Aqua Summer 2016

Page 1

Aqua Gulf Islands


august/september 2016 Volume 11, Issue 4

Bling Zing Artisans know how to have fun

bodega gallery: A Galiano Island treasure

KID STUFF: Summer expeditions, festivals & more

A r t s | f o o d | n a t u r e | P e o p l e | Fa r m s | r e c r e a t i o n

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Page 2 – AQUA – August/September 2016

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Servicing Victoria, Oak Bay, the Saanich Peninsula and now the Gulf Islands.

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Bling Squared Cute Glass makes everyone smile, PAGE 8

contents 28



Happy critters roam at Meadowmist Farm on Mayne, PAGE 14


Terri Bibby and SAORI weaving, PAGE 19 All ages ready to dance at the Salt Spring Music & Garlic Festival, PAGE 33 Finest of art and craft at Galiano's Bodega Gallery, PAGE 39


Keeping kids active on Salt Spring Island, PAGE 25 Pender 'boys' love their flying machines, PAGE 28


Atlas moth exhibit one of Victoria Butterfly Gardens' natural wonders, PAGE 34


Adina Hildebrandt and trifle from New Zealand, PAGE 45

Q&A 1-877-490-5593 106 Fulford-Ganges Rd. Page 4 – AQUA – August/September 2016

Valentina Atton, Pender author and performer, PAGE 46




Summer's for kids


here’s nothing like summer time when you’re a kid. Two experiences recently flung me back to blissful childhood summers. One of them was when I popped the first season’s handful of Lincoln Homesteader peas from my garden into my mouth. They tasted like pure happiness sown from the same rows in my family’s backyard garden. The second occurred when my husband Michael and I rode the Lochside Trail on our bikes one day last month. It’s been a few years since I hopped on a bike, but I felt like a carefree kid again, roaming the streets on my purple banana-seat mustang steed. Freedom! This summer seemed like a perfect time to highlight fun stuff for kids and adults on the islands. As the mom of a 10-year-old, Elizabeth Nolan shares insider knowledge about favourite kid spots and activities on Salt Spring, and also writes about the tropical magic of nearby Victoria Butterfly Gardens. Our cover story is about Neacol and Stanley Miller of

photo by michael murray

Editor’s Message

Bling Squared Cute Glass, who definitely have fun while cultivating awesomeness. Both they and Marcia Jansen's Comfort Food column subject, Adina Hildebrandt of Salt Spring Books fame, stress Salt Spring's virtues when it comes to raising a family. We also visit Joyce Kallweit’s Meadowmist Farm on Mayne Island, where gumboots of all sizes await visitors, and Salt Spring-based SAORI weaver Terri Bibby, who teaches the colourful craft to people of any age. A story on the Pender Model Airplane Club proves that it’s not only young folks who love playing with their toys, and Valentina Atton talks about her awardwinning Owl’s Dream book and the creative life. Our arts roster also includes Rolando and Kasumi Lampitoc of Galiano Island, and the Salt Spring Music and Garlic Festival, which is coming up soon on Aug. 6-7. Kathleen Horsdal’s article recounts the familyfriendly energy of last year's inaugural festival and the ways that will be pumped up even more in 2016. I can hardly wait! — Gail Sjuberg

Aqua Gulf Islands


This issue published July 27, 2016 Publisher: Amber Ogilvie Editor: Gail Sjuberg Art Director & Production: Lorraine Sullivan Advertising: Jennifer Lannan, Daniel Ureta, Fiona Foster Aqua Writers: Cherie Thiessen, Elizabeth Nolan, Gail Sjuberg, Roger Brunt, Hans Tammemagi, Marcia Jansen, Kathleen Horsdal Aqua Photographers: Jen MacLellan, Cherie Thiessen, Alan Bibby, Sean McIntyre, Hans Tammemagi, Marcia Jansen Cover photo of Neacol and Stanley Miller of Bling Squared Cute Glass by Jen MacLellan Aqua is published by Driftwood Publishing Ltd., 328 Lower Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 2V3 Phone: 250-537-9933 / Email: Websites:; Publications Mail Reg. #08149 Printed in Canada

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Crouse and Ray Colleran for brewing a perfect formula. The high school teachers from Salt Spring are the masterminds manning the taps of the Thirsty Islander, a mobile beer trailer that’s been popping up at all kinds of island events over the summer. “We like to think of it as an ice-cream truck for hipsters,” Colleran said of the converted 1973 horse trailer. The Thirsty Islander dispenses brews from Duncan’s Red Arrow Brewing Company, Salt Spring Island Ales, Phillips Brewing and Strange Fellows Brewing, as well as popular wines and cider from Salt Spring Vineyards and Salt Spring Wild. Visit • The Galiano Conservancy Association hosts its fourth nnual musical Walkalong for Learning fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 27. The event sees participants gather pledges to help young people attend the association’s environmental education programs. Direct donations can also be made. See for more information.

