Thursday, 2 August 2012

in the footsteps of giants

footprints, Sandbanks - mrll 2011

I recently was selected as the 2012 recipient of the Nel Oudemans Award, presented by the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation in New Brunswick. 

Here is what I knew about the award when I submitted my portfolio for review:

The annual $2,000 Nel Oudemans Award acknowledges the extraordinary contribution of Fredericton weaver Nel Oudemans to Canada’s applied arts field, as well as to fine arts & craft education in New Brunswick.  To mark her association since 1947 with the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, the Award will recognize the pursuit of excellence in the fields of fine craft, design, and the visual arts by the College’s recent graduates.

During my 3 years at NBCCD I heard the name of Nel Oudemans frequently, particularly in the Textiles studio, where there was a photo of her on the wall.  Since the press release has come out, people have written me to tell me what an extraordinary woman Nel was and how generous and essential she was to her community. 

Yesterday I conducted a brief interview about the award for the Telegraph-Journal, and it was brought up that I had been heavily involved in the arts community in NB while I was in school, volunteering & why had I done all that etc.  When I heard those words from the reporter, I realized how, at the time, you just do it for no other reason than because you believe it is important and should be done, and that, very likely, that would have been the case for Nel also, while she was blazing her own trail & inspiring others.  How it is so important to act, that our actions are what define us to ourselves and to others.  How the action is what seals the belief, the value, confirms it. 

I am so honoured to receive an award in the memory of a woman who acted, and made the world a more beautiful place through her actions.  May I be so blessed, so moved, so inspired to do the same.

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