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Speak–Easy Toastmasters

Speak–Easy Toastmasters meet the first and third Wednesday of the month from 6:00–8:15 pm a [ ... ]

Christmas Parade applications

November 16 deadline The deadline is fast approaching for entries into the City of Charlottetown’ [ ... ]

On Duty and Pride

Barb Broome's book tells story of Mount Pleasant airport during WWII

by Sue Gallant

 First-time author Barb Broome of Tyne Valley, signs copies of On duty and pride at the West Prince Visitor Information Centre, Mount Pleasant, where the book was recently launched.

It was long overdue. A 100-page book that chronicles the former Number 10 Bombing and Gunnery School located at PEI's Mount Pleasant Airport during World War II, has just been published. The book is dedicated to the 22 airmen who lost their lives while training at the base, and to the many men and women who worked and trained there. At its peak, almost 2,000 service personnel were stationed at the facility. Entitled On duty and pride the book was recently launched at the new West Prince Visitor Information Centre.

The Centre has been built on the site of the former air base. A handsome and fitting memorial to the airmen who died while training at Mount Pleasant was also unveiled at the site, less than two weeks after the book launch.

On duty and pride, first-time author is Barb Broome of Tyne Valley. In a recent media interview she told The Buzz how the idea of the publication first came about: "It started when the Visitor Information Centre was opened in Mount Pleasant and people started asking questions in regards to the airport," said Broome. Broome's daughter, Devon Lynch, was one of the Information Centre guides. Lynch asked her mom if she knew the answers to some of the questions being asked about the gunnery school. Broome, in turn, consulted work colleague, Wyatt Heritage Properties archivist, Fred Horne. Horne encouraged Broome to research the topic further. Broome subsequently approached Cascumpec Grand River MLA Philip Brown. "It was decided that we would form a committee and see what we could do,"said Broome. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The Mount Pleasant Airport Research Project committee settled upon a four point plan that saw the compilation of a web page devoted to No 10 Bombing and Gunnery School entitled Near Forgotten Airfield, (www.peicaps.org/ffway); publication of the book On duty and pride; the erection of a monument to those who lost their lives while training at the school; and finally a collection of television interviews for East Link Cable.

"It was fun," said Broome following the book launch, "I really enjoyed it." Judging by the steady stream of ex-servicemen and women appearing to claim their own personal copy of On duty and pride, Broome's literary effort is much appreciated. Copies of On duty and pride, (priced $15), are available from MacNeill's Convenience Store, Tyne Valley; Tyne Valley Drug Mart; the West Prince Visitor Information Centre; and Green Park Shipbuilding Museum and Interpretive Centre.

In the Bank

Island artwork chosen for national Art Bank collection

by Sue Gallant

Calendar, Two Generations, (mixed media on paper), by Brenda Whiteway of Charlottetown-recently purchased by the Canada Council Art Bank.

Two Island artists have recently had their work chosen from among more that 1,400 pieces submitted for consideration to purchase, to the Canada Council Art Bank. The two Island works were chosen along with eighty others created by Canadian artists from coast to coast. Cost to the Art Bank for the pieces selected for purchase, totalled $201,670.

Verna Banks of Alberton and Brenda Whiteway of Charlottetown are both excited to have had their work selected. "My first reaction was one of disbelief," said Banks. "I was really surprised," said Whiteway.

Victoria Henry is Director of the Canada Council for the Arts. "We were particularly pleased that we were able to purchase two works from PEI," she said, speaking from her Ottawa office. Henry said the Council looked forward to further applications to purchase from Island artists in coming years. She noted that Whiteway's image, entitled "Calendar, Two Generations" (mixed media on paper), was a lovely feminine, piece. Of Banks's work, entitled The Oysterman, (fabric applique), Henry said; "It's lovely to see fabric works coming into the collection, particularly this piece, because it's (the subject matter) specific to the Atlantic Provinces."

The Oysterman (fabric appliqué) by Verna Banks of Alberton, -recently purchased by the Canada Council Art Bank.

The Canada Council Art Bank is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary. The Art Bank supports the efforts of Canadian visual artists and provides public sector institutions with the opportunity to rent Canadian art for their public spaces and offices. The Art Bank collection currently includes some 18,000 artworks with 6,000 of those works rented to more than 200 government and corporate clients.

Works are selected for artistic excellence, significance to current art practice and suitability.

