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Hidden talents

A pirate festival enthusiast, a children’s book author, a fused glass artist and an elite volleyball coach

Campus and Community

By Mandy Cook

Memorial is chock full of people who are devoted to their jobs.

But when the work day is done, a lot of us turn our attention to a particular passion that helps maintain that important work-life balance.

Read on to learn about just a few of your colleagues and their pet projects.

Dr. Rebecca Franklin

An associate professor of entrepreneurship at Memorial, Dr. Rebecca Franklin’s reputation for creative costuming precedes her.

At left, Dr. Rebecca Franklin enjoys a meal and some grog with her fellow pirate enthusiasts.
Photo: Submitted

It is not unusual for her to show up to class in the Faculty of Business Administration in, typically, full pirate regalia on Halloween or at other gatherings.

She says she probably first became interested in pirates because, as a child, she loved Errol Flynn movies and the idea of handsome swashbucklers.

“As a teen and in my 20s, I read lots of historical fiction, and was particularly fascinated by the Elizabethan era,” said Dr. Franklin, who originally hails from Oklahoma. “As an undergraduate student, I was fascinated by Sir Francis Drake.”

That fascination grew into her yearly participation in a two-day pirate weekend that takes place during a renaissance festival. (She also hosts her own yearly pirate party.) Taking place near Tulsa, the weekend’s featured entertainment consists of the pirate crew attempting to “siege the castle.”

At left, Dr. Rebecca Franklin shoots her flintlock pistol in the firing line.
Photo: Submitted

The pirate crew goes up against castle guards and a number of “rounds” (black power, only, of course!) are shot from both sides, plus canon fire from the pirates. The canon is a full-sized historically accurate replica.

“Sometimes the pirates win and sometimes we lose,” said Dr. Franklin. “But it always ends with a negotiation between the Commodore of the Buccaneers of the Coast and the King’s Captain of the Guard.”

When asked why she thinks there is such strong interest in pirates – just look to the spectacularly successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise — Dr. Franklin says she thinks people are primarily attracted to the romanticized legends of high adventure, swashbuckling bravery, and tales of derring-do, but are not necessarily considering the disturbing reality of modern day pirates or the brutality that has always been a part of piracy.

“As in any industry, there is the good and the bad. England would not be what it is today if not for Queen Elizabeth’s privateers (considered to be pirates by many). Nor would Newfoundland! Consider Peter Easton. Also, it’s fun to say “Arrrrrrr” and “Shiver me timbers” and “Avast ye scurvy scalawags!”

Joshua Goudie

When Joshua Goudie heads home from Signal Hill Campus, where he is the events co-ordinator with Strategic Operations and Conference Services, he can sometimes hear Jerry Seinfeld saying in his head, “Good ideas are like mice: you never know when one will show up but it’s your job to catch it when one does.”

Josh Goudie reads to children from one of his books at a book store.
Photo: Submitted

The line sums up the creative process for the children’s books author. He says he isn’t someone who can summon a story from “out of nowhere,” but he is someone who is willing to spend a lot of time with an idea when one does show up.

“You can’t do much more than spend time with your writing, going over it and over it again, tightening and editing as you go,” said Mr. Goudie, who is from Grand Falls-Windsor. “I think the real trick to a good story is to make sure that the reader can’t spot all the hours and years and drafts that went into creating it.”

Of the two titles he’s written for children (he has also written for the stage and has a novel under development that recently won the Percy Janes First Novel Award), he says Jack and the Magnificent Ugly Stick means the most to him.

Illustrated by his father — the two have a fruitful creative partnership — it’s a story about a boy travelling across his small town to build an ugly stick for his Nan who has lost one of her rubber boots.

At left, illustrator Craig Goudie with his son and author Joshua Goudie.
Photo: Submitted

For an extra local dimension, the pair approached some of their favourite musicians to appear as the characters the boy meets on his quest.

Members of The Once, Fortunate Ones and Matthew Hornell, all said yes when asked.

