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Maree's Never-Ending Vacation (part 1) 

I was feeling particularly jaded when I sat down to mark this artwork, of illustrated letters and postcards bound by string in a wooden jewelry box. I had just finished setting up the Grade 12 exhibition and I wanted to get  he rest of my marking "out of the way". So it was with skepticism that I started to engage with the contents of this artwork. After reading the first letter and carefully examining the beautiful drawings I found myself caught up in the story of Maree - A young girl who escapes her routine lifestyle by running away from home. Maree writes letters and postcards and illustrates them as a source of comfort. She documents her experiences through Mexico, working on a ship & eventually living in Europe. These letters never get sent, instead Maree stores them in a tied up bundle because she worries about her parents tracing the letters back to her.  

As I engaged with these letters I became quite ashamed of my original attitude. I am humbled by the amount of effort put into this artwork, and the crafting of both text and image into an absolutely delightful artwork. Candice wrote the story herself. She has given me permission to share it on this blog.    


The envelope below is the first I opened:

 It contained Maree's first letter to her parents (typed transcript below image):  


To my dear mother and father

I'm writing you this letter with no intentions of sending it. Not because I don't want to but because I'm afraid of you finding me. I guess I'm just writing to you because it’s comforting. I hope you both know that you are not the reason I ran away. You did everything right and I could not have asked for better parents. I just felt so trapped. Nothing has been making sense to me lately...like why we are doing any of this. The work, the stress, trying to live up to people's expectations and fit into this mould that’s forced upon us.  I tried, but I couldn't come up with anymore excuses for it. This routine...work work work and then rest. When do we get to live? and I mean truly live...What are we working for? when does it end. In our minds we are working towards something and we sweat and cry and stress...but for what? ...the weekend?  a two week holiday over Christmas? ...we aren't working for anything, and we are just living boring stressful lives. I just think that life is a little piece (peace) of time given to us, in this beautiful and exciting world. Our time here is made up of our experiences and I want to make these experiences as incredible and filled with happiness as I can. So that's why i left...I had to be free...I hope you understand.

love Maree XXX

The letter above seems a bit naive & idealistic but Candice does write about the problems that Maree encounters, but you will have to wait for my next update of Maree's story to learn more...

This is the back of the first envelope:

I was quite pleased that Candice did extensive planning in her Visual Journal for this artwork - of both the story line and the images she decided to use. Many art students can't see the purpose of a Visual Journal & want to get straight into the artwork without any planning. Candice really demonstrates how useful a Visual Journal can be:


 Small "thumbnail" sketches below:

Reader Comments (3)

I am so glad you opened the box. What an amazing amount of talent.

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLes Deg

Such amazing talent. Well done, Candice. Can't wait to read the rest of your letters.

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBev Campbell

This is really inspirational, I love the way the Candice has chosen to express herself through the medium of correspondence and illustration. Well done Candice and well done Joan for encouraging your students to have the courage to always try the unusual.

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGwynn Smith

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