"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Emma FitzGerald's upcoming book

Emma FitzGerald, one of the Elizabeth Bishop Festival artists, has a new book coming out this fall with Formac Publishing of Halifax, N.S. Congratulations Emma! Though the book will not yet be available at the time of the festival, you will be able to see some of Emma's wonderful artwork at the Festival Market and she will be participating in the visual arts conversation in the afternoon. So, come to the festival and meet this exciting and gifted artist and learn more about her book. I gather there will be a launch in Halifax in the fall (click on the image to enlarge).

Monday, May 25, 2015

Painting the World: Conversations with Writers at the Elizabeth Bishop Festival

One of the afternoon events at the Elizabeth Bishop Festival in Great Village, N.S., on 8 August 2015, will be a conversation with four exceptional visual artists: Emma FitzGerald, Carol Laing, Joy Laking and Linda Rae Dornan. This conversation will be moderated by writer and Mount Allison Fine Arts professor Anne Koval. This profile is of moderator Anne Koval.


Anne Koval (https://kovalcurator.wordpress.com/) is a poet, curator and art historian who teaches at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. She has long been interested in the intersection between image and text and is currently working on a collection of ekphrastic poems, After Art.  Her recent curatorial projects include Paper Doll, an exhibition centred around an archival collection of handmade paper dolls and clothing by poet Sylvia Plath with the work of seven contemporary artists. Last spring she curated and performed in MUSE an exhibition held at the Banff Park Museum in partnership with the Whyte Museum. She is currently working on a contemporary exhibition Fairy-Tails that looks at the narrative relationship between animals and humans. She has just embarked on writing a biography of the painter Mary Pratt.
 Cover of catalogue for Paper Doll exhibition

Anne has had a long relationship with Elizabeth Bishop, once doing a residency at the house in Great Village and also participating in the Elizabeth Bishop conference “It must be Nova Scotia: Negotiating Place in the Writings of Elizabeth Bishop,” University of King’s College in Halifax. She is always happy to return to Great Village, which she considers a very special place.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Take a wagon ride with Elizabeth Bishop (a.k.a. Beth Terry) at the Elizabeth Bishop Festival

One of the most popular attractions during the Elizabeth Bishop Arts Festival in 2011 was the horse and wagon ride through Great Village. Gordon Lewis, his wonderful horses and a brightly coloured wagon took eager visitors along “Nelly the cow” route (that is, Scrabble Hill Road). On board was Elizabeth Bishop – that is, Truro, N.S., actor Beth Terry portraying Bishop, who told stories about her childhood in Great Village.

Beth Terry will be reprising her role as Elizabeth Bishop, and Gordon Lewis is back on the wagon seat as Pa Bulmer, at the Elizabeth Bishop Festival in Great Village on 8 August 2015.
Beth Terry has been performing for 30 years, both on the stage & behind the scenes. Originally from Newfoundland, Beth moved to Nova Scotia in 2002. Since 2005 she has been teaching music in Truro, where she lives with her husband, and four children. Beth has been involved in community theatre, and recently scored an award winning one woman play called “Mabel’s Last Performance,” which performed at the 2014 Halifax Fringe Festival. Beth is excited to be taking on the part of Elizabeth Bishop again this summer, to share the rich history of this extraordinary woman!

Gordon Lewis, a.k.a. Pa Bulmer and his colourful wagon and
wonderful horses, Beth is tucked in the seat behind Gordon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Suzie LeBlanc to do fund-raising concert for St. George's Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia

I am excited to let you know that our own Suzie LeBlanc is back in the province to do a fund-raising concert for St. George's Church in Halifax, N.S., on Sunday, 24 May 2015, at 3:00 p.m. The funds are for the music programs at St. George's.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Gathering Place for Expression: The Elizabeth Bishop Festival Market

One of the main events of the Elizabeth Bishop Festival taking place in Great Village on 8 August 2015 is the Festival Market, where over a dozen artists and artisans will gather to share their creations. This post is a profile of photographer Brenda Barry.

