Integrated Design Diploma

January 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

pullup The Integrated Design Diploma program, starting September 2014, is not like other design programs. Well, let’s face it…everything we do here is a little bit different. And this program is no exception. Integrated Design is our most innovative option yet!

This one-of-a-kind experience will provide students with fundamental design skills and the critical thinking needed to become successful designers in the 21st century. Integrated Design takes a hands-on approach to material culture, sustainability and fine craftsmanship.


glassThe first two semesters will be broken down into five categories:

Dream, Experiment, Collaborate, Communicate, and Apply.

Students will analyze the unconscious mind, work with metal, glass and clay, focus on sustainability, study typography and become versed in several software applications – and that’s only a portion of the material offered in this intensive program!

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgThe third and final semester is a “choose your own adventure”. Students will apply their learning to a hands-on certificate specializing in Artist Blacksmith, Ceramics, Fibre Arts, Glassblowing, Jewellery Essentials, Painting & Drawing, Photo Arts, Sculpture, or Sustainable Building.

mugsThe Integrated Design Diploma program will not only give students a foundation in Design, but it will connect them with their own identity through conceptual exercises meant to tap into their dreams, desires and visions for a sustainable future. Students will experiment to find new ways of working, and to develop their own unique design processes.

Start in September and transform your future!

SirSandfordFleming_1Haliburton School of Experimental Art + Design… We’ll Get You in the Right HEAD Space

For more information:  or contact           1.866.353.6464 ext. 6708

Student Art Exhibition Fall 2013

December 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

This past Saturday, students from the Artist Blacksmithing, Fibre Arts, Visual Arts Fundamentals: Drawing and Painting, Photo Arts and Ceramics Certificates participated in the biannual Art Exhibition (formerly the Student Show & Sale.) There was so much talent and hardwork on display – congratulations to all of our students!

DIY Holiday Decorations

December 3, 2013 § Leave a comment


Birch bark makes beautiful cards, tree decorations and gift tags.  Just a few tips before you start your project:

  • Collect birch bark from fallen trees only.
  • Soaking in water and flattening the bark under a rock for a few days will get the curl out.
  • Cut birch bark into small shapes with scissors.
  • Use twine to hang your decorations, in keeping with a rustic look.
  • A wood-burning tool is great for writing your greetings and outlining your design (but a sharpie does the job, too!)
  • Paint with acrylics or colour with markers.
  • Happy Holidays!

reindeer      Santa Bear

Santa Owl      angel

Art Helps us Remember

November 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

100 years ago, Canada was on the brink of the Great War.  Raging on European battlefields from 1914 to 1918, the First World War took the lives of more than 66,000 Canadian soldiers. Out of the horror of the trenches, however, came inspiration for many artists.  The most prominent art project is the monument at Vimy Ridge in France.  Designed by Canadian sculptor and architect Walter Seymour Allward, it took eleven years to build.

woman     The towering pylons and sculptured figures contain almost 6,000 tonnes of limestone. The largest piece in the monument is a cloaked figure of a mourning woman, standing at the front.  She represents Canada—a young nation mourning her dead.




There were also artists among the soldiers who huddled in the caves of France, waiting to be called to battle.  The fragile images that they carved in the chalk walls serve as a reminder that these young Canadians, many of them still teenagers, were proud of their country.

Soldier's Cave Carving-1






Finally, artists across Canada created memorials like the bronze sculpture in downtown Haliburton.

Haliburton memorial

This Remembrance Day, think about the importance of art and the part it plays in depicting history, memorializing those who served their country, and reflecting social change.


Ode of Remembrance

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;

They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;

They sleep beyond England’s foam

Graduate Profile – Susan Hay

October 2, 2013 § Leave a comment


Susan Hay, HSTA graduate, is a regular exhibitor in the Haliburton Arts Community. She is inspired by the tranquil, natural wilderness found by her Portage Lake cottage, and along the shorelines of Ontario .  She is also well known in Huron County where her paintings are displayed in several spaces. If you haven’t had a chance to see her work, stop into the Ethel Curry Gallery before October 15th to see her solo show!

Tell us about life after graduating from Haliburton School of The Arts! What did you learn from the Drawing and Painting Certificate program that has stayed with you during your current practice?

Since graduating, I have continued to paint mostly landscapes, implementing what I learned in the course.  The most important lesson I took away from the HSTA VAF course was a three word message that Rod Prouse wrote on my easel support:  “make it dynamic”.  I have been emphasizing and simplifying shapes, exaggerating colours, modifying textures and building my own canvases.


