CNC-router carved panel of 2-in. 15-lb. HDU board with some carving, finished with exterior acrylic and a domed outline
Carved 2-in. 15-lb. HDU caricature and Café on a ¾-in. overlaid plywood panel, finished with exterior acrylic paint. Rodger cut the shapes and gilded Café.
Caricature carved from two layers of 2-in. 15-lb. HDU board, cut to shape by Rodger, on a ¾-in. overlaid plywood panel. It’s finished with exterior acrylic and 1 Shot enamel.
Letters are carved, gilded 1½-in. HDU board on a stained double-faced panel of 1-in. T&G cedar. Name panels are 3mm aluminum composite panels finished with exterior acrylic. Dennis fabricated the sign panel and did the fieldstone base; Rodger provided the rough-cut letters.
Double-faced ¾-in. overlaid plywood panels finished with exterior acrylic
Carved, gilded 1-in. HDU letters on ½-in. overlaid plywood panels finished with exterior acrylic paint; Rodger provided the rough-cut letters.
1/2-in. overlaid plywood panel, letters are textured with Gorilla Glue on a ½-in. overlaid plywood panel. It’s finished with exterior acrylic paint, including the hand-painted flowers.
Sandblasted cedar panel finished with stain and 1 Shot enamel. The leaf was molded with Abracadabra Sculpt sculpting epoxy and finished variegated gold leaf.
Double-faced 5-in.-thick sandblasted HDU panel over a steel frame, finished with 1Shot enamel and exterior acrylic paints. The graphic is a digital print. The hanging sign is intended to be temporary and was done with vinyl graphics on a 3mm aluminum composite panel. Rodger fabricated the panel, and Dennis did the architectural stone base.
Raised letter is ½-in. HDU finished with enamel on ½-in. overlaid plywood panel. Graphic is hand painted with exterior acrylic paint.
Sandblasted cedar panel finished with exterior acrylic paint. The portrait of Belle and her chicken friend were done with exterior acrylic. Her horseshoe was attached.
Reflective digital print on a 6mm aluminum composite panel
The 28-by-10-ft. mural was done on aluminum composite panels finished with Keim mineral-based paint. I collaborated with Rodger on this project. It depicts the funeral train that carried the body of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, from Ottawa to Kingston, with an overnight stay in Sharbot Lake. It was funded primarily by local merchants. There are 6 people in the mural who were most likely there at the time, sponsored by their descendants. The man with the moustache at the front of the locomotive was Rodger MacMunn’s great grandfather.
Donna and Dennis

Profile: Donna Larocque

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2018

Shop name:
Donna Larocque’s Sign Shoppe

Shop size: 560 sq. ft.

Staff: Donna plus part-time help as needed

Graphics equipment:
Graphtec CE5000-60 cutter
Corel Draw
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop

SignCraft learned of Donna’s work while doing the feature on Rodger MacMunn for the July/ August 2018 issue. He mentioned that he and Donna worked together on some projects and sent along photos of some of her work as well. Their 15 years of collaborating has helped both of them grow their businesses and provide creative signs for their market in southern Ontario, Canada. We asked Donna about her business, her work and how she came to work with Rodger.

While pursuing a career in commercial art and design, I was pleasantly amazed by so many opportunities! My college diploma in graphic design back in 1986 prepared me for the print industry but really opened many more doors. I definitely got my money’s worth! Ten years into the graphic arts industry I was introduced to sign making and was hooked. Without it, my customer branding services would seem very incomplete.

Today, living in a rural community requires a lot of versatility. One must be a jack of all trades. My strength in illustration/portraiture has allowed me to provide murals, portraits, sign pictorials, theatre backdrops, etc. as well as graphic design and signs. Every job is very different from the last and makes this career a true joy. That can make estimating tough, though!

Introduction to the industry Upon completion of college in Edmonton, Alberta, my first job was a courtroom sketch artist for Canadian TV, combined with freelance design/illustration work. Eventually I worked full time in the prepress industry and was introduced to computer technology in design, learning on the job.

In 1997 I found myself back in my hometown. Seeking work in my industry, I purchased a sign business—close enough I thought! Little did I know how creatively rewarding it would be. It came complete with a small customer base, one of the very first chain-driven CNC routers, sandblasting booth/equipment and last but not least, Patti Galbraith. Patti worked with me for five years. She was a very talented self-taught designer, sign maker and CNC router tech.

She taught me everything she knew about the industry. We nicknamed ourselves “Chicks with Knives!” We used the router for all of our cutting needs, even vinyl. Looking back we should have had a plotter. We covered the gamut of sign products, including sandblasted/ routed cedar signs and cutout letters, setting us apart from our local competitors.

My future husband came into the picture and thanks to his patience became an integral part of my sign business from then on. At the time he owned and operated a restaurant and would show up in his whites to help us with a difficult installation. We always got laughs.

Dennis also has a background in carpentry and more recently a masonry contractor. Today he helps with most of my installations, some sign construction and his beautiful stonework graces some of my projects—all while running his own business.

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