We are quickly approaching one of our most popular “new” events here at Fanshawe Pioneer Village - A Day for the Dogs - on Sunday, August 14th. Sadly, our collection contains little that has to do with dogs or even pets in general, but I did manage to find a related artifact that has a fascinating story to tell!
What you are looking at is a reversed image of a print block used to make labels for a product called “eff-eff”; a flea and lice powder for dogs, cats, and foxes, produced by The french Remedy Company, Ltd., of Victoria, British Columbia.
Dr. Cecil French was a British-born veterinarian who made a fortune selling pet medicines and used the unusual archaic spelling of his family name on his products. He had been a brilliant scholar at McGill University in Montreal after which he established a successful veterinary practice in Washington, D.C., including treating President Teddy Roosevelt’s dogs.
In 1917, at the age of 45, he joined the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps as a captain. While serving with the No. 2 Canadian Veterinary Hospital he was asked to compile the history of the corps. This resulted in “an anecdotal and sometimes colourful account” entitled “A History of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps in the Great War, 1914-1919”. The book...
“Stitches: Our Textile Traditions”, is the latest exhibit in the Trillium Gallery, located in the Spriet Family Visitor Centre here at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. The purpose of this special exhibit is to explore and present the rich tapestry of textile arts that exist in our community. Beautiful pieces loaned from local individuals are showcased alongside selections from the Fanshawe Pioneer Village permanent collection to demonstrate the richness and diversity of textile arts across history and cultures. Take, for instance, the three crocheted doilies in the photo below. From Ethiopia, Portugal and early 20th century London, all pieces employ the same technique and star pattern.
The items displayed below also illustrate how textile themes and motifs carry across history and cultures. These three crocheted decorative coverings all feature flower motifs. Two from the Fanshawe Pioneer Village Collection (lower left) include daisy-like embellishments, while the one made in Bhutan (rear left), depicts a flower resembling a rhododendron, of which the country has over 46 species. The two “Good Luck” textile pieces demonstrate how sentiments and traditions carry over time and space. The decorative stitched vase ( rear right), was a parting gift for Mangali Gurung from her daughter when she left Bhutan for her new home in Canada three years ago.
Earlier this month one of our volunteers brought in a top for a quilt that she thought we might want for our collection. It had been dropped off at the office of the church she attends by a gentleman who was cleaning out his elderly mother’s home and found it in a closet. He knew the church had a quilting group and thought maybe they could use it. When the ladies took a look at the quilt top they deemed the fabric too weak to be quilted. They also had a hunch that there was something a little bit special about it - and boy, were they right!
As I often do when I have a textile conundrum, I turned to our resident expert, Pam Glew, for her opinion. We began to carefully spread the quilt top out so we could have a better look, when her eyes lit up and she excitedly announced we had an original “Charm Quilt” on our hands!
The pattern of the quilt top is quite simple - identically sized, hexagon-shaped pieces of printed cotton sewn together. What makes it special is that every hexagon is unique; not one piece of fabric matches another. In fact, many of the hexagons appear to be made from scraps, carefully pieced together to be large enough to form a patch. And to top it...