April 19, 2019

VPL_On-the-Curve-June12

Arrive early to guarantee a seat.   Facebook page link to RSVP at https://z-m-www.facebook.com/events/452893708587607/

TWO MORE BOOK EVENTS, ALSO IN VANCOUVER:

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

Limited Seating – RSVP on Facebook event page – link at

https://www.facebook.com/events/2343667275950825/

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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

Limited seating- RSVP on Facebook event page – link at

https://www.facebook.com/events/2721334041217240/

PLEASE NOTE:

Book for sale at all Vancouver events.

Cash or cheque only at VPL for $30.  Credit/debit as well at the other venues.)

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BOOK LAUNCH – MUSEUM AT CAMPBELL RIVER – Saturday, June 1 @ 1pm – Admission $7 No reservation required.  Author presentation and book sales and signing.  (Credit/debit as well as cash and cheque accepted at $28.95.)

Also – IN CAMPBELL RIVER – Friday, May 30 at 7pm, an informal “meet and greet”  with the author at Sybil and Walter’s cottage. Advance copies of the book available for sale at $30 (cash or cheque only).

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

Cash or cheque only at $30.

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

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

Available on order at Catlin Press and bookstores May 30, 2019.  More info and updates at  –

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 the summer issue of BC Studies, 2019.

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

TeachBC: Lessons on Labour and Justice

April 12, 2019

Seven Lessons developed by Janet Nicol

The following seven lessons are available on the BC Teachers’ Federation website at “TeachBC”  (Direct link at teachbc.bctf.ca.)   Search by lesson title or author.

*TRC Call to Action Lesson (on Truth and Reconciliation report (2016) Grades 11, 12 and Adult

*Paige’s story – a lesson about a BC teen in the DTES (2016)
Grade 12 and Adult

*Fishermen’s Strike of 1900 (Working People: A History of Labour in BC) (2015) Grades 10-12

*First Economies – on Aboriginal labour history (Working People: A History of Labour in BC” (2015)

*The Professionals – on BC nursing history (Working People A History of Labour in BC) (2018)

Won Alexander Cumyow – on BC’s first Chinese-born Canadian (Working People: A History of Labour in BC) (2015)

By Women, For Women – on the SORWUC bank drive (Working People: A History of Labour in BC) (2015)

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Five of the lessons are also available at the
BC Labour Heritage Centre website, along with video clips.  These lessons were part of the Centre’s Labour History Curriculum Project.    The project was featured in Canada’s History magazine (link at –  https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/business-industry/building-british-columbia)  and the work of the project, short-listed for the Governor Genera’s History Award (2019).

Link to lessons and videos at –
http://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/working-people/

This life-sized wood likeness of an early logger, is perched atop a 15 m (50 ft) pole in downtown Campbell River.  Hand carved by Dean Lemke in 1984 using local yellow cedar,  ‘Logger Mike’ pays tribute to the labour roots of this city on northern Vancouver Island.

Photo by Janet Nicol (2018).

Vancouver Foundation – history research project

April 8, 2019

In 2017, I was contracted by the Vancouver Foundation, Canada’s largest community foundation, to research its 75 year history,  spanning the war era to present times. The foundation has mentored dozens of other community foundations and continues to make a difference with programs such as Neighbourhood Small Grants (encouraging interaction among urban residents) and Fostering Change (supporting  youth in foster care).

Here’s a Vancouver Foundation history timeline, highlighting some of their key contributions.   (This PDF version can be enlarged by clicking on the downloaded image.)

Back to Bloody Saturday – book review

March 31, 2019

1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike
By the Graphic History Collective and David Lester, with an introduction by James Naylor

Toronto: Between the Lines Books, 2019
$19.95 / 9781771134200

Reviewed by Janet Mary Nicol

David Lester, a Vancouver-based illustrator, writer, and musician, has a keen interest in history with social justice themes. The Listener (Arbeiter Ring, 2011), among his most notable graphic novels, is a gripping story that moves between Germany during the rise of fascism in the 1930s and the contemporary life of a woman artist. In this most recent book, 1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike, Lester re-visits an important event in Canadian history, employing a simpler linear narrative and emphasizing artfully executed black and white drawings. As a result, a new generation is introduced to a tumultuous event a century ago, when more than 30,000 strikers battled police, vigilantes, and the government in May and June on the downtown streets of Winnipeg. The six-week dispute made international headlines and inspired workers to mount sympathy strikes from Vancouver to Amherst, Nova Scotia.

So begins a review about A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike.

