A Mother’s Gift: The Gusta Holland Mother’s Day show

Lindsay Stocking Godfrey

Submitted Article

Monday, April 28 2014

This is how the idea grew. Several years ago, Rosheen of Good Earth mentioned to me she had several jewellers’ tools and supplies she would like to sell, and maybe my students would be interested. For many years we would remember and say, “We must get that together.” Life conspired against that happening and the universe had a much grander plan!

The story:

Rosheen and Gusta Hilda Holland, her mother, were jewellers. (Yep! That is a little-known fact.) They worked in sterling and fine silver and gold; they cut their own stones and experimented with a wide variety of techniques. As their lives reincarnated into other things the remnants of this passion lay dormant in boxes. Over these past many years, Gusta’s life changed again and she moved to extended care in Nanaimo. Her modest means meant Bob and Rosheen were actively subsidizing her care. In January, Rosheen decided it was time to get serious about selling the long-dormant jewellers cache, the object being to use the money to better enhance the quality of Gusta’s life.

Rosheen showed up at my studio one evening with boxes of tools, stones, silver, copper, brass and loads of finished and unfinished jewelry and objects. I mean, a whole lot of stuff! The idea of going through all the materials, setting prices and mounting a sale was daunting for both of us. 

That night we hatched a plan to do an invitational show open to past students, present students and current chairs of The Mudge Studio (now Backroom Artworks). We would collectively polish and make new the works of Rosheen and Gusta, finish started works in our individual styles, and create new visions from the raw materials. We thought a Mother’s Day Tea would be the perfect way to launch the collaborative collection of jewelry and open the show. 

On March 16, 2014, Gusta passed away, mid-stream in the planning and creating of this show. Almost from the moment she died, the plan radically grew - as if the energy of Gusta’s passing was giving a new life to the whole idea. 

As the enthusiasm around this show has grown, we have had other jewellers offer to participate, and donations of time and in-kind have been presented. More ideas and grander plans have emerged - fourteen jewellers and three sponsors so far!

We - that is, everyone involved - would like to announce the founding of the Annual Gusta Holland Mother Daughter Fund. An annual jewelry show will be held every Mother’s Day, with 100 per cent of the proceeds being awarded to a mother caring for her daughter or a daughter caring for her mother, to help enhance the quality of their life. There will be no strings attached to the funds; the quality of their life may mean a visit to family, buying groceries or oxygen, paying household bills or purchasing art supplies.  

The fund is being seeded by this year’s donations for tea and donated materials. 

So this is what the universe had in mind.

All proceeds from this year’s show will be presented to Rosheen.

All this grew from two artists sharing a mother-daughter love. With only word of mouth, the idea has spread and taken on a life of its own. The show will be open through Wednesday, May 14, 2014.