a day in the Nina studios…

by Wendy Hollo

This article, written by Nina Artist Facilitator Leanne Olson, is reprinted from the Make Something Edmonton site.


Bonnie Blackburn, our tour guide, holding her piece “Ceramic Scream”

I’m working on a show.  It’s called Killer Playground.  It’s about things like slides and swings coming alive in the night,” Bonnie says as she inks up her linocut.

Bonnie is an artist working with various media – clay, lino and painting.  At the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts (the Nina), she moves between the studios, experimenting with the dimensions of print and sculpture.  She’s entering her fifth year of working in the Nina studios and she hopes her Killer Playground show will be featured this year in the on-site Stollery Gallery.


Print Studio


John Wilson mid-joke and mid-ink

John Wilson, teller of excellent jokes and wearer of excellent fashion, is a prolific printmaker who arrives at the Nina every weekday morning except Wednesday to work on his linocuts.  He has been working with lino since the Nina moved into its new facility on 118 Avenue (August 2009).  He takes inspiration from nature, animals and particularly likes making linocuts of fish.  John’s work can be found on the Nina’s on-line store.  And his jokes can best heard in person.

Painting and drawing studios

Painting and drawing studios

Painting and Drawing Studios

Ulrike Rossier painting “fun

I’ve been coming here since at least the last millennium.  I’m one of the old ones,” says Ulrike Rossier.

The painting Uli is currently working on is simply called Fun.  She plans to chop it up into postcards.  Uli has a consistent symmetrical style to her work.  She experiments with ink and oil pastels creating layers of precise repetition and mesmerizing patterns.  She also switches between speaking several languages, making it hard to keep up to her subtle and clever humour.

Fabric studio - Dominique Bugeaud work in progress

Fabric studio – Dominique Bugeaud work in progress

The fabric studio at the Nina is tucked away in the back corner.  Lit by high windows, the sunlight streams onto the various encouraging textures.  The seating is cozy and it is the ultimate room for mixing media and focused concentration.


Vanessa Ryl (above) and Karen Baum

Bonnie Blackburn welcomes us to the clay studio and shows us her piece Crazy Clown iPod (comes with headphones

Bonnie Blackburn welcomes us to the clay studio and shows us her piece Crazy Clown iPod (comes with headphones)

In the clay studio, Holly Sabourin is working on a special piece for a certain high profile Edmontonian.  “It’s supposed to be a surprise so I can’t explain more”, Holly says.  She is painting something, possibly an animal, possibly with brown fur.  The piece is immaculate with detail and carefully crafted proportions.  She’s just starting the painting process and then the piece will be fired.  “What I like about the clay studio is that it’s building and painting together.  I keep coming back here for that.”

Holly Sabourin work in progress

Holly Sabourin work in progress

These are only a few of the artists in the Nina Collective.  Every week, over 170 artists work in the Nina studios.  The various studios – fabric, print, clay, painting and drawing – are each overseen by an artist facilitator.  The artistic staff, all professional and practicing artists, are the folks who help the artists in the Collective learn, challenge, create and exhibit.  You can visit the Nina any weekday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and you can visit the on-line store to see some of the work that is available for sale.

Recently, work from the Collective was available at the Royal Bison (December 2-4) and at a special art sale in the Stollery Gallery on December 9.  About $7,500 worth of art was sold at these two events, putting well-earned cash in the artists’ pockets in time for the holiday season.

Cheryl Anhel and her excellent linocut techniques

Cheryl Anhel and her excellent linocut techniques

A Day in the Studio was written by Nina artist facilitator, Leanne Olson, and is reprinted from the December 2, 2016, Make Something Edmonton site.