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Broken made beautiful

JEDBURGH, Sask. — They are the chipped, cracked and broken remnants of prairie kitchens, but to Linda Henye, old dishes are the beginnings of ornate works of art.

She pores over the cups, saucers, plates and serving dishes inside a darkened shed. Some have been donated and some bought at thrift stores.

“It’s a treasure for me,” she said.

Her current preoccupation is creating elaborate multi-coloured stepping stones embedded with delicately chiselled castoffs that include mirrors and jewelry.

Henye squats on a tiny hassock in her kitchen at Jedburgh and begins to hammer as dogs squeeze under the kitchen table and a cat saunters by.

The creative process begins with a pencil sketch that allows her to see how the pieces will fit on the stones.

“Stepping stones are almost like making jewelry again,” said Henye.

“Those I will not sell. They are my children.”

The walls of her modest home are awash in her crafts and her husband Imre’s taxidermy.

“My mind has to be busy. I’m always designing something.”

Henye began work as a goldsmith in Germany before moving to Switzerland. There, she met and married her husband of 50 years, who is originally from Hungary.

Both shared a love of animals and the outdoors so they moved to Canada in 1986, where they raised two children and kept bison near White Fox, Sask., until retiring in 2000.

Her art started in childhood and has encompassed media from acrylic to wood to rocks. It runs the gamut from animals, her favourite subject, to humans to religious themes. Many are kept, while others are given to family and some donated to charities.

“I just thank God every day he gave me that talent, it’s so fulfilling. Otherwise I wouldn’t know what to do,” said Henye.

She invests about an hour a day in her art and then returns to it the next day to make corrections or changes.

The 70-year-old is also an avid tennis player, travelling to Yorkton and Melville to play.

“I like to be fit, otherwise I will rust.”

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