We're so excited about the newest addition to La Quaintrelle! Let us introduce you to Avarcas: Traditional footwear from the island of Menorca in Spain.
The story behind the shoes...
Menorca is dry and hot in the summertime. The first avarcas were created over a century ago for farmers working its arid land. Crafted from all-natural leather and recycled tires, they were designed to keep farmers’ feet dry, comfortable, and protected.
Pons Classic style most closely resembles these earliest avarcas. The eco-friendly style has a sole made exclusively from recycled tires. All Pons avarcas – for women, men, and children– pay homage to the authentic Menorcan avarca while serving as a go-to accessory to all those who love enduring style.
Avarcas sandals caught on around the world because of their quality, style and simplicity. Even the Spanish Royal Family wear them!
Due to their popularity, imitation brands began to pop up, and a stamp of authenticity was introduced. The 'Product of Menorca' stamp signifies the highest quality standards and authenticity of the avarca sandal.
Avarcas Pons is a family owned business in Ciutadella who have been making avarcas since 1945. Now in the third generation of shoemakers, they proudly continue the family tradition and display the 'Product of Menorca' stamp.
We're excited to share our new line of natural skincare in the shop: Wildwood. The collection includes tonics, tinctures, balms, serums, oils, scrubs, soaks, butters, salves, soaps, and hydrosols made by owner and maker, Dominique. Based in Toronto, she's a free spirit, homesteader, curator of vintage curiosities and wildcrafter of natural remedies, and I'm so grateful to have her products at LQ!
Our story starts on our family farm where we fell in love with botany and traditional herbalism, harvesting the herbs and flowers grown on our land which we used to create natural, effective and wholesome remedies. After moving to downtown Toronto, we longed for access to pure, natural ingredients that grew so bountifully on our farm. Today we own a charming, sunny little shop in Toronto: ROWAN Homespun Market | Apothecary.
The natural skincare is crafted from locally gathered botanicals and pure oils and extracts. Each decoction is inspired by traditional herbalism and ancient Ayurvedic remedies, and is thoughtfully and simply formulated with the healing power of botanicals to be equally nourishing and effective.
All products are 100% natural and free of preservatives, synthetic fragrances, parabens and sulphates. We hope you find something you love!
Katelyn Morse, artist behind the Etsy shop Birch & Bliss, lives in Baddeck with her husband. Here, she shares her warm and cheery wisdom on finding your community, a creative routine that works for you, and beauty in your natural surroundings...
How are you enjoying living in Cape Breton? Do you have a favourite place or hidden gem?
I was born and raised on a strawberry and hobby horse farm in Annapolis Valley, NS. It's no wonder I have a thing for plants and animals - I think it's in my blood! I married my husband two years ago and moved to Baddeck where he is from.
I love living in Cape Breton! There's such a sense of community and so, so much natural beauty. There are so many little side trails and brooks and streams that are just gorgeous.
When did you start illustrating and painting?
I've been illustrating all my life. I'm thankful for my mom - I wouldn't go to bed until she drew a picture with me every night.
I actually only got into using a paintbrush about two years ago and found I quite enjoyed it!
What does your creative process look like? Do you have a certain routine or rule of thumb?
I get a good dose of inspiration first, then cuddle with my cat to make her go to sleep. She gets in the way if I start while she is awake! I always need something yummy to sip on, and occasionally I'll put on an 8tracks playlist and then I get to work!
Where do you find inspiration?
Always nature. There's so much beauty and strength in creation it is never ending. In my work I try to inspire people to appreciate the things we are freely given on this earth!
Outside of painting your pretty things, what else do you love to do?
I love the beach, I love hiking, and I love exploring new places. Petting zoos and plant greenhouses are among my other favorite places to enjoy.
If you were magically given three more hours each day, what would you do with them?
If they were magical, I'd have them teleport me to a different country and back. ;)
What advice would you give to others who want to give their craft a "go"?
Exactly that, give it a go! Don't be afraid, just do what you love. Others will gravitate towards your passion. Get your work out there in as many places as you can! Be bold and be kind. Enjoy the process and find a community of other makers to help encourage you and each other.
Thanks so much, Katelyn! We love, love, love your work. Shop Katelyn's collection at LQ in-store or online.