P.E.I. businesses win Craft Alliance awards

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McAskill’s Woodworking and The Showcase singled out for excellence

Joseph McAskill earned the outstanding retailer award for this year’s Atlantic Canada Craft Awards for Excellence.

After serving in the Second World War, Daniel McAskill longed for the day he could return to woodworking.

Prior to the war he was an apprentice at Christie Wood Working Company Ltd. in Saint John, N.B.

In 1947, McAskill got his wish when he started McAskill’s Woodworking Ltd., mostly creating chancellery furniture for P.E.I. churches. He also specialized in windows and doors.

The company had a tough beginning. McAskill’s first break came when he was contracted to redo all the windows and doors of St. John’s United Church in Mount Stewart, P.E.I.

In the next couple of years, McAskill hired more people and gained more customers.

Today, McAskill’s Woodworking ships furniture and crafts to people all over Canada and to the United States.

In recent years, they made designer furniture for the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation and the legislative assembly of P.E.I.

 “We do a lot more custom furniture now than we ever done in the past,” said McAskill.

McAskill Woodworking also makes arts and crafts. Their studio features beach chairs, chessboards and decorations for home.

People come to McAskill’s with their own designs. McAskill says making the ideas into reality is exciting.

“It gives people the chance to have something unique and handmade.”

On Feb. 1, McAskill’s studio was the recipient of the Atlantic Canada Craft Awards for Excellence in the category of Outstanding Retailer.

“I thought it was excellent,” said owner and Daniel’s son, Joseph McAskill, of receiving the award.

McAskill’s won one of a number of awards handed out by the Craft Alliance Atlantic Association. The other P.E.I. winner was Confederation Centre of the Arts giftshop, The Showcase, which won a Top Five Craft Retailers in Atlantic Canada award.

The Showcase assistant manager Mary Hemphill says their win can be partly owed to manager Sandra Jeffery’s direction.

“I think we owe big things to her for this, but it is a team effort.”

Part of the reason The Showcase won the award may have been their quality products and support for local artists, said Hemphill.

“We support local as much as we possibly, possibly, possibly can.”

Craft Alliance Atlantic Association operations coordinator Kristina Vermeulen said there are people who do incredible things for the craft community.

“We’d like to make sure they get that recognition,” she said.

Organizations: The Showcase, Craft Alliance, Christie Wood Working Company United Church PEI Museum Heritage Foundation Outstanding Retailer Craft Alliance Atlantic Association Confederation Centre

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Saint John, Mount Stewart United States

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