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.

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Shauna Umney-Gray

Shauna Umney-Gray

The Luncheon

“I have always loved the 70s “luncheon” aesthetic, and I got to thinking about when the trays were manufactured, the people who would have been gifted them at bridal showers, and when they would have been used when they were new. I’ve collected a few vintage cookbooks from my grandmother’s kitchen to recreate some of those classic 70s appetizers and tea sandwiches on the panel.

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I used some of the original fab tray patterns on the trays in the luncheon scene, and subtly in the decor on the table and in the room.”

Shauna is a local Barrie artist. She’s taught at the MacLaren Art Center for several years, and has hosted paint nights and art classes in the area for over a decade. She’s completed several residential and commercial murals throughout Barrie. Recently, Shauna has taken up a career as a Live Wedding Painter, attending weddings for couples who want to have their day captured in a painting, taking special care to include all the details of the venue, decor, and the couple’s portraiture.

Alexandra Gronfors

B Happy in Barrie - Acrylic on aluminum, 2023

“My FAB Tray is inspired by the historic original FAB Tray pieces that incorporated natural elements and patterns. After submitting a few designs, we settled on the bee in order to draw  the other 15 pieces together – creating a unified and cohesive mural. I am deeply inspired by the beauty of the natural world and often use vibrant colors to capture the essence of the places and creatures that inspire me.

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As an artist, I strive to create pieces that not only bring a smile to people’s faces but also empower a sense of courage and appreciation for our world. A bee is small but mighty – a powerful insect which holds much power in our ecosystem. I was able to bring these same concepts to a Grade 5 classroom where students got to explore and create their own versions of FAB Trays and create some permanent artwork.

My art is not just pretty pictures, for me it’s a way of communicating my story, my joy of life and sharing my passion with the world. I truly believe that art can have a positive impact on people’s lives, and that’s why I am dedicated to creating a FAB Tray that is not only visually appealing but also brings positive energy into the alleyway my piece lives in. When you look at my FAB Tray, I want you to feel a sense of joy and happiness. I want you to connect with the beauty of nature and to be inspired to explore and appreciate all the wonderful things that our beautiful world has to offer. Thank you for taking the time to view my work, and I hope that my FAB Tray brings a little bit of happiness and positivity into your life.”

“My name is Alexandra Gronfors and I am an acrylic painter from Barrie. I specialize in creating bright and happy custom artwork featuring mainly Canadian landscapes and animals using acrylic paints. My desire is to bring joy and happiness to people through my artwork and lessons.”

Marne Grahlman

Marne Grahlman

Simcoe County Florals - latex on aluminum, 2023

“This piece aims to pay homage to the vintage floral designs and the construction that these FAB Trays were known for. The 1970s colour scheme and fluted-edge are two distinct characteristics that made them unique. Since these trays were manufactured locally, the flower varieties used in this mural design are ones that you could find growing naturally in a Simcoe County garden!

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The wavy border is separated into three colours which symbolize the three layers of material that make up a FAB Tray: polyester resin, printed designer fabric, and polyester resin again. The quirky, illustrative flower forms give a modern voice to this retro-inspired mural.”

Marne Grahlman is a Canadian illustrator from a small woodsy town, currently inhabiting the city of Barrie. Her illustrations carry a handmade quality and explore metaphors in surreal environments. Her artistic medium has branched into many forms during her career: editorial, children’s books, posters, murals, and community art. Through this interdisciplinary landscape, her consistent style highlighting colourful characters in decorated environments remains present.

Jocelyn Chassie

The Scenic Route - acrylic & enamel paint, 2023

“I am Jocelyn Chassie, creativity makes me happy, and I believe the power of capturing dreams has the ability to simplify communication, elevate experiences, and inspire. I like to explore different mediums such as acrylics, watercolour, and photography.

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Every experience that I have inspires me to create. I am excited to learn about you and to make something beautiful together through my photography and art.”

Tiffany Szymanski

Lake Simcoe Sunrise - latex on aluminum, 2023

“Each morning, the sun rises over the horizon, bathing the lakeshore in warm golden light. Dawn is a quiet time of day at Lake Simcoe. The only people awake are the dedicated rowers gliding across the flat water, fishers enjoying solitude, solo swimmers putting in miles, and the occasional kayaker or paddleboarder. I learned to row at the Barrie Rowing Club when I was 12 years old.

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After dragging myself out of bed for my first early morning row, I discovered a new perspective on my hometown city. For those lucky enough to be up at dawn, sunrises signal new beginnings. Barrie has undergone drastic changes over the years, re-inventing itself at every opportunity. The Fab Tray Project celebrates Barrie’s history by having artists combine historical inspiration with their own modern art styles. My Fab Tray painting is inspired by several of the original Fab Trays. One of my main inspirations depicts a landscape scene of a forested waterfront, and another is full of multi-coloured flowers. I used watered-down layers of latex paint to create a watercolour-like effect in my painting. The Barrie waterfront is one of my favourite scenes to paint. I brought elements of the original Fab Trays, like the evergreen tree and colourful flowers, into my artwork to honour the roots of our lovely downtown.”

Tiffany Szymanski is a landscape artist inspired by the peace of outdoor horizons. A longtime local to Barrie, she spends time searching for the perfect combination of sky, water, and land to translate into paintings. Tiffany’s artworks range from small watercolour pieces to large-scale murals, using flowing strokes to capture her sense of wonder with nature. She painted her first mural in 2021 and fell in love with large-scale art. She has since painted several murals across southern Ontario, including an outdoor mural at Lampman Park in Barrie.

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

The Downtown Barrie BIA acknowledges that the Business Improvement Area is located on the traditional land of the Anishnaabeg people. The Anishnaabeg include the Odawa, Ojbwe and Pottawatomi nations, collectively known as the Three Fires Confederacy. The Downtown Barrie BIA is dedicated to honoring Indigenous history and culture and committed to moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation and respect with all First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.