In the past month, we have had the opportunity to visit with three people who making their living creating handmade objects.
The first two are a couple who live in King's Point in Green Bay, Linda Yates and David Hayashida. They run King's Point Pottery where they make and sell a range of ceramic objects, some inexpensive and clearly made for the tourist market, and some more artful, made with local clay and glazes made from local materials that they have spent years developing and perfecting. In addition to making all these wonderful objects, they run a shop that, beginning this year, also sells the work of other local craftspeople, and they are very active in their community. Linda is a King's Point native and David has taken up the cause with enthusiasm. With their shop at the center, they have created a lively place, bustling with activity and a real feeling of welcome to any and all.
We also had the opportunity to visit the studio of Shawn O'Hagan. Shawn has been living in Corner Brook for nearly 30 years and has had a long career as a painter. In the past four years, she has been using her wonderful sense of design and colour to make hooked mats, children's clothes and painted wooden boxes and bowls. Here are some pictures from her studio where colour is obviously the driving force:
Shawn (facing the camera) speaking with Barb Hunt, another artist living and working in Corner Brook.
I think that what makes them more than just another cog in the tourist machine is that they have not compromised in their vision for their work. Sure, they have small items that nearly anyone can afford and that appeal to a broad audience. But they also have another thing happening that is very engaged in this place. They make work that is unique, that speaks about the experience of being here. Also, they do more than just make their work--they work to make this place welcoming for all. This is, I think, a good thing.