For this month, WRAC features Erika Uustalu-Nicholson, who creates both fabric and visual art. Born to Estonian parents who came to Thunder Bay, Ontario, after World War II, she says, “From an early age, my family instilled in me an appreciation of nature and art.”
Upon graduating from high school, she was accepted at both the Ontario College of Art and the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba. She could not decide which school to attend until a close friend was also accepted at the U of M. This led her to venture out west.
She says, “One doesn’t realize the life-changing enormity of our youthful decisions until much later.”
But Uustalu-Nicholson doesn’t regret her decision. She has enjoyed a satisfying career as an art teacher in the Interlake and Winnipeg School Divisions. She raised her family in Manitoba and exhibited her art, predominantly drawings and paintings, over the past several decades at various galleries and venues.
Upon retirement, she moved, with her husband Archie, to the Lac du Bonnet area. Through various fishing trips, they had come to know the region. They live along the Pinawa Channel where they enjoy the inspiration of nature and close friendships with neighbours.
Currently, Uustalu-Nicholson is associated with various creative individuals and groups including WRAC, Pinawa Art 211, Gwen Fox and Wayne Arthur Galleries, the Prairie Edge Rug Hookers, and the GAWMYS (Good Art Won’t Match Your Sofa) artists. In 2015, she helped organize and participated in the Eastman Judged Art Exhibition in Lac du Bonnet, and received awards in the Drawing and Fibre categories.
Uustalu-Nicholson sums up her artistic passion with these words, “Art has been my study, my career and my therapy during my whole life. Over the years, my work has evolved and changed in media and style but the underlying currents and subjects have remained quite the same – the world of nature and the many facets of the human condition – both inner and global.”