Category Archives: Job Opportunities

Craft Producers on Great Northern Peninsula Share Experiences

The Great Northern Peninsula has a number of craft producers that are hobbyists, part-time or engaged in the business earning a living full-time. There is significant opportunity to start and even grow markets in this sector. I recently attended a workshop at 50 Centuries Interpretation Centre, Bird Cove to learn more and provide my own feedback.

I was impressed by the array and diversity of craft producers at the session, ranging from two Youth Ventures participant presentations including Sami’s Cakes and Jasmine’s Nail Designs. Coordinator Sidney Coombs was on hand to talk about the businesses and willing to assist others throughout summer, providing support and advice.

The Western Newfoundlandd & Labrador Developer’s Coop has an exciting idea of an on-line marketplace and also does website development. This offering will help producers have access to a space for market and entry into the on-line or digital world. These are gaps that prevent many from reaching their full market or price potential.

Pricing was discussed by Craft Market Development specialist Brenda Stratton. Members of the CBDC Nortip team was also available as they hosted the session to provide business advice, counselling or financial support.

Woodworking & chain maille jewelry (Robin Gosse), photography (Frank Walters), painting (George Bussey), musical & literary art (Sabrina Whyatt), quilting (Ann Cunard), snowshoe making & traditional crafts (George Elliott) & Mummers (Sheila Short) were just a sampling of what was on display throughout the afternoon.

The session highlighted use of PowerPoint, Skype for virtual meeting, demonstrations and public discussion. There was a lot of engagement and interest in the room. More sessions should be held to encourage more local artists and craft producers to become involved, network and find ways to get their product into the hands of more and more customers.

It was exciting to see involvement from 9 to 90. For Mr. Elliott, he extended the offer to teach others his knowledge of making traditional snowshoes. I hope someone takes him up on that offer. I remember buying some of his pieces when I owned and operated Flower’s Island Museum back in 2002. I hang one of his killicks on my Christmas tree each year.

Talking with craft producers on the Great Northern Peninsula as they share their experiences is one of the unique and authentic encounters when visiting.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Community Leaders, Ideas and Innovation changing our Rural Landscape

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A community is built and shaped by the people that live, work and share common interests and goals. On the Great Northern Peninsula we have strong communities and leaders that have big ideas and use innovation to create new jobs, opportunities and experiences.

Glacier Glass, Englee, NL is shining example of a newly founded social enterprise that meets those interests and goals for local residents, the greater region and those visiting to experience and take away a little piece of the rock at the end of the winding Route 433. This initiative is placing Englee on the map as a destination, if you want a unique and authentic rural experience.

Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in a Glass Art Class (3 Hours) hosted by instructor Doris Randell at the Glacier Glass studio. I am a complete novice when it comes to glass art, but I have always been interested in making things by hand, learning the traditional way of doing things but also willing to try a new approach. We opted to make a poinsettia designed dish for the holidays and a set of coasters with our supplied materials. It brought back school year memories of arts and crafts as we took the scissors to cut the pattern to trace on the glass. Next came the fun, but intimidating part of cutting the glass. Like riding a bike, one starts with the training wheels attached and Doris had us scoring the glass with scrap at first as practice to breaking our pieces for the dish. Each piece got easier as we felt more comfortable working with the material and it was quite fun learning how it was made and doing it for yourself. There are many steps beyond the cutting and breaking of glass, there is some shaping with the grinder and some colouring to add detail. Doris is an incredibly talented community developer, crafty and certainly puts off a phenomenal class! Click on the photo gallery below to see a bit more of the process:

I look forward to seeing the end result after the product has been fired up in the kiln!

Local area residents participated in a several week long program and learned this particular craft making incredible product. The concept of training local people to make unique glass art products, has proven its worth that we are open to trying new initiatives in our small communities and that we have hidden talents we may never have had the opportunity to exhibit. Glacier Glass now gives anyone the opportunity to participate in a class, make their own product at a rate of $75.00 a session. If anyone would like to book a session, please contact 1-709-866-2711 for more details or visit Glacier Glass on Facebook.

Also their shop has a number of exquisite pieces for retail if anyone is interested in a special gift. Lots of unique Newfoundland & Labrador items available, holiday and special occasions too!

There are many opportunities to expand to wholesale, expand into various retail outlets, continue training sessions and offer learning vacations to those wishing to come, stay and experience all the Great Northern Peninsula has to offer!

The Great Northern Peninsula is poised for growth because we have exceptional community leaders, ideas and innovation that continue to make big things happen in small communities. Our rural landscape is changing and we are the catalysts changing that landscape!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Mitchelmore questions commitment to rural job creation

NDP critic for Innovation, Business and Rural Development Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says government’s approach to job creation in rural Newfoundland and Labrador is sadly lacking in vision.

“Government is dropping the ‘rural’ from the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development with cuts to RED Boards, Employment Assistance Services, and no real plan for creating jobs from the ground up,” Mitchelmore said in the House of Assembly today. “Megaprojects create boom and bust economies and forced migration, and tear away at the social fabric of our economy.

“When will the minister of IBRD get serious about rural job creation and prevent further mass outmigration from decimating the rural landscape?”

