Fay Shlanda was born in Winnipeg in 1967. In school, she enjoyed both writing poetry and making fabric crafts, including cross-stitch, weaving, and embroidery. Later she used her weaving skills to make costumes for use at medieval re-enactments.
Fay’s weaving plays with colour; she sometimes develops custom colour palettes aimed at matching the prospective wearer’s individual skin tone. She makes practical items such as kumihimo braided bracelets and tablet bags sewn together from narrow woven bands. She says her wire-wrapping creations are generally asymmetrical and organic: other than the wire, they incorporate all-natural ornamental features, such as stones, crystals, wood, and shell.
Fay returned to writing poetry in earnest about seven years ago. Her new poetry book showcases diverse styles – including traditional rhymed poetry, prose poetry, and definition poetry, to name a few – but always aims at accessibility and ease of understanding for the reader. Running through the various forms, however, is the consistent theme of human brokenness and tough subjects drawn from experience. “Writing poetry is how I work things through cerebrally,” says Fay, “but crafts let me clear my head of those thoughts. Either way, I enjoy sharing what I do.” She adds, “I’m known for my self-deprecating humour, and I’m a compassionate, ‘motherly’ figure. I also call myself a geek, because I like Dungeons and Dragons, board games, science fiction, and fantasy.”