Sunday, May 15, 2016

Allison Grayhurst writes


When I saw your blank eyes 
and your face so terrible and thin, 
I thought of a night with no mercy, 
I thought of a new form of life that only 
the slowly dying can know, that tortures 
the wearer like having no exit from a haunted house. 
I thought how quickly my father died without 
the tight throat and mindless whispers, and of you, 
long ago with your blue eyes, clear and independent, 
swimming with the wonder of discovery. 
I remember your walk -- giant, focused -- that now 
with only one leg, you will never know again. 
I thought of those nights spent watching your hands 
bring strength and comfort to the clay 
like they would to a lost child.

Now I praise you with your frustrated hands 
trembling, searching for your mother tongue. 
I praise you with the blankets pulled off 
your dying limbs, forgetting my name 
and the reason why I love you -- you, 
always so brave and individual now like a hymn 
torn away from the nadir of its voice, away from 
the zenith of its song.

Sculptor Elizabeth Williamson was photographed in 1981 with some of her works.She lived in a small cottage on the grounds of the Guild Inn. 
 Elizabeth Fraser 1981


  1. Elizabeth Fraser Williamson was a popular local sculptor in the Toronto, Canada, area. She was born in Vancouver but grew up in Ottawa and got a degree from the Ottawa Fine Art College in 1937. After her marriage, she lived and worked North Gower, south of Ottawa, until her marriage ended in 1970. Then she became artist-in-residence at the Guild Inn in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, where she stayed in an 1850s-era log cabin on its grounds until 1995, when, the last resident, she moved to a retirement home. Her daughter said, "She was born with awareness of the transforming beauty in life." Of the Guild Inn period, she claimed, "It was a period electric with creativity. The woods, the lake, the bluffs nourished her imagination. Guests at the Guild Inn would stop by the cottage gallery where she lived and she would invite them to look around, feel the sculptures and hear the story that was within each piece." In 1932, Rosa Breithaupt Hewetson, a widow with four children, bought a 32-room lakeside country manor house on the Scarborough Bluffs, just east of Toronto, where she soon married Spencer Clark. A cousin of painter A. Y. Jackson of the Group of Seven, and a gold medalist in art at the Ontario Ladies College, she honeymooned at Roycroft, an artist's colony in New York that housed than 500 artists and also featured an inn for visitors. When the couple returned home, they named her property the Guild of All Arts, and the house eventually become the Guild Inn. They invited artists and craftspeople to stay there for free in exchange for making art and interacting with visitors. In addition to the work created on site, the Clarks commissioned and acquired sculptures for display on the grounds. They also bought facades, columns, bas reliefs and carvings from at least 60 grand old Victorian, Beaux-Arts, and Gothic Revival buildings in Toronto that were scheduled for demolition. However, the Clarks sold the property to the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, which eventually transferred ownership to Toronto. The Guild Inn closed in 1993, but most of the park and outdoor art collection remains open to the public, and from 1998 to 2003, Cliffhanger Productions staged plays at the Gardens and Greek Theatre.


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