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Montgolfiere Weekly

An exploration of culture in its many forms

Author

Patricia Lightfoot

A conversation with Stuart Kinmond

Please could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live and work as an artist in Ottawa. I am originally from Montreal, where I trained to be an architect. I worked for 25 years as an architect in Montreal, Yellowknife and Ottawa.

What sorts of buildings did you design?

In my final year at McGill School of Architecture, I worked with a community in St. Henri in Montreal that was fighting the proposed demolition of a part of their neighbourhood to allow for the construction of a new exit from the highway. We proposed alternatives to the city, including the construction of in-fill housing. The exit was relocated and the proposal for in-fill was accepted. Together with my visiting professor, Ray Affleck of a firm called Arcop Associates, we designed and built 15 small units on vacant lots. It was the first in-fill public housing built in Montreal. The buildings are still there between Atwater and rue Lacasse.

I had always wanted to live in the north, so a few years later I moved to the Northwest Territories. At first I worked for the government on school projects, but I was managing architects rather than being an architect, which is what I wanted to do. Also, I felt that I was on the wrong side of the fence at a time when young native leaders were demanding more power from Ottawa. I left the government and then worked for the Dene, designing many houses, two community centres and band offices in the Mackenzie Valley. Continue reading “A conversation with Stuart Kinmond”

A conversation with Sarah Goodey

Please could you tell us a bit about yourself and your photography?

I have always taken pictures. I consider myself an artist who uses photography in her work. I mainly use analogue or film cameras, though I do have a high-quality digital camera on my phone. I also make cyanotypes, which involves placing objects like leaves or buttons directly onto using sun-sensitive paper and exposing them to light to make a contact print. Continue reading “A conversation with Sarah Goodey”

A conversation about The Museum of Possibilities with Barbara Sibbald

Barbara Sibbald’s collection of short stories, The Museum of Possibilities, was published by The Porcupine’s Quill Press

First, I should declare that Barbara Sibbald is a friend, a colleague and a contributor to this blog. Second, like one of her characters who is reading a short story in “Things We Hold Dear,” “I usually don’t read short stories. I like a longer relationship with my fictional company.” In spite of my usual preference for a more lengthy narrative, I found the stories in The Museum of Possibilities highly entertaining, being tightly constructed and inventive, and featuring unsparing observation of the human condition in its mundane failures, though these are recounted with a dark and witty relish. Continue reading “A conversation about The Museum of Possibilities with Barbara Sibbald”

A conversation with Astri Prugger

Please would you tell us a bit about yourself and your business?

My name is Astri Prugger and I’m from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. My mother is from Norway and my father from Austria. Having that background has always been important to me. The cultures of these two countries have influenced much of my life. I always liked to draw and used to draw pictures of girls with different kinds of clothes for my friends. I suppose that I have been doing custom drawing since I was ten. I hadn’t intended to be a fashion designer. I had wanted to be a ballet dancer and my teachers wanted me to audition for the National Ballet, but my parents didn’t want me to move so far away. Continue reading “A conversation with Astri Prugger”

My Nunavut playlist

By Patricia Lightfoot

A couple of weeks ago, when making food for brunch — shakshuka, if you must know — I started listening to songs that make me think of Nunavut. And now I’m back from an all-too-brief visit to Iqaluit, I thought I’d refine my Nunavut playlist and share it.

Qaumajuapik by Riit would be at the top of the list for her mesmerising blend of throat singing and electropop. Continue reading “My Nunavut playlist”

Summer up north

By Patricia Lightfoot

A series of tweets recently by an Iqaluit councillor about the pleasures of visiting the community of Pangnirtung, which is about an hour’s flight north of the territorial capital, followed by one expressing concern about getting his flight home made me think of a visit there that I made this summer.

The community of a little under 2000 inhabitants is located in the shadow of Mount Duval on a fiord that leads from Cumberland Sound to the Akshayuk Pass in Auyuittuq National Park. The setting is remarkably beautiful and prone to fog, so flights are regularly cancelled. Continue reading “Summer up north”

Waiting for the north wind

By Patricia Lightfoot

Every year in July through September, goods ranging from cars and trucks to construction materials are delivered to Nunavut communities by the sealift, that is, on massive ships. The reason for this is that none of the communities is connected by road, whether to another community or to the south.

This year, only a few items were unloaded before Iqaluit’s Koojesse inlet started to fill up with sea ice that had blown south, from Greenland according to some locals. Continue reading “Waiting for the north wind”

Impressions of Iqaluit

By Patricia Lightfoot

I thought about the Jerry Cans’ song “Northern Lights,” as I flew into Iqaluit in March, and the line “Don’t you never ever forget the ones who live there,” when “travelling among the Northern Lights.” I did not see the Northern Lights, even when locked out of the place where I was staying at 11:30 pm after “steak night” at the Legion, Continue reading “Impressions of Iqaluit”

Welcome to Montgolfiere Weekly!

This blog exists because I wanted to do a different kind of writing from the writing I did in my day job, and I even managed to persuade some of my friends to contribute their thoughts on culture in its many forms, from the visual arts, letters and music to human health, habits and customs, with occasional references to hot air ballooning. Here I revisit some great conversations about making art.

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