The profiles presented here represent individuals currently participating in the Craft Labrador project. If you are a craft maker in Labrador and would like to join the project, please contact us.
Originally from southern Ontario, I moved to central Labrador in 1985. I grew up in a sewing family that had a retail fabric shop, with lots of materials at easy access and many skilled crafts people who were willing to teach me. I studied commercial fashion design at George Brown College in Toronto, and have taught basic sewing skills in Ontario and Labrador.
I dabble in a lot of crafts, like beaded jewellery and modeling chocolate, but I usually make textile crafts for sale. I love to incorporate colourful cotton fabrics into wall hangings that depict the flora, fauna and life style of Labrador. I try to incorporate ‘joy’ into my pieces… people drumming, the satisfaction of the hunt, serene landscapes.
Most of my work is machine sewn, appliqued or quilted. I use machine embroidery to paint in shadows, textures and movement. Occasionally, I embellish with hand embroidery, or bits and pieces (like beads, buttons or driftwood). I am going to start experimenting with fabric paint in my designs too.
I have sold pieces at the Heritage Craft Shop in North West River, at the Community Farmers Market in the summers, and at the Labrador Traditions Craft Sale in October in Goose Bay. I often donate pieces to fund raisers, and they usually get a high price at those events.
My name is Cynthia Colosimo Robbins and I live in Forteau, Labrador. I studied drawing and printmaking at university, and now I do illustration work, mostly for heritage projects. Most of my work is done on contract.
I have illustrated several Labrador children’s books. My books are on sale at tourism locations. Polar Bear in the Rock and The Man Who Married a Beaver (co-illustrated by Jolene Ashini) are available from the Labrador Institute. Anguti’s Amulet and How Dog Became a Friend are available from Flanker Press. I am currently working on a new book for NunatuKavut’s Treaty of 1765 celebrations.
I also illustrate a series of wildlife placemats and posters produced by Intervale Associates.
I come from a family of crafters and I make jewellery and silk paintings, mostly for family gifts. I also occasionally make dolls. I am very interested in learning new craft skills and would love to learn more about making jewellery.
Dougald Gillis moved from Nova Scotia to Labrador in 1985 to work with the Newfoundland & Labrador Legal Aid Commission. He took time off in 1990-1991 to enroll in a woodworking course at the local college and returned to the legal profession until mandatory retirement in 2006.
His involvement in woodworking since the early 1990s has led to an interest in creating segmented wooden bowls. Rather than turning a piece from a single block of wood (which he also does on occasion), he will cut and glue many individual segments of various types of wood, stack them together, band saw them round, mount on a wood lathe and begin to turn. The time involved can be anywhere from 12 to 40 hours, depending on the complexity of the piece. Much of the material used is imported from more southerly parts of the globe, mostly Africa or South America and can be somewhat costly to obtain. Tulipwood (Brazil), for example, retails for $45 per board-foot.
Dougald currently resides in Northwest River, Labrador with his partner Judy Blake and Welsh Terrier Taffy.
Further information can be obtained by phone at 709-497-8715 (home) or 709-899-1010 (cell).
Lucy Warren grew up in the 1960s-70s in St. Lewis on the south coast of Labrador, she now resides in Norris Arm, NL. Lucy was fortunate to learn how to sew & knit at an early age. Her grandmother was highly skilled at both, and Lucy is forever in her debt not only for the skills she acquired but the continuous pursuit of excellence that she instilled. Even though she knitted and sewed out of necessity to provide essential clothing for her family, Lucy’s grandmother was very proud of the quality of her work and created each garment as a testament of her skill.
Over the years, Lucy has dabbled in many types of crafts including hand and machine sewing, embroidery, beadwork, and hide moccasins and mittens, but always returned to knitting as her favorite and most relaxing hobby. While hand-knitting is her favorite, she also uses a knitting machine. Each knitting method lends itself to the creation of different products and her focus of late has been the creation of comfortable, attractive headwear for adults and children.
Recently retired, Lucy has taken her passion for knitting to a new level and just launched Spriggy Spruce Custom Knits on Facebook. Spriggy Spruce offers hand-knit and machine-knit beanies and headbands in a variety of styles, sizes and colors, customers can choose ready-knit items from the page or design their own. The beanies and headbands are created in a variety of styles and can be tailored to customer preferences.
