Ribbon Rouge Presents: Valery Goulet

Only THREE more days before our annual Ribbon Rouge Gala!  This year’s theme is QUEEN: Women who inspire and motivate us to be difference makers in our community.  Please remember to get your tickets for Ribbon Rouge online here.  And if you can’t make the show this weekend please donate instead!

Valery Image

Today we are showcasing Valery Goulet, a teacher, business owner and mentor for students in the Graphic Designers of Canada program.  She is helping craft some of the beautiful artwork on display at this year’s Ribbon Rouge Gala highlight our amazing QUEENS.  We had a chat with Valery about her passions and interested and what keeps this incredible woman so busy.

RR: For those who might not know you, who are you and what do you do?

Valery Goulet: I am the owner of valérydesignwrks, a small multidisciplinary design studio in Edmonton, Alberta.

At the beginning of 2015, I decided to leave the agency life I have known for the previous 14 years, and I opened the doors to my new office. I learned many things from the places I had put in my time; most of all, I realized my passion for branding, illustration and crafted design. I’ve had the opportunity to partner with some pretty awesome clients, and I’ve shared in their successes and helped grow their businesses.

Additionally, I teach at the University of Alberta and at the Grant MacEwan University in the Visual Communication Programs. I also occupies the Education Chair position on the board of the Graphic Designers of Canada.

RR:  What is the GDC, and why is it important?

VG: GDC is Canada’s National Certification Body for Graphic and Communication Designers.

GDC has been Canada’s national certification body for graphic and communication designers since 1956, establishing professional standards and actively regulating professional conduct. GDC is a member-based organization of design professionals, educators, administrators, students and affiliates in communications, marketing, media and design-related fields. Our members come together to advance the profession, grow professionally, mentor each other, show off their work, and enjoy the camaraderie.

As Canada’s national certification body for graphic and communication designers, GDC licenses the unique CGD™ certification mark only to designers, educators and administrators whose services meet rigorous, standardized criteria. The CGD certification mark is recognized across Canada.

GDC is a not-for-profit, adaptive and vibrant organization fuelled by member participation. Members are encouraged to become involved with and access GDC through their local Chapter.

The National Council is essentially the united nations of GDC chapters, consisting of representatives from all over the country. The National Executive is the organizing and governing board of GDC. It is comprised of elected representatives who are charged with the responsibility of executing strategic initiatives and directions developed at the annual general meetings.


RR: To what capacity have you been involved in the GDC – Ribbon Rouge Student mentorship?

VG: For this project, I have been taking many roles from being the liaison with the Ribbon Rouge organization to mentoring and working with the student members participating to the project.

RR: How’d you get started as an artist?

VG: I have a college Degree in Fine Arts which was my first connection to the artistic world. I have learned multiple drawing, painting and sculpting techniques. After my degree, I realized that it would be a great idea to pursue graphic design which is also connected to art.

RR: Do you think it is important to mentor student artists and why?

VG: Definitely! Mentorship should be part of any education program as you are getting something way more personal and adapted to the type of work you are doing.

RR: Our theme this year is QUEEN! It is an ode to powerful women who have positively influenced us by their lives. What does this mean to you?

VG: As a woman, it means a lot and like those women, I hope that I can also positively influence others.

RR: Do you have a Queen (inspiration)? Who & Why?

VG: I do but it is pretty difficult to put a name on it and many people from different era and for different reasons inspire me.

RR: What are you currently working on?

VG: I am always working on multiple projects at the same time. I am currently completing a branding project for a client located in Québec. I am also preparing my classes for the winter term as well as planning a new activity for the GDC.


RR:  What stands out for you as one of your favourite career highlights so far?

VG: Starting my own business is one of them as it is something quite demanding and also scary when you haven’t started any other business of your own. I am proud that this is finally happening and also going well.

RR: What’s the favourite part of your job?

VG: Creating is definitely one of my favourite part of my job. Helping a client or a student to solve their problem is challenging in a really positive way and I love it.

RR: Any other Alberta artists you’d recommend?

VG: I would like to invite you to visit the Royal Bison which is a grouping of great artists and crafters: http://royalbison.ca/

RR: What does Ribbon Rouge mean to you?

VG: At the beginning of this project, Ribbon Rouge seemed to be a great organization helping others. At each meeting I had with the Ribbon Rouge team I learned so much from the organization. It is really impressive to hear the people sharing their stories and their knowledge. Now I feel more people should know about Ribbon Rouge and HIV. It seems that most people don’t know anything.

RR: Where can we find you/ more of your work?

VG: My website displays some of my most recent projects along with more information about me and the work I do: http://www.valerydesignwrks.ca

You can also follow my Twitter account @valerydesignwrk, as I am pretty active on there. I share a lot of information with my followers and I also use Twitter to share interesting resources with my students.

Valery and her students will be presenting their incredible art works celebrating our QUEENS at Ribbon Rouge this Saturday.  Join them to celebrate our QUEENS at the Ribbon Rouge Gala being held at the ATB Arts Barn.  You can buy tickets for Ribbon Rouge 2015 online here.  The show will start at 7pm sharp this year.

Ribbon Rouge #8

When: November 28, 2015 Doors open at 6pm; Show at 7pm SHARP

Where: ATB Financial Arts Barns     

Living with HIV in Edmonton; A local Champion – Deborah Norris

Ribbon Rouge 2015 in now less than a month away!  This year we are celebrating the theme of Queen!  Women who inspire and empower others around them.  Rule breakers and name takers, vilified by some but visionaries to others, these women embody the passion, freedom and unbreakable spirit of their communities and pay it forward a thousand times over.

