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Hometown sketches compiled

Della vanDokkumburg has turned her sketching project into a new book featuring Conestogo sites. [Sean Heeger]

Della vanDokkumburg started sketching pictures of the town almost three months ago, when encouragement came from her online artists’ group to draw the things she saw around her everyday. Time at home while the province has been under lockdown gave her the chance to grow the skills she’s been developing for more than two years, and use her creativity as an outlet. The shutdown has given everyone a chance to “slowdown and appreciate their surroundings” and that is just what she did when she started sketching.

The time she took to look at what’s around her is featured in multiple drawings of different places around Conestogo. Now, with a few dozen sketches created of various locations and structures in the area, vanDokkumburg has turned her sketch work into a book for everyone to enjoy.

“I started posting these pictures online and friends started saying ‘you really gotta put this in a book, you have to make a book about Conestogo.’ So, one thing led to another and I decided to put a book together, and it was sort of unique to this pandemic,” said vanDokkumburg. “This is Conestogo through my eyes at this point in time.”

After her sketches were posted online, she says people would comment about who they knew that lived in the houses and she was inspired to delve deeper into the stories each location had to tell. She then began looking into the history of the locations herself as she drew and chose to include some of that within her book, sharing what she’d learned.

She says delving into the past during the current situation the world is in gave her hope for the future and helped her sketching become a “very interesting project.”

The book features about 30 drawings created by vanDokkumburg during the months of March and April. She says the book is laid out in a way so it can be used as a guide to take a walking tour around Conestogo.

“There’s a map in there where all the different buildings are indicated and then you can walk through the town and have a look at the buildings and then I have a little writeup about it.”

 VanDokkumburg says the writeups are very brief, simply giving basic information about each location because her expertise does not lie in architecture or history. All the information is there to encourage people to explore more themselves and find their way through the history of the town as she did.

Just a few weeks has passed since decided to create the book, and she is now accepting orders until June 8 for the first batch of books. The book is being created by a “print on demand” company, meaning once there are enough orders for a copy of the book, vanDokkumburg will put in an order. Books cost $30 and a portion of the proceeds will go towards the Ray of Hope organization in Kitchener.

She does not currently have plans to make books focused on other parts of Woolwich Township, however, she says when she drives through the area, she sees more and more places that interest her for sketching. So, somewhere in the future when her current queue of work subsides, there may come more sketch books about the area.

To order a book email vanDokkumburg at della.stroobosscher@gmail.com.

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