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This wrig e ttn F I ' tl Cf' by n Oll U'l'i.t:h l


2 - Dec ks Awash

Home gardening written by Sharon Gray

drawings by Peggy Barn ey

Fall work - important for next year's success

This time of year, there's not a

lot you can do about your garden.

If it has been successful.

you're busy reaping the benefits

a nd pu tt ing away produce for

wi nter. If you've had some

failures, this is a good ttrnefo

look over your notes (o r write

down your mistakes if you

haven't kept notes ) and try to

improve the soil for next year.

But before getting on to next

year, just a few words about

harvesting. Broccoli plants keep

p roducing 'side shoots' well on

into November, so don 't cut the

plants down after harvesting th e

central heads. With brusse!

sprouts, break off the lower

leaves 50 the plant can con ­

centrate its energy on immature

buds . Harvest the lower buds

fir st and keep harvesting we ll

into wi nter.

Ma ny vegetables can survive

r igh t th r ough snow and frost. If

you do n't have storage space,

yo u ca n cover root crops such as

ca rrots, parsnips, or leeks with

a t hick blanket of straw or

leaves, and pull them up all

winter. Or they can be successfully

sorted in buckets of

damp pe a t moss in a cool spot.

The peat keeps them moist and

crisp all winter. Potatoes and

onions need drier storage. I find

they keep well , if they are

packed in a box with straw or

leaves and put in a cool. dry

spot. Winter squashes and

pum pkins should be brought in

bef or e a heavy frost and stored

in a cool, dry spot. They'll ripen

slo wly and I' ve often enjoyed

pumpkin pie in February. As for

greens, if you sow ka le or ,

co llards in August, you can

harve st the se pla nts r igh t

th ro ugh the winter.

Bu t enough on last year's

garden, If yo ur garden didn't do

we ll this year, don't despair. By

now yo u should have ha d yo ur

soil tested (send a sa m ple to the

Federal Experimenta l Fa r m on

Double digging,

1bf' v l6w

Br ookfiel d Road, St . John' s ). If

lime stone is needed , be s ure a nd

work it in this fa ll. It 's import ant


4 - Decks Awash

Staying alive in the North Atlantic

In a previous i ssue, we looked

at survival suits, In th e second

ar ticle of a continuing series on

M arine safety, we look at life

ra f ts .

" Yo u have to realize you' re

working on something that could

save people's li ve s," said In ­

dustrial Marine P roducts (IMP)

life raft department m anager,

R on Stevenson. He cha tted as he

watched his m en c hec k out th e

mo nster as-men r af ts on th e eN

coastal vessels.

" To me, and most of the other

people I've worked with ov er t he

years, pa ck ing a ra ft is like

p a ck in g a parachute. You

al ways assume it 's going to be

used , so you don't do things

casually ,"

In Ron 's business, one can't

a fford to have an ything go

wrong. To mariners, whether

they operate coastal passenger

ships , longliners, o r sailboats, a

lif e raft represents t he last lin e

of d ef e n ce in the e vent of

d is a st e r afloat.

Li fe rafts come in many

shapes a nd sizes a nd a re

desig ned for differen t pu r poses .

" You can get a r aft for a small

s ailboat o r light ai rcraft tha t

wouldn't be ac ceptable for

lo ngliners be c a use it's not a pproved

by t he m ini stry of

tr e nspcrt for th at pa rticular

us e," Ron notes . Eligible for

subsidy, a pp ro ve d lif e rafts

have fe atur e s whi ch give it s

occupants a reasonable life

support system after they 'v e

abandoned s hip ,

To d o th is, the ra ft must

provide bu oy an cy , shelter, food

a nd wate r . Buoyancy IS

p r ov id ed through the in fl a ti un of

th e tubes th at m ak e up the raft

it self, as well a s th e double floo r

t hat the mi nistry of tran sp ort

sta ndards d em a nd fo r

Iong ttners. T he re a re fo ur m a in

b uoyancy se c tion s to a raft : the

lo we r body ring, up per body

ring, th e canopy arch support

tube and t he floor. Each o ne is

independen t of the others. Acting

together, the fou r systems

s ho uld be c ap ab le of s upporting

double the raft's capacity . If one

o r more are d ama ge d beyond

re pair d uring launching or while

occupied, the ra ft still floats.

Th e u ppe r a nd lower r-in gs ,

a nd the c an op y tube , a re inflated

by a spec ia lly design ed

ca r bon dioxide bottle . When a

lanyard is pulled, th e co mpressed

gas ru shes into the ra ft

a nd infl ates it qui ckly (a ver-age

8 to 10 seconds). The fl oo r

howe ver, is infl at ed by th e r aft's

oc c u p a n ts a fte r boa rd ing. Th is

is don e by a small manual pump

tha t also se r ves to reinflat e the

r aft's r ings and t ube s hou ld

seve re coo li ng deflate them.

Once afloat, sh e lter becom es

the next priority. The North

Atlantic is an inhospitable plac e .

wit h cold water a nd wind

producing severe ch ill fa c tor s .

Approved r afts use a doublewalled

canopy and insulated

inflatable double floor to ensure

that the temperature inside th e

raft r e m a ins bearable. Some

authorities sugg e st that a survival

suit see ( De ck. Awa'h.

April 19) can be of real v a lue

e ve n in a life -raft. offering an

e xtr a de gree of protection

against hypothermia.

All a p proved r a ft s ca r ry

e merg e ncy sup plies of wa te r


6 - Decks Awash

Special Section

Visual and Performing Arts

For the ne xt 51 pa ge s De-ck s

Awash ex p lo res the visual &

pertormtna a rts wo r ld of

Newfoundland. J oin us a nd J o hn

Joe E ngli sh , Gail Inne s , Mavis

P e n ne y . Ma n nie Buc hheit ,

J im m y L tnc aur and lots of

ot hers for pa ge s a nd pa ges of

Newfoundl and 's a r t, mUS IC ,

dance. photog r-aphy a nd film ,

and theatre.


Decks Awash - 7

A history of art in Newfoundland

It is only in the last 20 or 30

years that painting and drawing

ha ve been wide ly pr actised as a

formalized art by Newfoundland

residents . However, for over 300

years , explorers . visitors and

loc al re sid ents have sketched

our se tt le me nt s and harbours

for many of the same reasons

that today we take snapshots.

They simply wanted to record

an event or scene.

The ea r ly ru gged way of life in

Newfoundland did not encoura

ge th e leisurely pursuit of

art, nor did the schools and

churches generally support such

activity. E arly map-makers.

soldiers and oth er visitors who

kept jo urnals of their travels

around th e pr ovince are the

main source s ror drewtnas.

The fir st attem pt to formally

teach a r t was in 1813 when a

J .W . Nic ho ls e st ablished the St.

John's Art School, but few

det a ils are kno wn a bo ut the

sc hool.

Th e Ne wfound la nd Society of

Art was formed in 1925 and

co nti nue d until 1936. Mrs.

He ct or Mc Neil and A.E . Harris

were impor t an t names in the

or ganiza tion , but again, few

deta ils a re known . The names of

som e a rt teache rs and shortli

ved clubs a re availa ble in

r ec o rd s , but wha t is lacking a r e

som e pe rsona l accounts of art

activities in this province bef or e

Confederation.

The opening of th e

Newfoundland Academy of Art

in 1949 by Reg and Helen

Shepherd is probably the most

significant single event in our

art history because the

Academy was watched closely

by other Canadian artists. It

also helped many Newtoundianders

to become professional

artists. In addition. the

Academy gave art

prominence in our society.

Art was officially recognized

by the government in 1952 when

the Newfoundland government's

Arts and Letters Competition

was established. This competition

still continues, open to

Newfoundlanders of all ag es ,

from any part of the pr ovince .

Cash prizes are awarded in each

of several categories. based on

the decisions of jurors who are

professionals in the different

sections. After the competition.

an art show is assembled to tour

the Arts and Culture Ce nt re s

across the province.

It was in 1961 that the fir st

Arts and Culture Centre was

opened in St. John's a s

Newfoundland's Centenni al

project. Since then, others have

been opened in Corner Brook.

Grand Falls, Gander a nd

Stephenville. Som e of th e se

contain swimming pool s and

li br aries , but all have fac ilit ie s

fo r c lub meetings. theatre and

a r t ga lleries.

Since July of 1916. Me mo r ia l

Uni vers ity' s Extension Service

has bee n administering the Arts

a nd Culture Centre a rt ga lle r ie s .

helping Newfoundla nd artists to

g a in wider recognitio n and also

hosting s hows th at visit from

other pa r ts of Canada. The Extension

Service has played a

major ro le in the a r ea of visual

and pe rf orming ar ts in rural

Ne wfound lan d by a ss e m bling

s ho ws of loc al a rts a nd crafts.

offe r ing classes, spons or ing

mu si c and drama fe sti vals in

rural co mmunities, ope ning the

St . Mich a e l's Prints ho p and

working as a liaison with

Ca na da Council to establish a

Co m munity Artist-in-Res idence

Progra m , to name only a few

pr oje ct s .

Finall y , after year s of

discuss ion and proposals the

province now has a n Arts

Co unc il. established in July. 1979

by Premie r Br ian P e ckford. It is

hop ed tha t this Cou ncil will

improve the administr a tion of

c ult ural affairs thr o ug hout

Newfoundla nd and Labrador,

pr ov iding more prov inc ia l

funding and greater cont a c t

wit h th e isolated communi t ie s.


8 - Decks Aw ash

Poetic Realism and the

Newfoundland Academy of Art.

The only formal art school

Newfoundland has ever had was

an adventurous under t aklng for

two young students who had just

graduated from the Ontario

College of Art. In 1949, Reg and

Helen Shepherd returned home

to Newfoundland, bought a

house on Cochrane Street, in St.

John's, set up studios inside and

opened the Newfoundland

Academy of Art. Although art

supplies could not be bought in

the city, Reg She pherd recalls

those early years with enthusiasm.

"We converted the third

storey into an apartment for

ourselves a nd built our personal

studios onto the back of the

house. As a result our living. o ur

teaching and our creative work

all fit together under one roof.

We were totally in vol ved with

the place. But really, our success

depended upo n the good

advice of artists we kn e w on the

mainland - people such as

Robert Pilot, t hen president of

the Royal Canadian Academy

and the famous war artist

George Pepper. Wit hout their

help, I don't know if we could

have made it."

For twelve years, t he

Academy was open to almost

anyone who was interested. The

Sh eph e rds offered classes in

drawing, painting.sculpture and

art appreciation. It satisfied

those for whom art was just a

ho bby, but it a lso graduated a

number of serious artists who

went on to further training on

the m a inla nd.

The Academy closed its do or s

in 1961 at the peak of its ca reer,

with 120 students. "It was getting

out of control," note s Reg

Shepherd, running a han d

t hrough his t hick hai r. " We ha d

o nly t hree full-time teachers,

and we cou ldn't af ford to hir e

any more. Me a nwhil e , the

la r ge r number of students

meant that ad ministrative work

was t a king up too much of our

time. This put some strain upon

our teaching, but it was our ow n

work as artists that was really

suffering. Our origina l intentio n

after closing the sc hoo l was to

live as full-ti me artists in our

studio at South R ive r , Conce

ption Bay."

As it turned out, the year t he

Academy closed, Reg She pherd

ag r eed to fill in as art teacher at

Prince of Wales Colleg ia te in St.

J oh n's , to re place an in st ru c to r

wh o had left in mid-term. Th is

wa s to be for "just a fe w m onth

s " , but he ha s been there ever

si nce.

To overcome the proble m of

se parating his artistic caree r

from his teaching ca reer a ne w

paltern emerged in Reg

Shepherd's life : "1 never br ing

an y work home from school ," he

.R eg and H elen Shepherd in th ei r South River h om e - One of R eg 's works h an g s on the le ft a n d one of

Helen's hangs on the r ight.


here first in 1967 a s an Art

Specialist with th e University's

Exte ns ion Service and has

di vide d his time between

te a chi ng and his own art work.

Born in 1931, Don was raised in

Timmin s , Ontario. The rocky

Newfoundla nd landscape

remin ds him of home, but his

int ere st as an artist leans more

to th e people and the wild life of

th is pr ovince.

" My art tries to avoid sentimen

t a lity while reflecting an

a ppreciation of Newfoundland's

his tor y and traditional way of

lif e." Again, Don illustrates this

with a n example: "Some of my

work foc used on t he co nstruction

of a 'wriggling' fe nce'

Althou g h art is taught in m a ny

Newfoundlan d schools. there is

not en oug h training or exposure

fo r th e serious art student. Don

Wright, a Newfoundland a rt is t ,

observe s that, in fact, many

school s offer what a mo unts to a

"neg ative a rt pr ogr am " - one

that dis cou r a ge s c re a tiv ity

instead of e nco uraging it . Accordingly

, Don a nd ot her a r tis ts

in thi s pro vince, s uc h as George

Nosew or th y, ha ve unde r taken to

teach art to students in a way

that stimula te s no t only the kids,

but al so the artist and the

community th ey are working in.

Don ha s been teaching art in'

th e sum me r s for a bo ut te n

ye ars, but ha s worked directl y

through Me m or ial University's

Extension Service. In 196 9, Don

started the Sum me r Art

Program that r an for e ig ht

summer s bef or e bud get

restraints cu r ta ile d it. Up to IS

artists pe r year ( ma ny of them

art co llege st udents> were

employ ed as te a che r s in various

re gions of New fou ndland.

A re port on the pr og r am th-a t

Don wrote in 1971 descr ibes o ne

method of operation a nd its

effects: " It was always easy to

attract 15--20 children without

prelimina r y adverti sing. We

usually se t up on the government

wh arf. Most ch ildren we re

across a field . Whe n this appe

a r ed in a gallery, the security

g ua r d ca me up to te ll m e that in

his part of the is la nd it wo uld be

ca lled a 'garden rod fen ce ' . Ou r

resulting disc ussion was a

fa scin ating ble nd of pr a cti c al

a nd a rtistic unde r st a nd ing . If

m y work ma kes othe r peopl e

tak e m or e notice of their

sur ro undi ngs, the n I a m

s atisfied."

Th ough he produces so me

dra wings and watercolo rs, m ost

of Don Wr ig ht 's work is in th e

pr int m ed ium. Be c a use the

pr int -m a kin g pr oc es s involves

m any stages a nd lev el s of

desi gn , it correspo nds ve ry we ll

with Den's subject m a tt er, A

Art outside four walls

Deck s Awash - 11

pr int de vote d to boat-building

s hows several diff e re nt vi ew s of

the same boat a t di ffe rent st ages

of c ons tr uc tion. Anot her about

squid-jiggin g con ve ys the man's

contact with th e sea. The pr int

shows sq uid bein g hauled up,

flying thro ug h t he air, human

faces dimly-outlin ed through the

se a spray, everything swirling

c ha nging, a nd s pattered with

bla ck squid in k.

Don Wr ight ha s been living in

Port Kirwan, nea r Fermeuse.Jor

five years now , a nd his art is a

natural outg ro wth of his ever)'

day inv ol vem ent wit h outport

life: wood- cutting, fish -s m oking .

gardening an d ot her outdoor

skills.

Don Wright looks at on e of his " SqUi d-ha nds" prints from a series

design ed fo r a book .


\

Dec ks Awa sh -13

St. Michael's printshop - becoming

a part of the common experience

The idea of loc ating a printmaking

studio in a tin y community

on the Avalon's So ut he r n

Shore may at first seem a bs u rd,

but it was and continues to be a

dream come true (or loc al , a nd

now int ernational, a r tis ts .

Today. the St. Michael's Pr-intshop

has become a model of ho w

art should participate in the life

of a community.

" Ar ti sts from outside of

New found la nd often come here

to make prints, but they seldom

bring any plates or images with

them. Instead. they become

caught up wit h what they se e

a long the shore her e ," states

Heidi Oberheide, who runs th e

Printshop. She rocks gently in

her c hair as she says this. and

explains her po licy of having

each visiting artist leave at least

one print with her. Now , after

fi ve years of operation, the Shop

h a s a fa sci n a ti ng collection of

art.