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Page 6 – AQUA – August/September 2016

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• Flamenco ensemble Fin de Fiesta is including the Gulf Islands on its Canadian summer tour. The group’s new Audacia show promises to “take audiences on a thrilling journey from flamenco’s traditional roots in the music and culture of southern Spain, all the way to its contemporary forms. Ancient rhythms meet avant-garde ideas and converge in an explosion of staccato guitar, haunting flute, stunning vocals and percussive footwork,” say organizers. Audacia is at the South End Hall on Galiano Island on Aug. 10, at Mayne Island’s Ag Hall on Aug. 11, at Fulford Hall on Salt Spring Island on Aug. 12 and the Pender Island Community Hall on Aug. 13. • Fans of fine art photography won’t want to miss Photosynthesis 2016 in the ArtSpring gallery. The exhibit opens with a reception on Wednesday, Aug. 24 and continues through Sept. 6. This year’s version features work from 16 photographers, three invited guest exhibitors and three sponsored Image from students. See www. Photosynthesis for a preview. 2016 • Good things happen participant when you trust your Alane instincts, and craft beer Lalonde. enthusiasts in the Gulf Islands can thank Dean

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Cover Story

The Bling Squared Cute Glass story By GAIL SJUBERG Photos by Jen MacLellan

It’s amazing what can fit inside a cubic-inch piece of sculpted molten glass.

When someone picks up a Bling Squared octopus necklace, a top-hat-wearing pig with a moustache or tiny bluebird earrings, they’re holding not only the result of geological forces and an artisan’s labour but an icon of optimism, pop culture, island lifestyle and, most importantly, relationships. I’m not exaggerating. Trust me. Neacol and Stanley Miller, co-founders of Bling Squared Cute Glass on Salt Spring, have created an attractive product line, certainly, but they offer their purchasers much more. Stanley talks about the special relationships they’ve become involved in because their work is a physical embodiment of people’s love for each other. “I know there are grandmothers who are giving these pieces to their granddaughters year after year, and someday that grandma will be gone, but these pieces will not . . . they won’t ever fade, even after 3,000 years.” Stanley and Neacol were touched when they heard how one of their "guys" — a particularly cute wobbly orange octopus — was so important to its owner she grabbed it off her mantle before her family's Fort McMurray home burned down in this spring’s devastating wildfire. Page 8 – AQUA – August/September 2016

“It was one of my favourites,” says Stanley. “I love that our work really makes people happy,” says Neacol. “We know people who have been in very bad places who got one of our pieces and it really helped them through . . . My message is that we want people to be happy. I want people to feel the guys are saying, ‘You are awesome’ to them. I want people to feel good about themselves looking at our work.” It’s true that you can’t help but smile when you look at a Bling Squared critter. They have elements of avatars and anime, a mix of innocence and mischief, and spur feelings of both hope and inexplicable mirth. It’s as if Stanley and Neacol have fused bits of their ebullient selves into the characters. “We are about inclusion, and spreading wonder and happiness and community,” says Neacol. The Millers have in fact created a solid community of Bling Squared fans. “It’s about having a relationship with your fan base or your friends who buy your product, and it really is creating a relationship with your collectors, as opposed to ‘I’m producing this and you buy it.’”

Above: Neacol and Stanley Miller in their studio. Previous page: Bling Squared penguin stacked on an ice cube. Other 'guys' float on all the pages.

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“I think our personalities work well online as well, and when we're chatting I think it's interesting because we're both weirdos, i guess.” — stanley MILLER

From top: A justborn octopus; Neacol works on the small torch; Stanley chooses some beads.

Page 10 – AQUA – August/September 2016

After watching the Millers work, either on their livecast, or at the Saturday Market in Ganges, it’s easy to see what they’re talking about. They pull safety goggles over their eyes, fire up the oxy-propane torch, grab some glass rods and beads and start bringing a colourful new character to life. They riff off each other’s humour and easily chat with market-goers and online Twitch followers. On the first Thursdaymorning Twitch cast I watch, Neacol shares initial attempts of otter and lemur characters made the night before and then creates a couple of dapper gentlemen pig dudes before leaving to pick up their daughters from school. Stanley uses the larger torch in the small studio space and at one point exclaims in a goofy voice, “I have a giant ball of glass!” I suspect his entertainment arsenal includes a variety of such voices. As their Twitch followers type in comments about what they’re making, Neacol and Stanley interact with them. “You two are the perfect example of what happens when nerds grow up,” writes someone named Jackie. Everyone who signs on and comments is acknowledged by Neacol and/or Stanley. It’s like having the friendliest possible tour guides on a mysterious mission. “We have a good time,” admits Stanley. “I think our personalities work well online as well, and when we’re chatting I think it’s interesting because we’re both weirdos, I guess. We don’t really have to try very hard to be interesting. It just sort of happens.” To celebrate their 100th follower on Twitch, Stanley donned a rabbit costume, Neacol wore a bunny hat and they made a series of characters in pink bunny suits (seen throughout this article). “It was hilarious,” says Neacol. Bling Squared got into having a livestreamed show

