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Isabel Natti’s Herring Factory Print is incredible on many different levels. One is that it is visually gorgeous, but what the casual observer may not understand is how much detail and how accurate the entire scene is to how we actually did things back in the day. Isabel worked for Wally Maggot, a guy who rented a pier that no longer exists on our property. They did the same type of whiting, squid and herring packing that my Grandfather Captain Joe, and Father and Uncle’s company did.
If you look at the photo up in the top right corner she tells the entire story starting with the two pair trawlers catching the herring.
Next in the middle, the boats are offloading at the dock where the herring get weighed and go up a conveyor into the pen room. From the pen room they would travel down on conveyors down the packing lines where they would get packed into 45 pound cases. Then they would get covered, weighed and then placed on big freezer racks. Next along you can see the person making up the boxes on the same box stapling machine that we used where you would press down with your foot on the pedal and it would swing the arm to staple the corners of the cardboard boxes. Lastly they get loaded on the truck to head off to the freezer.
I can’t believe she captured the entire scene in one frame. It is all there- the story of many many people’s day on Gloucester Harbor. I can see it all and it will live on through her work even though the piers have long fallen into the ocean.
Part II of our interview will be posted at 9:00AM
These lobster placemats can be purchased at The Sara Elizabeth Shop where Isabel Natti hand presses them with the Acorn Press. Part II of our interview with Isabel Natti will be up at 9:00AM
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Here is the Acorn Press still used today at the Sara Elizabeth Shop at The Whistlestop Mall in Rockport. Part one of my interview with Isabel Natti who maintains this tradition will run today at 9:00AM.