Evelyn Johnson received what she called “the biggest surprise of my life” on the day following her 90th birthday.
Johnson and Julie-Anne Wallewein were selected to apply for a touring exhibit with the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC) through the Estevan Arts Council's Adjudicated Art Show. The announcement was made at a reception on November 8 at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum.
Art show adjudicator Deborah Potter was in Estevan on November 3 and 4 to speak with each of the 11 artists who submitted work for the show, and to choose the artists who would be encouraged to apply for an OSAC tour. Potter chose Johnson, who submitted five rug art pieces, and Wallewein, who created five artistic gourds.
Potter's decision was kept from the artists, and the general public, until the day of the art show.
All five of Johnson's submissions were connected to a theme of Saskatchewan. One of them, “My Story,” pays tribute to her childhood on a homestead in the Norquay area in the 1930s. Wildlife and farming are also depicted in her entries. And she has one, “Anything but Wool,” that incorporates a variety of fabrics.
She said that people often dismiss rugs, and other similar disciplines, as forms of art.
“Obviously, the adjudicator thinks they are art,” said Johnson.
Johnson said she never imagined that Potter would choose her selections.
Rug art is a discipline that Johnson said she once tried to revive locally. It used to be done on farms using gunny sacks, old clothes and hooks. Not only is she a fan of the art form, but she enjoys the classes and the people that she meets.
“It's interesting, because you blend the colours and you think about the colours,” said Johnson. “And the skies, I always like the skies.”
Wallewein was not able to attend the reception, but the gourds drew a lot of attention from people who were at the event.
Other artists who participated in this year's art show were: Cheryl Andrist, Linda Gudmundson, Melanie Hiske, Diana Hume, Janne Kruger, Doreen Lee, Corinne Trebick-Gibson, Katsina Whitechurch and Marleen Vicary.
The entries from the Adjudicated Art Show will remain at the EAGM until December.