A few days ago, some friends invited me along on a tour they were making of the studios of various artisans in the Duncan area. It was a delightful day meandering around the countryside, looking at some very interesting arts and crafts, and catching up with each other.
I was presented with a lot of new experiences, not least of which were the winding roads, out-of-the-way artists’ retreats, enormous trees, huge moss, and a goldfinch! The artwork was the icing on the cake of so many visual delights.
It was also thought-provoking to meet the artists. They all seem very contented, with open faces, comfortable clothing, and smiling welcomes. If you can imagine a person who is a professional artist living in a forest, you might picture an aging hippy or a middle-aged individualist, or both, and you wouldn’t be wrong.
Their homes and studios were found in obscure locations, tucked away at the ends of narrow gravel driveways. One was a purpose-built ceramic studio above a workshop with a huge kiln. One was a showroom for glass sculptures and jewellery in a building set aside from the house. Another was a professional workshop for creating furniture from ancient woods. The metal sculptor had a huge building to house both the welded creations and some of his collection of very old trucks. The collage artist had a well-organized collection of tiny objects and old maps in her home studio with a fabulous view of the bay. They were all very different in their work and in their lifestyles, but they were all very friendly and welcoming, and happy to talk about their work.
The whole day gave me a lot of pleasurable experiences, but perhaps the best was in spending many hours talking with my friends. It has been, literally, years since I spent that long with anyone, and I felt as though I was learning to make conversation all over again. I realized that I had forgotten a lot of things (probably because I don’t usually have long chats) and that there had been a lot of water under the bridge since we all lived in the same city. I hope my social shortcomings didn’t bother them too much.
As wonderful as the artwork was, the company was even better.