People, Crafts and Music in Gros Morne National Park

Charlie Payne playing traditional music on the accordion

The scenery of the Gros Morne National Park that has formed the backdrop to this One Ocean Expedition on board the 117 metre Akaemik Ioffe has been nothing if not spectacular.

There is however much more to a country besides its landscape and here in the Maritime provinces of Canada that is especially true. What makes this part of north America particularly special is its peoples, their traditions, crafts and music.

Everywhere we travel we are greeted to the sound of the fiddle, accordion and guitar mostly accompanied by the tapping of feet onto wooden floorboards to thump out the beat. It is a sound that will forever evoke memories of pine tree clad hills, foggy landscapes and stunning countryside.

It will also evoke memories of craft we have seen along the way. The area is rich in folk crafts that include tapestry, quilting, painting, weaving, rug making, painting and knitting. Sheep no long graze the lush green pastures that cover these hills for fear of attack by the giant coyote a cross between the wolf and coyote and that has forced but knitting and felting remain crafts much in evidence.

Hand knitted socks and dishclothes for sale in Trout River

In Trout River colourful, chunky, hand knitted socks, hats and dish clothes are hung outside homes for sale pegged onto washing lines in front of the craft woman’s home. Jokingly they say they are selling their wares on line but rather sadly they do not make much of a trade. This maybe because rather than trouble themselves to use a local naturally sourced wool, some ladies buy it from Walmart!

Far more enterprising and totally in keeping with tradition, the locals of nearby Woody Point have adopted a different policy. Among the talented Artists is the multitalented Charlie Payne who puts the hunk into the aptly named Hunky Dory Folk Art and Things shop he runs with his wife Joan. Charlie an accomplished musician uses the long cold winter months to create art using driftwood found on the beach to create paintings and object d’art. He and his wife open the shop in short summer months and seem to do well selling to those you pass through the town.

Mollie White owner of Molly Made Fibre Art Studio working on one of her latched pieces

Molly and Austin White are the inspired couple who design and make rugs and woollen wall hangings. They have found that by packaging up kits of easy to make examples they can do a roaring trade with the tourist visiting their town ship. Their shop Molly Made Fibre Art is well worth browsing through where Molly will be delighted to teach visitors the basic skills need to turn a kit into an artwork worth of hanging at home

We are grateful to Destination Canada, Air Canada and ship operators One Ocean Expeditions for kindly hosting us on this trip