Maritime Mary: Aprons

The creation of an apron has always been a simple but satisfying sewing project for Family Studies (formerly known as Home Ec) students and young 4-Hers. When I was growing up, my busy Mom always tied on an apron to protect her clothing while cooking and cleaning for our large household. I have seen numerous photos of my Oma clad in her generous apron – on every day but a Sunday. We sometimes wear an apron here at the studio. Heck, I even bought a lovely apron while on a holiday last year – for a souvenir!

Aprons, a functional item, but until last week, I did not imagine that I would see a collection of aprons as art.

I had read about an exhibit, One Thousand Aprons Waving Goodbye, created by Margaret Nicholson, a professor of fine arts at St. Francis Xavier University. So my Mom and I took the drive to The Bethany in Antigonish in search of signs to lead us to the exhibit. We found it on a lovely well travelled trail, and as we drove ‘over hill and dale’ we came upon one thousand aprons hanging on lines, beautifully displayed, two clothespins per. Each was different and reminiscent of the past by fabric, design and decoration.

Functional became art, a gentle and reflective tribute to those who wore aprons while engaged in domestic work caring for families, those keepers of the home and hearth.

Does the image of an old apron help you conjure up memories of affectionate attention, of wonderful kitchen aromas, homemade bread, soft warm cookies?

After that beautiful experience, an apron is no longer just an apron.

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11 thoughts on “Maritime Mary: Aprons

  1. A wonderful piece.(the artwork and the post!) So rich in association: family ties, tradition, journey, time, rainbow, promise, hope, remembrance…

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  2. i would love to see this. Since I can’t the next best thing is a report from Maritime Mary! It conjures up many thoughts and memories.

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  3. Over the past few years, I have been given several aprons as gefts- friends and family know that I cook with enthusiasm! But my favourite is my “Christmas apron” which is made from orange and black Hallowe’en print fabric. My eldest daughter (you know her Mary) made it for me as a Christmas present,but bought the fabric after Hallowe’en “on sale”. How like her mother she is! So now I cook Christmas dinner in my Hallowe’en print apron every year. A new tradition!

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  4. Love it! Reminds me of my Nana cooking on Thanksgiving Day in Queens NY, wearing her apron and a big beautiful mum corsage that my father would bring her. Happy memories.

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  5. Take me to this wonderful lane of aprons.What a great picture that would be hooked. I ALWAYS wear an apron when cooking, I thought every one did. A full blown job, not the half size. My grandkids when small, always llked to wear one if they arrived whilst I was making muffins.Lovely lovely pictures.

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  6. This is definitely a wonderful tribute to the homemakers of past and present.
    I still wear an full apron when I cook something that makes a mess.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful sight.
    JB

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  7. I wish I could go and see this wonderful line of aprons. I remember watching my grandmothers cook and they always wore colorful, usually home sewn aprons. A few years ago I began to wear aprons myself after one day realizing that a lot of my clothing had a funny stain lines across them…from leaning up against the sink and the stove. There are so many funky aprons for sale these days….you can build a whole kitchen wardrobe!

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