Steven Smith draws most heavily on communion with the natural world at his door to inspire his creations. His stunning herb and flower gardens and the abundance of wild birds visiting this tiny oasis are the muses that inspire.
Long before The BIRDS of CROCKER HILL, Steven was painting still lifes and portraits in acrylic. Many of his still life subjects were antique decoys from his own collection but as these wooden ducks were becoming more difficult to find, Steven took up carving in the late seventies to create his own subject matter. Soon collectors began appearing at his studio to purchase carvings as well as paintings.
Steven's artistic talents extend beyond painting and carving. For several years, when not in his studio at Crocker Hill, he could be found outside creating gardens that he and his wife, Gail shared with the public for eleven seasons. Crocker Hill became a premier tour garden winning acclaim in major publications.
In the early nineties, Steven turned his attention to the wild birds frequenting the garden. The BIRDS of CROCKER HILL is a series of watercolours Steven has created, with an eye to their rare moments. His birds are saucy, amusing and curious just as they appear in the garden outside his studio.
Steven's wide-ranging skill from stone carving to garden design have been profiled nationally on CBC-TV's Midday and Discovery Channel's Harrowsmith Country Life.
His art can be found in public and private collections throughout the world.
Although Gail never considered herself a gardener until she dug in at Crocker Hill, she does admit to receiving her "basic training" on the family farm, picking berries, tending to her own row of potatoes and peas and enjoying her grandmother's modest garden of dahlias, phlox, calendula, bleeding heart and oriental poppies.
Gail's technical background (she worked as a medical lab technologist for many years until she left to follow her dream) and Stevenís artistic eye blend well for the success of their business. Gail researches and chooses the plantings for the garden, starts the seedlings and Steven magically creates and maintains the garden.
After proudly listing her husband, Stevenís accomplishments to new visitors to the shop ( " I cannot let people leave our shop without knowing what we are about! " ) some will ask Gail what does she do. Her reply, " I hold the operation together. " She is, the shop keeper, working nine to nine daily at the height of the tourist season, the buyer, the shelf stocker, and attempts at book keeping.
Since 1987, Gail has been making her very popular Crocker Hill Potpourri blends, some of the ingredients she grows in the garden where she still finds time to stop and smell the roses.
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