my simple ink drawings of named commonly tied flies, used for fly fishing in Nova Scotia.
In the past three years I have taken up the art of fly tying. I am always amused by the given
names of the flies, how they obtained their name, and I find the history of fly tying fascinating. Some of my favourite fly names are Zug Bug, Yuk Bug and Wolly Bugger, and great for catching fish.
Though fly fishing and fly tying is often seen as a sport and art primarily enjoyed by men, fly tying
dates back to 1496, when the first book was written by an notable English woman , Juliana
Bemers, a Benedictine Prioress, who loved heraldry, hunting, hawking and fishing. She wrote, A
Treatyse of Fysshying Wyth An Angle. There was also another acclaimed woman, Orvis Marbury,
who was considered “ the most famous but one female angling author”, according to the English
Fishing Gazette at the time of her death.
The exploration of the miniature in my Contemporary Art History class has lead me back
to my recent interest in book binding, my long time love for story and fly tying.
The combination of these three disciplines may seem unrelated and I am challenged to
understand why I chose to put them together and to articulate why I am drawn to them. I do not
completely comprehend the connection, however I believe there is a strong correlation with the
traditional handmade process.
As well, I have an ongoing interest in fine needle work, which I find both meditative and
therapeutic, and most satisfying.
I am convinced that there is some kind of neurological positive change that occurs when we
engage in tactile, repetitive and detailed hand work, whether it be long handwriting, fine needle
work and creating detailed pattern that is both beautiful and functional.
This past year I had the opportunity to involve myself in learning about book binding and I
produced a book, telling a personal story through poetry, journaling and photographs.
I love the element of story that comes from making your own book that you can share with
I think fishing always involves story and sometimes there are interesting stories behind the
individual tied flies themselves. A person who ties flies can make up their own names for each
individually designed fly they’ve made, and you can always accompany it with a good story,
about that big fish you caught or the one that got away. Thus, " The Fly Tale".