July 25, 2011

..a day in the cove

Well, not a typical day in the cove ... met Jean Claude Roy painting down by the launch, talked to Mr. Moores who was waiting a fishing boat to come back, met the people who went around the Cape to fish, and talked to them while they were cleaning fish, went home with some cod fillet.

I wanted to see if Ted was around and if he was ready to build the model with me.  I walked by his house and he wasn't home.  So I carried on and went down to the slipway and hoped to see some people down there (recreational fishery started July 23 and run until August 14).  I guessed the big storm this morning didn't allow people to go out.   However I saw a person with an easel painting away down on the slipway.  I stopped and watched him paint.  Looking at the painting I knew who the painter was.   It was Jean Roy Claude - well known Newfoundland artist who spends time between France and Newfoundland.  I asked him if he would let me video him while he painted.  He was quite ok with that.

A couple of hours later along the bank, I was talking to Mr. Moores when a fishing boat came in.  Mr. Moores commented that he would not have gone out today, "the wind will take the boat away when they turn off the engine", said Mr. Moores.  During the cod food fishery, it is so common to see the older men hang around the bank, they watch the boats go out and wait until the boats come back.

I went down to the slipway and talked to the people from the fishing boat.  They agreed for me to video them when they cleaned the fish.  Darrel told me he would go out everyday to fish if he could in the next three weeks.  Darrel said, "...when I was a young fellow, fish was a livelihood.  Fish stages .... are everywhere."

I couldn't help imagining the fishermen in the past stood and looked out to the cove from the same spot that Jean Roy Claude was at this afternoon -  would the fishermen see the same colours that Jean Roy Claude saw, or would they only contemplate what the day would bring them?

July 24, 2011

Christina B.

July 22, 2011

Christina and her family moved to Pouch Cove five years ago because of work.  Christina and her daughter took a drive around town during the storm.  I will be using some of her video footage later on.  We not only talked about Igor, but also her outlook in life.  Christina and her husband are very involved with the community.  They take part/volunteer in various community events.  Christina ran for council not long after they arrived and won.  She probably became one of the first CFA who sat in the council.  She stayed for one term and chose not to run again because of family reasons.

July 22, 2011

Building a fishing stage and a flake

I have been talking to Ted Sullivan in the last few days about making a scale model of a fishing stage and a flake.  He didn't say no to me when I first asked him.  He said we could do this one evening after supper.  He suggested that we should do the flake first and he did a drawing on a piece of cardboard.  The second time he showed me the type of branches/sticks that we will use.  The third time he showed me how to make a cut on a piece of wood so that another piece of wood can rest on top of it.  Hopefully when I see him next time we will be making the flake.

I have learnt not to rush things.  My priority is not their priority...

July 20, 2011

Cape St. Francis

July 18, 2011

Spent the afternoon up at the Cape:  the very northern tip of the Avlon peninsula.  The bits and pieces of the old stage that I saw from last year were mostly taken away by Igor.  I still believe there is something magical about being at the edge, the limitation of what we think we can see, and the infinity that lies beyond what we can perceive.

Helen Forsey, a writer from Ontario, spends her time between Ontario and NL.  She is proof-reading her book while she is here.  The book is about the caboose and will be published in the fall.

I remember David Bragg told me that he spent five years up in Cape St. Francis when his father was a lighthouse-keeper and the family stayed at the lighthouse-keeper house.  He recalled the times that when the waves were so high that his father would wait for a break of the surf and called out for him to jump across to get to the road.  It was a 3 miles walk from the Cape to Pouch Cove.  

July 16, 2011

Cara E. (Shane Nursery)

July 14, 2011

Cara owns a nursery in Pouch Cove.  She has the business just over 6 years.  This is a seasonal operation so both Cara and her husband have a full time job as well.  Igor completely destroyed her nursery which includes three greenhouses.  All three greenhouses were levelled.  Her own insurance would not cover the damage because it was act of nature.  After more then nine months of perseverance Cara finally received compensation two weeks ago through the Fire and Emergency Services of Newfoundland and Labrador.  She can now rebuild her business for next year's operation.

Cara and I talked for about 45 minutes or so.  Only when we were done then I realized the recorder was stopped at the 7 minutes mark.  I have some video clips and am going to work with what I have for now.  Cara asked me to go back to see her if I need to retape the interview.  Lesson number one in recording: make sure the recorder is fully charged.

Audio:  A13PCP13a, b (8 min)

July 15, 2011

a thought....

I picked up some long green grass on a walk yesterday and started arranging them with the image of the wiggling fence in mind.  I did an encaustic piece with the grass.  I am back to fences again in my work.  Perhaps I am looking at containment and preservation, to build a fence is to "contain memory and story of the place".

