This past summer I visited the Burin Peninsula, which is quickly developing its tourism product. Heritage Run is quickly becoming a destination for many travelers to our province. With a direct ferry connection to an international destination of St. Pierre-Miquelon, an economuseum, expansive trails, museums, heritage square, dinner theatres, beaches and more. One place that stood out as a model to truly replicate in our rural communities was the Artisan’s Nook in Lamaline.
The importance of buying local and filling a gap that residents and tourists want – access to quality made locally produced products that are handmade. The concept is quite simple of using space in a community building to set-up a permanent craft shop that is professional and operated by one of the artists. A collective of artisans working together in a cooperative has created something beautiful for residents and tourists alike.
Four talented locals came together, quilter Christina Lundrigan, artist Kathy Hillier, rug hooker Anne Kirby and knitter and crocheter Melaine Lambe operate this shop, but also work and interact with visitors as they are surrounded by their creations.
I have several pieces of Anne Kirby’s hooked rug ornaments hanging on my tree. I especially loved my line of salted cod.
I also purchased mummer things, which is quintessentially a part of our Newfoundland and Labrador cultural activities, still celebrated today.
The shop is an outlet of creativity, to purchase a variety of product, utilizes technology and illustrates the type of success people in small communities can have by working together to create the right atmosphere. Four artists now will spend less time marketing and more time creating. A permanent shop reduces setup time, provides continuity for repeat customers and multiple people allows for sharing the day required to be physically at the shop. Sales are not lost because of cooperation.
This is a more sophisticated model of a continuous craft fair that adds so much value to the artist, the community and the tourism product offering. I was impressed by use of the “square” (a credit card processing and business solution that connects to a mobile or iPad and allows for direct sales https://squareup.com/ca). I’ve seen more crafters using this technology at fairs, markets and at shops, which has led to increased sales.
I would encourage communities to open community hall or other spaces and artists to consider a model like the Artisan’s Nook. It can be a valuable addition for all involved. Drop by Lamaline, say hello and get some great pieces of art today!
Live Rural NL,
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development
A craft fair in St. Anthony yesterday, hosted by the St. Anthony Come Home Year Committee attracted artisans and craft producers from all across the Great Northern Peninsula. More than two dozen tables were filled with such a diverse array of product, it reinvigorated my belief that we could have a thriving craft industry, artisan studios like the Quidi Vidi Plantation of St. John’s or those on Fogo Island.
The Grenfell Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Historic Properties is the perfect anchor, with 8,000 visitors annually, they would be the ideal location to purchase from these local craftspeople and artists. Their Brown Cottage at the corner of their parking lot can be converted into a multitude of artist studios, just like mentioned above to provide space and an outlet for these craftspeople to grow, produce and share knowledge with each other.
One of the last tables I visited was Lott and Christina’s Driftwood Creations. I was just taken away by each unique piece of art. Christina was very passionate about her creations, telling me that the wood was collected on family outings combing the beach, some of it close to where I live. The story and connection added to the beauty of the one of a kind art. I also loved the professional tagging and a focus on Made in Newfoundland, highlighting St. Anthony on the map. These are the types of things that certainly add value to the buyer. I’m quite proud of this piece, “Some Day on Clothes” and will proudly hang it for many to gaze at something quintessentially “Rural Newfoundland & Labrador”.
Driftwood Creations has their own Facebook Page offering unique Handcrafted Home Decor made from driftwood found on beaches of Newfoundland. They also make pine furniture made with a rustic country style. They can be reached at 454-3402.
Loving Stuff is handcrafted by Heber and Loretta Hussy of St. Anthony. I was fortunate enough to purchase her product before at the 2012 St. Anthony Come Home Year craft fair. There I got myself the last four remaining mummers, this year I manage to get several more to add to my collection and some on my Christmas list may be also receive one as well!
After 5 years of co-founding and organizing the Mummer’s Walk in the Straits on the Great Northern Peninsula, people know I love mummers and the concept of what mummering or jannying as we use to call it means to those who grew up in outport or rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I love how Loretta and Heber capture them in such a traditional way! Her product is also tagged professionally and has a story explaining what mummering is all about. I could not resist purchasing the pair of child’s hide slippers. Lot’s of my friends seem to be having babies these days! You can reach Loving Stuff at 454-3513.
Shirley and Doug Mills are quite the team in their craft production, which was exhibited at yesterday’s fair when those who wanted ornaments with their names on them, Shirley called on Doug to handle that task. The array of product Shirley makes is phenomenal, which seal skin has taken a focus.
She makes guitar straps, strap purses, coin purses, boot cuffs, slippers, mittens, earrings, bracelets and now mummers and Christmas ornaments, which I think are totally brilliant.
Her jewelry and some of these items can be found at the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe, St. Anthony. I can’t wait to hang these incredibly ornaments on my Christmas tree :).
There are so many artisans and craft production on display, from handmade quilts, Minion slippers, Bruce Pilgrim’s Prints, framed Art, Frank Walter’s magnets & prints, Colleen Loder’s iceberg art and ugly sticks, carvings, Carol Roberts’ hand painted rocks, felting and ornaments, original paintings, face painting, knitting items, baked beans, homemade pies and so much more.
It is evident art, craft and culture thrives on the Great Northern Peninsula! I encourage you to support out local artists and craft producers. I want to thank the St. Anthony Come Home Year committee for organizing and providing a venue for these local craft producers and artists an outlet to sell their product and services. We need more space and opportunities throughout the year. Let’s keep making big things happen in small communities!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)