Boxing Week Specials! 

Boxing Week is here!

Enjoy 10% off everything in our online store as well as extended offers on our 12 Days of Christmas Special offers! Use promo code “12DAYS” at check out! Visit our online store:

MAB Ventures Inc.-An Arts & Entertainment Agency, 1335 Pemberton Avenue, North Vancouver BC 

Final Call for our Art World Expo Christmas Fair Vendors! 

Are you an artisan or independent rep looking for a holiday event to participate in this year? Look no further and join our exciting Christmas Fair this year! 

We have a limited number of tables left for vendors at our Christmas Fair on December 16! Submit your registration today here: Questions? Call Monika Blichar 6049996177 

We love to small businesses and Artisans and our Christmas Fair will be no exception to sharing the love for all things unique and local this December! 

Thank you to Two of Hearts boutique in Kits for donating $5-$25 gift cards to spend in store! Lots of raffle prizes every 30 minutes! 

Preview products, join the convo and connect with participants on our Official Facebook Event Page

When you attend this COMPLIMENTARY ENTRY EVENT, you’ll find: 
-Over 50 vendor tables including art, jewellery, fashion, hand knit goods, make up, skin care, chocolate, baked goods, kids accessories, essential oils, dog accessories, home decor, and health and wellness products and services and much more! Everything you need in one venue to complete your holiday shopping and networking! Ask our vendors about collaborations, participating in your events or if you’re a gallery or boutique owner, come browse to see if you could work with one of our Artisans in 2018! 

-Fashion Shows by John Pfaff, Carolyn Bruce Steampunk Jewellery, and West Coast Hatters on models provided by award winning female body builder fitness models from Team Fitness! Yes! Exciting! 

-Cheeses Crust Food Truck-Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Drinks! Really good sandwiches! 

-Raffles every 30 minutes-Prizes from local vendors and of course, many of our sponsors from Art World Expo! Tickets sold on site! 

-First 100 people through the doors receive a complimentary goody bag! No purchase necessary! Just be one of the first 100 people at 11:00am sharp! 

-Face Painting for kids and adults by award winning body painter and visual artist Francoise Boise ($10/person) She’s amazing! Don’t worry, she will do Holiday themed paints too! 

-Silent Auction Benefiting Make and Break Arts Foundation-all proceeds support independent Artisans and Arts Programs and Exhibitions in BC. It’s a win win! (Huge line up of awesome stuff to bid on-great for holiday gift ideas and of course-gifts for ourselves!) 

-Arts & Crafts Station for Kids-leave them at the craft station and go shop and mingle! We have you covered! 

-Finally, when you’re all done, take a photo at our photo booth with visitors from the North Pole! Capture a memory and celebrate Christmas 2017 with us! 

Current vendors: 

Monika Blichar

Art by Edy

Carolyn Bruce Designs – Steampunk Jewelry**FASHION SHOW**

West Coast Hatters**FASHION SHOW**

John Pfaff Art & Fashion**FASHION SHOW**

Fashion Show models sponsored by Team Fitness-Award Winning Female Body Builders from BC! 

LumberJax Custom Wooden Jewelry 

Karolyn’s Tupperware

Inner Harmonious Peace

Kathline Essential Oils Accessories

Jennifer Haase, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant

SPOIL YOURSELF, Cristina De Vellis

Jessica’s Homemade Alfajores-Baked Goods

Fifth Avenue Collection by Pardeep

Younique, Amanda Cherewick

The Sweet Doodle

Whisk Premium Matcha

Copper Paw Designs

Coastal Storm Gallery

Dagmar Doubkova Herbal Life

Bodacious Butterflies

Scentsy Kristi Weaver

SweetLegs Vancouver with Julia

Love Eco Jewels

Spain Gourmet Canada

Radiant Life Hoops & Styles 

Petite Hippo

Earth Meets Spirit

Boise Art Works-Face Painting for Kids On Site $10/each

Deanna ArtFORMS

Diamond Movement

Andrea Renée Blackett MONAT

Diva’s Niche

All Day Shine by Julie SeneGence Independent Distributor # 384814

Crafts By Julia

Bryce Musil Azrael’s Forge Gems and Fine Jewelry

Taylore Mcmanne Jewellery

Surf Art? Yes Please! 

