Just as each piece of art work tells its own story, it is accompanied by the story of the hands that create it. The lives behind every painting, carving, sculpture etc….. are as individual and unique as the work itself. This story now to be told is that of Wasaga Beach Artist David Bennett and a fascinating story it is indeed.
David Gerald Bennett Born 1948 in Blind River, On, father Alvin Issac Bennett, mother Amy Muriel Bennett. Alvin fought in WWII overseas where he met this beautiful English girl Amy and brought her home to Canada as his young war bride. They settled into a very modest farming life and started to raise a family of 4, and is where the story of David begins.
When asked what was the earliest memory he had about when his interest in art began. David started to recall a story from grade 4 where he was recognised for a horse drawing he did. It was such a thrill to young David that he continue to work on drawing and it gave him a stronger interest in art. Throughout his school years he also developed an interest sports such as baseball and soccer in particular. David worked hard on his academics in the hopes he could achieve high enough grades to keep playing, but as fate had it his grades were too low to continue. Entering 9th grade David attended Bathurst Heights Tech School where he applied to Art Programs learning pottery, life drawing and painting skills. David’s art passion started to grow and his natural talents began to surface with each new program and art course he applied to. Once attending Bathurst for one year he then applied to Downsview Art School on a 3 yr program. He attend Central Tech Art Program for 2 yrs, as well as 3 yrs pottery making course at Georgian College in Barrie, On. which he completed in 2 yrs.
During this time not only was David developing his art skills, he met a girl who he would marry, they would have a little boy which now would start a new phase of our artist’s life. The Bennett family were living in Toronto at this time, having a wife and small child to support David started working for The Department of Highways. Not the most ideal work for a man with a young family, it took him away during the week with very little time for family. Most of his co – workers were into the party life style, late nights of drinking etc.. not at all what a married man with a small baby needed. With a stroke of good fortune David found work at Bone China in Toronto where he learned the art of mould making, within the 3 yrs of working at Bone China David became a master mould maker and even created designs for the company.
While taking pottery courses at Georgian College in Barrie David was travelling back and forth from Toronto everyday which began to put a strain on his family life. After spending time during summers in Wasaga Beach, On, David purchased property there and began to build a home for his family. Still feeling the strain on his family life with all the back and forth travel David knew he had to make some changes in his life. Then a great opportunity came his way landing a job at The Blue Mountain Pottery Company in Collingwood On, just minutes away from their new home in Wasaga Beach.
Now working for the world-renowned Blue Mountain Pottery, and with David’s pottery training from courses and the years at Bone China made him a great asset. Once again he became a master mould maker, this time for Blue Mountain Pottery and designed a number of pieces for the company, the very first was a baseball player. During his 17 yrs working at B.M Pottery David designed many figurines such as whales, wildlife, a hockey player etc… one of was a horse that made its way into a publicized magazine. Life seemed to be looking good for David and his family, but sadly all the stress and strain was too much. His marriage ended his son moved out west and David found himself alone. In time a new lady enter David’s life by the name Margret and she was just the one to help him find his way again. They married and thus began a new chapter in David’s life.
David and Margret still live in Wasaga Beach, David works part-time as a handy man and devoted much time to his art such as painting, carving and of course pottery. He has been a long-standing member of the Wasaga Artists and other art groups in the Georgian Bay Region. David had done many of the local art shows, art festivals, has had his work displayed in regional galleries and other art venues. He still holds a connection to Blue Mountain Pottery, David designs commemorative pieces for the Blue Mountain Pottery Club of Ontario. David is a great supporter of the fight to Cure Diabetes by generously donating his work to this and many other Charitable causes. It was this connection to charities that started my association with David and through a mutual friend that was closing her art business. After the closure of her store she brought in some of the work David had donated for this cause. I agreed to sell the work and after a while David made a visit to my gallery here in Stayner, where his work is still on display today.
Just as my interview was coming to a close, I wanted David to tell me what he felt was his greatest achievement over the years and who was his greatest influences. The drawing of the horse so many years ago, 2nd place in the Chrysler Art Competition and his years at Blue Mountain Pottery were what he was most proud of. As for artists that influence his art styles, they include Van Gogh, Goghan and Canadian Group of Seven Artist Tom Thomson. David also told about his wife “Margie” as he calls her. How she has helped him at a time when life for him was at it worst, and how much better he is with her a part of his life. His sister Margret she herself an artist has been a wonderful source of support and encouragement.
For myself I have come to know “Dave” as a very kind gentle soul with a unique sense of humour and a loving generous heart. From Dave’s paintings to his pottery work, all are very much admired by the patrons of our Gallery. Dave’s talent is amazing to say the least! Thank you Dave, for sharing your Artist’s Story.