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Lewes, Delaware
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June 26, 1998     Cape Gazette
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June 26, 1998
 

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50 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, June 26 . July 2, 1998 Preservation can pay dividends in folklife project By Rosanne Pack Women who tong for oysters, men who tie fishing nets, young- sters who carve and use duck calls to compete, maybe even folks who spit watermelon seeds, all are part of the folklife and cultural traditions of Delmarva. These people, these traditions, and more like them are the focus of the Del- marva Folklife Project that was recently introduced to southern Delaware. In a public forum conducted June 12 in the Biden Environmen- tal Training Center in Cape Hen- lopen State Park, more than 35 people who are involved in or in- terested in folk traditions met with folklife project team members. The project was explained and those attending were asked for ideas regarding subjects to cover and methods of using the informa- tion gathered. Tom Walker, Delmarva Folklife Project coordinator said there are three goals of the project. "We want to find the pockets of cultures, and first get documenta- tion," he said. "Then, we want to establish a mentoring network. A cultural infrastructure, if you will, where we can put groups and indi- viduals together across state lines to share their knowledge, and see that traditions are carded on. Fi- nally, we will develop programs so we can work with schools, or- ganizations, heritage groups. We want to be able to have programs that we can use for arts in educa- tion, presentations at fairs and fes- tivals and as attractions for nature- based, culture-based tourism." "First comes the documenta- tion. That is critical; we have to find the people who carry on the .oral tradition, the musical her- itage, those who can still perform the folk arts and work-related crafts, and document who and where they are." Examples of folk art were ex- hibited in the training center meet- ing room; some of Native Ameri- AUCTION Rosanne Pack photo Working in the Made By Hand shop in Bethany, or perform- ing on a variety of musical instruments, Marco Hernandez is never far from folkiife. He recently attended a session to in- troduce the Delmarva Folklife Project to southern Delaware. can Indian tradition, some repre- sentative of ethnic groups who have migrated to Delmarva more recently. They were artistic rather than occupation oriented. An American Indian beaded wall hanging, the work of Alvin Mientz of Dover, was on display along with a woodcarving created in the Haitian style by Frank Wee- he of Milford. The work of Fe- gaintz Gustin of Laurel, a painting done in trademark vivid, clear col- ors of primitive style, showed mil- let pounding in a Haitian village. Locally created baskets, carvings and a full-feathered headdress were other examples of traditional art and crafts. Tools of the tradition Kelly Feltault, a folklore spe- cialist with the project team, re- minded those present that there are new ethnic communities throughout Delmarva that bring their own culture and art to an area already rich in tradition. She pointed out that it is important to include and document these com- munities along with those whose heritage is rooted in shipbuilding, farming and fishing. "We also are looking at objects that illustrate a culture; objects that are not necessarily art or crafts," she said. "Nets, crab pots, agricultural implements are all part of the culture of Delmarva. These are things that are still in use today in the work of the area, many of them unchanged for gen- erations. They are part of the cul- ture and part of the economy. "We are looking at how some communities are coming together with others, yet coming apart within and in danger of losing some of their own heritage." FINANCING AVAILABLE WEDNESDAY, UNE 30 AT 2 P.M. 28'x 48' Coming soon to Sussex East 12 DEVON LANE She pointed out how some folk crafts can be preserved and inte- grated into school because of their foundations in math and design. "You will never meet a net maker who can't count and multi- ply in his head, and quilters use geometry and composition in all of their designs," she said. Cindy Small, director of the Sussex County Convention and Tourism Commission, said the folklife project is especially ap- propriate for Delmarva with its in- grained traditions of the land and the sea and the newer ones brought by modern-day settlers. She said Delmarva can gain eco- nomically as well as culturally by preserving and passing on folk traditions. Cultural drawing cards "We've have always known that the attractions here are of historic, cultural and environmental na- ture," she said. "You can build a theme park anywhere, but what we have here cannot be duplicat- ed. We have natural attractions such as the water and the wood- lands, and now we have traditions that people brought as they came here for the industries that are centered around naturally occur- ring resources. These traditions have grown and become ours. We have our cultural communities that grew up around shipbuilding, around farming and around fish- ing and living off the coast. These should be preserved and strength- ened as part of our economic base as well." Tony Boyd-Heron, owner of an area bed and breakfast and the Peninsula Collection Gallery, is also interested in how the folklife project can serve as a means of CALL TODAY FOR DETAILS preserving and passing on tradi- tion while also benefiting the local economy. 'q'he project is very interesting and I hope it will aid us in finding ways to maintain the integrity of folk art and crafts while at the same time marketing them. That would certainly be a winner," he said. "It's very difficult; however, Continued on page 51 COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE 3,000 SQUARE FOOT 120 SEAT RESTAURANT & CONTENTS (SOLD AS ONE) ON 4 ACRE COMMERCIAL SITE US 13 NORTH, GREENWOOD, DE Held on site Rain or Shine Site open for inspection with 48 hour notice. Call Auction Agent Directions: From US 13 North Greenwood, Delaware across from Shore Stop, just before corner of 13 and Rt. 36. BROKERS PROTECTED More Information call ,.IERS  THE REAL ESTATE COMMUNITY 888-987-SOLD 302-628-9401 WWW.BUYATAUCTION.COM