ArtsTalk Blog - One Kanzashi at a Time

A chance encounter at a spur-of-the-moment yard sale stop began Annette Derraugh's journey into the Japanese art of Kanzashi. She was so fascinated by the beautiful ribbon and textile flowers displayed on that table that she couldn't wait to make one. In fact, she cut the only fabric at hand--a cloth napkin--into strips and fashioned her first Kanzashi while on the family sailboat later that day!

In the 7 years since, Annette has gone on to explore the seemingly endless scope of creative variety the Kanzashi form offers to practitioners. She makes brooches, hair pieces, headbands and other accessorieswith intricately folded ribbon, textiles, buttons, gems from recycled jewellery and a glue gun as her materials palette. She has surprised even herself with this passion for a visual art form, since her lifelong love has been music and theatre. But she has gone with it, and continues to find delight in making and selling her creations locally.

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began February 24, and news of the massive refugee exodus took over media, Annette, like many others, felt compelled to help in some way, anyway she could. " I can't fight, obviously, but I can do a fundraiser," she reasoned. The sudden proliferation of Ukrainian flags in solidarity gave her the idea of using those patriotic blue and gold colours in her Kanzashi brooches and donating the money raised by selling them to the Canadian Red Cross' Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.

Within days of posting her Ukrainian themed brooches on Facebook's Tottenham and New Tecumseth Community Page, Annette was scrambling to fulfill an onslaught of orders, find the quantity of supplies needed, and get busy! In the first 100 days, she has sold 240 brooches@ $10 each but handed over $2700 to the Red Cross with above-and-beyond extra donations!

Though not of Ukrainian heritage, helping Ukrainian refugees feels personal to Annette and her husband, Lorne. They feel a deep attachment to Ukrainian culture as Lorne toured for many years playing viola in the Black Sea Hall orchestra out of St. Catharines. The troupe celebrated Ukrainian culture through food, folk dance and song all over eastern North America.

Annette plans to carry on raising money to support Ukrainian refugees as long as we keep buying her Kanzashi. In this second phase of her fundraising project, she will donate 100% of money raised above material costs, about $7 out of every $10.

"Let's support the beleaguered citizens of Ukraine one Kanzashi at a time!" she says.

Written by SSAC Member Valerie Losell

You can contact her directly to purchase Kanzashi. To contact and learn more about Annette and her work visit our MEMBER DIRECTORY.