Collabrative Art

The fourth annual Voice and Vision Collaboration (VVC) paired 15 artists and 15 writers, to collaborate in creating new works of writing and art, inspired by each others’ work.  Each partnership consists of two pieces of writing and two pieces of art.  The writing is poetry or prose.  The art submitted includes sculpture, paintings and mixed medium pieces. 


The writers are all members of the Airdrie Writers Group and the artists are based in Airdrie and the surrounding area.   

The VVC project will wrap up with a public event on Sept. 28 at Airdrie Public Library with music and refreshments. The event will “unveil” the 30 response pieces, showcase the artwork and include readings by the writers.  Finally, some of the VVC pieces will be displayed at the APL during November and December 2019. 


airdrielife is proud to support local artists and writers. A few of the works are featured on these pages but you find more of the VVC works and full bios on each artist/writer and their process online at 




I was given a beautiful poem about how it feels to have anxiety. I didn’t want to do a literal interpretation of the piece, so I chose to go more abstract. I pulled from my own experience with anxiety and wove in some imagery I got from my partner’s written work. “ Artist Kaleigh Kanary

mixed media by Kaleigh Kanary

Worn Down   


Birds fill my chest 

                                Frantic to escape 

                                                                Beating my ribs 

I fear I will fall 

                 My throat clogged with feathers,  

Unable to call for help. 


My stomach burns, 

                                Roiling lava 

On the verge of eruption, 

                                Obliterating  life. 


                Dense, dark stone 

                                                 Filling my belly. 


I breathe deeply, 

                                Swallowing air, 

                Letting the birds fly, 


Releasing them,  

                 From caged breast. 

Each bird  slowly 

                              Finding its way free, 

                                              Soaring in an autumn sky. 




                                 meeting obsidian stones 


                                   Wearing them  down 

Leaving a beach of black sand 

                  Where I can bask 

                                                    in the warmth of the sun.  


                                                                                 -by Sharon Christie 



  When Melissa and I were paired that night in May, I first intended to write a serious piece about being distracted by bright shiny objects (I did eventually). But by the time I got home that night, the magpies had mysteriously acquired the names Madge and Mitch, and with names like that, how can you be serious? The question became: what are they talking about? Writing this was such fun, and entirely different in tone from my first submission. I giggled all the way through the writing.” –  writer Margaret Hanna 

Finder’s Keepers by Melissa Bruglemas-Labelle


Best Dressed Nest Competition by Margaret Hannah

“How does it look, Mitch? Do you think three pieces of Mojo wrapper is too fussy?” 

 “No, not at all, Madge, they nicely complement the origami paper. You were right about eliminating the feather. It is just so . . . brown! Now, a goldfinch’s feather would be perfect. I regret not getting one of those Tanagers’ feathers when they were passing though last year.” 

 “Yes, but look at those Swarowski crystals, you’ve arranged them so well, they really set off the curve of the nest.” 

 “Now if only we could work in those buttons, then we could say we had the competition all buttoned up. Ha, Ha, Ha! 

 “Oh Mitch, you’re such a card. By the way, I heard Sid is one of the judges this year.” 

 “Sid? The sparrow from the apple tree? Ya gotta be kidding. What does he know about interior design? He thinks a bit of shredded plastic is haute couture.” 

 “Yah, I know, you’d think they’d get someone more knowledgeable. At least Jay and Woody are on the panel. They know quality. Just be thankful that old Loon isn’t on the panel again.” 

 “You’re right, Madge. Look, the judges are leaving the Redbreasts. We’re next.” 

 “Wait! What’s that cracking noise? Oh no! One of the eggs is hatching! No, not now! That will mess everything up!” 

 “Quick, Madge. Sit on the eggs and look nonchalant. Here, wrap this fur around your neck. That’ll distract them. Oh, hello judges, come on in. May I give you the tour?” 



“With the response piece I try to take a visual that moves me from the work and use that as the inspiration. If the artist shares their intent or the story behind the piece, it is important to me to attempt to honour that while still being authentic to my work and creation.” writer Rayna Gunvaldsen

Our Love is in the Details by Deborah Lawson

Our Love is in the Details 

By Rayna Gunvaldsen 


A feeling wouldn’t stay 

So I searched for solid love 

Something I could touch 

Something I could name 


Our love is… 



In morning coffee brewed, 

Or gifts to touch my heart? 

