Let me introduce myself: I'm Janet Davis, an artist and entrepreneur living and working on the North side of Bonavista Bay, on the island of Newfoundland in Eastern Canada. There are many challenges to running a business here in a small rural community, and there are many wonderful benefits too. This blog is where I share some of those challenges and triumphs, and share what it's like to live in this part of the world.
I’m in the studio this evening, printing a special order. Working during Christmas week- by choice, as my studio is an awesome place to hang out. Here is my view:
You may be thinking that with the largest COVID numbers released today from the government of NL would make me want to lock my doors and keep people out. But here are my own numbers: So far this month, I’ve had 29 visitors to my shop. So an average of about 1/day. Not exactly shoulder to shoulder nor a big COVID risk. So the door is unlocked, and the OPEN sign is facing the street. If you know how to wear a mask, drop in!
Here’s this week’s discount in the online shop! Save 35% on limited editions at the studio: there are quite a lot to choose from, including Duke’s newest piece, shown below: All the World. The sale starts at 00:01 on April 8th and ends at 11:59 on April 14th, Newfoundland Time.
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.
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.
I’m spending some time with my new 2020 calendar today, planning out the schedule of drawing classes, mat hooking workshops, and lino-cut printmaking workshops for the year.
Introduction to Drawing will run for eight weeks, starting in January, and will be offered at two different time-frames: 7-9 on Thursday nights, or 10am-noon on Friday mornings. This class will teach basic skills in drawing, including portraiture, using different drawing tools, and developing good practices.
Advanced Drawing will also run for eight weeks, starting in January, and will take place at the studio on Mondays. Students can choose a morning or evening time slot with this class as well. This class is designed for students who have already learned the basic skills, and will spend each class working on still life arrangements or models, with guidance.
I am planning Mat Hooking Workshops to happen about once a month. These workshops are designed for beginners, and let you experiment with texture, design, and technique. Each student will create a unique tiny mat during the one day workshop.
And my favourite thing to teach, Lino-cut Printmaking Workshops, are being planned for about once every three weeks. I am always amazed at the quality of work my students create in a one day workshop!
Looking forward to welcoming back some previous students, and meeting new ones!
I started working on a new linocut piece a few weeks ago, based on an old photograph of the wharves in Wesleyville. I’ve been doing a bit a research and sizing up where exactly the picture was taken, and my amateur historian guess is that this is the area where the ‘pound’ is at the Wesleyville Marine Service Centre looking to the right of that at around 1900.
So now that I have my first proof pulled, I can see that there are a couple of areas that I need to change with the carving. Once that’s done, I’ll cut all my paper to size, about 50 sheets, tidy up the studio (have to sweep up Jack hair before laying out ink!), and away I go! I’ll be editioning very soon- please feel free to drop in to see how it’s done in person!
I’m pretty happy with the image at first look- what do you think? Treasure or trash?
Today (and tomorrow too, I’m sure), I am editioning the piece. I’ve cut enough paper at 5 x 11 inches each to make an edition of 75 + a few Presentation Proofs that the IBEC can use for fundraising for their cause. If you’re in the area, please drop in to have a peek at printmaking in action!
Once the printing is done, I’ll add a few details, like those red and blue spots you can see on the Trial Proof, and then they’ll be signed, numbered, chopped, and packaged or framed.
David and Theresa, from Calgary, stopped in for a visit the other day, and instant friendships were formed. I love it when that happens. And I hope to see them again. Here are some snaps David took while they were here: I was printing cards and mini-prints and bookmarks in a red-blue rainbow roll.