TIMMINS – A collection of wood carvings made by an indigenous man has returned to his daughter’s arms.
The collection, owned by the Del Guidice family in Timmins for 30 years, was handcrafted by Tobie Mathews in the early 1990s.
Peter Del Guidice, now retired, was formerly the owner of Alfie’s cigar store in downtown Timmins. He said Mathews would come to the store and ask Del Guidice if he wanted to buy one of his sculptures.
“I liked it… and the sculptures really caught my eye,” said Del Guidice.
A majestic eagle was Del Guidice’s first purchase.
“I really really liked him and… over the next year and a few months he (Mathews) would come back periodically with more sculptures and I kept buying them,” he said. “So we had about seven of them and after about 15 months we never saw or heard from him again.
Mathews passed away over 20 years ago and his wife passed away last year. Their daughter, Colleen Carpenter, who lives in Kirkland Lake, recently asked her father for a sign that he is still looking out for her and her two sisters – Judy Martin in Cochrane and Samantha Mathews in Timmins.
His sign came the next day when Del Guidice decided to put the sculpture collection up for sale online.
“We had two immediate reactions”
“We had two immediate reactions,” Del Guidice said, “And, it turned out they were both his daughters… We immediately took them off the internet and said that’s where they were. they belonged. “
“I’m overwhelmed with joy – it’s a bit surreal to find a piece of my dad back,” Carpenter said.
She said that the money her father made by selling the sculptures provided to her family.
“It was survival… it was to do the grocery shopping, really, it was just to feed us girls and we were always part of the cedar hunting adventure; sitting with him; and I remember almost most of them, ”she said.
Carpenter said his family has moved around a lot and they don’t keep much of their belongings. She thanked Del Guidice for keeping the sculptures in excellent condition.
She said that she and her sisters are creative in their own way and being reunited with these sculptures inspires them to pick up where their father left off and have a go at creating woodcarvings.