By Monika Blichar 

I always love meeting new artists and sharing them in our network. This time, I catch up with Lindsay who has a daring sense of adventure in her art and life! 

Lindsay graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Television Film and New Media then proceeded to get her MAED at University of Phoenix. Lindsay is from the Hollywood area where she worked at DreamWorks as well as other film companies and eventually took on her own clients. Some clients include Marriott, US Hanger Company, Hilton, San Diego Rescue Mission, Pussers and many more!

“My work is shows the compliments of coastal living and the carefree lifestyle of surfing. I like to do work with passion that shows the beauty of the sport of surfing becoming one with nature. I like to show how creative nature’s beauty can be. I live outside of the DC area and was born and raised in southern California which I am constantly coming back to. I create ocean art, accessories and jewelry. Paradise Found is a favorite spot in Kauai.” 

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child…


Working Together for
a Vibrant Arts Community

Help Make Our Community More Creative!
Throughout the year, at the studio and in the community, we fundraise by selling various products and services to help us sustain regular arts programs at the studio and events in the community. If you have followed or been involved with us long enough, you will have noticed that we sell everything from Poinsettias during the Winter Holidays, Valentine’s Day Chocolates, Spring Flower & Vegetable Starters, to products like Coastal Imagination Masks, Accessories and even Painting Classes throughout the year!
We try to be as creative as possible with all our fundraising in order to keep classes, camps and events going! With the generous support of our studio patrons, volunteers, social media followers and sponsors, we have been able to continue to survive while so many galleries and venues close down. Just today, we found out that The Railway Club, a popular music venue, is closing due to high rents and low profits. In addition to today’s announcement, the popular Silk Purse Gallery and Music Box in West Vancouver is also set to be demolished and replaced with waterfront development. Read more about the Silk Purse story published in the North Shore News here:
There are others whose galleries and centres buzz to be closing and packing it in. As an arts and culture lover, I can’t help but feel sad not only for the communities and the lovely people who live and work here, but also for the future generations of children who each year, lose more and more of a connect to arts and culture with the lack of cultural organizations succeeding.
As a young girl growing up as an immigrant in Canada, my family and the people who immigrated with us made it a priority for us to learn, do, see and experience as much as possible in the name of multiculturalism and cultural education. Being part of the community and doing as much as we could even when it was at times difficult for our families to make it, was and continues to be a key ingredient in why so many people want to come here to live.
My question today is why are we allowing our own community to shun the thought of such greatness, cultural diversity and talent by failing to support our own local economies? Living in Vancouver makes our money-consciousness, in particular our spending and earning, a high priority that simply seems to weigh us down rather than empower us as a community. I can’t help but urge everyone in our community to really assess what we are spending our hard-earned money on. If we can shift our spending to support local BC based business owners; artists, designers, builders, farmers, we truly can make a difference in our cultural fabric.
Spring is always a busy time for us fundraising in our operations, and with the news of so many closures, I can help but write and give my two cents on the issues surrounding ‘shopping local’ and supporting local arts based initiatives. Since opening this business and studio in 2010, I have seen so many positive things come to fruition as a direct result of camps, classes, and exhibits that my heart really does ache when I think about a future without art and artisans.
At our studio, we truly do appreciate your support and if all you do is share this email with someone who you know cares about arts and culture, then that helps all of us spread awareness about the importance of community.
If you can help us with our fundraising initiatives this Spring, be sure to consider our offers below. We have some great local products and services that directly support the studio classes, kids art camps and events such as Art World Expo and Painting Dreams International Art Tours. We are also on the look out forVOLUNTEERS for Art World Expo as well as studio and gallery volunteers to help with the studio and ongoing fundraising campaigns. Please email or call us directly to join our team and help us keep our community creative.
We are also running our spring bottle drive for April and we would appreciate your help there too! Proceeds from fundraising initiatives this month will be helping with summer arts programs for kids art camps
as well as Art World Expo.
April Fundraising Offers! 
All proceeds support art camp for kids and Art World 
Expo this summer via Make and Break Arts Foundation. 
Spring Seed Packs 
Organic Pepper Seeds with Seed Starter

Painting Classes
Offer Valid Only March 29-April 30
Reg. $40/class

Painting Dreams Scarves 
Includes Handmade Button Pin

VIP Art World Expo Ticket 
Includes Glamour Noir locally made mask to wear at the event,
Art by Edy Art Card, Drink Ticket and VIP Swag Bag. VIP line up as well!




MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery
1335 Pemberton Avenue
North Vancouver, BC
604 999 6177

For The Love of Art – An Interview with Caragh Geiser of Open Door Gallery

By Alyssa Laube

About: Caragh Geiser works on both sides of the art-selling business; She both creates and exhibits paintings at her Vancouver site, The Open Door Gallery! The gallery features a unique selection of local oil and acrylic paintings, some of which will be exhibited at this year’s Art World Expo.

open door gallery 2 

What made you want to establish your own gallery? How did you go about doing it?

Despite a career in science, art has always been a necessary counterpoint in my life.  Then about ten years ago I found out that my hairdresser was an incredible painter.  He convinced me to model for him and it all blossomed from there.

At a dark point in my life Maurice showed me how to work in colour again, in every sense. Our shared love of painting led to an amazing two year fling and a return to the brush. My first painting, after a long period without art in my life, was called Open Door – which inspired the name of the gallery.

At the time, I was mostly seeking a way to capture all of Maurice’s undocumented work, and integrate it into some sort of curated platform. Irolled in my own pieces, and then somehow the artists just kept coming.

Open Door Gallery now carries the work of 14 local Vancouver and BC painters, and offers a unique selection of over 250oil and acrylic paintings and limited edition reproductions on stretched canvas.

open door gallery 4

Why do you feel its important to show local art?

Think of us like afarmer’s market for locally producedpaintings.  By supporting local producers, you invest in a more stable local economy and higher quality arts future for our community.  Our unique format allows the consumer toaccess the remarkable work produced by their next door neighbours.

What do you think makes Canadian artwork unique?

100% of the purchase price of Canadian made art is tax deductible as a business expense.  Every painting offered by Open Door Gallery qualifies for this deduction.  For detailed information please download our free eBook called the Corporate Guide to Canadian Art Acquisition at

Do you think the style of art changes depending on what area of B.C. the artist is from?

Some have a very strong connection to their surrounding geography anda deep connection to nature.  I invite you to explore the work of Mihaela Stefan, Roy Geronimo, Jojo Geronimoand Marina Wright.

How do you go about finding or attracting new artists?

We’ve established a clear style, and it seems that artists who respond to our aesthetic seek us out.

open door 2 (1)

What sort of message do you try to convey with your work – if there is one?

We simply want to demonstrate that beautiful art is being produced all around you every day.Purchasing this art helps artists to stay in Vancouver and keep creating.There tends to be the perceptionthat it’s everyone for themselves and that we must all grab for a piece of the pie.  My philosophy is to instead view it as a collaborative process, working together to make the pie bigger.  Vancouver is poised to make a much larger name for itself in the art world.  We have the talent and we have the world stage, so lets step into the limelight and show off our world class creative industry.

Who and/or what inspires you?

I know it’s almost a cliche, but Vincent Van Gogh is a painter’s painter and I love his work dearly.  As an artist I feel a deep connection with the work of Sergy Mann, who has continued to paint 25 years after going blind, feeling his way around using pieces of stick tack on the canvas as co-ordinate points.  But most importantly, I’m inspired by the Open Door Gallery artists who continue to produce inspiring work despite day jobs, families and other commitments.

open door galleryopen door gallery 3

How is the diversity between your artists at Open Door Gallery important?

The broad selection of styles, size and price represented in our gallery increases the likelihood that a particular painting will connect with a viewer. You can see the various collections, such as landscapes, nudes, abstracts, celebrities, and local landmarks at our website

There are few things more exhilarating than buying a piece of art.  At least once in your life you should allow yourself to purchase a painting you fall in love with.

You do more than just create art- you also buy, sell, and exhibit it. What is it like to be involved in all of these different areas, and which is your favourite?

I like to see the buying and selling of art as a natural extension of exhibitions.  For us, the thrill comes from displaying these unique works.

open door 3 (1)

Since the opening of the gallery, have you changed as a person or an artist?  If so, how?

I don’t know if I’ve changed much as a person but I’ve certainly worked hard at building the gallery into something I’m proud to represent, and now it is time to give something back to the community.

