Max and I did our big hike-about and then decided for a drive out to see Alvise and to pick up the second angel. I am big on walking, with no purpose but to walk. The same goes for driving…nothing is more wonderful than getting out onto the roads to explore and to see how the seasons are changing. Arriving at the studio, it was so lovely to breath in that wonderful air that comes with being in close proximity to the mountains. Dripping with the scent of evergreen and melting snow, the morning has left me ready to curl up for a nap.
This month’s blue-eyed angel is embellished with the Equinox. The March equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. This happens on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. The animal represented on this angel is the rabbit (in our neighbourhood, these guys are just losing their winter coats) and the alder lichen, one of the rabbits’ favourites. I felt the angel was calling out for a hug and so I embraced her! Beautiful!
Welcome home, little lady!
On the drive back to the city, I really enjoyed a CBC interview with musician, Hayden. In his career in music, he has experienced and thought about all of the same things as I have as a visual artist, but for slightly different reasons. It was a very affirming experience to hear this interview.
One of the cherished afternoons I shared with my father, this past summer, was a visit to Al Gerritsen’s studio and wood shop. Something I really admire about this artist is his humility about his craft. He is selfless. Just recently I had a conversation with a couple of my artist-friends and more and more we notice the self-absorbed ego that gets a tad too large in the role of ‘artist’. It’s almost as if a particular type of narcissism has taken hold. Is this the only way that a person can be ‘known’? Or if this is the only way, is it best to be unknown? Something to think about. Al is one of the most inspired and prolific artists I know.
With his particular connections with and history in Saskatchewan, it ended up being a bit of an exchange of memories between the two men. That was lovely to see. I know there are many wondrous art spaces and experiences that can be had in this city, but sometimes it comes down to sharing time with artists in their modest, but inspiring spaces…their studios. I like that nothing is staged in Al’s studio. A person is able to get the true sense of the production happening…how the tools are stored and used…and the evolution of amazing works. There is no room here for candles and fairy lights. It is a working space that is filled with energy and love.
Again, I want to express my gratitude for the work of Al Gerritsen. His work surrounds us and his skill is exceptional. Thanks for your willingness to share some time with Dad, Al, and to give us your stories.
In the autumn, I wrote a wee bit about having opportunity to visit Al Gerritsen’s workshop. At that time, I purchased my indoor nativity figures, sculpture that I will display and treasure every year during Advent. Last week I set them out on the family room book shelf, placed carefully on two meters of violet satin.
During the same week, a couple of ‘angels’ offered an outdoor nativity scene, fashioned by the same artist…for anyone willing to transport it on their own. I received the information on this through two of my dearest angels, Pat and Mary. Generously, my son agreed to come with me across the city, to pick it up. With Fred’s advise and piece of rope, we soon had the wooden figures stabilized in the bulging van. It had felt to be an epic journey, both ways, because it took place during rush hour traffic and on an unfamiliar route. Thanks to the patience of my son, we unloaded the creche figures next to the studio some time near seven thirty.
Today, my neighbour, Len, came over and we set the nativity up in close proximity to the tree and the bird feeder. It was a very enjoyable time, sorting out the pieces and making certain that the elements were secure. When I came home from the off leash park, I found that Len had repaired the electrical cord and updated the lights that are mounted above Mary, Joseph and the little child, Jesus. I’m looking forward to seeing the piece tonight, when all is dark.
I am in gratitude of Al Gerritsen for these pieces that already have a history, having been painted in 1994, and for the people who helped me to access them. It gives me pleasure to display such a powerful nativity here on our neighbourhood circle.
It is a very sentimental thing to step into the church and see the beautiful decorations each Advent season. I moved into my place in the sixth row, next to Joanne, and felt so at home…surrounded by love and good people.
This year, I have set up my own nativity figures at home, carved by Al Gerritsen. I had dreamed to own a set hand carved by this humble and gifted artist for so many years and because of interesting circumstances, this is the year it happened. It was awesome to spend time with Al in his studio. He was busy, at the time, staining another project and the entire shop was filled with that magical aroma of wood. Before placing the creche figures, I pulled a piece of violet satin and netting over the book shelf. The wreath is set out on the feast table and now it is time to wrap the fruit cakes for the post!
As some of my readers know, I have been searching for P. Jules. As a result, I have made a professional connection with Becky Hammond. I want you to know where she is and then share the impressive research that she has shared with me on behalf of the University of Central Florida Library. Becky responded to my request for information in my search for P. Jules within a day, as I had noted in doing my research, that this was an excellent website. I thought that there was some connection between the sculptural approach of Ludovic Booz (during one period) and my artist.
I am grateful to Becky Hammond, Library Technical Assistant, in the University of Central Florida Libraries Department of Special Collections & University Archives from the William L. Bryant Collections Websites, Exhibits and other subject related internet sources” for seeking out approval from both the Director of her department and the Associate Director of Public Services so that I might publish here, some fascinating information in regards to West Indies artifacts, particular to Haiti. I still have not made confirmation that P. Jules was/is a Haitian sculptor, but the more I compare images, the more I think so. I am grateful to Becky Hammond for her thorough and expedient response to my query. Published here, is her response. Now you will see why I am so impressed.
Dear Ms. Kath:
Thank you for your interest in our Bryant West Indies Collection. The collection does not have an artist by the name P. Jules, although we do have several pieces by unknown artists so it is possible that some of these were created by P. Jules.
You could also try looking in the telephone directory under “art appraisals/appraisers” to find local sources and contact any museums or galleries which feature West Indian, Caribbean and Haitian Art.
I suggest looking at websites which specialize in Haitian art because the name appears to be French and Haiti was once a French colony and French names are very common and the majority of the Bryant collection items do come from Haiti. However, Martinique is another possibility.
I was able to locate a Haitian book and art bibliography created by a man named Bob Corbett. I have the document attached. Unfortunately it is 6 years old and I don’t know how accurate or up to date it is it is, but your local library can probably get the books through the Interlibrary loan system if they do not have them in their book collection as it is a rather specialized topic. Or you might be able to find them at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Here are some related titles that our library general collection owns:
1. Haitian art by Ute Stebich.
2. Miracle of Haitian art by Selden Rodman
3. Voodoo and the art of Haiti ,by Sheldon Williams
4. Art of Haiti, by Eleanor Ingalls Christensen.
It is possible that P. Jules may be is listed in one or more of these books and there will have more biographical information on the artist. We hope you find this information useful and good luck with your research and your sculpture. I like your Website, which I just discovered!
Ms. Hammond also attached an extensive bibliography, an ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY OF BOOKS AND ARTICLES WITH HAITIAN ART. I will not include this here because of its size, but I want to mention it because it is such a useful tool in this search of mine. I want to conclude by saying that sometimes when we are conducting research or accessing information via the internet, we lose touch with the people who are writing publications, doing research and publishing images. It’s important that we continue to see this wild information highway as a place where people work. Thank you, Becky Hammond.
Easy reading is damn hard writing. — Nathaniel Hawthorne