Have a Fab Day

The Fab Tray Project

Located in the alleyway next to 50 Dunlop Street East

Designed and handcrafted in Barrie in the 1960s and 70s, Fab Trays were made by Hardy Glenwood Products, using designer fabrics sealed in a clear polyester composition and were carried in major department stores throughout Canada and the United States. At the height of their popularity 1,000 trays were made each day.

Though production of the trays ended in the 70’s they remain popular for their fun and funky patterns and have become a sought-after item by vintage and thrift collectors. To honor this fabulous part of Barrie’s history, the Downtown Barrie BIA commissioned 16 local artists to paint aluminum circles using inspiration from the original trays.

Global News Barrie Today

Ryley James

Flower Power from a 90’s Kid - acrylic on aluminum, 2023

“The Fab Tray project was my first commissioned mural as an artist and I was beyond excited to create something that would be connected to the city I grew up in. I wanted to capture both the history of Barrie’s Fab Trays and the style of art from the 70’s, but I also incorporated my own history as an artist and my influences from growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

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My art represents the idea that Spring is only a season and the flowers I paint represent life’s most beautiful moments in bloom. Just like flowers, moments can not last forever. However, my work serves as a reminder to take pause and open your eyes to see the world anew, a season of change as if you are once again a child. Live in your curiosity, linger to smell the roses and indulge in every moment.”

“I want to create a moment of impact with my art. I hope to have you find the feelings of blossoming energy and emotion within the colours and details of each canvas. Every Piece create is a window into my own life. My style not only reveals my colourful and complex imagination, but also protects my secrets within the layers of painted petals. At once, an abstract coming of age narrative and the celebration of beauty in life all around us. Creating a work of art is like reading my favourite novel for the first time, I can never experience the same impact of emotions and energy again. Art is my therapy, a small piece of my soul and a page from my own book using paint rather than words. The trial and tribulations of a sassy and bright woman, transformed into a story of blooming colours on canvas”

Monika Matus

Monika Matus

Duchess - acrylic on aluminum, 2023

“I am proud to be part of a group of 16 local artists selected for an exciting art installation in downtown Barrie. The installation is inspired by locally made trays from the 60’s and 70’s by Hardy Glenwood Products. Each artist was tasked with creating their own unique design based on the original trays. For my design, I chose to incorporate the original tray’s

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fabric print of kittens playing with flowers and modernized it in my own style. I used bold colours and dynamic lines to create a vibrant and eye-catching image of a cat with flowers. It was important to me to pay homage to the original design while also adding my own personal touch. Being part of this collaborative project has been an incredible experience, and I am excited to see our combined efforts come to life in the installation.”

“I’m an artist based in Ontario with over 15 years of experience creating art. My love for animals and passion for art have always been intertwined, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to combine these interests by creating beautiful art featuring the subjects I love. For me, each painting is an opportunity to capture the unique spirit and personality of an animal and create a lasting tribute to their beauty. I specialize in high realism but also enjoy experimenting with abstract styles and bold colour palettes. My work is inspired by the captivating beauty of sunsets and skies, and I strive to recreate the emotions that these natural wonders evoke through my art.

My artistic vision is to create thought-provoking pieces that leave a lasting impression on the viewer. Whether it’s a delicate and intricate wildlife portrait or a bold and abstract creation, my artwork is designed to stir up emotions and ignite the senses. With a focus on cour and composition, I use my skills and creativity to push the boundaries of traditional wildlife and animal art. When I’m not in the studio, you can often find me training and playing with my dogs. They’re a constant source of inspiration and joy, and I’m grateful for their companionship and love.”

Emily Bos Lemen

Seasonal Richness - housepaint on aluminum, 2023

E.B.L.‘s inspiration for her fab tray drew on a few original trays which included fruits and vegetables, patterns and bright colours. E.B.L. also loves Ontario’s bountiful spring and summer harvests and wanted to draw attention to some of her personal favourites, as well as the magic of symbiotic relationships between humans and nature, pollinators and native species.

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Her hope is to encourage people to plant more native species and appreciate what is naturally occurring to help save our planet.

Emily Bos Lemen (E. B. L.) is a self-taught artist and illustrator. E. B. L. has been a part of Barrie’s downtown community for a decade serving as a barista, selling wedding dresses, playing shows as a singer songwriter, and so much more.

Tamara Benoit

Fab Tray: Memories Revisited - oil paint, pochoir on aluminum, 2023

​​“The Fab Trays are an icon from my youth, conjuring up memories of 1970’s canapés served at boisterous cocktail parties. The parties, the food, and the tray were all very much keeping with the aesthetic of the time. As history gets hazy and memories become foggy, I chose to use a softened, muted version of an actual Fab Tray in the underpainting.

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A large blossom from a violet inherited from my grandmother was repeated on the surface. The original tray is visible through the new but, like my memories of the Fab Trays and their time, it is unclear.”

Linda Laforge

Honey Bees - acrylic on aluminum, 2023

I chose a 9” original Fab Tray design with a floral fabric of blue, purple and yellow flowers. Two honey bees circle the flowers. Their connection to each other and part of their flight path are represented through flowing line work. The spiral represents expansion of mind and connection.

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There are three intertwining loops within this complex Celtic Knot design which make up each bee. Closed knots, like circles, represent eternal life, whether this be in spirit or in the seasons of life — birth and youth, adulthood, and our journey to our afterlife. These honey bees are ready to pollinate. “Pollinators are a good indicator of the health of an ecosystem, but right now, they’re losing the fight against habitat loss and climate change.” — Jode Roberts, Senior Strategist, Projects “…scientists worldwide were beginning to document the quiet, dramatic decline of a multitude of insect species … invertebrate species have declined 45 per cent over the past four decades.” from the David Suzuki Foundation. I hope this art doesn’t become a pretty homage to honey bees, but a celebration of their resurgence.

Linda Laforge is a storyteller. Her vivid visual art and writing explore the human connection with the natural world by combining symbolism using the fluid line of Celtic design and lore within her detailed portraits. The symbiosis of the Wood Wide Web, the vast interconnected web of organisms that swap sustenance between soil and roots, increasingly figures in her clean paintings as an expression of an ideal, nurturing community. When portrait artist and writer artist Linda Laforge isn’t making people laugh drawing caricatures, she’s creating in her studio with podcasts or old movies playing as background noise. Linda is the author of Ashes, a dystopian science fiction set in Barrie, Ontario. Her work contains themes of loss and spirit, with concerns for social and ecological balance.

This project was brought to you by the Downtown Barrie BIA and generously supported by Pratt Homes through their Art Builds Communities partnership.