BC Artists: On or Under the Radar

August 27, 2019

by Janet Nicol

My recently published book about artist Sybil Andrews joins a growing list of biographies and memoirs of BC artists who have dedicated their life to creativity, experiencing an array of struggles and successes along the way.

Check out  Off the Page, part of  ‘49th Shelf,’ an on-line publishers’ website where I recommend eight other reads, all beautifully illustrated with the artists’ work. Link at –

https://49thshelf.com/Blog/2019/26/BC-Artists-On-or-Under-the-Radar

Also, the following is a write-up about my book in Preview, an art magazine available at no cost in galleries around BC:

ON THE CURVE: THE LIFE AND ART OF SYBIL ANDREWS is historian Janet Nicol’s deeply researched account of an outstanding artist whose career has cycled in and out of critical focus. The book traces Andrews’ progress from her Suffolk childhood and her art education in London through her enthusiastic embrace of the democratic medium of the linoleum block print. Nicol’s focus is on Andrews’ life and impact after World War II in the then-isolated community of Campbell River, and her eventual international recognition.

Softcover, 158 pp., C$28.95. Available at bookstores, caitlin-press.com or amazon.ca.

Link to Preview page at – http://preview-art.com/catalogues/sep-oct-2019-exhibition-catalogues/

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Drawbridge – a book review

July 26, 2019

Drawbridge: Drawing Alongside My Brother’s Schizophrenia
by Joan Boxall Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019

Reviewed by Janet Nicol

A memoir told in ten lyrical essays, Drawbridge: Drawing Alongside My Brother’s Schizophrenia is Joan Boxall’s moving tribute to her brother, Stephen Corcoran. In the early 2000s, Joan became co-trustee of Stephen following the death of their parents. So began her enlightening ten-year journey supporting a brother with a mental illness. Joan intersperses research, observations, and thoughts with her poetry, each essay framed within a theme of art — the powerful tool that provided a path for Joan and Stephen to connect.

The pair spent many Tuesdays mornings figure drawing from live models at Basic Inquiry studio and gallery on Vancouver’s Main Street. Stephen held two exhibitions at Basic Inquiry prior to his death from cancer following a short illness in 2013, aged 64.

The full review is available at The Ormsby Review, an on-line journal.
Link at – https://ormsbyreview.com/2019/07/26/584-brother-artist-at-the-edge/

Steven Corcoran drawing, May 2011

‘On the Curve’ book event – Silk Purse Arts Centre

July 17, 2019

‘On the Curve’ book event at Silk Purse Arts Centre
Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 4:30 to 6pm

As part of the Creative Voices program sponsored by the West Vancouver Community Arts Council, I will be giving a presentation about my book, “On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews” at the Silk Purse Arts Centre on Sunday, September 29 at 4:30 to 6pm.

Following a power point presentation and Q and A, copies of book will be for sale, along with an author signing.

The event is free and will be accepting pay-what-you can donations. Registration is at  –
https://westvanartscouncil.ca/event-3482194

More about “On the Curve” at “All Lit Up” newsletter – link at https://alllitup.ca/Blog/2019/Beautiful-Books-On-the-Curve-The-Life-and-Art-of-Sybil-Andrews

Glenbow museum holds Sybil Andrews exhibition

June 27, 2019

Sybil Andrews – Art and Life
October 19, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Glenbow Museum, Calgary Alberta
Curated by Hana Leaper

According to the Glenbow’s website:

“Glenbow’s connection with Sybil Andrews began in the early 1980s, when the museum organized an exhibition of her linocuts. As a result of this interest in her work, Andrews gifted more than 500 of her artworks to Glenbow, as well as the contents of her studio, which included personal papers and objects, making Glenbow the major study centre for Andrews’ life and work.”
Link to full page at https://www.glenbow.org/exhibitions/sybil-andrews-art-and-life/

Dr. Hana Leaper, curator of the exhibition, is employed at Liverpool John Moores University, England and author of “Sybil Andrews Linoctus: A Complete Catalogue.”

Leaper wrote of “On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews” –

“Nicol has produced a compelling narrative of Andrews’ life, from her early years in Bury St Edmunds, to the artistic and musical communities she nurtured in the remote town of Campbell River on the coast of British Columbia. It is impressively researched and sensitively written.”

