Thursday, 25 July 2013

Prince Edward Island + Anne of Green Gables

I have been getting wanting to get out and do some exploring around Nova Scotia, so I decided to go to Prince Edward Island (four hours north of Halifax) for a couple of days to see Green Gables and experience island life.

Cavendish is the home town of Lucy Maud Montgomery who wrote Anne of Green Gables in 1904, and is home for the site that inspired her novels.

 Green Gables belonged to her Grandfathers cousins and is now a national heritage site. A short walk away from Green Gables are the foundations of the house where LM Montgomery lived and wrote the novels. Also remaining are the Haunted Forrest walk and Lovers Lane, which made for a delightful stroll in the afternoon. It was also a great chance to see some Canadian wildlife and I saw Robin Redbreasts and also a Woodpecker. So cool to see these things in the flesh.

Whilst in PEI I stayed in Charlottetown, which is the capital of the island and is a gorgeous town with delicious eateries (I tried strawberry and rubarb gelato), great pubs that brew their own beer (couldnt get past blueberry beer), quiet streets that are great for strolling and lots of history and old buildings.

The island is also known for its red sand beaches and cliffs, and potatoes and to get there you can catch the ferry or take the Confederation Bridge, the world's longest artificial bridge over ice-covered waters. I got to experience both options. Fun!

Click here for more images of PEI 

This week I have been reading Anne of Green Gables (of course!) and sketching domestic interiors of Green Gables.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Halifax: In the Studio

This week I have been spending lots of time in the studio working through my ideas.

I am still waiting for glazes and decals that have been ordered, so this week I have been exploring forms and techniques using majolica red clay and white slip made from recycled clay.

Red majolica clay with white slip and scrafito imagery
Carving shapes from clay
Meanwhile I have been learning how to whittle wooden spoons. It is very addictive and I am finding it hard to stop.
Tools and materials used to hand carve wooden spoons
& a walnut spoon in progress
The artists who are participating in the residency got together to present their work to date and to discuss what they propose to do over the next two months. It is very inspiring to see everyone's artwork and to hear what they are planning to do. To find out more about the participating artists click here

To escape the summer heat I have been looking for cool cafes to hang out where I can continue to read about the history and lives of women in Nova Scotia. A recent discovery is Julien's Patisserie Bakery & Cafe in the North End. They have a lovely shady outdoor courtyard and make delicious treats. I tried a praline meringue filled with hazelnut cream. Yum!

This week I have been reading:
- The 1815 Diary of a Nova Scotia Farm Girl. Louisa Collins, of Colin Grove, Dartmouth.  Edited and annotated by D McClare
- Early Voices. Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1649 - 1914. Edited by M.A Downie & B Robertson with EJ Errington
- Sisters in the Wilderness. The lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parrtraill by Charlotte Gray

And yesterday I visited Peggy's Cove, which is about an hour south of Halifax. It is a tiny fishing village and its main tourist attraction is the lighthouse, although I felt the village itself was much more interesting. Because of its scenic views it is now also known as an artist haven and is home to many artists - it is very tempting to spend a couple of days here sketching.

Peggy's Cove

Peggy's Cove

The Lighthouse.
Unfortunately I ran out of time to sketch here but I did take lots more photos for inspiration. Click here if you would like to see more of Peggy's Cove.


Thursday, 11 July 2013

The humble spoon

My first week in Halifax was spent getting to know the city.

My second week has been about getting the bits and pieces needed to explore my ideas and concepts. Continuing my research into pioneering women and domestic spaces, upon my exploration of some of the historic sites I first noticed spoons at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

Spoons recovered from shipwrecks help archaeologist's identify the ship and the number of crew aboard, as each crew member had their own spoon marked with their initials. The spoon can also assist with dating the shipwreck as the spoons can be identified by the styles produced in particular periods. 
Pretty important stuff for the humble spoon!

Since the humble spoon is so important in identifying shipwrecks I have decided to explore this object in my work. It has strong links to the Maritime. It is a domestic object. It can also be a souvenir.

Table settings apeared again at the Citadel Hill National Historic Site. 
 I like the bent spoon.

