Over the last year, we have been working closely with Hospice Wellington and their art therapy department on documenting the many amazing programs they offer. Their programs are designed to assist those dealing with the loss of a loved one. If you are not aware of hospice and what they do, let’s take a moment to fill you in…

Hospice Wellington “What We Do”

Hospice Wellington provides a multitude of services to support those individuals of Wellington County living with a life-limiting illness. These programs extend to the families and caregivers supporting those diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.

Hospice Wellington offers group support programming, art therapy, one-to-one volunteer visiting, hospice palliative care in our 10-bed residence, and Day Away respite for caregivers.

Programs and services extend through the bereavement experience for those who have lost a loved one.”

Last week, we wrapped up a new campaign with Hospice Wellington and Hospice Waterloo focused on bringing awareness to “Advanced Care Planning”. We are extremely excited to have the portrait series apart of an upcoming art exhibition in Waterloo. With the excitement of this news, we wanted to take a moment to highlight a previous project we worked on called “Intentional Vessels”. Here is a full look at the “Intentional Vessels” series, a therapeutic process of making art to help improve physical, mental, and the emotional well-being of the students who have experienced a great loss. Forever grateful to have been involved in this process! ⠀⠀⠀

The Vessel

A blessing for these vessels…

We began our time together with an understanding of cedar as a sacred wood. You may recall that its latin name is arborvitae which means the tree of life or life giving tree.

It is a life giving tree and we have brought our lives to this wood. We have used all of our senses. We have delighted in its many aromas arising from fresh cuts, burning, sanding and oiling. We have tasted its tea. With oil, we watched the visual dance of the grain and were drawn to the deep, playful darkness of its knots. We have savoured the touch and the sound of this wood – hard and rough, soft and buttery.

Out of this precious wood we fashioned a vessel. It is a container of some of our most revered images, experiences and feelings. As a vessel, it also serves to provide passage.

May this vessel serve to keep your heart open and safe as we navigate the waters of this life – waves of grief; waves of joy.

May the leaves of this cedar, carrying water from Lake Huron, bless you with the unbounded energy of this life that we know and the life that radiates beyond our imagination.

Upon completion of word burning and painting the interior of their vessels, we captured full versions of each panel before assembly, to have a clear vision of the interiors.

Our final photo session was to photograph the completed vessels individually and as a full group image. It was incredible to see each persons vessel and how it came together. Everyone’s vessel, the interior paintings, the handles, size and even the wood is entirely unique.

The photo series above had a limited book release which is now distributed throughout the province to showcase a fraction of the hard work this charity does and this incredible art project.

Hospice Wellington is a registered charity that operates primarily through private donations and fundraising initiatives. Funding is also provided by the United Way, the Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integration Network, and the Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre. The Rotary Clubs of Guelph and Fergus-Elora were instrumental in supporting Hospice Wellington’s establishment and growth. If you would like to Donate to Hospice or learn more about the organization, Please Click Here!

Thank you for taking the time to review this project. Be sure to check back late April, after the KNOW exhibit in Waterloo is completed. We will be releasing the full “Advance Care Planning” campaign. Stay tuned!

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-Brandon Marsh