John Marston, Coast Salish carver, unveiled a commissioned carving to commemorate Betty Peebles at a memorial service on May 21 in Ladysmith. (Submitted photo)

John Marston, Coast Salish carver, unveiled a commissioned carving to commemorate Betty Peebles at a memorial service on May 21 in Ladysmith. (Submitted photo)

Special carving honours memory of Ladysmith arts patron Betty Peebles

Stz’uminus master carver John Marston unveils work at special ceremony

It was a heartfelt and touching Saturday at the Art Council of Ladysmith.

Stz’uminus master carver John Marston unveiled a commissioned carving to commemorate Betty Peebles at a memorial service on May 21.

George Peebles (husband of Betty) and Nancy Herman (eldest daughter of Betty) and a room full of friends, came together to remember this remarkable woman.

Betty was a cherished member of the arts council, a board member who also served as treasurer, an artist with her studio at the art gallery and a generous patron of the arts. Betty decided her final gift to the arts council was to have a carving commissioned by her much-loved friend John Marston.

The carving will be on exhibition in the gallery at all times and stand in remembrance to Betty, and as a reminder that we live and honour our First Nations people. Betty recognized that the First Nations people have been creating art on these lands for thousands of years.

Betty, sadly, passed away in January of 2020, but due to COVID restrictions, it is only now that we were able to celebrate Betty’s life and unveil John’s work.

At the celebration, Nancy Herman, Betty’s eldest daughter, reminisced about her mother’s love for her family, golf and sailing, and her husband George and her “art family”. Betty also admired and loved John Marston and was often brought to tears and awe when viewing a new creation. It was a natural fit that she wanted John to do the carving.

Marston said: “Betty was beside me while I carved this pole, it was a spiritual journey.”

John had presented Betty with the design in September of 2019. Betty’s cancer had returned and the arts council’s board gathered with Betty and George, and John and Ashley Marston for a dinner in the gallery and to simply be together one last time at the Machine Shop and share a touching moment. Betty approved of the conceptual drawings which brought her to tears.

The carving is on display at the Arts Council gallery at 444 Parkhill Terrace in Ladysmith. It is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday. For more information: www.ladysmitharts.ca.

— CHRONICLE Staff, submitted

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