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 lost in the moment, only to be snapped back to reality by the scent of pottery-firing mingled with the aroma of coffee brewing for our lunch break.
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 Watercolour Basics course 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 embroidery might be my next challenge.
Storyteller: Claire Nelson. Hometown: Toronto, ON
A coffee-lover and sunset-chaser, Claire is always on the go, searching out hidden spots and unique opportunities. Travelling is her way of gaining perspective and she sets out on each trip with the goal of embracing something new. When not sipping coffee, Claire can be found daydreaming about history-filled towns, boutique-lined streets, and breathtaking views.