Today a dear friend, Lizzie Ciezluk passed away. People come into your life for different reasons; for me Lizzie was a good friend, but I also considered her a mentor. She would dismiss me when I said this because she didn’t feel like she deserved the honour – but she did. She inspired me and she motivated me at a time when I was trying to find my way.
I had just started messing around with polymer clay but was feeling frustrated and isolated. I was intrigued by the medium, but didn’t know where or how to take the next step. It’s November 1995 and I’m walking around at the Original’s show at Lansdowne Park. Suddenly I turned the corner and there is Lizzie! It was one of those moments when the sky opens up and the sun shines through. Her whimsical, theatrical boudoir dolls, wild Santas and those hilarious “Bum Bags” decorated her booth. She was flamboyant; she had neon orange hair and there was a cloud of creativity that swirled around her like clouds of glitter.
She was busy with a crowd of customers, but I managed to speak to her briefly. She gave me her card and told me to call her when the show was over and we would talk art over coffee.
We met the following week in her little cottage home in Gatineau. Her house was like a brick and mortar version of her. I loved being around her. That was the start of our friendship. We shared information and we celebrated each other. She told me about a few groups I should join, encouraged me, and showed me the ropes of setting up a display and dealing with customers. We went on scavenger hunts together looking for some of the unique and peculiar things that stirred our imaginations. Our artist styles were different – maybe that’s why we felt comfortable with each other, there was never any sense of competition. We own some of each other’s work and we’ve even taken classes from each other.
Over the years life gets in the way and we didn’t always see a lot of each other. But when our paths crossed we picked-up where we left off as if no time had passed. Everyone who knew Lizzie has a similar story to tell. Her sweet personality, her passion, her love of life , of everything beautiful, has touched and made an impression on so many people. This is a rare and extraordinary gift.
I’m going to miss you Lizzie. But every time I see someone with orange or pink hair; every Christmas when I pull out my blue star ornament; every time I see a beautiful garden and funky garden art; every time I wear one of your jewelry creations; and especially every time I eat cake . . . I’ll think of you.