I intended today to write about Spencer Harrison, the artist in residence for both Camp fYrefly retreats. But I find myself at a loss for where to begin. As soon as I met Spencer I felt a connection with him, and we spent quite a bit of time together during Edmonton’s Camp fYrefly. I attended each of his three workshops, we shared many meals and conversations, sometimes all it took was a glance and a grin in passing… but I always found a reliable, comforting, spirit that in many ways mimicked my own (or perhaps it was my spirit who mimicked his).
Spencer is close to defending his PhD dissertation, the culmination of a lifetime of work. And his dissertation is as unique and splendid as he is. A circus tent, painted inside and out, a coming out story of freak show proportions. A literal freak show, painted and detailed on every panel… the exterior dedicated to the visible and well known people of the traveling circus shows we all know, and the interior to the inner freak show that was a young boy growing and coming out in Ontario, the boy who spent seven hours stuffed in a locker while everyone else left at the end of the school day.
Open, warm, and willing to share, Spencer is encouraging and giving. Saying good bye at the end of Camp fYrefly Alberta was easy, knowing I would again be in his presence at Camp fYrefly Saskatchewan. I have to admit, it will be a far more difficult thing on the 21st when we’ll have to say goodbye for a much longer time.
I truly feel blessed to know Spencer Harrison, in a way I haven’t felt blessed to know someone in a very long while. The memories I have of him are ones that I will treasure, and carry with me for a lifetime. He gave me some pretty incredible gifts.
Want to know a little more about our Artist in Residence? Check him out at:
If I build up the courage, I might just share an art piece done up under his watchful eye during the last of his sessions. IF I build up the courage. 😉