Meet Judy Fontyn-Sugg, local artist and operator of the Coach House Gallery in downtown Orillia. Judy works in different mediums and creates an exciting variety of art. Her gallery is host to several local artists presenting work from landscape paintings to abstract mixed media work to art jewelry.
Read on to learn MORE about Judy and the Coach House Gallery!
You operate the Coach House Gallery in downtown Orillia. Tell me a bit about the gallery - how did the idea evolve? What is your favourite part about running a gallery?
We moved to Bayshore Village in 2014 just outside of Orillia and as nature lovers, we really enjoy the area given the two beautiful lakes, Simcoe and Couchiching. In February of 2016, we bought the building at 133 Mississauga Street East . The property is comprised of two buildings and included a coach house down the alleyway behind the Tre Sorelle restaurant, which we both thought would make a perfect art gallery as I paint so much and already displayed in different galleries around the area. In the beginning, half of the building was rented , so at first it was just my own work in one half of the coach house. In early 2017, Harold and Ferne relocated to the main street and we used that space in order to allow other artists to show their work.
My favorite part of running an art gallery is getting to know the other artists and getting to know the people of Orillia. I love talking to customers and seeing what inspires them and getting to know them.
The challenges are not being on the main street, you have to find a way to invite customers down the alleyway to visit our gallery. Over time as people get to know our location and me as an artist, it is and definitely helps. I want them to feel comfortable and inspired and have worked hard on making the gallery a welcoming space.
You are a prolific artist and always seem to be creating something new and exciting, from gorgeous paintings to functional art in different mediums like jewelry and decorative wine glasses – what are you currently working on?
As the years have gone by, I find myself looking into different things to create, things that someone could use like my glassware and mugs as well as coasters and jewelry. I love all expressions of art and creativity so last winter I explored mosaics. I always have been attracted to glass and its reflective qualities. I also love texture and want to explore more with that and creating some more 3-D type art. I ordered more glow powder from Amazon so more of the luminescent art as well.
As a local Artist and art business owner, how do you see the Orillia Art Community growing and changing in the future? What would you like to see?
Orillia is known for its art scene and that is what I love about this town. There are so many different artists with different styles and mediums. Streets Alive is a wonderful event showing the artistic talent and diversity with art displayed on the street. As the town grows I see many more unique shops, studios and galleries popping up in downtown Orillia. I would love to see more events like Starry Night that really bring the traffic down the alley and to our town to view our many artists. The waterfront is a big draw for the town and I would love to see it more open visually with events to attract more tourists as well.
Molly Farquharson of Hibernation Arts has recently opened a new gallery and shop at 7 Peter St. S. in the downtown Orillia Arts District. Although the shop space is new, Molly had been involved with the local art community for the past few years. A prolific artist, Molly creates engaging and thought provoking 'stitchery' as wall art and functional pieces such as bags, pillows and jewelry.
Visit Hibernation Arts on Saturday, September 8th for the GRAND Opening Celebration! Or drop by during the week, Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00am to 5:00pm.
Read on to learn MORE about Molly and Hibernation Arts!
What journey led you to Orillia?
I lived outside of Canada for 40 years: 20 years in Oregon, a few years in Japan, and finally 15 years in Istanbul. So I was literally journeying. My sister has lived in and outside of Orillia for 30 years, so over those many years I visited her, and now here I am in this lovely small town for good.
LOVE the name of your business - how/why/where did you come up with the name ‘Hibernation Arts’?
My first winter back was rough as I was 'waaay’ not used to the cold and snow. I was given three bags of crewel yarn and embroidery thread, as well as some aida cloth, so I decided to make my own designs. I had cross-stitched and embroidered for years, but usually from kits, so this was a departure. That winter I was inside a lot, stitching away, hence Hibernation Arts.
You describe your work as ‘stitchery’ and you create so many amazing art pieces and functional art (pendants, bags, pillows ++), but what would you describe as the underlying story/theme/vibe to your art?
I love to mix yarns and threads and found objects and buttons to see what I will come up with. I started with kind of fantasy landscapes and went from there. I come from a punny family and I worked with language as an ESL teacher for 30 years, so often I make visual puns or I stitch what I think something looks like. For example, when I was doing the hearts series, people would suggest more heart metaphors and I would make a piece that reflected what I thought that metaphor would look like. It was fun to have a sort of participation from others. So you see, I get on various themes with a vibe that is rather quirky and definitely unique.
You and your business are an amazing addition to the downtown Arts District and the Orillia Arts community, what are your plans and goals for the shop?
Well the shop is definitely a work in progress. I moved in a couch and armchair that I had had in my cafe in Istanbul, which immediately made it a comfortable place. Of course I have my own stitcheries up and around, but I also take in other artists' work on consignment. I have a great guest wall and am starting to line up artists for that. In the future I would like to have small events there, from workshops to small shows, poetry readings, whatever would suit the space. I am very pleased to be in the Orillia Arts District and so glad to be on street level. I look forward to seeing people I have met and to meeting new people as my place develops.
Art Business Love
SO much admiration & LOVE to these ART Businesses!
Steph Whalen - The Loft Art Studio
Coach House Gallery - Judy Fontyn-Sugg
Hibernation Arts - Molly Farquharson
The Shadow Box Art & Framing - Lucy McGarvey