By Paul Dickinson
Arts and crafts enthusiast Victoria McDonald is showcasing the talent of a large number of local artists. Her Trading Post shop at 909 Main Street is full of locally made artwork and crafts, with items ranging from beadwork to soap to handmade blankets. With work from dozens of local artists for sale, new items are arriving at her store daily.
McDonald, 42, was born and raised in Lillooet. For the last seven years, she's worked as a receptionist at the First Nations and Inuit Health Unit. Two years ago, she opened her first craft store, "This and That," for a two-month trial period over Christmas.
"When I started, I had 40 artists and 275 square feet," she says. "It got more than a little crowded."
The following year, she opened the store for six months. This April, she opened her store, Trading Post: Victoria's Creative Crafts full-time. She runs the store from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with help from her daughter, Virginia Sheep, and friend Starr Jim.
"We've had lots of local support," she says. "Locals come in and browse a lot, then when they're looking for a nice gift, they come in and spend the money". That's always really nice.
"I've been doing some kind of craft pretty much all my life," she says. "I'm learning something new all the time."
For example, she says, she's recently been studying soap making. Five years ago, she started taking sewing classes with Barbara Tuemp at the Cayoosh Band office.
"The class used old, $30 sewing machines that were fixed up," she recalls. "The next year we bought them".
"We sell quite a lot of sewing (in the store)," she notes. "Everything we sell is different, it's all unique."
She's also known for her volunteer work she recently put together 40 tablecloths and a number of centrepieces for the USLCES Cultural Centre Gala.
McDonald sells work done by artists such as Barbara Tuemp, Erdmann Tuemp, Gailyn Tuemp, Brenda Ned, Kerry Ness, Ken Sauve, Claude Adolph, Barbara Taylor, Louise Monk, Candice Jack, Kathy Mitchell, Charmaine Mitchell, Phyllis Peters, Connie Rackow, Maryann Link, Mary Napoleon, Marcel Gaudry, Susan Scott, and the Upper St'át'imc Language, Culture, and Education Society (USLCES).
"All the artists make a little bit of money on something I love to do, and something they love to do too," says McDonald. "It's great to see the town's starting to pick up on it."
Bridge River Lillooet News June 22nd 2005.USLCES Home page.