Bringing back memories in sketch form

Artist Hugh Howat hopes his new book of sketches will enhance the memories of scenes from Flin Flon’s hard rock mining past.

Howat, a miner-turned-artist, has produced a book featuring sketches of Flin Flon’s “hustle-and-bustle” past. The book is called, appropriately enough, “Flin Flon Sketches.”

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Howat wanted to preserve scenes from Flin Flon’s past, especially ones which he had personal memories of. Howat was inspired by a similar archival artwork project in Saskatoon.

“The idea came when I was in Saskatoon and someone had done a project with the seven bridges that went across the river. I figured, ‘Why can’t we have a similar thing here?’” he said. “Most of the pictures are sites that aren’t there anymore, but it’s all familiar with people here from the ‘60s.”

Howat’s reference materials included archival photos, along with his own personal memories of the community growing up.

“I had slides for most of them,” Howat said. “I got some pictures from Bruce Reid and got a few from magazines that I saw and just put it together because I thought it would be a good keepsake sort of the thing.”

Art is a hobby for Howat, who said he frequently draws in his spare time, but does not often showcase his art.

“I did it because they were things that would be lost. That’s basically what I had in mind. It’s just a project I enjoy doing. I do artwork, but I often keep it to myself. Most people don’t know,” he said.

“I would guess that people who were in their fifties would remember most of it, especially if they lived here in the town.”

When Howat has showed his work to others, including former Flin Flonners, he said their reactions have been positive.

“Everyone that I’ve shown so far, they all say, ‘Hey, this is great.’ These are things that you’ll remember if you lived here back in those times,” he said.

Howat’s work is available at the Flin Flon Public Library and at other locations throughout the community.

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