I started out this summer wondering how I might raise some money for Canada’s shelter network through my book, Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists. I had already done three media interviews, and knew that once the book came out in the fall of 2017, public awareness of domestic violence and women’s shelters would be higher.
Could something good come out of it?
I hoped so. First, I looked for the right cause. It had to be national, it had to be credible, it had to fund shelters and support women. A tall order, but I found the perfect one in the Canadian Women’s Foundation. It does all that and more, and my sister Joyce — who helped found and run a battered women’s shelter in Swift Current, Sask. — says it is well-respected in the field.
Then, how to convince people to donate to ‘my’ cause? My husband and I came up with the idea of producing coasters — portable, highly useful, not too expensive — as a nice, unique thank-you gift for donors. But it took weeks before I figured out the right art and theme for the darned coasters. I started out thinking maybe kids at one of the YWCA camps might provide the art. Or a Winnipeg artist who does streetscapes. Or another artist I knew who does amazing calligraphy. But nothing really worked with a shelter ‘theme’ … until lo and behold the answer came to me one day in the Victoria Beach grocery store. On a shelf beside the eggs and milk fridge.
I saw a card with the painting of a house on it. And another one behind that. A series of houses, in fact, by a painter who obviously loves houses. Her name is Jane Gateson, and she is a really talented artist who has been fascinated by houses for a few years. When I contacted her to ask if she might be interested in partnering on this project, she agreed right away. She’s kind, generous AND talented. She’s donating her images to the cause and I am scrupulously putting credits on a thank you slip to be enclosed with each set — so if any of you love an image and want the original for your wall, you know who to contact.
What are the odds we’d run into each other at a little beach in Manitoba?