7th Annual Show Supports Local Artists and Creators
By Heather Clarke, as published by Saltwire online.
An apple-cheeked elderly lady in a thong bikini might not be what you expected to buy for someone on your Christmas gift list, but Deb Sponagle Taylor’s adorable creations may change your mind.
The Liverpool artist is known for her fuzzy needle-felted reindeers, bunnies, Santas and cheerful ladies in bathing suits and bathtubs. She’s one of the artists busily gearing up for White Point Beach Resort’s 7th annual Artists of White Point Show & Sale, which is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Taylor actually worked at White Point back in the ’60s and says returning for the Artists of White Point Show & Sale each year “feels like a homecoming.”
“People make plans to come to White Point for the show each year. We see the same groups of ladies and everybody’s so happy to be here,” says Taylor. “It’s a great day of entertainment and there’s an absolutely amazing atmosphere.”
Taylor is a multi-medium artist who’s done everything from painting nautical scenes on the washed-up pieces of old boats to crafting miniature dolls when she and Chuck ran a Lunenburg shop called The Copper Dollhouse.
“There isn’t much my husband and I haven’t made. It’s like Santa’s workshop at our place,” says Taylor.
They once did the full craft show circuit across the Maritimes, but now Taylor is semi-retired and White Point is the only show she does all year. These days she spends her days teaching art to children and creating needle-felted people and animals. One felted figure, in particular, sells out immediately at all of White Point’s shows.
“My felted Santas always fly off the table,” says Taylor. “They take a while to make, so I usually don’t have more than three or four Santas and they get scooped up quickly.”
Cathie Pincombe, who manages White Point’s gift shop and curates this annual show, says more than 500 people attended last year’s Artists of White Point Show & Sale and many consider the show to be the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season.
“We have the show in early November specifically to get people started with their Christmas shopping,” says Pincombe. “There’s no better place to find beautiful, unique handmade gifts for the people on your gift list.”
This year’s show will feature the work of more than 40 artists from across the South Shore and throughout Nova Scotia who provide pieces for White Point’s year-round gift shop. Pincombe says it’s a mix of returning favourites and emerging artists, and many of them don’t come to any other shows — which keeps White Point’s show especially unique.
The six-hour experience provides a special once-a-year opportunity for guests to come face-to-face with the artists and creators and chat with them about their work — or even get inspired to try their own creations.
Bev Crouse is a quilt and fabric artist in nearby Western Head, and she’ll be bringing her well-known Nova Scotia tartan pieces to the show on Nov. 10 — along with a brand-new product she’s looking forward to introducing.
“I’m a quilter and I’ve seen that sometimes people want to do a little something themselves, so I’ll be bringing quilting kits for the first time,” says Crouse. “It’s just a little art piece they can create — a lighthouse with some tartan — and it’s simple enough that anybody could get their creative juices flowing.”
Crouse only does two art shows each year, so she says she loves getting to interact with other artisans from around the province. She says White Point is wonderful about championing local artists and she’s grateful to be a part of the Show & Sale.
White Point’s gift shop doesn’t charge any fees nor take a commission from the artists for this show, so they get to keep 100 per cent of what they earn from selling their creations. Pincombe says it annually infuses more than $17,000 among the showcasing artists. There’s also no admission cost for the show, so shoppers can spend all of their dollars supporting the artists directly.
Meanwhile in Liverpool, Taylor laughs that she’s been working her fingers to the bone to make “some really cool stuff” just for the show on Nov. 10. She always enjoys how many shoppers “make a day of it” by also going for a walk on the beach and popping into the dining room to relax over a delicious brunch.
“It’s not like a shopping event — it’s more of a relaxed social event,” says Taylor. “It’s an absolutely wonderful way to spend an afternoon.”
White Point Beach Resort’s 7th annual Artists of White Point Show & Sale is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please visit whitepoint.com/events/artists-white-point-showcase-sale-nov-1019 .