Back in the early 1970s , Heidi

was living in St. Michael's , near

Tor s Cove, h a ving just completed

a summer of teaching

printmaking at th e Nova Scotia

Co llege of Art and Design. She

p r opos ed the idea of setting up a

printi n g st udio to Don Wright,

who was the n Art Specialist with

Me m or ia l Un iversity's Extension

Service. With help from

Extension a nd Canada Council,

an abandoned schoolhouse in

St. Michael's was remodelled to

p r ov id e the necessary space for

prin ti n g. Along with the

n e ce ssary equipment, a

photographic darkroo m and an

apartment for visiting artists

was installed. The Printshop

co ntinues to be ai ded by Canada

Co uncil an d MUN Extension.

Two methods of printing are

use d at St. Michaels:

lithography, which us es a

li mestone or alumimum plate,

or in taglio, which prints from

e tched zinc or copper. In both

cases plates a re treated with

va r io us com binations of acid

and gre a se to pro vide a surface

that holds a d esign in ink which

can be p r es sed onto paper a

limited numbe r of times . In

m ost cases, the prin ti ng surface

is n ot permanent, so a series of

prin ts from it ca n only be made

once.

Re gular activities a t the

P ri ntshop include classes of ­

fered throu gh th e Extension

Servic e , de monstr a tions of

printmaking a nd open house

sessions at whic h prints by

printmakers and crafts by local

p eople a re sold in a fr iendl y teap

a r ty setting. There is also a

p r og r a m through which people

tr a ine d in printmaki ng can re nt

t he sh op 's living and working

space for a month or two . Artists

co me from all over Canada to do

t his . A few Americans and

Eur op e an s h a ve a lso pa r -'

Uc ipated.

.. He idi Oberheide relaxes in the prin tsho p , h er seco nd home.


14 - Dec ks Awash

Two visiting artists, Anne Sarazin from Grimsby , Ontario (left) and Andie Wicherts from Calgary,

rollout a print at St . Michael 's.

For the past two summers, the

P rintshop has hosted a

gathering of about 15 artists for

two weeks. They come to participate

in a program called

" Ar t in the Newfoundland

Environment." While making

prints and sharing ideas. these

people also visit the nearby

island bird sanctuary. watch

whales, tour the coast, party

with local people, jig cod, talk

with biologists and folklorists

and generally participate in the

many aspects of life on the

Southern Shore. Usually their

work reflects their visual a nd

environmental experience.

"It is important that artists

not be aloof from common experiences,"

suggests Heide,

"and pr int m ak in g seems to

encourage greater contact

among people. To begin with.

there are usually three or four

people in the shop at one time.

working on different stages of

prints and talking with each

other. Then, people from the

village who visit the shop are

Intrigued by the printing process

and can appreciate that It is

difficult. They feel more comfortable

talking about images

and telling artists about their

own experiences. This is great

all around."

Originally from Germany,

Our footprints,

are everywhere

"Our Footprints

Everywhere" . hard cover

edition $18.00 plus $1.50 postage

and handlin&, It may be obtalned

by writing Labrador Inuit

Association. P .O. Box 10. Nain,

Labrador, AOP lLO.

A comprehensive record of

past and present Inuit patterns

of occupancy and use of wildlife

resources in northern Labrador.

Eleven essays examine archeological,

histori cal and

co ntemporary aspects of life,

Heidi has also lived in Illi nois,

USA. before co m ing to

Newfoundland . Ten years later,

she continues to find that her

own work as an artist is hel ped.

not hindered. by living in St.

Michael's and running this

printshop by the sea.

providing insights into the

relationship between Inuit and

their ancestral lands. The

people of Labrador speak. for

themselves and reveal their

integral dependence on natura l

resources. A valuable r efe r en ce

for anyone interested in gaining

a knowledge and under st a nding

of the people of northern

Labrador and of the problems

posed for them by developmental

change. Illustrated with

116 maps. photographs and

tables.


Arch Williams

fisherman turned artist

" I fishe d her e from 1926 to

1943," r ec all s Arch Williams,

puffin g on a cigare tte , " th en I

worked an oth e r 31 years

checking fish for th e Southern

Shore Trading Com pa ny. I

started pa inting in 1911 and now

that I'm retired I can spend

more time at it. "

Arch and his wife Veronica

live in a cosy little house by the

sea in Ferryland. Arch was born

in th a t house about 70 years ago.

His paintings reflect the

peaceful charm of an outport

summer day - brightly coloured

houses nestled a mong rich green

hills and a blue harbour.

In 1970, the Newfoundland

artist Gerry Squires moved into

the old lighthouse in Ferryland

as part of Memorial University

Extension Service's Artlst-in­

Residence program. The next

year, he began offering art

classes, and Arch Williams was

one of his first students. " I first

went over just to help Gerry get

enough people for a full class,"

says Arch, casually. "My

painting started as a hobby, but

soon became quite a profitable

hobby, so I kept at it."

Th e University Art Gallery

has found th e paintings of this

Ferryland fisherman to be true

folk art. As a result, they have

featured Arch's work in four

shows since 1974, one of whi ch

toured the Maritime Provinces.

Many people wonder what

distinguishes good folk art from

bad art. According to Patricia

Grattan, Exhibitions Coordinator

at the University Art

Gallery, good folk art co m es

from people who have had little

or no formal art training , but

who posseses a natural sense of

colour and design .

" Ma ny folk a rt is ts ," says Pa t,

" ha ve been working aw ay

qu ietiy on the ir own for years

and are quite surprised when art

dealers or other outsiders be gin

to seek th em out, admiring the ir

wor k. , Folk art is generally don e

for personal satisfaction with no

intention of being sold . Some

artists e ve n refuse to sell a ny of

their work .

" Ba d a rt, on the other hand, is

done by peo ple who ha ve some

art tr aini ng or some notion of

what art should look like, but

th ey get mu ddled along the way

and take on mor e than their

techniqu e ca n handle. They ma y

know, for instance, that 'rea l

artists' m ix their paint, so the y

try this with out kno wing how to

do it right, an d end up with dull,

muddy colo rs .

" F olks artists instead stick

with bright colors straight fr om

the tube, colours that give their

work a simple a nd cheerful

quality. Th e y aren't conscious of

Veronic a and Arch Williams

Dec ks Awash - 15

how other people see things

as much as they themselves se e

them."

Arch Willi ams, like other folk

artists, often allows th e ov e rall

perspective and proportions in a

painting to go astra y while he

focuses on details such a s

windows. flowers and fences.

Folk art ha s been popular in

most of Canad a for about ten

years and in Newfoundland for

about six . The larger part of folk

art in Newfoundland consists of

hooked mats and paintings. In

other parts of Canada, wood

carving is a popular form of folk

art, but surprisingly enough, it

has not caught on here.

Arch Williams is amused by

the fuss that some people make


18 - Decks Awash

over his work . " P eople co me to

see me," he smiles, "and a s k

where my studio is . All I can tell

them is 'you're looking ri ght at it

- the kit chen table.' Although

they call it folk art, I don 't like to

put a name on it be cause no two

people paint a like. I g ue s s I've

done about SOpaintings . working

mostly from old photogr aphs. I

like to show what th e settlements

looked like in olden

limes with the salt-box houses

and fish flakes. You don't see so

much of that anymore, and I

think people miss it .

Arch Williams' most recent

painUng shows Port Kirwan 's

harbour surrounded by steeo

nut».

Becoming an artist is no easy task

"I think my drawing is much

better now than it was before I

was involved in the program,"

declares artist and teacher

Mavis Penney. "That year gave

me a lot more self confidence in

the work I was able to do , and it

has made me more confident

about others' opinion of my

work."

The " prog r a m" is the Community

Artist in Residence

Program, a 5 year old venture of

MUN Extension and the Canna

d a Council. Such people as

Gerry Sq uires, Ch ris Brookes,

Mannie Buchheit or Frank

LaPointe, among others have

availed of the program. Th e

program offers up to $10,000 a

year to a developing artist.

What makes the project unique

is that the grants go to

developing artists, rather than

people who've already made"

their na me in the world of art.

"I like the fact that the grants

are given on potential." Mavis

explains. "The Canada Council

and MUN Extension are will in g

to take a risk. You might giv e

out twenty communtiy artist in

residence grants, and have only

" Wom en Playing Chess"- a pencil drawing by Mavis Penney.

II

I


two or three " m a ke it " as

professional artists. When

applied, I wanted to spend the

time building up my drawings

and concentrating on portraits,

with the hope that I'd have

e nough pieces for an exhibition

at the end. There's no way I

would have been able to do it

without taking a part-time job .

And art is really a full-time job,

leaving very little energy for

doing anything else."

When the year finished,

Ma vis did not apply for a

second year of funding, feeling

that she'd "done what I wanted

to do. " The exhibition she'd

mentioned did take place, with

so me 24 pieces of work

displayed, ha lf of which were

sold, ne tt in g her about $2,000.

Had t he grant not been available

her output would have been less

and therefore her income for the

year far less than $2,000.

Mavis started her art career

"the same as most youngsters,

with a crayon and a pencil."

Growing up in St . John's, she

wa s a ble to attend schools that

had an art specialist on staff. In

un iversity , she combined art

with a n education degree. " I

wanted to go to a university on

t he mainland and do a fine arts

course," she says in retrospect,

"but I decided to slick around

and get some education courses

as well. It 's good to have

something to fall back on if you

need it."

That attitude is a realistic one,

given the challenges of making a

living as an artist. Throughout

hist o r y , artists traditionally

ha ve looked to patrons for

fina ncial s upport, es pecially

during the early years of thei r

ca reers, but "patron" is virtually

an unknown word in

Newfoundland. The job an artist

ta kes cuts into the time he or she

should be spending to develop

professional abilities. That Is

o ne reason why the transition

from gifted and dedicated

amateur to full time

pro fe s sio na l is difficult. And

that's another reason why Mavis

is so t hankful for the community

a rtist pr ogr a m .

Art er he r year as a com-

Decks Awash - 17

"The Sunbathers" in acrylic and pencil features Mavis Penney

he rselfin the foreground.

munity artist in residence,

Ma vis found she still couldn't

make a decent living. She then

took a job with t he 51. John's

based Mummers Troupe as set

designer, between print-making

stints at the St . Michael's

Printshop. Last fall, she be gan

teaching art and English fulltime

in Makkovik, Labrador, a

job she found to be a complet e

change of pace fr om her ar t.

While she enjoyed it, she did

very little of her own work. Sh e

still has her eye on a career as

an a rtist, but she's realistic

enough to know that being a

Newfoundland artist isn 't going

to be easy.

"It's tough to make a living

selling art," she points out.

"There are artists in

Newfoundland who've been

successful financially, but it 's

taken a long time and much of

their work is sold elsewhere. As

are most aspiring professionals,

Mavis is eyeing the lucrative

mainland Canadian and

American markets which can

absorb far more material than

Newfoundland's small

population.

If Mavis doesn't "make it", it

won't because she hasn't tried.


18 - Decks Awash

A is fo r A l vin

in th e wood s he do sin g

B is for Bob by

wh o hunts in the spring

The Labrador balladeer

takes up the paintbrush

To trappers alon g th e

Labrador coast. the Hunter 's

Alphabet son g is like a national

anthem. Listed in that son g is

almost every e ve nt and every

trapper known. Th e song was

made famous by Gerald Mit ­

chell. a Makkovik resident who

was "the Labrador balladeer"

in the early 60s.

Ever since he moved to Happy

Valley, Goose Ba y , 20 years ago ,

Gerald, now 42, has made a

point of coll ecting La-brador

songs. He sang a nd played them

on a radio show in th e early 60s

and again in th e 1970s and many

of his songs wer e re corde d on

two LP's .

Selt-teugbt. Gerald learned

how to play when he was eleven,

bu t music is not his only interest.

Gerald has alwa ys be en

interested in a rt. In fact, he

supports himself at odd jobs and

by sign painting , but he would

like to make his livin g as a n

artist. " I pa int in oils ," he e xplains,

" but I ofte n wo nder ed if

there was a no ther wa y of doing

art. Then I had a c ha nce to go to

St. Michael's printshop near St.

John's for a month. I was go ing

to try lithography there, but I

thought it would be a very e xpensive

to get a lithography

press to Labrador. So I ended up

doing linoleum prints at St.

Michael's. Now I'm trying to get

a loan to buy equipm e nt for

here."

Most of Gerald ' s prints reflect

his Labrador lifestyle. They are

based on th e m em ories of his

childhood days in Makkovik. " I

do paintings of people going into

the woods in snowshoes,

drawing water through th e ice

and snow or hauling wood to th e

hous e. I don 't put in the modern

things like snowmobiles."

Gerald sells his paintings not only for music, but for

through the Happy Valley Craft drawing as well .

Store and now that he is into

printing, he hopes to sell limited

editions of his sc e nes. " My work

is selling," he e xpla ins. " U' s a

living and fortunately I don 't

have to support a family. With

the prints, I hope to re ally make

a living."

While at St . Michael's Ger ald

worked with artist Don Wright

and made two original prints

which he is proud of. He enjoyed

his stay. " It wa s a com m unity

atmosphere, " he explains.

"Ideas ge t flying among a group

of people and you become enthusiastic

a bout what you are

doin g . I was the re in February

a nd Ma rch an d live d in the

printshop. Th ere was a lwa ys

someone to talk with."

The good part about the St.

Mic hael's e xpe rience, was that

it gave Gerald confidence in his

work as a n artist. He r e alized

that there were others like

himself and that what he was

doing was very important. The

experience also gave him the

impetus to commit himself to

art by making him want to

expand int o th e print medium

and buy a press.

For now , Gerald's music has

somewhat passed into the

background as he becomes

mo re involved in art. But Gerald

is one of the lucky ones. He is a Tw o linol eum prints of L ab r ad or

true artist with a natural .be nt life by Gerald Mitchell

2\ol.1lbs. Rhubarb

2 qts. water

1'14 cup sugar

Rhubarb Juice

Cut rhubarb &. stew in simmering water. strain

through cheesecloth. Add s ug a r. lemon, or a nge

juice &.cloves, refrigerate and serve while cold.

Mrs. HJ . Budget!

St. John's

Juice of two lemons

Juice of one orange

4 whole cloves


Amateur art is flourishing

" Something that we lack , is a

place wher e a n artist can go a nd

be trained full tim e... J a m

thinking of an academy for eig ht

or nine months a ye ar. " This is

the desire of Joan Short. artist.

and muslcian who serves as th e

President of the Art Associa tion

of Newfoundland and Labrador,

A group of nearly 100 member s

devoted to the needs of a ma teur

artists in the province, It wa s

formed In i960. initia lly to

support th e e sta bli shme nt of an

art gallery.

This objective has been met ,

but the association continue s

be cause of Its oth er ma jor role :

to stimulate local artists , " They

must be encouraged to go ah ead

with the ir artisti c plans: ' ex ­

pla ins Mrs. Short. "and not

become discouraged that th eir

works will not be vie wed, Th e

artist who hasn't yet had th e

opportunity to show his work

should be assured that thi s

obstacle will be overcome,"

One method of overcoming

this obstacle is to sponsor at

least two art exhibitions annually

but there-are other needs

of provincia l amateur artists

which also must be met . " The

me mbership of about one

hundred people is scattered fa r

and wide around the province ,"

explains Mrs. Short. " Ofte n it is

difficult for these peop le to

acquire supplies and learn th e

basic techniques which could

ena ble them to becom e

professionals. Man y of th e

youn g arti sts . cont act the

association wanting to know just

what the organization can offer

them to further their abilities ,"

Because of these request s

Mrs . Short feels that there is a

need for art training in th e

province. She thinks the re ar e a

fair number of loc al a rtis ts

wilUng to devote their tim e to

the instruction of aspiring artists,

e ven if it were only one

course per year. " A professi onal

artist has to live. and in ord er to

live he has to work."

If he could teach, he co uld

give his talents to so me bod y

els e."

