Madam Hatter

Meet a multitasking milliner, mother, artist and feminist

by Amber Goodwyn 

sw0403WHO: Stacey Fayant and her daughter, Lilla (six years old). WHERE: Their home, which they share with Jason, Stacey’s partner and Lilla’s father. FAVORITE SONG TO DANCE TO: “Kimbra’s “Settle Down” and Lady Gaga’s “Aura” are really fun. But my first love is disco: Sister Sledge!” FAVE MOVIES: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Dogfight, Dirty Dancing, The Life Aquatic, and A Chorus LineFAVE FOOD: “Cheesecake!” BEST KEPT REGINA SECRET: “I’d have to say my house, and my partner Jason. Let’s all take moment to appreciate Jason!” FAVE THING ABOUT REGINA IN THE SUMMER: “Taking Lilla to festivals and fire dancing.”

What are you wearing, Lilla 

High heels, my ‘pink highlighter’ tights, my office dress, and eye shadow.

Why is it called your office dress?

Because I look like a secretary.

What are you wearing Stacey?

On the bottom I’m wearing one of my many pairs of Fly London shoes and jeans. On top I’m wearing a black silk top that I made by hand, without a pattern, as well as a belly dance vest. My earrings are made of lapis lazuli and wood and were bought from an on-line store that specializes in larger gauge earrings. The rest of my jewelry is a mix of vintage belly dance jewelry. We’re both wearing hats of my own make and design.

I usually see you in glasses…

Yes, I own about six or seven pairs of brightly coloured glasses but I started wearing  coloured contacts when I started performing.

Tell me about that.

I was never able to take dance while I was growing up and then about four years ago I was going through some hard things in my life and I realized “I’m an adult and I can pay for my own dance lessons.” I started taking a belly dance class and the rest is history.

I perform with a belly dance group called Tribal Vibes, and in the summer we’re Tribal Vibes Wild Fire when we do fire dancing. I also perform with some of the Tribal Vibes ladies [in] Soul Sisters. I also danced with FadaDance last fall and take regular classes at New Dance Horizons.

What’s this Belly Fit I keep hearing about? 

I’ve been an aerobics instructor for close to 10 years and took the training for Belly Fit, which is a Canadian-made workout. It’s sort of like Zumba, but instead of a Latin dance it’s a fusion of belly, bhangra, Bollywood and African styles. It’s a lot of fun to teach and women in particular love it.

Cool. So…clearly that’s related to making hats. (laughter)

One of my degrees is a BFA in Visual Arts with a double major in Painting and Printmaking. After Lilla was born, it was really hard to make art. Then, during my maternity leave, I saw some felted scarves on Etsy and thought ‘I want one of those’. I looked up a tutorial on-line and learned how to make my own. I just started to love felting so much that I kept going and starting selling them at Rumours. One day the owner Connie asked if I could make hats too and I was like, “Of course!”

I’ll be artist-in-residence at Connaught Library during the Cathedral Arts Festival where I’ll teach people how to felt a picture that will be incorporated into a large quilt celebrating this year’s theme.

You voice your political opinions openly and often on social media? 

I’m pretty left wing and a feminist and I’ve always had strong opinions. My second degree is in Women’s Studies which really gave me a basis for critical thinking and taught me to trust my instincts and how to voice them to others.

What issues are you particularly interested in? 

Right now we’re really concerned about the Connaught School closure — they kind of sprung that on us. We thought we’d get more warning [Lilla pulls a sad face].

What’s always been close to my heart is that I’m of aboriginal descent from the Peepeekisis Reserve/First Nation. I grew up Métis and recently got my treaty status. Issues of gender and race and fairness have always been a strong part of my life and belief systems. Sometimes I feel like everyone knows what’s right but they find excuses not to act .

2014-04-03