About the Book
Many times I have been asked if I wasn't a painter, what would I be? My answer has always been an herbalist. I love the beauty of wildflowers, their history, their medicinal properties. Though many in Canada were introduced from other countries, whether purposely or not, I admire their tenacity and simplicity. I do create my own bath salts, sugar scrubs vanilla, candles and smudge spray because I know what goes into them and they don't exacerbate my family's sensitivities. And above all, they are lovely to view, which to my mind is healing in itself.
Maybe I was inspired by Emily Dickinson and her love of nature and gardening and her gathering of wildflowers. Or perhaps because we were taught about the healing and nurturing traits of plants for survival in the wilderness while living in a secluded northern community. When I wasn't yet two years old I remember being fascinated by a field of dandelions so I gathered a handful for my new baby brother. While living in the country I used to gather wild rosebuds and make rosehip tea for my daughter and I and I remember creating fairy houses with carpets of soft pussy toes in my childhood. So for a year I prepared 52 new canvases all measuring 8x10 inches and focused on wildflowers, their stories and their healing medicine.
Growing up in northern Manitoba my entire world was influenced by the Cree culture in which I was immersed. As a young girl, on one of many trips up the Churchill River, I saw my first pictographs drawn on stone outcroppings high above the waterline, and yet so far down from the land that sat on top of it that I wondered how anyone could reach that space to draw in our time, never mind thousands of years ago. This place north of 56 where I learned to survive in the wilderness as part of my public education; where we came together to celebrate the Winter Carnival, racing in snowshoes, baking bannock, watching the dog sled races; where we were raised to nurture nature. I never wanted to leave. And now, I have finally found a way to fill the hole left in my heart when I left the north. This work, each piece both a representation of and also physically a sacred vessel for me, is filled with the images, colours and symbols of my memory.