I am very sorry for my absence since my last entry blog in February. It has been a very difficult time for my family and me. I have not been 100 percent myself since my grandfather had his first stroke. I really loved to go to class, though; no matter what, my instructors, class and art made me strong and gave me the will and power to get through this. You probably all have heard about my grandfather, Clifford Bolton. His death was a big loss for all of us.
My grandfather, Kitsumkalum master carver, Clifford Bolton passed away April 12, 2012. He is a great loss for not only the Tsimshian community, but also all nations. He was an inspiration to all artists. In his desire to preserve the Tsimshian culture, he opened a path for artists to explore their own personal visions.
My grandfather and I were very close-knit. He was a funny man, full of stories and compassion, an exceptional artist and friend. I will miss him greatly. This picture I took a shot of my grandfather was taken at the Freda Diesing Student exhibition on April 15, 2011. For the last 6 years, he contributed to the Freda Diesing of Northwest Coast Art School. I thought I want to share something special he would be remembered where he loved the most was looking at the Northwest Coast pieces and meeting people.
I am honoured to carry on his carving skills, as the very same instructors who taught him trained me: Stan Bevan, Ken McNeil, Dempsey Bob, and the late Freda Diesing.
The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art at Northwest Community College changed my whole life. Enrolling in the First Nations Fine Arts program is the best decision I ever made in my life. I am very fortunate to have gotten to know Stan, Ken, Dean, and Dempsey in the last few years, as I have enrolled twice but had to withdraw from the program for family matters. Eventually, I came back in September 2010 to give myself another opportunity. Perhaps it is my lucky charm this time that I was able to complete the Diploma program.
My classmates and I celebrated our year-end show and graduation ceremony on April 13, 2012. This ceremony is something I will never forget and I would like to give my gratitude to all of my classmates, the sign language interpreters, and all members of NWCC—especially the Freda Diesing instructors.
Beyond the Freda Diesing School, I also have future ideas for my art. At end of March, I received a letter from Emily Carr University (in Vancouver) that I have been accepted to go into the third year of the Visual Arts program there. Unfortunately, I could not accept this spot for September 2012. Instead, I will be going to the school in September 2013. Since I was 17 years old, my dream has been to go to Emily Carr. For this gap year, I will have the opportunity to spend time with the local carvers and practice my carving skills, and try other media on my own. This will give me more confidence in myself so that I know I can do this.
It has been my privilege to write my last blog for Northwest Community College. Be safe, be happy and please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paula Wesley is NWCC's full-time student blogger! Currently a second-year First Nations Fine Arts student at NWCC's Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, Paula's mother is Coast Salish from Chilliwack, her father is Tsimshian from Port Essington. Born in 1976 in Terrace, BC, where she currently resides, she says she's inspired by the art of her people and creates art to continue what her people started long before her, "to express my cultures and represent our people through art."
Over the fall and winter semesters, she'll be giving her take on student life at NWCC. We're excited to see and read her posts and encourage you - the college community - to follow along.