Artists and Teachers
Button Factory Arts is a community of artists and students working side-by-side in a friendly environment that encourages and inspires artistic growth.
Each and every one of our instructors has experience in the studio and in the classroom meaning you get not only teachers with great art technique, but also great teaching technique too.
We are dedicated to providing inclusive arts programs for different experience levels, age groups, and in a range of materials.
Robert is a Master Printmaker educated in Canada (McMaster University, BA) and the United Kingdom (Edinburgh College of Art, MFA). He has exhibited worldwide for over 30 years and is included in many private and public collections in North America, Europe, South Africa and Australia. His primary focus is a humanist-expressionist technique involving the figure in various environments and modes of interpretation. He also held the Senior Artist- In-Residence at
Button Factory Arts.
Life Drawing, Oil Painter
Born in Italy, Fabio came to Canadain the mid sixties and was immediately enrolled in art classes at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Hamilton Ontario. Alan K. Scott was the resident instructor at the time. He was an excellent painter and portraitist and instilled in Fabio a love for art and art history.
Fabio went on to complete the sat program at The Central Technical School in Hamilton. This was followed with a year in animation at Sheridan College.
Subsequent to this, Fabio has attended numerous drawing and painting courses at The Dundas Valley School of Art along with a sustained studio practice of nearly forty years. Fabio has acted as an instructor at The Dundas Valley School of Art, Button Factory Arts, and The Cambridge Centre for the Arts.
Fabio currently lives and works in Cambridge, Ontario.
Performer, Felt & Fibre Artist
As a performer, Sarah Granskou is a scald, applying her Canadian sense of innovation to Scandinavian oral traditions. While Sarah draws on ancient art forms, her work is accessible today, based in contemporary experience as well as her interpretations of Nordic folklore and music. Sarah’s tapestry of poetic narrative and song lyrics provide a moving and humorous context for 8-string fiddle, mouth harp and innovative puppetry.
As a textile artist, Sarah works with wool, using wet felting and needle felting techniques to create puppets, hats, shoes, clothing and more. She began felting more recently, as a means of creating puppets for performance and has been entirely smitten with the artform, now processing her own local and Canadian wool with natural and accessible dye sources. Sarah was the 2016 Artist in Residence for the City of Kitchener.
Interdisciplinary, Social Practice
Hiba Abdallah has lived most of her life in Windsor, Ontario, a city that has heavily influenced her interest in the convergence of art and social practice. She is part of the artist collective Broken City Lab, which was long-listed for the 2011 Sobey Art award. She completed a BFA at the University of Windsor and her MFA at the University of Guelph.
Art Therapy, Social Practice
A registered art therapist for over 25 years, Suzanne Thomson integrates mindfulness and sensorimotor psychotherapy to facilitate healing and community engagement. Her work as an artist and a rinzai zen practitioner shapes how she works with clay to transform habits of thinking, feeling, and behaving. She provides psychotherapy, supervision, and clinical consultation. Suzanne also teaches art therapy and co-creates community-based arts projects. Transformation By Fire at the Gardiner won the 2013 Award of Excellence in Exhibitions—a direct reflection of Suzanne’s deep commitment to working collaboratively to address social justice issues through the arts. Join Suzanne in discussion of her Embodiment in Clay sessions as part of the BFA Outreach Programs, her work with the Gardiner Museum, and her ongoing commitment for using art as a tool for social change.
Eco-Art, Youth Programs
Crystal is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and passionate about the natural environment, youth and community. Crystal enjoys engaging others in the use of recycled materials to create works of art. Crystal Bradford and her partner Liam Kijewski own ‘Wildlife Gardening’ a landscaping, restoration and native plant nursery.
Eco-Art, Youth Programs
Liam is works an eco-arts instructor for youth classes, camps and PD day with Button Factory Arts. He is the coordinator for Kitchener Waterloo's Procession of the Species Celebration with his partner, Crystal Bradford. Graduate of OIART, Liam is also a musician, playing bass, drums and rapping in several different groups in the Region.
