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Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’


Last night I was sitting quietly in my living room staring at the dancing flames of my fireplace almost hypnotized by them but far from being lost in my thoughts; after having read several chapters from the book “Traditions in Wood” edited by Patricia Fleming. My mind was thinking about carving, waterfowling but most of all about family and history. Its pages are about the history of wildfowl decoys in Canada and it focuses on a specific time period, it touches on each province, the artists and also the hunters life stories. There is one page in particular, number 121; actually it is one image which struck me deep into my core where my passion for art and waterfowling is found.

It is a photo of Thomas Southam at the end of a day on Ashbridge’s Bay in Toronto after a successful harvest standing by a boat holding ducks in his hands with his shotgun resting on the edge of the gun-whale, I think it is a Winchester Model 1897, 12 gauge shotgun. It is a beautiful piece of history in its own right and it fires incredibly well, I have harvested several rock doves and ducks with the same gun. In this photograph, he was wearing a very simple sweater and trousers but his stature is that of a distinguished and content man, even though he lived during a period of tough economic times.

He shared the same era as my grandfather and his father, and in the photo I even see physical similarities; Thomas Southam was a great artist, racer, waterfowler and conservationists. The photo of him along with Patrica’s book (Thomas Carpenter & Ernie Sparks) make me want to disappear into my wood working shop and carve more duck decoys all through the night or until my hands become so sore I can no longer hold my chisels. This week I have collected some wood from a construction site and I can not wait to begin working on those pieces and make more decoys.

The book is a great read and I can not wait to finish it.

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