After graduating from forestry and one of the first ever Eco-Tourism courses in 1999, Tyler Hayes chose to head west from Ontario to explore related jobs such as spacing forest growth in Grand Prairie and river guiding in Jasper. Intending to explore the coast, Hayes purchased a van. On his trip to Vancouver Island Hayes met with a glass blower and decided to buy the artist’s work to sell at festivals along the coast to California. Hayes became fascinated with how glass was made and the malleability of the material. Then an idea to create his own pieces sparked something for him. Shortly after, he found an artistic business partner, applied for grants, trained and bought a shop. Hayes works with borosilicate glass, the highest grade of glass commonly known as Pyrex. His beautiful pendants, sea life figurines, and globes are all over the world. This year Hayes blends purpose and passion together to manufacture, by hand, the only environmentally friendly glass straws produced in Canada.
Josh Miller, like many people, studied at University, found a career (in carpentry), and is a self-proclaimed “simple kind of guy”. Until last year; fate dealt a serious accident, preventing him from working. During his recovery, his teenage impulse (un-pursued interest to attend Emily Carr) revealed painting as more than a hobby. It was totally fulfilling. Inspired by his fiancé’s appreciation of fine art, he creates with bold colour (straight from the tube, no solvents like artists of the 1930’s) and uses only a pallet knife, with aspirations to be the next D Kooning. This passion gained serious momentum, listing him in the top 10 at the Emerging Art Gallery (Victoria) his first year. He feels by rejecting the standard art community expectations, the response to his work is growing and continues to seep through appreciating channels. His goal: to eventually show in London.
In pursuit of his passions, thirteen year old Austin Black has a motto, “Live the life you love; don’t let it live you.” During seven years of training Shotokan Karate along side his grandfather, it seemed Black also started to excel in other areas – as an inspiring young instructor, an encouraging lacrosse teammate, and a familiar face in theatre. More importantly, the art form’s original philosophy of avoiding violence provided some positive self-discipline. Recently, while participating in the Vancouver Island Coastal Martial Arts Open, Black took gold in three categories including Grand Champion. However, in addition to the metals he received something unexpected – an invitation to the TAFISA’s world tournament. Black then raised two thousand dollars to attend the event and took home bronze in Kata 13/14 using traditional hand techniques and silver in Weapons 13/14. Black hopes to re-qualify for Team Canada / TAFISA in two years and to also one day attend the Funakoshi Worlds.
Influenced early on by his mother’s musical guidance Richard Moody found a lifelong devotion to the string instruments. At fourteen Moody moved with his family to France where he studied and practiced classical viola 3-5 hours a day. Being a part of a city and conservatory incredibly supportive of the arts allowed him to blossom as a player. Back in Canada Moody was driven at his craft, yet led a bit of a gypsy lifestyle – busking Vancouver, co-founding renowned group Acoustically Inclined and traveled solo performing a variety of Improv, Roots, Folk and Jazz. Later, studying yoga in India, he was inspired to incorporate the rich Indian music into his work. In the last six years Moody has made a presence in Victoria playing with the Bills, Brishen, and teaching. Currently he is touring a new album “Safar” created with Amir Amiri of Iran. Nominated for Best World Music Recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards, it’s an East/West collaboration of modern sounds and classic Persian piece.
The soul moving voice of Steph Macpherson makes it hard to imagine she had anxiety or was shy about being on stage. Yet, after nearly fourteen years of voice lessons, her love of playing guitar and Sarah Harmer finally took over and in high school she simply stopped worrying about it. Originally Macpherson wrote songs about the people around her where she found herself as the observer, watching the challenging and often emotionally fragile, even dark moments, friends struggled through. To her credit Steph listened to herself and realized she had fewer issues and plenty of support, and asked herself “ why wasn’t (she) doing more?” After a trip to New Zealand in 2006 she wrote her first EP, followed by an LP. Macpherson then went on to win cash awards, and open for many famous musicians (Lilith Fair 2010; Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, and at Canadian Music Week 2012 in Toronto.) Macpherson’s Indie, Country-Canadiana sound is creating serious buzz. Her new LP is due out spring 2015.