In honor of Claudia Camille
September 14, 1964- February 26, 2007
It is my dance partner’s birthday today.
We were science students and dancers together at the University of British Columbia. I met Claudia Camille in dance class in 1983 and we formed a duo dance troupe, Principia, choreographing and performing around Vancouver. We revelled in all things creative (dance, arts, literature, science), in all traditional crafts and baking, in pies, fresh cut flowers, clove oranges, dried flowers, knitting, letters, in our European heritages, in making life cozy.
Claudia became a pharmacist, but she took a big step to pursue her love for the book arts and enrolled in full-time art school in Portland in the late 90’s.
She changed her name to Claudia Camille in honor of her favorite artist:
Claudia was so gifted. SO GIFTED. Her meticulous rich work embraced both deep introspection and dedication to tradition and craft. She created exquisite handmade books that I will feature over the next while. I collect the treasures in a box.
She was diagnosed with (what I believe was primary-progressive) multiple sclerosis (she went steadily downhill physically) and tragically lost her ability to work, to create. With her severely debilitated condition, she took many months to write a 14-page last letter. The letter was sent out to her network by her family after she passed.
It is filled with pain, love, anger, sadness, despair, determination, truth. HER TRUTH. She chose to take her own life, on her own terms 10 years ago. But because of legalities, she had to be alone.
I worked with my therapist, in 2007, to work through the letter step by step- I recall extending the session to two hours- and I knew that day, my therapist and I were done our work together.
We crossed a threshold that was both liberating and bittersweet- crying together, honoring Claudia, processing to help me let go of my guilt for not being able to care for her in her final years (I was caring for my parents).
Two of my Frida panels are dedicated to Claudia:
In memory of my sweet friend and dance partner, Claudia, I am sharing her infamous CRANBERRY ORANGE pie recipe:
300 ml flour
150 g butter (room temp) YES actual butter
Mix all ingredients and form into dough. Let rest wrapped in plastic in fridge about 30 min before rolling out.
450 g whole cranberries
Orange rind from two oranges (or lemons)
Squeeze the juice from the oranges onto top th e cranberries too
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
Brush pie crust with egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar
Bake at 350-375º F until cranberries sizzle with juices and pie crust is golden brown!