In the final episode of the SmartCity Business Show, host Craig Layton explores the history and the craft behind Nova Scotian Crystal.
Nova Scotian Crystal is the only producer of hand-made crystal in Canada.
The business’s story reads like a fairy tale. Workers with talented hands and the love of the craft came from the rolling hills of Ireland when machinery and mass production threatened the art of crystal making.
The passionate, skilled tradesmen who founded Nova Scotian Crystal immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1996. They soon became inspired. The province’s history has inspired, and currently still inspires, its collections and products, many of which don the same name.
In its waterfront warehouse and retail shop in Halifax, craftsmen at Nova Scotian Crystal give each product a personal story, keeping the art of crystal making alive.
“One of the things we do here is make all of this crystal by hand which means every one piece is perfect; they’re just not all the same,” explains Rod McCulloch, Nova Scotian Crystal President and CEO. “There’s a little bit of the soul of every craftsman in every piece.”
With seven or eight craftsman working on that one item to make it perfect it’s easy to see that item as a work of art. In fact, one of the senior master craftsman at Nova Scotian Crystal believes it to be “art you can drink from.”
And Rod agrees. He believes part of what Nova Scotian Crystal is doing is maintaining and enhancing the craft so it won’t die.
Although it is an art and the products are the masterpiece, Rod still wants his customers to have the full experience by being able to use their items – not just put them on display.
To ensure this the company backs every piece with a 100% guarantee. So if you lack grace (like Craig or myself) you still get to use your Nova Scotian Crystal products and gain that full experience. If it happens to fall, be dropped or get thrown and ends up chipped, cracked or broken, Nova Scotian Crystal will replace it.
During his visit at Nova Scotian Crystal, Craig ventures into the warehouse where he finds crystal makers perfecting their art. He meets with a craftsman who is busy at work and quickly explains the marks he’s following are guidelines to help with spacing. With a smile on says that the rest of his work relies on “pure talent, I guess.”
But there is no reason for these workers to be modest.
We profiled businesses and initiatives in several sectors during this season of SmartCity. From augmenting reality at Ad Dispatch to zooming around with NS Power and the Share ready initiative. Each showed us the diversity, connections and innovations this city has to offer.
Nevertheless, ending this season of SmartCity by highlighting the sheer skill of workers we have in this city is no coincidence. After all it’s the people that make Halifax a smart city.