Layne Collinson takes a look at just some of the dozens and dozens of stained glass hearts she’s put up at Smoke ‘n Water and at other establishments in the area, which she’s selling once again, with half the proceeds going to the Manna Homeless Society. — Adam Kveton Photo

Have a heart for a cause in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Stained glass artist selling hearts for the homeless for what might be the last time

Over the past year, local stained glass artist Layne Collinson has made about 800 stained glass hearts, which she’s selling for the fifth year out of Smoke ’n Water restaurant as well as other businesses to raise funds for Manna Homeless Society.

She said she hopes that this year, in what could be her final year of her Valentine’s project, she’d like to break the $20,000 mark for total donations to Manna over the five years.

Taking stock of the amount of money she’s raised so far, she said, “It’s a good feeling, because I think the Manna society does such a great job, and God bless them.

“I’ve gone out and seen a few of the things they do… I went to drop off some money for them one day, and it was during a snow storm, and they had the van all warmed out and they were out looking for people to make sure that they were alive,” said Collinson.

“What dedication.”

“If I could get off the hearts, maybe I should get out there and, someday I’ll be a volunteer,” she added with a smile.

Collinson’s obsession with hearts has gone on for quite some time. She said it’s the flow of the shape and the design possibilities that keep her interested, sometimes even creating things that aren’t hearts but end up in heart shapes subconsciously.

Not a fan of the red heart (though she makes plenty of those, too), Collinson’s designs include an array of different colour schemes and patterns.

“I’ll be watching television and I’ll see something, so I’ll design something and then next thing I know there’s 20 (hearts) on the page,” she said. “It’s fun,” especially as it goes to a good cause, said Collinson.

This year she had about 1,000 heart designs created over the years, though she managed to create 800 of them. The other 200 she still plans to make after her Hearts for the Homeless campaign, which continues until the end of February.

Hearts are available for purchase at Smoke ’n Water restaurant (in Pacific Shores Resort in Nanoose Bay, 1600 Stroulger Rd.), at Seathrift Artisan Boutique (676 Memorial Ave., Qualicum Beach), Qualicum Stationers (206 First Ave. West, Qualicum Beach) and Arbutus Fashions (147 West 2nd Ave., Qualicum Beach).

The hearts sell for between $8 and $120 depending on the size and complexity.

There will also be a fundraiser night at Smoke ’n Water on Jan. 23 starting at about 6 p.m. with live music, a raffle for a big heart and more, said Collinson.

In the past, people have come from Victoria and elsewhere to check out the hearts and purchase them, she said.

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