Natasha Wittke and Norquay Co.
Natasha Wittke describes herself as; artist, adventurist and avid canoeist obsessed with the great outdoors and equally for great design, and that’s probably pretty accurate. She started her own line of artisan canoe paddles in 2013 under the company name NORQUAY Co. All of her paddles are handcrafted in small batches and hand-painted.
“Our brand Norquay Co. was named after a tiny island, nested in the cool waters of Lake Huron, where my first solo camping trip took place. Following that experience, at the age of 14, I set out on a month-long, 600km canoe trip through the northern-most point of Ontario along the Missinaibi River up to Moosenee, where I spent so much time with a paddle in my hand I suppose it was inevitable I would make it my canvas one day.” – Natasha Wittke
Made From Ontario Cherry Wood
Norquay Co. paddles are hand made from 100% cherry wood by Teal Paddles in New Liskeard, Ontario. The process starts with Russell at Teal Paddles who carefully selects each log from wood lots in North Eastern Ontario. The cherry logs are sourced from the Sundridge area of Ontario.
The logs are brought home and sawn by Russell. The sawing process is the beginning and the most important step in ensuring the logs are properly sawn so that the grains run straight and avoid stresses. This makes for strong, dependable paddles and yokes.
“Our home and business sit in the middle of farmland just west of a ribbon of towns along the shore of Lake Temiskaming. The “tri-towns” now named Temiskaming Shores is a great place to live and work. “
Handpainted by local artisans
The boards are then dried for several weeks and shipped to Norquay Co’s Montreal studio where they are individually hand-painted and stained by a small team of local artists. They are painted and hand finished in a local workshop. They come with a handmade leather harness and they are available in a range of colours and designs.
“It is our Northern heritage and canoeist lifestyle that has influenced the designs behind each of our paddle series. We are committed to creating quality handmade products, made right here in our homeland of Canada.”