2015 News

After living in Canada for 46 years I finally got my visit to Newfoundland; I hope it was just my first.

I was so excited to be chosen as an instructor for a “The Year of Craft” Fibre Arts Conference organized by the Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Council. One of fourteen crafters covering the fibre arts of quilting, net making, felting (both high fashion and nature-inspired sculpture) embroidery, dying and printing, tapestry weaving, paper making, sculptural knitting, and me, hand spinning yarn – we came from Canada, the U.S., England, and India.

I applied to teach not only because it would be a fabulous, fun experience, but because otherwise I could not afford to go.  I love to teach; I would be paid handsomely if I taught all three days, with all expenses paid! The workshop and accommodation venues were strung out in various buildings spread over three contiguous communities that lay on Bonne Bay, a large and complex configuration. My workshop was in the Visitor’s Centre for Gros Morne National Park, and a moose was spotted strolling by outside our big windows at the edge of the forest!

We were fed each day by the local ladies’ auxiliaries of fire and church: moose meat in the soup, “bottled moose” spread in sandwiches, a divine moose stew that hinted of good red wine and sour cream, and my favourite experience: Newfoundland Flakey. This is layers of saltine crackers, Dream Whip (my friends here know me as very anti-Dream Whip!), and custard made from a box. I wasn’t too enamoured of the taste of Bake Apple topping on the cheesecake (a yellowy-orange berry like a raspberry).

My students were enthusiastic, wonderful and fun, and all the attendees, being fibre fanatics, were kindred spirits. We were witness to the meeting of mountain and ocean scenery, sunrise colour on western flank, the green of spruce generously flecked with the yellow of fall birch all the way up to the top of the mountains, all except Gros Morne which is solid rock, alternately displaying grey or purple, and whose name, I was told means, Big Gloomy; there was snow on top by the last day.

I spent two days after the conference in and around Trout River walking 2 trails in hail and sleet, with a landscape that was redolent of the Wild West! My B&B host, Doris Sheppard introduced me to a ninety-one-year-old spinner who was born in an outport on the Western peninsula, and I pumped Edna for tales of her life for two hours. Since another couple and I were there hiking “off season”, Doris and Tom Sheppard made sure their guests were nourished with full hot meals for supper, then we were easily coerced into card games each night. My idea of perfection!

With the drop in temperature and white stuff on the undulating roads, it was an easy decision to head home to West Jeddore. Gros Morne, I’ll be back!