Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Craft; A Provincial Resource

A Stone's Throw Glass Shop
Craft Producers are one of Newfoundland and Labrador's most valuable renewable resources.

That's the message that Brenda Stratton, the outgoing chair of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL), shared with members this past weekend in Corner Brook.

CCNL Volunteers and members at the AGM
The Craft Council held its Annual General Meeting and get together in Corner Brook, with representatives from across Newfoundland and Labrador in attendance.  We had a dozen or so board members for the the epic board meeting that began at 9 am on Saturday and ended at twenty to midnight that night.  However, we did stop for Studio tours during the afternoon.   On Sunday, we were joined by a dozen more west coast craft producers for various parts of the General Meeting and slide shows.

Mike Fantuz
During the drive out from St.John's on Friday, we stopped for lunch in Gander at Mike Fantuz' house and he gave us a tour of his home and his growing private art collection.  In this photo, Mike is explaining two of his paintings, and the story behind a found art window frame.

Linda Yates
We also stopped by King's Point Pottery, the home, shop and studio of Linda Yates and David Hayashida.  The studio is a converted garage that belonged to Linda's father.  I've admired David and Linda's work for years and this was my first visit to their home - I liked it so much that I stopped in for another night on the drive home.  David is a rock enthusiast and we spent a bit of time talking and hunting for rocks.

David explaining the Humpback Skeleton
They've also assembled a 50 foot long humpback whale skeleton.   The Humpback Whale Pavilion is within walking distance of the the studio and its spectacular.  We had a sneak peak at this remarkable effort and fascinating display that officially opens this summer.

Urve Manuel in her studio
On Saturday, we toured studios along the north shore of Humber Arm, across the water from the city of Corner Brook.  Urve Manuel has a home and studio built into the side of a hill in the community of Gillams.  Much of it she's built herself around her vision and her business, A Stone's Throw Glass.  The newest space is the studio itself, which she was partially able to finish with a Studio Start-up grant from the Craft Council.  Urve is a glass worker, who is experimenting and creating amazing pieces right now, but she also has a clear goal for the future that she is working towards.

Urve's Work

Craig Strang in his studio
Like most of the people we met, every brick and board in Craig Strang's home and studio, Meadows Point Pottery, has a story.  Much of his studio was recycled or repurposed and he's not done building his home and kiln space yet.

Niki Hollahan
Niki Hollahan is a knitter in the summer and Ski Patroller at Marble Mountain in the winter.  Like Niki, her products and studio, Knix Hand Knits are bright and colourful.  Every studio that we visited was a reflection of the owner's personality.  When you visit a producer in their work space you can see how much of a person's personality goes into creating their work and their studio.
Sharing experience
We visited producers at many different stages in their careers and each one was inspiring.  They were inspiring, not only because of what they have already accomplished, but because of everything that they will accomplish in the future.

You can plan your own trip to Newfoundland and Labrador's craft studios by checking out the Craft Council's online Studio Guide.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. Looks like I'm going to have to schedule a visit to NL soon. So much fantastic stuff going on!

  2. "Every studio that we visited was a reflection of the owner's personality".

    That's an interesting observation. It would be fun to see all of the members in their respective workshops on the Craft Council webpage.

  3. That would be a good game - match the producer to the product and the studio. I think a lot of people would be able to get all three.


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