Ciaran's background spans dance, acting, poetry, and mime. While completing his Master's Degree and living in London and Edinburgh he performed in multiple short pieces performed in different communities in the United Kingdom. One of which, Egon Schiele, won a modest award with Almost Random Theatre's 'Valentine Plays' competition. In the meantime, he spent his degree writing full-length plays, some of which were long-listed for other awards with Theatre 503, the King's Head, and the BBC. Ciaran's work is willingly influenced by a keen interest in puppetry, performance art, Romantic poetry, and the intersection of creative narratives and social politics. Put them together and ... bibbity bobbity boo?
Lee Angold is a botanical and scientific illustrator based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada. She is a co-founder of the KW Artists Co-op, a unique co-operative shared studio/workspace.
Lee is a member of the Botanical Artists of Canada and the Southern Ontario Natural Science Illustrators (SONSI).
Lee also enjoys urban sketching with the KW Urban Sketchers.
After graduating from York University (English),and completing a B.Ed at U of Toronto, Elizabeth Forrest, specialized in printmaking at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto where
she later taught for seven years. In 1988, Elizabeth travelled to Japan to research traditional Japanese woodblock, aka “mokuhanga”, a medium she has subsequently
made the main focus of her practice. Her work has included artist books presenting works of poetry and woodblock and mixed media printmaking. Currently her work in
progress is exploring ideas about the social and cultural impact of “screens” using laser cut woodblocks. Elizabeth has taught many workshops in mokuhanga mainly in Toronto,
also in Hamilton, Montreal and Moncton. Since moving to Waterloo two years ago, Elizabeth has enthusiastically engaged with the artistic community here, while continuing her studio work and teaching. Elizabeth continues to be represented by Open Studio
Gallery, Toronto, and regularly exhibits work at Gerrard Art Space in Toronto. She has participated in several international group shows through Open Studio, and in three
juried International Mokuhanga Conference Exhibitions held in Kyoto, Tokyo and Hawaii.
Watercolour Artist, Printmaker
Nancy Peng is a visual artist from Waterloo Ontario Canada. She is a watercolour and mixed media instructor at Button Factory Arts and is exploring various printmaking methods. She also designs and creates jewellery using precious metals at The Jewellery Studio, Kitchener.
“I am an artist but forever a student. As a teacher, I strive to encourage and share my joy of art."
Printmaker (Mezzotint, Drypoint)
Laine Groeneweg is printmaker currently living in Hamilton. He received his BFA from York University in 2004 and subsequently trained as a professional printmaker at Fondazione Il Bisonte Per Lo Studio Dell’Arte Grafica in Florence, Italy. Laine is most widely recognized for his work in mezzotint & etching and exploring the possibilities of traditional technique in the wake of more contemporary production methods. His whimsical imagery is often characterized by themes of dream and play. His prints have been exhibited Nationally and Internationally in Canada, Australia, Russia, Japan, Finland, Italy, Taiwan and the United States. Currently, Laine has focused attention towards building his own custom print studio, Smokestack, in Hamilton, Ontario. He also instructs and editions work for others at Toronto's Open Studio and is the studio technician at Centre For Print and Media Arts in Hamilton.
Printmaker, Green Printmaking
Donna Stewart is a printmaking artist and founding member of the Riverside Print Group, Cambridge.
Experimenting with new materials and techniques, especially non-toxic ones, is instrumental to Donna's practice. In 2017, Donna completed a 150-hour certificate program in green printmaking: intaglio at Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence, MA, USA. A Chalmers Professional Development Grant from the Ontario Arts Council
made this education possible; Donna gratefully acknowledges the OAC's financial support.
Gail has been involved in art since her childhood in Montreal, Canada, where she took art lessons with her family.While raising her own young family, Gail operated a ceramics business, teaching in her home studio. She studied with Maureen McNaughton, and obtained N.C.M.A. teaching qualifications for ceramics. Gail also earned a B.A. degree from Trent University, and B.Ed. from Queens, following which she began a full time teaching career.
Using various media, Gail has been painting and exhibiting work for many years. The love of art and belief in its ability to enhance personal growth has been a major component for teaching several subjects to both high school and elementary school students, including those with special needs. Now dedicated to art almost full time, Gail is a member of the Central Ontario Art Association and regularly exhibits in different Canadian locations.
