Bed & Breakfast Immortalize Folk Musicians Tomato/Tomato As Folk Art

You’re probably used to associating Saint John’s folk duo Tomato/Tomato with washboards, but how about barn boards? A bed and breakfast in New Brunswick’s Cambridge-Narrows have immortalized the two musicians as part of their ever growing crowd of wooden sculptures they call ‘barn board people’.

Inés v. Waldow and her husband Doug Richardson have been running the Norwood on the Washademoak Bed & Breakfast in Cambridge-Narrows for a year now. They purchased the property from Waldow’s mother four years ago, but it was originally built as a country residence for a turn-of-the-century Saint John architect named H.H. Mott. The property has since been renovated to accommodate their business and their living space.

“It is a large house, basically two houses in one,” says Waldow. “The main part is now for the B & B. We live in the other section, which at one time was for the caretakers of Harry Mott’s farm.”

The crowd gathering at Norwood on the Washademoak

The property also included a barn, which at one time housed “The Farmers’ Line”, a phone line run by Mott, but after what was likely a century of (did)use the barn finally collapsed last year. That’s when the barn board people arrived.

“Doug surprised me one day with two of the barn board people. They were placed close to the road. Friends and those passing by liked them, asked whether or not there would be others. Doug continued creating when inspired. It has been a wonderful way to keep the old barn “alive” so to speak.”

Recently the barn board people have turned into something of an audience, crowding just in front of the B&B’s veranda. It was just a matter of time before the big names revealed themselves.

Apparently Richardson is a big fan of the Tomato/Tomato and heard that the band would be performing The Sanctuary in Saint John during the East Coast Music Awards.

The Barn Board People by Doug Richardson
Tomato/Tomato by Doug Richardson

“We had seen them before at The Shivering Songs Festival in Fredericton. He was determined to have us leave our home at 5 am that Saturday morning. While watching their performance, he sketched an outline with the idea of creating the two musician barn board people.”

Waldow says her husband is very creative though he wouldn’t ever claim to be an artist, and they’re both great supporters of the arts . The couple host an ‘Artisans At Work’ art show at the Cambridge-Narrow two day “Life at the Lakes” arts, culture, and nature festival where artists create, showcase, and sell their works at the B&B.

They say the sculptures will not be for sale and will remain permanent fixtures at the bed and breakfast. “They belong here. Think of it…they have been created from boards which are well over 100 years old and if the barn was built around the time of the house or before, the wood used came from trees of a certain age.”

Lisa Mclaggen, half of Tomato/Tomato and universal washboard ambassador, says she had no idea this was happening. “We got a sweet note from Doug and Ines to our Facebook page after they had already done it and shared to their social media. What a wonderful surprise!”

The band are currently in Vancouver and have yet to make plans to visit Norwood on the Washademoak Bed & Breakfast but say it could happen. “We would certainly love to make our way there to meet our board people doppelgängers and chat with Doug and Inés.”

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