Boat Building in Winterton, Newfoundland and Labrador

Even as a child, I could
draw and paint and sketch, but when I went fishing
with my father, and first started
with the boats, I realized,
because I could build, that that offered a very
creative way to make a living, in a way that actually
worked in a functional way. And when fishing came along…
and boats in particular, I just knew that was
an answer for a way to live. My name is Jerome Canning. I’m born on the island
of Merasheen, but my growing up was
in the town of Placentia. Well, growing up there was
like every kid, I suppose, fun. We would borrow dories
and flats. What we would do, of course, is go rowing and diving
and fishing from
that little boat. There’s a lot of
boat builders I know who, actually, their fathers
were boat builders. But, when I learned boats,
I did learn from
the older gentlemen. Most of these people,
they were boat builder
fishermen. And the way they learned
how to build boats, was looking. Their whole
boat-building knowledge was really just
what was passed on out on the beach
or in the shed. They never had plans. No one worked from plans. They carried on the tradition of shaping the boat
by their own eye. One good thing about
boat building is
there’s two sides of it. There’s the side
that you build alone, and there’s the side
that you build with
a lot of other people. Here, the Wooden Boat Museum
in Winterton, I was hired for the skill
of teaching workshops. There’s something
about generosity that happens naturally
in a workshop. There’s a certain generosity
that comes out of people. Sharing their lives,
and sharing their stories, and that, to me, I think
is the most enjoyable. What’s important to me
is that I do realize that I have a part to play in passing on knowledge
that I learned from my parents’ generation, and they had learned from
their parents’ generation. I want my son to build
a boat with me, I think for all
the same reasons that I came into
becoming a boat builder. I think they’re
still valid today. If I can work with my son on it, I know that he would
say, “I learned to build
with my father.” And he would get something
of me as I would get of him. It doesn’t have to be your son, it doesn’t have
to be your daughter. It’s just some other person
who you’re sharing time with in building something
that’s wonderful. ( ♪♪ )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *