January 21, 2020

By ALYSHA MILLER
Conestoga’s second-year interior decorating students are bringing a whole new meaning to the word charity.
This is after Leslee Squirrell, a professor in the program, came up with an idea for a project for her students in which they would bring life back to old chairs and then auction them off. From there, the plan unfolded into a creative endeavour involving everything from iron to faux fur, with all proceeds from the sale of the finished products being donated to the Hospice of Waterloo.
“We had to take an existing old chair and completely rebuild it,” said Brittany Chabot, one of the students involved in the project, while perched on the ottoman that accompanies her group’s project. “Each one features an element of design – ours was pattern, so we used a combination of patterns and textures in ours.”
“We’ll be selling tickets closer to the event,” Squirrell told those looking at the chairs, which were displayed in the E-wing at Conestoga’s Doon campus on Nov. 29 so they could be professionally photographed and seen by passersby.
The event itself — titled Chair-ity Gala 2012 — won’t be until April 3, but planning is already well underway. Program co-ordinator Margie Hedges was present at the photo shoot to provide more information on what’s to come.
A silent auction will be held to sell the student-made chairs and a live auction will be held for a chair designed by a famous interior decorator.
“Students have designed and refurbished these from basically garbage chairs,” Hedges said. “They’ll continue to work on them up until the event,” she added, noting that they have to be professional. Brenda Halloran, the mayor of Waterloo, and other high-profile people are scheduled to attend.
“A lot of teamwork and hours have gone into them,” said Daniella Bonnell, another second-year interior decorating student. Each of the 33 students in the program was put into groups of three or more to produce a total of 15 chairs — some in sets of two, some including ottomans, all doubling as artwork as well as furniture.