Carving, rug crafts on display in Wolfville

Wendy Elliott
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Artist Doris Eaton stands in front of three of her works at the July 18 opening at the Harvest Gallery in Wolfville. With the former Kings County resident is gallery owner Lynda MacDonald.


Kings County Advertiser/Register

Two exhibitions of the finest in Maritime craft will be on display at the Harvest Gallery in Wolfville until August 22.

Enjoy the work of well-known and much celebrated woodcarver Jennifer Marlow and rug hooker Doris Eaton.

Marlow discovered her woodcarving skills 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, on the island of Nantucket. Drawn to the island by Nathaniel Philbrick's fascinating In the Heart of the Sea, her first carvings, alongside master carver Paul McCarthy, were of the whales that played an integral part in both the book and the region's survival. Upon returning to her native Nova Scotia, Marlow opened her own workshop, where she continues to carve.  In 2005, she was invited back to Nantucket to join her mentor in the restoration project, Going on the Whale, a 10-foot carved whaling scene that welcomes visitors to the Nantucket Whaling Museum.

The maritime carving tradition holds numerous attractions for Marlow.  It embraces heritage, environment and art; while demanding implicit trust between hand and eye, intricately linking the tactile with the aesthetic. It also encourages improvisation, whether in style or practice, the uncertainty of outcome rich in promise and surprise. About this body of work, she comments, "whether it is the noble form of the whale or the industry that so gruesomely exploited it, the golden age of whaling continues to be a theme I return to time and again."

Eaton was born in Boston and attended the Massachusetts School of Art. In 1950, she married a Canadian and they farmed and raised a family in Lower Canard. She began hooking rugs in 1961, under the early tutelage of Edna Withrow of Wolfville, a qualified McGowan teacher and a most accomplished hooker with a wonderful sense of color. After 10 years of study, continued practice and with numerous exhibitions under her belt, Eaton felt qualified to teach and did so in communities throughout Nova Scotia: "these were wonderful years... the learning never stopped.

"Today, I am still so enthused about what I do and am becoming more and more interested in color and texture.  There seems to be no limit to this art form... and is accomplished with a very simple tool: a hook drawing strips of material through loosely woven linen or burlap. It’s such fun.”

Organizations: Nantucket Whaling Museum, Massachusetts School of Art

Geographic location: Wolfville, Nantucket, Nova Scotia Maritime Massachusetts Boston Lower Canard

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