'Proud of our heritage': Celebrating N.L. artists, 44 years and counting

It's been a tradition for more than four decades, and this year's annual Christmas Craft Fair in Torbay showcased vendors selling everything from clothing to snacks and decor.

Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador's Christmas Craft Fair this weekend

Plenty of people dropped by the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay to check out the handmade treasures. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

Considered the official start of the Christmas season for some, much of the province's finest craft work was showcased at the annual Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador's Christmas Craft Fair.

This weekend marked the 44th running of the event, where almost 100 craftspeople presented their handmade gift ideas for the holidays from Thursday to 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Vendors were selling everything from clothing to snacks and decor, and plenty of people stopped by to check out the handmade treasure inside the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay. 

Jennifer Morgan is a visual artist who makes prints that explore Newfoundland history, and her own family history in particular.

"We found these old postcards that belonged to my Great-Aunt Emma, and they were sent to her 100 years ago in the 1910's," she said.

"We found them in the family house in Coley's Point, Bay Roberts."

Morgan's mother challenged her to make art out of the postcards. In one of her pieces, she compares a contemporary view of the Narrows with one from a postcard dated from 1912.

Jennifer Morgan's art is made from old postcards she found in a family home in Coley's Point. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

Lori Pitcher was showcasing her business, Seal Skin Treasures, which makes everything from seal skin key chains and slippers to hats, gloves, purses and even coats.

"We work from the basement of our home in Heart's Content," she said. 

Pitcher said the past five years have been very successful for those selling seal skin products.

"People are proud of our heritage, and they're saying, 'You know what? We don't care what the animal rights groups think. This is our heritage, and we're going to wear it.'"

But not all of the crafts on display were derived from the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Roxanne Delage makes her Ragged Ts using a reverse applique technique that's popular with the Mola culture of Panama.

Roxanne Delage has been making a living from selling her Ragged Ts for the past two years. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

"It's a traditional quilting technique. I cut out a piece underneath the t-shirt, sew around the applique and then cut the t-shirt out," she said.

"The jersey rolls up instead of fraying and becomes nice and vintage looking."

Delage has been making the shirts out of her St. John's studio for two years now.

"I've got a picture of a fellow [wearing a Ragged T] in Istanbul, and some people in Scotland and all over the place," she said.

"They've travelled around the world, my Ragged Ts."

With files from Weekend AM