Re-printed from The Ormsby Review, an on-line journal about BC culture. Full review at –
https://bcbooklook.com/2019/03/29/519-back-to-bloody-saturday/

“On the Line” a comprehensive look at BC labour history

February 20, 2019

On the Line: A History of the British Columbia Labour Movement by Rod Mickleburgh. Harbour Publisher, Maderia Park, BC, 2018. Hardback, 320 pp, $44.95

Reviewed by Janet Nicol

Tough leaders, resilient workers and generations of picket line battles are featured in this fast-paced survey of 150 years of British Columbia labour history. Author Rod Mickleberg worked the ‘labour beat’ at the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers for 16 years. His reportage folds neatly into these chronicles about a province rooted in a resource-based frontier economy of forestry, mining and fishing. Thoroughly researched, sources include those gathered by the BC Labour Heritage Centre, instigator of this book project, with sponsorship by the Community Savings Credit Union. Over 200 archival photographs and several sidebar stories accompany the text as well.

So begins my review of Rod Mickleburg’s comprehensive look at BC labour history in the winter issue of Our Times. Disclosure: I assisted with some of the research on the role of women in the labour movement–one of many to contribute toward this important work.

For the full book review, check out Our Times magazine, Winter 2019 issue, available soon in bookstores across Canada and by subscription. An on-line site, Between Times, offers great labour articles too.

King Tide

January 19, 2019

“King Tide”  Linocut with Indian Ink,  1/4, by Janet Nicol.  This image is inspired by the Vancouver municipal government’s call out to residents during the winter of 2018 to send photos of  ‘king tides’ along the city’s shorelines.  The linocut depicts a pair of cormorants on a favorite rock near the seawall during a king tide.

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“Cedar” Linocut, 1/2 by Janet Nicol.  SOLD (4/3/19)

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“Lily Pads on Pond” 1/1 Drypoint Etching (on plexiglass) by Janet Nicol

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“Endless Sea” 2/2 Linocut with water-colour marks by Janet Nicol

All prints on sale at Dundarave Print Workshop on Granville Island, Vancouver.

Apples, etc: An Artist’s Memoir – book review

November 14, 2018

Reviewed by Janet Nicol

Apples, etc.: An Artist’s Memoir, by Gathie Falk with Robin Laurence
Vancouver, Figure 1 publisher, 2018.

A signature piece of ceramic art created by BC artist Gathie Falk inspired the title of this memoir and is symbolic of an artistic life as bold as the biblical Eve. The idea to create a pyramid of glistening apples came to Falk after observing produce in a Vancouver grocery store. She transformed the ordinary scene into a ceramic sculpture in 1970, as part of an installation entitled ‘Fruit Piles.’ Falk continues to create from her east Vancouver studio at age 90. ‘Apples, etc,’ is told in the first person, assisted by seasoned art critic Robin Laurence. Stories are linked together, seamlessly combining tales of Falk’s award-winning performance art, ceramics, sculpture and paintings alongside insightful remembrances of her life journey. Embedded in this memoir as well, is the growing recognition of the province’s cultural history and contributions.

This begins my book review of Gathie Falk’s memoir. Full review is available in the upcoming Winter 2018 issue of BC History, available on new stands this month.

‘My brother gave me a peddler’s kit’

October 5, 2018

The Sabas in early BC

by Janet Nicol

Alex Saba, a 17 year old Christian Lebanese immigrant, began walking the back roads of Vancouver Island in 1900. He peddled wares from a suitcase, given to him by his brother Michael, who had arrived to BC from Beirut ten years earlier.    Residents in Nanaimo and the Comox Valley came to know Alex well as he walked door to door, selling merchandise.

“My brother gave me a peddler’s kit with $40 or $50 worth of goods and told me I was in business,” Alex recalled to a Vancouver Sun journalist years later. “When people saw I couldn’t speak English they seemed eager to help me,” he also remembered. “Maybe the language barrier wasn’t a hindrance after all. I sold about $6 worth of goods, underwear, handkerchiefs and notions the first day.”

In 1903, Alex and Michael established a women’s clothing shop in downtown Vancouver, “the Saba Brothers,” serving three generations of customers to 1983.   The full story is available in BC History, Vol. 42, Issue 4, 2009.

I imagine Alex Saba carrying a ‘suitcase’ style backpack and walking along his peddling route on the eastern coastline of Vancouver Island, in this etching below, entitled ‘Island Pedlar.’  The print is on display until January 20, 2019 at the Winter Show, Dundarave Print Workshop, Vancouver and for sale, unframed at $80.

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