Fogo Islanders know that nature knows best.
Trees know to grow the strongest, sturdiest curves as they emerge from under the ground and reach up into the unforgiving Newfoundland wilderness. Fogo Island and Change Island boat-builders use these natural curves of juniper and spruce trees to create the structural ribs of their punts: the small wooden fishing boats that served as the traditional workhorses of the inshore fishery. It takes a trained local eye to find the right trees, and a particular season to harvest.
French-Canadian Designer Elaine Fortin was inspired by this intuitive intelligence and using the same method, she created the Punt Chair. The yearly harvesting of timbers means that each Punt Chair is identified according to when the timbers were harvested, from where, and by whom. Each chair simultaneously carries forward the history of the tree used to make it, a centuries-old knowledge of outport woodworking and ingenuity, and boatbuilding heritage.
See the Punt Chair at the Royal Ontario Museum's Canadian Modern exhbition through July 30, 2023