Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

Balance

experimenting with stone placement for one of my Vancouver clients

After coming back from Harmony Arts Festival, there was much to do – catching up on gallery requests that had come in while I was away, and starting on the custom rings ordered at the festival in Vancouver.  It is always exciting to make custom pieces for clients with stones which they hand-picked. But it is also never easy – with each ring being unique and different, there is a lot of thinking, playing, and decision-making involved to figure out where exactly the stone should go.

Dana Grund and his family put on a lovely gathering to celebrate one year at King’s Wharf

 

And I was delighted to celebrate my colleague, custom jeweller Dana Grund‘s one year anniversary of being in his elegant new space at King’s Wharf in Dartmouth, NS.

 

 

 

Dana’s shop was buzzing with the celebrators last Saturday. Thanks for inviting me! I love that about the maritimes – this sense of mutual appreciation amongst crafters.

Dana Grund’s elegant custom design shop at King’s Wharf in Dartmouth

To celebrate what’s left of summer, and to assure balance in my life, I took a little bit of time off last Sunday, when I went sailing on the beautiful Nova Scotia shoreline. A couple of the photos here were taken by artist Shelagh Duffett, who has gorgeous photos on her blog  – click here to read it!

It was this exact shoreline that inspired my ‘Rock’ Series!

Let me explain what exactly I mean by ‘sailing’ – as there are many forms of that. As you may know if you have been following me for a while: I have a fondness for hand build wooden boats. Usually I prefer them kinda big – big enough to sleep and cook on. Our own little boat is the opposite – it is basically a tiny little, very heavy rowboat made of plywood, which can also take a sail.

 

The oars for rowing come in handy to get out of the bay on relatively still days like last Sunday. Photo by Shelag Duffett

But it gets us out there!

 

I love the sense of space, which sailing provides.

 

As dock space is expensive, we keep our “Gypsy Girl” in the woods. It’s quite the haul each time to get her out and back in. And we have to time our sails with the tide – can’t get the boat in or out unless the tide is high. But hey, what are a few compromises if you get to go out on the water!

Back on the dock, sail removed

There are several steps to making this happen each time

We have rigged up a pulley system to get the boat up the hill and into the woods

But eventually she’s all ready for the tarp – until next time!

All tidied up and tucked away in the woods

I took this photo on our way out of the bay. There is inspiration everywhere!

Seaweed is endlessly gorgeous

 

Delightful Nova Scotia

Being away has a funny way of changing one’s view of home.

This past August, I traveled a lot: Vancouver, Portland Oregon, Germany, the Netherlands. Particularly in Vancouver, people’s eyes would light up when I mentioned I was from Nova Scotia. “Oh, it is so beautiful there!” they would exclaim. This made me curious. The familiar can become invisible, can’t it: we become so used to our surroundings, we fail to see them after a while. I must also admit that I have had ‘my nose to the grindstone’ a lot this year, barely leaving my studio and office.

The highest tides in the world bring the water onto the hot rocks quickly, which resulted in amazingly warm swimming

The highest tides in the world bring the water onto the hot rocks quickly, which resulted in amazingly warm swimming. You can feel the waterlevel rise – the moon at work on earth.

So, upon my return in early September, I took a spontaneous trip with my spouse and my grown daughter, who miraculously had three days in a row off work at the busy restaurant where she cooks. We hopped in the car and headed for the Nova Scotia countryside and beaches. To be specific, Parrsboro county, the ‘New Brunswick’ side of the Bay of Fundy with its record tides, smack across from famous Cape Split.

Our trip took us along the top of the Bay of Fundy. This awesome map was in the cottage we rented for the night

Our trip took us along the top of the Bay of Fundy. This awesome map was in the cottage we rented for the night

Wonderful presentation of this chilled beet soup at The Wild Caraway restaurant

Wonderful presentation of this chilled beet soup at The Wild Caraway restaurant

We were gone less than 36 hours, but the time felt precious and tremendously spacious. We stopped at nearly empty beaches along the shores, ate at the wonderful Wild Caraway restaurant in remote and tiny Advocate Harbour, made a bonfire at the endless stretch of beach full of dry driftwood, perfect for the flames, and had a wonderful sleep at one of the cottages along that shore.

