Some thirty years ago, the artistic duo, Nicole Gregoire and Albert Cummings, dreamed of creating a craft from the Magdalen Islands’ natural materials, of working with their hands and of establishing a relationship with visitors to the Islands. Since the Magdalens possess 300 kms of beaches, sand became the obvious medium.
So it began in 1981. Les Artisans du Sable first created translucent lampshades coated with sand and decorated with Magdalen scenes. Coloured accents on the shades were also derived from local sands.
Further experimentation and analysis resulted in the formulation of a substance that solidifies the sand particles into a mass that is as hard as a brick. After many trials, tools were also developed to shape this mass into attractive crafts reflecting the sea, the beaches and our beautiful Islands.
With this new technique and new products, the team has since ever been growing.
Sand became their passion and the focus naturally evolved to the iconic sandcastle. Thus, in 1987, Nicole and Albert initiated the annual world-renowned “Concours de Chateau de Sable” (Sandcastle Building Competition) on Havre-Aubert beaches; the pair stayed on as principal organizers until 1993. Today, the symbol that reflects the Magdalens and its beaches remains the sandcastle. It is also the logo for Les Artisans du Sable.
In 2001, Les Artisans du Sable joined the Economusee Network. This association resulted in a major workshop and store renovation that included a “museum” to provide information about the nature of sand.
Pauline-Gervaise Gregoire, the founding couple’s daughter, took over the business in 2004 and began the next stage of development. She focused her energies in pushing the brand further into the future, while respecting the roots of the enterprise.
A newer project is the development of the sand cinerary or funeral urn, a warm and respectful alternative to the traditional form. In a few short years, this product has become known and is available throughout Canada, the United-States and Europe. Pauline-Gervaise has also researched and acquired sophisticated equipment to increase product quality and personalize some sand items.
You can now access Les Artisans’ products on-line through this web site. The team members regularly create new products that are introduced annually.
Visiting Les Iles de la Madeleine? Drop in and see us on the historic La Grave.