VAUGHAN L. SMITH & JACQUELINE M. COHEN
Title: Crows and Bees
Date Made: 05/19/2019
Retail Price: $650
Artist’s Statement (meaning/inspiration, etc.): We use the local imagery and wildlife in all of our pieces. Coloured slips over terracotta clay, cone 01 electric.
Title: Garden House
Date Made: May 2019
Retail Price: $750
Artist’s Statement (meaning/inspiration, etc.): Gardens and birds have always inspired us and appear in much of our work.
Vaughan Smith and Jacqueline Cohen have been in business for 34 years, established in 1983. They managed to turn their entire life into creating artwork in many different forms and media. Painting, pottery, carving, woodwork, bathroom sinks, tiles, mirrors and even electrical lighting fixtures. In LaHave, Nova Scotia they have created a tourism destination location. By enhancing the studio’s attraction with flowering gardens, ornate hanging planters which adorn the accessibility ramp, bird houses and bird feeders hang everywhere. The studio is surrounded by many sea birds, crows and pigeons which they encourage to help sell the bird houses and feeders. The gardens are bursting with flowers which persuade people to stop their cars and take photographs of the gardens and the view around the studio. Mixed in amongst the flowers are their planters and outdoor pottery pieces. Vaughan and Jacqueline’s business has grown steadily for the last 7 years with only a single year of slower sales. Their sales have doubled in 7 years. The last three years have seen the higher end pieces sell faster.
The studio building has size limitations for display, so when the two storms of February 2016 demolished the protective seawall, they recognized the reality of global warming and sea level rise. The studio is on the water supported by 32 big foots which need regular maintenance.
Vaughan and Jacqueline decided to rebuild the seawall but recognizing the vulnerability of the existing building, they decided to build a new gallery across the street. Expanding seemed logical for all these reasons as well as sensible considering the unpredictable nature of the Nor’easters here. Since there was a building on the site across from the boat house studio until 1994, they decided to rebuild it as close to the original as possible.
The original building was larger and closer to the road. They decided to build back from the road so as not to block site lines for the neighbors and to accommodate a septic system, while leaving space to create off street parking. The construction materials on the interior are modern but the exterior is real clapboard and the classic decorative cornices are constructed in traditional ways made by Vaughan.
The building is surrounded by 100 flowering bushes that will blossom this year for the first time.
Vaughan and Jacqueline feel strongly that Nova Scotia has a glorious maritime history, with a need to preserve the old buildings and natural seashore. These features make these buildings different to all the development that is springing up, up and down the coastline of North America. There are still working fish plants, wharfs and unspoiled coastline, along with natural unspoiled beaches. Preserving the past is a way of insuring the tourism future for Nova Scotia.
The opening of the new building will be on May 19th from 5-9pm. Vaughan and Jacqueline are partnering with the LaHave firehouse for a fundraiser. They have donated 55 soup bowls valued at $24 each, and each will be sold at $15 including soup and a roll, all proceeds to the firehouse. In addition, they will be giving 100 planters to the first 100 people through the doors. Music will be performed by Jude Pelley and Charlie Wilson.