Colby-Curtis brings ‘Old Trades’ to life
People were coming and going all day long, last Saturday, at the Colby Curtis Museum. History had spilled out onto the museum’s lovely yard by way of a few ‘old trade’ demonstrations and a garage sale of very old and interesting items, an activity that coincided with the vernissage of the museum’s new temporary exhibit “The Crafts and Trades of Stanstead County”.
James Teuscher, a blacksmith from Vermont, was busy making pulpwood hooks the old-fashioned way, with hammer and fire. “It takes about three hours to make a pulp hook like this – this is about history and the way we used to do things,” said the blacksmith as he held the piece in his portable forge, the kind many farmers used to use in the last century. Anais Brault, of Fitch Bay, was demonstrating the old craft of creating pottery on a wheel along with Jeremie Gendron, encouraging anyone who wanted to give it a try to get their hands dirty. “It’s really easy to learn and then you can make a lot of things on the wheel,” she said. Kathy Drew added to the ambience on the grounds with her fiddle playing throughout the afternoon.
Tucked away in the museum’s solarium was Lennoxville’s Alberta Everett, a keen knitter and crocheter who is always happy to share her expertise. Listening to visitors ask her questions, I was surprised at how unfamiliar these once commonplace crafts are for many people. For the occasion the museum’s barn, full of antique agricultural tools and other large artefacts like a real birch bark canoe, was also open for people to tour.
makes a pulp hook during the Old Trades demonstration last Saturday. Anais Brault, of Fitch Bay, learnt how to ‘throw’ pottery from Hatley potter, Rejean Cotes.
Vermont blacksmith James Teuscher