Into the Mind of the Muse
In 2011, Barbora Vanickova left her home in Prague to come to Whistler for four months to work and improve her English. Eight years later, the seamstress, writer and journalist is still in Whistler and has created a space for everyone to learn and create. Over her years here in Whistler, she has done it all- housekeeping, banquets, dishwashing, working for the mountain. But it was the call of the sewing machine that beckoned so she could flex her artistic muscles, and in the end, she opened her own business, Whistler Sewing Services, that has now branched into ‘sew’ much more. With her ‘Muse Lab’ rolling out workshops in full force, Whistler’s creative community is thriving more than ever. We sat down with Barbora to learn more.
Tell us about your creative background.
I have a Masters in Journalism so of course, I love writing. My first job ever was embroidering national costumes. I always liked to create and craft and make – my entire family is very skilled and talented – my grandpa was a photographer and painter, mom and great-grandma were amazing seamstresses, my sister does painting and drawing. Sewing became my new life purpose since I opened Whistler Sewing Services.
What inspired you to begin Muse Lab?
I started to teach sewing classes and embroidery workshops soon after I opened Whistler Sewing and people loved it. I felt like there is so much more to learn and do and so many talented people to share their own crafts. First I thought of a crafty coffee house, but I couldn’t afford it. When I got an offer to move to the 2 room work studio in Function I knew right away one of those rooms will be a creative studio.
What is the purpose of Muse Lab?
The main purpose is to support creativity and community spirit.
I am also offering after school sewing program for children and starting in September. I am also bringing back Sewing 101 Thursday evenings – they will be running every week and they are very popular! Visit Muse Labs on Facebook for details.
What kind of workshops are you interested in doing that hasn’t been done yet?
I have so many ideas – one of them is Mexican Huichol art – it is a technique where you cover literally any object in teeny colourful beads with gorgeous patterns. From the sewing department, I am very interested in making a winter coat – that is a little challenge I definitely want to bring for my brave seamstresses. I want to do more work with natural materials. I would love to host a workshop for holiday wreath making. And any type of masks or costumes are my personal obsession – I love to go to Venice carnival and watch the amazing masterpieces walking through the streets and I want to learn more about this art.
What has been your favourite workshop so far?
I love every workshop – in the end, its not about what you do but about how you feel. Anybody who gets a chance to get creative is in the best mood possible, excited about the learning process and the results. People talk and share memories, jokes, experiences, and deep stuff. There is no real difference from 100 years ago. With no electricity, people didn’t really see the point in sitting home alone every evening and staring in the candlelight, so they met in one of their houses, worked on various projects and talked. We are no different today, we still need that community time with something beautiful to do and the option to talk – there has to be a place for it.
What kind of other events do you do? Anything coming up that you can tell people about?
There are absolutely amazing workshops coming up in October – Zdenek and Erika are coming to Whistler one more time before they leave back to Europe. There will be a knife-making workshop (we have only 7 spots for October) so it is very rare – considering Zdenek is one of the best European knife-makers, who is part of the most prestigious European exhibitions. He will also teach a workshop on knife sharpening with a whetstone, where you get your own set of whetstones and various leather workshops. Erika will share her amazing costume designer skills – she will teach how to create a pattern, how to make large original mask, she will also teach a class for a limited amount of people where she teaches basics of travel sketching and drawing. For someone who wants to learn something completely new, we will offer Wire Wrapping 101.
How can people find out more? Where can they find you?