“That project will always mean so much to me because it’s an incredibly generous thing to lend your likeness to someone else.”

Mr. Goudie and his father have been busy developing their next children’s book, a collection of 10 narrative poems (think Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss) that are each based on a different character from Newfoundland and Labrador folklore.

Where the Crooked Lighthouse Shines is darker in tone than our previous books, though they maintain a sense of wonder that I hope will make them appealing to younger readers.”

Cathy Hyde

As a graduation present to herself in 2001, Cathy Hyde signed up for a stained glass course.

Twenty years later, the academic program manager in the Department of Computer Science is still enthralled with the light-catching material. She has shifted her techniques, however.

One of Cathy Hyde’s stunning creations.
Photo: Submitted

“I got into glass fusing in a kiln about four or five years later,” said Ms. Hyde, who is from St. John’s.

Her process starts with an idea; she says she is inspired by many things, ranging from the fun and whimsical like Star Wars’ Darth Vader and eggs and bacon, to the natural world of flowers, the ocean and snow and ice. Her preference are pieces with bold colours and contrasting colours.

Then, she typically makes a sketch to work from. If it is a large, complicated design, she will sometimes use a computer software program to draw it. Once the design is complete, she will select the colour and texture glass that she wants. Next up, she cuts it, washes and dries it and places it in the kiln for firing.

Most of the items Ms. Hyde makes require 2-3 firings in a kiln, which equates to 3-4 days. She enjoys the challenge of the process, she says.

Cathy Hyde with some of her fused glass work.
Photo: Submitted

“You have to understand the science behind it, because if you don’t heat and cool the glass at the right speed and temperature for the right duration, which changes depending on the size of the piece, then the glass will shatter.”

The transformative property of the material is also something that she really enjoys. Starting with large, flat, sharp sheets of solid colour glass and turning it into soft, shaped items like curved vessels with blended colours or lively mosaics is satisfactory on several levels.

“I also really like that, in addition to art, glass can be used to make functional items such as dishes.”

Next up on the list?

“I plan to try a chess board and maybe cribbage board, and I want to start making clocks. I also have some ideas for some small, fun items like lava lamps and video game characters.”

Find Ms. Hyde on Instagram.

Nathan Wareham

When asked how his Grenfell Warriors women’s volleyball team would describe his coaching style, Nathan Wareham says: “Very passionate.”

The supervisor of custodial service in Facilities Management at Grenfell has been bringing that fire and dedication to volleyball courts at all levels of play – including nationally with the Canada Games – since he was 18.

Coach Nathan Wareham with members of the Grenfell Warriors volleyball team.
Photo: Submitted

When it comes to Grenfell’s volleyball squad, Mr. Wareham says the number of women wanting to play has been, ahem, spiking.

“In 2013 we barely had enough to form a team,” said Mr. Wareham, who is from Corner Brook. “This year we had over 40 young women try out for the squad. We have a lot of athletes with U Sports [the national governing body of university sport in Canada] and Canada Game potential.”

He would know. Since the age of 10, he developed and advanced as a player from the school to the provincial to the national level. Moving into coaching volleyball instead of playing, he was head coach of Team Atlantic in 2019 and Canada Games assistant and head coach in 2013 and 2017, respectively.

Mr. Wareham has also taken Team N.L. to the High Performance volleyball championships twice and has taken Canada Games programs and club programs to events all over the U.S. and Canada.

Nathan Wareham coaches at courtside during a game.
Photo: Submitted

The elite training and experience comes naturally to him. He is a huge believer in goal setting, evidenced by a long list he made for himself – coaching at the U Sports level and for the International University Sports Federation, as well as achieving an advanced coaching diploma to complement his chartered professional coaching status — and for Grenfell’s volleyball program.

He says the team would be “very competitive” if they were to gain access to the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association conference and that they will continue to grow their capacity as they strive for the next level.

“Hopefully that gets recognized and we can get more resources to train and compete. Once well established, the goal will be to add a men’s volleyball program.”

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