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AVC open house

The Atlantic Veterinary College's 30th annual Open House will take place September 29 from 10 am–2 [ ... ]

Al-Anon

What can you do when someone close to you drinks too much? Al-Anon Family groups provide hope and he [ ... ]

Feeding the Devils

Report from the other side of the world — Tasmania

by Deirdre Kessler

Feeding the Devils

I am sitting at the desk in the Kelly Street Writer’s Cottage in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Returned here yesterday from “Sounding the Earth” conference in Launceston. Yesterday afternoon drove home on the Midlands Hwy. in left-hand car, my first experience driving on left-hand roads. It’s far easier driving than being a passenger in left-hand-driving country.

I was in this same cottage at this same desk in October 2007, writing the novel about whaling days, looking up and out the wall of west-facing windows to Mt. Wellington or to my right out the wall of windows to the north (were the light comes from in this hemisphere) over the roofs of Salamanca Place, the old sandstone warehouses along the city’s wharf.

Here are the European goldfinches, red-masked, black-and-white heads, yellow wing bars—very showy—on the clothesline in back garden, about four meters away. Behind them, lilac bush and bush-like geraniums, white iris in bloom. It’s full-on spring here. Now they’re on the ground, closer. Yesterday I saw a galah, wedge-tail eagles cruising the upper air, a harrier, a merlin-like small hawk on a fencepost, and six pairs of superb blue fairy wrens.

Yesterday morning, the “Sounding the Earth” conference over, my host, CA Cranston, the convener of the conference, wanted her other house guest, the ASLEC-ANZ (Ass’n for the Study of Language, Environment, and Culture—Australia-New Zealand) treasurer, Barbara Holloway, and me to see Tassie devils, so we set out to the west of Launceston, about an hour’s drive, towards the Western Teir, to Mole Caves, where there is a wildlife rescue centre and Tasmanian devil education centre.

One of the carers, Sonya, gave a handful of us a tour of the recovery pens, set out on a huge property with mountain backdrop, pasture, pond, and eucalypt forest where wallabies roam free. Sonya, a young woman of aboriginal background, went into one outdoor wombat pen, complete with sheltered place, leafy piles of eucalypts, a deep hole (dug by the wombats), where there were three little (now almost 20 kg) wombats that had been rescued from the pouch of mother killed by truck on road. She picked up one and held it like a baby, cuddled and interacted with the young female as she told us about wombats, then she passed the wombat to us, and, one after another, we held her!

Sonya grabbed a tall, lidded white bucket and we followed her around other the outdoor pens. In one, two rescued koalas, in another a spotted-tail quoll lolling in the open end of a hollow log, on its back in the sun; in other large, open pen grown wombats, still not able to care for themselves; in another, tassie devils, one a female with young riding her back, though she kept well hidden.

The spotted-tail quoll we saw, lolling in the sun, sweet little face and fat belly, turns out, says Sonya, to be a vicious killer, who claws and bites prey many times its size to death, lingers long enough only to drink the blood, then leaves the carcass. The devils, who have ability to detect a scent two kilometres away, find the quolls’ kills, eat the entire prey, clean up the site.  The quolls are the ones who gave the devils much of their early bad reputation: graziers and foresters would come upon devils over kill, not realizing that the devils were scavenging the quolls’ leavings and had not killed the lamb, sheep, wallaby, wombat, other creature.

Out in the rocky pasture was an enormous pen surrounded by low fence. In the interior of the pen were boulders and a stand of young eucalypts and patches of dense, brushy undergrowth. Sonya went into the pen, made soft pishing noises. A tassie devil came to her and she picked it up by the tail. She later told us the devils’ tails are not like cats’ and dogs’ tails, but very, very sturdy so it doesn’t hurt them to be picked up this way; also, they cannot turn around to bite a person holding them by the tail. I gather their spines are not very flexible, and this was evident in the way they lope.

