Fogo Island is a small, quiet community that boasts a rich history of maritime craftsmanship. The largest offshore island of Newfoundland and Labrador, Fogo is thriving with centuries-old traditions like quilting and knitting, passed down through generations. The beautiful work created on the island is now becoming more visible, thanks to organizations such as Fogo Island Workshops, a social business operated under the Shorefast charity. In fact, several workshop items will be available at The Lobby in March and April. We spoke with Michael Murphy, vice president of Fogo Island Workshops, to learn more about the organization and what to expect during their takeover of The Lobby this spring.
What is the mission of Fogo Island Workshops?
We are a social enterprise dedicated to design in the service of nature and culture. We aim to create regenerative making that involves ethical sourcing, educational integration and skill building, as well as community engagement in the development of furniture, textiles and accessories. The organization was originally started to create furniture and textiles for the Fogo Island Inn when it opened [in 2013], but there was a lot of demand from guests to be able to take some of Fogo Island home. All profits are donated to Shorefast, the charity that owns the Fogo Island Inn and Fogo Island Workshops, and re-invested into economic and community development.
How did the partnership with The Lobby come about?
There are many supporters of the Fogo Island Inn in Toronto, including Cailey Heaps and Alison Booth [from Booth Supply]. Their enthusiasm and passion for Newfoundland and Labrador and Shorefast’s work is a big reason behind this. We’re also hoping to bring some of Fogo Island to people who haven’t been able to make the journey yet. It’s time we brought people together!
What can we expect from the Fogo Island Workshops’ pop-up at The Lobby?
During March and April, we’ll be doing a takeover of The Lobby’s ground floor with furniture, accessories, quilting and knits on display. There will be weekly Meet the Maker sessions, where our team will host a deep dive into the history and methodology of what we produce. We also hope to have other events in the space for the 10th Anniversary of the Fogo Island Inn, as well as a Fogo Island Fish culinary activation.
For more information:
- follow @thelobbybyheapsestrin on Instagram
- visit https://thelobbybyheapsestrin.com/ or,
- stop by in person at 1120 Yonge Street.
Interview by Lora Grady.