Project Bloom artisan gives new life to old furniture

Tue, Feb 17, 2015

Delta, B.C. Where others see garbage, Sonia MacNair sees potential.

The South Delta artisan owns the Turtlenina artisan studio in Tsawwassen’s Beach Grove, where she turns old furniture into functional and unique objects of beauty.

One of her latest creations will be raffled off during Project Bloom March 6. MacNair donated the vintage chair and matching pillow, which are valued at about $800, because she believes in the power of women helping women.

“Women should be able to lean on and gain strength from other women, and Project Bloom helps foster that,” says MacNair. “Project Bloom brings women together and inspires them, and I’m happy to be part of that.”

Put on by the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Foundation, Project Bloom supports International Women’s Day by raising money for an endowment fund for women who wish to attend KPU. One hundred per cent of proceeds from the event go toward the endowment.

MacNair found the frame for the chair under plastic, rotting away in someone’s back yard in Vancouver. It was basically just springs and a frame, and the owner, on whose door MacNair knocked for permission, had no problem giving it to her.

“I hate it when old pieces are thrown away because they are just so much better built than most of what we have today,” said MacNair.

She brought it back to her studio, where she upholstered the chair in calming grey natural fibre fabric and paired it with a spring-inspired pillow covered with flowers and a green peacock. The wood frame of the chair was already naturally distressed with chipped white paint, and MacNair simply sealed in the authenticity with teak oil.

The chair will be one of two MacNair has prepared for the speakers on stage at Project Bloom.

“My inspiration for the stage this year is rough and raw,” she says.

MacNair’s studio, Turtlenina, is named after her two children; her son Jude’s nickname as a baby was Turtle, and her daughter Amalia’s nickname was Nina.

“I live and work in this community. My children go to school in this community. It’s important for me to be part of it.”

Set for March 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Harris Barn in Ladner, Project Bloom encourages collaboration and community between women. The event’s goal is to foster partnership, strategic networking and purposeful fundraising efforts that will help women grow their cohort of powerful resources and support.

This year’s keynote speaker is Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancity. The event is emceed by CTV’s Keri Adams.

Tickets are $125 and available by calling 604-599-2010 or visiting You can also check out Project Bloom on Facebook at Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at


Caption: Sonia MacNair relaxes in the chair she refurbished to raffle in support of Project Bloom, which takes place at the Harris Barn (in background) March 6.

Media contact for KPU:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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