Tag Archives: New Brunswick

Eel Ground Powwow

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio I took a day trip yesterday to visit the Eel Ground First Nation Powwow. It was (ashamedly) my first time there – and my only regret is not having gone sooner.

It was quite a stunning event, from the music to the clothing to the general atmosphere (which was a mixture of welcoming, celebration and respect).Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioEel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio

I stayed for the Grand Entry, in which members of the Aboriginal community marched in, followed by a prayer and lots of dancing in bright regalia. Apparently several dancers and drummers were from different First Nations communities, many outside of New Brunswick.

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioThere were also quite a few vendors there, set up in a large circle surrounding the dance arena. They were selling everything from jewelry to rolls of deer hide to musical instruments. It was also the first time I had seen a triangle-shaped hand drum. Not sure how it may affect the sound, but it definitely was eye-catching.

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio

Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioEel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch Studio


The only downside was the weather – the Grand Entry began at 1pm, which meant the sun was rather scorching, with beads of sweat rolling down all sides. I can only imagine how hot it must have been for the dancers! Though I came to terms with the heat by choosing to see it as a free outdoor sauna. Mind over matter…it works sometimes.


Eel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioEel Ground Powwow | Saltwater Birch StudioOverall, it was a really great experience, and I will definitely be back next year…maybe even for the sunrise ceremony (if I ever find the willpower to rise at 4:30am). 

Note: For those who have never been to a powwow, they do announce during which songs you are allowed to take photographs, so just make sure to pay attention to the MC. 


A Bobcat, Icicles, and Clumsiness


This weekend was quite a beautiful one – with the freezing rain and sunshine, the forest sparkled. A brief, but lovely, sight.


Though with this weekend came a visitor: a wandering bobcat. They’re not dangerous, at least not to humans…pet cats are another story. I just find them unsettling, mainly because their bark sounds exactly like a baby crying. Which is very creepy when that sound is coming from the forest at midnight.

It’s only the second time in my life that I’ve heard a bobcat, and both instances were at night (though the first was while sleeping in a tent, which was definitely more frightening). But bobcats don’t tend to stay in one place, so it may be another 8+ years before hearing another one. (And just on the news tonight, was a photo of one in someone’s backyard. Apparently February-March is a common time to spot them in residential areas, as food sources are dwindling).


In other news, while working on a landscape painting, I made the mistake of placing my palette a little too close to the edge of my painting perch….. I tried to catch it — bad idea. I ended up with cadmium red and orange, with a touch of indian red, on one hand and cadmium yellow on the other (of course, cadmiums being the expensive, and slightly toxic, colors…). It seemed like such a waste of paint, so I swirled some onto the canvas before trying to scrub it off my hands. 

Painting in Progress | Saltwater Birch Studio

It was quite a mess. I didn’t end up catching the palette either, which meant paint was all over my socks, the floor etc. My face (the only part that escaped paint-free), was caught somewhere in the middle of a laugh and a grimace. It was like dropping toast, butter side on the ground. It really couldn’t have been any worse.

Unfortunately it was not a rare occurrence, but at least I had on designated painting clothes (when clumsiness is inherited, you have to take some precautions). And through necessity have discovered that oil paint comes off wooden floors quite easily, so no harm, no foul.

Painting in Progress | Saltwater Birch Studio

Though I do wonder about all those bright white and pristine studio spaces you see floating around on Pinterest – people don’t actually work in them, right? From my clumsy point of view, where paint gets on everything from light switches to doorknobs, I can’t imagine working so neatly lasts for very long.

Festive Creatures and Raking Revelations

I’ve been drawing away lately, preparing for a craft show next week.

November Drawings by Saltwater Birch Studio

Doing sketches on birch bark, and watercolor paper (using my lovely Microns), while I contemplate what to paint on these new wooden panels (I’ll post the results later this week!).

Drawings by Saltwater Birch Studio

I tend to sketch in hundreds of little lines, slowly building up the layers. It’s not as time-consuming as it sounds (at least when you’ve had tons of practice),  It’s a process that works really well for capturing fur (though not human faces, unless they’re very hairy).

I also did a lot of raking over the past several weeks (recall the jack-of-all-trades aspect of most art occupations), and I couldn’t resist taking a few photographs.

Saltwater Birch Studio

There’s something to be said for working with your hands. Of coming home physically exhausted, too tired to speak, yet happy. Gazing about contentedly, I imagine myself looking like a wise, all-knowing Buddhist, smiling slowly at others’ quips; in reality I probably looked more like a mental patient released into the wild.

Saltwater Birch Studio

Though I did realize that zen gardening and farming have a few things in common: repetitive hard labor, repeated rhythmically, cyclically, while clearing the mind and misplacing trivial worries. Oh, and if you are wondering, yes, every muscle in my body is still screaming reproachfully.