Sonya came outside the pen holding, cuddling, comforting, a tassie devil, who clung to her with forepaws—serious claws!—on either side of Sonya’s neck. Sonya said this one had some trust in her and she in the animal, as she had had to care for her from early on. This animal has cataracts and is blind. We touched her surprisingly soft back fur, watched her snuggle into Sonya’s arms and neck. Sonya did not offer to let us hold this devil.

We then went around to another part of the exterior of the pen, while Sonya did likewise inside it, with the bucket. When Sonya emerged on the far side of the pen, she was followed by four Tasmanian devils, loping in their strange-to-Northern-hemisphere-eyes gait—something unmammalish, almost serpentlike about their undulating lope.

Sonya apologized to anyone of us who might be sensitive to seeing a dead wallaby’s leg, but said this is what the tassie devils eat (the roadkill on Tas roads consists of wallaby, wombat, possum). She pulled the whole, furry back quarter, leg and tail, of a wallaby from the pail and held it as the tassie devils took hold to tear at it until they could get mouthfuls. They eat every single bit—bones, fur, everything. We heard the vocalizations that frightened the colonizers and saw sun shine through the ears of the little creatures, which makes their thin ears bright red, the exact red of the native cherry tree that is part of the Dreamtime story of Sonya told us, about how the devils got their red ears and white stripes.

The four devils grabbed, clamped down on (jaws capable of 300 kg of pressure), and chewed through and ripped the hindquarter apart. A fifth devil joined them, creating a ruckus. The fifth and another devil sparred on hindlegs, making eerie and fierce growling, howling sounds before they fell on the prey again. One littler devil worked on the furry wallaby tail, not competing with the others for the bloody and fleshy end. Sonya told us the devils are social feeders, but obviously there was rank demonstration between the sparring pair.

Before long, as Sonja talked and answered questions, the wallaby was reduced to ragged chunks that individuals carried off under a dense brush cave to eat. We could see them dimly and hear the chewing and occasional growl. Tassie devils are gorge eaters, capable of eating three times their body weight. About 27 different vocalizations have been recorded.

After the formal tour, CA and Barbara and I strolled the grounds, went into the enclosure around an enormous pond that has marsh at one end. Black swans and Shell ducks in the water, on the banks. CA got the idea of asking Sonya if she could bring the ten orphaned Shell ducklings she’s been caring for to the pond. Sonya said yes.

Rehabilitated, able-bodied ducks and swans leave the pond to migrate, but many return to the pond annually. I’d been helping in the mornings to tend the Shell ducklings at CA’s place; CA said we could come together next week to free the ducklings into the pond area, where they will be safer than they would be in a farmer’s pond, as the ducklings are now acclimated to people, to CA’s cat, and to her daughter’s dog—the dog has some herder in her and rounds up the ducks, gently. Other cats, dogs, and possums will not be so friendly.

The ducklings have to be put in cat-carrier and kept indoors and warm at night, then let loose for a bit in the morning to eat some worms from CA’s worm farm. We then put them in a rabbit cage on new patch of grass every day. CA put a cup in the big water dish because the ducklings want to be IN the water, not just drink it. CA used to keep chooks, so she had a feeder. When I was filling the water dish from bucket of water, I tilted it to pour water into dish, and instantly the ducklings climbed in and swam in the water in the angled bucket.

It was wonderful picking up the ducklings to put them in the cage. Nine of the ducklings are from one abandoned clutch—the mother killed, and one, whom CA named Dyson after her vacuum cleaner, is a few days older and noticeably bigger than the others. CA said the little ones instantly followed Dyson as if he were the mother. While I was staying at CA’s, she discovered Dyson was a female (the mature feathers were coming in, replacing the baby fluff, and Dyson’s sex was obvious from feather colouration). So we renamed her Dysonia.

At the rehabilitation centre we walked along to a large, outdoor habitat, with netting about 8-10 meters off the ground draped from the huge eucalypts. Inside the pens. Three wedge-tailed eagles, larger than bald eagles, who cannot fly from injuries early in their lives—one of them has been at the wildlife centre for 20 years, one for 25.

