The wildness of the Northwest coast of British Columbia and a lineage full of prolific artists provided the soil in which the seeds of Christina Mary’s own creativity could sprout. Her childhood was spent roaming beaches and exploring the coast’s inlets, crisscrossing rivers and bay hopping, discovering the texture of the natural world. Her father’s family homesteaded on north Vancouver Island, and in her very early years, she describes the wonder of this place, where the forest was full of magic, goats roamed the yard, and art happened all around her. She speaks to her talented aunts as having a great influence on her appreciation for the creative, of the significant contribution art brings to a life and society. That environment awakened recognition in Christina of her own yearning to create.

The Seer. Owl sees in the dark and shows the way to total truth. Charcoal drawing, printed on silver alupanel. By Christina Mary

After a youth spent in a few communities on the west coast of BC, including Shearwater and Sandspit on Haida Gwaii, she set out in the early 1990s to embark on a full-time life as an artist in the Cariboo. “It’s an act of faith,” Christina Mary says about her artistic life.“If you know you’re pursuing your calling, you have to have faith until the end.”

By 1997 Christina had built up a body of work in clay, jewellery, and sculpture, with the thread of willow weaving through it all. She participated in gallery shows and business fairs. It became a very busy life, creating on demand. She worked at developing a rhythm, balancing work with play.

Soon family life called her and the rhythm of creation was transferred to the home. With family grown up and needing less of her attention now, Christina has turned to drawing, painting, and natural arts, including living sculptures, basket making, and teaching.

Her new work featured in the show Spirit Calling is as varied as her interests and the subject matter is always what looks within and the divinity that binds things. It is a series of portraits and dreams, that while navigating uncertain times, have moved through her on to paper. She views it as dark infused with light with promise of the greater potential. Christina combines her original work with printing technology to bring her pieces to life for this show.

Spirit Calling is on Display until Dec 3 at the Gecko Tree Café in Williams lake at 54 MacKenzie Ave N. Williams Lake. The café is open Tuesday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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