Mitchelmore says encouraging job creation in rural Newfoundland is a vital part of ensuring economic health for the province. He pointed to wharf development as one possible option that has worked in parts of the province and could work in others.

“Government has invested $23 million since 2003 into aquaculture, including six biosecure wharves,” he said in the House. “Without this investment some 1000 jobs and $400 million dollars would have been lost.

“The forest industry on the Great Northern Peninsula impacts more than 150 workers and can prove to provide significant returns.

“When will the minister of Natural Resources commit to providing a needed wharf to Roddickton port to sustain an industry, jobs, and rural communities as well as putting needed money back in the provincial treasury?”

Family Time – Remember when the capelin rolled in…..

I remember the excitement in Green Island Cove when the capelin rolled in the beach one summer around 1991.  It was the year my father made my little dip net. With all the fuss we rushed to the shore to join other members of the community with our buckets and started filling them with our dip nets. You had to be quick, because it was only a matter of time and they would be gone.

My great-great-aunt Lavinia, who turns 98 years-young this year was on the beach that day. She arrived a bit later and didn’t quite have her bucket full, so we helped her top up her catch. She remembers that day and we have talked about it on occasion in my past visits. She’s a lady full of energy and she has a remarkable way of telling a story. I know from our conversations she was always up for a good joke or a bit of fun.

If you ever get the opportunity to see the capelin roll, it’s one of natures wonders. As they rolled around Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove this past summer on the Avalon, it brought droves of locals and tourists alike, creating much traffic congestion.

The capelin – a small forage fish is often the lunch of cod. It is good to see them a plenty. I certainly saw much capelin coming ashore in Englee this past summer. The cod are back and there are giant cod-fish out there.

I have a capelin that was made locally, which I hang on my Christmas tree each year.

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There are many opportunities to show off your talents. The College of the North Atlantic, St. Anthony Campus has a glass art studio and Norstead – Viking Village and Port of Trade, L’Anse Aux Meadows has a pottery studio available for us to make unique product. Why not carve and create a capelin mug, bowl, jewelry, Christmas ornament, glass coaster or pendant? We have so many opportunities, potential markets from local shops, craft outlets, on-line, Come Home Year celebrations and a number of cruise ships that visit the area. Now is the time to start marking product, be ready for those who visit and experience The Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

My Newfoundland & Labrador themed Christmas Tree

Every decorated Christmas tree is like a snowflake in design, as each one is truly unique. I like to add a flavour of Newfoundland & Labrador to my tree. it seems each year, I manage to add something handmade that relates to local lore and culture.

There are specialty stores that pop-up during the holidays and there are those that are open year round selling Christmas items. Imagine the opportunity we have on the Great Northern Peninsula to put our talents to use and make a variety of Christmas ornaments. An informal group, development organization or craft co-op can be formed to get this moving.

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I got the seal skin boots depicted above as a gift from the late Aunt Stella Hoddinott. They hung from the mirror of my car for years. It certainly makes them easy to find in a parking lot.

My sister has been a modest entrepreneur throughout the years and made several handmade Christmas ornaments. I am pretty sure my mom and I helped her some 13 years ago and I proudly display the scallop shell angel on the tree.

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I have a passion for the mummer’s and look forward to going around visiting before Old Christmas day. I’ve participated in all three Mummer’s Walks and there is a Mummer’s Dance on Saturday! I picked up the accordion ornament at a Christmas store on my first visit to Montreal in 2011. There is another pair of seal skin boots (came from Iqaluit), an Inukshuk (purchased at Grenfell Heritage Shoppe) and a set of snowshoes made by the late Tom Newcombe. I remember giving him a number of wire hangers to make several pairs.DSC_0068

The Newfoundland Boil-up is a tradition that many practise, especially at this time of year. A good ol’ cup of tea in the woods and a small scoff of roasted Newfie Steak (balogna) on a stick or sausages, canned beans and a slice of homemade bread- nothing like it! Also in the picture is “Little Sheila” an Inuk, I made in 2010, while on a cultural exchange in Labrador.

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The gallery below depicts a few others: I’ve bought a lobster claw at the Craft Council’s Fall Fair, I have a matching capelin from Grenfell Heritage Shoppe. The amigurumi grey fish came from the Guardian gift shop at the French Shore Interpretation Centre in Conche, the Puffin was a gift from Amanda. The homemade ball with candy canes were made by the group from Community Readiness for People with Disabilities. The wooden ornament came from the Wind & Waves Artisan Shop in Joe Batt’s Arm, Fogo Island as part of the Shorefast Foundation. The killick is an old-fashioned anchor made by Frank Elliott of Main Brook, I purchased from him when I owned and operated Flower’s Island Museum & Mini-golf; in that same picture is my most recent addition of a hand painted ornament of Prague, Czech Republic (where I studied in Europe) and a pair of knitted mittens, made by the late Aunt Dora White. Also, a photo depicts hockey skates, which reminded me of the ones my Dad always wore when he played hockey and another pair of Uncle Tom’s snowshoes are on display next to the reindeer.

I enjoy adding more traditional ornaments to my Christmas tree. There is a real opportunity for hobbyists, crafters and those with an interest to start-up a home-based business, craft co-op or other enterprise to learn new skills and make an income. Let’s not let your talents pass up such an opportunity that can serve as a year-round business.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

 

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