Amity Textile Arts was founded in 2014 as a collaboration between Shawna Reiter and Heather Kirk. The two women have known each other since their public school days, and wanted to combine their passion for art and ecology to create a company that is unique, inspiring, and sustainable.
Heather Kirk – Co-Founder
Heather’s background is in ecology, and she’s really interested in projects that contribute to ecological and social sustainability. She finished her PhD in The Netherlands, and is now living and working in Zurich, Switzerland. Besides Amity Textile Arts, she also started a project locally in Switzerland called Social Fabric. Social Fabric is a community working space for textile workers and recreational sewers, and also runs projects to support refugee integration in Switzerland. If you are interested in Heather’s academic work, please visit her Google Scholar Page.
Shawna Reiter – Co-Founder
Shawna is an artist who’s practice focuses on sculpture, kinetic art and puppetry. She has an MFA from the University of Calgary and lives in Toronto, Canada where she is the artistic director of Clunk Puppet Lab. Shawna has taught art classes and workshops to children and adults at colleges, art galleries, and school boards across Canada. She currently teaches puppetry design and construction at the Humber College Puppetry Intensive. Read more about her work here.
Melanie Conn – Co-founder, Common Thread
Melanie Conn has been involved in co-operative and community economic development in British Columbia, Canada, since the early 1970s. In 2013 she was honoured with the Canadian Co-operative Achievement Award presented by the Canadian Co-op Association. She developed the idea for the non-profit, social enterprise co-op when she was consulting for Malalay Afghan Women’s Sewing & Crafts Co-operative in the early 2000s. She saw the need for marketing and production support and wanted to help create a more reliable flow of work for such sewing programs. “The way I see it, there is no kind of service that you can’t have a co-op do. Where I think co-ops excel is when people are looking to put together economic and social values, because it’s already built into the model.”
Azadeh R. Hessami – Technical Designer, Common Thread
Azadeh completed her studies in Dress Making and Fashion Design in London, England. After moving to Canada in 1994 she started her own business providing technical design, pattern making and product development services to local and international clothing companies. Azadeh is also consulting for Common Thread that she co-founded in 2009.
Jonathan J. Davis – Graphic Designer, Photographer
Jonathan is an independent freelance graphic designer, photographer and artist in Toronto, Canada. He specializes in designing custom posters, business cards, postcards, logos and wordmarks. Jonathan is also an Associate Artist and Puppet Engineer at CLUNK Puppet Lab. He was first introduced to the magic of media arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design received Fine Art Degree in Integrated Media.
Erica Gajewski – Model
Erica is currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Studies at York University. Research areas include Animal Studies, Environment and Cultural Studies, and Visual Arts. She holds a M.F.A and B.F.A from the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah GA, USA, where she attended on full athletic scholarship, competing in both soccer and cross-country running. After completing her studies in the U.S she returned home to Canada, where she maintains a studio practice, runs with her furry companions, and teaches. Visit Erica’s website
Holly Davis – Model
Holly works in the children’s mental health field and is a musician at heart. She graduated from Western University’s Bachelor of Musical Arts, Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts, and George Brown’s Medical Office Assistant programs. Holly has written & recorded 3 full-length albums and loves making quilts, stuffed owls and gluten-free baked goods any chance that she has.
For delicious gluten-free recipes by Holly, visit her Website