What is an ÉCONOMUSÉE?
An ÉCONOMUSÉE is first and foremost an enterprise that operates in the field of fine crafts or the agrifood sector and that uses authentic know-how in the production of products.
An ÉCONOMUSÉE showcases artisans and their trades. The concept allows artisans to open their workshops to the general public so they can share their knowledge and passion and sell products made on the premises.
An ÉCONOMUSÉE allows enterprises to reach out the general public, explain local culture and contribute significantly to the preservation of intangible cultural heritage.
To become an ÉCONOMUSÉE an enterprise must be selected for the quality of its production and its authenticity. The artisanal entrepreneurs who are members of the international ÉCONOMUSÉE network are a very special group of highly knowledgeable and passionate individuals who believe in using traditional craft techniques to produce authentic contemporary products.
When you go to an ÉCONOMUSÉE, you can always expect to:
Meet and converse with the artisan-entrepreneurs right on the premises where the creation and production take place;
Participate in an interactive and authentic cultural experience by watching artisans at work;
Discover the stories of the products that are carefully crafted on the premises using traditional and contemporary know-how; and
Enjoy a comprehensive learning experience developed by a team of professionals based on certified standards.
In every ÉCONOMUSÉE around the world, you can be sure to find the following components:
- A welcoming area where you meet the artisans;
- A workshop where the artisan can demonstrate the fabrication process of the product;
- A space for the interpretation of traditional know-how;
- A space for the interpretation of contemporary approaches to the craft;
- A documentation area where you can broaden your knowledge of the craft and learn more about its traditions and cultural history surrounding it; and
- A boutique where you can purchase contemporary products inspired by tradition.
There are currently over 70 ÉCONOMUSÉES in the world, including 3 in British-Columbia.
TUGWELL CREEK HONEY FARM AND MEADERY
The Meadery ÉCONOMUSÉE
Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery was the first meadery in British Columbia and joined the ÉCONOMUSÉE Artisans at Work network in 2014. The production of mead (honey wine) from the honey produced by the bees on-site gives visitors an opportunity to learn more about beekeeping and the oldest art of fermentation. The artisans raise their own bees, who feed exclusively on flowers found in Sooke, thereby producing a honey that will give you a taste of the region. This honey is then mixed with water, yeast, and spices or fruits to yield local mead with distinctive flavours that are sure to surprise even the most avid wine connoisseur in your family!
The Cider ÉCONOMUSÉE
Merridale Ciderwoks is a heritage cider apple orchard located in the Cowichan Valley, on Vancouver Island, where climate conditions are suitable for the growth of world-class cider apples. From harvesting to pressing, to fermentation and bottling, visitors will discover each step required in the crafting of a fantastic cider product. It joined the ÉCONOMUSÉE Artisans at Work network in 2012.
HAZELWOOD HERB FARM
The Herbology ÉCONOMUSÉE
Located in Ladysmith, on Vancouver Island, Hazelwood Herb Farm is a unique place where you can discover how herbs grown on-site are transformed into culinary, cosmetic, and household products utilising traditional and contemporary techniques. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the practical aesthetic, and spiritual importance of herbs in an interactive setting. It joined the ÉCONOMUSÉE Artisans at Work network in 2012.