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Monday, September 22, 2008

Country Roads Studio Tour

Well, this past weekend I must gleefully admit was a perfect one. It included delicious home made pizza with a movie on Friday night. Saturday included; a reminder that my love, Jonathan is indeed a remarkable man; a yummy lunch eaten outside, whiles listening to a good audio book and watching the bunnies having fun skidding & rolling all over the yard; and later in the same day and evening a nice visit and delicious dinner with my parents and a snuggle with a movie and snacks with my sweetie pie niece. Sunday however was an even better day, it was the Country Roads Studio Tour. Jonathan and I really needed a day away from the house and just a change of scenery and we indeed got that and traveled down roads we've never been down. We've been on this tour before so this time around we decided to check out places we've never been too before. It was a day full of sunshine and sun dappled trees, meeting lovely people and inspiring artists, seeing excellent studios and works of arts., The brilliant fall tree colour were a nice reminder of why we love this area so much. The lakes were glistening perfectly and deers bounding to and fro, reminding us of future goals still in mind. I was struck again and again how lucky we are to live where to do, not having to worry of war, lack of water, earthquakes or hurricanes. The day also reminded me that this was what life was...just seizing the day and enjoying each moment we can. I felt inspired to proceed living a simple and abundant life. And I think I gasped or said "Oh, Look" about a hundred times and with Jonathan beside my side everything was 10 times more delightful. As we passed all sorts of homes, I realized; everyone is just trying to carve out their own space, follow their own tune, listen to their own hearts and destinies, some more successfully then others but still I felt content in the old phrase 'to each their own.'..what I think is perfect may indeed be far from it for someone else but we are all still most likely looking for the same basic things from life. It was a day to realize all the differences in people, and to embrace the cozy life we've created for ourselves and our bunnies thus far. A day also to remember that it's always good to let go of expectations of things and people as much as we can, oh my goodness life is so much better when one can do this. So yes, ha ha as you can see it was a very full day in many ways; visually, inspirationally (is that a word!), thoughtfully, spiritually... The first place we visited was stain glass artist John Stephens. We were so delighted to pull in the drive of his beautiful property and he immediately welcomed us and brought us right into his simple and cozy studio, set apart from the house and facing the lake. John was such a pleasure to chat with and we really enjoyed our visit and seeing his work. I loved the fac that he encouraged us to visit the other studios, clearly showing the Northern's wonderful and supportive artist circle and he expertly showed us each of his wonderful pieces. We had never seen stain glass used in exact manner and it's effects were very pleasing.
John beautifully mixes stain glass birds and creatures onto old reclaimed window panes, rocks, wood etc and he mixes them furthur with moss and sticks and twigs, they are just a delight for any nature lover. I adored this one (above) which he had on a rustic easel, it made the beautiful blue lake behind look even lovelier. Jonathan and I fell in love with a rabbit stained glass piece he had and we may just have to go back at some point in the future to get it...if it's still there! You can contact John Stephens at 1-705-776-9553 at his studio called "At Wit's End". Thanks John, we really enjoyed meeting you. Our next visit was to not an new studio but a place we have visited a couple times before but that I didn't want to miss visiting again on our way by...the studio of Pat Stamp, Potter & Sculptor, Ash Creek Pottery.
Pat has this excellent and enchanting studio separate from her house and at the end of a very long country drive. It's always fun, you have to crane your neck and look wayyy down the drive to make sure somebody isn't already proceeding down it, or one of you has to slowly back up and then agree on who goes first, ha ha....I love it and more so because there are never any problems it seems in entering or exciting this artist's wonderful world. Inside the shop, you can see where Pat creates her beautiful pottery and whimsical sculptures. Pat was lovely to talk to, I came away inspired and I just loved the extra little touches like the big bowl of apples freely offered to customers and visitors if they were peckish.
If one strolls along the side of Pat's studio/shop, they are in for a delight. It's like a secret little pathway and as you explore your greeted again and again by her whimsical sculptures...like this guy...
Or this frog, which looked so perfect in the sun dappled shadows... Or this humorous guy sitting harmoniously amongst the flowers.
And as you leave Pat's studio, a friendly and quiet dog will say good-bye and this beautiful vista offers you further happy travels...
This 2nd stop along our Country Roads Tour was wonderful as always. Again, Pat is a perfect example of our lovely and helpful artist's community. Thanks Pat and I'll see you at the carousel horses soon I am sure (Pat Stamp is one of the artists working on the same Carousel Project) You can see Pat Stamp's Pottery at Art On Main. You can call or email, 1-705-752-3663, ashcreek@on.aibn.com. Or visit this link to see more of her work www.ashcreekpottery.com . All of Pat's work are microwave, oven, dishwasher safe etc and of course most importantly lead-free. I highly suggest a visit...the studio and Pat's work will enchant you and make you want to see more of what our area has to offer. The 3rd place we stopped in at was one of my favorites because the artist there was just a true delight to meet. Jana Brogan is a jeweler and sculpture who will soon be offering classes in her Nipissing Village Studio/Shop "Studio in the Grove". I promised Jana that as soon as she has a website, I'll post that also. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I felt like I was entering a special and enchanted place. It wasn't just the Jana or her musician husband greeting us with a most welcoming smile and hello, it wasn't just the lovely smell of wood burning in a nearby chiminea, it was a mixture of things and with some really good energies adding in also, it just felt like a relaxed and joyful place.
