Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Heritage Project: Silver Fox Island

When I first started this blog, I posted a few pictures that I was working on for my Heritage Quilt-- the one my Nephew would use for a part of the Heritage Fair Project on Silver Fox Island.

Well, it's done now and the fair was last Friday.  He doesn't know who won yet, but in my mind he is already a winner-- he had fun and was so proud of what he had done.  It was impressive how so many family members became interested in this project and helped get pictures and artefacts for his project.

My father's family resettled from Silver Fox Island in the early 1960's, so this next blog will be my efforts to capture my heritage and the way of life on a small island in Bonavista Bay, NL in the form of a heritage quilt.

This quilt consists of a series of images sketched on Muslin fabric.  The sketches are then shaded with Crayola Crayons.  When completed I covered the picture with brown paper and ironed it it melt the crayon and to ensure that it does not come off.  Anyway, here it is:


I will also show each picture with an explanation of what they represent.
The first picture identifies the location and basic shape of the island.  The island is about 3 km in length.  In 1901 there were 82 people living there, but as a result of Resettlement by 1969, the island was completely abandoned.  The town of Hare Bay, identified on the map, is where my family resettled.

During Christmas it was-- and in some communities still is- common for people to dress up and go to visit other houses.  The people would try to guess who the people were.  This traditions is known as mummering.  

When the daily catch of Cod fish were brought back to the island, they were unloaded from the boat and cleaned.  The splitting table was used to put the fish on to remove the innards (or as we say to gut the fish).  Traditionally, the fish were also split (backbone removed), salted, and dried to preserve them for the winter.

This picture depicts a lobster fisherman as he heads out to set his traps just as the sun begins to rise.  My father still catches lobsters during the summer.  I can recall seeing the traps piled by the shed during the spring and Dad making the heads to go in the traps.  The head were made from twine and attached to the opening.  I also remember his boat and the wharf loaded with traps during the spring of the year.  I couldn't wait for the first meal of lobsters, still can't.

During the summer and fall blueberries, partridge-berries, bake-apples (aka cloud berries), black berries and red currents were picked.  They were used to make jam in the past.  Many people today freeze these berries until they are needed.

This is a picture of a Cod fish on a jigger.  The picture I used to draw this one was by Ed Roach, a Newfoundland artist.

This picture is a Cod Fish jigger.  These were quite common in the early fishery in Newfoundland.  I can recall using these to catch fish.  Today we use hook and line with bait.

 The next picture is a sketch of an old stage.  The stage was the area where the fishing gear was stored and where the catch was cleaned.  This represents the one used today by my father during the summer when he fishes from the island.  My artistic skills are not good enough for an exact replica, but it does capture what it was like.

This picture is one of my father in his boat looking down at his catch of lobster.  Anyone who knows my father will know that this is him.

Ice bergs are common around the coast of Newfoundland.  This is a picture of an iceberg in the mouth of the harbour -- probably five years ago.

This is a picture of my parents cabin on the island.  This is where they stay during the fishing season.  Dad still goes there in April to catch Crab.  He could have retired 5 years ago, but he loves fishing.

This is a picture of Gerald Matthews' house on the Island.  This is the oldest house there now-- an original.  The roof was changed though.  This is my mother peeping in the window and nephew by the door.  (Don't think it does justice to him though)

This is the old Anglican Church.  The pews and the bell were taken to Dover after resettlement.

This represents resettlement.  Some people took their houses with them when they moved.  

This picture is a young man fishing through the ice- a practice still common today.  This picture was traced and coloured by Matthew.  


  1. Wow! Just wonderful in every way. What a labor of love for the family to treasure. I can't say enough nice things about this, so glad I got the chance to see it.

  2. What a neat idea, absolutely amazing!


  3. Wow this is amazing, it really makes me want to get on a plane and head down east. The feeling of being down there is all over this incredible piece of art.

  4. What a fantastic idea. I love this. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow, what a sweet idea to make a quilt! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

  6. What a beautiful idea and quilt! The artwork is incredible...such a treasure to have! Thank you for linking up to Uncommon!

    Bonnie @ uncommon

  7. Wow, what a project................but what a wonderful gift to yourself and family.
    You did an outstanding job, it is absolutely gorgeous. What a blessed young man
    your nephew is too that you helped him with all this.
    You should be very proud of yourselves.................

    Blessings, Nellie

  8. What a gorgeous quilt - and such amazing drawings! Beautiful!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  9. So special! Amazing works of art in there! Thanks so much for linking up at Reasons To Skip The Housework!

    Reasons To Skip The Housework {The Blog}
    Tinker B Boutique {The Shop}


  10. This turned out great!
    I bet Matthew was so proud to present his project!
    You are one super Aunt!