Božena Hrycyna is director of FOLK CAMP, an organisation connecting people with the folk arts, crafts, music, and land based traditions of Eastern Europe in the Canadian context. As co-founder of the Kosa Kolektiv, Božena has collaborated with many talented and skilled artists, musicians, and community organisations in Ontario (and across Canada) to promote the richness of Ukrainian and Eastern European cultures, and to facilitate meaningful connections for people (cross-culturally and within their own lineage). Božena is an amateur singer of traditional village songs, embroiderer, pysanka maker, weaver of threads and grasses, and textile craftsperson – actively learning and sharing these artforms from her Ukrainian/Ruthenian heritage. She has taken workshops and travelled extensively in pursuit of deeper understandings of these and other folkways, and apprenticed to the land, spending the last five years on a homestead near Wilno, Ontario. She currently divides her time between the Ottawa Valley, and southern Ontario.
Danielle’s path to tanning was meandering and certainly not the most obvious choice of a then vegetarian, budding biologist. However, upon seeing and treading that path, she was drawn in and continues to go deeper into this old and arguably endangered craft. Over the past 8 years, Danielle has sought out traditional and natural practitioners to apprentice under. Through much experiment, persistence and research, she continues to hone her practice and continues to fall deeper in love with the work.
She finds it an honour to do and share this craft, and has found that it really engages folks, and ignites an old remembering. Based in the lovely woods of Brooke Valley, Danielle wears a few hats but feels truly called to the tending of this ancient craft, as it satisfies many needs. The desire to learn, to share, to participate in something old with one’s hands, to keep something alive and to co-create things of beauty.
The art of brain and smoke tanning is a practice that mostly carried forward on turtle island. Many communities still have very skilled practitioners and Danielle is ever thankful for the chance to share in this craft, as a settler, especially knowing that this craft and its remembering have slipped from some communities.
Scott Dobson has been building traditional, old-style, cedar rail fences for over 20 years. He grew up on a farm in Smiths Falls and first began building fences as a teenager. This is a job that suits him well, while he loves working creatively with his hands in the great outdoors. Traditional rail fence building has long been considered a dying art but Scott Dobson is keeping the tradition alive in Eastern Ontario. He not only loves the actual hands-on craftsmanship of building fences, and the sourcing of materials, but also delving into the history of local fence building traditions in the area.
Scott Dobson is lucky enough to run a successful business without a website. So, trust us in saying that his skills and talents are well worth passing on through his workshops.
Zoë Lianga began working as a felt maker and instructor in 2014. Since starting this work, she has been dedicated to refining her skills and to deepening her understanding of the unique styles and ways of making felt.
Earlier, Zoe completed a two-year program in fashion design and then spent a year biking around New Zealand. It was there that she continually stumbled upon beautiful works in felt by a wide range of New Zealand felt makers. She sought out two well-established felt makers who were also instructors, and spent 6 intensive days learning from them. The methods she learned there have enabled her to design and construct her work from single fibres to finished pieces. The nature and characteristics of the individual fibres fascinates Zoë, as does the felt making process itself – a process that dates back to 4000 BC.
For the past two years Zoë has worked to connect with local sheep, alpaca, and goat farmers, and with local fibre mills, so that she can integrate more ethical and sustainable practices into her business. Zoë’s choice to be part of of her local ‘fibre shed’ means she does not support unethical animal husbandry practices and poor working conditions for factory workers. It also means the environmental impact of worldwide shipping is lessened. The hard working individuals within her own fibre shed have become her working family. It’s a lovely family to be a part of.
Zoë continues to make strong community connections and to derive inspiration for her work from property and forests surrounding her home. She is the owner and operator of the Cordwood Studio, where she lives with her husband, Ben Hendry, and their two children.