The First World War dislocated massive populations, resulting in dramatic social change. Instead of living a comfortable life supported by paying boarders, which would allow her the time she needed to paint, Emily found herself unable to afford the help she needed to run her boardinghouse effectively, challenged to keep her tenants happy, and for the first time in her life, subject to the whims of strangers. Struggling alone, Emily's "landladying" days were challenging; she captured those experiences in her book "House of All Sorts". It would be 15 long years of trial before her artwork came to public notice and she began to paint in earnest again.
The First World War dislocated massive populations, resulting in dramatic social change. Instead of living a comfortable life supported by paying boarders, which would allow her the time she needed to paint, Emily found herself unable to afford the help she needed to run her boardinghouse effectively, challenged to keep her tenants happy, and for the first time in her life, subject to the whims of strangers. Struggling alone, Emily's "landladying" days were challenging; she captured those experiences in her book "House of All Sorts". It would be 15 long years of trial before her artwork came to public notice and she began to paint in earnest again.

© 2007, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.

"Victoria had boomed, now she slumped. We had not sold during the boom, now we were compelled to because of increased taxation. My father's acreage was divided into city lots and sold at a loss - each sister kept one lot for herself. Borrowing money, I built a four-suite apartment on mine. One suite had a fine studio. Here I intended to paint, subsisting on the rentals of the other three suites. No sooner was the house finished than the First World War came. Rentals sank, living rose. I could not afford help.
I must be owner, agent, landlady and janitor. I loathed landladying…. I tried in every way to augment my income. Small fruit, hens, rabbits, dogs - pottery … I never painted now - had neither time nor wanting. For about fifteen years I did not paint."1

"Victoria had boomed, now she slumped. We had not sold during the boom, now we were compelled to because of increased taxation. My father's acreage was divided into city lots and sold at a loss - each sister kept one lot for herself. Borrowing money, I built a four-suite apartment on mine. One suite had a fine studio. Here I intended to paint, subsisting on the rentals of the other three suites. No sooner was the house finished than the First World War came. Rentals sank, living rose. I could not afford help.
I must be owner, agent, landlady and janitor. I loathed landladying…. I tried in every way to augment my income. Small fruit, hens, rabbits, dogs - pottery … I never painted now - had neither time nor wanting. For about fifteen years I did not paint."1
1Emily Carr, Growing Pains – An Autobiography, (Toronto: Irwin Publishing, 1946), 230-232.
© 1946, Irwin Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

A small earthenware pot painted in a First Nation style and shaped to look like a bird.

A small earthenware pot painted in a First Nation style and shaped to look like a bird. Carr created such objects to be sold to tourists in order to boost her income during her lean years.

Emily Carr
Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Osborne in memory of Eryl Cianci
c. 1930
Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA
AGGV 1972.052.001
© 2007, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.


"Of course, nobody wanted to buy my pictures. I'd never tried to paint to please them anyway, so I did horrible things like taking boarders to make a living, and the very little time I had for painting I tried to paint in the despised, adorable joyous modern way. The last two years I have taken up … pottery, adapting and utilizing my Indian designs for it. A much pleasanter livelihood than catering to people's appetites."1

"Of course, nobody wanted to buy my pictures. I'd never tried to paint to please them anyway, so I did horrible things like taking boarders to make a living, and the very little time I had for painting I tried to paint in the despised, adorable joyous modern way. The last two years I have taken up … pottery, adapting and utilizing my Indian designs for it. A much pleasanter livelihood than catering to people's appetites."1

1Susan Crean (ed.), Opposite Contraries – The Unknown Journals of Emily Carr and Other Writings, (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2003), 204-205.
© 2003, Douglas & McIntyre. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

Curriculum Link (BC) – Social Studies 10/11; History 12; Visual Arts 9/10/11/12; Art Foundations 11/12; (again relevant to the BC Ministry of Education document titled ‘Shared Learnings – Integrating Aboriginal Content K-12’); Information Technology 9/10

Learning Objectives:
· As students learn how Carr generated income for herself over her adult life (art instructor, artist, and landlady) they will identify the changing nature of families and women's roles in Canadian society.
· Students will understand how people in the workforce are affected by the economic cycle.
· These years during and after the First World War and leading up to the Depression were financially lean ones for many. Students will discover that the Carr family had to divide and sell much of their property at this time and that Emily had a house built wherein she could accept tenants as a source of income – this will enable students to describe the role of women in terms of social, political, and economic change in Canada.
· Students will evaluate the effects of the Great Depression on the industrialized world.
· After viewing the images of Carr’s pottery students will compare the use of materials, technologies and processes in 3-D art forms.
· Students will learn how Emily created pottery with First Nations themes to be sold across the country, and as this was not a traditional art form for BC’s Coastal First Nations students will see how Aboriginal art influences non-Aboriginal art.
· Students will analyze the use of materials, technologies, and processes in selected Aboriginal art forms in BC. As well, students will demonstrate awareness and analyze issues related to Aboriginal art forms in BC.
· As painted pottery was not a traditional Aboriginal art form in BC, students will analyze the ethical and legal considerations associated with the design of images.
· Students will analyze and justify a position on the ethical factors affecting the production of 2-D and 3-D images.
· Students will consider why Aboriginal peoples are concerned about Cultural appropriation.
· This learning object will allow students to demonstrate their ability to use the Internet to access, capture, and store information.
· Students will use information technology tools to gather and organize information and produce documents.
· By interacting with this object students will demonstrate an awareness of the impact of electronic resources on education, careers, and recreation.


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