Where unwanted objects become treasures again
Regardless of origin, all the pieces in Wendy Burns-morrison and Roddie Morrison’s working studio, aka The Baddeck Remakery, began their new lives in Cape Breton.
After a successful show at the recent 2018 Halifax Christmas Forum, the artist/ tinker duo are busy replenishing their line of ornamental teapots, serving trays, vintage hairpins, plant pixies, bejewelled memory and treasure keepers and Christmas ornaments. The couple earned one of 325 coveted spots at the longest running craft show in Atlantic Canada. The story of how their creations came to be helped their application.
It all began with a trip to the Baddeck Reuse Centre where household items are donated and sold with proceeds going toward local non-profits. They compiled a list of one hundred ways items could be reused, and narrowed that list down to two items they wanted to reincarnate - worn silverplate and old discarded jewelry.
“That's how we came up with it, and called ourselves a “remakery”. It's just something we do as a hobby, but we believe in it,” said Wendy at the couple’s working studio located at the top of Twining Street in Baddeck.
The studio’s motto? “To reuse unwanted objects in such a way as to create a project of greater quality or value than the original.”
Others believe in their mission, too.
Not long after they put out a call for tiny frames, jewelry and silver, a basket full of tiny wooden frames showed up at their doorstep.
“We don't know who it was,” said Roddie.
A box of silver and brass items from Greenwood United Church’s ‘Twice Blessed’ Thrift Shop showed up last week as well.
The Remakery has a strong following of décor-oriented customers, people looking for something functional that makes a statement.
“I think they really like the idea that we’re trying to give back, we're trying to do something to help the environment.”
Despite the hard work involved, the pair relish the challenge of “upcycling” - which, incidentally, just became its own noun.
Bringing out the inner beauty of worn silver is a multi-stage process. Roddie studiously washes, polishes and gently sands the silver with fine grit sandpaper to remove any grime while avoiding scratches. Wendy then applies multiple coats of mineral paint, followed by three to four layers of top coat.
Wendy often mixes colours inspired by the Cape Breton landscape, “Bras d’or Blue” or “Highlands Green”. Product names often draw on Roddie’s extensive knowledge of Cape Breton. He was born and raised on the island and served as Post Master in Baddeck for 40 years.
Wendy and Roddie never paint the bottom of silverware, though. The silver stamps on the bottom can reveal information such as where, when and by whom the piece was made.
“We don’t want to obliterate its story. We want to continue its story.”
To learn more about the Baddeck Remakery’s story, visit thebaddeckremakery.ca
People are welcomed anytime to Wendy and Roddie’s studio. The gate to the studio will be wide open Dec. 8, 4:306:30pm during the Christmas House Tour fundraiser for the Victoria County Hospital Foundation. Half of all Remakery proceeds will be donated to the Foundation.
The studio will also be open during A Magical Seaside Christmas.
Products are for sale at thebaddeckremakery.ca and two brick and mortar locations The Vault Gift Shop in the Old Sydney Society’s Bank of Montreal Building on Charlotte Street (grand opening Dec. 14 and Lavender & Sage Gift Shop in Indian Harbour, NS (opening Dec. 7).
The Baddeck Reuse Centre is located at the Baddeck Transfer Station. For more information, visit https://www.victoriacounty.com/reuse-centre-application.html.
Wendy Burns Morrison and husband and business partner Roddie Morrison are seen in their Baddeck studio.