Down in the eucalypt forest, we saw wallabies and fed them chook food from the little bags of it sold at the interpretive centre. Wallabys have soft muzzles, furrier than horses or deer. There is also a night-creature building on the grounds, kept pitch dark save for a few low-wattage lights near the glassed-front cages for owl, sugar-glider possums (very sweet! small as hamsters), snakes, skinks. Took some moments for our eyes to adapt from the sun-glare to the dark. The owl was awake, staring at us with its bifocal eyes in its soft feathery face.

A morning in this country at 40 degrees south latitude.

So much to see and learn.

Deirdre Kessler spent autumn 2010 in Tasmania, first in Hobart at the Kelly Street writer’s cottage, and then as artist in residence in the King’s Bridge cottage in the Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania. DeirdreKessler.com

Wood Islands Light

by Bev Stewart

For over one hundred years I have been standing proud and tall, shining my light out over the waters of the Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia at the most southern tip of PEI. I was a home to my Light Keeper’s and their families for one hundred and fourteen years. My last Keeper retired in 1990. For the last 13 years, I have been a home to an interpretive museum. I have received a heritage award and a TIAPEI, Operator of the Year award in 2007. In 2008 I received a Genuine Island Host Award.

I remember the days when the Light Keeper’s children ran up and down my stairs. There was laughter filling my rooms, and the smell of good home cooking filling the air. Then in 1981 all was quiet, and my Keeper and his family were moved into a bungalow beside me. They still came to check on me on a daily basis, but it was not the same. Then in 1990 everything changed, my Keeper and his family moved away. My doors were locked and there was no one around. I was really all alone.

Then in 1997 there was another change. There was movement and activity in my rooms again. A non-profit organization had leased me. They had made plans to turn me into an interpretive museum. Slowly year after year the group turned my run down rooms into rooms with different themes. Now 13 years later, each of my rooms have a different theme.

My porch is now a nautical gift shop featuring many handmade Island crafts. My kitchen was redone to the 1950s style, where there are always complimentary food samples from the “Taste Our History” program. My two downstairs bedrooms were renovated into a Northumberland Ferries Room and an Interpretive Museum. My family room is now a Rum-Running Room.

On my second level there were once four bedrooms. There is now a Burning/Phantom Ship Room, a Fisheries Museum, a Light Keeper’s Quarters, and a Lady’s Bedroom.

On my third level there was one small room. This room was just for my Light Keeper. It was to house everything he needed to operate and work on my light. It is still the same today. But my hallway on the third level is now designated to the ice boats and ice breakers.

My lantern room is still as it was so many years ago. My light is still shining bright. To look out my tower windows is truly something to behold.

Each year I sat and watched the cliff in front of me get closer and closer…. I had approximately nine feet of bank between me and the Northumberland Strait. I feared I was going to fall into the Strait. Then in the spring of 2009 something unusual began to happen. There were men and machinery all around me…. I was then slowly raised up above my foundation…. I was rolled about seventy-five feet from my original location. I am once again safe from the waters of the Northumberland Strait. In June of 2009 my doors were opened for the season…

I am open daily from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm (last tour at 5:30) from mid-June until mid-September. I welcome school and group tours. 902-962-3110 (open hours), 902-962-3463 (off season)

SoCal Geekdom

Island graphic novelist attends Comic Con in San Diego

by Troy Little

Comic Con, the annual Mecca for pop culture in North America took place in San Diego this past July. This hedonistic playground of geekdom was attended by over 140,000 people, of which I was one.

Once upon a time this event was much smaller and geared strictly towards comics but it’s now been by and large taken over by Hollywood, TV and video game marketers, catering to all genres of pop culture. While they may be somewhat obscured in this stew, comics are still the hub and core of this monolithic event.

Troy at book signingOver the next five days I managed a few book signings, did some shopping, stayed up very late and met a lot of really amazing people. Attending an event like this reminds you that you are not alone in what you do. It’s a community of artists, writers and creators from all over having a rare chance to leave the isolation of work and connect with like-minded people. It’s both challenging and humbling to see the vast caliber of talent out there.

