In honour of fibre art and World Wide Knit in Public Day, this Artwork Wednesday will be dedicated to the talented work of Bev Thomas, currently on display with the Jim Robb’s Yukon exhibition. Both Bev and her husband Doug are avid supporters and dear friends of Jim’s, and have played a great role in contributing to the current exhibition. As homage to Jim’s Strait’s Auction House piece, Bev replicated the artist’s composition through the craft of cross stich.
Jim Robb, Strait's Auction House, 2007
Jim first illustrated in 1961, Strait’s Auction House in Dawson City is a favourite subject for Jim as he depicted it many time throughout his career. The painting on display in the exhibition was completed in 2007, and is notably one of the artist’s favourite works, currently on loan from Doug and Bev Thomas. This slanted and deteriorated structure is a common sight in Dawson, where permafrost is often the demise of many older foundations. In this piece, crisp yellow leaves of the birch trees contrast the rusted background of the auction house emphasizing nature’s reclaim on the weathered building. Consequently, the dilapidated look of Strait’s compliments Jim’s signature illustration style, which he calls his ‘exaggerated truth’ a common theme throughout the artist’s dedicated journey in conserving and illustrating the rich Yukon history.
Strait’s Auction House was constructed in 1901 and was named after Ebenezer S. Strait who originally owned half the land the structure was built upon. Strait’s auction house was at one time Dawson City’s only second hand store, which meant for a lucrative trade. The transient population meant business from various demographics, Strait’s legendary signage boasted: “Groceries, guns, ammunition, hardware, tobacco, furniture, crockery, clothing and tents.” Strait left Dawson City mysteriously and abandoned the auction house still stocked with all his belongings.
Customized frame for Bev's cross-stich built by Doug Thomas, featuring small-scale reproduction of Strait's Auction House and cabin illustration by Jim Robb
If you would like to attend Whitehorse’s World Wide Knit in Public Day, it is being hosted by the Itsy Bitsy Yarn Store and Yarn Bomb Yukon on Wednesday June 18 from 5:30 – 6:30 on the Waterfront Wharf. Free knitting lessons, draws and more!