Everything’s comin’ up roses

By Eugene Chadbourne
[Herald Staff Writer)
Circa 1973

The subject was roses, and two Alberta painters and art teachers rose to the occasion. 

Ron Moppet and John Hall have gathered rose teacups, rose wallpaper, a jar of rose dill pickles, a box of rose incense, a T-shirt from Rose tech, and even four cubic feet of Alberta Rose peat moss. 

It all started three years ago, when Moppet and Hall found out that each were using roses as the subjects for their own paintings.
"It was embarrassing at first," says Moppet, an instructor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.  "We were apologizing to each other, but after we talked about it awhile we realized it would be a fantastic project to try and gather up everything we could find that has something to do with roses and create a…  well… a museum - the Rose Museum." 

Moppet and Hall, who now teaches art at the University of Calgary, are currently storing their supply of rosy subjects in a room at the new SAIT college of art.

The Rose Museum will open in the summer of 1974, when Moppet and Hall will exhibit the material in the Glenbow museum. From there, they hope to create a travelling exhibit for art museums across Canada. 

Hall, who lives on Rosetree Road in Rosemont, admits that roses are beginning to drive him crazy. 
"One time we were up in Banff and I was just about ready to call it quits," he says. 

“There was just so much material with roses in it that I figured it would take the rest of my life to get it all together. 
"Everytime we get one thing, we hear about something and it looked like something else. And there are SO many things to do…” 

Last December, Hall and Moppet created a 12-foot rose in the centre of a hockey arena in Rosemont, using a stencil and a special ice dye. "That was unbelievable!" Hall laughs. "We spent hours out there and it was about 30 degrees, too. By the next day, kids had played hockey on the thing and it looked like someone had just spilled a bucket of red paint on the ice. Just a splotch…” 

"Sometimes I feel completely insane - there's just a rose everywhere I look," Hall says. 

"The energy does come back quickly. It's an exciting project. It's something that cuts through everywhere.  You find roses in great works of art, and in the worst kitsch. You get them in discount stores and you get them in the fanciest jewellery stores.

"It's amazing. Roses are everywhere."