Fibre Cartographies of Qonasqamkuk/St. Andrews, New Brunswick

13 April 2022
By Nadine Flagel
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St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick—Qonasqamkuk to the Indigenous Passamaquoddy and Maliseet people—is an attractive seaside “heritage” town that has been a tourist destination for over a hundred years, but it’s also an inspiring, year-round residence for many makers and artists.

Rather than using Google Maps or a tourist brochure, this fibre tour is guided by three contemporary hooked rugs, displayed in prominent St. Andrews tourist attractions.

As a rug hooking artist, I visited St. Andrews in 2019 for the Kingsbrae International Residency for the Arts (KIRA).

This beautiful hooked rug (the featured image, above) is a personal cartography rug depicting St. Andrews. It was made by Debbie Lessard (Moncton, NB), and hangs in the entranceway to the Kingsbrae café.

Pictorial landscape rugs such as this are personal cartographies, highly selective geographies assigning significance to place. The conventions of this fibre map are as firm as those governing any other mapmaking. They tell viewers how to superimpose the rug on the landscape: the “top” of the rug is the hilltop, and the “bottom” is the harbour. Significant buildings are large-scale and viewed from the same unobscured angle; tree cover, less significant buildings, and other complications are edited out.

All images by Nading Flagel, unless otherwise noted.

About Nadine Flagel

Nadine Flagel is a self-taught textile and fibre artist whose mission is making art out of “making do.” She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Dalhousie University and teaches literature and composition. She is interested in the repurposing of both texts and textiles. Both practices rely on cutting up existing text(ile)s, on aesthetic and sensual appeal, on thrift, and on putting old things into new combinations, thereby intensifying and multiplying meanings. Flagel has recently held her first solo exhibition at the Craft Council of BC, has written about textile art, has created textile art for public art commission, and has received grants to make art with youth. She is also a member of CARFAC, and the Craft Council of British Columbia. As a settler, she is grateful to live and work on unceded land of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm peoples.

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