We have partnered with AIDS Vancouver to create the #iheartlocalart fundraising campaign for May and June, with our launch at the Art World Expo.  We have packs of gorgeous greeting cards and postcards for sale online and at our booth, featuring a selection of paintings by Open Door Gallery artists.

50% of art card salesand 10% of all original artwork sales in May and June will go directly to AIDS Vancouver to support them in continuing to provide community support services including Case Management, a Financial Assistance Fund, a Grocery and Nutrition Program, and a Confidential Helpline.

During the campaign, we will be exploring the research to date on the interconnection between art and health at the local level.  Science tells us that viewing art and creating art is good for your brain.I truly believe that when you find a piece of art you deeply connect with, acquiringit is an extremely healthy act.

Check out iheartlocalart.cato find out more about our exciting campaign!

open door gallery 2

Why do you work specifically with contemporary oil and acrylic painters?

Many people think that contemporary art is a style of art, but it simply means art produced in the current era.  All of our artists are therefore contemporary artists.  We specialize in oil and acrylic works, most of which are oil or acrylic on stretched canvas.  Nothing beats the richness of oil paint,however acrylics are a very close second. The latter are cheaper, easier to work with, and less toxic.  When water soluble acrylic paints became available in the 1950’s, it was a revolution for budding artists everywhere.

What is it about fruit that you find interesting to paint?

I’m attracted to colour, and some of the most dazzling colours I’ve ever seen just happen to have been on produce.

How many different art forms have you explored?

Personally, I’ve worked with pencil, watercolour, charcoal, india ink, acrylic and most recently oil. Now that I have painted with oils this will always be my preference, although with two young children at home acrylics may have to do for a few years.

What sets Open Door Gallery apart from other galleries?

We operate without a dedicated retail storefront, so we can offer our services without high commissions.

Youve been to a lot of exhibits – the Art World Expo is one of many.  What makes this event special to you?

Through the affiliate ticket sales, presale items and silent auction, the format of the Art World Expo doing it right and putting money back into the pockets of the participants.  As a member of Arts and Cultural Alliance of BC, Open Door Gallery is an advocate for this type of properly integrated business model.

What do you think is the most important thing while pursuing a career in the art industry?

The most important thing is to do the work behind the art.Nobody is going to discover you, you have to show yourself to the world.

To learn more about Open Door Gallery, visit:

Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor:

Blueprint - logo

Pushing Past the Limit-An Interview with Autumn Blake

By Alyssa Laube

Autumn Blake Puakai (1) Autumn Blake Robot (1)

About: Autumn Blake is a freelance makeup artist and married mother of two from the TriCity area. Her passion is creating unique and interesting characters with her skills, but she is currently dabbling in a little bit of everything, from fashion and beauty to film and body painting. She will be showcasing her work in this year’s body painting competition at the Art World Expo.


How would you describe your work as a makeup artist?

My enthusiasm in the industry works strongly with the creative side of makeup artistry. I strive to create something that captivates the eye. I apply that drive to my makeup; be it fashion on the runway, special effects (my favourite), or a full character makeup.

How were you trained in makeup?

I was professionally trained at Blanche Macdonald Centre in the Global Makeup Program (and graduated on January 16th of this year), so I learned everything from everyday makeup and bridal to special effects and character makeups.

Many of your pieces seem to have an alien-like look to them. Is this the look you aim for, and why do you like to create it?

Though I really do enjoy science fiction characters, I feel as if I just truly enjoy freedom in creativity. Creating without restriction can result in some amazing pieces. That freedom makes the art push past the limit of natural world ideas, which is why the characters sometimes come off as alien.

Where do you get inspiration for your pieces?

I get inspiration everywhere! One week it could be comic books and video games and the next it could be organics and nature.

How does your makeup style for yourself compare to the one you use on your work?

My makeup style for myself is the complete opposite! It’s usually very subtle and natural, whereas my work is generally more bold and colourful.

What’s your favourite makeup design trend, or even time period?

I am a huge fan of the art style in folklore and fantasy, though I am still a huge sucker for winged liner and red lips!

What are you hoping to accomplish at this year’s expo?

I’m hoping to push my abilities, create something new and different, and share my and other artist’s work.

