Fogo Islanders are a people who, by virtue of their centuries of geographic isolation, have become masters of making things by hand, recycling, and devising local solutions to all manner of challenges. Since the beginning of European settlement in the late 1600s, Fogo Islanders have been building wooden boats, houses, tools and furniture. The textile traditions of the Island include knitting, quilting, hooking mats, crocheting and sewing.
Starting in 2010, artists and designers from away were invited to come to Fogo Island to learn about the island, experience this powerfully elemental place, walk the landscape and most importantly, to meet and work with the men and women who make their lives here. These encounters resulted in collaborations on the design and production of the furniture, textiles and furnishings for the Fogo Island Inn and formed the genesis of the Fogo Island Shop.
The Fogo Island Shop continues and expands this collaboration into a brand new line of furniture and furnishings that are available for purchase and use beyond the shores of Fogo Island so that more people can enjoy these objects.
Our furniture workshop is housed in the former SUF (Society of United Fisherman) Hall in the community of Barr’d Islands. The “Fisherman’s Hall”, as it is called locally, was built in 1909 for the mutual benefit of fishermen. In addition to being home to the SUF fraternal organization, the hall was used for social functions such as concerts, wedding receptions, “times” and sales of work organized by ladies’ church groups.
Many of the Fogo Island Shop textiles are produced by members of the Winds and Waves Artisans’ Guild which is located in the former Orange Lodge across the road from the furniture workshop. Built in 1914, the Orange Lodge is another cultural icon on the local landscape. Both of these heritage buildings are undergoing restoration work to serve the needs of the Fogo Island Shop and to ensure their continued presence in the community.