My first visit to the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation

“Hmm, this is really going to be something”, I thought as I sat in the car on the way to the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation. My co-worker had just filled me in on what to expect and I couldn’t wait to hop out of the car the second we pulled into the parking lot. If you’re not quite sure about what the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation is all about, their website offers a perfect summary:

“The Plantation will serve as a craft enterprise incubator for emerging artists wishing to pursue careers as professional craftspeople in Newfoundland and Labrador. Ideally situated in the fishing outport of Quidi Vidi Village within the city limits of St. John’s, the Plantation will also function as a destination for those wishing to explore a unique corner of one of the oldest cities in North America.”

Although I work full time for Destination St. Johns, I am a free-time painter. I am inspired by the passion and creativity of others and I was truly excited to see the artisans at work. Little did I know, I was in for something even better than I expected.

The Place.

As described by the Plantation’s website, the building, an absolutely beautiful structure, was designed to reflect the fishing stages and fish plants that have occupied the site since the 1600s. A modern adaptation of these traditional forms, the building complemented its surroundings, looking as though it had always had its place there. If you have never been to Quidi Vidi, you’re really missing out.  It is one of the most stunning, picturesque, calming places I have ever experienced. It’s hard to believe that this fishing village is inside the city limits (it’s a mere 5 minute drive from downtown St. John’s). It is this sense of “place” in combination with artistic craft, that makes the plantation so unique. The village and the plantation represent the coming together of cultural interpretation and contemporary craft creation.

Imagine being able to look at this view from your office window? How could it not inpsire?

Finally, I go inside.

When I finally entered the building (I admit, I did get side-tracked by the beauty of the surroundings), I was so impressed and pleasantly surprised by the interior. I loved the wooden beams,  the dark floor-white wall combo, and the openness of the space. But, what stood out the most was the incredible energy you could feel inside the building.  Although, not crowded, there were people buzzing around, collaborating, sharing stories about the space and the artists. It exuded passion and excitement. Each artist is given a small studio space where they can create their work and sell to visitors. You can watch the artists while they work and hear about individual pieces, the meaning behind each one, and the artistic growth involved in the process. A potter, a printmaker, a jewelry maker, a weaver, and more. Each with unique form of craft and each with a unique story to share.

Inside the Plantation

Laura Higenell, Potter/Ceramic Artist

Graham Blair, Printmaker/Designer – I bought one of his prints before leaving!

After visiting each artisan space, admiring their work, and hearing their stories, I had never been so inspired. It was wonderful to hear about the passion of each artisan about what they make, but also the passion they have for place – how working in Newfoundland and Labrador has impacted their work. Newfoundland, in its beauty, is truly something special.  More than a place, it is here that both past and present comes together to inspire and pave the way for something new and unique.  A story, a piece of art, an experience or even a new friend – you’ll find it all at the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation. Evoke your inspiration and visit today.

Come find what inspires you.

* Originally posted By Lauren Saunders
September 2012