ARTS COLUMN: Workshops can stir up dormant talents in participants

Numerous fall offerings around community spur creativity

Artist Donna Klazek used polymer clay work to create this unique and striking necklace.

You can see it in the back-to-school sales and the ever-shortening days; summertime is slowly coming to a close.

Whether your summer has been relaxing or hectic, there’s still time to expand your creative horizons with a class or a workshop before the sunny season fades away.

Take, for example, Donna Klazek’s upcoming two-day intensive workshop in polymer clay, happening Aug. 23 and 24 at the Coast Collective.

For Klazek, a recent transplant from Calgary, teaching others comes naturally. A former school teacher, her love of helping others learn to create is practically infectious.

“I think you only have to be interested in doing something creative to create – everybody has that in them,” she says. “It’s pretty amazing how you can make a nice piece of jewelry using the most simple techniques. And it might just get (non-artists) to think out of the box a bit, that maybe they can be creative.”

One of the joys of the workshop format is that the sessions can be useful to students across the spectrum of experience. Seasoned artists can benefit from the fresh eyes and input of students and instructors – Klazek herself offers over 30 years of experience in the polymer medium – while rookies can dip their toes into the world of art without a long-term, ongoing commitment of time or supplies.

“My hope is that people won’t be afraid to try new things, that they would embrace that. I find that so many people, when they were younger, felt like they couldn’t sing, they couldn’t create … something happened where it ruined those things for them. I just love it when those people discover through playing that they can be creative and they didn’t think they were. And that’s really exciting to see.”

For those with full plates until the autumn, there are a myriad of other opportunities to flex your creative muscles just around the corner in September. Some great options include:

•  Theatre: Four Seasons Musical Theatre offers voice, dance and acting classes for all ages running September to November. www.fsmtheatre.ca

•  Dance: Lighthouse Academy of Dance and Westshore Dance Studios both offer adult classes, with the class schedule running from September to June. lighthouseacademyofdance.com

•  Arts and Crafts: West Shore Parks and Recreation once again has a fabulous lineup of classes for the fall and winter, with everything from photography to sculpture to watercolours. See their calendar at westshore    recreation.ca

•  Continuing Education in the Arts: Royal Roads’ Continuing Studies department offers an array of engaging workshops and talks this fall and winter on subjects including poetry, performance, painting and more. cstudies.royalroads.ca.

Johanna Henderson is a volunteer director with the West Shore Arts Council.

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