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Bill Helin exhibits fashion painting during women's show

West Coast Women's Show runs Saturday to Sunday (March 4-5) at Nanaimo's Beban Park.
Artist Bill Helin will have a live painting demonstration Saturday (March 4) from noon to 4 p.m. during the 18th annual West Coast Women’s Show

Nanoose artist Bill Helin will showcase his artistic skills during the upcoming West Coast Women's Show.

Helin has spent most of his life creating various forms of art including Tsimshian wood carvings, jewelry, paintings and illustrating children's books.

During the West Coast Women's Show, Helin will paint a couple items of clothing with traditional Tsimshian designs.

"A number of years ago I started replicating Tsimshian regalia," said Helin, explaining he would paint drums, dance capes or blankets. "I extended that into modern regalia – vests and dresses and started a fashion line about 20 years ago."

Helin said leather is one of the nicest materials to work on because it has a balanced absorbency for acrylic paint.

Helin was born in Prince Rupert and from an early age has created art in many forms.

"I have been doing it since I was a little kid," said Helin, adding that he started by drawing cartoons and has now also illustrated nearly 100 children's books.

Helin said using traditional designs on clothing was just a "natural progression" for him.

Helin will paint a leather jacket during the show, which will be sold by silent auction. Money raised will be donated to the North Island Animal Recovery Centre. Helin said he supports the work the recovery centre is doing in preserving the lives of animals. He also support the centre's outreach program to support homeless individuals in the area. Helin said the centre gives tents, sleeping bags and food to people in need and helps find them temporary places to live.

"It's an incredible program," said Helin.

The West Coast Women's Show is Saturday and Sunday (March 4-5) at Beban Park's auditorium. On Saturday the show runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm. and on Sunday it runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and students and attendees 12 years old or younger are admitted for free. A two-day pass is $10.