My daughter particularly enjoyed our bonfire at the beach

My daughter particularly enjoyed our bonfire at the beach

 

View towards Cape Chignacto. This photo illustrates well how the whole trip made me feel

View towards Cape Chignacto next morning. This photo illustrates well how the whole trip made me feel

On our way back, we visited unbelievably magic Cape d’Or (Cape of Gold! My cup of tea), and Five Island Park, before heading back to Halifax.

The view from Cape d'Or

The view from Cape d’Or – a magical place

Such an amazing province, Nova Scotia!

The view from the cottage we rented: Advocate Harbour Beach stretches forever, with the tip of Cape d'Or on the left, and Cape Chignacto on the right

The view from the cottage we rented: Advocate Harbour Beach stretches forever, with the tip of Cape d’Or on the left, and Cape Chignacto on the right

And as harsh as the climate may often appear here, it actually lends itself to growing wine! I am delighted to be at the Avondale Winery again next Saturday, September 17th, 10am- 5pm, for their annual Garlic Festival. All things garlic, along with live music ,good food, and – lo behold – excellent hand craft. Come take a trip, discover this province of yours. Tap your toes, find out how many types of garlic there are, taste some wine on the former church that was floated across the water in order to serve as Avondale Winery’s tasting room. Is is said to be warm and overcast, but not yet raining Saturday – perfect! See you there.

PS: my next ‘local’ appearance will be in Antigonish for the Windfall Festival, September 24 & 25.

2016_avondalegarlicfestival

Time Away

If my social media accounts have been quiet of late, and I have been slow to respond to e-mails, it is because I unplugged at a retreat centre for a while. I spent almost two weeks at wonderful Dorje Denma Ling in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.

This rural retreat centre may be rustic, but it is also splendid!

This rural retreat centre may be rustic, but it is also splendid!

The retreat was attended by roughly 50 people from international destinations.

local powdered juniper is used as incense

local powdered juniper is used as incense

It is not fancy, but I love it there, and have been coming here for over twenty years.

An approaching storm made for a dramatic sky over the meditation pavillion

An approaching storm made for a dramatic sky over the meditation pavillion

The place is fairly small, but swells in the summer with larger programs

To create a space for the program's meals, a tent was erected on the lawn. The grass coming through the floorboards made endless fodder for the eye

To create a space for the program’s meals, a tent was erected on the lawn. The grass coming through the floorboards made endless fodder for the eye

Being on retreat opens the senses – everything becomes quite beautiful. Or maybe it always is, but we miss it in the speed of daily life.

One of the perks of rising with the sun is the amazing light of the earliest morning hours

One of the perks of rising with the sun is the amazing light of the earliest morning hours

Now I am renewed and ready for summer artisan shows on either Coast. First Halifax –

Downtown Halifax, across from Public Gardens, and free admission!

This annual show is in downtown Halifax, across from Public Gardens, and free admission!

and then the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver July 27 – August 7. See you there!

 

 

 

First Summer Show this Saturday June 18th!

I can’t believe summer show season is already upon us! The first one for me will be in Avondale in rural Nova Scotia, this coming Saturday, June 18th. I always enjoy the Avondale Arts Fairs (this summer one, and their Garlic Festival in the Fall), and I really try to make it there every year. 2016 AvondaleArtFair

Always held the third Saturday in June, this fair on the beautiful vinyard grounds of the Avondale Sky Winery has a tremendous amount of spirit, and lots of talented artists and delicious food. Come check it out! Make it a family outing, enjoy our gorgeous province. The drive alone is worth the outing. Oh, and don’t let weather deter you – it can be quite different up there. That’s why they chose that spot to grow the wine!

