New Brunswick

Craft NB launches interactive map featuring fine craft artists

The non-profit Craft NB has launched an interactive map displaying about 175 fine craft artists throughout the province.

Map will help local people and visitors find artists and craft events in their area

Emily Rioux is the communications and marketing manager for Craft NB. She created the non-profit's new online tool. (Submitted by Emily Rioux)

Darcy Hunter is a quilt artist in Fredericton and one of the fine art creators featured on a new interactive map launched by Craft NB.

"My sewing machine is my paintbrush," she said. "I use fabric and stitch and other textiles to create a lot of natural landscapes."

Hunter began quilting about 20 years ago, when she felt inspired to make a sentimental gift for her first child. Now, she operating under the business name Darcy Hunter Art, she creates pieces bursting with colour and detail. 

According to Hunter, some of her projects take about 50 hours to make and are sold across Canada and the United States. 

She's optimistic Craft NB's interactive map will direct even more people to her work. 

"It's really a great opportunity for an artist to connect with a potential client or even just someone that would be interested in my art," she said.

Craft NB launched its interactive map in early August. (Submitted by Craft NB)

Craft NB is a non-profit organization that supports fine art creators in the province. Its interactive map was launched in early August and features about 175 of its members, including painters, sculptors and potters. 

Art studios are marked on the map with a small icon identifying the type of artist at the location. Users are able to zoom in and out on points of interest and can click on the pins for a brief description of the artist, along with some photos of their work, and contact information. 

"I'm hoping that this encourages the growth of our membership and the growth of support for craft across the board in the Maritimes," said Emily Rioux, the communications and marketing manager for Craft NB. 

Rioux made the interactive map a reality. She said it took her several months to complete but is well worth the effort. 

"We have so many great members and there's only so much that we can do as a non-profit organization," she said. "So the idea was that if I could create something where everyone was included equally, everyone had the opportunity to showcase what they have going on."

A handful of pins are outside of the province in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. Rioux said Craft NB occasionally takes on artists who are a member of another provincial craft council.

Rioux said the map can also be used to find upcoming events Craft NB or its members have organized or are participating in. These are pinned with a green check mark which links to the group's event page with more detail. 

Darcy Hunter's quilt art piece titled Split Rock Trail. (Submitted by Darcy Hunter)

Hunter expects the map will help artists connect with both locals and tourists. 

"I know myself when I go on vacation, one of the first things I look for is shops and studios and different places that I can visit," she said. "Anything online really does help boost your business a little bit because it's just another place that you'll be seen." 

She said New Brunswick is fortunate to have a vibrant art scene. 

Darcy Hunter in her quilt art studio. (Submitted by Darcy Hunter)

"There's so many artists and so much inspiration around us that we're very lucky," she said. "We have lots of representation here and there's lots of artists and shops and places that people can go to and see art in many different modes."

To become a member of Craft NB, artists must have their work reviewed and approved by a jury committee. Rioux said the jury needs to see excellence in workmanship, design and presentation.

The next jury session will take place in September. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Hartai is a reporter based out of Saint John. Her favourite stories to tell involve the environment and mental health. Contact her at katie.hartai@cbc.ca.

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