Handicrafts Holiday On Saltspring Island, British Columbia
Saltspring, a well-populated island in the Gulf Straits between British Colombia and Vancouver Island, is a peaceful haven that inspires artisans to craft works of creative beauty from the natural materials available all around the island. It’s also a great place for crafty types to retreat and find inspiration amongst the lush forests and beautiful bays.
On your trip to Saltspring Island, here’re a few places we’d recommend you take a look to see some of the creativity of the Islanders during your stay.
Blue Horse Folk Art Gallery
Home to acclaimed folk artists Paul Burke and Anna Gustafson, the Blue Horse Gallery has objects d’art displayed in an airy and naturally lit gallery. With regular exhibits by guest artists also displayed for sale alongside those of the resident artists, Blue Horse is a veritable treasure trove for those interested in one-off works of sculptural art.
Paul Burke, who established the gallery, creates beautiful carved animals from the driftwood that washes up on the shores of the island and tree branches from its wooded inland areas. Anna, Paul’s partner, creates Japanese-style raku pottery objects and paints beautiful textured canvases.
Whilst at the gallery, you can take your time to meander through the artworks, enjoy a perfectly brewed espresso or even stay in the organic B&B run by Paul and Anna, which is open all year round.
Ulrieke Benner – art you can wear
Ulrieke Benner, who comes originally from Germany, is a textile artist who settled on Saltspring Island to establish her gallery and create unique, wearable works of art using natural fibres. All the fabrics used for her clothing are hand-made by Ulrieke, with silk and merino wool painted, felted and dyed into the most incredible, vibrant colours.
Ulrieke welcomes members of the public to her gallery and you can visit her alone or see the gallery as part of the Saltspring Studio Tour (www.saltspringstudiotour.com). The collection includes purses, clothing, scarves and hats, and more recently Ulrieke has branched out into painting with oils. A selection of her work can be seen in her gallery, which is open all year round on most days of the week. If you want to be certain to catch the gallery when it’s open, it’s advisable to call ahead and private viewings can be arranged.
Janet Dwyer – the art of scanography
Pioneering the art of “scanography”, Janet Dwyer uses a flatbed scanner as a camera to capture natural objects that she finds on the Island. Her award-winning artwork, which includes compositions of Island flowers and other natural materials such as bones and stones, shows the objects in incredibly intense detail in stunning arrangements.
A visit to her gallery whilst on the Island will give you chance to see some of her acclaimed and more recent work, and maybe even choose a piece to take home.
Saltspring Island Market
Every Saturday in a pretty park in the middle of the village, the Island market has a range of delicacies from local food producers and farmers mingled together with arts and crafts from a range of creators. Jewellers, potters, painters and paper crafts mingle with hand-made furniture and antiques in a convivial setting.
Whilst you’re at the market, there are all sorts of other diversions. Get your tea leaves or your tarot read, have a massage or learn to meditate with one of the numerous stalls dedicated to spirituality and wellbeing. All in all, the market is an uplifting and inspiring visit, and one that will likely leave you brimming with ideas of your own.
A trip to Saltspring Island is perfect for those interested in hand-crafted artworks. Try staying in one of the great home stays Salt Spring Island has to offer. The peace and tranquillity of the Island makes it an ideal retreat, but make sure you pack light so you can return with all the objects you collect during your stay!
Images are from: Wikipedia Commons & 2sirius