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By Lynda Shadbolt

We are all given a lot in life that we don’t understand. Things that we don’t necessarily want. Life is not always fair even or just. We can’t control everything. What we can do is love the friends the people the acquaintances we have in our life.

We can each open our heart as big as we can and navigate our way through all of life using whatever tools work for us. I have always believed that we all have angels surrounding me/us. Protecting me supporting me and just being there to listen.

In July of 2000 I was five months pregnant and it had taken years to make this happen and so I was excited cautious and taking really good care of myself. I decided to take an Introduction to Sculpture Building course at the Haliburton School of Art + Design. I had no experience and assumed that when I showed up for the course the instructor would tell us what to make and how to do it. Ha ha ha boy was I wrong.

On the first day of the course the instructor introduced himself to us and told us that he curated an art gallery in the United States that only displayed art from people who had never taken lessons.

He loved art that hadn’t been influenced by anyone but the artist. He then went on to tell us that we could make whatever we wanted and he would help us. I had no idea to what to make. I actually left the class and went home to look through some books and journals to get some inspiration. I wandered around our gardens and thought about my soon-to-be son or daughter digging in them some day. Somehow it came to me that I wanted to make a “guardian angel” for myself and my unborn child.

A sculpture that would remind me that we were being looked after and that we were loved. I went back to the class started collecting all kinds of stuff from around the room and started to create. Fairly soon into the project it came to me that I was building a sculpture of my grandmother Olive.

She lived in England and I had never had the opportunity to meet her but had heard stories from my dad about her. I spent the week building her and I felt like I connected with her in some way.

As I worked on her everyone in the class would come over and ask questions and give suggestions. It was so lovely. So positive and so full of love. At the end of the week one of the students put Olive into the back of his truck and drove her to our house and we placed her in our garden. She still stands proudly there today and every time I walk past her I am reminded of my grandmother of when I was pregnant and of the lovely people in the class that I took. She has been my guardian angel through my journey of parenting so far.

I am very grateful for her. And I am grateful for The Haliburton School of Art + Design that has provided rich experiences for artists of all ages from around the world for over 50 years. The students the teachers the creativity and the concerts will be truly missed this summer in so many ways.