PEI: Pottery and Antiques and Artisans – Oh my!
One of my favourite parts of our recent trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada was all the outstanding artisany and antiquing we took in. There was a beautiful studio or charming shop on practically every corner! If you love to shop locally, PEI is a fabulous place to visit.
As I promised in my first post about our trip, this is the re-cap of the many artisans and antique stores that we visited. Even if you aren’t planning a trip to PEI (which you should be!) I hope you’ll enjoy this tour of PEI’s artistic offerings. Besides which, these artisans are nothing short of inspiring for the aspiring DIY-er!
* I was not remunerated or compensated in any way for these reviews or recommendations. All opinions are strictly my own. *
Our first three nights were spent in central PEI, about ten minutes from Cavendish beach and twenty from Summerside. On our first day in the area, we came across Village Pottery in New London. You could easily spend some time just exploring their lovely country gardens, but what’s inside is the true treat.
Village Pottery is a real family business: we were served by Suzanne, who is not only the daughter of two of the potters, but also a potter herself! She makes these awesome “wine noggins”.
I wanted to buy ALL. THE. POTTERY, but I was a good girl and settled for a few sweet Christmas and birthday gifts… Can’t say too much because some of the recipients read the blog! 🙂
We continued on past Cavendish and into the community of Brackley Beach. I had visited The Dunes Studio Gallery and Café on my last trip to PEI, but I wanted to share the beauty and creativity of it with Erick. The Dunes is best described as a fair trade store-meets-local-artisans-meets-gourmet-restaurant-meets-art-gallery-meets-garden-store-meets-botanical-gardens. Was that not clear enough? I’ll let the photos do the talking.
Breathtaking. I would have snapped a thousand pics if I could, but I always hesitate to take too many pictures of merchandise, especially when it is handcrafted and locally-made. The gardens themselves have given me so much food for thought for my own garden next season…
There were too many wonderful artisans in this area of PEI to feature them all in one blog post, but we really enjoyed our visit to Hermann Suzuki Pottery in Oyster Bed Bridge. The pottery at HS is completely different from anything I’ve seen on PEI or even anywhere in Canada. They specialize in the Japanese Neriage pottery style, which involves mixing different colours and types of clay to create amazing designs. I bought a bowl in the Neriage style, and I’ll be sure to photograph it in its new home really soon! They also have beautiful (and more functional) stoneware pottery, and Erick fell in love with a really cool beer mug. You can see more of their work in their gallery.
As we headed onto the eastern side of the island, we came across a small jewelry store, Shoreline Design. Shoreline is located in Georgetown, and features the jewelry and art of Peter Llewellyn. Peter himself was on hand to take us on a studio tour and his apprentice Elizabeth was great fun to talk to – she’s a DIYer, too! Erick’s done a bit of silversmithing in the past, and found Peter’s descriptions of his creative process really interesting. His jewelry is very organic in style, with beautiful rope motifs and hand-cut stones. I forgot to take pictures (too busy chatting with Peter and Elizabeth!) but you can see more of Peter’s work here.
Our second day in the eastern area of PEI took us to Little Pond, where we landed upon the sweetest antique store, The Little Barn by the Bay. We were warmly welcomed by the owner, Sheila, whose stock is carefully curated and includes lots of gorgeous glassware and china. The barn itself is a real gem, and obviously Sheila’s pride and joy! “Rosie”, Sheila’s handmade weathervane (yes folks, we have ourselves another DIYer!) presides over the activities.
We enjoyed stops at BOTH of the Points East costal drive’s Artisans on Main stores (which are cousins of a sort, but not actually related). The Artisans on Main in Souris was first on our trip, and we got into a really interesting discussion of the local art with a young photographer who works at the shop. She herself was about to have her first gallery showing! Pretty exciting stuff! I bought myself a charming print of shorebirds by local artist Nancy Ching. Can’t wait to show you once it’s framed and up!
