativity. ‚Äú –¬†Leslie Menaugh, Manager of Public Programs, The RMG

Eddy Creek
Feedback from the volunteers was phenomenal.

‚ÄúWhat a great outing to Peterborough we had! Not only did we get to give some input on shop merchandise we also got to meet the artisans. On top of that, as a new comer, I got to meet other shop volunteers and have lunch with them in a great little bistro. It’s really nice how courteous and respectful everyone is.‚ÄĚ –¬†Timothy Cadan, RMG Shop Volunteer

‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt realize there were so many ‚Äúlocal artists‚ÄĚ that do such beautiful and innovative art right on our own doorstep. I especially enjoyed meeting and speaking with each artist. If they agree to consign their work in the RMG gift shop, we can honestly speak about the artist and promote their work. I do hope we can do this again. Speaking for myself, I feel more included and a part of the RMG team.”¬†Pat Bayus, RMG Shop Volunteer

This is the kind of magic that happens when you have a dedicated group working towards a common goal. Visit the RMG shop to chat with a volunteer, view stunning Canadian made art and participate in the cultural community at the heart of Oshawa.

The RMG Gift Guide 2015

Vol ‚Äėn‚Äô Tell is an ongoing series of blog posts written by RMG Volunteers. Meghyn Cox is new to Oshawa, a yoga teacher, and graphic designer.

Whether you‚Äôre looking to spend $1 or $100, we‚Äôve rounded up some of the most stunning and heartfelt gift options around‚ÄĒeach and every item (whether it‚Äôs handmade, locally crafted, just plain adorable, or decadent) are gifts we’d love to give and receive.

For the Entertainer

We all have someone on our holiday list who seems to have everything. Well, there is an easy pleaser for all of these well­stocked, entertaining folks: a big beautiful bowl. From holding keys, fruit, or serving a delicious pasta, a hand turned wooden bowl will always be useful! This no­fail gift is a great idea for the Entertainer on your list, what better gift to give than a locally turned, gorgeously handcrafted wooden serving bowl? Bowls start at $50 each.

cocktail kit

A great stocking stuffer for the Entertainer on your holiday list a hand crafted wooden cocktail muddler for their holiday drink making! Perfect for crushing mint for your mojitos or fruit for specialty cocktails, this muddler is hand carved from a variety of wood by Darren Neil. Made in Oshawa, ON. Items start at $20 each.

For the Spa Savvy

Why not give the gift of a spa day? Perfect for the guy or gal that loves a good tub or shower, AIDE bodycare products are perfect for pampering. Products vary from handmade soaps, scrubs, lip balms and face serums that are scrumptious, decadent, and oh­so­lovely. Soaps are created using the traditional cold­process technique and feature popular scents as Vintage Rose, Lavender, Organic Oatmeal, and Sweet Orange. AIDE Bodycare is a cold process soap + apothecary company rooted in natural ingredients & uplifting body care products. Each item is made by hand in small batches from their studio in Oshawa, Canada. Featuring natural deodorant, lip balm, bar of soap, and loofah­ body care kits start at $30 each.

For the Little Ones

baby clothes
These gorgeous 100% alpaca knit children’s clothes are something we all wish we could fit into! Tenderfield’s creator, Bree Zorel, of Toronto, ON created a collaborative line of knitwear for sale that supports the creators in Melipilla, a province of Chile. Each handwoven piece starts at $34 each.

wooden train

Know a train lover? This hand crafted train is both toy AND a piece of art! All pieces hand carved from a variety of wood by Ron Stuart. Made in the Oshawa, ON. Hand carved train is only $70.

For the Collector

Everyone knows someone who loves OWLS! Maybe it’s their cute big eyes or soft pillowy appearance. For the owl lover out there, why not gift one our precious copper colored Owl votive holder? Or a sweet holiday owl ornament to brighten their tree, desk, or car!? Check out these cuties for the owl lover in your life. Owl accessories start at $5 each.

For the Down to Earth

necklace on a purple sweater
Tap into the cosmos with pieces made with gemstones, jewels, and rocks from our Earth’s center.¬†We‚Äôre thrilled to showcase jewelry and accessories from Hen Jewelry, handcrafted in London, Ontario. Genevieve Smolders, the creative drive behind Hen + Bear Jewelry, draws inspiration comes from both Aboriginal and Bohemian cultures, nature, and raw materials.¬†Materials used include: gold, white gold & silver plate, brass & vintage brass charms, semi¬≠-precious stones, and a touch of love. Products¬†start at $25 each.

Under $20 Holiday Guide
For those of us with several people to shop for, check out our U‚Äčnder $20 Holiday Guide f‚Äčeaturing our newest additions to the RMG Gift shop all under $20.

tote bag    holiday cards

  • RMG banner tote bags!¬≠ In partnership with Amie Scott¬†from Oshawa’s The Labor District, we have re-purposed the fabric from our¬†banners to create one of a kind tote bags! $18
  • Cleverly written comedic book with illustrations paying homage to artists. $15
  • Soy blend jar candles scented with essential oils $20
  • Jeffrey Macklin art print holiday cards $5
  • Hedore Gionet hooked ornaments $10

candles   santa ornaments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father, dad, daddy-o. Whatever you call your old man, we know he is more special to you than words could ever express. For whatever type of dad he is, this Father’s Day we have that one-of-a-kind present at the RMG giftshop. Trust us, he doesn’t need another screwdriver set.

The Class Act

Handmade cufflings – $40

The Brew Mister

Bottle opener – $10

The Fisherman

Hip flask – $36

Mister Mo’

Shaving kit – $20

Funny Man

Card – $5 or $6 each

Mr. Clean

Beer soap – $6 each

Image at top: Handmade soap in various dude-friendly scents including black pepper, tobacco, happy camper, etc. $6 each.

Images and words by Raechel Bonomo

Vol ‚Äėn‚Äô Tell is an ongoing series of blog posts written by RMG Volunteers. Raechel Bonomo is an art enthusiast and writer from Oshawa, Ont.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

There are few jobs in the world that require you to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no breaks. The candidate in question must be a multi-tasker, organized and have superhero-like powers. Did I mention this is an unpaid gig?

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to reward your mom for the chicken soup when you were sick, the priceless advice for your broken heart and the bedtime stories filled with princesses that rivalled the heroine who lifted those words off the page.

We may never be able to truly repay our mothers, but a unique present from the RMG’s gift shop is a great place to start. Check out our mother-approved gift ideas:


A signature piece of jewellery


Fantastic body products!


A catalogue or art book


Delicious tea


A great card


A mug for MOM!

– Raechel Bonomo

Vol ‚Äėn‚Äô Tell is an ongoing series of blog posts written by RMG Volunteers. Raechel Bonomo is an¬†art enthusiast and writer from Oshawa, Ont.

Treat the special women in your life to our Mother’s Day Brunch on May 10th. In association with Pilar’s Catering, Arthur’s on the 4th (located in the upstairs of the gallery) will be filled with delicious signature dishes such as French toast with French vanilla whipped cream and raspberry maple syrup or a seared, slow roasted pork loin stuffed with hickory smoked bacon and aged applewood cheddar. Just as good as momma’s cooking!

mothers day menu

Tickets are $42.99 for adults, $29.99 for children and kids under four eat for free (gratuities and taxes extra). RSVP to Cheryl-Ann at 905-576-3000 ext. 103 or by email at