We have a special treat for today, a profile and bio of Deborah Norris.  Deborah is a woman who has been living with HIV for over two decades, a woman who had to endure the raising two children as a single mother and a woman who had to get both children testes for HIV infection.  She has overcome incredible odds and has not only survived but thrived in what she does – being an outspoken activist for women living with HIV.

We had the honor of bringing you her story, the story of rose up and became a focal point for HIV awareness here in Edmonton as well as nationally and even internationally.  Her powerful story is bound to captivate and engage you and hopefully serves to inspire you to help us take action through the Ribbon Rouge Gala in support of HIV awareness and destigmatization.

Here is the story of Deborah Norris, champion of HIV awareness, education and support.

I’m Deborah Norris, a woman who has been living with HIV since 1991. I was diagnosed after I went for a life insurance test because I was raising my two children as a single Mom and decided I needed life insurance. My GP has told me she would not have tested me for HIV if I started to show symptoms because she had already tested me for HIV when I was pregnant with my son, the year prior, and that test was negative. It was a huge shock. I thought I was in a monogamous relationship. I had no idea my partner was having sex with other women. He did not know he had HIV. He died because of ignorance. We did not know about HIV. We did not know we were at risk.


My children had to be tested because I was pregnant with one and breastfed both. It was the longest two weeks of my life, waiting for their test results. Thankfully, they both tested negative. I was extremely depressed and angry. The years after I was diagnosed were the hardest time of my life. I was near death many, many times, there were no medications to treat HIV disease, the people I met through HIV Edmonton (then called the AIDS Network of Edmonton) and Living Positive were all dying around me. I progressed to an AIDS diagnosis in 1994. I lived in spite of everything. I tried to have a positive attitude and was surrounded by supportive people. My sole goal was to live to see my children grow up. Not only did I do that but they have graduated from high school, my daughter has graduated from university, my son has almost completed university and they are both happy, successful, amazing human beings.


The powerful women role models I’ve had are other women living with HIV. There were not very many here in Edmonton when I was diagnosed, but over the years because of the activism I have been a part of nationally and internationally, I’ve been privileged to meet many powerful women living with HIV. These Queens of HIV taught me what it means to be strong and powerful and that my voice matters.


I received a Community leadership award from HIV Edmonton in 1994 for co-founding the Alberta Society for Positive Women. I sat on the Advisory Committee on AIDS to the Alberta Minister of Health for three years as a community representative. In 1992, I was a founding member of the peer support programme of Living Positive, the Edmonton Persons Living With HIV Society, and continue to provide peer support to other women living with HIV to this day. I am an activist and advocate for women living with HIV, locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. I was part of an activist group in Alberta in 1995 that wrote a lobby paper and successfully lobbied the Alberta government to provide the life saving protease inhibitors that resulted in people living with HIV to be able to live healthy lives. As a peer support person, I advocate for women living with HIV to get the social supports they need to live healthy lives.


What do I say to people who do not believe HIV is real? I’ve lived with HIV for almost 25 years, been diagnosed with AIDS, nearly died many times because of the devastating immune system depleting effects of this virus. I have seen my friends die around me because of this virus. If you do not know that this virus exists, read the science, look at the facts, look at an electron microscope image of the virus in my body, look into the eyes of someone dying because of ignorant denial. I just spent a year providing support to women and children living with HIV disease in Honduras. Women and children are dying unnecessarily there because of this kind of ignorance.


Women’s rights are a huge part of HIV education and support. Women still do not believe they have the right to not be abused. They still believe they do not have the right to insist on a condom. They still do not believe they have a right to say “No!” Women’s rights and women believing they can claim these rights is the only way we will ever halt this disease for women and children.

We are truly delighted to be sharing her story with you.  And we are even more excited to have her story told at the Ribbon Rouge 2015 Gala!  Be sure to catch more of her story there on Nov. 28th, 2015 at Ribbon Rouge in Edmonton! www.ribbonrouge.com.


And don’t forget to buy tickets for Ribbon Rouge 2015!  Tickets can be purchased online here.

Ribbon Rouge #8

When: November 28, 2015 Doors open at 6pm; Show at 7pm

Where: ATB Financial Arts Barns

Ribbon Rouge Presents: Ryan Postic


Celebrating amazing art and the artists behind these clever creations is a central part of Ribbon Rouge’s annaual Gala.  Today we are proud to feature a wonderful friend and past contributor to Ribbon rouge.  Ryan Postic is a professional artist residing in Calgary, Alberta.  His art speaks volumes about the causes he believes in and highlights the human experience in beautiful and unique ways.


Ryan recognized his artistic gifts and abilities and quickly decided to focus in on them. Ryan specialized in the figure as subject and graduated from the Alberta College of Arts and Design with distinction. He chose to use traditional mediums – graphite and charcoal – against non-traditional surfaces such as bed sheets and sewing patterns to convey striking representations of beauty and desire.

To Ryan, the surface plays a vital role in his art and is critical in the reading of Postic’s work; large-scale bed sheets hang in theatrical fashion to denote creation as an act of intimacy. Mixed-medium sewing patterns provide the viewer with social commentary on the construction of beauty by the media and our perceptions about love and desire.


Check out Ryan’s work at www.baddguyryry.com for more information and for original and custom painted portraits.  He truly is one talent man and amazing artist, so be warned exploring his art may awaken something deep in your soul!

Ryan Postic will be displaying his art on November 28st, 2015 at Ribbon Rouge in Edmonton! Don’t forget to buy tickets for Ribbon Rouge 2015!  Tickets can be purchased online here.

Ribbon Rouge #8

When: November 28, 2015 Doors open at 6pm; Show at 7pm

Where: ATB Financial Arts Barns