Copies of “On the Curve” are available through independent book stores and select Chapters/Indigo stores.  I will be selling copies of “On the Curve” at Dundarave Print Workshop (Granville Island) on Thursdays (11-5pm) over the summer months and am available for book talks/clubs.

 

Solidarity Between Generations

June 26, 2019

Elder Union Women Share Their Wisdom

by Janet Nicol

“I hear people say, ‘I hope I die before my pension runs out,’” Suzanne Clancy declares. “It shouldn’t be that resources only last so many years. I’ve been retired since 2006. Not once has my pension been adjusted with the rate of inflation. It puts retirees on the fringe and it can be devastating.”

Clancy, President of the Ontario Federation of Union Retirees (OFUR), is 77 years old with a lifetime of union activism behind her. She is wise, experienced — and generous with her knowledge.

“OFUR has amazing women,” says Janice Gairey, praising Clancy for her leadership and commitment. “They get it, and the organization has been transformed into a collective.” A labour activist and union organizer for over four decades as well as a mother of six and grandmother of 18, Gairey is an amazing woman herself. After retiring as human rights director of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) in 2015, she joined the council of OFUR and is also secretary of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC).

So begins my interview with two Ontario-based union activists on issues affecting Canada’s seniors in the latest issue of “Our Times” magazine (Summer, 2019).

Also in the same issue, under Labour Notes, I write “Singing Our Stories,” a report about a Mother’s Day concert held earlier this year in Vancouver to celebrate women’s contribution to the Winnipeg General Strike a century ago.  “Women on the Line:  100 Years of Fighting” offered a well-polished evening of songs, skits and stand-up comedy at the Russian Hall in Strathcona.  Holding centre stage for much of the show was the Left Coast Labour Chorus, conducted by Peggy Hua and comprised of 32 members singing pitch-perfect spirited songs in delightful harmonies.

Still on the theme of labour rights, check out Herizons magazine (Summer, 2019).  My article entitled “Time to Trade in Sexism for Fairness on the Job”  looks at the ways the government, unions and tradeswomen are trying to deal with systemic barriers to the ongoing employment of women in trades.  “Women love the work,” according to BC electrician Lisa Langevin, “but they are not staying.  We need to change the culture.  We need to network and mentor.”

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Seeing BC’s Past Through the Eyes of an Artist

June 8, 2019

By Janet Nicol

A male driver in a flatbed truck loaded with oversized logs threatens all in his path, a sensation British-Canadian artist Sybil Andrews actually experienced on the Vancouver Island highway in 1952. “We met the great load coming up toward us, up the steep hill into Campbell River,” Sybil later wrote. “We got out of the way in our little Mini until it was safely past before we went down the hill.”  Her linocut print, Hauling, inspired by the highway scene, evokes the heyday of BC’s logging industry. Many of Sybil’s eighty-seven linocuts have exhibited internationally beginning in the 1930s, their value  escalating dramatically over time. When Sybil died in 1992, aged ninety-four, she also left behind charcoal sketches, woodcuts, watercolours, oils, and a tapestry. This talented artist, offers a unique perspective on our province’s history.

The full article is available in BC History, Summer 2019.

Hauling (1952), Linocut print by Sybil Andrews

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In the same issue of BC History, I review Lily Chow’s Blossoms in the Gold Mountains: Chinese Settlements in the Fraser Canyon and the Okanagan  (Caitlin Press, Halfmoom Bay, 2018.)   Chow offers a valuable study of early Chinese settlements in the Fraser Canyon and Okanagan.  Drawing on a wealth of sources, she provides important descriptions about early Chinese communities in and around six towns in the province’s interior. The author is well acquainted with the systemic discrimination Chinese people faced, having explored her own family history. Besides depictions of early settlers’ hardships, Chow’s narrative also includes instances where indigenous people were allies, white people expressed sympathetic feelings and advocates within the Chinatowns gave support.

 

 

Campbell River Mirror covers ‘On the Curve’ launch

June 1, 2019

Click on link below to read Campbell River Mirror story on the launch
of “On the Curve” at the Sybil Andrews cottage May 31 and Museum June 1.

New book looks at Sybil Andrews’ legacy

 

April 19, 2019

VPL_On-the-Curve-June12

Thank you to everyone who came out to the VPL event on June 12. 

