Unique Crafts from Creativity and NecessityBy Newfoundland & Labrador
In Newfoundland and Labrador, craftspeople rarely call themselves artists, but that doesn’t stop their work from singing with creativity and colour. Around here there’s always been a foggy area between form, function, and fine craftsmanship – largely because creating things out of necessity was commonplace. And even though these items truly are pieces of art, chances are you won’t find them hung on a wall.
Hand knit crafts like sweaters, hats and socks come in all sorts of designs. A particular oddity are cuffs (mitts) designed to free up your index finger and thumb for added dexterity while keeping your other fingers together for warmth. These instantly recognizable trigger mitts are usually adorned with diamonds, but in this place patterns can be as unique as the person who knits (or weaves) them.
Hooked rugs and mats are a traditional domestic craft that has found its way into many talented hands in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the past, rug hooking was a good way to pass the long winter months and a recent resurgence has seen a new generation of rug-hookers bring beautifully detailed mats to life.
While the practical value of a good quilt cannot be denied, there’s no reason they have to be so colourful. Across the province these vibrant and cozy works of art are easy to find, and you often spy them hanging on the clothesline snapping in the ocean breeze. Quilting guilds are a popular social activity, and the quilts often depict local scenes or history.
Local pottery ranges from colourful wheel-thrown and sculpted pieces to meticulously crafted, one-of-a-kind hand-carved pottery. Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural and cultural heritage is a big inspiration that is reflected in the raw materials and choice of form and patterns.
Labrador Inuit stone carvers chisel out magnificent images depicting the unique Inuit spirit and culture. Tales of the hunt are etched in large and small sculptures, harnessing the Inuit traditions passed down from generation to generation. Here, local creativity mixed with traditional materials have produced some of the worlds most exquisite soapstone carvings.
If you’re interested in any of the hundreds of local artisans or crafts people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, you can view a listing of shops and galleries to get inspired (and a craft if you’re so inclined!).