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Image - book
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Ross Memorial Museum
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Nom de l'objet : book
Artiste ou artisan : Mowat, Grace Helen
Catégorie de l'objet : communication artifacts
Sous-catégorie de l'objet : documentary artefact
Matériaux : cardboard
Technique de fabrication : printed
Numéro d'accession : RM 87.15.4
Nom de la collection : Repatriated Mowat
Province d'origine : New Brunswick
Pays d'origine : Canada
Province d'utilisation : New Brunswick
Pays d'utilisation : Canada
Date de fin de production : 1954
Période : 3rd quarter of 20th century
Description : Gold colour cloth cover with watercolour image of stone cottage with tree in front glued on the centre of the cover; the title "THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT" is printed below on the cloth cover in green. Published by Brunswick Press, Fredericton, New Brunswick, copyright 1954
Commentaires : Grace Helen Mowat or "Nell", or "Nellie", as she was known for most of her life, grew up on Beech Hill farm just outside Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. The daughter of George and Isabella (Campbell) Mowat and the descendant of Loyalists, she was born on January 31, 1875. After grammar school in town, she spent a winter at the Richmond School of Art and Music in London. But it was the practical rather than the fine arts that drew her and later she enrolled at Cooper Union in New York, a school that trained both designers and teachers of art and craft. For Nell, teaching followed: in Augusta, Bermuda, and  Halifax. But the classroom didn't satisfy and in her mid-thirties, unmarried and with very little money, she returned to Beech Hill.  Sensing a market for the home-made and the hand-crafted, in 1913 she commissioned three farm women to hook rugs under her guidance. The rugs sold quickly at a craft shop in Montreal. To the other farm women she recruited, her instructions were simple. Use only natural materials and for subjects look to the life and landscape of Charlotte County. No lotus flowers or birds of paradise and no designs from magazines and catalogues, and nothing seen in shop windows. Nell's mantra was a couplet from a poem by Charles Goodridge Roberts: "See the beauty that clings in common forms, and find the soul of unregarded things." Her shopfront was the parlour of Beech Hill Farm, her workshop a large shed behind the house where she and the indispensable Boyd Merrill washed and dyed wool fleeces collected from the farms. Her drying racks were chicken wires strung on poles. After carding and spinning at a mill in St. Stephen, and more washing and softening at Beech Hill, batches of  knitting and weaving yarns were delivered  to Cottage Craft's seventy crafters. Their products sold at home and across the continent, and in 1919 Nell had to move, first to a large building on Water Street in Saint Andrews and then to Chestnut Hall, now the Ross Memorial Museum. In 1920, the business grossed $40,406.09 (approximately $500,000 in 2014) with a profit of $10,075.77 ($125,000 in 2014). Cottage Craft survived the Depression but wartime austerity, gas rationing and the closing of the Algonquin Hotel were damaging. Nell sold Chestnut Hall and moved to a small shop on Water Street.  At the end of the war, now seventy, she sold the business to Kent and Bill Ross, talented young ex-service men and the sons of a trusted old friend. The purchase price was a token amount of cash and the guarantee of small monthly payments to Nell for the rest of her life. Cottage Craft's new home was a refurbished lobster plant in Market Square.  Nell's vision would continue to influence the lives of many and inspire the arts and craft movement in Charlotte County for decades to come. Nell was a celebrity. She had a showcase at the British Empire Exhibition in London, started a pottery at Chestnut Hall, badgered government into supporting flax-growing on Charlotte County farms, and to celebrate rural life and culture she organized a series of successful summer pageants at Beech Hill.  She had written  poetry and stories for children, Funny Fables of Fundy, 1928, a romantic history of Saint Andrews, The Diverting History of a Loyalist Town, 1932, and other works followed such as Broken Barrier, 1947; The House that Jack Built, 1954; and a booklet called The Tories's King. She continued to sketch and paint and started the Music, Art and Drama Society—the hugely successful 'MAD Club'. In 1951, the University of New Brunswick, urged by Lord Beaverbrook, awarded her an honorary degree. Nell died on February 24, 1964, in her 90th year at her beloved Beech Hill. Her friend Bliss Carman, the renowned poet, had affectionately and rightly dubbed her the "Countess of Charlotte".  (Rees, Diana with Ron. Grace Helen Mowat and the making of Cottage Craft. Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2009.) Grace Helen Mowat & Charlotte County Cottage Craft: A Life Well-Crafted Joint exhibit by Ross Memorial Museum and Charlotte County Archives, 2014
Hauteur : 15,5
Largeur : 15,5
Unité de mesure linéaire : cm
Nombre d'objets : 1
Établissement : Ross Memorial Museum
Ville de l'établissement : St Andrews
Province de l'établissement : New Brunswick
Site web de l'établissement :  

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