According to Mr s. Sho rt, until

su ch an acade my is established,

other steps could be tak en to

assist th e seri ous a ma te ur to

bec ome a pr ofessional. One step

would be to show th e works of

pr ofessionals and a m ateur s

during the sa me exhibition.

There could be a great sharing

between th e gro ups whic h would

furt he r help th e strugg ling

a rtist.

This is not to assume th at the

amateurs of th e province are

seeking profession al sta tus . For

those amateu rs who purs ue art

as recreati on , Mr s. Short feels ,

" They should have the ir own

pla ce to ex hibit. "

The a rt movem ent in

Newfoundland a nd Labrador is

not identified by one pa rticular

style or form. However , th ere is

one distinguish ing fe atu re - the

impact which th e environment

has had on the artists. " You can

take a look at most Newfoundland

art and you see the en ­

vironment in which the a rtist

has been working. Th e a verag e

Newfoundlan der loves

Newf oun dl and . He loves th e

water, land scape an d sky . He is

part of his environme nt ." As

Mrs . Shor t points out the re a re

very few portrait a rtists in the

province.

Mrs . Short ex presses a n

exci te me nt for th e future of the

a rt ist in Ne wfoundland. Th ere is

a desire by the Art Association

to expand its activ ities an d Increase

its membership to 4()()..500

individuals . Also, th er e Is hope

that a full -tim e sta ff member

can be hir ed to help ans wer th e

needs of the isol at ed a rtis t. With

people in Goose Bay. Hibbs

Hole, Pl acentia Ba y, th e

Southern Shor e and other area s

of the pr ov ince, th er e is a need

to ensure th at co m munica tio n is

m aintained betw een the

members. " The re is ta len t out

there , but people don' t kn ow

Decks Awash -19

Joan Short

wheth er they ar e ta lented or not.

We hope to help th em ."

Bein g a wa y from th e matnstream

of North American art

can be de scribed as a " mix ed

blessing" by Mrs . Short. While

the independence allows the

local artist to develop his own

style. adding to the unique

quality of Newfoundland art, It

can also lead to stag na tio n.

According to Mrs . Short th is ha s

not yet been a difficulty in th e

pr ovinc e as the individua ls a nd

their art are still evolving. She

concludes, " Ne wfoundland ha s

such a wealth of folk culture

end owed with so mu ch natural

beauty th at it is ine vit able th at

visual arts will flourish. as indeed

. is happening now ,'"


20 - Decks Awash

Collecting and dealing in art

"I we nt to a one-room school

and we didn't get any art instruction,"

reflects Flo Pippy,

an av id Newfoundland art

collector, " but I always liked

art.

About 23 years ago when Flo

had left her home community of

Bareneed and had come to St .

John's and married, she began

to make up for those artdeprived

childhood days. She

began to collect art. " I first

started by sending away to a

magazine for a few reproductions

because there weren't

many artists in Newfoundland

at that time. Then I bought my

first original. It was of Bareneed

and it was by Kelsey Raymond

of Nova Scotia. Then I saw one

of Reg Shepherd's paintings

displayed at a bank in St. John's .

I asked him not to sell it until he

checked with me . I began saving

my m oney and I was going to get

it at Christmas. He eventually

brought it down to me, but

wouldn't let me pay for it."

For Flo Pippy art

collecting is a hobby. By many

she would be considered a

patron of the arts rather than a

serious a rt collector. The dif·

terence lies in the fact that Flo

buys a painting because it appe

als to her, not because of its

pot ential value or be cause a

critic g ave it a good review . She

also believes in helping up -andcoming

artists and she admits to

buy ing a painting because th e

artist could us e the support. F or

e xa m ple she has two paintings

by an alcoholic who was in

prison.

An avid art reader, she shuns

official openings, but does go to

the Newfoundland Arts and

Letters Competitions to see the

works of young aspiring artists.

She also co uld never bear

to part with her more than 5S

water colors, cka.wings, oils or

embroideries and she vows that

she never covets th e art work

owned by someone else. For her,

art collecting is a very personal

experience.

Fl o's art collecting has slowed

down som ew hat in recent

years, but not bec ause she is

losing int erest. She' s run ning

out of space. Ev er y nook a nd

cranny of her sp acious hous e in

St . John's Is fill ed wit h

Helen Parsons-Shepherd, Chr is

Pratt, Don Wri ght, Gerry

Squi res, or Yoka Gray, to name

just a few artists. There are

paintings in her living room , her

kit chen, hallway, bedroom

bath roo m and reo room. One

painting she hid in her clo set for

Flo Pippy with a still lif e by H el en Parsons Shepherd.

three months. By Gerry Sq uir es,

it was a mystical scene which

some people found ugly and

scary, but it appe a led to Fl o. It

was called " Time WI1l Be ar

Another Son " . Eventuall y sh e

hung it and it ha s become one of

Gerry's most famous paintings .

Fl o claims that s he does not

have a favourite artis t, but she

does have fav ourite paintin gs .

Reg Shepherd's " Ship Ca ug ht

in the Ice ," " Leaves" by Yak a

Gray, Hel en Sheph erd 's "Jug

with Dogberries " and Da vid

Blackwood's " Bur ning of t he

Churc h at Wesleyvi.lle" are a ll

fav ourit es , as are m an y by

Gerry Squ ir es. Ofte n she likes

these pictures because th ey

remind her of ev e nts in

Newfoundland 's history, suc h as

res ettlement or outpcrt life.

For ye ars Fl o bought directly

from the artist, but 7 years ag o a

gallery was opened on Wat er

Street and sh e be gan to buy

some of her art there. Ca lled,

appropriately enoug h, The

GALLERY, it is run by Ida and

Ernie Mauskop f. States Mrs.

Mausk opf , a Ne wfound­

' lander, " We didn't have a

specific market in mind wh en

we opene d the GALLERY. We

just thought more attention

should be paid to Newfoundland

art. " We started in a very

relaxed way . We put everyone's

name on our mailing list who

came in. We also approached

the professional artists In

Newfoundland , such as Chris

Pratt, Helen P arsons-Sheppard,

Reginald Sheppard, Mary Pratt,

Frank LaPointe, David Black·

wood and oth ers and slowly


acquired their co-operation.

Since that time, we also have

been working toward improving

the standards of The GALLERY

with other recognized artists.

"We deal mainly in

Newfoundlnd art, but also show

other Canadian art. This enables

us to make exchanges with

galleries throughout Canada

and it gives the Newfoundland

artist a chance to show out of

the province through excha nge

ex hibitions."

While Newfoundlanders don't

buy that much "Canadian" art

there are people who visit t he

province, especially In t he

summer, who recognize and buy

certain artists because they a re

familiar with art on the

m a in la nd . Mrs. Mauskopf adds,

"There are certain people who

sell slowly, but we still want to

have their paintings." It is

partly a learning process. The

Mauskopfs believe in educating

the public about art and the only

way to do it is to expose them to

different styles and different

artists.

As for the nitty gritty of

buying and selling paintings,

Mrs. Ma uskopf e xp lai ns , " Often

people come into The

GALLER Y with paintings for

sa le . We always look at their

work and try to lead them to

sources which might benefit

them."

T hen there are some artists

that the Mauskopfs chase after.

"For example," Mrs. Mauskopf

ex plal.ns, "Gary Saunders left

Gander Bay. He was a very good

artist. When we found his new

address we wrote him. He was

delighted and sent us some of his

work. We framed them, as

we usua lly do with all the work

For years Newfoundlanders had gardens. But

a bout twe nty years ago the ca nned and frozen

variety of vegetables replaced the trad itional

s ide of t he road or back of the lot full of pot a toe s,

ca rrots, turnips. and cabbage. To day, as infla

tio n begins to fluorish, so again do ga rdens.

Although most of Newfoundland's root c rops

are picked until well into fall , by the end of

August, carrots are a.t their most delectable.

co ming he r e a nd we hung

t he m."

The artist usuall y tells the

deale r how much he would like

his pa intin g to sell for . If It 's

exor bitant, the Mauskopfs try to

c hange the artist's mind. As

Mr s. Ma usko pf explains, " If

your name is not known. it 's

be tter to start low . In a way you

are paying to be known."

In 7 years the art clientele has

changed. It used to be that only

peop le with money would buy,

but now Mrs. Mauskopf notices

that younger people are buying

art a s an Investment. And it 's

Ida M auskopfof The GALLERY.

Decks Awash - 21

even filtering down through the

school system. A fe w teachers

are br inging their students

thro ug h The GA LLERY to look

at paintings.

Flo Pippy was unique when

she started collecting

Newfoundland art. While few

can match her mammoth

collection, more and more

homes today are decorated with

original pieces rather than with

catalogue and calendar art. At

long last. Newfoundlander-s are

beginning to rejoice and be

proud of their own artists.

Throughout this issue we pay homage to the

carrot, and we also throw in a few recipes about

a vegetable very well suited to Newfoundland's

cli mate, Swiss and r hubarb chard.


"The treaitione t singer half

reclines on t he raised end of the

typic al wooden sofa and, after

p r ot esti ng modestly that he 'has

the cold' and 'ne ver could sing

anyway', he gives judicious

attention to the liUle movable

spitbox , filled with sa wdusf and

co nveniently placed under the

sofa. Then, fixing his eyes on

vacancy, he begins his

song... The ctitet characteristic

of his singing is the embellishment

of the basic melody

with the greatest possible

variety of tu rns, slurs, grace

not es, quavers, unexpected

accen ts, and subtle syncopa

uons. "

Ell.abeth Briltol

Greenleaf, from the IntroclucUon

to Ballad. • sea

Son.. of Newfoundland,

publlahed in 1833.

Th e m an y ball a ds that can

s till be heard in the ki tc he ns of

N ew foundla nd are the most

dis li ncti ve part of this province's

m usic a l he r ita ge. Though

Music

From Ballads to Bach

the ba llad tradition ha s its own

discipline, it is informal to the

extent that it continues by

persona l exchange between selftaught

s ingers and the only

meaningful dales that can be

listed are those when songs were

collected for publication.

The first major collection was

made in the summer of 1929 by

two energetic young women

from Vassar College in New

Yo rk-Elisabeth Greenleaf and

Grace Mansfield. Otber

noteworthy collections are the

small booklets published by

loc al r es ide nt Gerald S. Doyle in

1927, HMO, and 1955 which were

dist r ibuted free of charge and

fOlk Song. from Newfoundland,

co llected by the English woman,

Maud Karpeles, in 1930. All of

a bove however, are now ou t of

print, a nd in their place we ha ve

Ke nn e th Peacock's Son•• of the

Newfoundland Outportl-411

songs collected in the 1950's and

published by the National

Muse u m of Canada in 1965.

Newfoundland's dance music

Decks Awash - 23

played predominantly on the

fiddle and the accordian has

ne ve r been written down exte

nsively in books, but like the

songs has been transmitted

through the informal "times"

and "crowd ins" in out port

kitchens, and when men got

together for the seal hunt.

Another important area for

sharing music was the lumber

camps which housed men from

·a ll over Newfoundland and even

some from mainland Canada

and the United States. Though

much of the traditional music in

eastern North America can be

traced back to the British Isl e s ,

the isolation of Newfoundla nd

communities has allowed ma ny

very old songs a nd tunes to

s urvive unchanged through

se veral centuries of perfor

m a nce.

Tur ning now to classical

m us ic , we find that the fir st

music school in the province

opened in 1814, on Holloway

Street, St . John's. By the late


24 - Decks Awash

1830's , there was a Handel &

Haydn Society in that city, and

in 1887 the S1. John's School of

Music opened with instruction in

piano, organ, viola , and ' cello.

By the early 1900s, examiners

from the Trinity College of

Music in London were coming

regularly, Various recitals and

concerts were organized in the

city, but it was not until 1946 that

a branch of the Community

Concert Association was

established in Newfoundland.

This group has been instrumental

in bringing in top

quality chamber music en ­

sembles and similar small

group or individual classical

music concerts to many rural

areas of Newfoundland and

Labrador. Any community that

can organize enough patrons

willing to pay for season tickets

can subscribe to the

Association's yearly tour of

musicians from Europe and

other parts of North America.

The Kiwanis Music Festivals

"Newfoundlanders should

take a hint from Jamaica,"

suggests Neil Murray, a S1.

John's music critic. "It Is an

island like Newfoundland, but

the people there gave the

native reggae music such

support that it swept the world.

"Newfoundland's music is

just as distinctive and carries a

tremendous energy that can

captivate anyone, regardless of

their background."

Quietly sipping his coffee, Neil

Murray explains that despite the

distinct and popular style, local

musicians find it difficult to get

work in this province. "Clubs

and bars around the island seem

to hire either one-man acts that

use electronic back-up or else

large travelling show bands

from the mainland. Small duets

and trios have a hard time. Club

owners who do hire local bands

usually pay them less than they

have been held yearly in S1.

John's since 1952 and have now

spread to Grand Falls, Carbonear,

Gander, Corner Brook,

labrador City , and Stephenville.

Some of these are sponsored

by the Rotary and Lions

Clubs. though a more accurate

statement would be that the

music festivals are a triumph of

community participation

wherever they are held . There is

now a Newfoundland Federation

of Music Festivals that holds

Provincial Finals every year

and sends talented Newfoundlanders

to the National Music

Festival in Toronto.

The Newfoundland Symphony,

based In S1. John's,

began to come together informally

as a group of amateurs

in the early 1960s and by 1968

was a full orchestra, conducted

by Ian Mennie. Th e Symphony

generally offers about six

concerts per year, half of which

travel to a town outside of S1.

John's . In addition, small

Today's music scene

pay mainland bands, even

though in most cases the quality

of music is the same. The

mainland bands just offer a slick

presentation with costumes and

stage effects."

TaU , red-haired Neil Murray

hosts"Jigg's Dinner" ,the OZ FM

radio program that features

Newfoundland music and

recitations. A St . John's native,

he writes for the Newfoundland

Herald and has kept in touch

with music all over the province

for many years.

According to Neil, there is

very little jazz played in

Newfoundland but rock, country

and western and traditional folk

music are all represented.

Country and western music is

dominated by A. Frank Willis,

who has recorded an album in

Nashville and popularized the

one-man style of show In

Newfoundland's clubs. In the

groups of Symphony members

perform other concerts around

the province, many of which are

presented to school children in

conjunction with a lecture on

classical music and instruments.

The Department of Music at

Memorial University opened in

August 1975 and admitted its

first students In September 1976.

Already the Department has

been very active around the

province. For example, in the

1978-79 school year they held 128

concerts, about 80 of which were

off campus, and 116 of which

were free of charge, They have

taken over the operation of the

Summer Music Camp that was

started by MUN Extension in

1972, and in August 1978 a brass

quintet toured coastal Labrador

by boat, performing 21 concerts

in 17 days.

Thus, Newfoundland is offered

a variety of musical performances

that ranges from the

traditional to the classical.

fields of rock and blues It seems

that no one band stays together

for very long, but talented

musicians keep re-appearing in

the clubs and on recordings in

various combinations.

Turning to Newfoundland's

traditional music scene, it is

easier to get a clear picture.

"Ryan's Fancy" continues to

pack the clubs as the group

improves its repertoire of

traditional drinking music.

"Flggy Durr" and "The Wonderful

Grand Band" combine

traditional Newfoundland folk

music with modern rock approach

and instrumentation.

The West Coast of the island

appears to be the centre for

traditional music. Clade Sound

Studios in Stephenville records

much of the local talent. The big

names on the west coast are

fiddlers Emile Benoit and Rufus

Guinchud, apd Minnie White on


26 - Decks Awash

Peninsula , but th at

traditional music is being

revived, he has travelled to

festivals throughout Canada, the

USA, and Great Britain.

Wherever' he goes, the people

love his music.

Like Rufus, Emile Benoit

lives on th e West Coast of the

island and in recent years has

played his fiddle at many

festivals around North America.

