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The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio-- Candace Benson

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Artist and volunteer, Candace Benson, discovers beautiful and therapeutic ways to venture out from bipolar disorder.
Candace with a handmade baby quilt

Candace with a handmade baby quilt /Heartside Gallery and Studio

Delicately crocheted cascading earrings

Delicately crocheted cascading earrings /Heartside Gallery and Studio

Tiny owl made from scraps of yarn

Tiny owl made from scraps of yarn /Heartside Gallery and Studio

Our artist for January is Candace Benson.  Here is a little about Candace in her own words:

‘My name is Candace Benson. I have lived in the Grand Rapids area my whole life. I have been diagnosed with a mental disability since I was 20 years old. A couple of the different diagnoses are bipolar, P.T.S.D., and anxiety. I am now 35 and in the most stable condition I have been in for a long time.

I have always been drawn to crafts and many other forms of art since I was a young child. There are many crafts I know how to do that range from crochet and loom knitting to lanyard weaving. I am also very much into photography and music. Music is one thing that I have learned to use to help me with my anxiety. Many times when I am in the fiber arts room I will be listening to music to help me to not be as anxious when I am helping someone to learn crochet or loom knit. I am not much of a writer but there are times when I am able to put pen to paper and get my feelings out through the medium that is writing. Most of those times are very dark and some of the things I write are also very dark.

I have been an artist at the gallery for five almost six years and started volunteering to teach others crochet and loom knitting almost two years ago. I make many different things with the art of crochet from amigurumi stuffed animals and blankets to delicate earrings made with crochet thread. With loom knitting I have made many scarves and hats. I find that coming down to the gallery to help others learn to crochet and loom knit not only is for them but it helps me to get out of the house for at least one day a week. By getting out of the house it keeps me from isolating and having a relapse of symptoms from the bipolar disorder.’


Candace’s artwork is featured in our front window during the month of January.  Be sure to stop by and see how intricate and stunning her pieces are in person!


The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio is a monthly feature to highlight some of the wonderful people of the Heartside neighborhood.  Visit , Facebook and our Flickr page to keep up with us, to learn about volunteering and other ways to get involved.

Sarah Scott is Arts Coordinator for Heartside Gallery and Studio at Heartside Ministry, and can be reached at [email protected]

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