I have been asking people to express their association with the place and what is important to them about the place.  People (the community) look out for each other, the ocean, fishing are expressed by all of the local people whom I talked to.  A thought comes to mind this morning:  do I really need to build a sculpture here to represent the place when the elements that describe the place already exist?  Why do I need to create a sculpture (on site) that represents the power of the ocean when the ocean is just right there for us to look at and to feel?

People talked about fishing stages, flakes in the interviews.  I would like to get a few locals who can help me build some models of stages and flakes.  I want to pursue this.

July 13, 2011

Sharon Wall

July 12, 2011

Sharon grew up in Pouch Cove, left and came back to raise her children.  She wanted her children to grow up in the same environment that she grew up - being free.  She loves the ocean although the ocean took one of her sons.  I did a short video "Remembering Pouch Cove: Traditional Knowledge" in March 2011 about the accident and how traditional knowledge helped families find closure.  Sharon also talked about another sealing disaster that happened in 1914 in which her mother's grand father was one of the victims.  This sealing disaster is documented in Cassie Brown's "Death on the Ice:  The great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster of 1914".   Sharon also mentioned an incident in Pouch Cove that how two brothers got picked up in Quidi Vidi when the packed ice that they were on broke and carried them out.

Ap V.

July 12, 2011

I have always enjoyed talking with Ap.  Ap lives in the house which used to be a school.  He retired from working with garages in St. John's and now does wood work making traditional garbage box, wishing well, christmas decorations.  Ap made a storage box for us last year.  He also makes wood panels for me to do my encaustic work.   He is not a fisherman but he surely knows the conditions of the water by feeling the winds, by looking at the clouds.  I always say that I will only go out in a boat when Ap says it is ok to go.   Ap has a saw mill up in the wood.  There was some damage during Igor and Ap recounted the ride that usually takes him 10 minutes took him all morning because the trail was completely blocked by trees that toppled down.  He had to use chain-saw to cut down the branches and cleared the path.

Gwen H.

July 11, 2011

Mrs. Gwen was from the north side of town, went to the south side to work in one of the stores in Pouch Cove when she was 16 and married the son of the owners of the store nine years later and became the matriarch of the family.  She closed the store when the government introduced GST in 1991.  The hour long audio covered many aspects of life in Pouch Cove from making hays, churning butter, to fishing, sealing, to going dancing in the SUF hall.  Her face lit up when she recalled some of the stories.

Audio:  A11PCP11a, b (60 min)

July 12, 2011

The Town of Pouch Cove

Went to see Barbara Tilley (Town Clerk)  this morning.  She showed me some photos that were taken during Hurricane Igor and referred me to Fire and Emergency Services NL that could provide me with statistic of the disaster dealing with number of families who needed help.   Barbara said approximately $20,000  was compensated to residents impacted by Igor and about $300,000 to The Town for repairs of roads and infrastructure.


July 10, 2011

Deanne F.

July 7, 2011

Deanne is a journalist with CBC.  I first met Deanne at the Pouch Cove Open Studios.  Deanne was not in Pouch Cove when Igor hit, so our conversation was mostly around Pouch Cove, about her relationship with her neighbours (that is very important), and how her neighbours supported her when she was raising her family.  Deanne lives in the south side of town (where the Catholic church is) and I realize how little that I know about that area of town.  Deanne is going to introduce me to Mrs. Gwen H., and other people who mean so much to her.  I am looking forward to that.

Deanne shared with me some life changing events that happened to her and her close friends during Igor (although she wasn't here because of health reasons) and the recent severe storm in February this year.  I really appreciated her sharing the stories.

Deanne felt so strongly about her neighbours, how her neighbours looked out for her.  This reminds me of my experience on Fogo Island where the sense of  community centres around neighbours look out for each other.  It is the way of life.

".... a tree that we planted was cut down because our neighbour built a deck and the tree would block the view of the ocean.  We didn't have to do that, but this is a neighbourly thing to do ...."

Audio:  A10PCP10a, b (50 min)

July 09, 2011

Sue G., Bert N., Shirley B.

July 4, 2011

I had a very nice afternoon with Sue G.  Although caring for her aging parents was the main reason for Sue to move back to Pouch Cove after living away for 15 some years, the sea is something that she has to look at everyday.

We saw a whale when we were up on the deck and Sue commented, "...  there weren't many whales when I was growing up because of fishing ... there were too many nets in the water ..."

Her friend Bert N. was a fisherman.  He showed us the "twine store" where he stores his nets.  He was one of the few fishermen did not sell his fishing license back to the government.  He has other people fish for him these days.  Bert suffered two strokes few years back.

Had a short visit with Shirley B.  Quote from Shirley today is ".... I would like to see the children growing up today ... they will be more closer to their neighbours and their friends than what they are today ...."

