Category Archives: News

Gimli Yacht Club 50th Anniversary

I wrote this in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Gimli Yacht Club, July 1, 2017

(tune: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land)


This Club is your boat, this Club is my boat

From speedy cruisers to anything that will float

From the harbour mouth

To this great lake’s waters.

This Club was made for you and me.

In ’67 we hosted Pan Am

So we got buildings and some nice land

Then lots of dinghies came to sail here

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

They made improvements to Gimli harbour

That kept out weather and made us safer

That meant big changes as we brought keels in

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

We have some Opti’s to teach our youth in

And offer schools where skills are honed in

We’re good at teaching this lifelong hobby

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

With pirate hats we do our racin’

We like to cruise north, up to the basin

To Hec and Back, and to George Island

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

On Wednesday nights now out on the water

Jibs are up and the odd spinnaker

‘Cause skippers like to see who’s faster

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

It takes great people to work together

To have a place like this to gather

We’ve made it this long, we can be happy

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

So raise our glasses to all the sailors

Who know the only rope is on a bailer

Who read the wind and keep their sails up

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

Now to the future, we must stay brave and

Show our kids how to meet the next wave

And keep our boats out on the water

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

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10 Ways to Enjoy an Artist’s Studio Tour

Art studio tour signs brighten my day.

For an artist to let you into their private space is a treasure and an honour.

Wave Tour

 

If you have never ‘done’ a Studio Tour or wanted to do one but not known ‘how to’, here is my listicle:

  1. Get the brochure ahead of time and circle your ‘must see’ stops. Include at least one artist who is totally out of your comfort zone. Most tourist bureaus have copies of upcoming events brochures and each artist should also have copies. Or go to the website and print it out. Or use a mobile site as your map.
    The Wave brochure
  2. Take a friend!
  3. Plan a route but don’t feel you have to stick to it. Plan at least 10-15 minutes minimum at each stop. Of course some stops will surprise you and you will feel you’d like to stay for hours!
  4. Take snacks in the car. Some studios treat their guests with light refreshments but not all artists do this, nor should you expect it. View this as a bonus. There may not be a restaurant nearby.
  5. Wear easily-removable footwear. You may be asked to take off your shoes as you trek through someone’s home.
  6. Make sure to meet the artist in person. Ask the artist one question about their work.
  7. Ask before taking photos and posting anything on Instagram. Ask each artist for their hash tag.
  8. Plan to purchase one piece of art at least at one studio. Yes! Everyone can afford a greeting card or bookmark! Whether it be an expensive original work or a greeting card it is amazing what you will find and these artists really want your support. Take cash and your cheque book. Many studios are not set up to exchange credit cards or debit. Some are, but don’t count on it.
  9. As a fun exercise, choose your favourite piece at each studio and explain why to your travelling companions. Sort of like a treasure hunt at each stop.
  10. Notice the surroundings. Sometimes the outside of the studio and yard are just as fascinating.

Stretch out of your comfort zone. Let me know how it goes.

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On Ceremonies, Cloth Bags and Grief

One of the most powerful moments of my mother’s committal service was seeing my brother and sister-in-law placing her ashes into the ground. They knelt down on the grass beside the small hole. Gently her arm went all the way to the bottom of the soil floor, over a metre down, like a final caress.

graveside

Families who are not given the opportunity to partake in rituals such as, funerals and memorial services, religious or not, are missing out on chances to fully mourn, experience their grief and have that grief witnessed, a vitally important function. All of the great religions feature rituals around death, for good reason.

I increasingly hear about individuals requesting no ceremony after their deaths. This is troubling to me. We have rare opportunities for collective emoting, not just for joy but especially for grief. No wonder grief sometimes takes the form of huge displays after public tragedies. When our grief is denied expression we gunnysack it and it comes out in other ways, like anger and depression.

Public displays of grief are important and necessary, such as state funerals, processions, piles of flowers. Why do we deny ourselves the right to grieve when it is our own loved ones?

Ceremonies are not for the dead, but for those who need and want to remember and mourn. They help us to face our own mortality. Of course not all families and cultures need to do things the same. Nor do individuals need to grieve the same. But pretending that nothing is going on, by bypassing these rituals, does not support good grief.

