An unintended Christmas gift of art

Photograph by David Kawai


Collectors:  Tanya Sprowl-Martelock and Daniel Martelock

Artist: Stefan Thompson

The Work: A mixed-media piece on a stretched tablecloth, 26 by 60 inches, purchased at Patrick Gordon Framing.


Tanya: “It was a gift to both of us from the both of us for Christmas. Back in 2010, we were trying to curtail our art purchases, mainly because we were running out of wall space. I’d been buying pieces by myself and so would Dan, and things were getting to be a bit overwhelming in the house.

“We developed rules for new purchases; it had to be by a local artist we’ve met, it had to be small, we both had to love it, and it had to fit our monthly art allowance.

“One night, we were gallery-hopping separately. I saw a massive,
gorgeous showcase piece of Stefan’s at Patrick Gordon Framing. It was a perfect representation of his work — hand-stretched tablecloth on a hand-made, found wooden frame, with fabric woven into non-toxic, technicolour doe-eyed creatures that were morphing and intersecting everywhere. Brilliant! However, it was way too big, too much, and Dan wasn’t there  to approve. We had to stick to all the rules.

“Later, I got home and Dan said, ‘Honey, don’t be mad, I think
I accidentally bought something tonight. It’s really big and it’s out of our budget.’ I freaked, but Dan asked me to consider that we haven’t bought anything in a while, we deserve it, we can edit and rearrange our collection and we’ll make a pact to not buy anything for Christmas for each other because this is our gift.

“Then he tells me which piece it was. He had gone to Stefan’s show just after I had left. We ended up making one of our best art purchases ever.”


Piece of My Heart is our regular feature on Ottawa collectors and a cherished piece from their collections. If you want to be featured, or know someone who should be, email .



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