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  • Mark and Claire


It's September (suddenly mid-September!) and, for us, and about 60 other artists, September is all about preparing for the Gabriola Island Studio Tour. This is their 27th year taking over Thanksgiving Weekend, on our tiny island, with a wonderful fervour!

So here we are in our usual panic.

Mark is turning, I’m burning and we’re both baffled by the garden. This is our fourth year participating.

When we first moved to Gabriola, one of the first events we participated in (other than Scotch Club - because… Scotch Club!) was attending the Gabriola Island Studio Tour. A cold Thanksgiving Weekend with our Studio Tour Map, a car and a dog. We parked in little neighbourhoods, walked with our pup, Ella, and popped into as many Studios as we could. 42 out of perhaps 80 +? (We were very proud of ourselves and gave ourselves a day off to celebrate!).

The first Studio we went to was magical. I mean everything was magical; the artwork, the studio, the home, the garden. We were convinced that the next studio would never be able to live up to our 'first'. But it did. And so did the next. In fact, all of the studios claimed their own magic and wonder. It was exhilarating!

The following year, we applied to take part in this famous tour and to our relief, they accepted us. Now we are anticipating our fourth consecutive year as participants. It feels like a grand achievement, but we’re still babies compared to the Tour Veterans.

So what does September hold for us? We’re in the thick of turning and burning - and gardening when we have the chance. We generally reserve three weeks of September for product making and then we stamp bags, fill up on business cards and get a plan in the works. For the last couple of tours we have moved our “studio” outside to our front deck, under a 10 x 20 tent, which makes our space wheelchair accessible, but a bit chilly if it rains or blows a gale. Our challenge is to make people feel like their trip was worth the effort. Our hope is that they find the same sense of magic and wonder as they peruse our work and traipse around the garden as we did on our first year.

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