Don't miss the amazing tasting room!

Don’t miss the amazing tasting room!

I will have with me a lot of the usual pieces, as well as a larger than usual selection of Onefooter rings in gold and silver with Canadian diamonds or coloured gem stones! First folks get biggest selection. See you there.

Silver or 18k gold rings with ethically mined diamonds or coloured gemstones set in 18k gold

Silver or 18k gold rings with ethically mined diamonds or coloured gemstones set in 18k gold

Next shows won’t be for a little bit: the NSDCC Summer Designer Craft Show in downtown Halifax, July 22-24, and
the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver July 29 – August 1 & August 5-7,

and then I will be off to Netherlands for a workshop with a famous Dutch artist – will tell you all about it in due time!

Hope to see you this Saturday.

‘My’ Galleries

This sterling onefooter ring with a sparkling natural blue zircon set in 18k yellow gold bezel recently arrived at Human Arts Gallery in Ojai, California

This sterling Onefooter ring with a sparkling natural blue zircon set in 18k yellow gold bezel recently arrived at Human Arts Gallery in Ojai, California

As I sit in my studio this morning, getting ready to finish some pieces to send out to galleries next week, I am contemplating where their journey will take them before they find a home on a body.

The galleries and stores where I sell my work are an important extension of myself as an artist, like the hands are an extension of the arm, and the arm is an extension of the torso. They must know and understand my work, so that they can properly explain to their customers the inspirations and techniques of each piece. Because this is so important, I choose carefully where my work is sold.

How does an artist find representation in the best galleries? One way is to go to wholesale trade shows, such as is taking place in Las Vegas this weekend with the JCK and ACRE shows (sorry I am not there!), where gallery- and shop-owners come to look at rows and rows of samples, before placing orders. If you have been following me for a while, you would have come across some blog posts about my attendance at such shows in New York City, Philadelphia, etc.

The sheer mass of exhibitors at these shows is truly overwhelming.

The sheer mass of exhibitors at these shows is truly overwhelming.

But more often, and preferably, I travel to cities where I seek representation, so that I can see and experience what a store feels like when I walk in, before committing to have them carry my work. Yes: I am discerning as to who gets to carry my work. Today, I want to pay tribute to the two galleries that have been carrying my work the longest. These two are very different, and equally important.

Since 1977, Fireworks Gallery here in Halifax has been serving families with all their bling needs.  While being a real ‘jewellery store’, they have also been a huge supporter of up-and-coming jewellers in a variety of ways, and always support local artists. Fireworks Gallery started carrying my work over ten years ago, when I was still in art school here at NSCAD University, and they continue to be huge supporters. I have a great relationship with the gallery, and when stop by to drop off some of my work, I enjoy myself so much that I do not want to leave. The staff have become almost like family. Last Christmas, I stepped in to help them out in the store.

Last holiday season at Fireworks Gallery, with long-time staff member, the wonderful Melissa

Last holiday season at Fireworks Gallery, with long-time staff member, the wonderful Melissa

I have similarly close ties with the wonderful Galerie Noël Guyomarc’H Bijoux D’Art, in Montreal. Noel, as well, believed in me early on. He carries the best collection of contemporary jewellery and objects likely in all of Canada, and is a very important figure in this scene internationally, – a ‘mover and shaker’, as it were (there is a great article about him on Klimt Magazine, from where I also ‘borrowed this image, desolé). I am proud to say that Noel himself has been wearing one of my Twofooter rings for over a decade!

Noel in front of his amazing gallery in Montreal. Don't miss a visit if you are in the city!

Noel in front of his amazing gallery in Montreal. Don’t miss a visit if you are in the city!

I am so lucky to be represented by these two galleries, and by the 30 others, including the newest addition, the Grant Berg Gallery in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I shall tell you about them another time.

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