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Talented artisans team up to make beautiful
cottage signs for PWL Red Deer

December 4th, 2018

Points West Living Red Deer recently renamed its cottages, and thanks to one resident and two employee care partners, beautiful new signs now point the way to each cottage community. Resident Colin Oddie did the fine woodwork, and the scrolling metalwork and mounting systems were created by the maintenance team.

Cottage names chosen by residents

The new cottage signs incorporate the new names chosen by residents in each cottage (The former names were simply a combination of the floor number and which side of the building the cottage is located): Bow Valley (1 South), Graceland (1 North), Happy Village (2 South), Northern Lights (2 North), Rocky Mountain (3 South), Glacier (3 North), Sunshine (4 South), and Cozy Cottage (4 North).

A woodworker at heart

Colin Oddie (left in photo above) and his wife Elsie moved into Independent Living at PWL Red Deer in June 2018. Shortly afterward, Collin set up a woodworking shop in the community’s garage and spends many creative hours there every week. He says it took him two hours a day for three weeks to finish the ten cottage signs. 

“Colin says he has always enjoyed woodworking,” says recreation coordinator Alyssa Seifried. “He grew up on a farm in Pincher Creek where he helped with maintenance around the farm, and learned the fundamentals of working with wood.” Colin went on to become a pharmacist, graduating in 1956 and opening his own pharmacy, Oddie Central Drugs Ltd. in Taber. He sold the business in 1982 and continued to work throughout Alberta as a locum pharmacist until 1991.

Intarsia woodworking

It was about that time that a neighbour in Lethbridge introduced him to the technique of fitting various shapes, sizes, and species of wood together to create mosaic-like pictures, and his love affair with Intarsia woodworking began. His first project was a horse head. “Collin has created many pieces over the years and sold them through markets and by word of mouth,” says Alyssa. “Collin and Elsie had their own table to show off and sell his beautiful Intarsia woodwork at the recent Christmas market here at PWL Red Deer (photo).”

His personal metal forge...

Maintenance supervisor Kim Lydom (centre in photo above), who has been blacksmithing for a few years, used photos he took on a trip to Europe to develop the scroll work for the signs. “This was Kim’s first attempt at this level of metalwork,” says General Manager, Tracy Sutherland, who first suggested Kim might take on the project in his personal metal forge. “His biggest challenge was to create matched sets of scroll brackets for the double signs on each floor. I think you’ll agree that he nailed it!”

The mounting posts were designed, created, and installed by maintenance care partner Floyd Olson (right in photo above).

A beautiful addition and a wonderful place to live

“The signs are such a beautiful addition to our community,” says Alyssa, “truly making it feel like home.”

Needless to say, Colin has heard many positive things about the signs. “People are surprised that the signs were made in-house,” says Colin. “I’m thankful that PWL made space available for me to enjoy my hobby, and that I was able to contribute back into the community. That helps make it a wonderful place to live.”

Photo: (From left) Colin Oddie, Kim Lydom, and Floyd Olson stand under one of the cottage signs they created for PWL Red Deer.

More photos at Flickr: Talented craftsmen team up to make beautiful cottage signs for PWL Red Deer

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