When we talked about Igor, Shirley said she had seen much worse storm in the past.  She related an incident in the past that claimed one life.

Audio: A7PCP7a, b (21 min)

David and Barbara B.

July 5, 2011

David's father was a lighthouse keeper and the family lived up at the cape for 5 years.  The Cape, or Cape St. Francis is truly the northeasterly point of the Avalon Peninsula.  Biscayne Cove was the last community and was abandoned in the 40's or so when people moved to Pouch Cove.

Scanned Post-Card of Pouch Cove

I felt so privileged when David showed me the book with the drawings of the fishing grounds around the Cape and Pouch Cove.  The copies were given to David by his good friend whose father did the drawings.  Nowadays there is GPS, but in the old days fishermen remembered these fishing grounds by landmarks that they could see from the ocean.  His friend's father was the first person to have these places drawn along with description.  Here is an example:

"... on a line going south towards Shoe Cove you can bring the Rectory well up from the church.  also nice water on the north side down with Grouchy's house well open.  its a fine place for jigging..."

David gave me permission to use it for my research, but not to publish it.

Names of places are important for the fishermen.  They serve as markers, identifications.  I am fascinated by the names of the gulches, coves along the shoals of Pouch Cove.  It will be interesting to find out who was George of George's Point.

Audio: A8PCP8 and A9PCP9 (75 min)

July 08, 2011

Making new connections

I made a few good connection today and am looking forward to talk to people who were directly affected by Igor.

Christina B. has lived in Pouch Cove with her family since 2006.  She and her husband moved here because of work.  She was here when Igor hit.  She saw water coming out from one house.  Apparently the eye of the storm just shifted west two hours earlier and passed Pouch Cove.  Christina will share some of the videos that she took and agree to do a interview.  I have made an appointment with the Town Clerk and hope to talk to her about what the Town did to assist the residents.  I also met the owner of a garden centre and will be interviewing her on Monday.  Her business was directly affected by Igor.

I just found out the recreational fishery is going to start on June 23.  There will be lots of activities down by the two launches.  Good place to talk to the older fishermen because they tend to hang around and make sure all boats come back in.

July 04, 2011


I have gone back to explore shorelines.  The trails around Pouch Cove are mostly along the shoreline and I am always mesmerized by the intrinsic patterns of these deep cracks and fissures.  The term liminality was first used in my work by Emma Westecott during a critique in class.  She asked me to look into the meaning of "liminality" and how it relates to my work.  There was a call for submission for new work with an open theme, so I took this opportunity to develop a piece with the concept of liminality in mind.

Here is an excerpt from my proposal:
"Shoreline defines edge, boundary.  Shoreline connotes the liminal space between sea and land.  The rugged shorelines around Pouch Cove continue to fascinate me.  The rocks and cliffs that form the shorelines have been mainly carved out by waves.  The line carved out by nature is fluid and loose, unlike the boundary created by humans, which is rigid and inflexible.  Shoreline also represents to me power and vulnerability, resistance and submission - the duality in nature.... For this project I will work with bronze and glass.  Glass is transparent and translucent (integrity of water), bronze is thick and opaque (integrity of rock).  Juxtaposing two contrasting medium into one work will create tension and new visual experience."

July 03, 2011

Memorial Day July 1, 2011

I took part in the Canada Day (Memorial Day) celebration as a member of the Pouch Cove Heritage Committee and also as a member of the community.  It started with a service at the United Church attended by all three denominations.  Followed by a march down to the war memorial where annual wreath laying was held, and a community lunch organized by the Recreation Department of the Town, the Lion Club, the   Firette of Pouch Cove, and the ACW - a true community event.  The wreath laying was very emotional.  We were reminded of The Battle of Beaumont-Hame where almost the whole Royal Newfoundland Regiment was wiped out on July 1, 1916.

July 02, 2011

An evening with friends

June 30, 2011

It was a social evening having my neighbours (Herb, Fannie and Edith) over for dinner.  It was not intended to be an interview.  However, I did get some recording done when the conversation turned to "oral history" of Pouch Cove - about the fishermen, the Orangeman Society, and the SUF Hall (Society of United Fishermen).

Edith told us about her husband's seal hunt experiences "....the man's body was covered in salt except for his face which was covered with a piece of cloth.  When the body arrived in St. John's, the body was ok, but the face was badly damaged ..."

Herb phoned next morning to ask me not to use the recording for my project.  He found the conversation was too political around different religions and people.

I realize I often mix the "oral history" and my independent study on Igor stories together in my research.  But I have to remind myself that they are all memories and they have different values.  My work is to piece them together.  Perhaps the juxtaposition of something "general" and something "specific" is not a bad idea.

Audio: A6PCP6a, b and c (29 min)