Losing Ted

When I received the news that we lost Ted Godwin this morning, I couldn’t help but hear his voice…hear his laugh.  I will go down to the Bow River later…to actually say good-bye.


CBC Radio Interview with Jeff Spalding

Ted blessed us with his music…with his art…and with his life.  He was such a huge support to me.  He was such a huge person.  He was not timid about the way he lived his life. While I consider a few very special female artists…Bev Tosh, Joane Cardinal Schubert and most especially, Laurel Cormack, to be my mentors…Ted was my Einstein.  He was so generous with his wisdom about making art, shipping art…sharing good music in his studio…laughing through a gregarious conversation at an opening…offering advice about pretty much everything.  Ted blessed us with a very long history of Canadian art that will resonate with us always.

I recommend Ted’s books.  I received my copy of Lower Bow: A Celebration Of Wilderness, Art and Fishing at the Canadian Art Galleries opening of The Lower Bow exhibit in March of 1992.  Reading that book, changed my way of thinking about life and death as he described his visits with his family on the river.  I never saw the river in quite the same way. In fact, his passing this morning, has inspired the Christmas card that I have not yet sent.  It is almost as though I have waited for that inspiration.

We will miss you, Ted.

Photo Credit Here.

Photo Credit : Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary (MOCA Calgary)

Father Lacombe Chapel: Mission Hill

This past weekend, I went in search of the resting place for the man who most inspired my faith development and taught with such sincerity and wisdom, that I became a Catholic in 1976.  On Saturday, it was a blessing to share this particular part of the journey with a friend who I have recently reconnected with, after thirty-five years…my dear friend, Hollee.  Another motivator for this trip was that I named my son after this wonderful and selfless Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest, Father James Carroll, and I feel gratitude for my boy every day.

Locating Father Carroll came with the help of a few wonderful people who I wish to acknowledge here.  Rene Georgopalis is the Archivist and Reference Coordinator for the Musee Heritage in St. Albert, Alberta. Among other bits of information, Rene told me about the Oblates at Rest book.

Most helpful to me has been the tremendous care and attention given by Diane Lamoureux, referring to herself as Oblate Archivist for Grandin Province.  I hope that by the fire lit in me regarding this history, others will be seeking the same.  It is a wonderful thing to understand our roots…family and faith.

Diane responded immediately to the desire in me to know MORE as I sought out any information about Father Carroll’s history and to build a context for my own faith development.  I have recently been very interested in looking back into the roots of my thinking and Diane had an authentic approach to supporting me in this.  The resources and information that she has shared with me are invaluable.

And finally, I wish to mention gratitude for the interpreter, Leila who gave us an exceptional tour of the historic buildings and spaces; the Father Lacombe Chapel, the crypt where Father Albert Lacombe, Bishop Vital Justin Grandin and Father Leduc were laid to rest, the grotto and finally, the cemetery where Brother Anthony Kowalczyk was laid to rest, followed by many of his brothers, including my friend and teacher, Father James Carroll.

Sculpture in Memory of Father Albert Lacombe at Mission HIll

An image of Father Hyppolyte Leduc OMI (1868-1895) from the Provincial Archives

Photo Credit: Alberta Provincial Archives Father Hippolyte Leduc, OMI (1868-1895)

The day was a blustery one, but it will remain one of my fondest days of summer.  First of all, to share time with a friend, can only be a magical thing.  We had shared a dreamy meal out the night before and did a generous amount of catching up as well as sharing our perspectives on pretty much everything.  So, we regrouped in the morning and headed for St. Albert.  The wind was strong and the clouds were drifting fast across the sky.  A wedding was convening in St. Albert Church as we pulled into the parking lot.  And, as we left, the bride and groom were on the front steps in great celebration.

St. Albert Church, Mission Hill, St. Albert, Alberta

We met our personal interpreter, Leelah, for the walk-about in the Father Lacombe Chapel and learned about its restoration, explored sacred artifacts and had the chance to ask several questions.

I highly recommend that if you are interested in early Alberta history, particular to Metis/French settlement along the Sturgeon River, then this is your go-to location.  The guided tours will finish up at the end of August, but once available again, this is an awesome place to visit!

Leila was the one who first spotted Father Carroll’s resting place.  For quite a long time the three of us, in circle, stood and visited about our lives, our choices and our faith.  It was a wonderfully rich event, one I will not soon forget.  I admire Leelah’s courage very much and I am so blessed by this meeting.  There is much more I could say…but a good part of this event, I want to keep in my heart.  I lifted up prayers…it was/is just that sort of place where a person feels very close to angels and to God.

Example of the construction. The Lacombe Chapel was moved a few times in its history and this system made that possible.

Altar: Sacred objects came from other parts of Canada, but represent vessels and written words of that time.

Father Lacombe Chapel Interior

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Religious Sisters: The Grey Nuns

Sharing Life and Positivity

Joane Cardinal -Schubert

I’m competing in team kata at a karate tournament this weekend, but I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Joane Cardinal-Schubert again tonight. She is celebrating 30 years as an artist and there is a beautiful exhibit at the Master’s Art Gallery downtown, featuring some amazing pieces.  So, I organized my time so that I could enjoy the work and nibble on beautiful appetizers before scooting to the south again for my practice.
I first met Joane when my first-born was only a small child in 1982.  I was a teacher at a school in the southeast and I was responsible for developing a program that would meet the needs of a whole number of children from various backgrounds…we had Cree, Blackfoot, Metis and Blood…kids who had integrated into a school system that sometimes didn’t work for them fully…and kids who generally had difficulties with english language arts/reading, writing and articulating.
I invited Joane to come out to our school as I noticed very quickly that my students had a general sense of the visual world and while very quiet, they seemed to relish time spent working with their hands no matter what the project.  Writing experiences seemed to follow as a natural progression to real-life experiences OR visits to the Glenbow or walks at the bird sanctuary.  I still have a beautiful drawing of Chief Crowfoot that Jordan Bearshirt drew for me in pencil.  It is one of my treasures from that time.
Joane shared slides with us in a darkened classroom and I remember how excited the students were during her presentation, but also after.  It was an amazing thing to see her large charcoal sketches of sweat lodges and strong dynamic lines of lodge poles.  It was a true landmark in my experience as an arts educator to have her come that day.
Years later, I became an activist in opposition of the building of the Oldman River Dam, having received my degree from the University of Lethbridge.  As a “Friend of the Oldman”, I worked volunteer hours raising funds for the legal battle that ensued.  Somewhere in there, I learned that Joane had done the design for the adopted poster for the huge gathering of people at the Maycroft Crossing.  Many years later, I brought my poster to one of her art openings and she gladly chatted and signed my poster.  She has woven her life in and out of mine and I have followed her art, life and achievements with great regard and happiness.
I truly enjoyed visiting with her again tonight and seeing another woman who has influenced me and my figure drawing, Bev Tosh who is busy working on her work…The War Brides for an exhibit at our National War Museum.  I love that my life has been so touched by strong and talented women!