Comic Con hosts the coveted Eisner Awards show, the comic book equivalent to the Oscars. It was for this event specifically that I made my pilgrimage (special thanks to the PEICA for their assistance in that regards). My graphic novel Angora Napkin was nominated with four others in the category “Best Publication for Teens”.

On Friday night I found myself in line at the bar prior to the award show with the most likely winner of the award, Jill Thompson, standing behind me. I turned to her and offered to buy her a drink if she agreed to give up the Eisner (she has a few all ready) to the new guy. She’s a fiery red head, a tough competitor and has a twisted sense of humor. We conspire to have the losers rush the stage and steal the Eisner from the winner.

Finally, the show begins. The casts from the “Scott Pilgrim” movie walk on stage to announce the first few categories and give out awards. The second award of the night was for my category and for a brief, thrilling moment I thought…. What if I win?

Hearing “… And the nominees are: Troy Little for ‘Angora Napkin’, IDW Publishing” and seeing my book projected on the big screen was a very surreal moment, one I never really expected to happen. I felt very happy. The second nomination was “Jill Thompson & Evan Dorkin for ‘Beasts of Burden’, Dark Horse Comics” and the place erupted in cheers and applause. I turned to my publisher, laughing and said, “Oh well, it was a good run.”

As expected Jill took the Eisner and no one rushed the stage. I can happily and honestly say, “It was an honour just to be nominated” now. Although things turned out as I thought I felt strangely challenged; I made it to the Eisners! I could do it again….

I had a great time at the after party and practically leapt out of bed the next morning after only 4 hours of sleep, fired up the hotel coffee maker and immediately starting inking pages from my next book. Jill Thompson watch out, it’s so on.

The Love Story Returns

Amy Reitsma and Jory Rossiter play title roles

by Amanda Blakeney

Amy Reitsma and Jory Rossiter as themselvesAnne & Gilbert, will run this year from June 15th through until September 26th at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside, and audiences will be able to experience the talents of new leads—Amy Reitsma and Jory Rossiter.

The story focuses on the sometimes-complicated relationship between Anne Shirley and childhood sweetheart Gilbert Blythe as they enter adulthood, with Anne commencing her career as a school-teacher. Centering on the realities of their new-found relationship, the play may surprise audiences.

  “It’s very important to know that the relationship isn’t clear-cut—it’s very three-dimensional, and Anne and Gilbert may not choose one another in the end,” Rossiter says. Reitsma continues, adding, “The story is a love story, but it’s a complicated love story about a realistic romantic relationship. It’s the story of two people’s lives, and how they fit into one another’s lives. There’s not necessarily a happy ending.”

 

The production is under new—but familiar—direction this season, as Martha Irving, who played Marilla Cuthbert in the production in 2008 and 2009, lends her talents. “It’s very exciting to be working with Martha,” says Reitsma. “She brings a fresh perspective as a director, and really wants to present honest, true stories.” Audiences are likely to draw parallels between themselves and the characters, who Irving ensures stand the test of time. “The production is the exact opposite of a cookie-cutter production,” says Rossiter, which forces both actors to immerse themselves in the realities of their equally-spirited characters. “Martha really wants to find the heart of the show and of the characters, regardless of how small a role they play.”

This search for the respective hearts of Anne and Gilbert proved to be rewarding for leads Amy Reitsma and Jory Rossiter.  Undergoing intensive rehearsals for the role, Reitsma points to the challenges of fairly portraying such an intelligent and liberated character, combined with the complexities of fast-paced musical theatre. She says, “This is a very different role for me. I usually act in straight theatre, but being the lead in a musical production is a new experience. There’s no time to drop the ball, here, and you’re always kept on your toes.” Returning to the stage as Gilbert is vindication of sorts for Rossiter, who suffered an injury while cast as Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ in 2004. “I feel like there’s some unfinished business there. I think there are many similarities between me and Gilbert—and I feel as though I’ve grown up alongside him, in a way,” he says.

