A visit to the North Shore is always a special treat. The majestic beauty and serenity are mesmerizing. In this setting, it doesn't take much to imagine what life was like before machines and technology took over. Back then, people worked with their hands. They took what was needed to sustain life, and they lived in harmony with nature. People created beautiful and useful objects with the raw materials they had at hand.
To a large extent, that method of creating things has fallen by the wayside; however, we discovered that we, at Northern Toboggan Co, are not the only people who still care about making things of quality using natural materials. Our adventure in June took us to a special place among the woods and water of the North Shore.
Inspired by Nature
In this beautiful setting, myself, my wife Katie and our two boys took a field trip to the North House Folk School’s Annual Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival. Imagine rows of boats – not fiberglass and aluminum, but rather beautiful wooden boats skillfully created with love and care. While there, we swapped stories with some of the boat makers who were fascinated with our business of creating handmade toboggans.
Although handcrafted boats were the main attraction, other artisans shared their expertise as well. Traditional craft artisans were on hand to answer questions and demonstrate their skills. There were featured demonstrators for Japanese boat building techniques, traditional Norwegian woodworking, natural dyes, oar-making, birch bark weaving and much more. We learned so much during our time at the show.
There are areas in which it would be a great misfortune to lose the traditional way of creating. Seeing those handcrafted wooden boats on parade reminds us of that. Even though we progress in manufacturing and finding “better” ways of making things, there is a lot to be said for keeping traditional crafting alive even if it means fanning the embers of creativity. It is good to know that there are individuals who still cherish these old ways of creating.
We enjoyed the stories of the boat-builders, sailors, travelers and artisans we met. It was inspiring and gratifying to know that we are among the makers of the world, bringing joy to others and keeping alive some of the traditions of creating.
The North Shore always holds surprises for those who wander amidst its beauty and tranquility. This time it was the celebration of the artisan world and a time of sharing. We look forward to more surprises as the summer journeys onward.