I didn’t start out thinking I was going to be a costume designer – rather I thought I was going to become a translator and with any luck continue to pursue art on the side. Right after university, I took a job at a Caribbean resort where I acted as a tour guide and translator for French tourists and in my spare time I painted and hung out at the beach. It was a very hedonistic lifestyle and my parents were wondering when I was going to get a real job!
During one of my afternoons off, when I was painting at the beach (and using fabric as my canvas), a very elegant middle-aged woman approached me. I had met her earlier on one of the gallery tours I was conducting, but this time she asked me about my painting and then remarkably (and this is the gospel truth!) asked me if I would like to come to Nice (France) and apprentice in her couture house. The course of my life changed in that moment and I found myself two months later in the south of France, where I lived for almost 7 years, training in the art and business of fashion design and manufacturing. It was there that I learned about fabrics, tailoring, fit and many other things, often from much older craftsmen and women that really didn’t have much time for a gangly kid from North America – but nonetheless, they taught me their time-honored craft.
When I came back to Canada, I started to design my own line and began to also incorporate a number of my prints and graphics that I personally silk screened onto the fabrics I used for my collections. Things started to take off and I designed and manufactured high-end resort and ready to wear collections for women and men that were carried and sold in more than fifty boutiques across the country.
However, after doing this for a number of years I began to feel burnt out and was spending more time dealing with suppliers and retailers then I was designing and creating. It was time for a new challenge. A friend recommended the film business to me – either wardrobe or set design and so the journey began more than 20 years ago. And as I’m useless with a hammer – costume design was a natural fit and something that I still love to do. I’m continuing to learn and grow as an artist and truly enjoy the collaborative nature of this business.