Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Brunswick, Black-capped Chickadee and Balsam Fir

New Brunswick linocut

The symbols of New Brunswick, its provincial bird, the black-capped chickadee and its tree, the balsam fir cover the hand-carved map of New Brunswick in this linocut. The block was inked 'à la poupée' (with different colours, black, gold and green, in different areas) and printed by hand on lovely Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper. Each print is 21.1 cm by 20.3 cm (8.3" by 8"). The print is one of an edition of twelve.

The acrobatic, but rather tame chickadee, with its distinctive black cap, has long been one of my favorites. It's the only bird I can persuade to reply to me; it will actually answer when I cry, "Chickadee-dee-dee!" The balsam fir (Abies balsamea) is also distinctive, with narrow, flat needles are which shiny dark green above and white below and it grows large pine cones. It is native to most of eastern and central Canada and much of the northeastern US. It makes an excellent Christmas tree. Every visit to the province leaves the impression of vast, dense, forest, filled with wildlife, so covering the entire province with the depiction of a tree seemed apt.

I've had the great priviledge of having seen much of this country and having travelled from coast to coast. (I am still hoping to visit the third coast). I've visited New Brunswick several times, coming down from Québec, up from Maine or west from Nova Scotia. I've even spent a couple of frosty weeks sailing in the misleadingly-named Baie des Chaleurs. At least in October, it was anything but warm. The province is the original home of my RJH and his family, so I know I will return time and again. (In fact, I made this as his Christmas gift, but the rest of the edition can be found in my shop).

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