My greatest challenge is finding out where to begin …. that applies to this blog, and also to almost everything I do. I call this post In search of form because that’s what seems to occupy my thoughts, from the first ambiguous idea, through the stages of research, preparation, and completion. I’m never quite sure I’m there.
Currently, I’m looking for information on the Mennonite communities of southern Russia. My mother and her family were born there and immigrated to Canada in the early 1920s. Her family went to Saskatchewan, but the larger family was separated and are unknown to me. I plan to do some large art pieces based on the the stories mother relayed shortly before her death. It’s hard to find information specific to the communities in which she lived, but I have read a number of accounts of the hardship encountered by people who lived in neighboring villages.
I have several line drawings of the villages of Gnadenheim and Slavgorod, but that’s all. After a long and arduous journey by train in less than adequate cattle cars, the family arrived in Germany, where they lived for 2 years before traveling by ship from London to Quebec. Passport stamps tell me she arrived in Canada in 1923 and travelled by train to Rosthern, Saskatchewan, where a sponsor arranged employment.