Sunday Brunch

Coffee & Sunshine!

Good morning from gorgeous sunny Norton’s Cove Café!

I’m setting tables and enjoying the quiet beauty of the cove here this morning, hoping for a successful day serving our brunch menu to gorgeous people.

#SnowCrabFestival2020

Be Mine

Norton’s Cove is ready for Valentine’s Day with new cards at the studio, and a lovely menu for supper at the Café. I’m still taking reservations for supper, and you can drop by the studio to pick up a mussel heart card anytime!

It’s easy to think Valentine’s Day a waste of time for those of us who show our undying love for our spouses each day of the year. But it’s also a day when we can support local businesses and have a bit of fun too. Having someone go out of their way to make their sweetheart feel special never gets old, really. At least, I can speak for myself: I’m not tired of it yet! 💖

Have not you pleasure in the application of colour? For it is my favourite thing in all the world, I declare it is!

We (Me, Duke, and Fred) finished printing all the different colours of a basic print-run of Norton’s Cove Cards, Mini-Prints, and Bookmarks a couple of days ago. And now that all the printing is done, I’m knee-deep in step two…

Step two: Hand colouring cards & minis: Bakeapple, Downtown Neighbours, Forget Me Not, Blue Flag, & The Narrows.

I always did love colouring, spending hours with my crayons and coloured pencils as a little girl, and that hasn’t changed a bit. I’ve been listening to audio books while colouring these cards- I’ve been on a Jane Austen kick lately, re-reading Persuasion & Northanger Abbey already this month, but there is a very limited number of Austen books! Do you have any suggestions that I can look up on my library app while I am wait-listed for the other Austen novels?

Once all the watercolour is finished, I’ll be packaging each piece: adding tassels to bookmarks, envelopes to cards, and mats to minis. I have one order to fill for the gift-shop at The Rooms, and the rest are for my own shop stock.

Beachcomber's Delight

Another new Airbnb location in beautiful Newtown, just a 10 minute drive from Norton’s Cove! Looking for a place to stay while you participate in an art workshop for a weekend? Here’s a cute spot to put your feet up at the end of a day pulling your first lino-cut print edition! Beachcomber’s Delight has glowing reviews, and it won’t bust a budget either, split it with a travel buddy to make it ridiculously affordable.

How about a cuppa Joe in that little gazebo?

Just a Gift Card

You’ve heard me talk about the Just a Card Campaign before- the idea that making small purchases, like a card, can make all the difference to small businesses like mine.

So how about gift cards? For those with a little extra cash, perhaps the purchase of a gift card from a small business like mine would push our January sales just enough to keep from going under. This time of year is a nail-biting time for me, and I’m sure there are many more small business owners who are struggling to keep their bank accounts afloat.

Every small purchase does really mean a lot to this artist & entrepreneur’s life in outport Newfoundland.

*gift cards are now available for sale in the online shop! No charge to shop to you, or you can choose to pick up in store.

Lamp Light

I carved a new printing plate this evening as a new card/mini-print to add to the 2020 line-up of Norton’s Cove products. It isn’t a new image though- and it comes with a bit of history.

Carving the new printing plate.
The first proof, printed as a card.
The second proof, after some minor adjustment to the carving.

Waaaay back around 2004 or 2005 maybe, my new business was not doing so well. I had not been able to pay the power bill for the studio for three months in a row. Newfoundland Power cut me off. It was winter. I was desperate to keep my business going, but it was a long few months before I’d see the return of summer visitors. What to do?

My design instructor at the Textile Studies program, J Barry, had suggested to me several years earlier to make note cards with my little lino images. I remembered that advice, and decided to run with it.

My mother gave me some money from her income tax return, and Duke installed the least expensive wood stove he could find in the studio. I had heat. I had inherited a number of oil lamps from my Uncle Donald & Aunt Geraldine’s place a while before, and they had been used solely as decorative pieces in the shop until then. Now they were useful tools, as the dark of winter did not allow me many hours of working time with daylight alone.

With my family’s support, I made five card designs to bring to that year’s Provincial Wholesale Trade Show, and I took enough orders to pay the bills and get my power turned back on. I even brought home a ‘Best New Product’ award.

These small products have been my bread and butter ever since, and I still enjoy making them. My mother does most of the packaging, my son has been cutting all the paper, and my hustband has been doing the ‘clean hands’ work for all production for the second year now. I still wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of my family. And that little oil lamp is a keen reminder of that.

Lamp Light will be available as a card and as a mini-print this spring in the online shop, and beautiful stores around Atlantic Canada.

Back in Black

We’re back at it again, a new print run to stock the studio shelves ready for spring visitors, and to fill the first spring order. Starting with black ink, it’ll take more than a week for us to get through all the basic print run ink colours.

Duke, my left-handed right hand man, pulls prints on the Praga etching press with his clean hands, while my hands remain inky.

We’d love to see you here at Norton’s Cove Studio! It’s a great time to stop by for a chat, a coffee, and to see how Norton’s Cove cards, mini-prints, and bookmarks are made!

Studio Work

I’ve made some progress on this piece today, from my UNDERNEATH series of works. Another couple of afternoons and I think I’ll have it… Then I’ll have to wait for it to dry before hanging it at the café. It’ll look much better on the big white walls over there!

I like to photograph my paintings while I’m working on them. Somehow they look different through the lens of the camera, and I usually like the image better in the photograph!

While I’m painting, I’m listening to Mark Critch read his book, Son of a Critch. I was laughing out loud even in the 1st chapter, which is great considering the background information for my decision to create underwater images. Something that I have learned, is that listening to funny people like Mark Critch really does help with my mental health. The Reader’s Digest people were bang on with their “Laughter is the Best Medicine” pages!

A Day Makes All the Difference

There’s lots of sunshine in the forecast! Perfect for photographing products for my online shop.

I have two gesso covered canvases propped on top of my press where the sun comes into the room full on for a large portion of the day. That’s where I am laying cards, mini-prints, and bookmarks to be photographed. I’m using just the natural light, with the overhead lights turned off to avoid extra shadows.

This picture was taken yesterday afternoon. I love that the shadows enable us to see the texture of the paper, and the colour is fairly accurate (Canson’s Antique White). I have not used any filters nor adjusted the exposure on my camera (which is my Samsung Galaxy 9 smartphone).
Compare this second picture with the first. This picture was taken today, with the exact same lighting conditions and the same settings on the camera. The paper on the impression is exactly the same colour and texture as the card from yesterday’s picture, yet Antique White looks more Bright White today.

To add text, I use a Snapchat app- it’s really easy and quick to make the changes and save the altered photo. What do you think of my new images?

The Tickle Vacation Home

There is a new vacation home available year-round in Newtown, part of New-Wes-Valley. It’s called The Tickle Vacation Home, and I’d like to make sure you all know about it! Maybe you’re looking for somewhere to stay so that you can come visit Norton’s Cove Studio! The owners are Jason & Tammy Attwood, and can be reached directly at whittamm@outlook dot com.

You can find reservation information on Airbnb, and The Tickle Vacation Home has some pretty good reviews so far. The price is almost unbelievable, considering that there are three double beds in the house! Newtown is pretty spectacular, with beautiful photography opportunities around every corner.

Something this area needs much more of, is accommodations. We’re slowly but surely growing our tourism industry, which makes me sigh a breath of relief to see more and more listings on Airbnb for my region, as I very much depend on just that to make a living here at Norton’s Cove.