Introduction History & Creation The Tapestry The Creators Contact Us

The Creators

It takes many hands to create a complex embroidered tapestry of the magnitude of the French Shore Tapestry. Those people most directly involved included:

Jean Claude Roy, the Artist

Jean Claude Roy was born in Rochefort sur Mer, France in 1948.  He developed an interest in painting while living in Newfoundland in the 1970’s, and has become one of the best-known interpreters of the Newfoundland landscape, working primarily in oils with a palette knife.  He recently completed a project that has spanned many years, to paint every community on the island of Newfoundland.  His paintings can be found in public and private collections in the United States, Canada and Europe. A citizen of both France and Canada, he now spends part of the year in each country. He worked with his wife Christina to develop the original idea for the tapestry, and having agreed to draw the first part, somehow never stopped.

Christina Roy, Co-director of the French Shore Tapestry Project

Christina Roy was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, in 1949.  She is a doctor by training, with a longstanding interest in embroidery.  She and her husband Jean Claude came up with the idea of designing an embroidered tapestry showing the history of Newfoundland after visiting the Bayeux Museum in France. She collaborated with the French Shore Historical Society to adapt the concept to tell the story of Newfoundland’s historic French Shore. Her roles in the project have included researching the story, adding the colours to Jean Claude’s drawings, and writing the instructions for the embroiderers.

Joan Simmonds, Program Director

This has been a truly inspiring project for me. I have always had a great interest in craftwork. My mother first taught me to embroider when I was ten or eleven. She used to make up patterns to put on coats and bed linens. I like to make quilts too and patchwork wall hangings. This project was much more difficult than any of us thought it would be. We had to carve our own path; there wasn’t one specific advisor we could turn to for assistance. We had to learn as we went along. I am continuing to embroider on my own and recently made a portrait of my father using the Bayeux stitch.

Colleen McLean, Image Director

I grew up in Anchor Point, Newfoundland and have enjoyed knitting and embroidery all of my life. When the opportunity arose to work on the French Shore Tapestry I accepted and I love every minute of it. The work was very meditative and I loved the sound of the needles going through the material.

Alice (Alyward) Dower, Production Supervisor

I grew up on Fishot Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and since childhood, I have been keenly interested in knitting, quilting and embroidery. These skills were very much apart of our cultural traditions. I was very pleased to have been given the opportunity to use and enhance my embroidery skills by participating in the making of the French Shore Tapestry. It’s amazing to see how our local culture can be so vividly and appealingly expressed. I am very proud to be involved in this historic endeavor.

Elaine (Hayter) Dower, Stitch Consultant

I am a retired teacher who has been living in Conche for 34 years and consider it my home. I have been quilting and embroidering for a hobby but working on the French Shore Tapestry has been a privilege for me.

Sharon (Pilgrim) Foley, Embroiderer

I am from Roddickton but now live in Conche. The thing I love most about the French Shore Tapestry is working with my co-workers and meeting new people every day. I did not know how to embroider before but now I like learning the different stitches in the Tapestry.

Cathy (Bolger) Flynn, Embroiderer

I grew up in Conche and have chosen to live and raise my family here. I am very proud to say that I helped create the French Shore Tapestry. It was my aunt Donna Chase who taught me how to embroider when I was young. I can still remember the pillowcase I did with little leaves and flowers on it. My favourite part of the tapestry project was being able to work with the other women every day and meeting interesting visitors from far, far away places.

Kelly Elliott, Embroiderer

I am privileged to live in Conche and to have had the opportunity to work on the French Shore Tapestry. This has been a wonderful learning experience for me. Of course when the fish cam in, we would have to put down our sewing needles and go to the plant.

Viola (Chaytor) Byrne, Embroiderer

I was born in Northeast Crouse but raised my own family in Conche. I have had several different jobs in my life but working on the French Shore Tapestry has been the best. The minute I felt the needle in my hand, I relaxed and forgot about everything else.

Anne (Carroll) Byrne, Embroiderer

I was born in Conche and was quite happy to rear my own family here. I love working on the Tapestry because it gave me an opportunity to work with others and I learned how to embroider. Some hours went into making the tapestry!

Margaret (Sawers) Wiseman, Embroiderer

I was born in St. John’s but married and raised my family in Conche. When I was asked to become an embroiderer, I had never used a needle in my life! I did not think I was capable of doing embroidery but now I am very proud to be able to say I worked on the French Shore Tapestry.

Angela (Simmonds) Chaytor, Embroiderer

I grew up in Conche, got married and raised my own family here. When we first started working at the tapestry, it was just a job to me and I didn’t think that our history was that important. Now, it is so beautiful to me that I am very proud to have been a part of it. When I received the invitation to attend the Grand Opening, I realized that the French Shore Tapestry had the potential to become one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s biggest tourist attractions.

Annie (Dempsey) Fitzpatrick, Embroiderer

I was born in Conche but grew up in Grand Oies. I always loved crafts and when the project came up to work on the tapestry I felt that it would be right for me. I really enjoyed working on the Tapestry and working with the women.

Elizabeth (Hunt) Gardiner, Embroiderer

I grew up in Conche, married and raised my own family here. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent working on the tapestry. My favourite part was seeing each section being completed and how well the colours went together. I was truly proud of my work!.