Where should I start? My childhood I guess, mainly because it’s an important part of who I am. The second child in a family of eight born in the middle of Essex County farming country. Growing up (poor) on a farm made Macguyvering things we needed as kids an artform in itself. I do still remember making necklaces of dandelions and creating mud pottery dishes and I grew up in awe of my grandmother (Marie) who was an accomplished oil painter .
I went to St Clair College in Windsor and studied Medical Lab Technology. Believe it or not I found Microbiology to use many elements of art. I worked in the hospital lab in Cornwall for 13 years and in Brantford for 23. I retired from hospital work 7 years ago (thank God!)
I met Gary, (the then love of my life and the man I eventually married, in 1993). I moved to Guelph and immediately got involved in the Guelph amateur theatre groups. Found out I had a flair for costume making and prop making, but was really good at set design and set painting. When you’re good at something you’re the first person that gets contacted to help, and it’s often hard to say no. What starts as intensely fun and creative soon turns into a massive amount of work making design reality. And being type A it’s hard to delegate and let go. Eight years ago I decided I needed a creative outlet that didn’t consume my life, (like theatre). I started teaching myself wirework, making earrings and stringing beads for necklace sets.
I found GRBS through the Guelph Arts Council website. The first meeting I attended was pretty lowkey… I walked into the room and almost nobody looked up… It was a work on your own project night, maybe a June meeting, and I think there was an adhoc executive meeting happening in the corner. Very different from how we do meetings today. I somehow caught somebody’s eye, and I did join that night. I’m very happy I did, and I haven’t looked back.
I took almost a year off jewellery making for various reasons, and after that year found I had the time to volunteer as secretary for 2 years. I then stepped into the Treasurers role in 2017 when the then Treasurer moved to Scotland with her husband.
My love of wirework and stringing, working with beads, crystals and gems remains. It took a long time to warm up to beading though… mostly because the tiny ones make my eyes crossed. I’ve always had a great interest in different techniques, and am always trying to expand my creative horizons. I’m told I have my grandmother’s “Marie” gene, and it would be a tragedy to waste it.
My other creative love (that I learned from my late husband) is wood carving (especially Welsh Lovespoons), and I still have not explored painting and the all the different techniques and mediums that are out there. And as I negotiate the next phase of my life, I’m happy and content to be spending time with my partner at his cottage on Georgian Bay. I’m always awestruck and inspired by the beauty of nature around me and I’m always trying to think of ways to interpret it. It’s a great journey.