Showing posts with label sealing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sealing. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tuesday's #FolklorePhoto: Seal Skin Slippers

Doreen Noseworthy poses with a pair of sealskin boots that she made, Green Island Brook. Photo by Lisa Wilson. 2010.
Today's Folklore Photos come from The Straits collection on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative. The Strait of Belle Isle is a geographic region on the northwest coast of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. Colloquially know as 'The Straits,' this coastal strip runs from the community of Plum Point in the south, to Eddies Cove East at the northernmost tip. 

Between these two locales, several small communities dot the coast. Families first arrived at The Strait of Belle Isle in the 1880s, to exploit the salmon fishery and perhaps set up a base for the fur trade. Early inhabitants were there seasonally, but by 1884, permanent settlers arrived and began fishing for cod, herring, and began sealing practices as well. Although resources may have shifted in value, abundance and importance, over the years, the local drive to work the land and sea has remained consistent. While the cod fishery ultimately saw its demise in the 1990s, forms of this industry continue to fuel the local economy today. In Anchor Point, for instance, many of the residents continue to work as fish harvesters, or alternately in the shrimp plant, which employs upwards of 150 people each season.

The Straits inventory is part of a founding collection for the Great Northern Peninsula Textiles Archive and Learning Center. This project, based in Conche, NL, is an on-going initiative to document and preserve the textile-based crafts that are being created on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula. The items in this collection were gathered between May and July of 2010 and include photographs of textile craft objects such as sealskin boots, Newfoundland Quilts, knitted socks, and embroidered cloth. This inventory also includes audio clips of craftspeople discussing their particular textile-based skills and practices. Straits communities present in this collection include Green Island Brook, Pines Cove, Bird Cove, Black Duck Cove, Eddies Cove East, Anchor Point, Sandy Cove, and Flower's Cove. Flower's Cove, due to its comparably large population, has been given its own community inventory on the DAI.

If you want to learn more about this collection click here and if you want to listen to an interview with Doreen Noseworthy about the process of making seal skin boots, slippers, and mittens click here.
Doreen Noseworthy demonstrates how to make sealskin boot pleats, Green Island Brook. Photo by Lisa Wilson. 2010.
Doreen Noseworthy demonstrates how to make pleats in sealskin, Green Island Brook. Photo by Lisa Wilson. 2010.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Living Heritage Podcast Ep078 Seals, Culture, and Craft

Clare Fowler grew up on Bell Island. She spent time working in fish plants and other food processing plants before moving to Ontario in 1999 to do the Chiropody Program at the Michener Institute for Applied Health. She moved to St. John’s in 2004 and worked for a decade before switching gears and following her passions for art and craft. She completed the Textile: Craft and Apparel Design program with College of the North Atlantic in 2016 and is now a full time crafts person and maker with an open studio at the Quidi Vidi Village Craft Plantation. Her body of work focuses on the use of seal fur and seal leather.

In this podcast, we talk about Clare's journey as a craftsperson and maker, her work with seal fur and leather, the craft program at the Anna Templeton Centre in St. John’s, National Seal Products Day, and future work on seal art and documenting and learning bark tanning and sealskin boot making on the Northern Peninsula.

Visit Clare Dawn Couture on Facebook

Listen on the Digital Archive:

Monday, June 12, 2017

#CollectiveMemories Monday - Harold "Sparks" Squires, Wireless Operator

VA 10-56 "Sparks" [Harold Squires (telegraph operator)] and Adelie [penguin], Hope Bay. 1945. Courtesy of The Rooms Provincial Archives.  
In March, I digitized a series of cassette tape interviews from Admiralty House Museum and Archives. One of the interviews recently added to the Mount Pearl section of MUN's DAI was an interview with Harold Squires, a wireless operator who worked for the Marconi Company and traveled to the Antarctic on the S.S. Eagle. In the interview, Squires talks about life on the ship, his job, the other crew members, and his nickname "Sparks", One of the interesting stories Squires tells about the voyage, was how when the ship warmed up, the deck on the old sealing vessel oozed seal blubber. Squires also talks about working as a wireless operator at Cabot Tower and having to walk to work everyday.

To listen to this, and other interviews about Mount Pearl and the early days of radio in Newfoundland and Labrador, visit Memorial University Digital Archives Initiative.