When I got home after the VAF course, I summarized what I had learned on paper after looking through my sketchbooks and my notes and then wrote this in point form on my blackboard in my studio.  I look at it from time to time to remind myself of various opportunities that I might have overlooked when creating a piece.  I have worked steadily over the past couple of years to produce a large body of work from which I could choose the best pieces for my shows at the Blyth Centre for the Arts in August and also the Ethel Curry Gallery this fall.  I have also been on the Tour de Forest for three years.  I have applied for Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grants and have gratefully received grants for each of my shows.  I have been building my resume, keeping my website updated and looking for ways to “get my work out there”.


How do you choose the settings for your Haliburton landscape paintings? Do you have any favourite spots in the county?

I have a large file of photos that I have taken over the past 15 years in Haliburton while paddling a canoe with my husband or walking along cottage roads in the fall or visiting Ritchie Falls or the Wildwater Reserve in Minden.

halliburton-lake-roadYou currently have a very successful show on at the Ethel Curry Gallery in town. Is there any advice that you’d like to give other artists/artisans about pursuing a career in Haliburton County?

I’d say  work hard in your medium until you’ve got a significant body of work and then work hard on marketing and promotion.  “Make hay while the sun shines!”


If you’d like to see more of Susan’s work, check out her website at, or consider purchasing a painting at !

Interactive Art History

September 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

If you get a chance to take a stroll through the sculpture forest this week, see if you can spot the Land Art installations constructed by our VCAD students. The project is a part of their Art History class. It looks like the days of lecture-style lessons are over!

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Faculty Profile- Rob Stimpson

September 10, 2013 § Leave a comment


Rob Stimpson is certainly one of the most adventurous faculty members here at HSTA. He has been a full time photographer for over 15 years, best known for capturing stunning images of Canadian wilderness. Paddling Arctic Rivers, guiding expeditions, doing stills for a film on climate change, and travelling the world with his camera are just a few of the journeys this wilderness-obsessed instructor has embarked on.

Rob’s photography has come to represent Ontario through his work for Ontario Tourism, Ontario Parks, and Ontario-based magazines, calendars and national ads.

This photo was taken during Rob's Gales of November Workshop on Lake Superior

This photo was taken during Rob’s Gales of November Workshop on Lake Superior

 Here’s a look at his connection to our school, and to the Haliburton Highlands:

Q: You’ve been a valued faculty member at HSTA for many years. What
brought you to the school initially?
A: About 10 years ago I met Shelley Schell at a Arts in the Wild marketing initiative with Ontario Tourism and from there she invited me to run a one day workshop with Kevin Callan – that started my long relationship with HSTA.

Q: You’ve practiced photography while adventuring across the country
and around the world. What keeps you coming back to Ontario, and more
specifically Haliburton?
A: Originally from Montreal, my travels have taken to many amazing places but Ontario is now home and has been for many years. I live in the Huntsville area – about 25 kms from Algonquin Park. But as for the reason keeping me coming back to Haliburton, I love teaching photography and sharing my knowledge of the medium with others – HSTA is a great venue, provides many with so many creative pursuits. I love being imersed with so many like minded people.
Q. As an artist-educator, do you have some advice to pass onto others
who feel drawn to the path of educating in the arts?
A: I get this and similar questions about how does one make a living in the arts – whether you are an educator, artist or both – following your heart is one thing but learn business, networking and stay on top of what your medium is doing and where it is going. Our world changes constantly – re-invent yourself to stay with it.

In closing – I have been a freelance photographer for 15 years. It is as I call it – an unconvential job in a convential world. If you like stability, then this is probably not for everyone but the rewards in my business are many. It is not all roses but what job is. I have been to many places on the planet – my work has been published  internationally, my fine art images hang in places throughout the world – and I shoot for tourism agencies in Ontario – it is a good life.


For a more in-depth look into the wild world of Rob Stimpson, check out his website:, and think about signing up for his Fall Equinox Photo Workshop!

Featured Artist – Hilliary Dunford

May 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Visual and Creative Arts Diploma Graduate Hilliary Dunford has launched her business, HilliaryCustomLiving, on Etsy and recently spoke with HSTA about her starting her business and how her experience at HSTA  has helped her.912261_10151680491096802_975106359_n

Custom wedding cake toppers, delightful pet sculptures and remarkable house ornaments are just a few of the whimsical treasures offered by HilliaryCustomLiving. Hilliary has built a unique home and keepsake décor business that has captured the imaginations of her customers. Her artistically designed custom keepsake sculptures and ornaments are available exclusively in her Etsy shop. Each one of her creations is painstakingly handcrafted to perfection and makes a memorable keepsake to celebrate life.

While here at Fleming College’s Haliburton School of the Arts, Hilliary studied a wide array of artistic mediums and explored self-expression. She also learned about various artistic techniques from master artisans like Brian Smith and Adrienne Alison. For Hilliary, there is nothing more rewarding than having the ability to touch another person’s life with her artwork. She enjoys all aspects of the creative process from sketching the design, to sculpting it and then finishing it off to perfection.


