Show & Tell: July - September 2018

The 150th Anniversary of Canada   

Show & Tell : Covered Bridges!   

Dawna Matthew's Rugs

From the middle 1800’s to the middle 2000’s over 1000 to 1200 covered bridges were built in Quebec alone, and, of these, 82 were still in existence in 2012. (Certain sources claim 100). These structures were erected to facilitate the transport of timber across watercourses, replacing the early primitive bridges made out of exposed wooden boards, which, unprotected from the elements, were rotting quickly and were hazardous for the users. Covering the bridge with a roof meant a longer lifespan for the bridge and  protection for the horses and pedestrians. Over the years, many of these bridges were restored and are still in use today for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Pont St Columban - Hooked By Dawna Matthew

Pont St Columban 
Hooked by Dawna Matthew

This covered bridge was built in 1937 but unfortunately burned down in 1974. When the guild decided to have a theme for our 2017 biennial show I started thinking about which covered bridge in Quebec was the closest to my home, and I remembered that there used to be one in St Columban, which crossed the North River. “Les ponts couverts au Qu├ębec”  has a section on their website titled “Ponts Disparus” and there I found all the information on the St Columban covered bridge. I also discovered an artist’s sketch of the bridge and contacted the owner who then put me in touch with the artist. I received permission from M. Guy Thibault to use his sketch for a rug. This rug was fun to work on as the original sketch was black and white. That allowed me to play with colour and I decided to make the season spring.

Pont Faubourg - Hooked by Dawna Matthew

Pont Faubourg
Hooked By Dawna Matthew

I decided to use this covered bridge as my project for a class at Green Mountain Rug School in Montpelier, Vermont, in June 2017. The class was titled “A Painterly Approach to Depth and Colour” and given by Davey DeGraff. I had several photos of the bridge which I had taken on a camping trip to that area several years ago. My husband and I had climbed to a lookout over the town and discovered that the town, with the bridge, had been depicted on the 1954 Canadian 1000$ bill. It was only after a newer version of the bill, with a different illustration, that the people of L’Anse St Jean realized it was their village on the older currency.
Using my modern photos and the one from the 1000$ bill, I came up with a design for my project. It took several tries, using various shades of white, to get the bridge to stand out as the focal point of the rug but not overtake the landscape.

Pont Prud'homme - Hooked by Dawna Matthew

Pont Prud'homme
Hooked By Dawna Matthew

I always love seeing this little covered bridge in the Rouge-Valley on our drives going to Tremblant and area. I stopped one fall day and got some great photos and they eventually became the design for this rug.
This was my first covered bridge rug.

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