Come Wander
Art Workshops at the Haliburton School of the Arts

I was stuck. My body longed to leave my desk chair; my fingers itched to move over something more than a keyboard; and my mind dreamt of not having to constantly think; constantly problem solve. I love my job, but sometimes the monotony of the everyday feels a little crushing, a little controlling, and a little too strict. I needed a way to re-engage, to take a break from the everyday, let my creative juices flow and ignite a spark inside me.

I was searching for a creative outlet and discovered opportunities to play with the elements; the chance to dig my hands into thick, gooey clay; to jab hot molten blobs into shiny, sparkly pieces of glass; and to muse over a vast array of colours before slathering them onto an empty canvas, waking up my inner artist.

Shaping the Earth

Sometimes you need to disconnect from your regular life and find renewal in creating something. That’s exactly how I ended up at Earth and Fire Pottery in Minden. Here, I marvelled at the creations covering the studio and watched a man who hilariously calls himself the “Hairy Potter” (with that name, I doubt he ever feels stuck in his day job), create beautiful pottery. I couldn’t help but want to try for myself, so I let my creativity run wild with a workshop at Blackbird Pottery, where I literally shaped the Earth into stunning works of art. Instead of my keyboard, my fingers enjoyed the feel of cool damp clay as I discovered a new side of myself – the side that’s able to let go of being in control, and see what spontaneously unfolds. As I held, moulded, dampened, and spun shapes from materials long-used, I got truly lost in the moment and felt free.

Harnessing the Power of Fire

The closest I typically get to fire is the odd time that I try to barbecue on the tiny balcony attached to my apartment. But I embraced the power of fire in a whole new way in Tory Hill, and found myself amazed by its beauty and ability to forge during a visit to Artech Glassblowing Studios. Here, I watched hard glass heat to a brilliant orange, then suddenly transform before my eyes into a molten substance that resembled a balloon. When it was all over, I took home a stunning glass bowl I created entirely myself.

Beauty Within Water

I’ve always found water soothing. But I never expected the excitement and satisfaction I would feel as I watched the magic of water mixing with hard blocks of pigment and transforming them into murky flowing colours during a summer course focused on Botanical Drawing and Watercolour Painting at the Haliburton School of Art and Design. While I dragged the brush across the canvas, smelled the paints, took inspiration from my surroundings and let my mind explore, I was suddenly the “me” I wish I was seven days of the week: focused, alert and thrilled at the limitless possibilities that the day held. I returned to my job a more refreshed version of myself, with a thirst to do it all over again soon. The following weekend, I was still so hung up on my trip that I decided to look up their summer schedule online. Packed with courses that explore every form of art and craft you can imagine, I might just have to revisit the school to get a feel for something different – I’m thinking jewelry making or soapstone carving might be my next creative challenge.

Stories

Light Up the Holidays

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  When the holiday decorations go up in December the whole world begins to shimmer with magic. Every car ride or stroll is filled with wonder as we drink in the night filled with sparkling holiday lights of all colours. For the next […]

Local Love: 9 Local Gift Ideas You Can Order Online Today

‘Tis the season – for shopping. Yes, the leaves may have barely fallen from the trees but the jack-o-lanterns will shortly be switched out for ornaments and holly and the days are numbered before the holidays are here live and in person. This year when planning your shopping to-do list, we have two words for […]

Finding Good Medicine on Thunderbird Mountain

Having a guide can turn an everyday hike into the most amazing adventure. Although I’d hiked on my own in the past, making the hike with Tim Yearington of Bird Mountain Journeys wove together a story that allowed a deeper connection and different outlook on nature and history. It gave me a greater outlook on […]

Shiver-Worthy Spooky Spots

There’s something lingering in the air throughout October, leading up to the culmination of all things spooky on its final day – Halloween.   October starts with the summer’s lush canopy of green bidding a final farewell through a stunning display of vibrant colours. When the leaves die off and settle as a multi-coloured blanket on the forest floor, and the fog rolls in over the lakes and […]

Haunted Walks and Hair-Raising Ghost Tours

Have you ever wandered through an older building and felt the hair raise on the back of your neck, and not been sure why? It may be you are sensing something that others aren’t, some spooky aftereffect from a historical wrongdoing or the ghostly pinings of a disgruntled spirit. Many small communities in Ontario’s Highlands […]

The Artist’s Way

Who says art can only be found in big galleries or urban showrooms? To find fantastic local and Canadian art you need to head to the places that inspire artists to create, and Ontario’s Highlands is among the most beautiful places in Ontario (in our humble opinion). Beyond the inspiration found in the rugged hills […]

Big Attractions in Ontario

Are you the type to pull over when you see a comically large roadside attraction, or a picture-perfect spot to snap a few shots? Amateur photographers and Instagrammers alike can agree that a giant ice cream cone, a massive mural adorning the side of a building, or a full-size replica of a jet plane are […]

Ground to Glass

Discover how four craft drink makers harness Mother Nature’s flavours to elevate their beverages in Ontario’s Highlands.

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

This year the key to exploring is to keep it local; this is the time to explore our own backyards, and the regions close to home that have so much to offer us in the way of exhilarating outdoor experiences, fantastic food and drink, and blissful relaxation. If you’re exploring a new corner of Ontario’s […]

Dark Skies, Starry Nights

Have you ever wondered about the mysterious realm outside our planet? Maybe you’ve wanted to roam the galaxy, travel among the stars, and get a new perspective on the universe. For now, stargazing is as close to it as us ‘average humans’ can get! Luckily there are still places to getaway, where the view of […]

Get in Step

April Verch, fiddler, singer-songwriter and step dancer extraordinaire teaches the basics of stepdancing.

Exhale and Unwind

Experience a slice of farm life at Dwyer’s Farmhouse in the Ottawa Valley.

Discover Hidden Gems

Feed your curiosity and explore the diverse geology of Ontario’s Highlands at these Recreational Geology locations.

Shine at Giving this Holiday Season

Today’s craft markets are full of fresh, hip products made by creative and talented makers. This holiday season, go above and beyond by picking up handmade items with a story to tell at one of these Ontario holiday markets.

Art in the Summer

Celebrate creativity at art festivals across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

Batter up!

Get a behind the scenes look into the world of baseball at Sam Bat.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Find out where to appease your creative side on this Creative Cruiser road trip.

The Creative Cruiser

I’m a Creative Cruiser. I wander with a desire to feed my curiosity, to follow my passions, and to grow from my discoveries.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Hidden Gems

Seven charming museums in Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Visit the Petawawa Heritage Village, where you can step back in time and explore the lives of those who wandered long ago.

Where Am I?

Discover a rich history and an even richer geology at the Beryl Pit in the Ottawa Valley.

Where Am I?

Discover breathtaking beauty blasted from the Earth at Marmora Mine in Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Discover the story of the earth at the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville, Ontario.

Locals Know Best: Art & Culture

Discover the best spots to learn about the vibrant culture and hidden gems in Ontario’s Highlands through the locals themselves.