An artist in each of us

When it comes to making art, each artist chooses their own styles, methods and mediums through which they can express their ideas. For Dawn Livera, a Vancouver-based artist, working with good old paper and books and other forms of media are her favorite mediums. Livera is happy to share her art-making secrets Feb. 1 at Place des Art in her upcoming art workshop pARTy@PdA: Books with Burgundy.

For her workshop, Livera is looking forward to making some artist books that could be used as journals, sketchbooks or diaries.

“This is the first time I’ll be doing an adult evening event at Place des Arts,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

When it comes to her passion for making art books, Livera fondly recalls her memories in 2015 when she made a series of 52 small art books with scraps and art supplies she had in her house. Students loved her art creations, which motivated the artist.

“I use many of these books as examples in my art classes, and students often ask how to make them,” she says.

Livera is an artist who mainly works with textile and mixed media. She was born in Sri Lanka and before calling Canada her home, lived in the UK for a few years.

Having been interested with art at a small age, Livera decided to pursue her dreams in an unconventional career path.

“I’ve always been involved in making art,” she says. “I remember that I started drawing things when I was a young child and I never stopped. It is something that I love to do.”

During the course of hosting many different art workshops, Livera still remembers the interesting moments of her art workshop vividly.

“I had one student who was very nervous on the first day of class,” she says. “I found several pieces of paper with partially drawn circles that she had thrown away because she didn’t think they were good enough.”

The art teacher soon found a way to solve the problem.

“By the last day of class, she was enthusiastically throwing paint at the page and then turning her random splotches into the most wonderful images of cats and people and all sorts of things,” she says. “She was just having so much fun.”

Art is for everyone

Being both an artist and a teacher in her art workshop, Livera emphasizes her care for her students and their enjoyment for making art.

A book created in one of Dawn Livera’s workshops. | Photo courtesy of Dawn Livera

“[The student’s confidence improvement] made me feel very happy. I talked to her about how different she seemed and she realized how much her perspective had changed,” she says. “I hope she was able to take that confidence into other parts of her life.”

Livera’s philosophy of teaching is that everyone is welcome to enjoy and create art.

“I believe that we are all artists and that art is an important way for people to express themselves without worrying about making mistakes,” she says.

To Livera, art is a way for people to express themselves and enrich their lives with peaceful, benevolent activities.

“I love to see people who don’t think that they are artists enjoying themselves and making art in a relaxed and non-intimidating environment,” she says.

During her workshop, Livera will demonstrate how to make books by upcycling common household items such as cardboard boxes, envelopes and junk mail to make two or three different styles of books.

“I think it will be a very enjoyable and relaxed evening,” she says. “There will also be snacks and wine available for purchase.”

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