To view more of Autumn’s work, visit:

The Pioneering Spirit-An Interview with West Coast Artist, Susan Galick

The Pioneering Spirit

An Interview with West Coast Artist, Susan Galick

By Alyssa Laube



About: Susan Galick describes herself as a fun-loving lady with a passion for life, family and friends. She aims to live each and every day to it’s fullest and is happily devoted to the things she loves to do most – painting, music, art, and all things creative!


How long have you been involved in art?

I have been involved in some sort of art my entire life from sewing, knitting, needlecraft, tole painting, fashion design, stained glass, wood burning, chocolate making, cake decorating, handcrafts of all types, soap making – anything and everything creative. I could never watch television.


How has your life changed since you’ve become a professional artist?

At this point in my life I am now able to spend more time creating art.  Being able to paint every day is the biggest change for me.


Many of your paintings seem to be set in B.C. What is it about our province that inspires you?

B.C. is gorgeous and I think that we take it for granted just how beautiful our province is from the coast to the Okanagan to the Kootenays and to northern B.C. I spent 9 years living in the caribou where my husband and I raised our 2 sons on a pristine lake.  For me, I always need to be near the water, whether it be a lake or the ocean. Although I prefer the ocean as it is forever changing.  I have been blessed to have lived by the water for pretty much my entire life from the ocean, to rivers to lakes. Water inspires me.


Which area of Vancouver has been your favourite to paint?



Have you ever painted scenes from a different province or country?

Yes, I have painted the U.S., Mexico and Europe. I hope to travel more in the future as my duties as a Mom and Grandmother are reduced as the kids get older.  My life revolves around my family.


What is your favourite thing/place to paint?

“Working boats’, street scenes, character buildings and vehicles.


What is your biggest challenge as an artist?

My biggest challenge is trusting myself and my own style and retaining that loose, unique style.  I do not wish to become a ‘tight painter’.


Do you think your personality is shown through your work? How so?

Yes, I believe it does. In fact I was just told this last night by a very established, famous local artist. I look at life with a positive outlook, no matter which trials we have to go through, and I have had my share…I strive to be happy and paint happy paintings.


Some of your paintings seem to be “blurred”. Could you explain what draws you to this technique?

I love loose, painterly strokes. My favourite artists are those than can portray what they are trying to say in as few strokes as possible along with light being a focus. Ken Auster is one of my favourite artists. I strive to create a focal point and add more tight detail in that area then blur out the background with loose strokes.


What is it about painting boats that you enjoy?

I just love the lines of boats, especially ‘working’ boats with character.  I grew up on the water fishing with my father and have spent a great deal of my life near the ocean.


How do you know when you’ve found something you would like to paint?

When I get really excited and I cannot get it out of my head, I know i’d like to paint it.  No words can describe the scene and I want to share it by painting whatever it may be that excites me at the time.


How do you stay inspired?

That is a difficult question.  “Stuff” happens in everyday life which interferes with my ability to get inspired. When that happens I go to my “Beach Box” – my wonderful home on the ocean in Sooke. It sits on Juan de Fuca Strait. Here is the link and I think you will understand as the photos will explain more than my words.


Are there any other artists who have played a significant role in your development as a painter? If so, who?

Yes, after I lost my husband of 39 years to cancer I forced myself to go to an art school “open house.”  I had always wanted to paint and it was the local, talented Carmel Clare that I first met.  She is the main reason that I am where I am.  She is now my mentor, one of my best friends and my inspiration.


Do you sell every piece you finish?

I’m not sure how to answer that. In general, yes, I suppose I eventually do. Some take longer than others but some I give away to friends or family.  For me it’s not about the money but for the enjoyment of painting. If someone gets excited when they see one of my paintings and just has to have it, that’s what is the most enjoyable for me. My favourite painting, personally, was my one of my Gastown paintings. It sold quickly so I felt like I did not get to enjoy it for long in my own gallery.


What was your first piece?

My first piece was an abstract water drop painting.  I had it hanging in our bathroom while we put our home up for sale in White Rock.  Sarah Daniels used to be the traffic/weather lady for BCTV and a realtor.  She fell in love with my painting and phoned me up to ask if I would sell it.  That was my first painting and my first sale.


What is it like to have your own studio?

It’s a dream come true for me. I can go downstairs and paint any time of the day or night that I want and I am my own boss which is very important to me.


How has owning your own studio changed how you personally, creatively, and professionally?

