Page 11 - PROOF!v6
P. 11

It’s been nearly three decades, but John is still
very much a teacher, whether at area  y shops,  y
 shing club seminars, or even college: from 2004-05
he taught a  y-tying class at the Colville campus
of the Community Colleges of Spokane.
“What he lacks in communication,” says former student Kevin Kernan, “he more than makes up for in step-by-step procedure.” Kernan, the technical program director at Jenkins High School in Chewelah, teaches design communications, 3D solid modeling, and technical, architectural, and mechanical drawing. “You can certainly tell that John was trained as a teacher,” he says. “He understands his students; as for them, there’s no question that they’re learning from a master.”
Kim Hogan, principal at Jenkins, is also a former student of John’s. “Good teachers want their students to know what they do because they love their subject,” he explains. “John’s the same way.” And while John remains humble about his skills, Hogan says, it’s apparent that he likes to share his knowledge. Just make sure you’re listening. “Yeah, it’s pretty clear he’s been a teacher before,” Hogan laughs. “He knows when you’re not paying attention.”
But teaching is where John’s commercial  y tying interests
stop. He won’t sell his  ies. In fact, he’d rather give them away –
to the right person. “I don’t want to facilitate someone with deep pockets who’s only in it for instant grati cation,” he says. “Let them actually learn something.” The more you learn, he explains, the more satisfying  shing becomes.
It’s a philosophy he takes quite seriously. So seriously, that, rather than buy the feathers for his  ies – “so that I could have all that I wanted,” says John – he built an aviary to raise the birds themselves. 2,500 of them, in fact: 21 varieties of pheasants and 17 species of waterfowl, along with peafowl, partridge, and Merriam wild turkeys. A massive snow storm about 10 years ago created an escape opportunity, however, and after John and his friends spent most of a day chasing exotic birds around Chewelah, he decided he’d had enough.
Still, he’s as resourceful as ever. “John ties  ies to catch more  sh,” says Hogan. “Others sell them, put them in a case to look at...but John doesn’t see himself as an artist. He’s a  sherman.”
“I wanted my  ies to look more real,” says John. “That’s why I started with my own patterns early on.” In other words, if it takes wrapping a rubber band around a hook shaft to create a passable imitation of a dragon y, then that’s exactly what he’ll do. And it’s not just the  sh that are noticing: 26 of John’s  ies were included in the 2000 edition of Fly Pattern Encyclopedia. Five were featured in Innovative Flies & Techniques (2005), a book that refers to John as “one of the best stillwater  shers we know.”
Pretty heady stuff for a guy who admits that hooking a monster steelhead isn’t what drives him. “I go  shing for the tranquility, the peacefulness,” he says. “Catching  sh is a bonus.” But then, John doesn’t see things quite the same way the rest of us do. Every day, he says in that distinctive voice, he’s thankful for how blessed he is. “Life is a challenge, but the world is a beautiful place to live.”
Print. Because you can’t line a birdcage with pixels.
From start to  nish – whether it’s prepress services, digital and litho printing, quality binding, or a full-service mailing and ful llment house – Johnston Printing has a solution for all of your advertising, design, sales, and corporate communications needs. Johnston’s been a Spokane institution since 1947, growing from a small, one-person shop to a 17,000-square-foot, state-of-the- art facility with the capacity to handle everything from business cards to catalogs. For the satisfaction that comes from knowing that your print job is being handled by the best in the business, visit today.
Creative Director’s Notes
A former classmate from my hometown  rst told me about John Newbury. While I had met John many years ago, and knew his family a bit, I had lost track of him. It turns out he was living in Chewelah and, unbeknownst to me, had become a world-class  y tier.
(I called my mom to get the full scoop).
I had no idea.
We did a little more research on him and discovered that The Spokesman- Review had run a recent article about John – one of many, it turns out. But in this particular story, there was a line that caught my attention. Referring to John demonstrating his  y-tying skills at a Federation of Fly Fishers international conclave, it noted that he was seated between two other world-renowned  y-tying experts. “To the uninitiated,” the article said, “that’s pretty much like being in the dugout between Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.” No pun intended,
but I was hooked. Thanks to my good friend, Kim Hogan, for connecting us to this issue’s feature subject.
A special note of recognition goes
to our photographer, Anthony (Tony) Roslund. When I  rst approached Tony, he was eager to participate – even though I told him that with PROOF!,
we never know where the project might lead us. It was my way of warning him that the actual amount of photography was unknown. Much to my own surprise – and certainly his – we ended up making two trips to Chewelah and had one very long studio session, in which Tony delicately photographed over 73  ies. Having now viewed lots of  y photography, I can attest that Tony’s work is the best I’ve seen.
And  nally, both John’s craft and unique perspective on life is what makes PROOF! worth reading and sharing with you. I’ll be forever grateful to him.
CK Anderson
Photo by Dean Davis Photography, Spokane.
Mandarin duck.

   8   9   10   11   12