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A Productive Two Weeks

I’m back home and back to the day-to-day grind. It is so easy to get swept away in all the busy daily chores of life and it seems now that this post is long overdue.

During my two weeks (and a few days) at the Haven, I managed to paint more than 30 new pieces and begin a slightly different focus for my current Free Fall series. I had a great opportunity to share my new work with the community through an open studio afternoon followed by an artist talk on the last weekend of my stay. I sincerely appreciated the feedback I received and was touched by the genuine interest people had in my work.

My new paintings will be displayed as part of a group show this November, which concludes my contract as Artist in Residence with Youth Empowerment & Support Services (Y.E.S.S) in Edmonton. Stay tuned for images of this show!

I cannot thank The Haven and the Gabriola Arts Council enough for this wonderful experience. It was a truly productive and inspiring journey!

(The photos above show the living-room-turned-studio space where I worked during my stay.)

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One Week at The Haven

It’s true! I’ve been here at the Haven on Gabriola Island for one week now. I can hardly believe it; the time has just been zipping by….

I am so grateful to be here on this beautiful Island and have had an incredibly warm welcome from The Haven, the Gabriola Arts Council and local islanders alike. I’ve done so much in such a short time; I don’t think I could write about it all but here are some of my amazing experiences so far:

-A tour of the island (thanks to Dirk Huysman and Mary Ann Richards!!!)

-A tour of the beautiful Haven property- Rachel Davey even picked me a pear right off the tree in their organic garden! (..for an Albertan- this is so cool!)

-A lovely meet and greet at The Surf Pub and a spectacular view of the sunset

-Two trips to the Framers Market- I’ve now consumed (SO) many scones from Slow Rise Bakery… yum!

-Watched a glassblowing demonstration at D’dance glass studio- very cool stuff!

-Enjoyed some awesome MAD RONA’S coffee

-Visited Malaspina Galleries and Drumbeg Provincial Park to soak up the sun and do some sketching.

-Watched “I’ve Never Met a Blank Canvas I Didn’t Like” by Sheila Norgate, a witty and personal performance, which was truly meaningful to me and one of the highlights of my trip so far.

-The POP-UP poetry performance- SPIN by Evalyn Parry, which was fabulous!

-The local gallery, Artworks, is now selling a small selection of my jewelry while I’m here! (…and they will have a few of my paintings soon too!)

-And of course, I’ve been painting! I’ve had a few really productive days and I’m looking forward to a week more! I will have an open studio later next week so people can come see what I’ve been up to (dates and times TBA soon!)

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to reflect, work and see some amazingly talented artists in action. Gabriola is full of talent and I’m honored to be here and soak up everything this island has to offer. If only I could slow down time…

 

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Traveling to Gabriola- From Snowflakes to Short Sleeves

I left Edmonton on September 9th, a cold wet day that made it feel like winter had arrived early in Alberta. My Father picked me up, he had volunteered to drive with me all the way to the Gabriola, and I was happy for his company. It was such a beautiful drive and we have friends and family on the Island we were looking forward to seeing. Our destination on Tuesday was Jasper, where we stopped for the night, staying with our old family friend Mary Porter. She made us a nice dinner, and as always, she had some little gifts to send us away with (a vintage camera for my husband and art books for me). She even found an old black and white photograph of my Dad taken when he was about 20 years old. In the photo he was scruffy haired and bearded. I’ve never seen my Father with a beard, but have heard stories about the days when he had a ponytail and long dark beard. When I first glanced at this old photo I saw a little bit of my brother staring back at me, and then it vanished and I saw my Dad. As a young man, my Father traveled a lot on his own, backpacking and hitchhiking around the country. I imagine my Dad at 20 years old, as a young potter just starting his career full of energy and determination. He is still strong and determined, but I have seen how life and loss have stolen great pieces of his energy.

It was a short visit with Mary, we woke up the next morning at 4:45 am. We packed some of Mary’s fabulous squares, a thermos of coffee each, and left Jasper behind in the dark morning fog. We passed a fair bit of snow in the ditches along the way, but the roads were dry and quiet. As we drove through the mountains, the clouds cleared just as the sun was rising and it turned into a beautiful day.

In Kamloops, we went looking for breakfast and some good coffee; finding a little place called “Hello Toast” where we stopped for a very hardy breakfast and a much-needed break. There was a little market along the same street selling local veggies and jams, so we spent a little while walking around to stretch out our legs.

In total (according to Google maps) it is 9 hours and 15 mins (without stopping) from Jasper to Horseshoe Bay Terminal in Vancouver. We made pretty good time, and were able to catch an earlier ferry then we had expected. At 320pm, we boarded the Ferry to Nanaimo. By now, I had shed a few layers of clothing. The sun was bright in the sky and that wintery Edmonton air only a distant memory.

From Nanaimo we took the second Ferry to Gabriola Island, and followed the winding roads to my Uncle Dirk and Aunt Maryann’s place.

It was a long but beautiful trip getting here. The giant forests and stunning views are amazing. I’m so excited to be here for the month of September and truly looking forward to my stay at the Haven.

 

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August 27th 2014

It’s hard to believe that my trip to Gabriola Island is only a few short weeks away! I’m very excited to have focused studio time and a chance to break free from my day-to-day routines. I’m also looking forward to immersing myself in the vibrant Island community.

I was originally selected as one of the participating artists for the Haven’s Fall 2013 Artist in Residence program. Only shortly before the trip, my mother passed away from Multiple myeloma cancer. It was a devastating time for me and for my family. I am so grateful to Rachel Davey at The Haven and to the Gabriola Arts Council for being so understanding – acknowledging that at that time, I needed to be with my family, and for being flexible by allowing me the chance to complete the AIR at a later date. Now, almost exactly a year later, I am eager to take advantage of this opportunity for time and space, to reflect and create.

I’m coming to the Haven with an open mind and lots of ideas. I have goals (daily and weekly) prepared to challenge myself throughout my three-week stay; but I am also open to the ways in which this opportunity might inspire some new work. My paintings come from a very honest personal place; I believe my life experience and the environment around me greatly influence my work.

I am thrilled to be coming to the Haven, and anticipating a productive time in such an inspiring place!

I will keep updates on my website throughout my trip. So keep checking in!

-Claire

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