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Book talk & signing – June 18, 2019 at 7pm – Presented by On the Curve author Janet Nicol and Vancouver artists Esther Rausenberg & Richard Tetrault, 884 East Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC

Thank you to hosts Esther and Richard and everyone who came out to this event on June 18.

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Book talk & signing – June 20, 2019 at 6:30pm, Presented by On the Curve author Janet Nicol and Dundarave Print Workshop, Granville Island, Vancouver, June 20, 1029 at 6:30 pm

Thank you to all who came out to the event.

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BOOK LAUNCH – MUSEUM AT CAMPBELL RIVER – Saturday, June 1 @ 1pm – and
Meet and Greet Friday, May 30 at 7pm at Sybil and Walter’s cottage.

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Photo of author with Fern Seaboyer and her daughter Kim at “Meet and Greet” inside Sybil’s cottage.  

Many thanks to volunteers of the Sybil Andrews Heritage Society and Campbell River Arts Council and staff at Museum of Campbell River for hosting the events–and to all those who came out on May 31 and June 1.

Sunday June 2 @ 2pm – Book talk and signing at the Powell River library.

On the Curve:  The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews by Janet Nicol, Caitlin Press 2019

978-1-987915-87-7 / 1987915879
8×7, 160 pages, colour photos
Paperback price: $28.95

Available on order at Catlin Press and bookstores.  More info at  -http://caitlin-press.com/our-books/on-the-curve/

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“On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews”

April 12, 2019

by Janet Nicol

Published by Caitlin Press, Halfmoon Bay, May 31, 2019
$28.95 paperback, fully illustrated

Sybil Andrews was one of Canada’s most prominent artists working throughout the late twentieth century. From a cottage by the sea in Campbell River, Andrews created striking linocut prints steeped in feeling and full of movement. Inspired by the working-class community that she lived in, her art is known for its honest depiction of ordinary people at work and play on Canada’s West Coast.

Although she was raised in Bury St Edmunds, England, “On the Curve” focuses on Andrews’ life after she immigrated to Canada in 1947. Settling in Campbell River, Andrews taught private art and music lessons and created artwork that gained her recognition across the globe. In the final years of her life, retrospective exhibitions of her prints in Canada and Britain skyrocketed her popularity. Prints of her artwork became even more valuable after her death in 1992.

I visited England, the Glenbow in Calgary and Campbell River in 2018 and in this biography, interweave stories from Andrews’ letters, diaries and interviews from her former students and friends, to create a portrait of this determined, resilient and gifted British-Canadian artist. Andrews’ work is as popular today as it was in her lifetime and continues to celebrate the cultural, industrial, agricultural and natural world of Canada’s West Coast.

Watch for announcements of a book launch in Campbell River this upcoming June, 2019 followed by book talks in Vancouver. For more information, go to caitlin-press.com

A lithograph print of Sybil Andrews by author Janet Nicol, inspired by an archival photograph of Sybil on Sark Island, off the coast of Normandy, France in the 1930s.

‘Girl Strikers’ and the 1918 Vancouver Laundry Workers’ Dispute

April 12, 2019

by Janet Mary Nicol

Campaigns to raise the minimum wage across North American impact women, comprising the majority of these employees. A century ago women performing low-paid work fought a similar battle for a living wage. They were limited to gendered work, navigating inferior working conditions, sexual harassment and health and safety concerns.

In Vancouver, 300 workers, most females, at seven steam laundries joined a union over the summer of 1918. In early September, they went on strike for four months to improve wages and conditions within an occupation that was hidden, hard and dangerous. Characterized in newspapers as “girl strikers,” most were over 18 years old, working of necessity.

The strike is narrated through the lens of four female participants, taking into account intersectional issues of race, class and gender.

This research paper was presented at the Pacific Northwest Labour History conference in Seattle in 2018 and again at Teaching Labour History: Making Connection in Vancouver, sponsored in part by the BC Labour Heritage Centre in 2019.

Watch for the published article in an upcoming issue of BC Studies.

Cascade Dominion- Laundry Employees Annual Picnic
at Seaside Park, on the Sunshine Coast – June 29, 1918

Photo by Stuart Thomson
Vancouver Archives – AM1535-CVA 99-5201

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“Steam Laundry Girls”, Linocut 3/4, Janet Nicol