Lynn Kusack has woven herself a spot on the Arts Alive artists’ roster.
The Brookswood resident, who creates pieces at her home-based studio, Mason Heights Pottery & Basketry, has been involved with Arts Alive as an artist for the past four years, however her history attending Langley’s largest arts and culture festival dates back more than a decade.
“I’ve lived in Brookswood for 43 years,” Kusack said.
Kusack retired several years ago, allowing her to channel her energies into activities that she enjoys doing, which is primarily basketry and pottery.
She sells her pieces at her home studio, the Langley Farmers Market, and at the annual Arts Alive.
“I love Arts Alive,” said Kusack, as she looks ahead to the 22nd annual festival this Saturday in downtown Langley. “You get to see all the people and you have a chance to visit. It [also] gives you really good exposure to people who haven’t seen this type of work before.”
Mason has always loved pottery, and basketry and in the late 1980s took pottery classes.
She continued to take them on and off through the years “to grow a bit” while at the same time juggling her family life.
“I’m still growing as far as pottery is concerned,” she said, adding, “but I’ve always loved basketry but I never had a chance to be able to find somewhere, where I could learn how to do it.”
A visit to Taos, New Mexico, set her on her basketry course. While there, she stopped by a gallery, and met a man sitting on a bench outside, weaving a basket.
“I asked, ‘Do you mind very much if I stand and watch?” she related.
Over the next hour or so, the two visited and the man shared with Kusack some of the history of New Mexico. When she turned to leave the man handed her a half-finished basket.
“Take it home and finish it,” he told her.
“That was the start of it all,” related Kusack who estimated that, over the past four years, she has created hundreds of baskets.
“Then my friend who lives in Kamloops discovered a lady who would teach us how to make pine needle baskets.”
Kusack said basketry has always evolved from what is available to its makers.
“The native Americans make pine needle baskets, but they’re more traditional,” Kusack said.
At Arts Alive, Kusack will share a booth with Abbotsford artist Karen Couper.
Chiang drawn to atmosphere
A world renowned artist is also a long-time supporter and vendor at Arts Alive.
In addition to Joseph Chiang’s work being selected for the 2008 Olympics Landscape sculpture design in Beijing, he has won many international awards from countries such as South Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Italy, China, and Macau, as well as Canada.
The 60-year-old Surrey resident is drawn, year after year, to the atmosphere that Arts Alive brings.
“Its a very good show… fantastic,” he said. “I enjoy the people. I very much enjoy the sunshine, the people, and the music.”
Chiang’s interest in music, art, design and sculpture began at a young age.
Since 1984, Joseph has dedicated himself to researching and designing in the ceramic arts.
In 2013 he took the leap and committed more time to the development of his line of metal sculptures, which explore the theme of love.
These works form part of Chiang’s vision of one day establishing a sculpture garden where the large scale forms will find a permanent home. His style of sculpting has been influenced by the multicultural stimulus to which he has been exposed.
After a childhood in Southern Taiwan, Chiang spent six years in South Africa before moving to Canada in 1997.
His art can be viewed at the Granville Island Public Market.
His websites are lineoflove.com and josephclayarts.com.