At the far reaches of Vancouver Island sits the small community of Port McNeill, known mostly to fishermen and yachters who stop over to replenish and refuel on their way to or from Alaska. It is also home to Just Art, a gallery with some of the best Northwest Coast Indian Art to be found.
Over our years of collecting we've become friends with Ron Fraser, the owner. He has been a treasure trove of fine pieces. It helps that he is a hop, skip and jump away from the Fort Rupert Reserve, home to some of the best of the Kwaguilth artists. Having grown up and gone to school with many of them hasn't hurt! The idealness of his situation is that he is there and often gets first crack at the work before the artists have to head for Vancouver, Victoria and beyond.
One such piece is why we took this trip. For months Ron has been trying to sell us a spectacular sun. He couldn't say enough about it. Not having been to Canada for several years, we decided to go have a look just for the heck of it. Our hang up was where to place it without having to strip the house bare or add an addition. Neither is in the game plan.
Off we went early Monday. The weather was cooperative and we even made the 3:15 ferry to Nanaimo, a totally unexpected break. Then mother nature decided to let loose. We retired with it pouring. We awoke to it pouring. The further north we went the harder it rained. I must say I have never driven through anything like it. I should say Hub hadn't. It poured the whole time we were in Port McNeill. Poured!
Funny, we had gone the distance to look at a sun! Well, Ron was right. The piece is spectacular. We searched our souls and our heads as to where it might go. It is the type of piece, for a collector, you'll see but once. We went on our way promising to do some more measuring.
And still it was pouring. All the way back to Nanaimo! We were exhausted.
We no sooner walked into the house and dropped our bags when we looked at each other and agreed there was no way. We were crestfallen. The house, however, is what it is!
We laughed though. There may be a consolation piece waiting in the wings. While there, Mervyn Child brought in a newly completed totem. I think he knew we were coming. Ahem. Because Hub has wanted one for awhile now. This one. This one tells the story of a young boy who makes a deal with raven to gift him with the power to envision the weather! Maybe that's the piece we're meant to have and our next "parade" will not be rained upon!