About Peter Blais

The Maritime

Painted Saltbox Gallery

Maestro for brochure


About The Artist

Peter Blais


Peter Blais

Peter Blais

Peter Blais, born in Ottawa in 1949, graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1970. By the mid ‘70’s, he was establishing himself in Toronto as an emerging fibre artist – with solo shows at the Tradewinds fine craft gallery in Yorkville and at the St Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts.

Peter Blais

Toronto Fibre Artist 1975 (Photo: Stephen Fine)

The Piper by Peter Blais

Harbourfront Show 1977 (Photo: Stephen Fine)

Harbourfront Show

Toronto 1977


In 1977 he was invited to participate in a group show featuring five other fibre artists at the newly opened Harbourfront Gallery on the Toronto waterfront. ‘Architectural Hangings’, curated by Anita Aarons, gallery director, also featured the work of Charlotte Lindgren, (Art Gallery of Nova Scotia collection), Helen Frances Gregor (permanent collection, National Gallery), Aiko Suzuki who had just completed the fibre installation for the main entrance to the new Toronto Metro Library, master weaver Tamara Jaworska and Susan Watson, architect and environmental designer. Blais was billed as ‘theatre designer and weaver of fantasies and collectively, the artists were described as master weavers and innovators from other disciplines. The show was opened by Toronto architect Raymond Moryama.

In partnership with Toronto photographer Stephen Fine, a gallery show titled ‘Lear: An Approach To Theatre Design’ was mounted at two Toronto galleries – Galerie Scollard in Yorkville and the Metro Library Gallery. That same year ‘Lear’ was also installed at the Brampton Library Gallery and at the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara to inaugurate their new art show series.

The previous year, 1976, Blais had been awarded a Canada Council Explorations grant to pursue new approaches to fibre and its application to theatre design. In 1977, he created the fibre costume designs for an ambitious production of King Lear, directed by John Wood and staged at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. Subsequently, Blais was invited to be a guest instructor at the Nova Scotia College Of Art And Design.

The artist in one of his own creations 1976

(Photo: Stephen Fine)

King Lear, Neptune Theatre

Halifax (1977) 

Director, John Wood

Costumes by Peter Blais

Denise Fergusson as Regan

(Photo: Stephen Fine)

King Lear, Neptune Theatre,

Halifax, 1977 

Director, John Wood,

Costumes by Peter Blais

Richard Greenblatt as The Fool

(Photo: Stephen Fine)




An Approach to Theatre Design

Gallery Showings 1977-1978

Peter Blais and Stephen Fine, Artists

Model: Faye Markowitz

Photo: Stephen Fine

King Lear, Neptune Theatre

Halifax (1977) 

Director, John Wood

Costumes by Peter Blais

(L) Richard Greenblatt as The Fool

(R) Eric Donkin as King Lear



Designer, Peter Blais 1976

Model, Janet Doherty

Photo: Stephen Fine

King Lear, Neptune Theatre

Halifax (1977) 

Director, John Wood

Costumes by Peter Blais

David Renton as Kent

(Photo: Stephen Fine)

By 1980, Blais’s fibre work had evolved to include polymers and resin and in 1981, he was given a solo show at the newly opened Ashcroft- Munro Gallery on Yorkville Avenue in Toronto.


Solo Show at the

Ashcroft-Munro Gallery, Toronto 1981

Theatre Critic, by Peter Blais

Ashcroft-Munro Gallery, Toronto 1981

The Gamblers, by Peter Blais

Ashcroft-Munro Gallery, Toronto 1981

During that decade Blais created a number of commissioned works in both fibre and fiberglass – most notably for the Ontario Science Centre, The City of Toronto, King World Productions of New York, the Hal Roach Studios of Toronto and the Ramada Inn, Toronto airport.

Peter Blais with Homunculus

built for the Ontario Science Centre 1984

From 1981 to 1995, Blais created a number of theatre designs for the Toronto premieres of the work of playwright George F. Walker – for both Factory Theatre and Livent productions. Blais’s designs now form part of the permanent theatre archive at the University of Guelph, Ontario.