Friday, May 26, 2017

#FoodwaysFriday - Sealing Vessel Memories

Unidentified sealing vessel in ice. PF-323.048. Donor: John Connors, 1998.
Maritime History Archive - International Grenfell Association Lantern Slides.
When we discuss foodways of Newfoundland and Labrador the first food that often comes to mind is the codfish. Cod has played a major role in everything from the province’s economy to its culture. It is featured in many traditional dishes however it is not the only food tradition in the province. Seafood and fish, caribou, seal, sea birds, berries, root vegetables, and imported products such as molasses and tin milk all play a part in the province’s food traditions. In celebration of the diverse foods harvested, grown, cooked, and eaten in Newfoundland and Labrador we will be doing a #FoodwaysFriday feature on the ICH Blog.

This week we are featuring an interview with Mr. Mark Johnson of Little Catalina. It was recorded in 1999 in Port Union for the Sir William F. Coaker Heritage Foundation and digitized by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. The interview focuses on Mr. Johnson’s work experience and his time in the seal fishery.

Mr. Johnson shares stories about his time as a wheel master on several sealing vessels, memories of hunting on the ice, and the conditions of the sealing vessels as well as stories about William Coaker and Port Union, boat building, cod fishing on the Labrador, sailing, and World War Two. This audio interview also includes a full transcript which is key word searchable.

If you want to learn more about Mr. Mark Johnson’s working life click here to read the transcript!

Share your stories and knowledge of food with the hashtag #FoodwaysFriday.

~Terra Barrett

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Collective Memories Grand Falls-Windsor - Sealing Sweep

Harry Pinsent
I’m spending this week in Grand Falls-Windsor talking to folks about their memories of Main Street in Windsor and merchants such as Becker’s, Chow’s, Cohen’s, Hiscock’s, Munch’s, Riff’s, Stewart’s, and many more who started shops and businesses in the area. The Heritage Foundation is working with the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society to gather and learn more information on Windsor as the society has a large number of interviews focused on Grand Falls, the company and the mill.

Yesterday afternoon Audrey Burke and I had the pleasure of talking with 93 year old Harry Pinsent about his life and his memories of growing up in Grand Falls-Windsor. Harry had vivid memories of growing up in the community and has certainly seen the town change over the years. Harry grew up in a family of six including his only surviving sibling Gordon Pinsent. Harry described going to school in Grand Falls-Windsor and the joy of being able to wear jeans in the summer instead of the shorts required for the school uniforms!
Harry's equipment for his work as an electrician.
Once Harry finished school he worked for the mill briefly before signing up and flying overseas with the RAF during the Second World War. When he returned to Grand Falls-Windsor Harry worked as an electrician with the mill until he retired at the age of 65. Harry married and together with his wife raised a family of fifteen. Harry described some of the shops on Main Street in Windsor and High Street in Grand Falls. He also had memories of leisure activities such as dances, picnics, and going to the movies.

Harry's mother Flossie is in the centre of this picnic.

One story which stood out during the interview was Harry’s description of the Sealing Sweep. Harry remembered the Methodist Church on the West End of Gilbert Street where movies were shown while the new town hall in Grand Falls-Windsor was being built. He saw the first “talkies” or talking pictures at the church. Harry explained that bingo was also played in this church however you couldn’t play for money. In the sound clip below Harry explains the only gambling allowed in the town – the Sealing Sweep.
Do you remember the Sealing Sweep? Or do your recall memories of shopping or working on Main Street? Let us know in the comments or email or call 1-888-739-1892.

~Terra Barrett

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Folklore Photo: An Icy Gathering

International Grenfell Association photograph collection
IGA photograph album VA 115-79.5

Despite the unseasonably warm weather we have been having in the province lately (knock on wood), this picture of a group of men, women and children gathering in the winter snow is more representative of the temperatures expected during a Newfoundland winter. While the exact date of this photo isn't known, it has been placed by the Archives as between 1900-1919.

The group is amongst barrels and boxes. The Rooms Archives description describes this as the 'northeastern ice fields', and the 'spring sealfishery'; if you can tell me anything else about this picture I would be interested to hear it! I think it's a great picture, and I love the coat on the woman in the foreground.

If you have any old photos of the wintery weather you would like to share, I would love to see them! You can email me at

- Sarah