The Art Bank Acquisition Committee also considers regional representation and cultural diversity, paying particular attention to works by young, emerging artists. The Acquisition Committee previously called for submissions to purchase in 2001, but prior to 2001 there was a six year period when submissions were not requested.

The Barn Show

Nan Ferrier's paintings of barns at the Kier Gallery

by Sue Gallant

Red and white barn on Route 225, an oil on board painting by Bideford artist Nan Ferrier.Do you have a picturesque barn building on your property? If so, you might like to get along to The Barn Show opening at the Kier Gallery in Charlottetown on April 4, to see if your barn is one of those featured. The show continues until April 30.

Bideford artist Nan Ferrier, has put together a magnificent collection of approximately 30 barn paintings that go to make up The Barn Show exhibition. All but two of the barns depicted in the show, are located on Prince Edward Island. The two off-Island works, illustrate barns in Peace River country in Northern Alberta.

A colourful and well-known figure on the Island art scene, Ferrier has also invited artist friends to contribute a piece or two, on a barn theme, to the Kier Gallery exhibition. "I am really not sure how many other pictures are going to be coming in, but probably another 20 or 30," Ferrier told The Buzz.

Ferrier says the idea of The Barn Show hatched last year, when she was commissioned to paint a local sawmill. As the painting neared completion, the suggestion of a barn board frame was discussed between artist and client. Following that discussion, the client returned to Ferrier's studio with an armful of hand-made, barn board, frame samples. Ferrier was so delighted with the aesthetic appeal of the frames, (some, she noted, even had lichen growing upon them), that the artist immediately offered her client the option of bartering the commissioned work for the frames. The offer was accepted. "There I was with all these barn board frames," said Ferrier, "so it seemed logical to do a show on barns."

Never one to follow the path used by the masses, Ferrier has taken rented accommodation in order to work on location at the Kier Gallery for the duration of the show. The artist will be working, and available to meet the public, at the Gallery on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and by chance, on Saturdays.

Tell Us Your Story


Income Tax Account Review Officer writes winning story

by Sue Gallant

Barb Ramsay-DesRoches with Jackson, her ten year-old quarter horseAs a young child, Barb Ramsay-DesRoches dreamed of owning a horse, and in November of last year, she took delivery of Jackson, a male, ten year-old, quarter horse. This spring, horse and owner look forward to riding together for the first time, on land surrounding their Northam home.

Ramsay-DesRoches recently won one thousand dollars for a story she wrote which mentions Jackson, and which she submitted to a national competition. One winner was chosen from each province in the country.

"Basically, I was on the Internet when I came across a promotion on the Canada Savings Bonds site called `tell us your story,'" says Barb.The website encouraged readers to submit their Canada Savings Bond story. A life-long Canada Savings Bond owner, Ramsey-DesRoches's winning entry went as follows:

"As the youngest of nine children growing up on a farm on rural PEI, it didn't take me long to learn that money didn't grow on trees. A common phrase in our home when we were kids asking for the latest fad or fashion was, `I'm sorry honey, but money doesn't grow on trees.' However, my father knew and taught us that money would grow in a Canada Savings Bond. Each year; he would buy bonds both for he and Mom, and sometimes for us kids. He would keep them recorded in a book and note the interest rates, and I would dream about what I might buy when the bond that was in my name matured.
"He taught me the importance of saving through Canada Savings Bonds and when I entered the workforce, I eagerly participated in the Canada Savings Bond payroll savings plan, where each payday I would save some money through a bond purchase. These Canada Savings Bonds eventually were used to help pay off my student loan and to save for a down payment on a mortgage.
"Most recently, my Canada Savings Bonds helped me to fulfill a life-long dream of buying a quarter horse to ride on the very same farm where I grew up. I have learned that money might not grow on trees, but it most definitely does grow in a safe, secure and rewarding, Canada Savings Bond."

Acting with Intent


Theatre PEI conducts Acting and Directing Workshops

by Sue Gallant

 Melissa Mullen (second from left) leads an Acting and Directing with Intent TheatrePEI workshop held in Charlottetown recently

If you are going to fulfill a role well, you have to focus on it's meaning. That was the message behind an acting and directing with intent TheatrePEI workshop held in Charlottetown recently. The workshop gave participants an eye-opening opportunity to explore what is going on within a particular production for the actors and directors involved.

