The Quidi Vidi Village Plantation officially opened today providing local artists with studio space to practice traditional crafts and interact with the visiting public.
The building, formerly the Eli Tucker premises, has been completely renovated and includes 10 craft studio spaces, meeting rooms, a display area, a visitor’s desk, and an office space for the Quidi Vidi Village Foundation.
The building has significant historical and cultural importance, said St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe while speaking at the grand opening.
The project funding was split between the city and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), with each contributing $1.5 million.
Stephanie Smith practices a craft that has traditional roots in the province and is using her space to create smoke-fired ceramics.
"Instead of glazing my work after its been fired once, I actually fire it in a barrel with sawdust and seaweed and that's what gives it this really natural looking colour," she said.
Prior to setting up shop in the Gut, Smith was working out of a basement apartment, creating about a piece a month.
"This has been life changing, really," she said.
Her productivity has increased to the point that in two weeks, she's produced more than she did in the five months prior.
"I couldn't be doing these pieces without this space. It's fantastic," she said.
To find out more about the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation, visit their website at quidividivillageplantation.com
Members of the Signal Hill Tattoo stand guard at the opening of the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation. –Photo by Tobias Romaniuk/The Telegram