Owning my own studio forces me to take my art seriously.  Previously, I used to think that I had to take care of my family, house, many gardens, etc. before I could settle down and paint.  I felt that painting was secondary to the rest of my work.  Owning my own studio makes me realize that this is my job now and I can paint anytime of day, get it done and the rest can be secondary.


How to you hope to grow as an artist?

Last night I joined a local art group with their goal being to form a West Coast Guild. I hope to learn from these accomplished artists and to be able to contribute my expertise as well, whether it be my ability to bring joy and happiness to others or to help mentor young people. I have 5 grand kids who mean the world to me and I try to be an inspiration to them as well.


What are you hoping to accomplish at this year’s art expo?

I am hoping to meet new people outside of my world, expose myself to new experiences, hopefully sell a few pieces, and network with others.


Do you have a motto, or any advice you’d like to give budding artists?

I have been through a lot in the past few years.  My perfect, idyllic life that my husband and I worked so hard to obtain was literally turned upside down when my husband got cancer and consequently passed aways 14 months later.  My family and I were devastated.  My favourite quote is, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today a gift”.  That is how I try to live my life.  I have always tried to live each and every day to its fullest.  I have a strong faith that has taken me through so much and blessed me with so much.  My advice to my kids and others is that if you really want something, we are blessed to lived in a country where anything is possible if you have the passion, drive, and ambition to get what you want. It’s true!

Through the Peep Hole



To learn more about Susan and her work, you can visit

She can be contacted at (778)-879-7273 or

New Image College of Fine Arts Sponsors Art World Expo!



A visit to New Image College of Fine Arts discussing the upcoming installment of Art World Expo at Telus World of Science! New Image College has been instrumental to the success of our fourth exhibit and we are pleased to  be working with such an amazing school based in downtown Vancouver.
Art World Expo support local artists and strive to give them the best opportunities to show and sell their work. We also love to engage the general public with opportunities to interact with artists of all sorts at this one of a kind event and annual showcase.
All proceeds from this event support Make and Break Arts Foundation.

Artist Vicki Rae at Art World Expo 2014

Accomplished artist Vicki Rae joins Monika Blichar in studio for a candid interview about her craft.

ART WORLD EXPO TM Proudly Presents: Artist Vicki Rae

Vicki currently lives and works in New Westminster, BC. She received formal training at the Lorenzo di Medici Art Institute in Florence, Italy and is otherwise ‘self taught’.

A Vancouverite with Native Canadian and South African roots Vicki has explored various themes such as SAFARI and other wildlife subjects, dance and human experience, spirituality and psychology.

Using a striking, vivid pallet, expressionism and the full spectrum of human emotion Vicki’s body of work honours and embraces the light and the shadow, and en masse, is a captivating visual journal of her life and experiences.

“Employing intuition as a guide and raw emotion as fuel, I give all of myself to my Art. I engage with each piece, as if in a dance, and allowing the painting to lead me I aim to reveal it’s unique energy, it’s voice and the story it has to tell.”

For more information about Vicki, please visit:

Art World Expo TM tickets are available online:

By Phone: 1 604 999 6177


Event Information, Applications and Artist Interviews:

Connect on Social Media:

2014 Theme: CIRCUS!
“Life’s A Circus, Enjoy the Show!”
Don’t forget your Top Hats and Clown Costumes!

Art World Expo is an annual fine art show and sale representing local and international artists of all mediums. The event was founded by Monika Blichar in Vancouver, BC in 2010 and is held at Telus World of Science the first Friday of May each year. For more information about Monika Blichar for MAB Ventures Inc. including information about MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery, please visit: 

An Interview with Diva’s Niche Designer Rebecca Fisher

Interview With . . . Rebecca Fisher

by Alyssa Laube 


A Quick Autobiography

Throughout my life I have been many things – a daughter, wife, mother, llama farmer, business owner, teacher and now student. And now, as a recent breast cancer survivor, I find the experience of mastectomy, chemo and radiation to be a catalyst to many life changes. Now I am enjoying, with renewed excitement and appreciation, the preciousness of life. Divorced and with a decidedly different external landscape, I find myself drawing on my creative side with much more intensity, truly believing in the power of healing through art. I am recent graduate Capilano University Textile Arts Program where I spent two blissful intense years honing the skills I have garnered over a lifetime. My current work involves explorations in millinery and accessories finding these small canvasses the perfect venue for my creative energies.”