Born on March 24, 1913 in Black

Duck Brook on the Frenchspeaking

Port au Port Peninsula,

Emile has lived there aU

his life . Through the years he

has earned his living by farming,

fishing, carpentry, and

blacksmithing. Of Emile's 13

children, some have picked up

guitar or accordion-playing in

t he past, but now his youngest

daughter shows an interest in

fiddling like her father. " She is

on ly eight years old," adds

E mile, " but I'm very proud of

that one ."

When it comes to their fiddling

styles, Rufus and Emile differ

considerably. Each man is

pro ud of his own tecbntques'vrbe

style you play makes all the

difference," says Rufus, "and

mi ne is right different. I hold the

Minnie White

fiddle against my right shoulder

instead of the left, and I use only

the middle of the bow . You can

put in notes and playa jig a lot

better with your fin gers than

you can with th e bow . People in

the Shetland Islands noticed that

right away about-my playing-said

they'd never seen such

balance on the bow . Instead of

shakin' that bow a lot, I conce

ntrate on the fingers of the left

hand."

By contrast, Emile Benoit

Don't handle 'er rough

" My accordion playing is

s mooth, like a violin sound,It

sa ys Minnie White, one of Nfld's

m ost well-known accordion

players, .. and I fit in ex t ra notesno

mo re than what sho uld be

th er e , but people can dance to

m y m usic easier than to other

pl a yers because there are no

not es left out."

Minnie lived her early life in

St. Alban's, Bay D'Espoir,

wh er e she began playing accordio

n at the age of eight. She

learn ed most of it from her

father , whom she describes as

"a very smooth accordion

pl a yer" , but by the time she left

hom e at age 16 she had stopped

playing. After a few years of

wor king in the Cod roy Valley,

Spruce Book , and Corner Brook,

she married Richard White in

1939 a nd settled in Tompkins

where she lives today,

"There was always a lot of

good accordion players around

home on the South Coast,"

recalls Minnie, "but once I got

up to t he Codroy I found that

m usic at parties came mostly

fr om Scottish fiddlers, so I

lea r ned to chord or vamp on the

piano and organ with them."

After her six children had

grown up and left home, Minnie

started to play the accordion

again. Now she plays once a

month at the Viking Lounge in

Port au Port, and every Sunday

afternoon at the Starlite Lodge

in Codroy.

plays in more of a French style

that emphasizes the use of the

bow. "The bow is like your

tongue," suggests Emile, "and

it has to come down strong on

the beat. When you br ing the

bow down like I do , it draws

music right from the heart. Play

the bow up like in western style ,

and the music is gone, disappears

into t he air. Fingers bri ng

a sweet tone and make the

people happy, but that bow's got

to work,"

Now that Emile and Rufus

have each produced an album of

their music, readers can mo re

easily appreciate their di ffe ri ng

styles. Bot h men, however, are

glad to see that traditio na l

music is now becoming mor e

popula r than rock and roll on the

West Coast. Emile has even

pla yed in rock bands, but

hastens to add, " The music is

too loud , too ha rd on the head.

There's no exercise in that. Ah ,

but the square dance, that's the

real thing."

If we head into another

economic depression, let us hope

that the many young fiddlers

now on the go will make it easier

on us , just as Rufus and Emile

did for their generation.

She has been playing at the

Star lite for four years, and

people often come from England

or Nova Scotia especially to

hear her play. "I cou ld be goi ng.

all the time," Minnie says

quietly, "but that would keep me

too busy. I don 't like to play any

more than what is really enjoyable.

My time at home, doing

needle work and other th ings is

also important to me."

Minnie also writes so ngs,

plays the ma ndolin, and has

recorded two albums that are

selling well both on and off the

island, Her m usic has he lped

spark a growing interest in

accordion playing on the West

Coast.

" I see more and more yo ung


people at the Starlite all the

time," Minnie adds, " a nd I

would say that traditional music

and country and western are

becoming more popular than

rock and roll."

When we asked if she had any

advice to offer the young accordion

players, she replied that

many of them seem to be

Decks Awash - 27

shaking out the music in a way

that distorts the sound. "There's

a lot of music in the ac cordion,"

Minnie's vows, "you don't have

to handle 'er rough."

Sonny's dream come true

OhSonny, don 't go away

1 am here all alone

Andyourdaddy's a sailor

Who never comes home

And the night gets so long

And the silence goes on

I'm feeling so tired

I'm not all that strong

These are some of the lyrics to

"Sonny's Dream" by

Newfoundland steger-composer.

Ron Hynes. His most-requested

song, it describes a situation

that should be familiar to many

Newfoundlanders.

The song records the conflict

between a young man's dreams

of fortune in faraway places and

his mother's plea for him to stay

and help out at home, because

his father is always away.

Like many Newfoundlanders,

Ron Hynes was raised almost

solely by his mother. "I was

born on December 7, 1950 and

lived in Ferryland until 1 went to

University," explains Ron. "My

father worked on ships and then

built communtcattons towers up

north. My mother and my four'

brothers and sisters saw him for

two weeks around Christmas

and another few weeks in the

summer."

A Country and Western style

tune, "Sonny's Dream" also

makes the song more

representative of the real

Newfoundland lifestyle and

music. Country and Western

music speaks directly to the

working classes all over North

America and Newfoundland is

no exception. "El Paso" by

Marty Robbins influenced Ron

greatly. "Even now," he adds,

"next to Bob Dylan, I would say

that Country and Western is my

fa vourite kind of music."

The Bob Dylan connection is

one that Ron developed when he

first came to S1. John's. He lost

interest in University during his

first year, but got caught up in

"The Void" - a Saturday night

coffee-house that is dear to the

memory of many musicians now

playing around Newfoundland.

It offered good company and

performing experience for folk

musicians at a time when their

music had "no commercial

potential" in St. John's.

"I was pretty much of an

aimless young hippie," Ron

admits. "All I wanted to do was

play the guitar and sing in those

days." However, compelled by

poverty, he went looking for a

job and ended up working for

CHCM radio in Marystown, for

retail stores in S1. John's and for

an encyclopedia ' company in

Montreal. Returning to

Newfoundland in the summer of

1971, he was paid $1 a day as an

actor 'a t the Eastport Festival.

This inauspicious beginning was

material to record, so I got a

lucky break."

the start of Ron Hynes' Flying back and forth between

professional music career.

That winter Ron wrote and

Toronto and S1. John's, Ron

spent the years 1972-71 playing

played songs at various pubs in in clubs around Ontario but

St. John's. His growing enthusiasm

and confidence made

returning here to work on the

..songs for four Mummers'

him decide to try his luck in theatrical shows. Since then,

Toronto. "I spent a solid year

pounding the pavement trying to

Ron Hynes has become part of

the Wonderful Grand Band

sell my songs to publisher-s and along with Brian Hennessey,

recording companies," he says Rocky Wiseman, Glenn Sim­

without bitterness. "But finally, mons, Sandy Morris, and Kelley

totally dejected, 1 decided to 'Russell. The Band was featured

give up as a songwriter. When I on CBC's series "The Root

returned to S1. John's I got­ Cellar" and other shows, but

called by the Audat Company remains as a concert band that

who recorded the album 'Ron gets together for special

Hynes Discovery'. They were engagements since its members

looking for any Newfoundland work separately.


28 - Decks Awash

Writing about Newfoundland

for the Mummer's plays,

especially for th e Johnny Burke

show, gave Ron a greater appreciation

for Newfoundland's

traditional music. Johnny

Burke, " The Bard of Duckw orth

Street" soon placed with Marty

Robbins and Bob Dylan as an

influential performer.

"I admire the traditional style

of Newfoundland's lyrics,"

comments Ron. " They are

simple but so close to the heart.

Take the line from 'The Star of

Logy Bay', that goes 'I met her

aged fat her , who did me sore

confound', the feeling is expressed

very beautifully wit hout

being private or introspective

like modern songs. We are the

only province, besides Quebec,

that has a long musical tradition

to continually draw from, and

I'm amazed that we have

neglected it for so long."

No longer commuting to

Toronto, Ron is determined to

make his living in Newfoundland,

but spends as much time

Jimmy Linegar

Country western woes

In the experience of Jimmy

Linegar, the golden years of

country music in Newfoundland

were the early 1950s, when his

vo ice and guitar were heard

across this province on the

Great Eastern Oil Company's

Bargain Hour and when he

travelled by fishing boat around

the shores of Newfoundland to

play in virtually every outport

he could get to. The feeling of

freedom he had. and the ent

hus iasm of the audiences in

those days prompts Jimmy even

now to remark, "I'd far rather

be doing that then playing in

clubs. Often I'd barely make

enough to cover my room and

board and travelling expenses,

but it was a great adventure. My

first trip to S1. Anthony in 1956

drew such a crowd that I had to

give two shows. After three

hours of playing and singing to a

crowded hall without an amplifier,

I was pretty hoarse."

Born on Blackhead Road near

S1. John's on February 4, 1936,

Jimmy Linegar was first led

into country music by hearing

neigh bour Tom Hayward play

the guitar and by listening to an

.Al bert Slim record when the

Linegar family got a

phonograph in 1949. He was only

16 when he started on the

Ba rgain Hour. Besides the

outport tours, he used to play for

dances in communities nea r S1.

John's chording along to an

accordion for the lancers in

between country songs.

Jimmy's whole way of life

changed, however, almost

overnight when Elvis Presley

arrived on the scene in 1956 and

country music took a nose dive .

After working for a few months

at Eaton's sto re in Montreal, he

could see that roc k and roll was

not about to go away, so Jimmy

joined the Air Force for five

years.

Leaving the Air Force in

1962, Jimmy drove down to

Wheeling, West Virg inia, to

renew his friendship wit h Doc

Williams, famous fo r the WWVA

jamboree, and the country

singer, next to Ha nk Snow, who

ha s most influenced Ji m m y. The

next five years were spe nt

playing around Ontario with

groups such as Ernie and Ca ndy

Lindell and Henry La Riviere ,

The Singing Soldier. In 1966,

Jimmy recorded his only

original song, " Golden Strings"

and its 1,000 copies sold out

quickly.

Considering Jimmy's devotion

to country music and its

dwindling po pularity in the

sixties, it is not too surprising tht

he lost most of his self-respect,

to the point where he was consuming

three bottles of rum and

three packs of cigarettes per

day. Much to his credit, he has

as possible away from St.

Jo hn's. "People talk about ' the

isolated outports'," Ron observes,

"but in terms of

a wareness of our culture, it is

the main centres that are

iso lated and becoming

Ca nadianized. The problem

t hough, is that it is too hard to

make a living around the bay.

Our cult ure can't reaUy flourish

without a better economy. Peckford

has captured the hopes of

m any people and I hope he will

live u p to these hopes."

since totally kicked both habits.

In 1967, Jimmy Linegar

returned to Newfoundland with

all intentions of giving up music

forever, but it was not too long

before he was playing with a

variety of other musicians,

inc luding the traditional

Newfoundland singer John

White, a nd Rex Hemeon from

Bot wood , who plays country

rock. But the recent years have

been quite unsettled for Jimmy,

as he does not like country

m usic 's concessions to rock and

roll, with electric guitars and

dr um s .

"If I could get back into any

type of music today," Jimmy

re ports, " it would be bluegrass,

because it has been too stubborn

to change over the years, just

like me ."

In 1978, the University's

F olklore Department worked '

wit h ETV to prepare a half hour

show about Jimmy Linegar and

his music. This has become one

of th e most requested ETV

productions and Jimmy hopes

th at he will get a chance to do at

least one more before people get

sick and tried of seeing the same

one over and over again. "The

interest in old-style cou ntry

mu sic is obviously out there,"

says the energetic Shea Heights

singer". What I'd really love to

see is for cac to make a n

tnexpenstve


30 - Decks Awash

dland the best of all. Acc ording

to Noel, the traditional music in

Britain is strictly a thing of th e

past relying mostly on academic

research. Newfoundland's

tradition, however, is still part

1)f outport community life as

songs, tunes and recitations are

kept in circulation among the

people.

Unlike most touring bands,

Figgy Duff positively enjoys

going to small, isolated communities

in Newfoundland.

"Once we went to Ramea by

boat," recalls Noel, " and the

club there is really old , built on a

(ish stage held up by poles. We

literally had the place rocking-floor

heaving up and down,

speakers swaying back and

forth so they almost tipped over.

Great times. We make instant

friends after most shows like

that, and get invited to parties in

kitchens that are often more fun

than playing at the club."

One of the main reasons for

the band's su cc ess is that th ey

have made contact with local

musicians, m ostly am ateurs, in

all the co m m unit ies the y

have visited. " Le arning music

direct from the people instead of

from books makes you perform

it with much more heart," adds

Noel. " An audience will judge

you in comparision with the

musicians in their own community.

We oft en put the

mysterious sound of an electric

piano with pb as e-shitter into the

musical back-up of songs that

are traditionally done un ac ­

companied. In order for that to

succeed with a n outport

audience of all ages. the vocal

style has to be very authentic."

Pam Morgan performs most

of the lead vocals and was

singing and writing

arrangements from Nfld . folk

songs collected by Kenneth

Peacock before joining Figgy

Duff. She names Mose Harris of

Lethbridge, Bonavista Bay as

the singer who most helped her.

The Newfoundland songs she

sings have proven to be the

main source of comment from

the outport audiences who will

come forward to talk about the

last time they heard a particular

song years ago, or how the

version they know differs from

what Pam sings.

At present, the band personnel

are as follows : Geoff Butler

( accordian and nute), Noel Dinn

(keyboards, drums, backup

vocals), Pam Morgan (guit ar,

tin whistle, keyboards) and

Dave Panting (bass & mandolin).

Though Figgy Duff tries

hard to meet its audience's

requests for many types of fast

and slow material, it draws the

line at Country & Western songs.

"Basically, Country & Western

is just an imported substitute for

the moods that exist in

traditional music," says Noel

Dinn. "We're interested in

Newfoundlanders returning to

their own music."

Gongs and gannets in the garden.

"Have .you ever heard the

music of raindrops striking a

row of brake drums under the

house eaves? It has a sound

Uke gamelan - Indonesia6 or ­

chestral sounds," remarks Don

Wherry with a grin, " and the

random rhythm of the rain is

also exciting to work with ." .

Don is Newfoundland's most

highly-trained percussionist.

Besides his performances with

the Newfoundland Symphony,

Don teaches classes in his home

and continues to experiment

with new sounds and new

arrangements, bringing his

findings before the public in

travelling school concerts,

multi-media shows, and performances

by a twentieth

century music group called

"Fusion" .

Visitors to Dan 's studio may

sometimes feel as if they are in

an Oriental bazaar or someone's

back shed. Scattered among the

regular drums and xylophones,

various exotic bells, gongs and

drums from Africa, Brazil or the

Orient are old car springs, artillery

shells and bent spikes.

Each produces a different and

often delicate tonal sound.

Wrenches suspended on strings

sound like a set of wind chimes.

Simllarily, old artillery shells

make excellent gongs when a

saw cut is run part way down

one side. These, like other

gongs, can be played with a

fiddle bow as well as with a

mallet. " T he possibilities for

making music are limitless,"

adds Don.

Born on June 3, 1935, in

Hamilton, Ontario, Don Wherry

left school in Grade 10 to work at

a radio station and devote

himself to drumming with dance

bands. In these early years, he

lost two sets of drums when

clubs burned down, but that

didn't stop him. "People told me

I was crazy to drop out of high

school for the sake of music,"

says Don with some

amusement, "but six years later

I was teaching percussion at the

University of Toronto."

Don then played with the

Ottawa Philharmonic and later

with the Toronto Symphony for

13 years until 1973. The Toronto

conductor Seiji Ozawa was a

major influence in developing

Dan's appreciation for Oriental

attitudes to music and the rhyth·

ms of nature. His other connections

with classical music

included performances with '

CBC orchestras, the Canadian

Opera Company, the National

Ballet and the Festival Singers.

At the same time he was playing

with a variety of popular groups

lhat played rock and roll , jazz

and Latin music.

In 1973, Don moved to

Newfoundland. "I wanted to get

out of the nurry of classes and

performances I was involved

with in Ontario," he explains.

