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Art exhibit captures memories of a changing landscape through COVID-19 pandemic – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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We began lockdown toward the end of winter; still cold, we stayed inside. As spring opened up to possibilities, many of us took to the outdoors, walking our only contact with the broader community, awkward though those encounters might be, hailing neighbours at a careful distance.

Alliston, Ont., artist Gary Evans has been creating throughout the pandemic; some of his paintings are now being shown in an exhibition titled “Daylight” at the Paul Petro gallery in Toronto.

He, too, experienced the strangeness of the world and the way he was moving in it, differently. “Avoiding the few people out there and really relishing the freshness of the air and changing conditions of the spring, the walks and sights of the town and surrounding landscape became the subject of paintings,” he says. “I found myself trying to express the different textures of the landscape, capture a mood and witness change on a daily basis.”

A fence. A tree changing shape and the changing light.

“Intersections of architecture and nature always seem to catch my eye, and the painting ‘Alley’ is based on the view of a neighbour’s fence that runs beside a parking lot and an arena building. The small maples that peek over the fence mark the space or distance between the viewer and architecture.”

“Often I will start to paint an actual image, then slowly add marks and imaginative or abstract patterns and colours to complete the image in a more expressive and personal manner. I’m trying to create a dialogue between our inner world of feeling and subjective reality and the generic landscape we inhabit together.”

And now, we enter fall. The days shorter, the air crisper, the shadows longer. We’ll observe more carefully, wanting to etch moments in our mind. Some we’ll want to remember clearly, some framed, perhaps, with simply a sense of colours and lines and feelings. Memories to sustain us through a long winter indoors.

You can see the entire exhibition at the Paul Petro Contemporary Art gallery at paulpetro.com.

Deborah Dundas

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Stories in the stitch: East Coast woman creates art in embroidery – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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With the fabric secured tightly between the two plastic hoops, Brianna Henry stares at the circle.

It’s how she starts every embroidery project because, with endless options, her creations are limitless.

“A lot of my designs are inspired by the particular fabric I use, or the colours I’m inspired by. Sometimes, I sketch an idea out on the fabric and it goes OK,” she said with a chuckle.


Five fast facts about Brianna Henry

  1. Works as a social media manager
  2. Started embroidering three years ago
  3. Her embroidery business is called Hoop and Holler
  4. Her Instagram is @_hoopandholler
  5. She enjoys creating wreaths and bouquets by layering threads and designs

Brianna Henry, 27, started embroidery three years ago as a way to relax and unwind. Since then, she's started a small business selling her designs.  - Millicent Mckay
Brianna Henry, 27, started embroidery three years ago as a way to relax and unwind. Since then, she’s started a small business selling her designs. – Millicent Mckay

When Henry first started her embroidery hobby about three years ago, she was looking for something to do creatively with her hands. One night while her husband was out, she asked him to pick up some supplies.

“I bought a couple of patterns online. Soon, I was doing it constantly. And while I was really enjoying it, I wasn’t very good. I’d never stitched anything before,” said the 27-year-old.

“It takes patience and practice. You really need to be devoted to it to get better.”

Soon, she was reading through a book of stitches, detailing the different types and techniques.

It’s a slow art, she said; it’s not something a person can pick up and finish within an hour.

“The first pieces I started were floral bouquets. I basically would rough outline and then fill it in as I went. I’d work with different colours of threads and details.”

Brianna Henry creates texture in her embroidery pieces by using different thicknesses of thread, colours, and stitches.  - Millicent Mckay
Brianna Henry creates texture in her embroidery pieces by using different thicknesses of thread, colours, and stitches. – Millicent Mckay

As she continued to hone her craft, people would tell her that her embroidery pieces were beautiful and that she should consider selling them.

“I was asked to recreate a bridal bouquet for a wedding commission. Monograms as well. You can customize each creation. It makes a good keepsake, even hanging decorations in a newborn’s room.”

But selling her work didn’t come immediately.

“I was nervous to put anything out. People said they were good, but I wasn’t sure they were good enough.”

Another Island maker asked her if she ever considered entering an Etsy pop-up or starting her own Etsy store. That interaction helped her gain more confidence to start a business, Hoop and Holler.

Brianna Henry works on an embroidery piece at the P.E.I. Fox Den, an artisan shop located just outside of Summerside, where her pieces are available for sale.  - Millicent Mckay
Brianna Henry works on an embroidery piece at the P.E.I. Fox Den, an artisan shop located just outside of Summerside, where her pieces are available for sale. – Millicent Mckay

Of all of the embroidery she creates, Henry said likes the different wreathes she can make by designing flower patterns and bouquets.

“It’s all about layering. I love the texture in pieces I can create by using different thicknesses of thread. It’s always fun. Every piece depends on what works for you and what works for the piece.”

The practice of embroidering is relaxing, she said.

“Any craft where you can use your hands, focus on it, but then still have the opportunity to have the tv going or listen to music while you work… there’s nothing better than embroidering while you’re under a cozy blanket with a cup of tea by you and a movie on.”

She said she’d like to start working on more personalized pieces, a trend that she’s seeing among makers.

“I feel like embroidered flowers and greenery are always going to be popular. But I’ve seen lately people are using thread to paint a picture rather than use traditional stitches. People are getting portraits made or even pet portraiture. So, a piece of thread will have six individual strands, and then an artist will use those six strands to start the project. Adding a more authentic texture to what the picture is of.”


