White Point’s gift shop ‘a treasure’ supporting local artists
By Heather Laura Clarke
Judy Cooper was casually browsing the gift shop at White Point Beach Resort when someone suddenly noticed the intricate pendant hanging from her neck.
“She said ‘Oh my goodness! Where did you get that?’” recalls Cooper. “I told her I’d made it, and she said ‘I’ve got to have it in my shop!’”
The person admiring the pendant was none other than Cathie Pincombe, curator of White Point’s gift shop. She says the space is “more like a gallery,” displaying and selling one-of-a-kind pieces of art by more than 100 artists — both professionals and hobbyists.
“Locals and those who retire to the South Shore find our coastal vistas and way of life very inspiring,” says Pincombe. “We have some amazingly talented people here, and we love fueling and supporting the creative culture in our rural communities — bringing creators to market with pride.”
When Pincombe complimented Cooper’s handmade pendant, Cooper had just moved to Bridgewater from Newfoundland. Over on “The Rock,” she’d built an impressive reputation as a textile/jewelry artist, with pieces in exhibits across Canada and internationally. But here in Nova Scotia, she was starting from scratch.
Thanks to Pincombe’s support, Cooper began selling her fibre art pieces in White Point’s gift shop and is loving her second career.
As a textile artist, she adds different yarns and threads to plain cotton fabric —creating her very own custom “fantasy fabric” that’s woven into many of her works. She even designed a special bunny-themed shimmer for White Point in honour of their fluffy resident rabbits.
“White Point is a beautiful spot to spend the night, but even so just for the day. You can walk the beach, browse the gift shop and have a lovely meal in the restaurant,” says Cooper, who was inspired to start creating art after retiring from teaching in 1992.
Cooper will be one of the artists in the Resorts first Sea-Spired Wearable Art Show set to take place at White Point on May 11 over Mother’s Day weekend. She’ll be displaying her reversible fibre lace scarves, fibre art pendants, wearable art pins, evening purses and card cases.
Pincombe organizes several art shows each year, including the annual Artists of White Point Showcase in November. The Sea-Spired Wearable Art Show is something she’s been thinking of for years. It’s set to be the first show of its kind in Nova Scotia.
“If it’s art and you can wear it, it’s wearable art — anything from textiles and leather to jewelry and felted slippers,” says Pincombe. “We’re going to have an intimate boutique collection with 25 artists displaying their works. Guests will meet and mingle with the artists and have a chance to purchase a new one-of-a-kind piece.”
While White Point’s guests make up a large portion of the gift shop’s business, Pincombe says the shop is also supported by plenty of locals, vacationers and people passing through the area.
“Everyone is welcome to come in and look around, and people always tell us it’s a great place to shop for gifts,” says Pincombe. “Here in the Liverpool area, they need not look any further than our shop to find something really special and unique.”
Amongst the paintings, hookings, handmade stuffed bunnies, jams and jewelry, the dynamic gift shop also sells pottery, wind chimes made from upcycled silverware and old-fashioned wooden toys — many of which are custom White Point creations — like wooden yo-yos from the Toy Maker of Lunenburg.
Pincombe says she even carries works by some of the White Point staff members, including one who creates beachcombing art and another who handcrafts bars of soap.
In 2018, in honour of the resort’s 90th anniversary, the gift shop even spilled outside to host its first sculpture show. More than 35 sculptures were shown, and 14 remain permanently as a legacy of the anniversary and a testament to White Point’s commitment to Nova Scotian artists.
“It’s part of our White Point culture to celebrate who we are and where we live. We’re a conduit connecting our guests to our local artists,” says Pincombe. “We’re honoured to be able to show off their creations and help support the creative economy.”
Eva Romanczak and Wendy Harris met last winter at a ladies’ folk painting class. They decided to start painting clam shells and leaving them on the beach for people to take as a souvenir of Lockeport. The new friends painted more than 500 shells together and their creations have wound up in destinations all over the world. They’re now known as “Two Ladies From Lockeport.”
Romanczak and Harris went on to design a line of note cards, but weren’t sure how they were going to sell their pieces. They wound up meeting Pincombe at a fundraiser for the Port Medway Lighthouse and she took them under her wings.
“Cathie really mentored us as we were getting started, helping us figure out prices and offering to carry some of our pieces at White Point’s gift shop,” says Romanczak. “It’s exciting to have our stuff out there where people can see it, and it’s an opportunity we really wouldn’t have had, otherwise.”
Joanne Veinotte, general manager at White Point Beach Resort, says their team is “incredibly proud to work with and present works by local artists.”
“For many artists, we are their ‘showroom’ and storefront, event marketer — generating thousands of dollars in sales for them. We want nothing more than our guests to take a piece of us home with them,” says Veinotte.
Romanczak and Harris’s current pieces for sale in the White Point gift shop include eight note card designs, tiny original paintings and ceramic tiles printed with alcohol inks. Both of them enjoy browsing the shop regularly and seeing what their fellow creators have added.
“The variety in the shop is amazing. You can spend an hour looking around at everything,” says Romanczak. “It’s a treasure — a jewel box bursting at the seams.”
Want to learn more about White Point’s Gift Shop, check out our Artists of White Point Blog or touch base with Cathie herself when you are here.
The Gift Shop is OPEN daily, year round, located in the Main Lodge at White Point Beach Resort , please do drop by, explore and enjoy!