Anne & Gilbert runs June 15th to September 26th—three shows a week—Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (matinée). The show is produced by Maurice Gallant.

www.harbourfrontheatre.com

Spirit Tree

Tribute to an old friend

by Emily Jelliffe

Good-bye Spirit TreeWhen I was in grade five, my job was to draw a humongous tree for the class mural. Although I wasn’t very good at drawing, I had a knack for making branch upon branch extend to fill the empty page. That’s how I like the naked sky to be: lined with veins of life, dancing with leaves and blossoms. It thrills me to look up and see the umbrella above vibrant with colour, changing with the seasons, and pure in it’s stance, whether stark or full. I like to observe the canopy reaching and growing and blooming with beauty. I like it to emphasize the fullness, bounty and strength that life gives us. I like how submerged in the present moment it is and how it causes me to surrender to this moment too.

People say that dog is “man’s best friend,” but I would argue that “tree” fills this description more accurately. Consider some of the gifts trees bring us: air, food, fire, shelter, furniture, musical instruments, paper and even comfort in a lonely landscape. From that perspective, there’s no further argument. Have you ever actually made friends with a tree? I mean, hung out, talked, hugged? My favourite tree is a friend of mine, and this tribute is really a eulogy. For those who knew this elm will miss it greatly too. Have you ever been driving or walking by Province House and noticed a woman hugging one of the giant elm trees there? That woman was probably me, visiting my friend “Spirit Tree.” However, I’m not the only tree hugger in town, perhaps it was Candy or Dixon, or one of the many other people who gravitated to this kind elder. Spirit Tree was my first real tree friend. I named this gracious giant Spirit Tree because he gave my spirit a lift each time I went to see him.

It’s hard to remember when I first found a need to go and sit with my friend, but, over the years, I grew to love my visits. Pouring your heart out to a tree is a great way to surrender your ego and get truthful with yourself.

Last summer, I took my newborn son for a walk to meet Spirit Tree. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach when I saw no leaves gracing his branches, when I noticed the vast difference of the nearby giants with wide spreads of foliage standing next to my tree’s bare lifeless limbs. What had happened to cause this? Disbelief and sadness swept over my senses. I had taken it for granted that Spirit Tree would always be here. The empty space left in the sky will haunt me with rich memories. I’ll remember making footprints in the snow to touch him, and how often I reached across his vast trunk to absorb his stillness, and how beautiful it was to sit at his base and take in the world around. I’ll remember how, even if I was blocks away and could see only his branches, that this mere recognition would compel me to dash over and say a quick “hello.” I’ll remember the many nights I fled to him on my bicycle and how, standing 100-feet tall, he gave me the courage to let all my guards down until my own spirit rose to meet his. I’ll remember the many times I whispered into one of his crevices all the stories of my heart and how aligning with him was like tapping into a pipeline of grace that was fed by Mother Earth.

I am not the only one who will miss him. I imagine, like myself, many people (and animals) who have crossed his path will be saddened by his absence. To celebrate the life of Spirit Tree is to share my love of trees with others and to embrace this moment in life, however full or empty it may be.

Donairs

Talking Bands
by Ross Mair

Jeff Matheson, left, and Donovan Morgan contemplate their next move.

Charlottetown’s nightlife is about to get a make-over, what with the opening of a couple new joints catering to the needs of those who have seen a real scene. Not to slag on our city’s scene, but I need both hands to count the amount of top-40 dance clubs and none to count the real clubs, I’m talkin electronica, house, someone who can scratch you know? The kind they play in the cities beyond the bridge.

So we got new clubs? Check. A new sound? Check. Donairs? Check. What?! And not those greasy, spicy snacks some of us rock after the bars, I’m talking about the electronica duo Donairs, comprised of Jeff Matheson and Donovan Morgan.

Both have spent some time honing their sound in Toronto, both have roots in the local music scene beyond electronica. Donovan has played Hunter’s more than a few times with The Last Forever, a cover band, Flush, and used to DJ under the name Putty. Jeff has worked the old Waterworks in Summerside and what used to be Thirsty’s in Cavendish. No, I didn’t dig these guys up, they’re not fossils, they’ve been trading places in Toronto making music and gaining contacts.

