All posts by Eugene Knapik

A case for books

I was very lucky to have grown up in a household in which everybody loved to read. I can recall my sister teaching me reading way before I ever learned it in school, and I’m sure that’s one of the things that sealed my life long love of books.

Books open up a world of possibilities and open up your mind. It amazes me that there are loads of people around who wouldn’t consider reading one.

Today we have information of every kind at our fingertips, quick and easy. No need to go to the library and research. Just Google it. I’m sure there is a generation of people who have never considered life without Google. So much is handed to us through a computer screen or through some kind of electronic device.

I occasionally read a book on an electronic device and it’s OK. You don’t have to have shelves of real books and it’s back lit and all that but I still like books. I like that they’re objects, in much the same way that I liked records. I like feeling the heft of a novel if it’s a thick one. I like smelling the ink. I like flipping through it before starting the book, checking out the blurb about the author, often waiting for me on the last page.

I like that books aren’t always easy and that reading is active, and I love when I’m drawn in and there’s a whole new world in front of me. I also love that the world a book helps me create isn’t quite the same as the one you create from the same words.

Most of you know we have a book box in front of our home. It’s like a private club for those of us who know the secret pleasures of books. Some people walk by it without even noticing it’s there. Others have a look out of curiosity and carry on. Then there are those special folks who take a couple books with them and come back another day with books to share with others. The other day somebody came by with 6 or 7 books. There wasn’t a lot of room but this person managed to get them all in. I love how it slowly changes. I have a look almost every day. Hey, that one is new. And that one? That one about fly fishing, a youngster is reading it, how about that?



Gluing up

IMG_1816I glued the fingerboard to the neck blank for the salad bowl banjo this morning, and later glued the heel/dowel stick section to the neck. I hope to find a few hours tomorrow to get going on shaping the neck.

I had planned to overlay some zebra wood on the peghead and on the neck behind the fingerboard – simply because I had it and it’s really nice looking wood. I’ve been rethinking that idea, though. I don’t think the banjo needs it.


His name has been Milo for 14 years. Surely it’s unfair to change it. OK, I won’t change it then – officially. I just call him Bruce. He seems to be ok with it. Bruce Milo has been doing well. Ever so slowly he’s getting used to the dogs. He sleeps beside Tuffy P’s head. He’s been going out some and he sticks close to home.

July25 backyard3

Really Groovy Man. Dig it (Electric Flag)

Here’s a little departure from the usual Old Time or button accordion music regular readers are used to hearing around this joint. Not sure what’s the best part of this video – Mike Bloomfield talking about the music, or Buddy Miles’ great vocals. Bloomfield was previously playing guitar in the Butterfield Band and as well played on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited recording.

Bloomfield went on to work on Super Session – great album with Al Kooper and Stephen Stills. He died in his late 30s in 81 of a drug overdose.

Many years after this was recorded we saw the Buddy Miles Band play in Chicago with our friend Stagg. It was at Buddy Guy’s Legends and it was an excellent show. Miles died in 2008 at age 60 of heart failure.


Salt Creek

Here’s your Daily Dose of Old Time music. I came across this video surfing around on YouTube tonight. It’s Spencer Branch playing Salt Creek. I love the driving clawhammer on this one.

This group shows that a trio is plenty big enough to put out a lot of sound. It really inspires me to try to put together a little old time outfit sometime down the road. I suppose the first step in that direction is to find a fiddle player. Any fiddle players out there in the Toronto area, looking for a clawhammer player? Meanwhile, I’ve been playing a lot, trying to build some chops and learn a bunch of the old time standards.


Summer Salon at Yumart

I’m participating in an upcoming Summer Salon exhibition at Yumart.

Opening Reception: Saturday July 26th, 2014 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Exhibition continues to Saturday August 16th.

This is a show that will be packed full of work by the following participating artists:  Isaac Applebaum, Christopher Arnoldin, Karen Miranda Augustine, Carlos Bique, Richard Bonderenko, Robert Chandler, Gary Michael Dault, Tim Deverell, Larry Dickison, Stephen Forsyth, Ashley Johnson, Stuart Kinmond, Eugene Knapik, Lee Lamothe, Sandra Lewis, Erin MacKeen, Mahmoud Meraji, Wayne Moore, Dawn Mourning, Tim Noonan, Francisco A.G. Rocha, Brent Roe, Joe Rosenblatt, Robert Schwager, Peter Templeman, Deirdre Tara Whelan, Y.M. Whelan and a.k.a. yum. Also included in the salon will be works from the yumart permanent collection including Ronald Bloore, David Bolduc and Richard Gorman.

I will be exhibiting a couple blasts from the past – 2 woodcut prints from the series I did way back in 1987. Perhaps there is a reader or two who remembers these from my exhibition of these woodcuts at a little storefront gallery on Harbord St, back in the day. Since then, the remaining prints have mostly been hidden away in the vaults. Those of you who enjoyed my recent Paintings from the Lost Forest exhibition might find it interesting to see what I was up to in the studio back in the 80s. I like to think that these woodcuts still hold up today. At least, I still enjoy looking at them.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to the opening reception for this show, as I’ll be up in Uxbridge for a family wedding. However, I will be dropping by the gallery from time to time during the exhibition and if anyone wants to meet me there, email me.