(Which, with my track record for putting up art, could be as
early late as next year!) 🙂
The other (original) Artisans on Main is in the small town of Montague. (It’s actually moved to Water street, though!) What’s neat about both shops is that they are co-operatives: so, the artists themselves are often on hand to answer questions and help you to make your selections. We actually got into an awesome conversation with one of the artists, Lynn Nimtz, who showed us how she uses Japanese sumi ink to do marbleized paper and silk. And when she invited me to create my OWN piece of marbleized paper… Well, you can imaging how this DIYer’s heart leapt (and how her patiently waiting husband sighed).
Sorry for the iPhone photos here!
Suminagashi marbling involves floating the ink on water, then creating swirled designs in the ink. Once you have your desired pattern, you can float paper or fabric on the surface. The paper absorbs the pattern and when it’s dry, you end up with a beautiful marble design.
I was pleased with how mine turned out, until I saw the silk designs that Lynn makes. Yeah, I think I have a ways to go…
Still, I smell a craft coming on…
Further along our travels, we spent a bit of time down on what they call the Red Sands Shore. This area is just south-west of Charlottetown, and there are plenty of great little shops and artists’ studios to visit.
We were pleasantly surprised to come across Honeydew Apiaries in Canoe Cove. An apiary is a bee yard, and Honeydew Apiaries produces not only honey and bee-related products (beeswax candles, lip balm etc), but really delicious mead! Mead is really wine made from fermented honey, and it dates back to even before the Middle Ages. The owner and mead-maker (?), Daniel, took us on a little private tour of the mead-making facilities and allowed us to sample several of his in-progress meads. We were really impressed with the rhubarb mead, which isn’t yet on the market but is (according to Daniel), “almost ready”, and should be available soon! We did purchase several bottles of his “Honey Drop” mead, which was the perfect complement to an all-Scandinavian meal I made for our anniversary a few nights ago. Daniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Cornwall, where we were staying, we hit up the Sunday flea market and it was a great event! While we only came home with one or two treasures (and you’ll have to wait and see what they were!), I had great fun almost buying everything in the place.
Like this duck. Erick thought I was crazy, but I think he’d look great in our garden. Kitschy, but great.
Honestly, I had a really tough time letting this little mirror go, but I just couldn’t visualize where it would go in our house. And that’s my rule for garage sales and flea markets: if I can’t picture it actually IN our home, it doesn’t come home with me.
(Oh and funny story: it took me at least three minutes of waiting and snapping photos to get a shot of this mirror sans other people’s legs in it… #trialsofaphotographer)
Wouldn’t this sled be AWESOME by our front door at Christmas?? Eh, Erick?? Wouldn’t it?? Too bad it went home with someone else. 🙁
Victoria by the Sea was our major stopping point for shopping and antiquing. After a delicious pick-me-up “Factory” coffee at Island Chocolates (they line the coffee cup with chocolate and then top the coffee with whipped cream: heaven), we hit up the shops.
Our favourite artist in Victoria was Doreen Foster at the Studio Gallery. Doreen does the most mesmerizingly fantastical aquatint etchings. She creates all of her plates and then hand-tints the etchings in earthy blues, greens, and browns. They are truly stunning, and we WILL be back when our art budget is bigger! Or maybe for Christmas… Erick? Are you listening? 🙂
The final stop in Victoria by the Sea was Coach House Antiques, which was probably my favourite of all our antique stops. I think I could literally have put everything in the store in my house and had it look AMAZING. Coach House specializes in high-quality antique furniture, rugs, glassware, china, artwork, and just about everything else to pretty up your home. Sigh….
Why hello gorgeous pink settee. You’d look lovely in my living room/bedroom/office/kitchen/don’t-care-where-because-you’re-beautiful!
And Miss Pink Settee’s more stately aunt, Lady Pretty Couch.
Decked out in her Sunday best. 🙂
I’ll be back for you one day, fauteuil chair!
In all seriousness, there are at least fifteen other lovely artisans or shops that I could have written about. It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down even this much (and I realize how picture-heavy this post was). I want to thank all the shops and artists for allowing me to take photos of their beautiful wares for my blog. It was truly a pleasure to meet all of you!
And to my readers, please remember that I was not compensated or remunerated in any way for this post. I merely write out of inspiration and affection for the people we met on PEI. They were friendly, helpful, kind, and warm, and I cannot wait to go back to their beautiful bit of Canada soon. Please support local artists and businesses – whether they be in your own community or on your travels.
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