Let Me Introduce Myself….

In 2011 I was living in downtown Toronto, working as a glazier at a Company building amazing glass domes and lenses for home. I had graduated from OCAD University in 2007 and was recovering from a fall from scaffolding in a workplace accident. I had three fractured vertebrae and a fractured noggin.

This is me – Photo Credit: Laurel Russwurm

I was a little lost, I had been fighting for compensation from the fall as the employer did not have us covered under WISB. Anyone dealing with a brain injury knows some of the struggles I faced and still face to this day. I was a long road to recovery. Depression was a huge obstacle that slowly crept in after the injury. Memory issues, crowds and loud sounds became intolerable, which was not easy while living in downtown Toronto. Focus, severe mood swings, migraines all became a part of my daily life. I couldn’t be in that concrete jungle any longer and each day my desperation grew to escape it.

Finally the lawyers hammered out a deal with my ex employer’s lawyers. They had thrown every excuse at us claiming the accident was completely my fault. Including that I was taking drugs, drinking on the job, I wasn’t wearing my prescription glasses, They said I wasn’t an employee just on call. I agree that I have a degree of responsibility for what happened to me. I could have said no to climbing up the scaffolding to work on the mural but I would have lost my job had I done so. I know this because after the accident I did go back to work but I was then let go because I said no to climbing up scaffolding that was 20 ft in the air and resting on a piece of would over a hole in the floor without safety straps. It should be noted that the scaffolding I did fall from was only10 ft where legally being tied off at the time was not mandatory. I fell onto a cement floor.

When the settlement came in I gave my notice after I found this little gem of a church in the little town of Alvinston. It’s and Anglican Church built i 1872. I knew nothing of the area as I had never been this way in previous travels. I came once with my parents in the middle of winter and immediately knew that was a home meant for me.

This is my church.

I stayed in Toronto until October of that year taking weekend trips to the church with both my dogs in tow to get a head start on making the place my own. Fast forward ten years, the church is definitely MY home even though it is still a work in progress. I now have my art practice based out of the church, working part time at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #249 and I am currently working on a series of oil paintings for an upcoming exhibition to be held at The Judith & Norman ALIX Art Gallery in Sarnia Ontario.

Since my life here began I started a small business through an EI program until I realized I wasn’t cut out for artistic work that needed to be lugged around the province to eek out a living. I have worked at a local family restaurant called Lou’s Country Cookin’, which has since closed. I worked for a local newspaper called The Standard Guide Advocate, and has now gone online after slowly changing things up and losing many good customers. I was one of the founding members of an arts group called The Brooke-Alvinston Arts & Activity Group (BAAAAG), which ran classes through the local library and the Municipality and also ran the Alvinston Arts & Music Fest for 5 year’s. Both of which are on hiatus for the foreseeable future.

My focus now is on my artistic practise. I am working on a series of 10 to twelve oil paintings featuring mostly local men, different ages and backgrounds. It’s a large undertaking for me with each piece containing details that are pushing me to strive for an excellence I haven’t achieved before. It’s both humbling and trying at times as it seems I will never make it to the end.

Over the last few year I have look at different ways That I would be able to continue writing for my community, about my community and some of the amazing people I have met and some of the unique and creative things going on around me. All that came as a complete surprise to me when I first moved here.

My hope with this blog is to write. One to two stories per week and see how it goes. I will be adding an option for those who want to help support me getting the stories out donate to help keep me going. IT won’t be required but it will help in costs that come getting to some of the people and stories I write about. Other than that, I ask for local to please feel free to contact me with stories you believe would be interesting for others to read about and also keep this little town of Alvinston’s history and community alive.

Please follow my blog and feel free to share this blog with those you think would like to read it!! Also, any historical pictures, please send them my way and I will add them when they come. Pictures keep record of our history and we need to share them.

Painting of me by my friend and artist Daisy Fresh in front of my amazing alter windows.

5 thoughts on “Let Me Introduce Myself….

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