After nearly three decades, the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador has moved to a new home, but retain their steadfast desire to promote local craftspeople
For 27 years, Devon House (59 Duckworth Street in St. John’s), housed the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.
On July 7th the council unveiled their new home to the public at 275 Duckworth Street. A historic monument in its own right, the building was recognized as a heritage structure in 1989 by the City of St. John’s.
The structure was originally built in 1911, and was used as the Newfoundland Clothing Factory. Today, it still has many of the original founding elements, and makes for a perfect home for the hub of craftspeople in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It’s been really great,” shared Rachel Anstey of the Craft Council, noting the new location opens up new avenues for patrons and is much more accessible. “There’s a lot more traffic than Devon House. We get to see a lot more people than we normally would, and it’s nice to be closer to the Downtown core.”
This modern new home with its central downtown location and open floor plan will enable the Craft Council Shop to continue highlighting the outstanding work of its juried members, from both Newfoundland & Labrador and beyond. The Shop will also be working in partnership with the Nunatsiavut Government to promote and provide retail opportunities for makers of traditional Labrador craft.
And while leaving their home base of 27 years is bittersweet for Anstey and the team, their pristine new location affords more opportunities for growth, and is much more in-keeping with the current progressive trend of craft today.
“It (Devon House) really is a historic property culturally, not just for how old it is. It was a really great fit for the council for a long time, but I think it was just time for a move. Craft has kind of gone in a different direction. It’s really nice to be able to have a contemporary space and showcase that.”
The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador is a non-profit organization that was originally founded in 1972 as the Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Development Association.
“Basically we’re here to support the craftspeople of Newfoundland and Labrador,” explains Anstey. “We offer retail opportunities in the shop and gallery and also put off educational workshops. Not just craft skills, but business as well. Our main goal is to make craft an economic and cultural success in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
As Newfoundland and Labrador’s crafts community and the amazingly talented craftspeople continues to grow – including those who work in textiles, ceramics, jewellery, mosaic, woodworking and more – so do the more modern trends that coincide with progress. As craft progresses, so to do the Craft Council and their new, modern headquarters.
“I think that there’s this incorporation of heritage skills, and that is very dear to Newfoundlanders and Newfoundland craftspeople,” Anstey says of changing trends. “They are taking those skills and patterns and traditional ways of making and turning them on its edge a little bit and incorporating them into different ways and contemporary methods of making. Culture is so important here, and if you see the gallery space you can see that present in the work, but it’s a little more contemporary and cutting edge. There are so many up and coming craftspeople who are learning these heritage skills and they’re really excited about it, and you can kind of see that in their exploration.”
For more information including galleries and services visit craftcouncil.nl.ca or visit their official social media pages. The Clay Studio currently resides at its interim location at 38 Ropewalk Lane Unit 1106A.