In from the outdoors: Martha Varcoe Sturdy

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kate MacLennan for Montecristo Magazine: It’s a wintry Wednesday morning in Pemberton, and a cloud thick with the promise of snow has settled over the valley, enveloping the Sturdy farm and acreage not unlike how a hen settles over her eggs. Beneath it, the world is profoundly still, a static sensation only experienced in Canada in January, when the bustle of the holiday season has been packed back into boxes and the promise of spring is remote. On this day, it’s as though even the inexorable change of the seasons has, for a moment, paused.

Two labs—one chocolate, one black—break the silence with their barks and slobbery greetings. Behind them, at the top of her back stairs, is Martha Varcoe Sturdy, recognizable by her trademark bob and fringe, dressed tidily in a black T-shirt and black quilted vest, dark blue jeans, and black leather riding boots.

“I’ve gone back to my roots,” she announces when we’re settled at the long dining room table. Sturdy graduated from Emily Carr University in sculpture, and today, she also holds an honorary doctorate from her alma mater. “Steel, brass, resin, wood: those are my materials. The reality is that I worked in my basement when I first started out as a sculptor trying to earn a living,” she remembers, laughing. “But I’ve got my company, which is still happening, and I have the freedom now to focus completely on art. So it’s very exciting for me.”

Read more on Montecristo Magazine.