I felt privileged that my brother had asked me to make a fabric bag to house my mother’s earthly remains. I put off making this bag for weeks until I just couldn’t procrastinate any longer.

It took a couple of attempts before I came up with something which satisfied me. I started with a piece of batik fabric in teal colour and held it in my hand for about 20 minutes. Nothing came. I then went rummaging through a special drawer I have of old pieces of fabric, tapestries and recycled cloth. I came upon a piece of old quilt on which I had already started a kantha quilting on years before and never finished. THAT was it!  The fabric just jumped out at me. Pick me, pick me. This old quilt, no doubt fashioned by a woman many years ago and well worn with loving use was in the perfect colours.

bag – Version 2

I felt a tinge of what artisans (no doubt slaves) of King Tut must have felt to fashion things for his royal tomb, grand things, like a gold chariot, that they knew would never be seen again. When I finished the embroidery, and embellishments of costume jewelry selected from her jewelry box, including a butterfly/cross pin which symbolized the Faith At Work movement, I knew my mom would have liked it. 

Then when my sister-in-law read a poem entitled “Butterfly” at the graveside, a poem which she had written immediately after Mom died, it was like a mind meld had happened that I had included the butterfly pin on the side of her bag.

Faith At Work symbol

The Faith at Work cross symbolizes death (the cross) and resurrection (the butterfly) and the lifestyle Sam Shoemaker urged: “Get changed (cross); get together (circle); get going (butterfly).”

Beautiful.
Light as a feather.
Translucent gossamer wings
shimmer in the sun.
She flits from blossom to blossom,
gently touching all in her path.
She imparts the blessing of mercy
with each delicate touch,
leaving the fragrance of beauty 
to linger lovingly
long after she has gone.
Unaware, 
she drifts into a lurking cage.
She is frightened,
cannot find her way out.
She struggles, throws her fragile body against the 
prison bars
again and again.
She cannot escape.
Bruised, battered,
confused, and bewildered,
she collapses on the floor.
And she waits.
Kept alive by a few random raindrops that fall
into her prison.
Slow death awaits.
Those who come and stare cannot release her, 
this she knows.
Yet somehow she imparts her gift of loving kindness and mercy
to each one.
The sheen of her gossamer wings has faded now.
Translucence transformed
into dull lifeless grey.
Unable to fight it any longer,
she rests, releases her battered body after years of struggle.
That beautiful body, now at peace.
Spirit soaring now to heights unknown,
to beauty never before realized.
She is finally free of the fetters
that bound her for so long.
She is in the sparkling diamonds on the river.
She is in the tender young buds on the tree.
She is in the timeless sweet song of the robin I hear.
She is in the tiny any scurrying along my path.
She is in the sweet squirrel
staring curiously at me from the branch above.
She is in the beautiful butterfly
who lands beside me,
on my bench by the river.
She is finally free.

-Sheri King Ward, 2016

Perhaps one of the greatest compliments I have ever received as an artist (and daughter) was from my other sister-in-law who said something to the effect “it’s remarkable how you were you able to get a piece of fibre art to look like someone”.

IMG_0335

Few of us will ever get the chance to see human ashes, or touch them. Of course, it was me who had to transfer the ashes from the temporary box provided by the crematorium into the bag; a job which was difficult, enough in itself, to perform.  Again, this was a healing moment of grief.

Cremation isn’t for everyone. If you have quandaries about cremation, I recommend listening to this podcast on End of Life University, https://lessonsfromdying.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-cremation/. Even though it comes from an American perspective there is much to gain from it.

I know my mother isn’t ‘in’ that bag. But the act of creating the last holding vessel for her ashes was profoundly healing. And seeing it placed into the ground gave me a finality which, even though ripped my heart out, was necessary.

Later we all joked about me making this “griefcase” and how I should be selling them on Etsy! But it was a ‘one of’.

I honestly don’t know how families who are denied these rituals cope. Ceremony is necessary. Rituals are important. Creating your own as a family is wonderful. Please do not fear these times. This is where the healing lies.

 

On Aging, Gracefully

IMG_6552“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen”

― Margot Benary-Isbert