French Kiss A Brush

Quebec City, PQ, Canada...Aug. 22, 23 & 24  2003

On August 22nd, 23rd and 24th 2003, I attended my first Letterhead Meet. Apprehension quickly dissipated as the migration of Letterheads converged into Pierre Tardif’s shop in Quebec City. Familiar faces showed up, faces that I had written to, but never talked to. Faces that I had talked to, but had never seen. A smile on everyone’s face gave me an indication that there was something special about to happen. It seemed like the ice had been broken a long time ago.

Everyone that attended were welcomed with open arms by Pierre Tardif, his family and his friends. The meet was very well organized right down to bus tours of old Québec City and golf outings.

Amazement was the order of the day as I observed talent being displayed minute by minute. If talent per square foot was measurable, records would have been broken. Not being sure of what one was to do at a Letterhead meet, I opted to observe and soak in as much as I could. Tips and tricks took on whole new meaning during the weekend. You can read all the step by step books you want, but to see it in action is a whole different scenario. To see veterans like Bill Riedel demonstrate different practice brush strokes, or Joe Cieslowski’s carving techniques was awesome. To observe Pete Payne’s skills in glass gilding from start to finish was a treat in itself. And to see the look on André Tardif’s face (Pierre’s dad) when Pete offered him one of the three finished "Molson Export" mirrors that he had just completed was priceless. It left him speechless!

Letterhead meets are unique. Generosity is displayed in the unselfish spreading of knowledge, talents and skills. The panels exchanged, or given as gifts is an extension of that generosity. Friendships are created. The desire to improve your skills and learn new ones is renewed.

My first meet should have been in Mazeppa in 1999 but health issues in the family prevented my participation in meets until this year. I feel fortunate to have gone to Québec City for my first meet because rumor has it that it was one of the best ever held. The food was awesome and the talent was out of this world! What else does one want? I came to realize what these meets are all about. The Letterheads are a family, and a talented one at that! I got the bite and fortunately there is no cure.

Thanks to the relentless meet attendees and the Original Letterheads for planting this seed years ago. Make sure you plan to attend your first meet as soon as possible!

Mario G. Lafreniere
J&N Signs

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