HISTORIC HARBOR: How Do You Refine A Recycled Modern Art?

Play Audio Clip Listen to audio clip. HISTORIC HARBOR: James ‘Rocky’ Rivera and his daughter Emily rolled up their sleeves in 2010 after Emily read about arts and crafts restoration on an episode of…

HISTORIC HARBOR: How Do You Refine A Recycled Modern Art?

Play Audio Clip Listen to audio clip.

HISTORIC HARBOR: James ‘Rocky’ Rivera and his daughter Emily rolled up their sleeves in 2010 after Emily read about arts and crafts restoration on an episode of The Nip/Tuck. As siblings, they were always shopping for each other’s birthday presents. So, when he called her to ask her to join him on a construction project, she jumped at the opportunity to learn the ancient craft of Pearly Butterflies.

“It’s a really meticulous, detailed craft where you actually need to follow measurements. You know, be precise,” says Emily.

At first, it took an entire day of practice to get their cream colored three-piece vessels in order, but over time, they fine-tuned their technique and did just fine.

“[Our sisters] got really scared when we did it, and we don’t like anybody to get scared. So, they told us, ‘Get your first piece ready to go.’ And I was just so scared, like, how am I gonna do this?” laughs Emily.

Now, in addition to repairing and restoring other historic buildings, Emily and Rocky are creating their own unique masterpiece… local art.

“I see my father less and less, and it’s like, my mom basically is an artist now, and my friends and everything, and I feel like this is a way for me to do my art, which is really cool.”

But it’s not just paint and hot wax where Rocky and Emily get their inspiration.

“You’ll see it on shows like Shark Tank, what happens is you bring in your script and you bring in your drawings and your rough sketches, and you take a bunch of them, and they’ll see you and they’ll want to build you a house or rebuild something… we call these, ‘Bells’ you know, where everyone will be doing something besides shooting!”

Happy Arts and Craft Day!

Click HERE to learn more about Rocky and Emily, or for more on their transformation of a historic beaux arts theatre in downtown Toronto.

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