Love and Anger, Toronto, 1992

written and directed by Geo. F. Walker

Designed by Peter Blais

Produced by Factory Theatre and Livent

Photos: Nir Barakeet

Escape From Happiness, Toronto, 1993

written and directed by Geo. F. Walker

Designed by Peter Blais

Produced by Factory Theatre

Photo: Nir Barakeet

In 1984 Blais was commissioned by the Crime Writers Of Canada to create the prototype design for the Arthur Ellis Book Award, given out each year for the best in Canadian crime writing.


The Arthur Ellis Book Award

Designed by Peter Blais

for the Crimewriters of Canada 1984

In addition to his work as a visual artist and stage designer, Blais has had a 35 year parallel career as an actor – in radio, theatre, film and television. He was twice nominated as Best Actor for the Dora Award in Toronto and in 1999, was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor in a continuing role in a television series. In 1998 he won the Best Actor Award at the Yorkton Film Festival for his role in The Wager.

Peter Blais and Nancy Beatty,

starring in a 9-month run of

Love & Anger by Geo. F Walker

produced by Factory Theatre & Livent 1992

Peter Blais and  Sir Stanley Holloway

Shaw Festival, Niagara 1973

Gary Burghoff, Catherine Disher & Peter Blais

in The Nerd

Director, Kevin Dowling

Mirvish Productions 1986


Peter Blais  as William

 Criminals in Love by Geo. F. Walker

Factory Theatre, Toronto 1985

Dora nomination (Best Actor, 1985)





Martin Short, Peter Blais & Miles McNamara in

Fortune & Men's Eyes 

Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton, Ontario

Photo: Robert Ragsdale






Maury Chaykin and  Peter Blais

PSI Factor TV, Season 3, 1998

Nomination for Peter Blais 

 for Best Supporting Actor

in a continuing role in a TV Series

 Canadian Screen Awards







Theatre of the Film Noir

London, England 1983 at the Tricycle Theatre

Written and Directed by Geo. F. Walker

Produced by Factory Theatre

Bottom: (L to R) Peter Blais, Susan Purdy,

Jim Henshaw

Top: (L to R) David Bolt, Dean Hawes

Photo: Peter Freund

Peter Blais in  The Wager,  1998

Director, Aaron Woodley

Paulus Productions, Toronto

Best Actor, Peter Blais, Yorkton Film Festival

Peter Blais and Hardee T.Lineham

in Love and Anger

Toronto, 1992

Written and Directed by Geo. F. Walker

Designed by Peter Blais

Produced by Factory Theatre and Livent

Photo: Nir Barakeet

In 1997 Blais moved to Nova Scotia and established in partnership with Tom Alway, The Maritime Painted Saltbox Gallery.


Blais’s focus has switched to painting in acrylic on canvas. An artist owned and operated gallery, the Painted Saltbox features the studio work of artists Tom Alway and Peter Blais. The gallery is located in Petite Riviere, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia about an hour from Halifax.

New Vinyl Fence, by Peter Blais

Acrylic on Canvas, 1998

Low Ceiling at Peggy's, by Peter Blais

Acrylic on Canvas, 2014

Landfall, by Peter Blais

Acrylic on Canvas, 2017

For further information about Peter's career, click on these links to Wikipedia and  the filmography website IMBd. Also click on the image of Peter's book , Rough Magic,  featuring his work as a folk and fun artist.

Peter Blais & Tom Alway, owners and

artists  standing in front of the

Painted Saltbox Gallery







The Maritime Painted Saltbox

All Rights Reserved 1998-2024

The Maritime Painted Saltbox Fine Art Gallery

265 Petite Riviere Road, Petite Riviere, Nova Scotia B4V8W9 

www.painted saltbox.com 


(902) 693-1544   or toll free: 1-877 624-4513