Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

The Ingenious: From Miniature to "Larger Than Life"

Alfred Morneault: Craftsman of Madawaskayan sculptures

Alfred Morneault also found himself a special talent later in life. His works of art, which are small, evolving, sometimes a bit naïve sculptures, tell the story of the beginning of the 20th Century in Madawaska. Small objects, public figures, animals and symbols from the past demonstrate how people lived in days gone by. He even succeeded in creating a replica of one of Madawaska's symbols, the legendary porcupine - his favourite piece, using six thousand toothpicks.10

Among his works are sculptures of his mother washing her clothes before the era of the washing machine, his friends driving a snow roller that tapped the snow down on public roads, as well as women beating the flax used for clothes and blankets. According to a local tradition, several residents identify themselves as 'Brayons' a term derived from this ancestral custom of flax beating.11