Tett Rentals Interview: Rhonda Evans of Glocca Morra Studios

A Tett Centre interview with Rhonda Evans of Glocca Morra Studios

Hello, Rhonda. Please tell us about yourself.

I am a mixed media and a mixed idea artist. I don’t think there is a right way or wrong way to make art. There are only ways to embellish! I am also co-owner of Glocca Morra Studios through which my creative business partner, Adele Webster, and I create artwork and teach workshops. Our studios are located on my family farm and in a Creativity Studio at the Tett Centre, both located in Kingston, Ontario.

Were you born in Kingston?

Born and raised in Newfoundland! That place has been a huge influence on my life. I spent a lot of time outdoors, playing in nature. Flowers were always a big part of my life. They brought colour to a landscape that had many grey days. Newfoundland is not a place where you go to visit for the weather, but you will never go there and not come away having enjoyed all the people and scenery. There’s something about that salty air, as well. It gets into your soul and never leaves – and everything is better with a dash of salt!

At the age of 18 I moved to Ontario which I now call home. I live with my husband and two daughters on our farm in Kingston. Flat, wide open spaces are such a contrast to Newfoundland’s rugged landscape. The sun is always shining here! And we have 4 seasons which I will never take for granted.

Are there other artists in your family?

My grandfather was a wonderful artist. He worked as a chartered accountant but had a basement full of the best brushes and paints and canvases. As children, we were told we could use anything and do anything we wanted with it. “If you have it, it’s meant to be used” was his motto. As a child, I didn’t realize how expensive the sable brush was, but I did know it was fun to use!

Are you a self-taught artist or did you study art in school or by working with an artist?

In high school, I did all academic work until my last year. I kind of book-ended things with art classes, always thinking that this was frivolous but fun. I remember my art teacher telling me that I should go and do art for a living and my response was “You’ll never make a living doing art.”  He disagreed. So, I continued and went to school and did everything I could to find a way to make a living and be happy. Finally, after four other endeavours in college and university, I decided to go to St. Lawrence College for the graphic arts program. After three, long and gruelling years, I was very proud to say I graduated. This is where I met Adele Webster. We were two of the 21 people that graduated, out of 121 people that started on our first day.

When did you decide to pursue a creative artmaking business?

After my daughter Anna’s birth, I decided to stay at home because we have a farm and it didn’t seem economical to work outside of the home. Having my second daughter Sarah made it even more apparent that I needed to find a way to make a living staying at home, so we started doing things a little differently. We move to the farm, started a roadside stand, and later added a greenhouse. I did a lot of floral design, working with wood, as well as teaching.

Adele came to work with me approximately six years ago and we combined our efforts which then began what we are today – Glocca Morra Studios! I love working with Adele and in different mediums. We work with everything, from wool and felting, rug hooking and needle punch, painting with watercolours and acrylics.

In your experience, what is like to work and teach at the Tett Centre?

Over the past year, I have been very fortunate to have a Tett Creativity Studio where Adele and I teach and create. We often rent the Tett Centre’s Activity Room and Rehearsal Hall for our art-making classes, including our popular Liquid Glass Pouring workshops. They are accommodating and affordable spaces that we recommend to other arts instructors. Due to Covid-19, we have not been at the Tett Centre as much but I miss being there with all of our friends and artists. I can hardly wait to get back to The Tett to start teaching and creating again! 

Covid-19 has affected many local artists and arts instructors. How are you coping with that?

The Newfoundland version for this question would be “what are you at?”

So, the same part of the human brain that manages stress is the same part of the brain that is creative. Our brains can’t do both at the same time. Working on creative projects can relieve stress. These days, I am creating in my farmhouse studio, making large, mostly floral, framed glass mosaics, and using barn boards from our farm to make the frames.

I have also been busy making and selling art-making kits, including needle felting, needle punch, little planter kits, fairy gardens, party pendants, beaded and beaded jewelry.

Purchase one of Rhonda’s art-making kits or a gift certificate for a Glocca Morra Studio workshop today! Kits are available for pick up at the Farmhouse Studio, or arrangements can be made for no-contact delivery.

Glocca Morra Studios:

www.gloccamorrastudio.com

Facebook: Glocca Morra Farms & Studios and Rhonda Evans

Instagram: @gloccamorrastudio and @rhonda_evans_artist

Interested in teaching an art making workshop at the Tett Centre? If so, please visit our website at https://www.tettcentre.org/rentals or contact the Tett Rentals Coordinator, Susanna Gordon at rentals@tettcentre.org.