June 10 - July 8
Public Reception: Saturday, June 10, 2pm-4pm 

Serendipity changed Daniel Gallant’s life. During a spring afternoon while was paddling a stretch of water in the north branch of the South Muskoka River to clean up natural debris, Daniel found an interesting piece of driftwood. “It reminded me of a swan so I took it home to see if I could transform it into some sort of art for our garden,” remarks Daniel, an experienced and highly sought-after interior painter who specialized in decorative faux finishes and art wallpaper installation. “Using the knowledge gained in this career, I applied one of my paint finishes to protect the driftwood and that’s when I decided to add a branch and some canvass to make it look like a swan plucking its wings. The next thing I knew, I was looking at a sailboat. Since then, I see driftwood sailboats everywhere,” says Daniel.  

Daniel now makes his distinctive sailboats full-time having left behind his previous thirty-year career and moving to Muskoka with his wife, Margaret, in 2012.  

Daniel will be showing his decorative sailboats of various shapes and sizes created from driftwood discovered along the shores of Muskoka’s lakes and rivers at the Chapel Gallery. The exhibition is a metaphor for second chances. “It’s about the opportunities we all have to transform, to take something that is weathered and worn, and work with it to reveal its hidden beauty and potential, to re-imagine ourselves, to adjust our sails and follow our compass,” explains Daniel.  

Nature is Daniel’s studio. He is most inspired when padding Muskoka’s lakes and rivers. “Driftwood has always spoken to me, with its naturally eroded lines and organic textures that showcase Mother Nature’s work through time. With each discovery, I’m curious to know its story: Where are its roots? How long has it travelled? How far was its journey? How many seasons has it seen?”  

Since 2014, Daniel has been transforming the driftwood he has discovered into decorative sailboat sculptures. “Giving driftwood a second wind puts the wind in my sails,” says Daniel. “The best part of my work is being outdoors, exploring Muskoka’s lakes and rivers for the perfect pieces of driftwood, slowing down to take the time to appreciate nature and finding the hidden gems.”  

Daniel enjoys every stage of the creative process from finding then cleaning each piece, curing it in the sun, choosing the finish that works best with its natural colour, shape and lines, selecting the perfectly chewed beaver stick for the mast and cutting, distressing and rigging the sails to assemble a vessel that all can identify with and enjoy.  

In the three years since Daniel started making his sailboats, he is continually tweaking the process. He has altered the recipes for the paint to achieve a more believable sun-bleached look, found new ways to distress the sails and created sailboats with multiple sails. He has also added booms that are also made from beaver chewed sticks. Recently, he has began waxing some of the sailboats to give them a rich low luster and a more finished look. “It is a work in progress with a lot of trial and error,” Daniel admits.  

When asked about his upcoming exhibition, Daniel states:; “I’m looking forward to connecting with the community and introducing them to a new way of looking at driftwood, at Mother Nature’s work. I want to offer them a new perspective and to help them appreciate the simply beauty and elegance of what surrounds us. My goal is to trigger the imagination and help them appreciate the beautiful work of nature.”  

A public reception for Daniel will be held on Saturday, June 10 from 2pm to 4pm with an artist’s talk at 2pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until July 8..

        If you would like to receive e-mail notices of our upcoming exhibitions and shows, 
please send an e-mail with your request including your full name and e-mail address.

Located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge, the gallery is open year-round, Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. It is closed during the last week of September and the second week of October as well as between Christmas and New Year’s Days. Please check the Calendar of Events for the actual dates. For a map, please follow this link.

Exhibitions are booked one year in advance.  To learn how to apply for a show, please follow this link: Exhibition Application.

The Chapel Gallery was opened in September, 1989. Housed in a reconstruction of the first Presbyterian Church in Bracebridge, the Chapel Gallery hosts exhibitions of art and craft by our members and other local and provincial artists. Exhibitions are selected by the Gallery Committee and change every three to four weeks.

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Muskoka Arts & Crafts Inc. is located in the District Municipality of  Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.