The Québec maritime Blog

Meet Artisans from Eastern Québec
  • Atelier Côtier, Îles de la Madeleine
    Mathieu Dupuis

Meet Artisans from Eastern Québec

The natural elements found in the forest and in the St. Lawrence have always been a source of inspiration—and this is certainly true in the maritime regions of Québec! The exceptional beauty of these regions as well as their distinctive features inspire many talented local artists and artisans. Seaweed, moss, fur, lichen, seashells and more are used by residents of Québec by the Sea to create unique and beautiful items and works of art. It’s hard not to fall in love with the creations of these artisans, many of whom are also environmentally conscious!

Poet, papermaker and bookbinder Cynthia Calusic

L’Algue d’Or Papeterie Artisanale

L’Isle-Verte, Bas-Saint-Laurent

If you’re visiting L’Isle-Verte, you must stop in the heart of this coastal village to meet Cynthia Calusic. For the past 20 years, this poet and artisan has been making delicate and beautiful rag paper in her studio/boutique, which she then uses to create a variety of items, including handbound books. Her unique paper also incorporates seaweed from the St. Lawrence as well as flowers, sea grasses, sphagnum moss and, more recently, peat moss.

You’re sure to be charmed by the traditional paper-making techniques that Cynthia uses, which she’ll be happy to explain to you during a tour of her workshop. Originating in the Middle Ages, this process involves reusing old fabric or clothing. Not only is the resulting rag paper beautiful, but it’s also environmentally friendly!

Digital florist Rachel Monnier

Raoul & Simone

Percé, Gaspésie

I immediately fell in love with Rachel Monnier’s work when I first entered her charming boutique in Percé. This visual artist reveals the immense beauty of the seaweed found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence through what she creates for her company Raoul & Simone, which, in some ways, is a love story about a man of the sea and a woman of the forest. Rachel draws her inspiration from this story, which she expresses in various collections of digital floral arrangements printed on fabric, glass and paper.

The artist collects and then digitizes plants, seaweed and flowers as they dry. She plays with textures, sometimes soaking them in saturated saltwater to obtain various effects, and has thus build up a unique library of images she can then used to create digital bouquets.

A unique marine life takes shape in her giclee prints on paper and canvas. With great sensitivity, she reveals the gentle elegance and splendour of the goldenrods and Irish mosses she collects along the shore. Rachel has also illustrated several book covers, including those for the novels Les ombres blanches by Dominique Fortier and La bête creuse by Christophe Bernard.

Innu craftswomen


Uashat (Sept-Îles), Côte-Nord

The First Nations craftswomen at Atikuss are not only creating beautiful footwear, but they’re also paying tribute to their Innu ancestors. They use traditional methods of tanning, beading and weaving to make handcrafted mukluks, moccasins and accessories, thus helping to preserve a know-how that would otherwise be threatened with extinction.

Atikuss creations are crafted from animal pelts and fur that originate from environmentally responsible hunting, which means nothing is wasted: every part of the animal is used for food or to make handcrafted products. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this fair-trade, eco-friendly company that promotes traditional Indigenous know-how through its economuseum and creates unique and beautiful boots!

Sand and other artisans

Atelier Côtier

Havre-Aubert, Îles de la Madeleine

I first got to know this fantastic site when it operated under the name Artisans du Sable (Sand Artisans), a company founded by Albert Cummings and Nicole Grégoire. Over the last few years, the couple’s daughter, Pauline-Gervaise Grégoire, along with seven other artisans have been running this amazing workshop/boutique, now known as Atelier Côtier, where they have fun creating beauty.

Inspired by the wind and sea, this talented multidisciplinary team uses sand, concrete, wood and other materials to make unique products, along with illustrations and silkscreens equally inspired by their island environment. The workshop is teeming with creations of all kinds, but among my favourites are the sand whale, a wall decoration, and the sand clocks.

For me, these are four must-see spots to stop and admire the amazing talent of artists and artisans from Eastern Québec. But there are many more you also won’t want to miss! I’m thinking, for example, of Wazo, an incredible jeweller based in Percé (Gaspésie); the À Marée Basse art shop in Havre-Aubert (Îles de la Madeleine); Tibo Céramique in Rimouski (Bas-Saint-Laurent), which features works by potter Danielle Thibault, including a collection inspired by beach pebbles with white veins; and Les Savons de l’Atelier, in Tadoussac (Côte-Nord), where Claude Belzile and Linda Gagné make handmade soaps, some of which contain sand from local sand dunes. It’s worth taking the time to meet these passionate people—and you can then take home with you a piece of Eastern Québec’s immense beauty!

Author Marie-Ève Blanchard

Marie-Ève Blanchard and Marie-Julie Gagnon leapt at the chance to make two trips to the maritime regions of Québec. First, accompanied by their daughters, they road-tripped through the regions of Côte-Nord, Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent, enjoying the breathtaking scenery during their many adventures. The two of them then headed to the Îles de la Madeleine, where they enjoyed the slower pace of the Islands and were charmed by the exotic beauty of this archipelago.

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