When and how did you first get started in textiles? 

I remember using my mother’s sewing machine when I was 5.  I also remember taking my sister’s clothes and cutting them up to sew into Barbie clothes. I’ve been doing it since then.


Did you know you would want to do it as a profession?

My grandma came to Vancouver from London, England in 1905. She supported her family by sewing and selling smocked dresses out of her children’s clothing store on Robson. When I was 9, she taught me to smock. It was a very serious endeavor for her and she made me swear on a bible never to tell anyone how to do it ,as one day I would make my living smocking. When I had completed a baby dress, I went back to see her and she went over every stitch, folded the dress in her lap, and said, “It is saleable.” That was the hardest jury I have ever passed! I knew at that point that I had an aptitude for textiles and it was a natural progression.


What about working in the field do you like/dislike?

I love the alchemy of marking and colouring cloth – of taking something plain and giving it life. It’s a celebration of colour. I create these textiles with the intention that they will be worn and lived in. The only thing I really dislike is that there aren’t more hours in a day!


You use both natural and unnatural dyes. What is the reason for this, and how are they different?

I am by no means a purist as far as attachment to a specific technique goes. Having said that, I love each for their own unique vocabulary. The natural dyes only work on natural fibres and that brings a richness that is unrivalled by anything manmade. I love the smell of the silk and wool in a dye pot of onion skin tied with rose leaves and eucalyptus. The colour palette is soft and deep and reminiscent of an old secret garden hidden away for centuries. I also feel an attachment to the many generations of natural dyers and artists before me when I work in this medium, as if my hands are not the only ones placing and wrapping leaves and flowers against cloth. It’s like a collaboration with the earth and my ancestors.

The manmade dyes have a vibrancy and colourfastness not achievable with natural dyes. There is an immediacy in their usage that appeals to my magpie-like attention span. There is also an element of repeatability and reliability that is missing in natural dyes. The dyes that I use on the printed hosiery are polyester-specific and can only be used on manmade fibres. They are particularly successful on hosiery and poly satins, hence the development of the line of printed panty hose and scarves. 


How did your family influence you as an artist?

As a child, I spent a great deal of time with my grandfather. He taught me about the colour wheel using tempura paints mixed by my mother on a wooden easel built by my father. I guess you could say that my artistic side was recognized and supported. I also spent a great deal of time in my grandparent’s antique store which may account for my obsession with textiles. I remember the thick velvets and laces and today, lace images still find their way into my work. My father was an amazing gardener and I think that influenced my colour sense as well as a love for the intricacies of different leaves and flowers. My great grandmother and great aunt lived on Lasquiti Island for many years and collected many books full of pressed flowers which were put into pictures and cards. I was always mesmerized by the delicate petals pressed flat – like I was looking into the secret domain of fairies – or something equally romantic. I still have a picture over my bed made by my great grandmother with pressed ferns and flowers. The aesthetic is quite similar to the imagery on my fern imprinted hose.


Do you have any training or are you self-taught?

I have spent a lifetime exploring textile arts and am a recent graduate of the Caplilano University Textile Arts Program – a wonderful program that was my gift to myself for surviving chemo therapy after breast cancer 5 years ago. This is currently the final term that this 40 year old program will be running – one of the many Arts cuts at Capilano University. It’s such a shame. This program offers students a skill base not found anywhere else.

I was born in Vancouver and have always lived in this area. the West coast imagery is part of my soul. There is never any shortage of inspiration. It can be found on short walk down the road to the river or just out in the backyard. The little fellow that was the model for my raccoon hat was a constant visitor last year. Always by himself, he would come in the evening and hang around in the backyard, watching us with great curiosity. The skunk hat also had a live model although not so cute. He sprayed the dog 4 times last year!


Considering the exaggeration of natural elements in your work, how does living in B.C. affect you? 

Nature has both a fragility and a great strength. It has beauty that is constant and changing. I am always collecting rocks and twigs and leaves whose designs speak to me. My china cabinet is full of skulls collected from under a bald eagles nest. They sit perched on my grandmothers china. Both aesthetics equally precious to me.


Why do you feel drawn to nature?

