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Gwen Tuinman

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First Art Piece

I read an essay recently in which the writer reflects on the first piece of art she’d ever bought as a young woman. The purchase of this large gaudy painting, she declared years later, made no sense then or now. She deemed the colours too bright, and the subject matter unaligned with her cultural identity. By the final paragraph, however, she concludes that the painting reflected her mood at the time of purchase.

It got me to thinking about the first art I’d purchased. It’s become such a part of my environ that I haven’t considered it for some time. The piece is a stone sculpture by George Henry. I acquired it around 1978 at the gallery in Whetung Ojibwa Centre of Curve Lake, Ontario.

Continue reading “First Art Piece”

Essie

Essie was born in 1884. She was my great grandmother and a source of fascination for me as a child.

When visited her home as a young girl, I marvelled at the glass prisms lining her windows and the rainbows cast along her walls. Essie served sultanas and pink marshmallow cookies sprinkled with coconut. She’d sit patiently, eyes closed behind her wire-rimmed glasses, while I brushed her hair. I was nine years old and she was ninety. Continue reading “Essie”

Feeling Nostalgic — Knit, Crochet, Tat, Write

lady knitting on her porch

I’ve always been fascinated by handcrafts. Crocheting. Knitting. Tatting. At one time or another, I’ve known how to do all of these things, at least in a very basic way.

My maternal grandmother shared her love of crocheting by teaching me to create circles and squares with a hook and yarn. My paternal grandmother taught me to knit and to tat. The tatting shuttle took a great deal of patience to operate. Her pillowcases and handkerchiefs were trimmed in lace created by her shuttle. I remember that she had an ivory shuttle that once been her mothers, my great-grandmother. Continue reading “Feeling Nostalgic — Knit, Crochet, Tat, Write”

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