Eleven individuals, including two Westisle Senior High School students, a couple from Kensington Theatre, a prominent Island visual artist and a UPEI professor took part in the two-day weekend workshop held at the MacKenzie Theatre. Led by husband and wife acting team, Melissa Mullen and Robert McLean, workshop participants were kept busy throughout the weekend.

McLean and Mullen are both graduates of the National Theatre School of Canada's acting program. The pair have performed throughout the Maritimes and Ontario. "The main focus of the whole weekend is to focus on intention," Mullen says, "to see what is going on for the actors and the director." Mullen said the lessons learned at the workshop would prove valuable when participants go into their next rehearsal. "It [acting and directing with intent] gets easier the more you do it," she said.

McLean and Mullen split the workshop participants into two groups. Each group worked with scenes from a chosen script and took part in improv exercises to answer questions about what the play was trying to say and how the characters served the play. Participants were asked to think through the work of the director and actor from the minute they got the script, to opening night.

Jonathan Gallant and Chrissy Cook from Western PEI were the two Westisle students who took part in the workshop. Both students take drama instruction at school and are seriously considering a career in theatre. At the close of day two Gallant and Cook told The Buzz they had found the weekend thoroughly inspiring. "I learned that as a director you have to sit down with your actors, read the script over, and make them familiar with their role," said Gallant. "The actors can then play the character in the play rather than just play themselves." Gallant said he could now fully appreciate that going through the acting and directing with intent process, would boost confidence and enhance the end production.

Roots and Branches

Pauline Millar publishes her latest book

by Sue Gallant

Pauline Millar of Bideford, proudly displays her latest publication, Roots and Branches

Did you hear the story about the mother and baby who fell through the ice on Trout River in about 1827? The mother's body was recovered, but the baby was not seen again until the body drifted ashore in Lot 12 the following summer. The drowned woman, Mrs. Robert Downing, had been attempting to visit her mother who lived on the opposite side of the bay. Earlier, upon his return home from work as a school teacher, Mr. Downing had warned the ice was not safe to cross and had offered to take his wife by road the next day. Mr. Downing then left for a medical appointment. While he was out, Mrs. Downing's step father dropped by and during the course of conversation declared the ice perfectly safe. The rest as they say, is history. The unfortunate Mrs Downing, who had two older girls beside the baby who died, lived on property now owned by Island author and senior, Pauline Millar. Millar unearthed Mrs. Downing's little known story while researching her new book, Roots and Branches. The book is a fascinating attempt to record information of interest in the Bideford area from earlier times to the present day.

Millar is a life long resident of the Bideford area, she was born in Northam. In 1972 Millar researched and recorded a history of Bideford as a Women's Institute project. In 1983 she researched and wrote the history of the Daniel Green family for a book entitled An Island Refuge, published by the Abegweit Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. Millar's next literary achievement was to compile a history of the Stewart Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, published in 2000.

Millar has been writing from an early age. "When I was growing up my mother used to prophesize that I might write a book some day," Millar told The Buzz. "I loved to write and kept a diary. I was the youngest of four and when the others were away I would write long letters to them." Millar hopes her latest contribution to the literary world will be of interest to future generations.

"It's been a pleasure to get all this (information) assembled and put together finally, and to have it available for other people to read," said Millar. "I would not have been able to do it myself without the help of my family. They helped with the research, proof reading, etc." Roots and Branches is available from various retail outlets in the Bideford region.

The book is 132 pages long, contains approximately 40 photographs, and is priced at $20 including taxes. All profits from the sale of the book will go to support the Bideford Parsonage Museum.

Three of a Kind

Island sculptor explores the issue of cloning

by Sue Gallant

Embrosia, Feebrosia and Baybrosia by Roy Dyment

The bare nakedness of the human embryo; the highly controversial subject of scientific human cloning; and the richness and diversity of our human ancestral history. These three heady topics have each inspired Western PEI artist Roy Dyment to produce his latest works, a fascinating triptych now on display at the Pilar Shephard Gallery, Great George Street in Charlottetown.

Made entirely of recycled metals, the individual components of Dyment's newest creation are named Embrosia, Feebrosia and Baybrosia. They stand approximately 18, 14 and 10 inches high respectively. The group of three is decidedly haunting, even disturbing. Viewed in isolation, each piece has a powerful ability to hold the gaze. Why? Joe Public is probably not sure. It's the kind of strong reaction many artists seek from their work. This latest piece by Dyment has it in spades.

