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Okanagan Arts

Culture and Community


An Ongoing Series of Lectures and Presentations that Celebrate the Creative Okanagan

Okanagan Institute
Thursday Express
5pm Thursdays
at the Bohemian Café

Click here for schedule
and information.


Arts Council of the Central Okanagan
Arts Council of the
Central Okanagan

100-1690 Water Street
Kelowna BC Canada V1Y 8T8
Email: Click Here.
Elke Lange, Executive Director
Telephone: 250.861-4123

Produced in association with the
Okanagan Institute


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Okanagan Arts: Summer 2008

Arts Award: Janice Fingado

When Janice Fingado was awarded the Okanagan Arts Award for Design, she said "When my student, Adele Glennie, told me she was going to nominate me for one of the Arts Awards I was thrilled and excited, but doubtful that I would actually win, since there were so many talented artists in the Valley. But I told her that the main thing I would like to accomplish with the nomination would be to encourage other women who were older not to be afraid of failure but to take the first step towards accomplishing their dreams, because the only "failure" you will ever have is the failure to try. And the gains you make when your venture succeeds are enormous: new friends, new adventures, new experiences, all bringing you joys you never dreamed of. Most of the winners here this evening will use the words "passion" and/or "bliss" as their motivating factor. "Failure" is just not in their vocabulary."

The following is Adele's nomination:

Janice Fingado has been designing jewelry for over 25 years. Her work is mainly contemporary with some influence of the Native Southwest where she lived for 13 years. She attends the annual Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson, Arizona each winter, where she selects unusual stones, pearls and fossils to incorporate in her silver pieces Each piece is one-of-a-kind.

Janice was bom in Ithaca, New York in 1927. Because of her husband's business career with an international company, she has lived in Switzerland, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Spain and England before settling in Kelowna in 1980. Janice took her first course in jewelrymaking in Switzerland in 1967. Other courses followed in England and in Tucson. She and her husband traveled extensively to all comers of the earth and along the way she found interesting stones: moonstones from Kathmandu, scarabs from Egypt and fos
sils from Alberta. She "noodled" for opals in Coober Pedy, Australia, where it is so hot that everyone lives underground.

During her travels, Janice learned to speak three different languages (after the age of 45) for which her husband was very proud! She persistently kept at it, even when making mistakes, but that persistence has certainly paid off, in her ability now to greet international tourists at her studio, in their own tongues! She is able to provide a very personal and heartfelt experience to visitors.

When Janice and her husband decided to leave England, they had heard about the Okanagan and all its treasures, but they wanted to see it "at its worst", in the dead of winter. So they took a train from Kamloops to Kelowna and stayed for a few days. They thought to themselves, if it looks this beautiful in the dead of winter; just imagine what it must be like in the summer! That was in 1979 and by April of 1980, they were settled here!

With her husband being ill the last few years of his life, Janice's jewellery making had to take a back seat, but she still created beautiful pieces at her home, which she sold to galleries and gift shops. Her husband passed away a few months before she saw the ad that a studio was available at the ROMU Centre for the Arts, and the opportunity felt serendipitous to Janice. Having never worked outside of the home before, at 78, she decided to take the plunge and open her teaching studio. Janice is an encouragement to all people who want to follow their passion. She helps people to realize that they can do anything
they desire, no matter what their age!

Janice has been a mentor to aspiring artists for years, sharing her passion and knowledge with kindness, good humour and lots of patience! Her students range from the already accomplished artist, who may be exploring a new medium, to the complete neophyte, who has never made a piece of jewellry before!

Not only has she expanded her own portfolio of eclectic designs which are sold at the Art Ark Gallery, but she felt a calling to pass on her knowledge to others who yearned to create j ewellery, to give them self-confidence and the pride in saying "I made it myself". Her students have brought a new dimension to her life: They have expanded her circle of dear friends and most enthusiastic supporters, and she is never happier than when she hears what she calls the "wow factor". That is when they bring up the shine of silver on the polishing machine and see their piece brought to a jubilant finish.

With her dedicated expertise and her kind, patient, witty delivery of the class lessons, Studio 203 is usually a place filled with laughter. She claims jewellery-making is good for your health ­ improves your memory and alertness, is a fast relief from stress, eliminates wrinkles except for laugh lines, and gives you amazing vitality.

Janice's former students regularly visit her at her studio, even when they are not working on a project. Janice has even formed partnerships with some students and acts as a mentor to them as they build their own dreams as jewellery artists and designers.

Janice's artistic endeavours extend beyond being a jewellery designer and teacher. She and her husband were instrumental in beginning the Waldorf School in Kelowna, where children are encouraged to use all forms of art to express themselves, learn and grow. Teachers have the opportunity to enhance core subjects with poetry, painting, modeling and drama. Janice's contribution includes helping with the arts and crafts projects and participating in the yearly Christmas craft show to raise funds for the school.

Janice says, "I think that an important factor of being successful is having a good sense of humour, and my students well know that I love to tell funny little stories of things that happen at the Gem Show. Mainly, you need to laugh at yourself."

Janice is continually learning new techniques to teach to her students, including working with Art Clay Silver, a silver powder that is mixed with water and binders, which are fired away to reveal 99.9% pure silver pieces. She still attends the world's largest Gem Show in Tucson, in February of each year, where she picks up unusual and rare pieces of gemstones, lab created stones, findings and more. Her past, present and future students are the lucky recipients of these exciting shopping trips.

Janice's philosophy is best expressed by the following statement: "From the moment I was selected to have a studio in the Rotary Centre I have wanted to get the message out to older people that they accept the challenge of making big changes in their lives, and not to be afraid to try. That the personal rewards of making new friends, of passing on your knowledge of a certain aspect of art to young school children or older students is very satisfying, and of making new friends of tourists who will come back and visit Kelowna again because of the happy experience they had while here."

Wild Blue Yonder at Thursday Express