Brenda (left) and her hiking buddy Linda Bugden at Mill Falls in Keji
Brenda Barry loves to hike: from Kejimkujik to Chignecto, from Long Island to Tancook Island. She began to photograph the beauty of Nova Scotia’s landscapes in 2012, and last year she started to put some of these vibrant images on cards.
 Gaff Point Trail, south coast of Nova Scotia
She is one of the owners of the Elizabeth Bishop House and has, like many other photographers, taken delightful photographs of it — and of Great Village.
 Elizabeth Bishop's "high-shouldered and secretive" St. James Church

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Photography of Laurie Gunn at the Elizabeth Bishop Festival

Laurie Gunn, President of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia, is a well-known and much admired local photographer. Her work will be exhibited at the “In the Village” Café in Great Village this summer. She and her evocative images will be part of the Elizabeth Bishop Festival taking place in the village on 8 August 2015.
Laurie was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in 1952 and has lived her whole life close to the Atlantic Ocean. Her love for photography started at the age of ten when her parents bought her, her very first camera and she has been taking pictures ever since. She graduated from university, got married, taught school, and helped raise four children. Her photography has taken her to such places as Italy, France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam and the Channel Islands, United Kingdom.

She has attended photography workshops and enjoyed the chance to discuss photography with other like minded individuals. In 2007 she had the privilege of doing a photography show with her good friend and traveling companion, Joy Laking (another EB Festival artist). The show was held in Truro, N.S., at the Marigold Cultural Centre (www.marigoldcentre.ca) and was called “Here and Away-Seeing the World With Passionate Eyes.”  This was indeed the highlight of her career as a photographer.

Laurie will also take your picture! She will head up the “Fun Photo Booth” where you can don a historic costume and pose for her camera.
Laurie has also photographed the Elizabeth Bishop House many times.
Laurie's photography business is called “eagle i images” because when she captures a beautiful or intriguing image, she does feel like she is soaring with the eagles.
You can see more of Laurie’s work on her website.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Gathering Place for Expression: The Elizabeth Bishop Festival Market

One of the main features of the Elizabeth Bishop Festival taking place in Great Village on 8 August 2015 is the Festival Market where over a dozen artists and artisans will gather to share their creations. This post is a profile of writer Mary Ellen Sullivan and Open Heart Farming.
Mary Ellen Sullivan grew up on a farm outside Guelph, Ontario, and now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Much of her writing is inspired by her love for her childhood farm. After moving to Halifax in 1995 she developed valued friendships with farmers and other people involved with food and farming issues. As a community occupational therapist she was honoured to hear people’s life stories in their homes.

Her poems and prose have been published in Rural Delivery Magazine, and Rhubarb — a publication of the Mennonite Literary Society, as well as online by The Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, and Canadian Jesuits International. Her short story “Raising Nellie” is included in the Nimbus 2014 anthology In the Company of Animals: Stories of Extraordinary Encounters. She was the recipient of the 2012 Elora Writers’ Festival writing competition for poetry and the 2014 Atlantic Writing Competition for poetry.

Mary Ellen started Open Heart Farming, an annual collection of farm and food-centric poems by Nova Scotia poets in 2012 and writes the Open Heart Farming blog http://maryellensullivanblog.tumblr.com. She has read at farmers markets and other locations in across Nova Scotia. She participates in the Canadian Agriculture Literacy Week, speaking to elementary students about agriculture in Nova Scotia. Through these and her involvement in other food and farming initiatives, she strives to share the voices of farmers and people involved in food justice issues. She is grateful to the mentors she had as a child that have led her to pursue these actions. And she loves Elizabeth Bishop’s writings.

 Mary Ellen reading at Farmers' Market in Mahone Bay, N.S.
Open Heart Farming is a spinoff of Open Heart Forgery, which is marking its fifth anniversary this year.