|You Always Remember your First|
This series began with a commission I received to create a commemorative piece for the 251st Hants County Exhibition.
This was a great honour for me as I've become very attached to my adoptive home and consider myself an ambassador for the Avon River Valley.
As I created this piece, inspired by my favourite part of the exhibition, the carnival, I couldn't get the image of my grandmother out of my head.
The organizers had naturally requested that I include giant pumpkins in the composition, and for some reason I was really struggling with the thought of including them. I just couldn't picture them within the landscape I was developing in my mind.
As I tried to push past the pumpkins and focus on all of the other elements, the same vision kept coming back to me over and over again, distracting me from my work.
After I was about 20 hours into my ambitious exhibition piece I decided to take a break and finally felt that portrait of my grandmother, who was haunting my brain.
Clear as day I can still picture her posing on top of Willy Neily's giant pumpkin, which was bound for one of the very first pumpkin regattas. Dad made Grammy get rid of her cigarette, which at the time upset me because Jean always had a smoke in her hand. I debated putting it back into my felted piece, it would be the truth after all... but I decided that I'd rather not be distracted by her ciggy, as she was much more than her addiction.
When I decided to create this collection to display at the Flying Apron Inn & Cookery this summer, I initially knew it was going to be centred around the landscape of the Avon River valley.
What I didn't expect was to find that that the work would also be about reflection; the perfect reflection that appears when the Avon River is ever so briefly calm during the turning of the tides; and the reflections that have arisen in my mind as I worked away recreating the local scenery I admire most, embracing the memories they bring to the surface.
As a child I spent the majority of my summers in Nictaux Falls with my grandparents, exploring the woods, rivers and shores (and our beloved Frenchy's of course). My parents didn't have a car, so this meant a 4 hour bus ride to the "Heart of the Valley" along the long and winding highway #1.
There were a number of landmarks along the way that served as milestones for my lengthy journey. Always a relief to see was the giant orange orb way up in the sky - the signage for the Gulf gas station in Coldbrook. This meant that there was only an hour or so left to go until we reached Middleton! Just one more cassette tape to listen to - I needed to make sure it was a peppy one (usually Talking Heads "Little Creatures").
The first landmark I always anticipated seeing along that drive would be the gypsum cliffs in Saint Croix. Little did I know that one day I would discover that the edge of these cliffs actually begin in the woods just behind my house, practically in my own back yard!
Since moving to Ellershouse I have been drawn into an amazing community of creative people thanks to my involvement with the Hants County Arts Council and the Avon River Heritage Society. My position managing the museum in Avondale has led me to develop a great fondness for the Avon River and its interesting past involving the Mi'kmaq, Acadians and New England Planters. It's amazing to think that for a brief period of time ships ruled this area and the wooden ship building industry generated a great deal of wealth for certain members of the community. One day I hope to get my hands on one of these properties!
Lately I find much of my work being inspired by the shoreline that leads to the Bay of Fundy. Thanks to my job I have the luxury of watching the tides of the Avon River role in almost every day. The fact that I get to spend each and every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon taking part in Open Studio at the museum is a blessing, and just might have a little to do with my current infatuation with muddy water. I love being able to create while literally being surrounded by this phenomenal river - purely magical!
|The Avon River Heritage Museum at High Tide. 17 Belmont Road, Newport Landing/Avondale, Hants County, Nova Scotia|
This summer I will have "Within Every Fibre" on display at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, throughout July and August. My intention is to add a new piece to the collection each week.
Every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, through to October, I will be creating on location at the museum in Avondale, continuing to work on new pieces for this collection, with a final showing on Tuesday, October 11th at Nova Scoitia Fibre Art's Festival in Ahmerst.
Please be sure to follow my progress on Facebook for updates on the next piece to arrive at the Flying Apron.
|The Flying Apron Inn & Cookery, Summerville, Hwy 215, at Block Wharf Road|