After a difficult year and negativity on the rise, a Labrador woman said she’s hoping to bring some light back to Happy Valley-Goose Bay — literally.
Throughout the summer, potter Emily Best hopes to help up nearly 50 locals create their own clay lanterns, leading up to an exhibit in the fall through a project she’s calling “Sharing the Light.”
“There have been a lot of challenges within the community over the last few years,” Best said.
“So I think having this project, building community with pottery and getting people excited about the community, having something to bring joy and happiness to people — it’ll be a great thing.”
The Labrador town has been managing a rising number of people who are homeless or transient, some of them living on the community trails. This spring, the town council removed benches at a war memorial and along a walking trail to combat “loitering and illegal activity.”
The RCMP has also seen an annual increase in crime in Happy Valley-Goose Bay between 2019 to 2023.
Best has worked with clay since she was a child and took her first pottery class in 2014 with Labrador artist Pete Barrett. In 2022, she took an absence from work to go to Fleming College’s Haliburton School of Art and Design to do a four-month pottery class.
While in school, Best took inspiration from the Lantern Festival in St. John’s and made a series of lanterns herself. Upon returning to Labrador, she decided to expand it.
Best received a grant from the N.L. Arts Council and Arts N.L. to hold the workshops.
“It’s just so much fun to work with and it’s very therapeutic,” Best said. “It’ll be really inspiring and really exciting to see everyone’s designs come to life and really bring the light back to the community.”
Best hopes to have the lantern exhibit around November, then to have the lanterns displayed at different businesses around Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
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