You completed your Visual and Creative Arts Diploma with the generalist option (completing 14 varied credit courses in the semester immediately after the foundation year), how was that experience?

For sure! I did do the generalist option for VCAD, I personally loved it! It was just enough time for each course to get a small experience of that medium or style of art. I liked how many options you had and all the different types of art I could explore, not to mention how beautiful Haliburton is during the summer months, it’s almost like Mother Nature is giving you inspiration on a silver platter! While doing the summer option I loved meeting all the artistic people from around the world and being taught by amazing self-made artists. It makes your working environment much more relaxed and open, everyone’s ideas just kept feeding off one another till we all we’re proud of our different works.

What are some things that you learned from the VCA diploma program that have stayed with you while you have started your business?
Something that has stayed with me since I started my business was something Dar [Darleen Bolahood, faculty and VCAD coordinator] once said in the beginning of our course “Know whether you’re working for someone or yourself”, now my works are mainly craft, I am creating pieces for others, but I believe I’m doing it for myself more than them. I still work on other art mediums while creating custom pieces for my customers but I get artist block and have a break in between large paintings or sculptures that seem to last months sometimes, so working on my customers pieces keeps me fresh and ready for when inspiration strikes again. Don’t get me wrong, making custom pieces also brings me great joy, I love hearing my customers tell me how much they love their keepsakes because I know it’s something they can treasure for a lifetime with proper care.


How did you happen upon the idea for your shop and your main keepsakes?
My idea for my shop started with being tight on money, we were getting closer to Christmas and I had just gotten engaged, so we were also saving for a wedding at the time. My in-laws were also doing an extension to their home that they had been dreaming of, and my parents had just bought their second home in 15 years! So I wanted to make something for them that would mark these special occasions and started sketching. The idea sort of just came to me and next thing I know I was experimenting with some old clay from VCAD and made my first house ornament. It wasn’t much, but I still have it. Since then I just started making them for houses on the internet that I didn’t even know and was encouraged by my fiancé and family to try and touch others with these keepsakes. I opened my shop on November 12th and made my first sale on November 14th, the satisfaction of knowing someone I never met before wanted something made by my hands has been the inspiration that keeps me working in my studio from sunrise to sundown and I really wouldn’t want it any other way.

912177_10151680491061802_831125408_nCan you describe your process for making your custom objects? Are your mediums something you started exploring after or during the VCAD program?

My process in creating my keepsakes starts with a sketch of each home so I can catch any angles or small detailing in the image before I start carving. Once I’m done sketching, I start sketching on a rolled out piece of clay the same image then cut it out. From there I carve till I feel I’ve created a slightly 3 dimensional feeling with depth. Once carved I bake them then paint each one by hand, once painted I add their ribbon and they’re ready to ship! In the VCAD program I did explore clay and one of my exhibitions was of 3 dimensional women inside large boxes with only one view point. I did not however explore polymer clay while at VCAD, which is my main material and a little harder to manipulate then the clay I used in the VCAD program.

Is there any advice that you’d like to give other artists/artisans about starting an online business and using Etsy?

If I was to give anyone advice it would be take your time. Don’t rush you artistic process in trying to find an idea to sell. And don’t get discouraged to fast; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Etsy is a wonderful place to even just get your name out there for cheap advertising on your artworks. Even if you don’t want to sell on Etsy, go there to shop for gifts! Support fellow artists over large box companies. You will find unique handmade items that you won’t find anywhere else.


Inspired by the handmade movement, Hilliary enjoys offering her clients the opportunity to preserve their most precious memories with a custom keepsake. Whether it is celebrating a new marriage or the signing of the mortgage on a new home, HilliaryCustomLiving has something for everyone.

Hilliary has found a very comfortable selling niche online. Commitment to customer service and around the clock accessibility are two traits that Hilliary prides herself upon the most. As she continues to build a steady customer base, Hilliary seeks to expand the availability of her line to stores and designer boutiques. For interested buyers and store managers, please use the below contact details to discuss availability with Hilliary personally.

Hilliary Iaiana Elizabeth Dunford
Owner, HilliaryCustomLiving
Tel: 705 957 6785

I Made It! Spring 2013 Student Show & Sale

April 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

The inspiring talent of our students was on full display Saturday April 19th at the Biannual Student Show & Sale. With works from the Glassblowing, Jewellery Essentials and Sculpture Certificates as well as participating VCAD students, there was so much to see and something for everyone! Congrats to all of our students and staff on another great show and we wish all our grads the best for the future!

The Year-End Party hosted by the Student Association

April 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

Though it may have been a wet & crazy day (as evidenced by a rare College closure)…quite a few students still turned up at the Year End Party hosted by the Student Association at the Haliburton Curling Club.

With endless karaoke, a temporary tattoo competition, a photo booth plus the theme of Masquerade (and prize for best mask!) there was fun for everyone!

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