"In Newfoundland I found a

freedom to explore new musical

directions and get back to the

essentials. The possibilities for


Decks Awash - 31

Don Wherry. while on tour with his percussion gro up, holds the attention of students.

making music in this province

are very good - lots of audience

enthusiasm , particularly among

young people . The land and sea

here are fa ntastic. I often use

tapes of natural sounds in my

music ,"

Aided by Community

Musician Grant from the

Ca nada Council. Don has toured

a pe rcussion ensemble through

m any schools in rural

Newfoundland. He finds that the

st udents easily respond to the

musical and visual experience

offe red to them, Together with

Paul Bendzsa of the Un iversity's

new Music Dep artment, Don

has also been working as part of

a m usical group known a s

" Fusion" . This group selects

certain musicians and oth er

artists to participate in sp ecial

performances, usually at art

galleries. Though many details

of a "Fusion" concert are

wor ked out in advance. others

are left to the inspiration of the

moment. Don explains that

every performance of a piece is

unique - "A delightful surprise

for both audience and perfor

mers. "

Working with the sounds of

nature - heavy surf on the beach.

icebergs cr ashing ag ainst an

island or bird calls, fascinate.

but yet humble this versatile

musician. " Once when I was

recording a gannet colony at

Cape 81. Mary's, " Don recalls.

"I began to hear a rhythm to.


Decks Awash - 33

Toe tapping around Conception Bay

" T wo days in he aven" is the

way Frank Squ ir es. a fiddle r

from Witless Bay. described th e

folk festival th at took pl ace in

Ha r bour Grace on J uly 8.

Considering th at th e festival

lasted only one da y. tha t is

saying a lot!

The extra 'day' took pl ace

both before and after th e

festival, when the kit chens and

h alls around the community

we re th rown op en for old ­

fashio ned 'ti me s'. All provid ed

their own form of entertain me nt

with songs. tun es. ste ps an d

refreshments.

"You would be surprised at how

little money was inv olv ed in this

Iesttval." explains Bill Bowman

Jr.• Chairman of the Conce pti on

Bay Folk Arts Ass ociation a nd

editor of The Compass. Con ­

cep ti on Bay's weekly

new sp a per. " T he whole affair

cost well under $1,000. thanks to

th e ge nerosity and enthusias m

of people in this area. S1.

Franci s' High School gave us

fr ee use of the ir love ly field

overlooking th e Bay. and the

S.W. Moo re s Memorial Stadium

provided the stage materials.

Other fr ee donations included

equipment, food, beverages and

volunteer labour , t ha t ca me

from variou s local com pa nie s

and individu al s . No one tu rn ed

us down for a t hing. Th e S1.

John's F olk Ar ts Counc il was

also a gr eat help with their

advice and a ss ista nce."

The Con ception Bay Folks Art

Association is less th an a year

old and this was t heir first

festival. Much of thei r s uc ce ss

stems from the way the

Association is or ganized . They

a re not a select group. hut m r d

up of anyone tnro rc s tcc

pr es ervin g folk music and

dance . P eop le get toget her {rom

a lmo st eve r y community on t he

Bay . from Topsail to Bay de

Verde.

" We started last Nove m ber

with 20 people," re calls Bill

Bowman, "and now we h ave

about 60 members. Our monthly

Friday night meetings a re ver y

well attended because they

combine business with plea sure .

After about a n hour of

discussion and resolution s. out

come the instruments and th e

The Festival ope ns with a gang of fiddlers. Socks on the mikes

are to baffle hi l(h winds.


34 - Decks Awash

'time' begins. These parties

actually do a lot to encourage

our members to learn new

tunes, songs. recitations and

dances because their first

performance takes place among

an attentive but understanding

audience. Our meetings are as

important as the festival in

preserving folk arts."

Bill points to the small scale of

the festival as helping to keep

the atmosphere just right. "If

we had $50,000 to spend. I doubt

if we could offer a better

festival. A slick show with paid

professional groups would make

a lot of amateurs feel too nervous

to perform. expectatly the

older people. who have the most

to offer. At our festival. where

no performers are paid and the

audience pays no admission, the

atm os phere is one of simple

enjoyment. Some people get up

on stage for the first time,

F olk Fe stival s attract people of all ages.

treating us to songs we've never

heard before. That is what we

like to see ."

The audience felt very much a

part of this festival with many of

them joining the performers on

stage or eating with them in the

kitchen. This type of atmosphere

is bound to strengthe n

any community, as the ene rgy of

the young works alongside the

experience of the old.


36 - Dec ks Awash

Recording Newfoundland's music

When plans were first made learned as we went a long . At Last year they recorded Peter

for the sound studio in first we thought that com- Francis Quinlan's song "Nan-

Stephenville, it was just a couple mercial jingles would be our cy ." It was the only Newtounof

m usic ia ns wa nting to record bread and butter, with music dland recording to make the top

m usic their own way. Now , four reco rding as gravy, but soon the 100 on the island.

years later, Clode Sound St udio music took off at a run . Now we

ha s a steadily growing bu siness . are doing mostly music and

About to cha nge fro m s-n-ack to try ing to get back into com­

16-track recording, Clode Sound m ercia Is a bit more."

should soo n sta r t m akin g Why would anyone choose

albums for distri bution a cross Stephen vill e for a sound studio?

Ca na da . "That's eas y " , replies Neil, "we

" We' re into ou r thi rd year of were living here and liked the

operation and thi ngs are getting area a lot. Located at the

be tt e r ," says Neil Bish op, chief Harmon Complex, we're close to

engineer at the studio. "We're St . Geor ge 's Bay with lots of

producing better equip me nt, ope n space a round. Musicians

better q uality recordings, a nd who come here really enjoy the

it's better business aU the time." set ti ng. In the middle of a long

Neil is one of several co- r ec ord ing session they can take

owners. Claude Caines, a break to go out and play ball in

m an a ger , is the only ot he r th e field. Those breathing

pa rtne r to be actually em ployed spaces are really important for

at the studio. Larry and Ma x ge tting the best pe rfor m a nce in

Th om s, and Claude House a re th e studio. It wouldn't surprise

a lso pa rt-owner s but they wor k m e if soon we begin attracting

at jo bs else-w here. bands from the ma inland

A fin an cial grant fr om ARD A bec au se of the atmosphere here

provided a bout half of the in Stephen vill e."

or igin al fund ing, a llowing th e Clod e Sou nd so far ha s

own ers to or de r th ei r eq uipment record ed m ore singles than

from th e Stat es a nd do the albums . The owners the mselves

build in g renovations them- played in several of the rock

selve s. " We sta rted out blind ," bands th at they ha ve recorded,

ad mits Neil Bis hop, "and such as " TNT " and "Pinnacle".

Neil Bishop's constant

musical involvement ha s gi ve n

him a good vantage point in th e

musical scene. He figures tha t

local rock recordings are not

getting played enoug h by the

radio stations. Country a nd

we ster n songs are more successful,

but now the re is a thi rd

area of interest - traditiona l

Newfoundland music.

"We have been working a lot

la te ly with Emile Benoit, Minn ie

White and other traditio nal

musicians. We are recording

m usic that should have been

recorded years ago . It's the

you ng people who are interested

in this ty pe of mu sic.

They bring the older mu sici an s

forward and that's really goo d to

see. The amount of exce lle nt

Newfoundland music that has

gone ou t the window is a sin.

With Clode Soun d. we want to

pu t a stop to th at kind of thing

a nd give Ne wfoun dla nd

musicians the quality of

recording they can deserve, at a

price they can afford."


Square dancing is a wellremembered

but rarelypractised

art today in

Newfoundland. Yet the time is

not long gone when young people

taught themselves to swing with

a broom-handle partner or to

dance the steps of "Double" in

the stable loft .

As Mrs . Jane Brothers of Port

Kirwan once told Folklore"

student Ray Fennelly. " The

square dance is. only just. you

get out and you take the

girl.,.. promenade right

around...tc ause when they used

to promenade of course. they

used to be lovely... if you didn 't

know how to dance. you just

didn't dance."

Though each community did

their dances a little differently,

so me dances were nearly

universal. The square dance, or

old-fashioned square set , was

performed in five or six parts

with a new tune for each part. A

typical sequence might be

Advance. Dance Up, Form a

Line, Chain Up, Close In . and

'Round the House.

The Lancers Is also danced in

a sq uare formation, but was

performed right through without

a break, as were the Old Eight,

Th e American Eight and most

Dance

Decks Awash - 37

All join hands by Colin Quigley

MUN Folklore Department

reels. Longways dances, performed

in two parallel lines of

partners, were als o popul a r . Sir

Roger, danced on Random

Island; Kitty's Rambles . from

the Cape Shore ; and th e Self ,

collected in Burin in 1930, are all

good longways dances.

Solo stepping is still to be seen,

perhaps more commonly than

the sets, as it only takes a single

performer to "crack 'er down ".

While collecting material for her

book Fo!bona' from

Newfoundla nd, Maud Kar peles

wrote the following description

of a dance held in Stock Cove .

Bonavista Bay in September of

1929: "The dancing was

dis tinguished by the

m agn ificent stepping of the

m en. This was tremendously

rhythmic and vigorous, and also

very individual."

At the old-rime dances. the

step dance or " Double" as it Is

often called. was performed

during breaks between square

sets and it was common to see

several pairs of men step

dancing, competing to determi

ne who was the better. A light

step was admired and many

claimed they could dance on a

glass plate!

Set danced were popular with

all classes of society in the

nineteenth century, but their

roots go back much further to

the early folk dances of the

British Isles. These dances

varied because people from

different communities adapted

them to fit the communities a nd

different types of mu sic, For

example, the Kissi ng Dance,

well-known in Newfoundland.

was the Cushion Dance in the

1600s and later a ballroom

version appeared in the 1880s.

Folklorists who study these

changes are careful not to accept

one form as the standard

and the other as inferior. All

variant forms are valid an d

contribute to a greater un ­

derstanding of culture.

Music. In particular, has

contributed to the unique

character of Newfound land

dances. Small communities

without instrumentalists often

depended on songs. or on nonsense

vocals known as gob ,

cheek or chin music. Mouth

organs, Un whistles and jew's

harps were co m mon at small

gatherings but for many years

the fiddle was the prtme dance

instrument. The louder, more

durable accordion allowed

dancers to make more noise an d


38 - Decks Awssh

still hear the music, so it

replaced the fiddle in many

areas, though accordion pl ay ers

are even now sometimes ca lled

" fid dle r s ",

Despite the advent of electronic

music, rock and roll a nd

disco. many of th e tradition al

dances are still popular , su ch as

the old-time waltz a nd step

dancing. The more intricate se t

dances rr e qutre a group ac-

cus tomed to d an cin g to gether .

Man y of t he individuals intere

st ed in these types of dances

ha ve r etreated to organize d

groups of se nio r c itiz e ns or

you ng people , m any of whom

perform at folk festivals.

Anyone wh o has been ca ug ht up

in these performances knows

how e njoyable they a re.

Th e unique Newfoundland

dances are fa r from for gotten.

Chronicles of a Bayman

by

Victor BuUer

As a young man I d id not mi ss

any dances. In those d a ys . we

danced square dances, cotill io n

a nd ladies' privileges. I h a ve

seen sixty couples on the dance

floor at one time. Th ere was a

number of excellent accordion

and violin players available .

Between dances the st ep dancers

would take the floor.

Sometimes I danced so many

dances that I could wring th e

pe rspiration from my shirt and

un d er we a r .

Abo ut forty years ago. I w as

skipper of a trading schooner. I

used to visit all the harbours in

the bay. On on e of my trips when

I was visiting Rushoon, m y m ate

Thomas Gilbert and I were

invited ashore to a box party and

d a n ce in the school. The people

of R us hoon were expert dance r s

as there was no other recre ation

in the community . Some of th e

young ladies had sort of a

competition step dancing.

Melin d a Chessman and t wo

other young ladies danced and it

really was interesting to w at ch.

Someone said. "Get Mrs. Hann

to dance. She will ' beat th em

a ll." The lady was Captain John

Ha nn 's wife . She really was a

perfect step dancer. She danced

so many different steps.

One of the best weddings and

dances I ev er enjoyed, occurred

at t he bottom of Long Harbour,

op posite where the ERCO pl an t

is no w situa te d. It was a double

we d ding. and John Norman and

Alec Pittm.an were th e

bri d egroom s. I first visited a

home of on e of th e bride s. To

st art t he ball r olling we had a

co u ple of d r inks. I did not lik e

hard liquor bu t wh en on e is in

someone else 's home one acts

according ly. I remained at th e

girls' hom e and added up a few

more d rinks. I then had to visit

Alec Pittman 's home and indulge

d in m ore d rinks.

Th e dance wa s held in Tom

Murra y's large fish store . He

was t he merch an t at th e time.

Th e young people enjoyed the

d an ce . Mu r r a y sa id . " Boys, it 's

time for t he old c ha ps to show

th e yo ung fe llows how to ha ve a

square d anc e ."

It was th e best dance I ever

enjoyed. After th e dance I was

feeling kind of fu zzy and thought

I should go onboard while I could

still na vig ate under my own

and considering the present

popularity of traditional music,

it would not be surprising to see

people on ce again forming into

lin es and sets as they dance to a

r ejuvenated jig or reel.

I would lik e to thank the

Memorial University of

Newfoundland Folklore and

Language Archives for the use

of this material.

steam. Soon I came to t he

fishing premises where our dory

was tied up . I came to the fishing

stage. but the door was locked.

However, there was a fish flake

by the side of the stage. I

crawled over the stage and then

[ sat and slid down to the corner

of the wharf, trying to be

careful. I went on bo ar d the

schooner and .tied the dory

securely to the schooner. I

r e ac hed the forecastle. hauled

my coat off and fell in the bunk.

The next morning the cook

said, " Sk ipper, the whole ass is

out of your pants." I looked

through the porthole and saw the

seat of my very fine pants

blowing in the wi nd . The seat

was hooked on a nail. Although it

was a costly party. I enjoyed

myself, the people being so

fr-iendly.


"Many people appear to have

a bad attitude towards modern

dance," explains petite Gail

Innes, "largely because they

have seen performances that

come out of a city environment.

Modern. dance accepts every

Shall we dance

type of movement, so many

productions try to convey the

abstraction and harried pace of

city life . Newfoundlanders often

lack a reference point for that

urbanized style of dance simply

because we have a different way

Gail Innes knows that practice is essential to dancing.

Decks Awash - 39

of life here."

Gail Innes. a 26-year-old

native of St. John 's, has

returned to dance in

Newfoundland after earning a

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance

(rom York University in


40 - Decks Awash

Toronto, then going on to further

training and performances to

London. New York. and

Copenhagen. In 1974, she

masterminded the formation of

the Newfoundland Summer

Dance Theatre which toured

many regions of the province.

Since then. Gail has found ed the

Newfoundland Dance Theatre

with Lisa Schwartz and has been

offering dance classes in her

private studio,

Through the Newfoundland

Dance Theatre. Gail and her

partners tried to adopt modern

dance so that it would better

reflect the Newfoundland way of

life. Their first production was

.. Abandoned Ancestors," a

multt-medla show based on the

prints of the Newfoundland

artist David Blackwood, The

show was wetl-recetved by both

audience and critics, inspiring

the dancers to continue their

explorations,

"Both dance and theatre try to

create illusion,It states Gail,

"but dance usually takes the

illusion one step further, Like

painting, dance will work with

abstract aspects of nature, such

as moods and colors. trying to

evoke certain feelings without

being too literal. The last dance

I did, for instance, derived from

the many times I've gone out to

Tommy Sexton is one of Newfoundland's most versatile actors and dancers, Here he portrays some

well-known 'types ', Photo courtesy Nortblight Studios.


Middle Cove and ju st sat by the

sea. The dance in volved sea

sounds and someone walking

around on the be ach. Now I am

working on a piece a bout effects

of the weather on people's

feelings. I enjoy the challenge of

expressing moods through pure

forms and movement, without

words."