“I learned a lot, saw a lot and there’s a lot more people with a lot less talent,” said Jeff about his days in Toronto learning audio engineering. “Nowadays anyone can be a digital DJ.” Blame the internet I suppose, but if not for the internet these guys might not of gotten so far so quick.

The group is signed with Reticent Can/US and more recently with Mad Hatter records out of the UK, a firm associated with such names as Carl Cox, and if you know the industry what-so-ever, that name should speak volumes. A few of their singles under the Reticent label sold well before the company fell through—thank the economy—but were noticed by Pete Tong’s label Bedroom Bedlam.

“Thousands of songs come out almost everyday, so for these people to hear our music is pretty good,” said Morgan. As this was happening Cox started paying closer attention to the music coming out of Mad Hatter, playing it frequently on his hit BBC Radio show, The Essential Selection, making it all the more likely Donairs tracks could be played and heard by millions world-wide. Not bad for some local boys.

“We’re in the food trough with the rest of the big pigs now,” said Morgan, optimistic that Donairs has a chance at cracking the world-scene.

Until that happens, you can check them out at those new clubs that will be opening in Charlottetown. Globe, the venue Donairs will figure prominently with its located on Vic. Row and Alibi is next to Baba”s Lounge on University. The two have a host of other gigs planned over the course of the Summer, so stay tuned.

Best of the Fest

Report from 2008 Toronto Film Festival

by Randy Burrows

In September, 312 films screened as part of the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. So it’s pretty easy to avoid the red-carpet, Ben Mulroney-side of the festival during the ten days. And, as a fan of cinema, it’s wiser to avoid that side of TIFF and concentrate on the smorgasbord of cinema. Not only is tracking down Brad Pitt a colossal time-waster, it’s cost-ineffective to spend money on TIFF’s increasingly pricey $22 tickets to see studio films that are scheduled for multiplex release next month anyway (Burn After Reading, for instance, was released nationally before TIFF ended). Besides, Joe-Blow-filmgoer is slowly being bullied out of the Hollywood-y stuff anyway. This year, TIFF priced one venue’s tickets at $30, making the venue unavailable to folks with festival passes and ticket packages. So the 45 movies in my TIFF ’08 lineup featured gambles on smaller unknown indies and foreign flicks.

Film screenings at TIFF are pretty cool events. Not only do crowds consist of relatively smart people, but also relatively old people. The arcades in the lobbies were eerily silent. Huge cinemas are full at 9 am for obscure little foreign films. This year it seemed that festival-goers were a little less social than others and a little more caught up in the worlds of their iPhones and Samsung Instincts. To my disbelief, several boorish filmgoers routinely checked and sent texts during screenings causing glowing phones to luminate everywhere. I suppose, though, that wasn’t as bad as the behaviour of the critic who turned around and hit Roger Ebert during a screening. Violence and texting aside though, TIFF audiences are a knowledgeable, friendly, and film-loving crowd, and it’s exciting to be in their midst for a few days.

When you go to the festival and take chances on films you know little about, you really hope that you guess well. You don’t always. For instance, I learned that films about family-run X-rated cinemas involving people chasing goats are not a wise investment of time (Serbis). Neither are experimental films with no scripts and involving three characters loitering (Three Wise Men, and Birdsong). However, there were a number of gems that I came across, some of which have North American release schedules. If you have a chance, check them out.

