by April MacKinnon of Anointment Natural Skin Care
Sackville, New Brunswick (www.sackville.com) is a small town of approximately 6,000 people in south eastern New Brunswick where my heart lives. It is my hometown and the future home of Anointment Natural Skin Care’s workshops and studio. Though I have lived away for the last 13 years, I still visit regularly and have been proud to see the arts and culture scene flourish.
Sackville was recognized in 2008 as the Cultural Capital of Canada, which spurred many arts and music festivals. Home to Mount Allison University and its fine arts department, the town’s culture blurs the line between handmade art and handmade craft, while a strong commitment to preserving history lingers in the types of craft practiced in this two-traffic-light town. For example, the Sackville Harness Shop is the last of its kind in North America. Founded in 1919, it is the only tack shop in North America to manufacture horse collars by hand. They do fantastic custom work, I have had several belts, purses, and wallets made there over the years, and the shop smells deliciously of leather and straw as soon as you walk through the door.
There is no end to the number of artists, craftspeople and musicians living and working around Sackville. Struts Gallery is an artist-run gallery, the images above are from their fundraiser auction, The Sweetest Little Thing, bidding closes tomorrow at 5 so be sure to check out all the amazing items & art you can bid on and get your very own piece of Sackville handmade. Struts Gallery has an impressive roster of members including independent musicians such as Julie Doiron who remains one of my favourites since her beginnings with grunge-era indie band Eric’s Trip to the dreamy, colourful and inspiring work of painter Andrea Mortson and the eastern-inspired work of printmaker Donna Rawlins Sharpe.
The Saturday Farmer’s Market (photos up top) occupies the Bridge Street Café during the winter and spills out onto Bridge Street in the summer. The street is closed to car traffic Saturday mornings to make room for all of the bounty from the local farms as well as many artisans, including Denyse Milliken, who spins beautiful hand-dyed yarn from the wool of locally raised sheep as well as mixed fibers. Her yarns are unique and fun to knit with!
If Sackville happens to be on your vacation route this Fall, plan to be in town for the annual Art Across the Marsh Festival, which showcases many of the local artists and craftspeople with a weekend of open studios – what better than experiencing handmade at its very origins?