I don’t know that it was ever a conscious idea or decision. You doodle and draw and paint and slop dye around – Some things appeal and some don’t. I very rarely have something turn out the same as the idea had when I began. Designs morph as you go. I have a very free-flow style of working that follows through the rest of my life as well. Sometimes I think it would be easier to approach things in an organized and structured fashion, but I have come to realize that you can’t fight your brain.


How do you like to use color in your clothing? 

I love colour. It’s all about mood. Sometimes it’s playful with bright colours and other times more subdued and calming. Each day is a new day.


You make both accessories and garments. Which do you prefer, and how are they different?

I probably make more accessories than garments. They are a smaller canvas and I can experiment and work out different ideas. If that experimentation is successful, then it often progresses to a garment.


How long does it take you to complete one piece, usually?

I don’t really work with things one at a time, so it’s hard to say. If I am doing hats, I’m washing fleece and as it dries I am carding other fleece and felting blanks. While they are drying on hat blocks I am needle-felting the features on other ones. It’s like an assembly line – a skill I developed through years of hairdressing. The panty hose are the same kind of thing. I am painting the designs on paper, while its drying I am collecting and preparing the ferns and leaves, then laying them out in stacks and heat setting them. I do tend to do things in runs. If I am making scarves then its a scarf day or a felting day or a flower day, mostly because each thing requires a different set of equipment and I have a small space to work in.


When you are picking which objects to incorporate into the cloths, what do you look for? 

Sometimes on a walk I will discover plants with interesting shapes or in the thrift store i’ll come across some really tacky doily with a lot of texture that is perfect. I feel like mostly, the things find me. Like the other day, I took the dog to the off-leash dog park and he shot off after a duck with me chasing after him. During that little adventure, I discovered the ferns that were growing from the trees – slightly softer and smaller than the ones I had been using. I was curious to see if they would work and how they would translate on to cloth. I loved them so I plan to go back later this week and pick some more.I am always careful to pick gently and not take too much, especially with things like lichens.


Explain the process of making those objects a part of the fabric. Is it difficult?

Sometimes I will paint the actual leaves, others I will make silk screens of the leaf images and screen the dye on. Sometimes I draw the images by hand, or a combination of all 3. It’s not any more difficult than another technique but it does require a fairly in-depth understanding of how the dye works and some specialized equipment.


How did you learn to do it?

I learned my basic skills at the Textile Arts Program at Cap U and have actually just completed a directed study to develop this technique. I wanted to take advantage of the last term the program is running to further my experimentation.


Where do you find your materials?

With the leaf imprinting, any time I leave the house I usually find something. My pockets are always full of leaves and twigs and seeds. The hats I buy use local specialty fleeces and  I process them myself. The fabrics are often rescued or vintage.


Do you ever work with others professionally, or do you prefer to work alone? 

I love collaborations and I love creating in solitude. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone of a similar mindset around to assure you that you are not crazy and to bounce ideas off of.


What is your favorite piece to make?

Every piece I make is my favourite piece in that moment. Although I have to say I am really enjoying the panty hose currently.


Which fabrics do you use for each garment? How do you treat each one differently?

Each fibre and fabric type – wool, cellulose, and polyesters – all require different dyes and treatments. I use wools for hats, scarves and shawls which may also incorporate pieces of silks or polyester.


How do you experiment?

Everything I make is an experiment. I am a messy artist, not by intention. It’s just that when I am working, I am oblivious to the rest of the universe. 


How do you get such original ideas? Do you have any ways to encourage yourself creatively?

I think it is important to spend time with other creative types to keep the energy up. It’s also important to give myself time to create; turning off the phone and working undisturbed even if its just to mix dyes and sweep the floor or unroll fabric. I try to do my initial experiments without attachment to the outcome. I fine tune an idea before committing it to a 500 dollar piece of cloth. Sometimes doing something in a completely foreign medium is a great creative boost.


Do you have any other jobs or hobbies?

I foster high risk youth in the other part of my life. I like to garden and I like to cook.


How does your personal life affect your professional life?

I think the high stress level from my job fuels the need for creative expression. They kind of feed off of each other. Over the last 2 decades I have managed to keep a fairly symbiotic relationship between the 2 sides of my life.


What are you hoping for at this year’s Art World Expo?

I am really looking forward to this expo and am excited to be involved in such a creative venture. I am hoping that my textiles will be well received and I look forward to making many creative contacts. Did I mention that I was excited?