February 5, 2016
Working for a newspaper, and especially a small newspaper, does not net a large income for a reporter (and increasingly no income at all as newspapers fold left, right and centre in the age of social media).
One of the things it does provide for the journalist are free passes into plays and other performances in exchange for writing about these events; copies of books to be reviewed and all kinds of stuff.
Stuff like an iron octopus design to be worn as a necklace.
I kept this unique piece of wearable art for years until I found I had to pare down what I carry in my suitcase as I travel from one house sit to another in communities where I do psychic readings: a modern-day gypsy. It went to a thrift shop, as most of my things do when I let go of them, so someone else can enjoy its artistic and healing attributes.
According to my tarot cards, this “aquatic peace symbol” is no longer being made. If this is true then it is too bad. I think wearing a peace symbol is always a good thing.
The following is the article I wrote about it and is also a good example of the kind of innovative, artistic people who often land on the shores of an island like Salt Spring Island:
Gulf Islands Driftwood
Wedsnesday, April 26, 2000
Salmon find an ally in octopus design
by Tanya Lester
Robin Gibbard has a special connection to water and he is connecting this love with his passion for hand-forging steel art.
The result is a stylized octopus design that he and his wife Charlene are calling “an aquatic peace symbol.”
They are selling copies of the design, which can be worn as a necklace, through the Island Stream and Salmon Enhancement Society.
The price is $19.95, with about $10 being donated to the society to increase the chances of local salmon populations staying healthy.
It may sound a bit confusing, but Gibbard, a forger of iron art for a couple of decades now, insists that it all fits together.
“I love water,” said Gibbard, who was born in Powell River and grew up in Bedfordshire, north of London, England. “My father was a scuba diver and as a small boy he once brought an octopus to the water surface to show me.”
The octopus is a wonderful West Coast symbol, Gibbard believes.
The largest of the species live in the waters around Victoria. In 1885, the biggest-ever octopus was discovered there. It was 32 feet (9.6 metres) in length.
To forge an octopus and have money from it donated to the well-being of inhabitants in the streams and ocean water with which Gibbard has such an affinity made harmonious sense to him.
Gibbard calls his octopus design an aquatic peace symbol because he feels anyone who wears it will feel the inner peace that water in natural settings provides no matter where they happen to be at the time.
“When I’m around water, it makes me feel so content and calm,” he said.
Gibbard, who still marvels at Canada’s huge outdoor spaces after experiencing the limited English countryside for many years, often goes for walks with Charlene by streams near their home on Cranberry Road.
“Once we start being in it, we become very aware,” said Gibbard. “All environmental problems make more sense.”
He cound out the salmon enhancement society could “really use the money,” so the connection between them was made.
Gibbard includes a little note in the box where each octopus creation nestles in soft cotton. “The aquatic peace symbol reminds us of the peace and tranquility we feel when we are in, on and around bodies of water, and the necessity to preserve these paradises,” it reads.
Salmon enhancement biologist Kathy Reimer believes it is wonderful to have an artist contribute to fundraising for the society’s important environmental projects.
“I think it’s a really great idea for their artwork to benefit the marine environment,” said Reimer.
She added that profits from the aquatic peace symbol will be earmarked for the Ganges Harbour clean-up.
They will also go towards the shorekeepers training program through which volunteers learn to collect data on the health of the harbour….
Tanya Lester’s other posts on this blog can be read by going to tealeaf56.wordpress.com and writingsmall.wordpress.com
Tanya can be contacted and her psychic reading and house sitting services can be accessed at her web: teareading.wordpress.com as well as her Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. Or you can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-538-0086 cell.
Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (can be purchased from the author and viewed and purchased on amazon.com), Dreams and Tricksters, Women Rights/Writes and Friends I Never Knew. These books are available in some library systems and the last three are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba.