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Welland's Murals:
15. The Cordage Community

About the Mural
The Cordage Community by Marsha Charlebois, Welland, Ontario. Painted in 1988, at 212 East Main Street (beside The Tribune), 46' by 10'. The history of one of Welland's first industries is portrayed in this mural by another local artist. The Plymouth Cordage Company, manufacturers of rope and binder twine, opened for business in 1906. The 'cordage people' believed in leisure activities as strongly as they did their work and were known for their fairs, games and family gatherings.

The Artist's Interpretation
"Most of my research involved tracking down former employees with memorabilia, since the library and museum had very limited resources on this subject regarding costume, buildings, etc. My greatest uncertainty was depicting the rope in a graphic manner. The most frequently asked question was not "what is it?" but "why are you painting rope?"

"With outdoor painting, I find myself more aware of mood changes in the atmosphere. A large format like murals creates perspective problems because of the closeness of the work. Indoors, I have a tendency to work tighter."

Your Virtual Guide's Comments
The muted colours and lack of facial detail in this mural gives an ethereal quality to the images, suggesting that the memories of this time in Welland's past are fading. What remains from the period is the rope, and that is shown in some detail. It also suggests that the transitory, elegant lifestyle of the pictures is based on the hard reality of the manufacture of rope.

About the Artist: Marsha Charlebois, Welland, Ontario

Marsha studied art and camera ready production at Niagara College in Welland, receiving the Niagara Peninsula Graphic Arts Award for 1978-79. She specializes in pencil, pen and ink drawings, slate sculpture and also works with dye and silk, acrylics and produces miniatures in mixed media.

Marsha's early talent was recognized with awards at local shows up to the age of 16 when she stopped painting in order to develop other interests and start a family. She currently works on a freelance basis as a commercial artist and photographer and also gives workshops in various media.

She has completed several indoor murals and her work in private collections worldwide. Her art shows include many in Ontario and also one in Banbury, England.

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