Tommy Sexton is another

Newfoundlander who received

most of his dance training on the

mainland but has returned with

the hopes of staying here to live

and dance. Recently, in National

Ballet examinations, Tommy

became the first Newfoundland

male to ever achieve Grade Two

standings. As an actor with

CODCO. he is able to see both

dance and drama beset by a

Crafts from Newfoundland

and Labrador will be exhibited

by the Department of Rural

Development, Craft Section, in

the Calgary Gift Show this year

fo r the first time. We hope the

Western Region of Canada will

provide an excellent market for

many of our products.

If you would like to show

samples of your work in the

Department's booth send them

to the address below before

September 1. We will display

your work and take orders for

CHARD

AND EGG CASSEROLE

40 cups chopped cook chard

Butter

Salt and pepper

8eggs

1 cup Swiss cheese grated

Butter

Salt and pepper

Serves 4

common problem : " What this

province needs is more small

theatres to seat four or ftve

hundred people. The Arts &

Culture Centres are few. and too

expensive for small companies

to perform in.

Bot h Tommy and Gail sha re a

conviction that too many dancers

neglect to continue perfor

ming when they start

teaching. which is usually a

necessa ry way of supporting

oneself. This often results in the

loss of finer points of their style.

Another belief they share is that

more dance should be taught in

the regular school system. Gail

insists that dance offe rs mental

as well as physical training:

"Learning how to do more and

mor e complex movements and

Crafts

yOU. The only cost to you is

postage of your goods to St .

Jo hn's.

When selecting yo ur samples

keep in m ind th at th e buy ers are

very discrimin atin g. The

sa m ples should be of the highest

qu alit y, we ll fin ished , a nd fr esh

looking.

Ano the r wholesale show

coming up is the Toronto Fall

Gift Show, September 16-20 .

Samples for this show are due in

the office by September 1. If you

wish to send samples to both

Decks Awash - 41

then learning how to fit them

into sequences is a very useful.

artistic skill. When I look at

society today. I see speed, high

pressure and lots of decisions.

Training in the arts seems to

encourage people to seek out

new alternatives and then make

their decisions more wisely."

Traditionally, it takes a while

for modern dance groups to

establish themselves, but ac ­

cording to Gail, Newfoundland

is an encouraging prospect.

Dance is becoming more and

more accepted and tourtng

groups. such as the National

Ballet, have expressed surprise

at the number of performances

they are asked to give when they

visit.

Shall we dance?

shows state this in your covering

letter.

All samples must be labeled

stating the wholesale price,

limits and restrictions whe re

necessa ry, and · whether the

sa m ple is for sale at the end of

the show.

ADDRESS:

Craft Section

Dept. of Rur al Development

Confederation Building

St . John's, Newfound la nd

AICST7

Cover bollom of shallow baking dish with chard.

D ot wi th buller. Season to taste.

Underfry eggs . Gently trsnster to top of chard.

Cover with cheese. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with

seasonin g s. Broil until cheese melts.

A perfect choice for a meatless di nner. Chard.

eggs, and cheese ha ve a marvelous afJinity for

on e ano ther.


42 - Dec ks Awash

Newfoundland had several'

distinguished photographers in

t he la te 1800's and early 1900'5­

Among them were S.H . Parsons

who practi ced in t he 1870's ;

James Vey ; Robert E . Holl owa y

an d his daughter Elsie.

Photography

S, H . Parson s had hi s studio on Wa ter Street &: took ph otographs of

many well-known Newfoundlander s.

T ak en by J am es Vey, this ph oto shows Ihe beginni ng of a bi cy cl e r -ace ou tsi de of St . Thomas'

Church on Military Rd ., St . Jo hn's. A turn of the century photo. nolice:the fi sl tire on the

bicycle fender th ird from th e r ight. .


Robert E. Holloway was a noted amateur

p hotographer. His many shots of St . John 's and

rural Newfoundland at the turn of the century

were compiled into a book, now out of print.

CARROT SPONGE CAK E

3 cups shredded carrots

4 egg yol ks

2 cups sugar

IIh cups oil

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 te aspoons soda

Ih teaspoon salt

4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Serves 6

Com bine in l ar g e bowl.

Sift t og ether three times, then add to carrot

m ixture.

F old i n t o batter. Pour into three lO-inch pans or

fo ur s-men pans. Bake at 350° for 20 to 30

minutes. Frost as desired.

Decks Awash - 43

Holloway's daughter, Elsie, continued the family

tradition - Unlike her father, she concentrated

on portrait photography.

CARROT SLA W

8-10carrots

1 green or red pepper

1 Bermuda onion

1 green apple (optional)

1 cup raisins (optional)

1/3 cup sugar

Ih cup cider vinegar

1,4 cup salad oil

lh teaspoon celery seeds

lh. teaspoon dry mustard

lh teaspoon salt

Serves 6-8,

Shred all except raisins. Mix together.

Combine and bring to a boil. Pour over salad.

Chill.


44 - Dec ks Awa sh

Photography remains underdeveloped

"Newfoundland would excite

any photographer who comes

he re. The light is incredibly

clear and its fascinating variety

gives a sense of depth to th e

land. Also. the area Is so clean."

Although he moved here from

Detroit eight years ago. Mannie

Buchheit. freelance photographer

and graphic artist. is

stin excited about

photographing Newfoundland.

Originally a native of Ontario.

he has now settled in St. John's

but spends as much time as he

can in Trinity Bay with his

wife 's family.Both in the city

a nd th e out ports. he finds the

p rovin ce rich in texture for

ph otog r ap hy - the different

styles of architecture, the moods

of the ocean. the rock formation

and people's faces deeply etched

wit h chara cter .

Despite New fou ndland's

visual appeal, photography

r emains underdeveloped.

Acc or din g to Mann ie. part of the

r e as on lies in t he fact that local

photo sho ps carry a limited

sel ection of equipment a nd

supplie s are more expensive

than on t he m ain lan d. But

Mannie thinks the real reason is

a shortage of courses and

competitions that co uld en ­

courage photographers to

develop their abUities.

"Before people can be ex ­

pected to appreciate the finer

points of photography as an art.

they muust learn the technical

aspects of how to use the

equipment properly. For four

years, I've been teaching

photography courses in St .

John's through the University's

Extension Service and these get

filled up on the first day of

registration. Obviously there is

a great interest in the subject. I

know that elsewhere in the

province camera shops offer

courses in photogra ph y, but I

suspect that many of the m ha ve

t he sa me p rob le m tha t I do - no

access to a darkroom to teach

the techniques of developing a nd

printing. The general shortage

of darkrooms in Newfou nd la nd

is also fru str a ting fo r tr ained

photographers who would lik e to

do th eir ow n pr intin g.

" There have bee n so me good

exhi bitions of phot ogaphy th at

have toured New fo und la nd, but

not ne ar ly en ou gh of them. What'

J would r eall y lik e to see is a

co llection of top -notch

Ne wfoundland photos put

toge th e r and judged by a

co m petent panel."

As is the case with other

p roficien t ph otogr a pher s in the

pr ovin ce , Ma nnie sells some

prints at craft fairs. but that is

about all . It is frustrating for

these people that their

docu m entar y and artistic

a bilities go un recognized.

Mannie thin ks the government

and t he industries shoul d te nder

co ntra cts for photo series to be

taken on specific to pics, instead

of me rely asking for su bm

ission s of ra ndo mly taken

shots.

" It's e asy to get discoura ged

by th e lack of su pport fo r

ph ot og r aphy," observes

Mannie, " but I can be pa tient.

Lately I' ve been doing some

painting instead - a pa norama of

S1. J oh n's har bou r that is 60 feet

lon g and almo st six feet high.

Some people mig ht be shoc ke d

to hear th at it is going to be

installed as a mural in 'Martha's

Pub' but I th ink it is a great

ide a . P eop le ar e e ntitled to see

art wh erever the y happ en to

be ."

Manni e B ucbb ei t , surrounded by St . J ohn 's harbour - a murs l n e p ain ted from ph otog r aph s.


48 - Decks Awash

Theatre

A history of Newfoundland theatre

P erhap s th e m ost un ique of all

Newfo undlan d tra d iti ons is

mum m e r ing , o r ja nneying, as it

is often c all ed , Or iginated b y

ear ly co lo n is ts fr om E ngl an d

a n d Ireland, mummerlng beg an

as a dram a ti zed co mbat bet ­

ween tw o he r oe s--ge ne r all y St.

P a t r ick versus St. George, or St .

Georg e vs . a T u r k is h kn igh t.

Th e se co m bats died out

around th e ti me of Wor ld War J,

b u t t he mu mmerin g t radition

con ti n u ed in another form .

During th e 12 days of Christmas.

p eop le wou ld disguise themselves

an d go around knocking

on th e doo rs of their neighbours.

While they sang, danced, and

cavorted about the kitchen, the

ho sts wo uld h a ve to guess the

m umm e rs ' or janneys' identities

. Once the guests were

recog n ized , they were given

cake an d rum to fortify them for

the trek to the next house.

Mummerin g had an interesting

psych ologic a l function in that it

allowed people a n escape from

their normal life , permitting

them to un leash hostilities and

otber emotions in a controlled,

accepte d s it ua tion.

Other tha n mum m ering ,

drama in rural Ne wfo undland

wa s on very informal b a si s ,

though m onologu es a nd pl a ys

we re r egula rly composed a n d

pe rf ormed . Th e take-ove r o f

sch ools, homes . or ba rn s for

th is p urpose m a y hav e been

t empor a r y, b ut ru r a l

N e wfo u nd la nders' in vol vemen t

with th eatre is p e r m an en t ,

despite th e la ck of historica l

fa ct s about it .

T heatre in St. J ohn 's however,

h a s be en well documented and

we are indebted to Paul O'Neill

for co mpiling the follo wi ng

informa ti on in his book The

Old elt City. "For the benefit of

th e poor, there will be perfo

r m an c e s on Tuesday evening

the 18th Inst. at the store lately

occupied by Mr . Wm . Row, the

celebrated tragedy of 'T he Fair

Penitent'''-thus ran the advertisement

for the first known

full length pla y performed in St.

John 's during the Spring o f

1817. Row's store seems to have

survived the fire of 1817 and

pro ba b ly hosted the fir st opera

perfo r m ed in the city in 1820:

" T he Duenna ; or th e Do ub le

El op e m en t. "

On November ath. 1822, t he

foundati on stone was la id for the

new St. J ohn 's Theatre at the

co rner of Duckworth St. an d

Queen's Road. The theatre

q uiCkly bec a m e a centre of

social scandal and malicious

gossip, coupled wit h the general

p r obl e m of hot candle wax

dripping on p at rons ' heads!

Th e a tr e at this time was totally

amateur, and all female roles

were played by males until 1847

when " t he celebrated Miss

Davenport" appeared on stage.

Il was later discovered that she

was a child prodigy of about

eleven years of age.

The Great Fire of 1846 sent the"

th e atre up in smoke, and

th e re a ft e r , the city received

visits from dozens of American,

Canadian, and British

p ro fes s io n a l travelling comp

a n ie s . These plays were perform

ed in such places as the

British Hall, the Court House,

and Armstrong's SaU Lo ft, until

t he Fisherman's Hall was buill


48 - Decks Awash

was not restricted to the city.

The Theatre Arts Club would

take its plays to Brtgus. Petty

Har bour a nd on the Sou th er n

Shore, for example where they

we re well r eceived . Howe ve r , a

ha ndic a p la y in tr an sp or tin g th e

pl a ys a ro und the pr ovin ce as

there wer e m an y pr op s an d

eq uip me nt needed for prop e r

stagtng a nd effec ts.

Thi s circumst a nce has be e n

overcome to some e xte nt by

such ne wer gro ups as CODCO,

the Mummers a nd R is ing T ide.

Holmes has great resp ect for the

effo r ts of these tr oup es.

" I don 't kn ow how they ca n

make a liv in g a t it. Th er e is a

limit to th e a mo unt they can

ea r n in this town because it isn 't

big enough a nd there aren't

e nough people int er ested to go . I

admire their s ucces se s to date

perhaps becau se I can un ­

derstand th e situa tion in which

they find th emselv es."

Profess ion als a re not th e only

a ct ors who a re pr aised by

Holmes . He felt th at th e

amateur pr od ucti ons whi ch

have bee n pr esen ted here are

usually equal and oft en su rpass

the quality of professional

shows. " P rofess ionals do it for a

livi.ng and amateurs do it for

fun," he ob serves. "This is a

narrow distinction that has little

to do with an actor's talent."

T he Kinsmen and other

musicals have been the main

project of Holm es ' spare time

over the past few years.

Although he will not be involved

in these productions this year he

will be returning next season to

help entertain the audiences of

Newfoundland.

Moving from an outport

kitchen into a larger world

Whe n it com es to writing

plays, t he r e is no substitute for

direct experienc e with people.

Since he graduated from MUN

in 1953, Tom Cahill has served in

t he Navy and has been a

brakeman on th e Ne wfoundla nd

Railwa y . In the late 19SOs, he

r an unsuccessfully for the

Conse r va ti ve Party and worked

on two newspapers • The

Evening Telegra m in St. John's

and the Weatern Star in Corner

Brook.

For almost 20 years, Tom

Ca hill has been working with

profes sio nal th eatr e a nd as a'

producer for CBC. but he has

ne ver had formal theatre

training. His kn owledge has

co m e through continual involve

m e nt with amateur

th e atre , beginning with variety

sho ws at the uni versity and in

th e na vy .

" When I think back to the

hu ge productions th at amateur

groups used to st ag e in this

province, I really wonder what

has happened to people's enthusiasm

for theatre ." Tom

Ca hill speaks these words

perched on th e edge of his chair

a nd looking mu ch younger than

hi s ag e of SO. " In th e early 1960s

there used to be as many as five

a m a t eur companies in St. John's

a nd three in Corner Brook. We

Tom Ca hill

nev er got mon ey from th e

government. In stead we used to

hustle around selling ad ­

vertising space in our programs,

rounding up mone y and props

from th e community and

rehearsing wherev er we could.

At one point we were rehearsing

'The Crucible' in the back kit-

chen of the Hotel Newfoundland,

"Theatre today, by conu-ast.>

seems dominated by welfare

artists who won 't even use a pay

toilet without a government

grant. When I go down to their

rehearsal hall I see IBM

typ e wr ite rs a nd sec retaries.

Th e last thing these peo ple have

to worry about is whe ther t he

play is goin g to pay for itself. I

think th eir produ ctions suffer

(rom ha vin g no nee d to please an

audience and being too detached

from the local community."

Tom's first major work,

" Tom morrow Will Be Sunday,"

was adapted from Harold

Horwood's novel of the same

name. It was used to open the

Arts and Culture Centre in St .

John's on May 22, 1967. It then

went on to win the national

Dominion Dr ama Festival. His

original pl a ys "Jodv . or t he

Starrtgan" (1972) and " As

Loved Our F athers" (1974 ) have

won Best Producti on and oth er

awards at Newfoundland's

Regional Dr am a F estivals.

Tom shrugs his shoulders at

this and says, " It' s nice to get

these awards, but I'm af raid

they mean ve ry little in artistic

terms. The problem with dr a m a

in Newfoundland and Canada in

general is that we 're all too


eady to praise plays merely

because they are about our

people. I get festival organizers

calling me up, asking for unpr

od uc ed plays about

Newfoundland, saying that they

wi ll perform them. I am

r e luc t a nt to send them anything

because I fee l that a play has to

be re -written during rehearsal,

af te r a number of actors and

c ritics have offered suggestions

fo r improving it. I think that

theatre companies here should

br ing in hard-nosed directors

fr om New York, Montreal and

Toronto, ones who have no

friends in the cast and can look

at the play in purely dramatic

terms."

