Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied

Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied

Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay

There’s still tailor-work in the back of old AnnSew site, with the store in front

When AnnSew Tailoring was going to close for retirement reasons, it opened some doors for Wachiay Friendship Centre.

The centre now runs the space on Sixth Street, which still has tailoring work happening in the back, but there is now a store space at the front of the AnnSew location.

“The previous owner actually gave it to Wachiay,” says Wachiay Friendship Centre downtown manager Jennifer Corbett.

RELATED STORY: Deadline looming for Youth Media Project applications

There, they sell a range of arts and crafts, and all the proceeds from both the tailoring and store-front businesses go to support the programming at the Wachiay Friendship Centre. ‘Tally,’ the shop dog, might even pop out for a visit.

The new set-up opened its doors on Dec. 20. Inside, there are clothes, handbags, artwork, even artisanal tea produced by Wachiay. On the walls hang colourful clocks and mandalas produced out of old LP records.

“There’s just a million different things,” Corbett says. “There’s much more coming in. We’re still waiting for quite a few prints from artists and photographers to get on the wall.”

A number of artists are working in conjunction with Wachiay. Jonah Hill has done screening printing at the studio at Wachiay since 2018. As far as his own work, he does things such as colour merges on shirts, but he also helps with programs at the centre. For example, he did an Art to Start program working with youth to learn about screen printing, going over the studio and what is involved with starting your own screen printing business.

“That’s an introductory course where we kind of just give them a rundown,” he says.

Paloma Joy is an artist who produces jewelry and clothing out of post-consumer materials. She hasn’t worked directly with Wachiay but was interested in the work they have been doing, and when they put a call-out for designers, she responded.

“You see how it kind of ties in…. There’s more to it than just creating clothing,” she says.

As an artist, she also does a lot of drawing and other artwork, so she is already into colour therapy and healing, which fits in with the work at Wachiay. For example, she has put together a hand-drawn colouring book for people not just to colour in the lines but for creative expression.

The clothing, artwork, handicrafts and other items are what bring in proceeds, and again, all of it supports programming at the centre. Tim Gagnon works with children and youth groups with skills ranging from outdoor survival to learning how to put together a resume. He’s also made dream catchers that are available at the new store.

He works with different ages. The Eagles are the older youth working on mentoring, with the Bears behind them, while the Hummingbirds are the youngest. With the Hummingbirds, for example, he’s having them do a challenge for the kids to make their crest on their own Big House. Of late, he’s also worked with kids on putting together food boxes and prepping fire-starters.

“It’s different life skills,” he says.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Arts and culture

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Cumberland council is backing the business association again. File photo
Cumberland backs homeless veteran count

Briefs: Council continues support for business association

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read