Getting started

  • Get a hoop
  • Pick a material (not too thick) and thread.
  • Secure fabric in the embroidery hoop.
  • Using a pen or other writing utensil, sketch a pattern on the fabric lightly; this will act as a guide for the pattern.
  • Depending on the design, there could be several stitches used to fill in the design (running stitch, whip stitch, fishbone stitch, woven wheel, etc.)
  • Once finished, Henry adds another fabric to the hoops acting as a backing.

The process

Brianna Henry, 27, started embroidery three years ago as a way to relax and unwind. Since then, she's started a small business selling her designs.  - Millicent Mckay
Brianna Henry, 27, started embroidery three years ago as a way to relax and unwind. Since then, she’s started a small business selling her designs. – Millicent Mckay

When Henry is finishing a project, she prefers to finalize the creation in a wooden hoop.

“They’re really simple and pretty and compliment the projects compared to the bright-coloured, plastic ones. But when I’m in the process of making something, I prefer the plastic ones, because they can hold the fabric really snug, and that’s what you want.”

The hoop must be snug and tight against the fabric to make sure the material doesn’t crease, which can make the process harder and impact the designs, she said.

“I prefer to use cotton or linen because it isn’t super thick. When the fabric is thick, it will be harder to stitch. I typically use quilters cotton and D.M.C. embroidery thread.

“As for needles, get some that are big enough so you can thread the needle, but one that’s not too big that it will leave visible holes in the fabric. I also keep a pair of small, sheer scissors.”

For someone who wants to start an embroidery project but doesn’t have the materials, there are many local Canadian artists that can supply them with the materials, pdfs, and kits.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of kits become available to people wanting to give it a try. I think it (and other hobbies like this) are being sold a lot more and becoming more popular because people are looking for a way to relax.

“And it’s an awesome craft because it’s portable. You can do it where ever you want.”

She said those looking to try a new hobby, including embroidery, shouldn’t be a perfectionist.

“If I could go back and tell myself anything, it would be just that, not to be such a perfectionist. Just have fun and be creative. Don’t be so concerned about the end result. Make it about the process and get enjoyment out of it. Use it as a way to relax or learn.”



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Art Works opens to provide opportunities for youth, adults – Belleville Intelligencer

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Belleville Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Raycroft, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, Belleville Councillor Garnet Thompson and Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis were on hand Saturday to help Chris Bennett officially open Art Works at 257 North Front St.
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jpg, BI

Local dignitaries gathered on Saturday to celebrate the grand opening of Art Works, the city’s newest Art Centre.

Joining owner Chris Bennett for the official ribbon cutting was Belleville Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Raycroft, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, Belleville Councillor Garnet Thompson on behalf of the City of Belleville and Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis.

Bennett, a familiar name in the local art scene is the creator behind many of the amazing murals seen around the city. Bennett has been a self-employed muralist, dancer, performing and multi-faceted artist and performing artist in the Belleville area for more than 25 years.

Bennett’s dream has always been to provide arts opportunities for youth and adults, helping them grow and discover their passions through inspiration, education and the freedom to express themselves.

Art Works is his dream come true.

“Art Works reflects how well I am personally doing as an artist; to be able to give back and provide a space for all aspiring and established artists to grow from and to be the influence to our community that I did not have growing up in the Quinte area by creating a studio like no other,” said Bennett.

Check out Art Works on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Arts—Entertainment/Art-Works-203932277210806/). Art Works is located at 257 North Front St. in Belleville.

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Using Art to Fight Discrimination Against People with Albinism – Human Rights Watch

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A local organization in Mozambique is using the power of images to fight discrimination. Azemap, a volunteer-run organization that supports people with albinism, has begun painting five murals at schools across the central Mozambican province of Tete, in collaboration with Human Rights Watch. The murals depict two girls, one with albinism. Below the murals, it reads: “People with albinism are the same as you!”

In the past two years, I’ve encountered many people with albinism in Mozambique who are struggling —not because of their physical condition, but because their communities ostracize and discriminate against them, and authorities do little to combat this stigma or support their needs.

“People would come and throw rocks at me and I had to hide,” said Rosa, 34, describing her childhood. Her father abandoned the family because she had albinism. “People would say, ‘You’re not a person, you’re a witch.’ They would call me an ‘animal’ and say my color is not the color of a human being.” 

Rosa is one of dozens of people with albinism whom we interviewed in Tete province. Albinism is a rare condition caused by a lack of melanin or pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes. Almost all of those we spoke to suffer widespread stigma, discrimination and rejection at school, in the community, and sometimes from their own families. They face significant obstacles to a quality education because of bullying by their peers and sometimes teachers, and little accommodation in the classroom for their low vision.

For this to change, the government of Mozambique needs to dismantle the systemic barriers that people with albinism face. It also needs to transform societal attitudes to foster acceptance and inclusion of people with albinism within their communities.

Josina, a 9-year-old student with albinism in Tete province who is depicted in the murals, has a hopeful story. Instead of being considered an outcast, she is integrated in her family, school, and community. If these images can touch a few hearts and minds, they may also help provide hopeful futures for Rosa and many others with albinism and begin to end the struggles they endure.   

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