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Wendy Snefjellå  
(nee Richardson)  

I was born in Burlington, Ontario. My father was a steel salesman for Stelco so his job took him and the family to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and Windsor, Ontario.  We returned to Burlington in time for my grade 10 year at Aldershot High School. My summers as a child were spent at Manitou Lake in Algonquin Park, where my maternal grandfather had a cabin and also in Carleton Place Ontario, where my grandfather resided.

I attended Georgian College in Barrie, for what was then called a “Creative Arts Diploma.” It is now known as a Fine Arts Diploma. Later in life I also achieved a nursing diploma and became a Registered Nurse.

I arrived in Bancroft in 1981 to try out living with a pen pal. No computer dating services back then! We mixed farmed, had a herd of 40 milking goats, growing as much food for ourselves as possible, and doing so with no electricity. We had two children, who were homeschooled until high school. Although we are no longer farming and do indeed have electricity we continue to grow a large garden.

I have always been interested in spiritual aspects of life and living. I was a member of the Holistic Nurses of Canada, CHNA, and appreciate the philosophy of regarding the heath of all from a stance that we are all more than just the sum of our physical constituents. Holistic nurses view life from a unitary human theory.

I have now survived Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) for twelve years without a bone marrow or a stem cell transplant. I have been on my death bed twice and that brings with it an interesting perspective on living. I have experienced hospitalization on palliative care, and some years later being taught an in depth palliative care course by the very same nurse that headed my in-patient hospital, palliative care team. Life from both sides of the bed, so to speak.

I love drawing with pencil. It is so very simple and so very accessible. You do not have to be wealthy to pick up a pencil and draw on a piece of paper. I learned to silk paint in college. I bought a steamer as soon as I could afford one while working in Toronto at the graphics department of Colour Your World head office. It is called a French Dye Technique. Much has changed since in terms of dyes and products since my college experiences. I use a less toxic form of dyes now. French Dye technique is basically a resist drawing process and then a painting within the “cells” of the dried resist. Once dried the silk is “steamed” in dry heat for an hour to set the dyes, and then the resist must be washed out. The vibrant colours keep me coming back for more. When it comes to silk painting you never know what you will get until you wash the silk. When unwrapping the painting from the steamer I am always waiting with Christmas-like anticipation!

I enjoy a country life. Birdsong in the morning, bees buzzing in the basswood trees, frogs and crickets at night, insect life, plant life, our amazing landscapes -- these are a few of my favourite things.


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