Eric Euler is an interdisciplinary artist, musician, and cultural worker currently based in North Bay Ontario. His professional art practice balances the use of printmaking, painting, installation, graphic design, and community art practices to activate themes as diverse as regional identity, pop culture, music culture, internet politics, mental health, and Jungian psychology. Since returning to his Northern Ontario hometown following the completion of his graduate studies at Louisiana State University and Tamarind Institute, he’s had three solo exhibitions, lectured at numerous universities, and launched Upside Down Press - a mobile woodblock t-shirt printing workshop. Currently he chairs the board and promotes music events at the local artist-run centre White Water Gallery.
Art Therapist, EXAT, Collage Artist
Catherine Mellinger is an analogue collage artist and mixed media artist whose works find inspiration in ideas originated by the feminist artists of the Dada period as well as the early Surrealists, lending to the exploration of dichotomy in many of Mellinger's works. She seeks to create works of beauty whose themes are not always beautiful; grappling with trauma, loss and challenging relational dynamics, all while visually exploring those events with an imaginal mind.Inspired by female artists such as Hannah Hoch, her works use vintage paper ephemera and personal photographs mixed with pencil, pen, and watercolour –the latter often portraying circular portals through which the viewer can be invited in to the image. She has most recently explored motherhood in her series The Sea and Me — in which photos of women from 1950s fashion magazines are layered with gorgeously grotesque images from the ocean. This series was the basis for the project Deep Salt Water; in collaboration with Toronto writer Marianne Apostolides; producing a book of the same title to be published by BookThug in Spring 2017.
Her works have been published in literary magazines, and she has been commissioned by musicians, writers and private collectors. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and having studied in Toronto,Catherine now lives Waterloo, Ontario with her husband and son.
Ioana is a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo, Honours BA Fine Arts Studio Practice with a minor in Computer Science. Her practice and inclination toward the archive is strongly informed by her position working in libraries.
She is interested in the act of close reading, both of literature and personal experience. Referencing Jeanette Winterson’s writing on holes, she creates work that contains spaces into which a viewer may insert themselves. If writing is an act of reduction, reading and viewing can be acts of magnification. A reading of a text says as much about the interpreter as it does about the text itself. Reading thus becomes a self portrait, and a metaphor is a mirror in which the writer hopes each reader will see themselves.
How do we account for absence? We fill holes every time we read, but what happens when a text is mostly negative space? When do we become the authors of a work?
Elisa Franceschini attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome (IT) most prestigious and higher level of education in Fine Arts, where she graduated in 2006. During the academic time she has increased her artistic and expressive skills studing and following an academic curriculum regarding Italian and European Fine Arts context. In her academic studies, she has focus more about Classical , Roman , Medieval, Renaissance , Baroque , Romantic, Neo-classicist periods and first period of Avant-garde-Art context. She did a personal academic research and various studies about some stylistic and expressive contents of Art History in different eras . After her Bachelor's degree, She has increased some knowledges of styles, connected to a contemporary and post - modern movements in Europe and in America. From these studies, she learned to express herself with a own style, which blends the power of color expressiveness with a classical setting in her paintings and a strong personal graphic expression in her drawings. During the following years she got her Master degree in Art History and Drawing. She took her teaching qualification in 2008 in Arts subject ( Painting, Drawing and Art History ) beginnig her experience as Art teacher in your city, Rome (IT) In 2015 she moved in Ontario (Canada) where she works as Fine Arts instructor for Adult , Senior and Children program in the Waterloo Region. At the same time, for her language competences as Italian mother tongue, she works as italian language tutor for Adult and Children programs. From 2018 She is working as Italian support instructor at St Jerome university in Waterloo (On) And as Fine Arts instructor in some community centres and museums in Waterloo Region promoting Art education and creativity skills of the community. She is continuing her expressive personal research as an artist, focusing on drawing and panting expressive techniques. Less
Art History and Drawing
Academy of Fine Arts, Rome (IT)
Academy of Fine Arts, Rome (IT)
Sculpture, Life Drawing, Acrylics
Karen Fletcher works as an artist and educator in Waterloo. She has a summer home and studio in Keels on Bonavista Bay in rural Newfoundland. Since the early 80’s Karen has exhibited her work throughout Ontario and in Newfoundland. She is represented in a number of public and private collections.
