Friday, September 20, 2013

A Day with Danielle Oulette - and A Day at the Grand Lake Stream Folk Art Festival

This week's project in progress!

Summer time brings lots of opportunities to travel a bit and take in outdoor activities. For me that usually includes something to do with textile art - such as visiting a farm to take pictures of the animals who donate their fleece to the cause, or going to a fair or festival.

This summer in nearby Shediac I took part in what I call "a day with Danielle". Danielle Oulette is a local artist who creates in many mediums and she has a web site showing her very original ideas - just Google her name and the site will appear for you. She is a wonderful facilitator and mentor and for the first part of the day we worked on developing designs using collages that we made by tearing random pieces of paper from magazines and gluing them on a paper base. Sounds like a simple exercise, however, it can certainly get the creative thoughts flowing. The whole process gives you an original design of shapes and colours and for me, what I ended up with, is nothing that I could have purposely envisioned at the start. In the afternoon we changed gears a little and practiced using a fine punch needle to spontaneously create an abstract pattern. It was lots of fun to do this in a group and to see how individual we all are!

The activity was held at the Pascal Poirier House Provincial Historic Site (built c.1820) which is a heritage property that has been preserved as a museum/art gallery. During the summer, various art exhibitions are featured there as well as activities that support the local arts community. The house is the birthplace of Pascal Poirier who was a prominent Acadian leader and author who became the first Acadian appointed Canadian senator. It was a fine day for our workshops so we were able to set up outside on the large veranda.

Pascal Poirier House Provincial Historic Site, Shediac, NB

Another adventure took my daughter and I to St. Andrew's, NB and then over the border into Maine. Browsing in a used book store in Calais we stumbled over a little poster advertising a wonderful time to be had at the Grand Lake Stream Folk Art Festival. Assured by the lady in the book store that it was only a short drive from Calais, off we went. Deeper and deeper we went into the Maine woods - no signs in sight - and only armed with the scant directions of the storekeeper. After about forty-minutes we came into the tiny village of Grand Lake Stream which boasts of one general store, a school and the churches.

We followed the music and came upon the festival grounds in the center of town. Over 50 artisans were set up in booths under large tents. Off to one side was the music tent where you could sit and rest your feet while listening to a continuous string of groups playing all genres of music. In the lunch tent, the ladies from the local church served a most delicious and generous lobster roll - which really made the day!

Visitors, exhibitors and musicians come from all parts of New England to take part in the annual festival. One of the exhibits at the festival was a custom made Grand Lake canoe which was designed with a square stern. This canoe design was developed over 100 years ago when the water route of local lakes was the only way to transport goods and travelers into the area. Since the mid 1800's Grand Lake Stream has been a haven for bird and large game hunters and salmon and bass fishers. At first they lived with their guides in tents along the shores of the many lakes. Now there are lodges and cabins that cater to them - all offering expert guides - as well as accommodations for family vacations.

The General Store in Grand Lake Stream           

A beautiful day at the lake

Square stern Grand Lake canoe

A hot jazz group in the music tent

Yarn solar dyed in seawater by SEACOLORS © of Maine

Betsey Leslie carding fleece donated by her Border Leicster sheep
One of Theo McDonough's dolls taking a bath next door in a tub of Betsey's fleece!
The Bunny Lady - Karen Cornell - spinning fur from her English angora rabbits
And there were quilts (a whole tent full!) and jewellery, and wooden items, and, and ......!


  1. Love those boats! Makes me want to be near the water. Looking forward to seeing more on this project.

    1. More coming up for a show at the local library gallery in November!