I am sure you are wondering how a Glass Art Window called the Tree of Life, Canadian Tire money and sharks have in common, but in my case they do. An odd story to say the least, but I will try to explain.
Several years ago, my son was selling my art at an Arts and Craft show in Parry Sound, ON. He can be a pretty humorous young man and there was a customer wanting to make a purchase and he said, "we accept cash, visa, mastercard and/or Canadian Tire money". Well to the absolute delight of the couple making the $280 purchase, they said, "can you hold this, we'll be right back". And you bet they came back with lots and lots of Canadian Tire money. They paid most of their purchase with Canadian Tire money that they had been saving for a very long time. I will never forget the call I received from my son Trever. He said, "you are going to laugh or be really mad at me". I laughed.
Just when you think the story is over, a year or so later in the cold month of February, I received a call. The woman started her conversation with, "I don't know if you will remember me or not, but I purchased the Tree of Life window from you and paid with Canadian Tire money. Like this happens to me all the time. She wanted to purchase another Tree of Life window. I asked if something happened to her first window and she immediately told me not to worry. She was making this purchase for her sister who would be in a Toronto hospital for some time recovering from a shark bite. She wanted to create a special look for the hospital room with a meaningful piece of art that her sister had admired.
I had just heard on the news about a Canadian woman who was attacked by a shark while vacationing in Mexico. I asked if the woman was her sister and sure enough, it was her wonderful sister who had always loved the Tree of Life window. Now here is how the story gets a little crazier. Perry Sound is not a really large town, but it just so happened that someone from Perry Sound was in Ottawa for our Winterlude and a skate on the canal. They were able to come by my studio to pick up the new Tree of Life and bring it back to Perry Sound. Our shark attack victim is a proud mother of two, a wife and a determined survivor who did not let a rogue, mentally deranged shark win. Canadians do not give up easily. I hope to be in Perry Sound this year and visit with such wonderful Glass Art Window collectors.
Our survivor would be more likely to win the 649 lottery and I sure hope she bought a few tickets. Sharks don't really like the warm waters of the Caribbean and they rarely travel alone. It makes one wonder if mental illness can happen to any species?
It was almost 10 years ago that I accidentally started this business. It was a desire to create unique art to decorate my garden. For years I had only wood fencing around the yard with very little opportunity to have a garden. I remember receiving my first blank, old wooden window and wondering how I could incorporate it into my yard. I so clearly remember Gypsy Jewel, my first window design. I called it art in motion.... why? Since I knew nothing, I used Elmers White Glue to put the glass onto the window not knowing that as the glass heated up from the sun, it would begin to slide down the window. Yap, just one of the many lessons learned about what works and what does not work to create this garden art. Ten years yields lots of useful information.
I leave the windows out all year. It is a winter wonderland, it is summer paradise, it is home and I am happy to share this passion.
O la la 2012 continues to be an exciting year. More nature and nautical designs, more whimsical fun and even the beginning of a Judaic line of art. I spend on average 10 hours a day working in the studio. I enjoy every minute. It is never considered working. It seems I finally have time to be creative now that Trever is back working for Out of Ruins. It may be part-time and it may be temporary, but it sure has given me time to explore new ideas and challenges. Can 't wait to get back to the studio.
Cathy Parker. Her place of creativity and design was called Rivendell Art Studio
For John & Family
As I travel throughout Ontario selling my Glass Art Windows at various "Art in the Park" shows, I meet amazing people with even more amazing stories. Going from one sweet town to another, I meet wonderful people who share this beautiful country with me and also have a heartfelt connection with nature. How could you not when you live in places as beautiful as Parry Sound?
It was several years ago when John and Cathy purchased one of my Glass Art designs. Cathy herself was a visual artist who painted in oils, water colours and acrylics. She loved all art from rug hooking to painting. She had a passion for beautiful things. I felt so honoured that she loved my art as I believe it is always a gift when one artist recognizes one of her fellow art lovers.
Two years later when I met John, Cathy was not with him, I learned that cancer had taken her life. At that time John commissioned me to create a new piece of art on an old wooden window that Cathy had salvaged from a landfill site and had hoped it would be transformed into a piece of art. Cathy never had time to commission me to create anything, but John did. He and I talked about the things Cathy loved, the children, their kayaks, her art studio, her garden, her love of nature and all the other things that were special to her. John gave me ideas, but no clear direction. He felt confident that I would create the right piece to honour Cathy.
I had the blank canvas (old window) in my possession for 4 months, all the time thinking about how to create the piece of art for John and the family. It had to be right, it had to be special and I needed the right inspiration. I waited, pondered and discussed options with friends, but for the longest while, nothing felt right. Time was running out. I had to complete the project by the middle of November and it was already October. In my heart I could not decide. I was afraid of "putting the project off" or was I waiting for the right artistic trigger .... then one day I knew. I knew what aspects I want in the piece, and how to make everything work together. Each day as I worked on completing this in memorium piece of art, I was touched by new ideas that helped thread together the beauty of what made Cathy's life with John and the children special.
I share this story, this piece with my audience so that they understand the beauty of life, the amazement of the human spirit, the profound connection we all have to one another and I especially share this story with Cathy who pushed me to move beyond my comfort to create a lasting memory of a wonderful woman who graced us with her presence but for a short time.
The 3 large trees represent her children along with the Kayaks that belong to each. The smaller muskoka tree is her husbands love reaching over to her special island, connecting with a tree that was her design, sitting on a island where her art studio awaits her.
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