During my 38 years or so of teaching, I have received many letters and emails from students expressing their appreciation of my classes.  However, I would like to dedicate this page to the writings of Ted Storey, a student in my "senior" class and who later became a very dear friend.  Sadly, Ted has passed away.

With the permission of his wife Amy, I would like to share his wonderful poems which were ceremoniously presented to me during our "end of semester" lunch.  They are signed by the class, framed and proudly displayed in my studio ......

Because Of You
An Ode to Jan
Because of You, there's a loon on my shelf
I'm proud that I did most of it myself!
Because of you, we love to carve in wood
Creating ducks and birds that look quite good.
Because of you, we've really tried to learn
To detail feathers with both stone and urn,
Because of you, we're learning how to paint
You surely have the patience of a saint.
Because of you, this class is always fun
We're happy with our birds when they are done.
But surely, Jan, it will be even funner
When Ian gets us to do the road runner.
Because of you, we want to keep on carving
Although as artists we would indeed be starving.
We love the things you teach us how to do
And, Jan, it's all
Because of You

Your Carving Seniors
Spring 2002

Our Jan

They're multi-hue
Realistic too
Has anybody seen our birds?
You'll really be at a loss for words!
We've made owls and wrens
Drakes and hens
Kestrels, puffins, great blue herons
Mourning doves and gyrfalcons.
If you want to know "howcum" we can
We'll tell you all about our Jan:
She's artistic, patient, kind and gentle
Yet she makes us test our mettle.
We've learned to carve, and paint, and burn.
She's helped us all, each one in turn.
We thank you, Jan, It's been such fun
You surely know our hearts you've won!
The favourite bird we've done?  Ah yes,
It's the lovely Bluebird of Happiness!

May 2003

(I had two poems presented this year in honor of becoming a Canadian Citizen)

She's A Canadian! Eh?
(So forget "The Lambeth Walk" eh?)

Any Tuesday or Thursday
If you're going up Loyalist way,
You'll find us all
Carving it up with Jan, eh?
She's an artist with a knife
Bringing blocks of wood to life.
That's what we learn
Carving it up with Jan, eh?
Her lessons are a real sensation,
She's our inspiration
Stimulating ego inflation
Carving it up with Jan, eh?
If you've goofed and nearly cried,
She'll shape one side and save your pride,
And say do that on the other side,
Carving it up with Jan, eh?
With the patience of a saint,
She'll show us how to mix our paint.
The Group of Seven, we just ain't
Carving it up with Jan, eh?
If when you put paint on the bird,
You mess it up, she'll have a kind word
She makes you feel you're not a nerd,
Carving it up with Jan, eh?
Then the bird looks quite all right,
In fact it's really a pretty sight.
So how could one not be a fan
Of carving it up with Jan? eh?

Ted Storey, April 2004

The Age of Enlightenment

I wonder now just why my life was spent
With never ever having the intent
Or knowing till I was 70 what it meant
To carve in wood and find that it is good
When fortune knocks to know you should 
Try doing something you never thought you could.
I know my talent falls a little short
For doing artsy stuff of any sort.
I've always gravitated toward sport
Then when I carved and my first bird was done,
I understood how art could be such fun,
Like moving from the shadows into sun.
So now I go with keen anticipation
To share with real nice folks the sheer elation
Of carving artifacts of my creation.
So if you want to know just how I can,
Since I've been carving over a decade's span,
I'll tell you - it's because I've learned from Jan.

Ted Story, April 2004

Keepers of the Flame

Tuesdays and Thursdays we're at Artillery Park
Learning new ways to fan the spark
That carving gives to an aging group
Of some who are artists, while others just cope.
But the challenge is there for us every day
When we listen to Jan as she shows the way,
Inspiring each of us in turn
To carve, and to paint after we burn,
With demos and helpful words of advice
In a manner so kind, thoughtful and nice.
While Jim keeps logistics firmly on track,
Helped always by Margie, Bert and Jack.
So, to these fine folks, we in the ranks
Give a grateful and hearty expression of thanks.

Ted Storey, May 2005

Old Dogs - New Tricks

They say old dogs can't learn new tricks,
But Jan can teach them so it sticks.
She starts us off with just a knife
To bring some blocks of wood to life,
Then how to hold it, how to use it,
Caring never to abuse it.
Strop the blade, keep it keen,
Sharper knives you've never seen.
Round the head, carve the beak.
It's the attitude we seek.
Shape the body, sand it neat,
Put the eyes in, make the feet.
Draw the plumage into groups,
Mark the feathers with nice loops.
Burn the barbs, mark the quills,
See how well each feather fills?
Mix the paints, brush them on,
Do a wash, and there, it's done!
We've learned new tricks for carving birds,
We old dogs say with heartfelt works.

Thanks Jan!

Ted Storey
April 2006


The goldfinch is a pretty bird
Its clear song is distinctly heard
In summer when its feathers bold
Amid the foliage shimmer gold.
We proudly show our yellow birds
And now we try to find the words
To praise our Jan who teaches us
With clear instructions and no fuss.
Her demos show us what and how
As watching her, we all say "Wow!"
She always goes the extra mile
with cheering words and happy smile,
And comments gently to each one
Making us feel good when we're done.
That's why from us, each one a fan,
We say a heartfelt "Thank you Jan."

Ted Storey
April 2007

How The Tough Get Going

When the block is in the rough
And the task ahead seems tough
We wonder how to start
To create a work of art.

Then we hear a cheerful sound
Telling us to carve it round.
So the bird will take its shape
From the head right through the cape.

As the body does get round
By our carving we have found.
each Jan's demo leads us on
Until the painting is all done.

Then we think back to the start
That began this work of art.
And we give the credit due 
To the one who led us through.

So, we say "thanks" to our Jan,
Who taught us to say,  "Yes, I can".

Ted Story
May 2009

Painting a Portrait of Jan

1.  Mix knowledge with sharing for a base

2.  Add a mix of creativity and consummate skill

3.  Blend one and two above with equal parts of inspiration and encouragement  

4.  Combine sensitivity with patience

5.  Add generosity with hands-on-help

6.  Lighten with smailes and laughter

7.  Wash over all with caring and kindness

This is a portrait of our uniquely multi-talented carving instructor.

Ted Story, June 2010


When seniors reach retirement, it is important that they find satisfying 
involvement in activities that add meaning to their lives.  Such is the value of the
Kingston Carving Club.

A review of the production of the Club's members gives testimonial to
their success in finding a joy in carving that adds spice to life:

Howard, Margaret, Bernice, Mike Bowen:  Eagles
Madeleine, Len, Mike Finn, Mike Bowen, Ted, Norma, Howard: Blue Jays
Bert:  Parrot and Gadwall
Margaret, Bernice, Mike Bowen:  Crows
Mike Bowen:  Wood Duck
Ted:  Wood Duck, Widgeon
Margaret, Howard, Madeleine:  Turkeys

This partial list is impressive, but even more impressive is the multitasking
talent of our instructor.  Jan has a unique ability to move easily during a single
teaching period, from a member carving an eagle, to one working on a crow, to a
gadwall, a blue jay, a turkey, or a wood duck, giving each person the attention and
guidance to carve each bird successfully. She hosts our class in her studio which is
filled with an amazing variety of her artworks, stimulating our motivation.  Jan's
talent, effectiveness and warm personality comes to us through inspiration,
encouragement and friendship.

We will certainly come back for more.
From each and everyone of us,
Thank you Jan.

Ted Storey, May 4, 2011


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Created: 22nd March 2011 - Updated: 17th October 2023

 Jan Fitch - Art in WoodKingston, ON613 484 1260

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