A new room will be coming soon... KOCHBERG KETUBOT!



on finding our 2022, 33rd annual Open House letter!


I do hope this letter finds you and yours well! Like everyone else, during these "interesting times", Ian and I have had our share of challenges. But, it is what it is. And, in the spirit of our proverbial glass being "half full", I choose to focus on the positive...

A NEW, FANCY, SCHMANCY WEBSITE: For years, our kids had teased us mercilessly about our archaic, outdated website. After hearing far too many complaints for far too long, Ian finally threw it back at them, to … “So!? Do something about it!

Toni was the one to step up to the plate. We had full confidence in her but, knowing how “picky” (“anal”) her dad is, as well as having no clue how to create a website, she was understandably nervous. But the results do speak for themselves. She hit a grand slam home run. Even her 'anal dad' is impressed! And, by the way, when you subscribe to our website, and/or join our facebook group, you can keep up to date on what’s happening with Ian’s art.

THE FRANKFORTS: Not surprisingly, our daughter and son (in-law), Toni and Jayme, had an interesting time navigating Covid. Seeing the writing on the wall quite early on, they pulled the kiddies from school to partake of the “at-home-learning” option. Jayme also began working from home, which seems to be working quite well for him. Toni, too, took a leave of absence - to make certain that her kids were not only “at-home”, but actually “learning”. Schooling went quite well, as did music …

Nathan, now 8 years old, is becoming “Mr. Ukulele”. He accompanies his guitar-playing grandfather at our weekend, family singsongs. When I wrote my last, pre-Covid Open House letter, Nathan was preparing for his very first Conservatory piano exam. Fast forward three years later, and he’s in grade 5 piano, having earned and impressive 92% on his last exam!

Isabella, 13, is currently in grade 10 Conservatory piano; ukulele is not "her thing", but she is working towards her grade 5 Conservatory in violin. If you haven’t already seen the video on Ian’s Facebook page, a short while ago Izzy performed at a by-invitation-only piano competition; this was for students who had achieved high honours or above in their respective adjudications. Modesty won’t permit me to say if Isabella earned the top cash award, but I can give you a little hint ... she didn’t lose. Oh, and like her brother, she also earned an amazing 92% on her last piano exam!

THE JR. KOCHBERGS: Our son and daughter (in-law), Eric and Yana, are also doing well. We now have another beautiful grandson, Kai, now 2 years old. He’s a real cutie, and it’s obvious that the proverbial apple doesn’t fall far from the tree... Kai’s quite the “character”, and like his father and grandfather, he will undoubtedly be quite the handful.

Just prior to Covid, Eric and Yana bought themselves a house in Newmarket. The house had, what they call, "nice bones", but was a real "fixer-upper"!!! There was sooo much work to be done; they could easily have been the subject of one of those home reno reality shows! Fortunately, thanks to family, friends and Covid, they had lots of help. Eric had friends who were able to help with some of the heavy stuff. Jayme did a lot of demolition and disposal. Toni, the family Ikea expert, designed two beautiful master bedroom closet systems which I was able to help assemble. I was able to finalize the layout of their new kitchen and ensuite bathroom, and also ended up doing a lot of painting (as my husband, the artiste, refuses to paint).

The cloud of Covid did bring with it a silver lining … the gift of time. Although things are now getting back to normal, Covid had led to a slowdown in Eric’s automotive business; because of this, throughout Yana’s pregnancy, he was able to work on their house. More importantly, when Kai did arrive, Eric and Yana enjoyed the luxury of spending precious time with each other, and with their new son.

Now, Eric is back full steam at his shop, and Yana is busy as a registered social worker ... not only with her own clients, but also working in tandem with several agencies who had successfully courted her, for her time and talents. New parenthood had been a challenge, but I'm guessing that they look back fondly at those first months, when they were able to spend precious time together.

MY HUSBAND THE CONTRACTOR? OY VEY!: Eric did the lion’s share of the work on their house. But because all of our shows had been cancelled, he ended up with a “secret weapon” … his dad. For the first time in his life, Ian had "extra" time on his hands and, as a bonus, he's actually pretty handy - when he has to be ...

For 3-4 days a week, for month after month Ian drove (or rode his motorcycle) down to Newmarket. He did a bit of everything … demo, framing, drywall, plumbing, electrical, flooring, baseboards, door and window trim, and crown moulding. The boys ripped out all the old trim and flooring. They moved and removed walls, demolished a brick fireplace, tore out the entire kitchen, completely redid two bathrooms and rewired the lighting throughout the house.

Ian's "pièce de résistance" was designing and building a 12’ wide entertainment centre. This built-in, hardwood and porcelain wall unit incorporates a (huge) TV, fireplace, illuminated glass shelving units and two sets of cabinets. It's gorgeous! It's also priceless ... at the painstakingly slow and methodical rate Ian works, nobody could afford him!?!

When Eric and Yana’s house was finally finished, Toni had already booked her dad to help with her own project ... a large basement reno. And with this, too, Ian's payment was being able to spend time with his family, and a made-with-love peanut butter and jam sandwich for lunch every day. Toni now has an incredible craft room and play area, complete with a fancy ceiling, slick pot lights, a sliding barn door, cabinetry, sink and counter space, as well as an extensive array of elaborate, Toni-designed, Ikea storage units.

NU ... SO WHAT'S NEW IN THE ARTWORK DEPARTMENT?: Over the years, I’ve been asked countless times, "Does Ian do commissions?” And the answer was always an apologetic, “No. I’m sorry … he just doesn’t have the time.” But that silver lining of Covid - time - provided Ian the opportunity to develop a whole new line of work…

Almost 5 decades ago, before even setting foot in a studio/workshop, Ian taught himself the complex techniques of traditional printmaking … simply by reading in the local library. With this new work, in his mind, he knew exactly what he wanted to do ... so, in the age of “Google”, how difficult could this possibly be? Ha, ha, ha!!!

Exhaustive online searches were dead ends. Ian was on his own. Months and months passed with incredible frustration, countless trial and error experimentation, and an endless barrage of verbal obscenities. But fast forward to a year later, and ... “TA DA” ... he finally accomplished that which was in his mind’s eye from day one…

Ian has managed to seamlessly blend ancient, traditional printmaking techniques with modern technology. As in his printmaking, he hand-draws layer upon layer of colour (often 20-36 layers). Pre-renaissance printmaking technology only allowed for a limited amount of the intricacy of which Ian was capable. But this new work … WOW! It is sooooo detailed! With his traditional colour palette, signature style, and unique approach to hand-lettering, the work is unmistakably “Kochberg”...

This presents you with the opportunity to have your favourite quote, personal saying or scriptural passage, immortalized in a one-of-a-kind piece of art!!! You can get an idea of what is possible in the “Custom Kochberg” section of our website. The gift possibilities are limitless ... certainly something to think about on the pleasant drive up here.

NON-PROFIT FUNDRAISING: Over the years, we have donated countless works of art to non-profit organizations. With Ian’s new work, and our new website (thank you, Toni!!!), this has led to the establishment of an important new room on our site. "Custom Fundraising", is dedicated specifically to helping out non-profit organizations in their fund-raising efforts. If you happen to have a favourite charity organization which could benefit, please feel free to discuss it with Ian when you're here.

Well, that’s about it for now. We’re looking forward to seeing you at this, our 33rd  (and, perhaps, last) Annual Open House.


Arlene Kochberg