Remembering Claudia Camille.

In honor of Claudia Camille

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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.

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Claudia’s hand-knitted sweater for my daughter, 1985

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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

Frida and Camille
“Frida and Camille”- has been an interactive art piece for many years, added to by multiple people

Camille
Claudia Camille

In memory of my sweet friend and dance partner, Claudia, I am sharing her infamous CRANBERRY ORANGE pie recipe:

Pie crust:
300 ml flour
150 g butter (room temp) YES actual butter
1 egg

Mix all ingredients and form into dough. Let rest wrapped in plastic in fridge about 30 min before rolling out.

Filling:
Mix together
450 g whole cranberries
Orange rind from two oranges (or lemons)
Squeeze the juice from the oranges onto top the 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!

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A marker for Molly

I do not take my work on Molly lightly.  I respect that her story is a tragic one.  I respect that Molly somehow chose me to tell her story.  Eve Lazarus refers to it as a tap on the shoulder– and Molly tapped me on the shoulder on Level 5 at the Vancouver Public Library in late 2003 as I was searching through microfiches.

I also do not take lightly the deeper bonds that formed between my parents and I as we researched and explored together.  Oh, that tap on the shoulder- what a gift!  It led to amazing adventures and brainstorm sessions between the three of us.  Delicious.

Mom and I would often spend time at Mountainview Cemetery with our dog, Tobey, visiting the unmarked grave of Molly and discussing, at length, the ins and outs of Molly’s timeline and its intersects with the Babes in the Wood cold case.  These were joyous times for us.

Even today, as I sit at my kitchen table surrounded by research, I take note of parental influence, reading through old newspaper clippings lovingly put together by my father.

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I know mom and dad are still here, on my team in spirit, and that Molly always guides the work (#trust), work that continues to unfold much longer than I anticipated as the story is bigger and more profound by the day.

My mom and I certainly knew that this whole affair would not be complete until Molly’s grave site received a flat marker.  So today, as I review my to-list and notes, I decided to request a quote.

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• Grass marker for Molly O’Dwyer at Mountainview Cemetery, Vancouver BC

O’DWYER

Molly Teresa

1924 – 1947

anam cara

I chose the gaelic words for soul-friend- anam cara [souls connect and bond across time and space, through life and beyond into death. source] as, to me, they truly reflect that tap on the shoulder.

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UPDATE:  I received a lovely, thoughtful email and quote today from J.B. Newall regarding a 12″ x 20″ x 3″ granite memorial marker.

Some excerpts:

Thank you for contacting us with your inquiry.

12″ x 20″ x 3″ granite memorial marker, in your choice of
granite colour, with up to five lines of inscription…

Cemetery permit/setting fee…

… our designers take the time to create several artful, custom
layouts from which to choose.

Currently, completion time is approximately 4-6 weeks.  We work closely with
our suppliers to ensure the best quality, monument grade granite; all of our
work is guaranteed.

Thank you again for allowing us the honour to provide you with this
quotation.

Warmest Regards,

K.H. |MEMORIALIST
JB NEWALL MEMORIALS LTD.
5096 FRASER STREET |VANCOUVER, B.C.| V5W 2Y8
T: 604.327.1312 | F: 604.327.1397
WWW.JBNEWALL.COM

CELEBRATING 106 YEARS IN VANCOUVER (1909 – 2015)

I’m hoping to be able to proceed in the Springtime.

Contemplating death, loss, hope, acceptance…

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Release
Leap of faith
Acceptance
Peace

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Honorary
Karin
Roar
Life rough on the seas

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Sacrifice
Mother father daughter love
Death
Release

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Hope
Promise
Defence
Loss

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Rose
Thorn
Thorsen
Memorial

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Cycle
Allowance
Honor
New beginnings

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Immortal
Bud
Blossom
Farewell

Dedicated to my mother Karin September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008 and my father Roar August 8, 1930 – October 25, 2012. And my sweet cat Violet who passed October 29, 2014.