Under Our Skin is a mixed-media visual and textile art class for women in (or who have experienced) transitional housing. The project explores stability, self-worth and common ground through art-making and is open to women in Simcoe County, Ontario.

Created and facilitated by Mar Lewis and Susan Kendal, both Barrie artists and arts educators, Under Our Skin is a weekly art session where various visual and textile art skills are shared and practiced. Watercolours, acrylics, yarn, stitching, screen printing, weaving (integrating both natural and artificial fibres), two-dimensional wall art and three-dimensional sculptural art, public art, and murals will be sourced across each 8-week* session.  Ideas of belonging, community, self-reflection and perspective are gently woven into the work that we create.

Under Our Skin aims to be a touchstone for participants: a welcoming, engaging social space where we can share a coffee or tea and the camaraderie inherent in shared artistic work. The program is supported by funding from the Ontario Arts Council.

A video from our successful Fall 2017 fundraiser:


Under Our Skin is currently available to women in Barrie and Simcoe County by application.

See the Contact Page for specific dates, to apply, or to request more info.

UNITED HOUSE COMMUNITY: Under Our Skin is free to women who are living in, or alumni of, United House in Barrie. We can provide off-site childcare at United House for those who need it.

BARRIE & SIMCOE COUNTY RESIDENTS: We also have a few places for women local to Barrie and Simcoe County in these classes. The cost for someone from outside the United House community is $20 class (though if cost is a barrier, please contact us, and we will try to work something out). We aim to broaden the base of life experience with this integration of students and to also make these exciting, broadly creative classes available to a range of women beyond United House. If you from outside the United House community and are interested in joining the Under Our Skin classes, we’d love to have you. Please apply via out Contact Page and we’ll be in touch to discuss your interest.

The program runs on most Tuesday mornings for 3-hours between September and June. If you are interested in joining Under Our Skin, please check out our contact page and drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.


marlishalewis_2016Marlisha (Mar) Lewis is a Barrie-based artist with a passion for collecting, photographing and screen printing.  She has spent time studying as a printmaker, implementing thesis work that explored art expression for Alzheimer’s, and teaching overseas.  Her interest in memory, past-story, details in nature, light and focus are some of the inspirational themes that reappear throughout her creative process. Recently Mar followed a dream to open a community art space that was accessible to all and began developing Art in House, which opened in 2014. Art in House is a gallery and studio in the heart of Barrie on Lakeshore Mews. Mar teaches classes for children and adults, the inexperienced and the experienced, and to people of mixed abilities. To find Mar, visit Art in House: artinhouse.org.

susankendal2016Susan Kendal is a textile artist and choreographer based in Simcoe County, Ontario. She spent 15 years as a contemporary dance professional in Toronto working as a choreographer, dancer, teacher, and costume designer. Slowly but surely her love of stitching and crafting crept to the forefront and Susan now works most often as a textile artist, making soft sculpture pieces in felt and embroidery. In 2015 she co-founded Spool Lounge, a sewing studio and shop in downtown Barrie. Her textile artwork is featured in the book Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles. Susan is a seasoned arts administrator and editor having worked at The Dance Current magazine as managing editor, writer and circulation manager for 10 years. In 2016 year she choreographed and costumed a full-length dance work for Simcoe Contemporary Dancers. You can learn more about Susan and her work here: pocketalchemy.ca.