Algonquin Outfitters

Paddle Art Contest – Christopher Dutton

I really can’t think of another project that I have done that melded together so many things I love to do. Paddling a canoe, fishing, blues music, art, scavenging junk, camp cooking, hanging around the AO Opeongo store and building a challenging project from recycled, reclaimed, and resurrected materials.

A broken paddle donated to me from AO store at Opeongo, a white gas can used for a month or two of camp cooking (is there any toast better?), old forks found in  a fire pit, trout lures. And some brain work (or lack of brain work) trying to figure out how to use the whole paddle ie: how to make a 4 feet guitar from a five foot paddle.

And the real joy of building an original tin box guitar like this one, is you really don’t know what kinda sound you are going to get till the last string is strung, tuned and your fingers let loose. Even then , its always an evolution in time as you change tunings and add capos and slides. Pick and pluck  yr way into its heart.   Like a canoe paddle, you mold into it and it into you. It’s a wedding of sorts; a long term relationship of the same purpose and intent…’you both wanna get somewhere but not in  too much a hurry’. And that phrase describes blues-playing and canoe-paddling exactly the same.

Perhaps a little ‘corny’ to say but a canoe paddle is like a guitar. You do play a song with it, but a song that lives in the water you glide over. Just like every paddling trip in Algonquin has its times of eternal repeating rhythms and always changing moments of wonder.

Maybe that’s why so many of us , from the first aboriginal  to the latest camp scouts , sing when we paddle along. Maybe we are all playing an ancient Canadian song spoken in Huron and Cree and French and Algonquin and Scottish and English many many times over these great waters we now call Algonquin Park.

Creation / Submission AOJoe Paddle Guitar by Christopher Dutton video

Unboxing by Sean Cotton video

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Christopher Dutton

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