Tom freely admits that, like

other Newfoundland

playwrights, he has been guilty

of writing plays about outports

in which he has never lived. He

says this was necessary to give

Newfoundland a body of serious

drama. Prior to the late 1960s,

theatre companies looked to

foreign plays for seriousness

and only comic Newfoundland

material was performed. "Now

th a t we ha ve serious native

dramas, it is time to improve

it," he states. "Otherwise we

are in danger of relying too

Decks Awash - 49

heavily on standard

Newfoundland ingredients :

hard times, quaint expressions

and old-fashioned sentiments.

My ne xt pl a y is going to have no

o utport pe opl e in it at all .

" I admire David French's

plays ' Leaving Home' and 'Of

the F ie lds La te ly .' They show

Newfoun dland people livi ng in

Toronto - a much more spacious

and interesting situation, one

that yo u don't have to be a

Newfoundlander to understand.

Maturity comes to our drama as

we get free of the outport kitchen

formulas and explore new

situations."

Creating shows about ourselves

" The American plays that

might make it in Edmonton or

Toronto won't make it here

because the lifestyle in

Newfound land is so unique that

it needs its own dramatic

litera tu r e, " explains David

R oss , a member of Newfoundl

and's Rising Tide Theatre t hat

pe rf or m s what could best be

te r med 'social action theatre'.

"We fin d a cause that interests

us ," David further explains.

"We assemble people who are

in terested in the same cause and

we work for about six weeks to

create a show.

"Ideally, every play we create

sho uld a ffect people's lives.

Tha t is what 1 consider the best

theatre to be about. One of our

goals wit h "Daddy, What's a

Train.' (a Rising Tide

Produ c tion ) was to say to people

across the is la nd , 'This is your

train a nd this is what it meant to

you . It 's pa r t of your culture and

it' s u p to you if you want to le t it

stay or go.' We wanted to show

the m the situation so they could

make a decis ion."

Chris Brookes, artistic director

of th e St. John's based Mumm

ers group, was one of the first

to bri ng this type of social action

theatre about in Canada. He

concur s with what David says.

" I am interested in making

soci al change," the 35-year-old

St . John's native explains. "I

think theatre has to reflect

society to itself in a very d irect

and immediately useful way.

My generation grew up wi th this

w ho le thing of the great

American ideal. We often felt

second-class and inferior

because the im portant culture

was in Ontario. But times are

changing."

It can safely be said that for

years Canadian theatre co nsisted

of plays borrowed from other

co unt ries - a native style of

th eatre ju st did n't exist. Theatre


Passe Muraille in Toronto has

made great strides towa rd

developing a Canadian style. It

began to look at social issues in a

vaudeville-type setting. Then

Newfoundland with its distinct

culture, grabbed hold of that

style, through the Mummers

and later Rising Tide . Now

theatre companies, similar to

Newfoundland's two, are

springing up everywhere in

Br iti sh Columbia, Saskatchewan

and of course, Ontario.

Chris Brookes who has degrees

in theatre from such notable

institutions as Yale University

and the University of Michigan,

started the Mummers back in

1972, along with several other

people who were committed to

th e development of Newfoun·

dl and through theatre. They

worked "collectively" in that

everyone helped write the plays.

Seven yea rs and 14 productions

la te r Chris is still committed to

th at ideal, despite some turbule

nt times. 'They Club Seals,

Don't They' which gave many

Ca na dia ns their first glimpse of

" the other side of the seal hunt

controversy" was, in many

ways, the troupe's most successful

creative collective effort

. 'Dying Hard' about the men

a nd women who died as a result

of the St. Lawrence mine was

perh ap s their most emotional.

'Buchans, A Minetown', a show

abo ut a bitter strike, and

'G ros Mourn' about the effect of

a nati onal park on the area

residents, were perhaps their

most political and the 'Bard of

Prescott Street' and 'Some

Slick' were probably their most

lyrical. But all plays which have

toured the province have

touched the hearts of

Newfoundland's residents.

A year ago, another theatre

company, called Rising Tide,

was formed. One of it's first

productions was the well

received 'Daddy's What's a

Train' which focused on the

Newfoundland railway and what

it meant to the people who were

employed by it and who lived

along the tracks. Their second

collective production which will

run this fan will look at the

future of Newfoundland and

what its resources will mean in

about 20years.

Both David and Chris agree

that audience reaction is what

keeps this type of play going.

Explains 34 year old David, a

B.C. native who has worked with

both the Mummers and Risi ng

Tide, "We always invite peop le

to stay and talk with us afterwards

and people do stay. As

soon as the lights go dow n, we

spill out into the audience and

talk to them. With 'Daddyts

What's a Train,' people came up

to us and said that such and such

was just like my grandfather

and so on. That's very

gratifying."

What Is unique about this type

of theatre is that the collectively

written plays are rarely performed

by other groups. Out of

all of the Mummers Droductions.

only one has been performed by

Decks Awash - 51

someone else. The material is

good, but often it's too localized

for mainland groups and upon

reading the script, other gro ups

sometimes will want to create

their own personalized collective

efforts. Furthermore, in

many cases, the performers are

creating roles especially for

themselves and they are ve ry

difficult for someone else to

perform.

Financing such theatre is

probably the biggest headache

for both companies. Without the

Canada Council, a federal

corporation dedicated to supporting

and developing the arts

in Canada, the two companies'

existence would be limited, if

not nonexistent. Ticket sales

only make up a fraction of the

cost of a production. But there is

no doubt about it. This type of

theatre Is here to stay. Dav id

Ross puts it very well whe n he

says, "The only two plays tha t

have ever sold out In Ste phe nville

Arts and Culture Centre

were our show 'Daddy, What's a

Train?" and the Mummer's

show 'They Club Seals, Don't

They?'. He further adds, "The

artistic climate here is very

healthy, not in the sense that it is

overflowing with money, but

because there is a uniq ue

culture here to be recorded a nd

peop le are interested in

recording and hearing about

that culture. In other pa rts of the

countr y they tend to be looking

ve ry hard for some part of thei r

past that is worth making a play

about.'

Amateur theatre is alive

and well in Labrador

"O ur first priority is to please

the local audiences of Labrador

City ra ther tha n concentrating

on co mpeting in the drama

fes tival," explains Kathy Pottle

of the well-known Carol Players

in Lab rador City/Wabush.

This amateur theatre compa

ny with numerous drama

awards to their credit attempts

to stage four productions per

year: one in September, a play

for the Dominion Drama

Festival, a third production and

a copte of one-act plays

sometime during the year. Also

they perform . variety shows

when they perform variety

shows when they can manage to

fit them in.

The Carol players have a paid

membership of 60-70 people,

with at least 30 others being

active. The success of the grou p

has always depended on "tryi ng

to fit in new me mbers". Fo r

example, the latest prod uctio n

entered into the Dominion

Drama Festival, The Crucible,

called for 23 Individuals to

participate. Fifteen of the m

were recent joiners.

Mrs . Pottle. a playwright

herself, indicated that many of


52 - Decks Awash

the teachers in La brador City

are active in the group. Dur ing

the su mme r when they have

time a way fr om school. they

often s cout around for ne w

plays. Th ere is g row ing in te r e st

in Canadian pr odu ctions so the

troupe tries to incl ud e t hes e in

its plans,

Almost totally dep en dent upon

the Support of the ir pat r ons, the

Carol Pl ay e r s a re con t inually

fund-r a is in g th ro ug h sponsoring

bingos and the like . Fortunately,

the audien ce s have been appreciative

of the company's

efforts and ge nerally have been

most supporti ve .

T he Ne wfou ndland a nd

Labrador Dra ma F e sti va l is th e

la rgest underta king th e group

faces, costing a pproxima te ly

$5,000 for tr a vel a nd r el at ed

e x pe nses. The provtnct at

department of touri sm,

re crea ti on a nd c ulture, subs

idi ze s ha lf of th e co st but the

troupe m us t find $2,500 on its

o wn. Th is for ce s th e volunteer

co m pa ny to be constantly

seeking sources of fin an cial

assistance. The g ro up a lso i.s

inv olved in th e Atl antic Drama

Festival which is sponsore d by

Eastern Provincial Air w a ys .

In s pite of th e rece pt ion th ey

At the Atlantic Drama tesuvet awards in

M arch 19 79, Arth ur !tf ot>"er of Ne w

Brunswick an d Gord on R alph of

Newfo u n d land. both dir ector s of play s.

were presented with $250 E .P.A . a wa r ds

by H arold Wareh a m of E .P.A.

ha ve r ec ei ve d , and the quality of

producti ons now established, t he

Ca ro l P la ye r s are still facing

e q uipment pr ob le m s . They use a

school a udi toriu m for re hearsals

a nd perfor m a nce s but t he

seats, m a de of tin a nd pl a sti c ,

a re un com fortable. As k ed

wh ethe r th e re may be hope of

building an Arts a nd Culture

Ce ntre in La br a do r City , Kathy

P ottle responds, "Due to

go ve r nment cutbacks. it doesn't

loo k too hopeful." All the same,

s he st ill speaks enthusiastically

about th e Carol P la ye r s and the

co ntributio n they have made to

a m a te ur th e atre in t he pr o vin ce .


Recently, an art ist said "Art

is All Over" , me anin g th at art is

everywhere, while at the same

time th at art with a ca pital 'A',

as a separ at e area of study, is no

longe r valid in th e m odern

world. Today many artists hav e

climbed out of their ivo ry tower s

and are more willing th an ever

before to dis cus s their work a nd

more interested in ha ving it

touch people's daily lives.

In the visual arts, we di scover

that many artists no lon ger

prod uce a single work su ch as a

painting, a scu lpture, or a film .

Instead, they are pr odu cing

adventures, re corded in several

ways, that follow long-term

re lationships between peop le ,

special places and objects. F or

example, one of the a rtists who

attended a recent workshop at

t he St . Michael's Printshop

spe nt 60 days getting here on a

long bus trip that was part of an

art pr oject.

As he tr avelled from Alberta

th ro ugh the USA and finally to

New foundland, Alex de Cosson

attached plastic tag-envelopes

to various buildings and oth er

objects that caught his fan cy .

Each tag contained a survey

sheet to be completed by

whoever found it , asking about

that pe rson's relationship with

the tagged object and other

questions. Completed forms

were to be mailed to hi s Albert a

address, where they now hav e

become part of an exhibit that

also includes photos taken

during the trip, pages from

Alex 's journal, small objects

along the way , and more.

As is t he case with much of

today's art, Alex's project

em phasizes the contribution of

people other than the artist

toward the end result. Theatre

has always used this approach,

bu t now other arts are usin g a

communal ' approach a s well .

Man y fields of science a nd

kno wledge that seem far

The Big Picture

What is art

removed from art are actually

bei ng studied by artists who

realize, th at in order to excite

t he per ceptions of modern

people, art must work wit h our

tec hnological wor ld to some

extent. Newfoundland mo dern

d ancer Gail Inn es reports tha t

" The Effort -Shape System of

Movem ent Analysis" which

dan cer s now study is also used

to pl an the eflicient layout of

astronauts' space capsules.

Th ere is an art to cooking.

fishi ng , lig hting a wood stove. or

a lmo st anyt hing , as long as it

re quire s careful judgement and

skill. P eople who make their

liv ing fro m art merely ex plore

fascinating aspects of life and

usually communicate them to

ot he r peop le. Some a rtists do

this so su cc essfu lly that th ey are

paid to co nti nue.

By m aking art a full -fime

Decks Awash - 53

activ ity , artis ts us uall y dev elop

a greater sensitivity to the world

around th em . In turn, they

transmit their findings to others

and enable them to see , hear and

feel new aspects and perspectives

of life .

Recently, Mary Pratt painted

a picture depicting the gutted

fore-quarters of a moose

hangin g fr om a hook of a tow

truck . Onc e th e initia l shock has

been ove rco me, people who see

this work m ay co me away with a

new a pprecia tio n for the beauty

th at res ides In death . Don

Wherry ma kes m usi c with old

sp ikes and ca r pa rts, while ot her

a r tis ts m ak e scu lpture s out of

si m ilarly neg lec te d objects ;

driftwood , dea d puffin s and

sea weed. In e very cas e , art

de mo ns trate s tha t " t hings ar e

seteom wh at th ey seem' and that

there is more to life than we

realize.

Part 0/ an envi ro nmental ar t piece by Yolanda Van Dyck ­

c re ati ng a sp eci al pt s ce for con te m p l ation.


54 - Decks Awash

"When I returned to

Newfoundland in the early

sixties, I remember going

around to the communities,"

explains Edythe Goodridge,

curator of the Memorial

University's Provincial art

galleries, and head of the visual

and performing arts section of

Memorial University's Extension

Service. "All kinds of

traditional arts were disappearing...

folk arts, music, crafts

and so on . You didn't hear music

in the kitchen any more and in

many cases the spinning wheels

had been sold. It

Edythe Goodridge has spent

the last ten years trying to

recreate a pride in Newfoundland's

art forms. A woman

whose energy is only matched

by her tongue, she will devote

hours and ideas trying to help an

individual or group get on its

artistic feet.

Her commitment to the arts

began in the early 1970s when

she started working with

Memorial's Extension Service,

an arm of the University

committed to community '

development. "A few of us

decided that cultural development

had to be considered as

part of community' development.

At that time, the

provincial government was

becoming sold on the concept of

rural development. The Eastport

peninsula was singled out

as a target area. And the

provincial government asked

the Extension Service to provide

additional programs for that

peninsula that would attract

tourists from the adjacent

federal Terra Nova park. We

designed a festival around that.

This was Extension's "entry

into the arts."

From then on Edythe, along

with some practising artists who

were hired by the Extension

Service. put their efforts into the

The growing up of

Newfoundland's art

nurturing of local arts. extension

offered practical advice

on how a rtists could obtain

financial assistance. It offered

innovative programs, such as

the summer arts program, the

community artist-In-residence

program and the St. Michael's

Printshop. It also offered

rehearsal space, jobs through

courses and opportunities to

exhibit through its art galleries.

Edythe became curator of the

art gallery in 1974 and she

literally opened its doors to

artists of all kinds...painters,

poets and playwrights. She

allowed them to come in , to

discuss, to exhibit and to per-,

form.

Today the artistic climate in

Newfoundland is perhaps the

most productive, flourishing and

distinctive in Canada. Extension

and the work of Edythe '

Goodridge can only take a little

credit. The interest and ability

were there all along. It just had

been momentarily numbed and

needed to be reawakened.

Edythe can see the difference

in the artistic climate by the

works now being produced. "In

the early 70's, the common

denominator was what I call a

lament or a dirge, but now there

is a very strong sense of

celebration," she states. This

renewed interest and vitality is

demonstrated by the fact that 5

young Newfoundlanders came

to Edythe from art schools

looking for jobs this summer.

"Imagine," she cries, waving

her hands wildly , "We actually

have 5 graduates of an art

school."

But there are still some people

who need convincing that

Newfoundland's heritage and

culture are important. " I find

that the 40-60 years clds are the

people that have consciously

abandoned their Newfoundland

ways," explains Edythe,' who

Edythe Goodridge .

herself is 40. "They are the ones

that are putting obstacles in our

way of revivaL Many of these 40­

60 year aids are now

Newfoundland's leaders and it's

to them that one must look for

guidance, but they can do a lot to

stifle the interest. Art has to

become an important part of

community life again. But if it

doesn't get into the school

system, the government and the

day-to-dey life then it becomes a .

phenomenon rather than a

culture. It ends up as historical

information."

One way to help art become

accepted is the creation of a

Newfoundland arts council. This

is something that Edythe has

been fighting for . In the budget

which was brought down in July,

a provision for the establishment

of an arts council was

made. $180,000 was designated

for such a body . " I can have a

rest now,';' Edythe grins, as she

leans back in her chair. " My

hardest work is done. "


It's a pretty picture,

but does it sell?

Almost ever y artist will tell you that it is

difficult to make a living se lling poems, pla ys

or paintings. Sometimes it takes six months

to create a work that may not sell for years or

may only fetch $250 several months later.

That is why artists have had to depend on

governments, private in sti t uti ons or

patronizing individuals for backing. In

Newfoundland this is particularly true.

While m an y claim that mountains of money

ha ve gone int o th e arts, Edythe Goodrfdge .