Embrosia is the mother figure. Her offspring are fashioned after her, from heavy grade and mild steel alloy. Each figure is fetus-like, with aboriginal-type, cave-drawing hair. There is no colour. The figures are left in their natural state, as nature intended, or didn't, if viewed from the cloning perspective. A heavy metal base with bearings gives movement to each piece, an important feature of Dyment's work, "I wanted to give life to the piece," Dyment explained to The Buzz.

On the issue of scientific cloning, Dyment is firm, "I think we have sufficient population to take care of the future," he said, "we don't need need any scientific help in that matter."

Dyment's love of all things Celtic gave rise to the fact there are three figures in the group, "I brought Embrosia's family together using the Celtic belief that three is a lucky number." Dyment's interest in Celtic history stems from an ongoing search to define his own cultural identity. He has English, Scottish and Irish in his bloodline. "I like to look back and try to define my culture and associate it to art. I want to find a place that isn't already being used to express myself."

Roy Dyment is past chair of the West Prince Arts Council and a founder member of the West Island Art Gallery Co-operative.

Feeding the Flame


Raku workshops attract interested artists 

by Sue Gallant

 A pair of Raku, pottery goblets made by Sarah Saunders of Argyle Shore at a Raku workshop held at The Pottery Studio in Charlottetown recently.

Workshop participants turn earth into sparkling gems...well not literally of course. But judging by the oohs and ahhs emanating from participants at a two-day Raku workshop held in Victoria Park recently, a passer-by would be forgiven for thinking some kind of Hogwarts-type magic were taking place right then and there.

And in a sense it was. When a piece of Raku reaches the end of its production process, the result can be, and usually is, spectacular. Raku glazes and the specialized firing process involved in Raku pottery, produce the most wondrous and iridescent surface finishes imaginable. Even more "magical," the end result can only be controlled to a degree. After that point is reached, Mother Nature takes over, and the Raku potter hands over the destiny of his precious pots to the elements. The kiln, it's operator, outdoor temperature, wind factor, combustible material used, all will have an effect on the finished product.

Workshop instructor,Tim Isaac of New Brunswick, specializes exclusively in Raku production, a tradition that originated in sixteenth century Japan. Loosely translated, Raku means enjoyment, contentment, pleasure and happiness. (That would explain why the workshop participants were smiling all weekend).

At a workshop sponsored by The Pottery Studio in Charlottetown, potter Tim Isaac of New Brunswick participates in the delights of Raku production, in Victoria Park.

The unique Raku firing process involves heating to a temperature of about 1900 degrees fahrenheit. The piece is then removed from the kiln in its red hot state and placed in a container ( a metal garbage can will do), with combustible material such as straw or leaves. The sheer heat of the object causes the material to ignite, then a lid is placed on the container so that the fire is forced to draw oxygen from the glazes on the pottery. Where there is no glaze, the clay will absorb the carbon in the smoke and turn black. When the fire in the lidded container is extinguished due to lack of oxygen, the lid is removed and the pieces withdrawn and immersed in a pail of water. When cooled, the final step is to rub an abrasive such as sand, across the surface to remove excess carbon deposits, then rinse in clear water. Eh voila!

Because of the stresses involved in Raku firing, Raku clay is heavily grogged to give it strength. The kiln itself can be manufactured from a cut down oil drum plus a few modifications. The firing process is done out of doors (lots of smoke). The firing process is relatively quick and tremendous fun.

There is something quite wondrous about turning a lump of clay into a stunning object d'art that catches the light a hundred different ways. Want to find out more? Call The Charlottetown Pottery Studio at 892-2701. Warning-messing about with clay can be highly addictive.

Events Calendar

November 2018
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Some Upcoming Events

The Sisters Brothers

November 21–25
City Cinema 14A, graphic violence, disturbing content, coarse language.
Dir: Ja [ ... ]

The Boarding House

The Murray Players November 23–25
Murray River Community Hall The Murray Players will perform the [ ... ]

Kelley’s Christmas

Kelley Mooney and friends in holiday season concert series November 21, 25 & December 13
Select  [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

A gift of Island poetry: Chris Bailey

Curated by Deirdre Kessler Things My Buddy Said Oh, brother, growing up I’d get into trouble
like [ ... ]

A passion for cinema

Laurent Gariépy is screening the classics at City Cinema by Dave Stewart Anyone checking out City [ ... ]

Acadian showman

Profile: Christian Gallant by Jane Ledwell Forty-six musicians and step dancers took the stage at  [ ... ]