Best of My Fest:
1. Wendy and Lucy (USA)—an affecting drama about the decay of the economy and its intrinsic link to struggling families.
2. The Wrestler (USA)—a brilliant performance by Mickey Rourke as a washed up “Macho” man.
3. Il Divo (Italy)—a biopic about an Italian politician handled with the energy of Tarantino and the style of Ritchie.
4. Revanche (Austria)—Gotz Spielmann’s gritty new crime/love drama. Brilliant (his last masterpiece Antares is available on DVD).
5. JCVD (Belgium)—Jean Claude Van Damme plays himself in the hilarious drama/comedy/action film about Van Damme’s dwindling career.
6. Waltz with Bashir (Israel)—Shocking and emotional animated documentary about a military massacre.
7. Four Nights with Anna (Poland)—Funny and creepy. A Mr. Bean-like character takes to stalking his neighbor.
8. Martyrs (France/Canada)—starts as a nasty revenge-thriller, turns nasty, then turns surprisingly thoughtful.
9. Not Quite Hollywood (Australia)—energetic documentary about Aussie exploitation films.
10. Hunger (UK)—an intense story of the IRA-Britain tensions and ensuing hungers strike of Irish prisoners.

Going Her Way


Marolyn Dodge Matthews displays unique rug hooking

by Wendy Jones

Marolyn Dodge Matthews at Macphail HomesteadShe’s an unstoppable 65-year-old rug hooker whose grey hair has been cropped and spiked like a punk star, then dyed a vibrant cardinal red on the crown and raven black at the fringe and nape. She can sometimes be seen plying her trade along Charlottetown’s boardwalks. She refuses to let convention stop her from living life on her own terms.

The fact that she uses a cane doesn’t stop Marolyn Dodge Matthews from doing what she loves either. With the help of her husband (as chauffeur), she travels around the Maritimes, the eastern seaboard and across the country gaining inspiration for her whimsical folk art rugs and craft pieces. She is well-known to many Islanders, having worked at the front counter of Frenchy’s for many years.

Had he been on hand for the opening of Matthews’ exhibition My Way at the Macphail Homestead in Orwell on Sunday, July 20, Sir Andrew would no doubt have been scandalized—if not by the avant-garde nature of a few of Matthews’ pieces then surely by the tone of some of the conversations. His sitting rooms were full of Shady Ladies who noted that strippers had added some excitement to the opening of last year’s exhibition. Titillating as it may sound, strippers attending last year’s opening were more concerned about the condition of the floorboards and the Shady Ladies were merely hooking rugs.

This year, volunteers at My Way could hardly keep up with the demand for bright red sold stickers for Matthews creations. Matthews has an flair for colour and a well-defined style that is all her own. The primitive simplicity of her work is counterbalanced by the sophisticated incorporation of sundry media into her pieces. Matthews is a true Maritime story teller, the sticks and stones, fish net and found objects that she integrates into her work reflect the traditions and values of her community and tell the Amherst, Nova Scotia-born artist’s own tales. Her work will continue to hang at the Sir Andrew Macphail homestead through to August 15.

Readers who are interested in getting together with a fun group of casual hookers are welcome to join Marolyn and the Shady Ladies at the Spring Park United Church in Charlottetown every Wednesday from mid-September onwards. They do not hold meetings or give instruction, but they do have fun, provide support, and share their creative rug hooking ideas.

Matthews and the Shady Ladies will be hooking at the Wood Islands and Area Ferry Festival on August 31. Visual artists and craftsmen are invited to come along and complete a work of art depicting the scenery or ambience of Wood Islands between 9 am and 3 pm. Their works will be exhibited and may be purchased following the event. For further information please call Wendy at 962-4131. Artists wishing to attend the Chowder Supper following the event must register before August 15.

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

UPEI Winter’s Tales

Author reading series with A.F. (Al) Moritz October 1
UPEI Faculty Lounge, Charlottetown In a Globe [ ... ]

North Shore Community Centre event serie...

September 25
North Shore Community Centre The Rural Municipality of North Shore will present the Lat [ ... ]

The Thank You Canada Tour

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, Patrick Chan and more in Summerside November 15
Credit Union Place Canada [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Drawing the line

Profile: Sandy Carruthers by Jane Ledwell Retired for a year now after twenty-five years teaching  [ ... ]

Filmworks Summerside

Film series is back for 7th season Filmworks Summerside opens for their 7th season on September 12  [ ... ]

An Island wish

On August 23, 4 year old Cooper Coughlin will arrive on Prince Edward Island soil for a once in a li [ ... ]