Monday, 5 June 2017

Watertown, South Dakota - Writing and Art

Watertown, South Dakota, where I recently attended a teachers conference, was the childhood home of the late Terry Redlin, a renowned artist. As I walked down the hall of the Ramkota Hotel and Watertown Event Centre on my last day and looked at the gorgeous Terry Redlin paintings lining the walls, I regretted not taking time to visit the Redlin Art Centre. By clicking on the link, you can view his paintings. Many of them are scenes of nature, farm and family. Autumn Evening. depicting a family raking fall leaves around their home, is one of my favourites. Sadly, Terry Redlin's interesting life story ended in 2016 after a nine-year struggle with Alzheimer.  

Art work and products courtesy of LLC, Lake City MN and the Redlin Art Centre, Watertown SD.

The event my sister-in-law, Karen and I attended was the Colony Teachers Mini Conference, and the main focus was Teaching Informational Writing to PreK-12 students. The speaker for the first day was Jill Jackson from Los Angelos. Her book, How to Teach Students to Write Informational Text, which I'm happy to say we got to take home, offers a structured and simple way to teaching this type of writing. I'm looking forward to using it, come September. 

I don't usually attend conferences towards the end of a school year, but this one was well worth the trip, especially since I came away with lesson plan inspiration and a valuable resource - a good start for planning the writing aspect of the upcoming school year!

I was also delighted to get the chance to share my book with the attendees. One of the organizers invited me to do that and had a table set up for me, where teachers (all of them teach at South and North Dakota colonies) could buy Hutterite Diaries during breaks. It was great to chat with these teachers; they got really excited when I was able to tell them that I have relatives at "their colonies". One of them told me she has a book club with the colony ladies, so she bought multiple copies of my book. It would be fun to Skype with this group, or with any of the schools that bought my book, for that matter. I did that with a Manitoba school when my book first came out, and it worked quite well. 

I brought along some Hutterite-written children's books from HB Book Centre to show these colony teachers and they were happy to learn that there are books available with "Hutterite characters". I just wish we had more! If you have any budding writers on your colony, encourage them to write children's books. I'm sure there are many beautiful stories begging to be published.


  1. I looked at the Redlin pictures, and they are so beautiful! He was a talented man.

  2. They certainly are, Cynthia. I just love his work! There is something special about each one, so full of life and so serene.

  3. We have some puzzles made of his paintings. Just love them! I am glad the conference has gone well!

    1. I can see how those puzzles would be fun to do, Michelle, but challenging too.


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