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