Wendy Van Riesen
Board President, Nominations Committee Chair, HR Chair
Wendy graduated in 2006 from Capilano University’s in the full time Textile Arts Program and the pattern cutting portion of the Costuming for Film and Stage Program. She has developed a large portfolio of textile dyeing and surface design techniques as well as cutting and drafting pattern development. She uses these skills to create her line known as Dahlia Drive. Wendy was born on Dahlia Drive in Los Angeles and moved to Calgary in the mid- ‘60’s.
She studied acting at the University of Alberta and the Playhouse Acting School in Vancouver. After working 26 years on stage and film, culminating in a Jessie Award for Best Actress in 2001, she moved from performing stories to articulating stories through textile arts and hasn’t looked back.
Co-Chair, Retail Chair
A resident of South Surrey, Diane was born and raised in Winnipeg. She spent most of her career working in the retail fashion industry where management training taught her sales and merchandising. Later, management of a multi-million dollar region with an international company gave her the business experience to round out her resume. Diane created zed handmade in 2012 out of her love affair with natural fibers, timeless design and eco-friendly fashion. Every zed scarf and cowl is hand-knit by Diane. Felted vessels are produced through a process known as fulling; the shape is knit and then felted by hand to produce a finished piece. Her original designs reflect her passion for simple style, strong lines and attention to detail.
She joined the Circle Craft Co-operative in 2020, just before Covid shuttered the store. After watching the toll the pandemic has taken on retail businesses, Diane decided to join the board and use her retail knowledge to help wherever she can.
Jenny Hildebrand is a self-taught felt wear designer and fibre artist whose approach employs the ancient art of hand felting alongside modern techniques to create luxurious contemporary products.
Born and raised in the lower mainland, Jenny currently lives in Cordova Bay, BC, where she draws inspiration for her work from the natural beauty of the Saanich Peninsula.
Jenny is honoured to have been a member of Circle Craft since 2015 and now, as a member of the Board, trusts that her experience in project development/management, and recent completion of an MA in Global Leadership (2019), will enable her to make a significant contribution to the continuing development of the Cooperative.
Scholarship Committee Chair
Greg Kawczynski has been a member of Circle Craft for over 25 years. In 1988 he emigrated to Canada from Poland, where he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, faculty of Sculpture.
He started working in ceramic arts in 2005, for an exhibition with Circle Craft, and presented few dozen of his birds, made in various techniques. Greg’s interest in joining the Board came from a curiosity of what challenges the organization is dealing with and a hope that his experience, as both an Artist and member, will be useful to both membership and staff.
Gallery Committee Chair
After spending 20 years in Edmonton, where I apprenticed as heavy duty mechanic, met my wife Peggy Brackett, and studied philosophy at the University of Alberta, I moved to Victoria in 1997. There I rented a small industrial space and, together with Peggy, started KilnArt Glass Studio. We taught ourselves glass fusing and kiln forming, on the basis of which I became a member of Circle Craft in 2004. In 2007 we moved to Crofton, and in 2019 to Powell River, where KilnArt Glass Studio continues to thrive. In 2015 I started working in metal as well, making steampunk/folk-art sculptures.
In 2002 I joined the Island Artisans Association, serving on its board for several years, and in 2010 I was one of three founding members of the Cowichan Valley Artisans, producing the first year round studio tour in the valley.
I have always been proud to be a member of Circle Craft, and after so may years of selling in the shop and exhibiting at the Christmas Market, I feel it is time to contribute to the Co-op in my turn.