Kind words gently spoken,  

Or kisses in the dark? 


Each time I thought I’d found it  

I’d hold it to the light 

And like dew it turned to mist 

Leaving only memory behind. 


I thought it wasn’t real 

If I couldn’t show it off 

But love is not a sculpture finished 

Its created each day or lost 


We share a North Star shining 

Our paths converged to seek  

A journey to the mountaintop 

A fellow traveller through the deep 


An offered hand in silence 

If one stumbles in the rain 

Arguments at crossroads 

When one has lost their way 


We sometimes walk apart  

And the chasm feels so wide 

But even when we seem divided 

We’re always within sight. 


Our love is in the details 

Of committing to this road 

We create this path together 

Though we’ll summit all alone 



 “The first two sentences of “From a Distance” immediately painted a picture for me. As I read further and realized the deeper meaning of her writing, several things came to mind that I wished to incorporate into my response piece. First was the idea that things may appear perfect from a distance, yet upon closer inspection the flaws or imperfections are noticeable. Then, the idea of masks that we wear to cover up our imperfections really resonated with me. I wanted to convey everything at once – the pretty picture of a vibrant yellow canola field set against azure blue skies and verdant green trees - as well as the raw side of life with all the daily grind happening…” artist Cindy Zampa

Acrylic by Cindy Zampa

From a Distance  by Tandy Balson 

In the distance, I see the vibrant yellow of canola fields. The beauty is breathtaking as the sunshine flowers contrast against the azure sky and verdant green of nearby trees. 

From a distance, this blanket of bright colour appears solid. The picture changes as I move closer. There are variations in shading and more green stalks than yellow flowers. The flowers are quite small and not the showy blooms I’d imagined. The plants are still lovely; they just are not as I’d envisioned them. 

Surprise and disappointment are felt when I realize the perfect picture I’d seen from a distance is not the reality upon closer examination. 

Oh, how this brought other memories to mind. I don’t know about you, but I have looked with envy at the vibrant life someone else had and wished mine could be as beautiful. 

In reality, I have only seen the tip of their life, the part that can be observed from a distance. Up close, the picture is different.  

No one has a perfect life. Struggles and challenges affect each of us. When I put on a mask to convince you all is well in my life, you have no reason to doubt me. You only see the picture I choose to show you. 

It is only when I allow you to have a closer look that you can see we are not so different after all. We are all perfectly imperfect and showing that is what makes us beautiful. 



 “I found the image of the row house striking. I immediately envisioned writing a piece for each room, and then picking the one I liked the best to submit for my response. After researching the history of late 19th century Toronto the story of a single character developed, so I ran with it.” Shane Kroetsch 

Victorian Row by Verone Solilo


 William by Shane Kroetsch 

William rocked forward in his seat as the horse’s footfalls slowed and the streetcar came to a stop. He lowered himself down to the dirt road and waited. When the streetcar pulled away, he shuffled across Yonge Street and headed east along Upper Gerrard. 

With the noise and confusion far behind him, William slowed his pace. He focused on the rows of narrow brick houses. Some had their curtains drawn, others let in what dreary daylight was available. One had the window glass on the main level pushed open, letting the smell of cooking vegetables waft down the street. 

William left the sidewalk and limped up to one of the brown painted doors. He leaned a hand against the frame and looked to the window beside. An old woman sat in a plain chair with a pressed wood back. She worked two knitting needles in slow and precise movements. William faced forward and lifted a key from his pocket. He set it in the lock, turned it, and pushed the door open. 

He stopped in the doorway of the parlour and removed his hat. His landlady set her knitting on her lap and looked up over the frames of her glasses. 

“Good afternoon, Mr. Doyle.” 

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Summerhayes.” 

“I trust your journey was successful?” 

“Yes, Ma’am.” 

 “Your leg acting up again?” 

 “Yes, Ma’am.” 

Mrs. Summerhayes pursed her lips and returned to her task. William turned, reached out for the banister, and eased himself down the stairs to his room.