Klee Wyck by Emily Carr
Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver, 2003
Purchased at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC.
Klee Wyck, the name given to Emily Carr by the people of Ucluelet, means “Laughing One”.
A book of stories and word sketches based on the artist’s experiences visiting and living with First Nations people on Vancouver Island and along the British Columbia coast. Beautifully written in clear and direct language, as vivid as her paintings.
After her death whole sections of the book were removed for an “educational” printing, including derogatory descriptions of missionaries at Ucluelet and observations of their negative reactions to Native beliefs and family life.
The Book Of Small by Emily Carr
Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver, 2004
Purchased at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
This book is a collection of word sketches that describe Emily Carr’s life as a young girl growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, during the time the town grew from a frontier village on the edge of Vancouver Island, into a thriving community that would, in time, become the capital of that province.
As in Klee Wyck Carr’s simple prose paints clear pictures of the community and local characters. She was an observant and rebellious child, often questioning the adults around her. These traits served her well as she developed her independence and her art.
As far back as I can remember Father’s place was all made and in order. The house was large and well built, of California redwood, the garden prim and carefully tended. Everything about it was extremely English. It was as though Father had buried a tremendous homesickness in this new soil and it had rooted and come up English. There were hawthorn hedges, primrose banks and cow pastures with shrubberies.
We had an orchard and a great tin-lined apple room, wonderful strawberry beds and raspberry and currant bushes, all from imported English stock, and an Isabella grape which Father took great pride in. We had chickens and cows and a pig, a grand vegetable garden — almost everything we ate we grew on our own place.
I have mentioned before that Emily Carr is one of my favorite artists. Her life and her art show tremendous determination at a time when being an artist was a very difficult path for a women.