Success Stories

Meet the Makers

Kingston is known for its creative types, so we asked four of them about what they do and what the maker community is like here.

Nick Allinson

Nick Allinson

Woodworker

Why woodworking?
I’ve been interested in making things my whole life. When I was little, it was anything out of recycling or Lego, then fixing bikes or RC cars and boats, then drawing, painting and sculpture – which was basically anything while at the Ontario College of Art and Design — and now woodworking.

What do you love most about woodworking?
Wood is so beautiful, and I’ve found some really great mill sources that produce really beautiful material to work with. When I’m able to work/balance the natural elements of the wood with the shape and functionality I need for the charcuterie board, it is so rewarding.

Who is your favourite local maker?
Leanne Parcher, owner at LSP Designs. She is incredibly creative and humble and has a business model that anyone interested in being successful should follow. Leanne knows when to say no, when to keep working and how to ensure that every arrangement she makes is as special to the person picking it up as the next.

Ian Wong

Ian Wong

Pianist

How would you describe your music?
My original music is influenced by classical, popular and ambient music. I care a lot about writing lyrical melodies and want listeners to hear a story in the music, even though the music has no words. I also collaborate with artists from around the world who have expertise with other instruments and genres.

You were also trained in guitar and violin, so why did you focus on piano?
Because composing on the instrument comes naturally. Growing up, I learned how to freely improvise on the piano, and now this is often how I start composing something new. I also love the sound, versatility and expressiveness of the instrument.

How would you describe the classical music community in Kingston?
It’s very supportive of artists and encourages artistic growth. I was fortunate to have received private training from an exceptional composition professor, Dr. John Burge, at Queen’s University. I attribute much of my artistic success to what I learned from him.

Audrey Brown

Audrey Brown

Chocolatier

How did you get into chocolate making?
I’ve always loved food, cooking at home, being experimental with food, but it wasn’t until I had a stroke while working as a speech pathologist that my goals changed. I took an online course, a master class in B.C., then I did it on the side before going full hog five years ago.

How is your chocolate different than a big manufacturer’s?
I use very bold colours to really draw the eye in, and the flavours and ingredients are bolder than what you’d expect in a box of Pot of Gold – things like limoncello, basil, wasabi. I also don’t use any artificial flavours or preservatives, and I’m proud of that.

How have you been supported by Kingston’s makers and vice versa?
There is a lot of solidarity and support here. We buy each other’s products, tell patrons where to go. The Girls Night Out craft vendor market is a great example, and I like to stock different local food-related makers like T&A’s Condiment Company, the Cheesecakery Bakery and others.

Whitney Haynes

Whitney Haynes

Jewelry Designer and Silversmith

How would you describe what you do?
I create jewelry that is organic, unrefined and real. I grew up on a farm in rural Kingston and have always felt most at home outdoors. That love for nature inspires all of my work. You’ll see a lot of silver, leathers, birch, organic stones and pearls throughout my collection. I source locally whenever possible and work hard to keep my business green and sustainable.

Where do you display and sell your work?
I pop up throughout Ontario during the year in local makers markets as well as some of the bigger shows such as Artfest and the One of a Kind show in Toronto. And my online store is always open.

What’s it like being a maker in Kingston?
Kingston has a thriving group of creatives that are supported by the community and surrounding businesses. From big names to small makers, Kingston is full of talent. I’m proud to be part of it.