Ardith had been a member of the Glacier Grannies for many years. Her first major project was creating two beautiful fabric art pieces for the 2010 – 2011 travelling exhibition, “Turning the Tide”.
Her artist’s statement reads:
“After many years of quilting with traditional and innovative patterns, Ardith realized, that the results that pleased her most were open-ended, not precise instruction but general guidelines that had room for creativity. From there, it was a short walk over to textile art. There are really no rules in this genre. It's whatever works!
“Ardith spends at least an hour, most days, at her sewing machine making clothes or a quilt or textile art. It is her way of being creative. She loves colour, the feel of fabrics and the mental stimulation of planning yet another project.
Ardith continued to use her imagination, skills, and sense of colour to produce items for sale at our craft fairs. Her famous “fish bags” for storing plastic bags, cases for eyeglasses, and tissues and many other items were popular with Grannies and customers.
In addition to creating crafts, Ardith was also craft-coordinator with Dianne W. who writes:
“It was always so easy and pleasant to be working with Ardith on any project. As we had previously been co-chairs together we knew each other’s strengths and styles.
“She was so utterly dependable and diligent in getting things done with as little fuss as possible. Ardith could be counted on to arrange bookings well ahead of time for all our craft fairs. Since one of us was sometimes away, we’d decide who would arrange volunteer shifts for those events, sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for 3 day fairs. Together, we’d work out how to get all the crafts, tables, cash box, tent, etc. where needed. Although in the past she was deeply involved with sewing many of her own inventions, when that became difficult to do she kept as involved as she could on the steering committee. She will be greatly missed.”
In the lead-up to Art From the Attic (which had to be postponed due to the pandemic), Ardith joined the publicity committee, and worked on provenance for the art works. The committee enjoyed meeting in her cosy bed-sitting room, and appreciated her imaginative ideas for spreading the word about the event.
Ardith also participated in The Red Scarf Campaign. She joined others gathered for knitting bees who were having fun knitting up a red scarf storm, in support of AIDS Vancouver Island's Red Scarf Campaign.
More recently, Ardith joined Pat P. in posting to the Glacier Grannies Facebook page. Pat writes:
“In between our Glacier Grannies’ events, Ardith would read posts on various Facebook pages, and if they were interesting she would “share” them to our Glacier Grannies Facebook page.
“She would share posts from the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, Stephen Lewis Foundation and various Granny Groups, usually the ones on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, but also from some of the Facebook pages created by Community Based Organizations in Africa.”
Pat stressed how important this job is, in sharing the wonderful work done in both Africa and Canada. It is also a big commitment as it is necessary to post at least once a week in order to keep the page active.
Ardith’s last major project was organizing the 2020 Virtual Walk Across Africa. She encouraged many of us into forming a local team, kept us up to the mark and kept track of our distances weekly, reporting them to Raymond to add to our map. Although by this time she was wheelchair-bound, she added to our kilometers herself, on her trusty scooter. Through Ardith’s hard work, $8,565 was raised for the Foundation.
Right to the end Ardith was an active member of the Grannies, attending meetings and our book club through Zoom, and coming up with ideas for fundraising.
However, a list of Ardith’s achievements misses her real essence. As Grannies shared their memories of Ardith, all spoke of her kind and gentle personality, which was coupled with a steely determination to support the Grandmothers of Africa. Everyone remembered her gorgeous, wacky, colourful outfits, and her bicycling to meetings and events – no matter the weather or the distance to be covered.
In her goodbye message to us all Ardith said: “I've loved being a Glacier Granny, it gave me a purpose and many friendships in this last segment of my life, thanks for your open heartedness, your generosity.”
Ardith, the privilege was ours. You enriched all our lives and we will never forget you.
View a few photos and a short video starring the Ardith we knew.
Click on the images to enlarge. Close by clicking on "X" in the top right hand corner.
Video by Ardith's granddaughter: Sienna.
For those of us who have been with the Grannies for a long time, our first memory of Lorraine is the occasion when she graciously offered her home to entertain two visiting grandmothers from Africa. It was a frigid day, and a frozen group from Letz Sing welcomed the shivering African grandmothers in the driveway. But Lorraine cossetted the grandmothers – sat them close to the fire, and provided cosy blankets – and they soon felt right at home. We had all brought food and it was a wonderfully convivial afternoon please read on
Lorraine had such vision, and this, coupled with her organizational skills and attention to detail made her invaluable in helping to put on our early Kazuri jewelry sales, the plant sales, and later her famous car boot sales. For the jewelry sales, Gillian F. made us all “fascinators” to wear (little frothy hats, favoured by the British royal family). As you can image, Lorraine wore hers with great style! Her Master Gardener skills were invaluable for our plant sales.
Most of all, we were in awe of Lorraine’s marketing skills. Whether she was selling jewelry, our crafts, or the contents of our car trunks, Lorraine could always sense what a buyer wanted or needed, often before they realized it themselves. However, they went away happy with their purchase and the Grannies had earned more dollars to donate to the Grandmothers Campaign. If anything was left after a sale, Lorraine would be sure to come up with an original idea of how to sell it.
For several years Lorraine hired a couple of Grannies to clear and wash the dishes at the annual Christmas Bridge Club dinner. It was a win-win. The Bridge Club got cheerful, efficient help, and the Grannies got a generous cheque for the Campaign.
For some of us, our last time with Lorraine as a group was at a meeting of our book club. It was lovely to see her, and although she was already ill, she was as cheerful and beautifully groomed as usual. Most of us had just read the book – Lorraine had prepared interesting detailed background material and challenged us to think deeply about what we had read.
We shall all miss Lorraine so much. It will feel so strange and sad holding a meeting without her there, bubbling over with ideas, making sure that we push ourselves just that little bit harder, and reminding us to make monthly donations to the Stephen Lewis Foundation
At our Christmas party in 2020 we took time to remember one of our group who had recently passed away: Marg Hogan, who was a wonderful friend and a devoted Angeler. She had been a member of our group for many years, and will be sadly missed.
At the Comox United Church on February 22nd, a Celebration of Life was held for our esteemed Grannie, Nadine Towell. It was a very beautiful afternoon with heart-warming and funny stories about Nadine. There was serenity and comradery throughout the hall, as we enjoyed wonderful socializing and delicious food. Nadine’s dear friend, Julia had made photo boards that everyone enjoyed, showing pictures of Nadine at different stages of her life. She had also prepared a display of beautiful crafts made by Nadine.
please read on
Ardith spoke on behalf of the Glacier Grannies and shared memories of the 8 years that Nadine was with us, many of those years as Treasurer.
Karin, a Grannie and close friend, sent a loving tribute to be read, as she was away at the time.
Nadine’s friends from places she had worked and volunteered over the years brought us to laughter and tears with their stories.
Her dear friends spoke so lovingly and showed us different sides of our Grannie – Nadine.
Nadine’s friend, Barbara organized the delicious food, much of it prepared by many Grannies, who also helped with set up and display.
Live music was provided by her friend, Paul – who was also her pedicurist.
Nadine was a very active community volunteer, sharing her skills and time between the Glacier Grannies, the Community Justice Centre, the Sid William Theatre, L’Arch and the Newcomers Club.
She will be so missed but always remember by her many Valley friends.