Curator of th e provincial art gallery, states

that although this may be so, the money docs

not always reach the indi vidual artist. " Much

of this m oney in Canad a ha s gone into institutions

rather than to ar ti sts," she states.

In oth er words, it has gone to wards arts and

cult ure centres or art schools.

Mrs. Goodridge acknowledges that Canada

Council, a federally funded agency, has been

vital to the development of artists in this

province. " They have paid us special at ­

tention," she states, "because t hey

recognize the strength of our artists. By the

same token, the artists have made good use of

the grants, but they haven't plugged into all of

them yet."

Artists also support themselves by teaching

e ither within the sc hoo l sys tem as Reg

Shepherd and Mavis Penney do or by tea ching

for Memorial University'S Extension Service

as Mannie Buchheit and Yoka Gray do . The

art g allery also absorbs about a do zen artis ts

a ye a r.

" Apa r t from these sources" , explains Mrs.

Goodridge, " a r ti st s are now starting to get

jobs elsewhere because of a change in at-

Decks Awash - 55

titudes. Employers and co m m unit ies arc

starting to adjust to th e fa ct th at art ists do not

work 9-5, 40 hours a week."

In fact, artists work season all y , mu ch lik e

fishermen and farmers. If som eon e is wri ti ng

a play or developing a series of pa in tin gs or

drawings, that person ma y work all ni gh t and

all day for a four or si x month period. Men ­

tally and creatively exhausted, they m ay t ak e

the next several months off to renew th eir

creative energies.

"Sometimes this makes it diffi cult for an a r t

ga llery to work," explains Mrs . Goodridge in

re ferring to her rol e as Gallery cura to r, "but

we now kn ow when to expect the ne xt 'crop' of

work." She also adds that th e ga lle ry

sometimes tries to help out artists bet ween

"harvesting" because if an artist is se lfemployed,

there is no such thing a s un em ­

ployment insurance.

The artists, too , continually help e ach oth er .

Accord ing to Mrs. Goodridge, if a n artist ge ts

a grant or a job or makes a sa le, he or she

often share food , material. residence and so

on. Artists may not necessarily be consc ious

of this pattern, but those who are " ma king it"

are usually more than willing to help some one

who is just starting or who is between su ccesses,

The art community, like any com m unity ,

has its differences and unfortunately som e of

the squabbles become ele vated beyond all

proportions, but for the most part it 's a st ro ng

united community stretching throu ghout th e

entire province and in re cent yea rs it ha s

become more and more self-s uppo r-ting.

Trying to please the masses

" If we had to keep this place

running on art for art's sake, we

wouldn't have much money,"

muses John Perlin, sitting in his

51. John's Arts and Culture

Centre office. Responding to

comments that the Centre offers

too much 'low brow' material

like the Irish Rovers, Perlin. as

the Director General of the

provincial Arts and Cult ure

Centres, points out thatpleastng

the majority of the population

occasionally can be profitable,

as well as popular.

"The Carleton Show band is

the lon gest run ning success

story at the centre," says Perlin,

who fir st assumed his duties in

1967. "They're coming back for

their 12th or 13th visit, and they

always play to capacity

audiences . I' m a firm believer

th at this centre a nd others

belong to th e people a nd there's

a lot of people who want to hear

the Show band or Irish Rovers.

"We make mon ey off these

shows and we use that money to

support oth er less profitable

shows. We recognize that it's

important to strike a balance."

Trying to make sure that as

many Newfoundlanders as

possible see something of inte

rest in one of the province's


56- Decks Awash

fiv e Arts a nd Culture Ce ntres is

Perlin's job . In additi on to being

Director General of th e Arts a nd

Culture Ce ntr es , Perlin al so is

Director of Cultural Affairs with

the P rovincial gover n me nt's

department of tourism. First

formed in 1972, the di vision

Perlin heads performs se veral

functions. It operates th e

provincial Ar ts and Cult ure

Centres, runs the Arts a nd

Letters competition sponsored

each year by gov ernment and

administers a " s m all " grant s

and awards program aimed for

the most part at amateur arts '

organizations. The public

library system also comes und e r

this division.

The Grants and Aw ards

program, like the libraries a nd

the Arts and Letters Com ­

petition, is administered by a

small committee, and focuses on

amateur efforts. The committee

prefers to fund one-shot

programs, or supply groups with

' seed ' money, rather than acting

as a resource for professional

groups. Perlin, long associated

with amateur theatre 'groups,

sees this amateur focus as bein g

important.

"The fact that people earn

their living in another way

doesn't mean that th ey don 't

have an interest in cr eative or

artistic activities," states this

outspoken director who is th e

son of a noted historian, A.B .

Perlin, and Vera Perlin advocate

of education for the

mentally retarded. "The

symphony is a prime example ;

they have a number of

professional people, but th e vast

majority consists of housewives,

university . personnel,

secretaries or accountants. I

feel strongly that the government

should remain involved in

trying to keep a number of th es e

large community-oriented

programs going."

The number and range of

activities supported by P erlin's

Cultural Affairs Division is

startling. Various performing

arts councils around th e

province receive assistance , as

does the symphony. A Bonne

J ohn Perlin

j.

Bay weaving gr oup received a

$600 gr a nt last yea r to hel p keep

weaving cl asses go ing th r ou gh

the winter . Am at eur t heatre

groups receive assistance, wi th

the div ision oft en looking

favourably a t gr oups tha t ha ve

no other source of go ver nment

funding a nd who a tte m pt to

raise part of th eir own funding .

In addition to this so rt of ac ­

tivity, the gra nts a nd awar ds

progra m helps groups, such as

t he Riding Tide Theatre . to

c a r ry out special projects .

Whil e the preference is for

one -shot assistance, the division

often finds itself playing a nother

r ole .

" I suspect that groups s uc h

as t he Folk Arts Council an d

the Symp hony a re on-going

fundin g projects. That's a

problem wit h ve ry small grants

a nd awards programs; yo u ca n

ea sil y becom e lock ed into

funding those groups th a t ha ve

little other means of support,"

he admits.

In hi s dual ro le as Director of

Cult ura l Aff air s a nd Director

Ge ne ral of the Arts a nd Cult ure

Ce nt res, P e rl in holds a vast

amount of powe r in the arts'

communit y, a nd he sees two key

focuses for his divis ion in the

future . The first , despit e th e fa ct

that cl ose to 80 pe r cent of th e

Newfoundlan d people live within

range of the arts ce ntr es , would

be to fur th e r ex pa nd the network,

wit h La br ad or a nd the

Burin P en ins ul a bei ng a r e as he

feel s deser ve be tter fa cilities.

Th e ot her th r ust would in volve

th e pr ovin ce' S sc hools. Perlin

feel s it is imp or tant th at

children be ex posed to th e arts

a t a n ea r ly age. He notes t ha t

th e centres now ha ve a n

audience th a t is , for the most

part middle-aged , a nd feel s tha t

further wor k with you t h would

p a y di vid ends.

With a decade of solid ex ­

perience und er it s belt , P erlin

feels t ha t the Ar t Ce ntres h av e

s ucceeded in filli ng t heir

m anda te . "These buildings are

ce rtainly well utilized ," he

commen ts, saying that t he '

section r em ains a wa re of the

import an ce of bal a ncing the

offerings they ha ve for t he

public. Th e growth in th e centr

es ' activities, an d the ir public

accep t an ce , is sho wn in figures

for th e box offi ce r eceip ts for th e

St. J ohn 's fac ility. " Th e firs t

year I was her e , we too k in no

m or e tha n $50,OOO!at t he box

of fice ," remembers the only

direct or t he St. J ohn 's ce ntre

h as e ve r know n. "Th is year. m y

producti on a nd touring bu dget is

$325,000 an d the box off ice has to

ear n ba ck $275,000 of tha t. "


Editorial

It is easy to jump on the growing bandwagon

that praises all that is Newfoundland and all that

represents our roots. It is true that we do have

something to celebrate and create, but we also

should be constructive and concerned critics.

Lately there has been a tendency here for any

artistic work to receive generous praise. To say

or write otherwise is to be almost unpatriotic.

But this praise often turns art into unrealistic

Newfoundland propaganda, especially if it exploits

certains stereotyped elements. Some of

this propaganda is due to the fact that a great

d e a l of the art ( a s distinct from crafts, but in ­

cluding music, photography, theatre, etc. ) is

do ne by "come from aways". whose appreciation

of the environment may be more

senstive than a native's, but whose unde

rstanding of the society and the complexity of

social relationships, may be somewhat superfi

ci a l. This leads directly to the problem of artistic

training in Newfoundland.

It is usual for editorials to stress the need for

more funding of the arts. Our editorial is

st ressing more education. T he province needs a

ty pe of education that fosters and supports

Newfoundland artists. It also needs an art

co nsious public to receive and to be

d iscrim in a te ly critical of artists and their work.

Be s id e s the general need for post secondary art

ed ucation, a greater emphasis on art in the

sc hools, and facilities for the public are also

ne c e ss a r y . For example , the provision of da rk

rooms a round the province, operated much like

the St. Michael's printship, might stimulate a

greater awareness an d interest in the arts s ince

good photography doe s much to develop the

artis tic eye.

As noted by Ron Hynes, St. J oh n' s is culturally

out of touch with the real Newfoundland way of

lif e . It is also the place in Newfoundland suffering

most from "North Americanization".

Recipes

GLAZED CARROTS

Serves 4

Secre t: Serve this to carrot-hating children and

call it carrot candy.

6 yo ung carrots, cut in 2-inch fingers

Cook ba rely covered in water 15 to 20 minutes.

Dra in, reserving HIcup liquid.

4 table spoons butter

A dd to cooked carrots in saucepan alo ng wit h

reserved carrot liquid. Stir gently over low heat

to glaze carrots.

2 t able spoons brown sugar

o/.t,teaspoon salt

Decks Awash ---:57

This, p lus the fa c t that so m an y a r tists li ve In

rural areas, cou ld be use d to a rg ue that

Newfoundland art is cou nt ry, as opposed to

urban, art. T herefore, financia l a nd ed ucational

support for arts s ho uld be direc ted towards the

outports or the ou tpo rt way of lif e . F ur thermore.

if the arts are to become a n integral part of the

community life, a ll artists, be t hey painters ,

actors or photographe r s, sh ou ld look to the

community and priv a te enter prise fo r s up port.

Th is, again co mes back to e d ucation b ec a use

private enterprise mu st b e ed ucated to t he importance

of the arts.

Whereas science loo ks for on ly one a nswer to

any proble m, the a rts tr ain a n in div id ua l to

accept more tha n one interpreta t ion of reality '

and to accep t the views of oth e r s as an en richment

of one's o wn view s. Th us , a r t trains one to

expand one's mind a n d to seek a lte rnate

solutions to age old probl e m s . Art is n ot a frill as

so many peop le wou ld th ink . It is v ita l to th e

development of one's mind a n d on e' s se nse of

being. In Newfoundland where th a t se nse of

being is very strong, a r t is vi tal.

We close thi s issue on th e v is ual a nd perfor

m in g arts with a qu ote from Kenneth

Peacock. It comes from his article 'Songs of the

Newfou nd la nd Out po r ts' which was published by

the Nationa l Museum of Canada in 1965. "The

most startli ng pa ra lle l wit h tribal lif e is seen in

t he outport Newfo un d la nde r' s deep r espect for

human personality in a ll it s ecce n tr iciti e s and

deviatio ns. Far fr om for cing ever yo ne' to co nform

to some pr e con ci e ved formula fo r 'cor rect'

behaviour, out port cu lt ur e a d a p ts it se lf read ily

to t he bizarre a nd e xt raor d ina ry, even welcomes

it. Let us hope these rare attribu tes will not be

lost bot will h a ve a civiliz ing in fl ue nce on th e

technical revolution which Ne wfo u nd la n d is now

belatedly experie nc ing."

Rhubar b-and-Carrot

Ma r malade

4 c ups carrots

4 cups r hubar b

2 oranges

21emons

6 cups sugar

1 '0.1 c ups water

Peel carrots. Wash and dry rhuba rb , ora nges

a nd le m ons . Cut r h u ba r b In '0.1 in ch len g ths.

Sh r ed Carrots, oranges a n d le m ons ve r y thi nl y.

Comb ine all ' ing re dients an a b ri ng to boil,

stirring to preve nt scorching . Bo il for 1 hour.

Pou r into hot sterilized jars a n d se al.

Mis s Grace P erc y

Brigus

Concep tio n Bay

Newfoundland


60 - Decks Awash

(5) Finally, use the best

windows you can afford, with

doubleglazing on the south sid e

and triple-glazing on all other

sides. You won't regret the extra

cost. And if you want to make

these windows even more effective.

use close -fitting drapes

of fairly heavy material, to be

B y FraD Innel

drawn over them at night. when

most heat loss occ urs.

There are many other way s to

"beat the cost" of heating your

hom e , but time does n' t allow me

to di scu ss th em her e. If you're

inte rested in learning more

about this, and wish a cha nce

to dis cu ss some of th e options

A tisket, a tasket,

I found a yellow basket

open to you for saving energy in

both old and new homes, there

will be a workshop conference

on the topic this Fall (tentative

date: October 9 and 10) in St.

John's. For further details, See

the announcement accompanying

this article.

On Labour Day weekend last

yea r , I was in Stephenville

vis iting my son, and hearing

that Paula Warman had opened

a craft shop (Beaver Crafts), I

went along to have a look

around . A beautiful, cream

coloured basket caught my eye

and r ight away I put in an order

for Christmas.

Being cu rious abou t its origins

I did a little investigating and

discovered that a Mr . Edward

Young had made the basket. He

had learned the skill from

tho ny White of Shallop Cove ,

An­

I visited Mr . White in his

home, determined to find out

what I could about basket

weaving in the Bay St. George

a rea. Mr . White showed me a

basket he had made many years

ago that was still being-used for

gathering potatoes. According

to him . these baskets can last for

fifty years if kept dry and "not

given a hard time".

Two ofAnthony White's baskets.

Mr . White , 64, wa tc hed his

fath er make a basket when he

was a boy . Afte r that he was

able to make them himself. He is

not sure who his father learned

the craft from . but he ttifnks' it

probably was an Indian

tra dition. Mr . White's father

was French (LeBlanc) and his

mo th er was part Indian.

Th e baskets were made for

pr acti cal uses, such as

gathering potatoes or berries.

Dur ing the "dirty thirties",

pick ing blueberries was the only Anthony White with hi s spruce root baskets


silent and listen for it. Within

minutes a large gray land rover

came bumping around the turn

and pulled up in front of the

boys.

" You the Murphy tr outing

party? " the driver asked.

"That's us," said Anthony.

"There's an alert out on the

radio to find you guys. We were

asked to help out with the

search. Who 's this? " he asked

somewhat suspiciously, looking

at Junkfood Jenkins.

"A friend," said Mr. Murphy

.... a very good friend."

Junkfood grinned and hobbled

into the land rover with the

others.

Several months ago , a fishing

vessel was caught in the ice off

Notre Dame Bay . A rescue call

came into the Search and

Rescue Emergency Centre

(SAREC) in St. John's. By the

time SAREC had radio co ntact

with its auxiliary helper, the

fishing vessel Annie Cordell, it

was already at the scene of the

accident and helped save five

me n.

This incident exemplifies the

A small boat in distress

success of the new Canadian

Marine Rescue Auxiliary in

improving search and rescue

services right across Canada.

Organized by the Canadian

Coast Guard. it is primarily

designed to serve fishing and

pleasure craft.

There are about 17,000 fishing

vessels around Newfoundland,

an d they are responsible for 65

per ce nt of the search and

r escu e incidents. Since

Decks Aw ash - 63

February of this year, the

Rescue Auxiliary has been

recruiting experienced

mariners with safe boats to

provide volunteer search and

rescue services that will supplement

the Coast Guard's other

facilities.

Because they know virtually

all that can be known a bou t local

conditions - weather, wa ter,

people and fishing habits · the

members ot tbe rescue team ca n

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