Salt Spring’s Ruckle family were farmers ... with a couple of artists. Or so the story goes, but it has come clear of late that Ruckle farm was long a south-Salt Spring arts hub
Throughout November, the Salt Spring Library hosts “Ruckle & Neighbours Fine Arts & Crafts”, showcasing the works of nine south-end creators, from the early 1900s to present day.
The foyer display case introduces Ella Anna Ruckle, the Norwegian matriarch of three highly artistic offspring. Son Alfred was a luthier and woodworker. His wife Helen experimented with dyes for the many rugs she hooked from Ruckle sheeps’ wool. Daniel, a consumate farmer, knitted with farm wool, with his vest on display. Neighbours and good friends of the Ruckle ‘boys’, Jim Monk and Sophie Purser King, were wood carvers. Present-day artist, Garry Kaye, took Gwen’s advice years ago and went to art school, setting off a success career.
The Program Room features three gifted Ruckles. Two are known: Agnes, who die at age 24 in 1905: and Gwen (1931-2006), a fourth-generation Ruckle who produced a large, invaluable collection of drawings and paintings of the farm and island through many seasons and years.
The third Ruckle artist in the Program Room is Ella, Agnes’s older sister, who attended the Chicago Institute of Art and took two overseas tours to further her abilities. While only one signed piece by “E Ruckle” remains, other unsigned paintings may eventually be attributed to her – a puzzle with clues yet to uncover.
Ella, it was recently learned, kept a diary of her 1912 tour of Tangier, Spain, France, and England. Her great-granddaughter Ella has provided a copy of it. Come enjoy an illustrated tour of highlights of a remarkable artistic journey, sketching and painting across the Atlantic, through foreign art meccas, and back to further studies.
Ruckle & Neighbours Fine Arts & Crafts
2018 November 2nd – 29th
Opening: November 3rd, 1-2:30 p.m.