Flesherton Markdale

Flesherton Calling – Abra Bisson

Story by: Kevin Land

Abra Bisson

Art has been in Abra Bisson’s life for as long as she can remember. Her father, Pat Button, was an artist, and there was a large art table in the living room to prove it. The 60’s style psychedelic pieces and carved wood sculptures he produced were sold online, to other dealers, and at the Lowville and other farmer’s markets. The wooden sculptures were highly varied and gave the young Abra a sense of the need to explore. They might take the form of human faces, of animals, or even an elaborate pattern. You can check out Pat Button’s art on his Facebook page, Tumblewood Creations.

Abra’s introduction to this world came early to be sure, but it was greatly fostered by Norm Bussie, her art teacher at Milton District High School. It was here that she realized she wanted to be an artist. She took a one-year program in Art Fundamentals in which students were exposed to all forms of art; from life drawing to oil painting, from watercolour to computer generated imaging. She enjoyed the latter so much, particularly the jewellery design, that she enrolled in the Jewellery Arts Program at George Brown in Toronto. There she learned such aspects as goldsmithing, silversmithing, casting and repair. After a short stint in retail however, her interested waned because the prospect of repairing was far less appealing than that of creating.

Over the next few years, following the purchase of a fixer-upper she bought in Acton, she found herself more engaged in “hobbying” than actual art. Her move to Markdale in 2021 not only re-kindled her passion to create, it also inspired her to begin to build frames for her work. Her husband, who works constructing saunas, was able to provide her with offcuts – basically odds and ends left over from the job. Sometimes the frames would be stained, sometimes oiled to produce a honey colour, but often nothing was done to them at all.

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When asked where she gets the ideas for her work, Abra suggests that they come from a variety of sources. Old sketches, online nature imagery, listening to audio books, vibes from television viewing, even freeform imagination all have led to completed works. She is conscious of lapsing into what she calls “cartoonish” depictions when working with real images but allows that in some cases that that is part of the charm.

One of the more disagreeable aspects of creating art is knowing exactly when a piece is finished, an observation made by many of the artists profiled in this column. Abra speaks of her concern with feeling
compelled to finish a work too soon, as well as leaving one unfinished for too long and running the risk of it no longer being relevant to its creator. She cites the potential pitfall of tinkering with artwork when it is on a hiatus. Sometimes a few lines of detail with a fine black marker are all that it needs, other times it renders the piece unsalvageable. For this reason, she doesn’t always date her work since she is not always sure when it began.

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Abra Bisson’s original artwork is available for sale at Speaking Volumes Books and Audio in Markdale. Each piece is custom framed and signed and affordably priced between $39 and $99, plus tax.

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