Skip to content

‘We’re just really curious’: Victoria artists experiment with repurposed art

Their work, part of a growing trend, will be on display at Gage Gallery from March 26-31
Beverly Hancock (left) stands in front of her artwork with artists Martina Edmondson and Karen Guilbault at the Gage Gallery. At the end of March, the gallery will be transformed to display their reclaimed art. (Samantha Duerksen/Black Press Media)

Three artists are coming together for an exhibit that speaks to a broader, trending movement in the arts community.

Martina Edmondson, Karen Guilbault and Beverly Hancock are all fascinated with the world of repurposed art, which involves using found or already existing objects to create something entirely new.

Hancock, an abstract figurative painter, recently started experimenting with repurposing her paintings by cutting them up and weaving them together. For some, the idea of tearing up something they’ve already poured time into may be scary, but for her, “It’s quite exhilarating.”

Both Edmondson and Guilbault create pieces using things they find in the natural world. For Edmondson, who trained as a fibre artist, that means creating whimsical 3D pieces with things like feathers, moss and sticks or doing eco-printing. Guilbault, a mixed-media artist, has been weaving intricate baskets out of pine needles for almost 20 years. She bundles the needles into the thickness of a pen and then uses yarn to sew each to the last coil.

Hancock said they all share common reasons as to why they each gravitate towards repurposed art.

“We are all very connected to the earth and very much the earth’s rhythm, and what we see and do outside is a very big part of our lives,” Hancock said. She also added that all three artists find joy in treating their art process as experimentation.

“Karen can paint absolutely something realistic,” Hancock said. “She could get it perfect, but she would rather create.”

“We’re just really curious and we’d rather see what it looked like than know ahead or have a very successful product.”

READ MORE: Victoria fibre artist weaves island healing and activism into life’s work

For those who want to learn the craft for themselves, these artists are putting on several workshops.

Edmondson will teach how to create an amulet or two-dimensional or 3D collage using nature finds, ephemera, thread and fabric at the Small Treasures Workshop ($40) on March 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Or, one can learn how to create a pine-needle basket with a painted stone centre with Guilbault. This workshop takes place on March 30, from 9-11 a.m. and costs $30.

A drop-by visit with the artists happens on March 29, with an informal presentation by driftwood sculptor Tanya Bub, who will have just returned from an international exposition of repurposed art in Doha, Qatar.

Registrations for the workshops are being taken by phone 250-592-2760 or through email:

Gage Gallery is at 19 Bastion Square, Victoria. During the exhibit, March 26-31, the gallery will be open later on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until 7:30 p.m.

For Guilbault, she said one of her favourite things about the art form is the contact with the hands. “It’s just really nourishing,” she said.

“I don’t know if there’s something archetypal, ancient thing where you’re working with natural materials and there’s something really satisfying and beautiful about that.”

An example of Karen Guilbault’s woven pine needle baskets that will be on display at the RENEW exhibit at Gage Gallery. (Samantha Duerksen/Black Press Media)

Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
Read more