Sculpture, Installation, Mixed Media, Ceramics
Since her graduation from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Allie has continued to show her work in galleries, public locations, and festivals. Her application spans installation, sculpture, drawing, ceramics and social practice. Allie has been working to connect artists and community through classes, collaborative projects, artist talks and engaging programs.
Art Therapist, DTATI, EXAT
Heidi Argyle is a professional Art Therapist with the Canadian Art Therapy Association. She is a graduate from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute, and a current MA candidate.
Creativity and healing are two things I believe go together. Often when we struggle there is something within us we are trying to express. Creative expression of our struggles can help communicate or to be seen and heard; art and Art Therapy allow us to see into our thoughts or feelings, to externalize negativity, while strengthening growth and resilience.
Robert was born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan and currently lives in Kitchener, Ontario. His undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba focused on printmaking, and he has studied in France, Mexico and Toronto.
Tait Wilman grew up on the prairies and by the sea of the West Coast. Experiencing the Canadian heritage, landscape, and our connection to nature are some aspects of inspiration to Tait’s practice. Creating artworks that revolve around these influences and using a sense humour fuels my creativity. Tait Wilman received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction (Drawing Major) in 2014 from Alberta College of Art and design, and her Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo.
Lauren Prousky earned her MFA at the University of Waterloo and holds a BFA in studio art and English literature from Concordia University. She has shown her work in Montreal and Toronto, and has participated in residencies in Iceland, British Columbia and Brooklyn. She was awarded a Shantz International Research Scholarship through the University of Waterloo, and worked with artist Rachel Eulena Williams in Brooklyn during the summer of 2018. You can follow her @laurenprousky on Instagram where you can send her your favourite videos of cuttlefish changing colour. She loves those.
jana omar elkhatib
Jana Omar Elkhatib is a writer and performance artist. She has performed at Montreal’s La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, exhibited at Hamilton Artists Inc, and was a resident in the Banff Centre’s Emerging Writers Intensive, for which she was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Her work has been featured in Canadian Art magazine and her short fiction published in the New Quarterly.
Music, Youth Programs
Meghan obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition with Voice as her instrument from the prestigious faculty of music at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has worked for the University of Waterloo Drama Department, The Multi-Cultural Theatre Space and Lost and Found Theatre, both as a composer and music director. Her performance credits include the 2009 Impact International Theatre Festival, and the 2009 and 2011 Open Ears Festivals. She was awarded the 2009 K-W Arts Award, Leading Edge Award for her entire body of work. Meghan is a past Director of Operations for NUMUS Concerts, one of Canada’s foremost new music organizations. She brings an energetic, fun and interactive style to lessons, while focusing on building good technique and bringing out the natural ability in any voice.
Printmaker, Printmaking Technician
is a printmaker living in Waterloo, Ontario. Paula creates work that expresses her ideas and explores the medium of print. The natural world provides the stimulus and inspiration. Currently, Paula is working on the addition of collage elements to print and sculpting.
Paula Rostrup is the Button Factory Arts Printmaking Technician.
Art Therapist, Painting, Embroidery
Carly Leyburne is a painter, fibre artist, and Art Therapist. Her mediums of choice include watercolour, oil and acrylic painting, as well as embroidery, quilting and felting. In all areas of her work, Carly explores connections between nature, love and healing. She is attracted to bright and bold colours as they remind her of celebration and joy. Carly holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University where she specialized in oil painting and installation art. She also holds a Masters-level diploma in Art Therapy from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute and is a member of the Canadian Art Therapy Association.
Tee is an interdisciplinary illustrator & artist and a recent graduate from the University of Waterloo, majoring in FineArts & Communication. Writer of
Bitter-Sweet n Sour stories, they are interested in finding play and
humour in everyday anecdotes (from their communities, their friends,
and their self). A Hyper-Textual being, they approach things with a
DIY aesthetic, combined with a fascination for softness, joy, and