The Link, Work Inspires Creative Niche

July/August 2005,The Link Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Judee Richardson-Scholfield

Jane Hook has worked as a clinical social worker in Mental Health for over 15 years. She has worked at the Community Mental Health Clinic on the Outpatient Adult Team for 7 of those years. Her affection for people and ability to uncover and resolve emotional barriers is only one of her greatest strengths. She also has a creative, expressive side that comes to life when she retires to her in-house studio at the end of her working day to sculpt.

Over the years she as found that her working with the inner lives of people and watching them grow and resolve issues has been one of her greatest inspirations. “I have such admiration for the fortitude it takes for clients to look honestly at themselves and reconcile struggles which have tormented or plagued them often for many years; or to come to terms with the stigma of a mental illness and work towards making life meaningful and productive in ways other than what is generally considered the social norm. People are vulnerable with me in ways that they are not able to be with others. The nature of the work depends on this kind of connection. It is such a privilege.”

Her fondness to model and shape clay began at the age of 22 when she took her first course at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). She fell “absolutely in love with it.” While she would have liked to pursue sculpting as a career, it seemed like an unviable profession and so she went on to a degree bachelors and Master’s degree in Social Work. Having practiced for some years Hook decided to return to University for a doctoral degree. After four years of study, with everything but her dissertation finished, she realized that the pressures and politics of an academic career would not be a good fit for her.

Feeling that she needed to follow her heart, Hook returned to school at the age of 37 to pursue a degree in Fine Art, at the OCAD. Upon graduating she began exploring the market to unearth a niche that she could call her own. It wasn’t too long after that Hook realized her market would directly relate to her work – honouring people and families and their unique connections. “With my art I aspire to reveal the inner truth and vitality of the individual, the core uniqueness of people beyond the superficiality of their skin,” explained Hook.

Her work is on display at Wilfrid Laurier, Conestoga College and Fort York, and she has commissions in private collections. Currently she is working on several portraits that depict the contemporary family. The work is entitled Full Circle. Hook is obviously passionate about both her careers. Her sculptural portraits will be a meaningful heirloom that can be passed down from generation to generation.