Outport Newfoundland Appeals to a Growing Community of Artists and Former City Dwellers
Jon and Liz White are turning trash into treasure in Twillingate, N.L.
When Jonathan and Liz White took a big risk two years ago and started a new business, it was not your typical moneymaking venture.
They make colourful folk art from wood that others throw away and driftwood that washes up on beaches near their home in Twillingate, on Newfoundland’s northeast coast.
“If you [had once] told me, you could make a living out of getting stuff on a beach and coming back to your garage and building it, I would probably laugh at you, for sure,” Jon White told CBC’s Land & Sea.
Turning wooden trash into treasure for their business, White’s Emporium, had seemed to be an unrealistic career while the Whites and their three young children were leading a very different lifestyle in St. John’s.
Jon was a nurse working in the offshore oil industry. He would work for two weeks and then spend two weeks at home.
As Liz recalls, life was more than hectic.
“My mom used to come in for a week and say and then his mom would come in for a week and stay, and then he’d be home for two more weeks and then we’d rinse and repeat. So it was a bit crazy … with three kids.”
Jon says the couple worked toward getting a bigger home and a nicer vehicle and surrounding themselves with nicer things.
“But once we started having kids, we got older and we started prioritizing what was important in our lives,” he said.
Learn how the Whites have carved out a new career for themselves in Reclaiming Happiness, the season premiere of CBC’s Land & Sea. Click the video above to see the full episode.
Land & Sea airs Sundays on CBC Television in Newfoundland and Labrador at 11:30 a.m., 11 a.m. in most of Labrador. You can watch current episodes — as well as episodes from the past 13 seasons — on Gem, CBC’s free streaming service.