island hopping ’13, day 2/more






A few more photos here from our visit to Quadra Island’s First Nations museum, gathering place and the spirit stones. The top image is of a totem pole next to the entrance to Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre. The others are more details of Ah-Wah-Qwa-Dzas, the gathering place.

(I am being very slow in processing all the numerous photos of our trip and in gathering my thoughts for writing here. After the initial busy-ness of catching up with things at home after our guests left, I came down with a nasty cold and bronchial infection which is slow to depart.)

island hopping ’13, day 2








One reason we stayed at Campbell River the first night of our island hopping holiday was that we wanted to visit Quadra Island, a short ferry ride away. Some years ago when I was researching rock art around British Columbia, I had come across and written about Spirit in the Stone, a marvelous book by Joy Inglis, about the numerous First Nations petroglyphs on Quadra Island. It had been a longtime dream of mine to visit this island and its rock art, some about 3000 years old.

Our focus was to visit the museum and to see some of those stones that had been placed nearby. Photographing these were a challenge for the light was already too high and bright, so there was much processing needed, these ones being the best I could do. We did not have time to explore the whole island and visit other stones but hope to revisit again another time.

The top photo shows Ah-Wah-Qwa-Dzas, a gathering place on the shore in front of the museum. You can see Campbell River on the other side. We admired the displays inside the museum called the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre – the numerous masks and other fine arts and crafts, a longboat, many photos of the old longhouses and much about the early history and impacts (many quite devastating such as several deadly smallpox epidemics) of white man’s arrival to these coastal communities. I think our German visitors found it all enlightening and sometimes quite shocking. No photos were allowed. Please do read the museum’s interesting website for more information.

cedar twine




At the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, which we visited last month, a guide had taken a group of us around. The end of the tour saw us in a longhouse style activity room where each of us was given a narrow thin strip of previously soaked cedar bark. Following the guide’s instructions we each bent a strip around a peg (one in front of each person) on a long table and firmly twisted one half around the other half, then tied the ends. The top image shows simple samples of what can become the beginnings of complex multi-twisted twine or rope having many purposes, including clothing, hats and baskets.

These pieces have been sitting on my desk for a while so today I felt the urge to do some scanning and image play with them. The images are a bit small to show all details of the fine bark. Especially cool to me was to discover the shocking stains on the scanner bed which emerged when the levels were played with. What fun and who knows, maybe I’ll use these in some work one day.

slow road, finale

Last but definitely not least was our long desired visit to the architecturally stunning Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler. Planned for many years and opened five years ago, it received a lot of attention during the 2010 Winter Olympics (I thought that’s when it opened). It has a blend of contemporary First Nations work along with historical collections. Please read about it on their excellent website. We’ve long been very impressed by their strong culture and arts so it is a wonderful thing to see it so beautifully presented here and being actively used by the Squamish and Lil’wat people.

A huge carved and rotating wooden disk, one of two overhead to greet visitors as they come in the main entrance.

Note the inspiration from First Nations architecture in the Istken Hall.


One style of boat is for the sea-going people and the other for the inland river fishing tribes.

A view of the Great Hall from upstairs.

A re-creation of the Pit House which is normally underground. Note the benches where each family member had his or her own sleeping spot.

There is an opening in the top of the house to allow smoke to leave and was also the entry/exit with a notched pole as a ladder.

A clay and shell mask, one of many artifacts in the museum area.

I also enjoyed learning more about the BC Aboriginal legends and symbology on their website. You may like to view a short video and slide show which gives a better idea of the Centre than our few photos.

Added later: If you’ve missed the earlier posts in the slow road series and would like to visit them, they are here:
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, interlude and part 6.

slow road, pt 6

The next morning, refreshed, rested and well-fed by our B&B hostess, we said goodbye to lovely Lilloeet Lake and headed south to Whistler. It had been quite a few years since our last visit and we were amazed how much it had grown, of course largely due to the Winter Olympics in 2010. Our goals were to visit two very special buildings which had been built that year.



The first was the Whistler PassivHaus. Please read about its design in this informative article. After being on display during the Olympics, it is now a bike rental shop in summer with cross-county ski rentals in winter, along with a coffee shop. Upstairs is a large open space available for meetings and conferences.



We have had a long time interest in architecture and alternative energy efficient home designs. We incorporated a passive solar design in our home which we renovated years ago. Building technologies have really developed a lot since then. We loved the use of finely crafted wood in this display. The windows and doors are of exceptional quality. We wished we had had those available when we built. Husband is quite keen on this design which is slowly taking off here after much success in Europe, but I say we’re getting too old to start building again.

Next and last post in this series will be about an amazing and gorgeous cultural place we visited in Whistler.

