Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

My stuff: Kal Barteski

Artist

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If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)

If I knew my kids, husband and bulldogs were safe, I'd go back and grab as many paintings as I could carry. To me the paintings are more than what they seem. They're a time capsule containing the memories of what inspired the works but also what was happening in my life while I was painting them. In particular, there's a polar bear portrait that I just finished. It's a painting of a bear I got to spend the day with out on the tundra around Churchill a couple of weeks ago. She's been haunting me since that moment so getting her onto a canvas was really meaningful for me. What an incredible experience.

What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?

I can't live without Lululemon leggings. I feel like that might be a little shameful to admit, but it's the truth. I dress them up, I dress them down. They work with boots or heels or flats. They are just what I need for Pilates. They are comfy and durable enough to withstand three toddlers, two lovable (and overly rambunctious) French bulldogs and a lot of clumsy artist living.

What's your favourite knick-knack and why?

I love knick-knacks. I can find away to attach an emotional meaning to just about anything. I have three favourites; a set of moose antlers, the horse from my husband's grandfather's weather vane, and my Baba's old Paxette camera from the late '40s. The moose antlers were going to be thrown out and my brother rescued them for me. I love them. I love nature and organic forms. I feel like keeping the antlers (and loving them) honours the moose that they came from. The weather vane was given to my husband when his grandfather passed away a few years ago. It's from his barn and it's got bullet holes and a patina that just makes it irreplaceable. My Baba's camera came to me several years after she died and it's something I didn't even know she loved -- but I feel a special connection to her and cherish it. I wish we would have had an opportunity to take photos together before she died.

What's the oldest thing you own?

Probably a set of antique ship trunks we use as coffee tables. They are black and rugged and stencilled and really beautiful. They have ship stickers that indicate they were travelling on a vessel destined to Winnipeg around 1910. I found them at The Old House Revival Company on Young Street and they fit into our old 1910 home perfectly.

Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.

I'm a real sucker for combining a modern, clean look with beautiful things from the turn of the century. Our house is from the early 1900s and my favourite piece of furniture is the dining room table. It's made from the floor of an old grain elevator built around 1910. I commissioned it from Wood Anchor and I love that it's got a story that will continue for (hopefully) another hundred years.

Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?

Almonds. I have celiac disease and also a dairy allergy so my go-to snack items are almonds. No matter how little is in our fridge or pantry, you know there will be almonds. (And if I'm being honest, there's probably red wine and dark chocolate, too.)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 24, 2012 E2

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