Saturday, August 26, 2017

James D. Julia Penobscot Paddles - Lot Update with new photos

It appears the set of two Penobscot Paddles recently offered by Auctioneers James D. Julia had no takers during their annual Summer Fine Art, Asian and Antiques Sale.

James D. Julia  Auctioneers
Summer Fine Art, Asian and Antiques Sale
(August 16th-18th, 2017). 

They have since posted additional photos of the paddles (some blurry) taken unceremoniously on the warehouse floor. Below are shots of the stepped grip paddle...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Historic Paddle Illustration: Patrick Cambell - Travels in the interior inhabited parts of North America...

Two more historic illustrations can be found in Patrick Campbell's Travels in the interior inhabited parts of North America : in the years 1791 and 1792The first image illustrates a cleared farm hacked out of the dense forest in the background with labels identifying key features.  In the foreground are two sets of canoes in an early Wabanaki style with exaggerated pointed ends (see Enys canoe post for a surviving example).

The details on the etchings are quite elaborate with the artist capturing the gunnel lashings and even the curved "fiddlehead" etchings and other decorative elements along the hull.

Decorative etchings on the hull

Another image in the text showcases a family traveling with their canoe upstream...

Canoe closeup

Friday, August 18, 2017

Musee de Quai Branly - Cree Paddles

Found some additional Cree paddles located in the collections of the  Musee de Quai Branly  (Paris, France). The first is a 62" pole grip paddle with a painted blade dated to between 1930-1935. The relatively straight sided blade culminates in a distinct pointed tip.

Géographie : Amérique – Amérique du Nord – Canada
Culture : Amérique – Cree
Date : 1930-1935
Dimensions et poids : 158.5cm  x 12.5cm, 647 g
Donateur : Paul Coze
Précédente collection : Musée de l'Homme (Amérique)
Numéro d'inventaire : 71.1931.44.155

The second paddle dates to the same time period. It is plain with a distinct bobble grip. This one is shorter, roughly 56" with a a narrowing blade that shows signs of edge damage from use.

Géographie : Amérique – Amérique du Nord – Canada
Culture : Amérique – Cree
Date : 1930-1935
Dimensions et poids : 141.8 x 11cm, 631 g
Donateur : Paul Coze
Précédente collection : Musée de l'Homme (Amérique)
Numéro d'inventaire : 71.1931.44.156

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Historic Illustration - William Armstrong "Numbering the Indians" 1856

Paddle related artwork by Canadian Artist William Armstrong (1822–1914) has been featured on the blog before (previous posts here). Another public domain image is in the collection of the Toronto Public Library.

Numbering the Indians, Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island (Ontario)
Armstrong, William, 1822-1914
16 August 1856
Image Source Link: Toronto Public Library
Public Domain

In this particular scene, a few of the subjects are seen holding simple, non decorated slender paddles, most of which feature no discernible grip area...

Image Closeup

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Quick 3 day trip

Had another short trip with my older boy back to Gun Lake in the Frost Centre. Realized after the fact that I had forgotten my camera's memory card in the computer at home so my old camera could only hold about a half dozen shots in its internal memory. So not too many photos to share.

The weather was pretty decent the first two days (got sunburned!) but then it started to turn for the worse. Our extremely wet and cool summer meant no fire ban this season and water levels were about 10" or so above last year. Unfortunately that meant more bugs (many people have said this is the worst bug season in years) but our elevated campsite had a steady breeze off the lake which kept the bloodsuckers at bay. Perhaps the fear of bugs also kept other paddlers away because we had the whole lake (with 7 or so campsites) all to ourselves for the first 2 days.

The day we arrived, a crew from the Haliburton Highlands Water Trails came to the site to dig a new hole and install a brand new cedar thunderbox. It smelled awesome which is pretty weird when describing a toilet. They also removed all the garbage and food that previous campers dumped into the privy despite warnings written all over NOT to do this disgusting and dangerous habit. Glad that this potential bear attractant was removed from our site withing an hour of us arriving.

A short paddle from the site  was a marshy stream and a waterfall. There were signs of fresh beaver activity too including what looked like a bank beaver hole dug into the muddy shoreline.

Later on that evening a beaver swam right off our site while we were sitting on rocks. We were basically about 15 feet away and stayed perfectly still while it calmly swam right by us. My boy has never seen a beaver in the wild and thought it was the highlight of the trip! Next goal is to see a moose but we will have to go deeper into the bush for that.

Further down the lake were amazing stone cliffs with trees growing out of seeming impossible places. The echo along these walls was neat and probably helped to amplify the look calls at night.

Fishing was awesome too. There was a large shallow rock shelf right off the site that dropped at least 8 ft down.  Within minutes of casting he started getting hits including a huge bass that jumped right out of the water and got free of the line.  He was disappointed that he couldn't reel it in but for the rest of the trip we kept talking about the "big one that got away".

Much of the rest of the trip was spent just lazily paddling around and practicing some paddling strokes. The little guy is learning pretty well and makes for a great bow paddler. He's really good at drawing left and right when given the command and we practiced some sculling draws to help pull the canoe sideways to the rocky shoreline dock.

All in all a decent trip!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Tom Thomson Commemorative Canoe Raffle

Langford Canoe has donated a 16' cedar canvas canoe to raffle off with the benefits going to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation in Muskoka. We've had to make use of the Hospital's Emergency a few times over the years and it is wonderful facility with very caring staff. This summer being the 100th Anniversary of the suspicious death of Artist Tom Thomson, Langford has tried to replicate a canoe in the style used in the early 20th century.  Thomson is said to have purchased a 2nd grade  Chestnut Cruiser in 1915. Normally covered in a dull slate grey paint, the artist mixed in a tube of Cobalt Blue to make his canoe very unique. The devastating fire of 1921 destroyed the Chestnut factory and all the forms and canoes after this period had quite different shapes.

Tom Thomson's canoe circa 1915

I happened to be in Huntsville when I noticed a distinctive "blue-grey" canoe with high curved ends in the window of a local sports outfitter. Given the tight space and other merchandise, I couldn't get a full shot of the boat but managed to capture a few features.

View of the Langford "Tom Thomson" canoe in the window

Once inside I noticed how robustly this canoe was built. Unfortunately, no stats were available and the store staff knew nothing of the boat other than erroneously calling it a "Cedar Strip". A key feature (rarely seen on Canadian boats) are the distinct half ribs added to strengthen the hull. The two ash thwarts are very wide and bulky and coupled with the ash outwales, seats and keel, this will likely be a very heavy duty boat.

Half ribs and wide ash thwarts

Don't believe the early Chestnuts came with babiche seats but Langford decided to go for this rustic style...
Rawhide seats

Pre-fire Chestnuts came in both closed and open gunnelled forms but had a very distinctive narrow deck. Langford decided to use another darker hardwood along with their own commemorative logo...

Langford Deck

The canoe also comes with two painted cherry paddles to match the hull...

Cherry paddles with painted blades

The only Pre-fire Chesnut Cruiser I'm aware of was found by Andre Cloutier of Ravenwood Canoes. He has documented many of the details of these rare boats and has even built a new form of this historic design. Recently, he completed the first build and his boat (much closer to Thomson's original) has recently been launched...

Anyway, 1000 tickets at $25 each will be sold and the draw takes place on September 1st. More details found on the local poster below:

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