Marty Byrne has been a Labrador West artist for as many years as he can remember. From community theatre to visual arts and now to ceramic arts. Marty started pottery in 2017 and created his business, Byrne’n Mud Pottery in 2018. Marty’s business is situated in Labrador West which is an area of Labrador that is still in its infancy. The towns in Labrador West are less than 60 years old, therefore they do not have the culture that other parts of Labrador have. Marty looks to the communities’ industrial background for inspiration, Marty uses iron ore concentrate in his clay sculptures, he then covers these pieces in a Northern Lights glaze, the result being a glow from the concentrate and the Northern Lights glaze. Marty is a very proud Labrador West artist, he says while some potters are makers that make traditional functional pottery, Marty considers himself a potter and ceramic artist. Marty’s pottery is stoneware, the mugs and bowls he makes have layers of earthy tones that blend and flow into each other. Marty often incorporates the twig from the Labrador flag into his design as a testament to the sense of pride he feels. Marty has had his work exhibited in the Created art show and Art Wander art show in Labrador West and most recently at the NL Craft Council Gallery in St. John’s. Through his business Byrne’n Mud Pottery, Marty hosts ceramic craft building for individuals and families, he also hosts pottery wheel lessons as well. Be sure to check out Byrne’n Mud Pottery!
Rebecca Edwards was raised in Churchill Falls, Labrador. She left Churchill Falls after high school to attend design school at the Anna Templeton Center in St. John’s, NL. Following completion, she continued her education and received her B. Ed from Memorial University. Rebecca currently resides in Happy Valley – Goose Bay and works as a schoolteacher while continuing to progress her skills as a designer. Rebecca spent her childhood using her imagination in the vast forests of Labrador. Learning to sew from her mother at a very young age, Rebecca was instantly hooked. Rebecca enjoys finding creative ways of incorporating new materials and processes into her handbag designs. Incorporating her unique outlook & connection to nature, Rebecca creates one of a kind, handbags using raw materials, including furs, hides & leathers that are 100% locally sourced from the land of Labrador. With a balance of both style and durability, Rebecca’s distinctive, visually alluring bags, carry a story of culture & strength with distinctive spiritual relationships to the occupied lands and waters of her region. Each of Rebecca’s bags is handcrafted with the intention of not only being functional but beautifully exclusive. Rebecca has always loved one-of-a-kind items, and dreams of creating artistic handbags that people can not only use for function but can wear as art, while ambitiously being 100% themselves.
Shelley Cleary was born and raised in Conception Bay South but has resided in Happy Valley-Goose Bay where she manages a small flock of chickens and a small apiary while being a mom and wife for the past 19 years. Shelley holds a BSc in Agriculture and Business Administration. Being involved in the agriculture industry, Shelley is quite interested in food self sufficiency and supporting others in growing their own food. In 2021, Shelley opened Black Spruce Company to share her knowledge about the benefits of raw honey and beeswax by incorporating them in all the products she creates. Black Spruce Company offers natural handcrafted skincare and home products for the entire family. They utilize sustainably sourced ingredients and NL honey or beeswax in their products and package them in biodegradable packaging whenever possible.
Sherry Buckle-Turnbull grew up in English Point, Labrador, but now resides in Charlottetown, Labrador. Sherry is a NunatuKavut Southern Inuit Artist who works as a Guardian in the Environment and Natural Resources Department of the NunatuKavut Community Council. Sherry started seal skin art out of curiosity as a hobby, but it has now been sold in most provinces and territories in Canada. Sherry is a member of the Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador & the Canadian Sealers Association and holds a Professional Sealers Licence. Sherry has participated in the Northern Lights Business and Cultural Showcase in Ottawa, as well as several Craft Fairs across the province. Sherry has over 80 of her own original designs that she has created in four sizes. All her pieces are hand cut using seal skin, rabbit fur and some porcupine quills and framed in glass shadow boxes.
Tyrone Elliott is a 23 year old, self-taught artist currently residing in St. John’s Newfoundland. He was born in St. Anthony, Newfoundland and raised in Thompson, Manitoba. At the age of 17 Tyrone moved to Goose Bay. Tyrone has always found comfort in drawing, writing music and poetry, and in the past few years has experimented with painting and found that he really enjoyed doing that as well.
Tyrone has many different styles, with northern scenes being his specialty. He uses a lot of Labrador imagery in his work. Tyrone is constantly adapting and evolving his artwork and customer base. He takes custom orders and auctions his work several times a week through Facebook.
You can find Tyrone on Facebook, through his personal account, his Facebook Group, or his Artwork Auctions page.