My father brought us from flat Holland to flat Windsor where summers were brutally hot for this immigrant family. In an attempt to acclimatize, our summer Sunday morning ritual was to seek refuge at Point Pelee National Park. Back then, there were still many cottagers. It was a wonderful adventure for us as we left home before dawn so that we would arrive at the park before the other day trippers. We had the best of the day to ourselves.
a shell, a stone, and a feather. I had to present them to the water as an offering to whatever gods my eleven year old mind imagined. It was the one place that I felt safe and at home in this huge strange land.
Childhood memories stayed with me and cemented my bond with nature and her creatures. Years later, when Tom and I became friends with Iola and Mickie Keeshig who lived at Cape Croker, we were welcomed into their lives and invited to their Autumn Feasts. Through their daughters, Vivian and Patty, my knowledge and appreciation of their art forms and customs deepened.
For many weeks after Iola died, I struggled to depict a proper frog. Frog is her personal totem. All my attempts were hopeless failures. One day I looked into the eyes of sculpture of a frog gifted to me by Iola’s daughters and the rest is history. Today the sculpture sits in a place of honour in the heart of our home. It is a reminder, love once loved cannot be unloved.
Travelling through the South Western States and absorbing more of Indigenous cultures, I felt I had really come home. I was ready to honour Nature with my interpretation of the things I had learned through my experiences with my Indigenous friends. Kokopelli, Dragonfly, Eagle and Turtle joined my repertoire before a new genre caught my heart.