Thursday, 26 March 2015

Miners' Ascent

Miners' Ascent, Inverness, o/p, 24" x 24",  private collection

"With the closure of the mines, the railway service, the "Judique Flyer", changed from a daily to a weekly service and then was terminated entirely. Inverness would not be awakened anymore by the sound of a train whistle. A daily bus service  between Inverness and Port Hawksbury was established in partial replacement of the train. Eventually the train station was converted into a Miners' Museum and the steel rails themselves were removed. Slowly the railway beds on the route to the strait disappeared.  After the mine closure in 1953, the Department of Mines put the company houses up for sale, with preference being given to the current occupants." [1]

[1] Banking on Coal, Douglas F. Campbell, Perspectives on a Cape Breton Community within an International Context

Monday, 23 March 2015

From Coal to Golf

Above the Mine, Inverness, o/p, 24" x 24", Private Collection

"For close to a decade coal really was “king” of the region.  By 1904, the year Inverness was incorporated as a town, the major mine was down 2500 feet, much of it under the present (golf) links and extending farther beneath the sea.  There were 482 coal miners employed and the town had grown in population to 3000. The miners received $1.25 a day and worked six days per week to a total of 70 hours.  It is difficult, as we prepare to play golf, to contemplate daily wages of $1.25 as paid in 1904.  It is difficult also to imagine our relatives and ancestors at work beneath the fairways and greens of today’s links."

 - from

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Sunday, 22 March 2015

House and Home

Company House, Cape Breton, o/p, 24" x 24", Steven Rhude

"The house is anonymous and mute. Only when it is touched by an owner, lived in and made over inside and out does it begin to bear the identity of its occupants." [1]

[1]Alice Gray Read, "Making a House a Home in a Philadelphia Neighborhood," in Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 2, ├ęd. Camille Wells (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986),192. 

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Mind of Landscape

Company Houses, Inverness County, o/p, 24" x 24", Steven Rhude

Submarine Mining - "It is also of interest to note that the deepest submarine mine in Nova Scotia, or probably anywhere, was, prior to its closure, No. 2 Mine of the Inverness Coal & Railway Company, where nearly 3,000 feet of cover had been reached." Louis Frost [1]

"Then there is the mine silhouetted against it all, looking like a toy from a Meccano set; yet its bells ring as the coal-laden cars fly up out of the deep, grumble as they are unloaded, and flee with thundering power down the slopes they leave behind. Then the blackened houses begin and march row and row up the hill to where we stand and beyond to where we go."
 Alistair MacLeod [2]

In Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, there are two landscapes. There is the one that meets you in the face, grass, dune, and sea. It is a perceptual delight - complex and capable of testing the most sensitive moments of the eye's accuracy. Then there is the other landscape, - one you can't see above ground; the one that meets you in the gut. It is a submarine landscape beneath your feet; in fact it is a landscape beneath the sea of your mind and body, a landscape that has been flooded with the memory of coal and company houses.

 Above it now exists the Cabot links golf course luring those to economic diversity, and job creation. Landscape is always layered.

[1] the Louis Frost notes 1865 - 1962, History of coal mining in Nova Scotia

[2] Alistair MacLeod, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976), 103-104. 

Steven Rhude, Wolfville

Monday, 16 March 2015

Ashes!, Ashes! We all fall down

Homage to the Inshore, oil and wood buoy on panel, 24" x 48", SR

A pocket full of poises;
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down." - Kate Greenaway

The first printing of the rhyme was in Kate Greenaway's 1881 edition of Mother Goose; or, the Old Nursery Rhymes

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Recent Work

House of Ore, Bell Island, NL, o/p, 24" x 24", Steven Rhude

Ore Car, Bell Island, NL, o/p, 24" x 24", Steven Rhude

Post Cod, o/p, 24" x 24", Steven Rhude

Monday, 9 March 2015

Post Cod

Post Cod, o/p, 24" x 24", Steven Rhude

Local fishermen long ago devised their own methods for shaping the future. To steer his children away from fishing, Gloucester fisherman Al Cottone says he decided to deny them any taste of its addictive freedom. Cottone, 47, says his son went fishing with him twice. After that, the father rebuffed his requests.
“I didn’t want him to get the same fever I did,” he says. “I didn’t tell him the reason why. I just said, ‘It can’t happen.’ ”

- from: Last of their Kind, Boston Globe, Jenna Russel, June 16th, 2013

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS

Friday, 6 March 2015

House of Ore - part 3

Bell Island (Colar #4), 24" x 24", o/p, Steven Rhude

On June 30, 1966, the iron ore mine of Bell Island, Newfoundland, ceased operations.
That day miner 585 penned these words: “But now the game is over; They’re not playing anymore. We must wander like the Nomads, off to Galt (Cambridge, Ontario) and Labrador.”  - Miner 585, Alison O’Brien

 Miner 585, Alison O’Brien. “The Brighter Side”. 30 June 1966. The city of Galt, a vibrant manufacturing centre of 33,000 in 1966, is located in south-western Ontario, and along with the nearby communities of Preston and Hespeler, formed the city of Cambridge after amalgamation in 1973. 
Steven Rhude

Thursday, 5 March 2015

House of Ore, (part two)

Bell Island #2 (Iron Ore Car), 24" x 24", o/p, Steven Rhude

"Mining is an interesting job, you know. You gotta learn something. First going in the mines, one morning, going back when I was a boy, it struck my mind, good god, if I'm going to have to come down here every day for the rest of my life. And it got so bad I had a mind to jump off and go home. And if I had, I'd never had gone down there anymore. But then you forget that, and you finally get to a spot when you know, this is what's to be. Because we got laid off in 1922, bunch of young men and I went to a coal mine, I had no job, I got hired on the first thing. But there's certain things you learn. You must never take a gamble on it. I saw too many accidents of good men. A lot of accidents happened that never should have happened, just because, well, take a chance. That's one thing you cannot do underground, take a chance." - Eric Luffman

From: The Wabana Iron Ore Miners of Bell Island, Conception Bay, Newfoundland: Their Occupational Folklife and and Oral Folk History - Gail Weir



Tuesday, 3 March 2015

House of Ore

Bell Island #1, 24" x 24", o/p, Steven Rhude

"Through it all, one factor remained constant: the Bell Island mines were always owned and controlled by outside interests. In many instances, such parties have little or no interest in the long-term fate of the local people or the local economy. For them, a mine is first and foremost a way of generating profits for often distant shareholders. Local governments often cannot or will not do anything to avoid the kind of boom-or-bust cycle that such enterprises create, and will often, especially in places such as Newfoundland and Labrador, sacrifice long-term planning and development for jobs. In one sense this is understandable. Mining is an expensive undertaking, and when not enough start-up capital can be generated locally, outside capital is usually sought and brought in. Too often, however, this ultimately leads to the situation which eventually arose on Bell Island. Finally, as has already been mentioned, the fortunes of the Bell Island mines were also often linked to economic and military events thousands of miles away."

 - Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage

Steven Rhude, Wolfville, NS