Smoke 'N Water Restaurant owner David Jones

Artist has a heart of gold — and glass

Nanoose Bay stained glass artist creates 300 hearts in fundraiser for Manna Society, through February at Smoke 'N Water

Parksville’s Lynn Collinson has a big heart. And a bunch of medium-sized hearts. And a lot more smaller hearts.

All told, the stained-glass artist has more than 300 heart-shaped creations, and they’re going to be displayed throughout February at Smoke ’N Water Restaurant to raise money for the Manna Homeless Society.

“It’s my addiction,” said Collinson, a mother of four who works as a server in the restaurant at Pacific Shores Resort in Nanoose Bay. “I started making these pieces in September and I’ve been living and eating and breathing hearts since. My kids are picking up the slack with the housework.”

This will be Collinson’s second year of hanging the brightly coloured hearts — each with its own unique design — in the restaurant’s windows for display and sale. Last year she created 170 hearts for display but has upped the ante by nearly doubling her output.

“Last year we raised $900,” she said. “I’m hoping for more this year.”

The hearts range from palm-sized to a few that span more than 12 inches across. Prices will range from $8 to $80 per heart, with most falling in the $20-35 range.

A few have whimsical themes, like her bacon-and-eggs heart and one representing a dog bone. But most utilize a mix of glass colours and types in a variety of different patterns, held together by traditional leading.

Collinson will retain a part of the proceeds to cover material costs, but even much of that material has come through donations from former students.

“Some of my students who maybe have gotten older and no longer do stained glass brought me their glass and supplies,” she said. “I’m paying it forward.”

The display goes up Jan. 26, during a special restaurant event that includes a gift basket giveaway. The hearts will remain through the month of February.

Collinson began creating stained glass nearly 40 years ago, and had a business for two years in Red Deer, AB, before moving to Calgary and creating works on a freelance basis.

Since moving to Parksville 33 years ago, she has created stained-glass windows for both the Church of Ascension and St. Columba Church.

and has also created a couple of pieces for Knox United Church. Collinson continues to teach stained glass on a part-time basis while working at Smoke ’N Water.

“Now I’ve got four children; I needed an income,” she said with a laugh.

Even with 300 hearts already in her collection, Collinson plans to continue creating them. And she has no shortage of new design ideas.

“I’ll lay down at night and they’ll pop in my head,” she said. “When I get up I quickly draw the design. I have a few days to finish before they go up, then I’ll spend February filling the gaps as they sell.”

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