As a not-for-profit organization, we rely on the generous help of our volunteers and their selfless efforts. It is their willingness to share time, talent, and passion for craft that brings life to CCBC Shop & Gallery. Each of our volunteers contributes to the CCBC in their own way – get to know them!
Meet Sunny, one of our volunteers at the shop & gallery.
Tell us a little bit about yourself; who you are and how long you have been volunteering with CCBC.
“I am a mostly retired lawyer and a divorced mother of two grown daughters, both of whom live in the east with their cats, my grandcats. I live on my own in Yaletown. Aside from a bit of lawyering and volunteering here at the CCBC shop and gallery, I am involved in the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmother’s Campaign in support of the grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa who are raising their grandchildren orphaned as a result of the AIDS pandemic. I also visit some amazing, elderly friends and helped organizing for an artist friend. Sometimes I knit; I have several unfinished sweaters that have been on the go for years, but right now I’m into knitting scarves. I watch too much TV, some of it good, walk and go to the gym, but not enough, and eat a whole food, plant based diet. I enjoy theatre, movies, musicals and music. I participate in a choir that includes people like me who like to sing even though I don’t have a good voice. I participate in a few study groups. And, I hang out with friends. I’ve been volunteering here about three years, I think.”
What is your favourite part of working in the shop and gallery? Your favourite task?
“I enjoy seeing and being surrounded by beautiful things, amazed by people’s creativity, imagination and work. My favourite thing is interacting with customers. I also like putting new items into inventory.”
Why do you think craft is important? What role does craft play in your own life?
“I think craft is important because it is am expression of human creativity. I think having creative talent is a gift and creative efforts to make beautiful things should be encouraged. Being surrounded by beautiful things is uplifting and inspiring. My apartment is filled with pottery and other critters, my walls are covered with silk screens prints and a few original paintings.”
Any tips for someone interested in buying contemporary craft or giving it as a gift?
“Not really. There is a lot of beautiful, functional or wearable pieces that make wonderful gifts.”
Favourite artist that the CCBC carries? Why?
“I don’t know that I have a favourite – there are so many and they do such different things. I particularly like the whimsical so among my favourites are Gera Scott Chandler, Laura Van Der Linde and Charmian Nimmo. I also like Carolyn Dipasquale – especially the sculptures but also her mugs. I like a lot of the jewellery, as well but I can’t say I have a favourite jewellery artist.”
In addition to volunteering with the CCBC, you are involved in a number of other community organizations. Do you want to tell us about those and why volunteering is important to you?
In Judaism, when someone has passed away we say “May his or her life have been for a blessing.” As I am getting older, it has become increasingly important to me that my life be for a blessing. I have been given many blessings in my life and I think it is important that I give back. Although much of what I do in my professional life as a lawyer is enjoyable to me and intellectually satisfying, I can’t say that it helps people, that it really matters.
In the past few years, I’ve been involved in the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmother to Grandmothers Campaign in support of the grandmothers in Sub-Sahran Africa who are raising their orphaned grandchildren as a result of the AIDS pandemic. There are over 300 “Gogo” groups across the country as part of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. “Gogo” is the Zulu word for “grandmother” and my group is called the Tikun Olam Gogo; “tikun olam” is a Hebrew expression meaning “repairing the world”.
The focus of my group’s efforts is making and selling beautiful tote bags. We sell them at craft fairs and events and online. We also put on the occasional fund raising activity. Since I’ve been involved, we’ve had two concert evenings. This year we have collected over 30 old paddles and oars and asked local artists to contribute their time and talents to decorate them for us. We are now holding an online auction to sell them. The bidding is now open and will close on October 10. On October 13, we are putting on an event at which the fabulous City Soul Choir will perform. We call the auction and concert “Many Rivers to Cross, Paddles for African Grandmothers”. You can learn more by going to our website at tikunolamgogos.org.