Added later: If you’ve missed the other posts in the slow road series and would like to visit them, they are here:
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, interlude and the finale.

happy solstice


Hauskaa Juhannusta! Wishing I were in Finland to celebrate and enjoy the magical white nights at lakeside family cottages with bonfires and saunas!

This photo was taken at Lillooet Lake, BC just after 8 pm on June 16th where we stayed at a lovely bed-and-breakfast home. More about that trip later.

Save Studio Art


Just when the school year is finishing and many students in Studio Arts have put up their graduation exhibition, the administration at Capilano University in North Vancouver has announced that they would have to make cuts to many programs because of a shortfall of $1.3 million in funding from the BC government. Studio and Textile Arts are particularly targeted along with other courses. Studio Arts is and has been a very well-respected program for 40 years.

Students and Faculty and Friends of the Arts are fighting this very hard. A Facebook page and a petition have been set up which are receiving lots of support but we need much more. I have personally been part of the excellent studio arts program at Capilano and want to help by asking friends and readers to please sign this petition in support of arts education, ALL education, and to pass it on to others.

Here is one very special and supportive comment at that petition:

I would not be writing this letter of support for Capilano University’s Studio and Textile Arts Program as an Associate Professor at Emily Carr were it not for the incredible education I received there. Having subsequently toured many art and design schools over the years in the United States and Canada, and having been an external reviewer last year of Capilano’s program, I can testify that the program ranks among the best. Simply put it offers a first rate blend of intellectual, material, and technical development delivered by extraordinary faculty in a beautifully equipped, community-friendly studio setting. The program is a major contributor to the high profile for culture and excellence the University enjoys, and its reputation far outdistances its relatively small size. It would be a false economy to eliminate this program as the University’s profile would be greatly diminished on the cultural scene, locally and nationally. – Alexandra Phillips of Vancouver

There is a provincial election campaign going on and we are questioning all candidates on this issue. Why are some universities getting way more funding than others, while others are experiencing cuts? Why any cuts to any kind of education? Coincidentally or not, the University is having their decision-making budget meeting on May 14th which is the very day of the election!

Here are a few of the many reports in the news media:
THE TYEE by Crawford Kilian
Alliance for Arts and Culture
Thank you for reading and for your support!

ADDED May 3rd: In the Straight: Capilano University needs to hit the pause button on its budget plans, by Reg Johanson. Excellent comments too.

UPDATE May 20th: After weeks of petitions, protests and meetings, the University board has agreed to delay the cuts for another month to research and possibly propose a new plan.

Easter eggs


My hand goes out to you, gentle readers, with wishes for a sunny, warm and happy Easter long weekend. Hauskaa Pääsiäistä, Joyeuses Pâques, Frohes Ostern, Happy Easter… if that is a tradition for you.

I like to think of it as a celebration of spring with daffodils and pussywillows and tender new green leaf buds. And of course, Easter eggs! Most of our treasured Easter egg collection has been made over the years by our daughters, especially the youngest. More photos of those Easter eggs: Easter 2006, Easter 2008

I am looking forward to seeing our granddaughters’ plant-dyed eggs, works in progress…

February flowers






Our typical westcoast warming blanket of cloud cleared overnight bringing us some pretty though short-lived frost. Today’s too rare sunshine was a gift though the vision of bright white snow on the mountain tops reminded us that it still is winter higher up and we are not immune to a late snowfall lower down. It’s been relatively mild, maybe average at sea level this season. The first harbingers of spring, the snowdrops, have been out for a while, now joined by the hellebore and potted primulas, admittedly protected next to the house. A few early yellow crocus flowers appeared a few days ago which often don’t come until about the end of the month.

Meanwhile, we’ve been following the news of terrific blizzards in eastern Canada and northeast USA. Such lovely photos of snow yet such difficulties when there’s too much at once. I hope you are all safe and warm! I grew up in cold snowy places the first 27 years of my life and have not forgotten what it is like. May these images of flowers give you hope that spring is around the corner. I know we are lucky to have ended up living here.

Tonight is the start of the Asian New Year celebrations including in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Tomorrow is British Columbia’s first Family Day holiday, a much-needed one to break that long period between Christmas and Easter. In Finland schools have a ski week holiday this month. Valentine’s or Friendship Day is coming too. Tomorrow is also another birthday for yours truly, and my husband’s is at the end of the month. A good month, in my books!







moss and ivy
lichen and ferns
english daisies
winter blooming rhododendron
grey drizzly day
where is snow white winter
on this twelfth day of Christmas?

a few past Epiphany posts:
Twelfth Day 2006
Twelfth night 2008
epiphany deluge 2009