Friday, June 6, 2008


Bugs can be good or bad, depending on your point of view or circumstance. Here in Refuge Cove, we have bugs of all kinds. There was the large cluster (that’s putting it mildly!) of carpenter ants we discovered on the beam just above our bed five days AFTER our arrival here…that discovery was not a treasured moment! Then there was the world’s largest spider (I’m sure of it!) that I found late last night, close to the size of a golf ball with legs! A work day in the garden set me as a target for the tiny black flies who found their way along my entire hair line, full circle, depositing their poison and leaving me with a ring of horribly aggravating bites. These are some of the bugs on my black list.

But we have bugs here who reside in the coastal waters at our doorstep. “Sea bugs” is the term one of our locals has for prawns. Yes, prawns. Lovely, delicious prawns. Perhaps it’s their big eyes, their long antenna-like extensions, or insect-like legs that brought on the bug title.

We set prawn traps on a regular basis, and up until this year Tom has hand-over-hand hauled up the 400+ feet of line to discover what our catch of the day is inside each trap. Oh, the anticipation in those last 10 feet. 72? 44? 17? Or skunked perhaps. Once beheaded and brought home, they usually find their way to the table that night. Served with garlic and butter, a zesty seafood sauce, or made into a spicy curry, they are well loved in our household and all throughout the Cove.

Much of my art is inspired by the ocean I am so connected to. Tide in, tide out; I watch it from my window. I travel by boat to shop. I walk the shoreline in search of treasures (usually old pottery or interesting driftwood) or starfish for my garden. It’s only natural that these “sea bugs” and other ocean influences have found their way into my work. Years ago, I created a series of potholders hand-painted with thickened Procion dyes. A photo of my dear friend, Sharon, (emptying out her prawn trap while wearing a big blue glove) became the subject of my second attempt at fabric collage. (Great class taught by Ionne McCauley of Qualicum Beach!) And now I am including prawns in my silk paintings of local sea life. The wealth of inspiration surrounding me far outweighs those bad bug experiences.
Got to run…time to pull the prawn trap…wish us luck!

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