I couldn't resist taking this shot of one of Jana's Celtic cross sculptures and her adorable studio nestled in behind. Jana was telling us of the studio/shop's future plans and I could totally foresee it all happening. So this winter when I think of Jana Brogan and her work and studio, I'll picture her with a brand new studio roof and working away in warmth and creativity (and with these really cool metal spice racks to house all her delicious beads). You can visit Jana Brogan's studio at 4280 hwy 654 W, in Nipissing Village, Ontario. Or email her at by.brogan@sympatico.ca. I have no doubts that Jana will welcome you into her world as beautifully as she did us. From this location we shortly stopped in on a local cooking studio "Chapman's Landing Cooking Studio", where I was sure my good friend Becca and local photographer Liz Lott would be at some point over the weekend. Here they were offering SLOW meals (Simple, Local, Organic and Wild) which we found tempting but at this point we weren't hungry and were somehow more anxious for more studio's than for food...but we're sure to go back.
As the day started to feel like it was soon coming to a close, we popped in on Board's Honey Farm (established in 1974). I knew that at this place we would get some goodies and indeed we did. Soaps, Honey sticks, Lip Balm, Jams and of course pure, unpasturized honey...Meadowblend and Creamed Raspberry flavors. They have over 150 bee colonies and visitors were welcomed to tour the bee farm itself, not just the store. The farm also provides lectures, tours and activities all dedicated to the industrious and most important honey bee and the harvesting of the hives.
I'll look forward to coming back to this place next year and stocking up on some more honey treats. The last place we stopped was defiantly worth the extra bit of driving. Rockcliffe Pottery and Craft Shop was amazing. Here amidst a breath taking location on lake Nosbonsing, Potter Tony Oorschot and her husband John share a unique studio where they have been making pottery for over 26 years. I didn't take shots inside the studio/shop...I didn't know if that was appropriate or not, but here's a couple shots of the outside of the studio and it gives a good taste of what the rest of the place felt like...perfection, in my opinion.
As we walked up to the studio/shop's front porch I was enchanted by the steel works beautifully places here and there throughout the garden. As we entered the beautiful log studio we were welcomed in so gently. The pottery was lovely (please visit the website to see examples) and Jonathan and I really wanted to buy a piece here but we just couldn't agree on one, ha ha...and in most cases I like it when we both simultaneously point at something and go 'That One' then we know that's a good one to bring home. Maybe next time, as I have no doubts that we'll be visiting again. Tony and John have created the most amazing pottery studio I have ever seen, it was huge and fantastic. Tony welcomed us in and showed the kiln and her most recent pottery pieces which were wall vessles featuring human faces peeking out of natural folds, I loved them. Then we went upstairs where my heart gave a start, the place was full of goodies but it was the space that I fell in love with. As happy as I am with my current studio...this space would be most artist's dream and the location that all this perfection was in, well was just enough to make one feel so blissfully happy, sighful, hopeful and most importantly inspired. All of Tony's work are made by traditional wheel thrown methods with some hand building thrown in also. They are all 100% unique and one of a kind, durable, lead-free, dishwasher, microwave and oven safe...I highly suggest a visit for any who are around the area or driving by, they are located at 599 Commanda Lake Road in Nipissing. Phone number is 1-705-729-2802 or email at tonoorster@gmail.com or again visit the website at www.rockcliffecottage.com So with this last studio our self-guided tour had ended. When the shadows were deep and at their longest, with contented and hopeful hearts we headed back home to our cozy abode. The bunnies had just woken from a day of napping and were eager to go outside, so we brought them out and as they happily romped around the yard, we finished off a project in the garage, whiles our home made spagetti sauce simmered away inside. The evening closed with a delicious meal eaten by a roaring fire. Truly a most blissful day full of constant reminders of how blessed we really are and how each and every one of us are responsible for forging our own paths and dreams. So with all that shared...whew, that was a long post, ha ha. I will be back on Wednesday with more to share no doubt. Be well, I hope your inspired and I wish you all Happy and Blissful Creating. May you all be comfy, cozy and content in your own little speacil studios/spaces.

2 comments:

Judit Gueth said...

Wow, sounds like an amazing trip! Wish we could have gone!!!

Jonathan said...

It was a truly great day. Couldn't think of a better person to spend it with.

Remember when you asked is all those dirt roads would hurt the car...and I said no. Guess I didn't expect that one of our mufflers was almost ready to die as it was :-)

LLL