By Minal Abhange
Kerri Ivany’s love for crafting began at young age, after spending countless hours watching her grandmother knit all sorts of clothing for their family; hats, sweaters, scarves, it was all made from scratch.
What helped her transform a hobby into a career was the passion to do something hands-on and creative.
“I did like to study, yet even as a child I never saw myself aspiring to a traditional career. I always wanted to do something creative, and was inclined towards spending time sewing in high school.”
Once Kerri finished high school, the intense urge to do something creative motivated her to pursue the colleges Textiles: Crafts & Apparel Design program in St John’s.
“I took sewing in high school and with the talent I had, my teacher motivated me to consider further education to hone my skills. On doing some research, I was intrigued by the career opportunities and decided to apply to CNA.”
Kerri graduated from CNA in 2013, and has since worked with several top brands as a tailor.
“I worked with some fine brands and absolutely loved my job. At some point, however, I felt I had to step away to establish myself as an independent artist.”
This is when her experience with the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation began. The Plantation serves as a craft incubator for emerging artists, providing rental studio space and several resources to support an artist’s transition into the industry.
Along with helping the artists, there are several workshops and exhibitions where people can learn more about crafts, as well as buy products the artists created in their studios – further helping to promote and share local talent throughout the community.
“It has been a great fit for me to transition into the industry,” Kerri says. “I enjoy the studio space and the company of creative artists. Some of the products that I have created are clutch purses, greeting cards, wall hangings, pillows, patches, and brooches.”
The amazing part about connecting with Quidi Vidi Village Plantation is the exposure, yet we (the artists) are in a comfortable controlled environment. When people buy products made here they also get the background and our individual stories behind them, which is amazing.”
Along with discovering her true calling as an artist, Kerri has been involved with the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council (RIAC) in St. John’s – a non-profit organization that has supported refugees, immigrants, and other Canadians since 1983.
Since being with the RIAC, she has helped develop and teach a two-year sewing program with the organization.
“I really enjoy teaching and working, so this was an amazing platform to connect with students from diverse backgrounds, and share my knowledge on creating textile crafts and apparel design. I enjoy sharing, teaching the skills I have learned and help the students who are interested in creating crafts as a hobby or thinking of a career.”
For more information on CNA’s Textile Crafts & Apparel Design program visit, www.cna.nl.ca.