Kitchen implements and wood spoons also featured in the Quaker House in Dartmouth.

I have also been sketching the interior scenes of the Quaker House which I plan to integrate with the spoons I create.

At the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is Canada/Nova Scotia's folk artist Maud Lewis's tiny house in which she covered every surface with her bright colours and designs.

image courtesy of Dean Bouchard
image courtesy of
Maud's delightful house lacked the modern conveniences of indoor plumbing and electricity but contains a lot of charm, which reflects the personalities of Maud and her husband. More about Maud can be found here.

A sketch of Maud's house.

I also hope to visit during my residency and gather more inspiration and sketches of domestic life at: 
The French Acadian Village
The Highland Village
Green Gables (the house that inspired LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. How cool that this place actually exists!)

This week I have been reading:
A short history of Nova Scotia by Dr Ed Whitcomb
A lady of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia 1752 by Laurel Pardy. A fascinating novel based on fact and embellished to describe pioneering life.

If you would like to see more images from my adventures click here.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Halifax - Nova Scotia

Well here I am in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Georges Island Lighthouse in the Halifax Harbour
I arrived without having organised any accommodation but thankfully found something on my first day (a BIG thank you to Alexis from NSCCD who helped). It is perfect and I love it! The location is very central and I can walk everywhere (essential when you dont have a car). I am sharing the flat with a photographer and an architecture student. Its great to be immersed in an arty area and be surrounded by arty people.

View of the Ceramic studio where I will be creating
On the first day I met the other artists who are also participating in the residency. There is a nice mix of textiles / ceramics and jewellery. Everyone is keen to collaborate and we also have access to wood working facilities (along with ceramics, textiles, metal smith and glass) so it is going to be very exciting to see what the end results will be. 

The Mitchell House near the port
So far I have spent most of my time exploring, getting to know the City. To give you an idea of scale Halifax is about the same size as Canberra but in a setting like Sydney. And its full of wonderful old buildings. As you can imagine there is lots of inspiration here for me.

Historic Properties - the oldest in town. Built in 1854
The weather for the first couple of days was cold drizzle and I was very pleased that I had remembered to pack an umbrella.
Detail of the Old Town Clock

Old Burial Grounds in the heart of the city. They date back to 1749.
Everything is very green and the public gardens are a delightful place to sit and read a book, or have a picnic.

Self portrait in park

I was lucky enough to be here on Canada Day (1 July) so I explored the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic where I saw pirates gold (so cool), ship wrecks (including a display on the Titanic) and all things Maritime. I saw the firing of the noon canon at the Citadel and spent over three hours walking through the exhibits.

I also had to try some national food, Poutine, which is french fries topped with gravy and cheese curd. Yum!

Delicious Poutine
Soon after the weather cleared and I ventured to a new part of the city, known as North End, looking for a very cool op shop called Plan B. Just when I thought I had seen all the great things in the city I saw this amazing view

Buildings in the North End, Halifax
and then I stumbled across St Georges round church.

St Georges Round Church
Walking across the Harbour Bridge I reached Dartmouth, the sister city of Halifax that was established a year after Halifax in 1750.

View from Macdonald Bridge

Dartmouth has some smaller museums including Quaker House built in 1786 and a fascinating insight into the Quaker lifestyle at this time in history. Just across the road is Two If By Sea, a cafe renown for its croissants and people watching. Of course, I had to stop and try one, on the pretence it was a good location for a sketch of Quaker House!

Quaker House
Well, thats about all for now. You may have noticed that the pictures get sunnier as my entry progresses. The drizzle has gone and has been replaced by 30 degrees C and 70% humidity. Its hot!

If you would like to see more images from my adventures, click here

Monday, 1 July 2013

Google Reader Changes

You’ve probably seen loads of other bloggers saying this too, but again, I’m just reminding you that Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st (this coming Monday).
If you’re subscribed via google reader and want to keep reading, you can easily resubscribe via:
  • Follow my blog with Bloglovin
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You can also follow me on twitter and Pinterest, and if you ‘like’  Facebook page, you’ll get notified in your News Feed when I have a new post up.
Thank you for following my creative journeys - its great to have your company 


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