after a contact at a convention suggested it to them. Attending “cons” around North America is a huge part of their business. The day of our interview at their house they are getting ready to pack up a suitcase of merchandise for Stanley to take to the Anime Expo in Los Angeles. In the past year they've attended expos and conventions in Chicago, Seattle, New York, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver, where attendees express extreme passion and obsession for the pop culture art forms they celebrate. “I love having relationships with these people at the cons,” says Neacol. She tells a funny story about attending Victoria’s Gottacon convention for video-gamers. Stanley had gone there before and naturally made connections with several people, but it worked for her to attend one year instead. “There are these two women who are big fans of our stuff and always bought from us at Gottacon, and they knew I was going to be there. They spotted me at the booth from down the aisle and started screaming my name and running down the aisle and they were so excited to meet me. I was like, 'Gosh, I’m Victoria famous,'” she laughs.

Above: Johnny Panda and Geoffrey Giraffe on necklace chains, along with their character collector cards.


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Above: Ivy and Violet Miller play with their parents' Bling Squared lamb and penguin characters. At right: Exhibitor materials from conventions and expos.

Knowing the people who love and buy your artwork merges the creative and marketing processes, she explains. “I’d rather have a relationship with the people who end up with our work than not. It gives an authenticity to our whole process.” And you thought you were just buying a cute glass animal figurine with big blue eyes. The Millers started Bling Squared in 2008 as a hobby. They were both drawn to glass art and had taken a lampwork course together on Salt Spring, where they moved after deciding to abandon their solid, financially secure careers in the film industry in Vancouver. “We ditched everything in Vancouver and tried to make a go of it,” says Neacol, who just turned 37 and grew up on Salt Spring. “Our plan was to come, have some kids, fix up the house, and if we didn’t like it we would leave . . . We got pregnant right away, which we were grateful for. Now we have two kids here — Violet and Ivy — and the nice thing is that we can work from home and so we get a lot of time with the kids.” “We do really live this charmed and blessed life, and we can dress it up pretty nice,” adds Stanley, 40, who is originally from the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. “We look really good on paper,” says Neacol. “Not the finances, but everything else.” That includes owning a nice home surrounded by nature, living in a supportive and creative community with family and friends, being able to make one’s own schedule that considers their children, all while remaining “plugged in” to the wider, urban world because of their participation in the conventions and the internet. “We always say we have much less financially since we moved to Salt Spring, but our quality of life is unmatchable,” says Neacol. One contributing positive factor is the Saturday Market. Stanley says they love the market culture and how it includes opportunities for barter and other sharing. He recalls one transaction that took place near the lean beginnings of their full-time artisan career. An island man was visiting their table with his two daughters and a son. “His kids just loved the stuff. They were crawling all over the table, and he said, ‘I don’t think so kids, not unless he wants to trade for deer meat,' and I was like, 'Bing! I’m your man. Talk to me!' “He went home and brought back a Styrofoam cooler and said, ‘I brought you way more but don’t worry, I just like that you like it.’” The Millers have steadily grown their Bling Squared Cute Glass fan/friend base and this year were able to add character cards with stories about their guys, something they’re really excited about because it not only expands their intellectual property but draws on other aspects of their creativity. Any number of other possibilities could be just around the corner, too, and they can’t help but feel optimistic. They note how they came of age in a time of negativity in the early 1990s, but they both feel positive about life, art, current pop culture and where the world is going now. “We want to keep promoting, keep creating, keep producing light and love and all the things that are good in the world, and we do that through our work. It’s how we live our lives,” says Stanley. Neacol adds: “I have a lot of confidence in technology. I have a lot of confidence in people becoming better, but I just feel like . . . 'light and love' . . . they have this negative connotation because they sound so flaky, but that is what we have to work with and that’s what we are looking for.” The Millers can and do make almost any kind of character, from dragons to rabbits to whales to puppies — and zombie or vampire versions of just about all of them. If it's fun, cute or a little bit crazy, they can make it!

Connect with Bling Squared Cute Glass online at, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitch, on Etsy, in the Saturday Market on Salt Spring Island, and craft shows and fan expos throughout North America. Page 12 – AQUA – August/September 2016


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For the Love of Lambs Mayne Island’s Meadowmist Farm BY CHERIE THIESSEN Photos by Sean McIntyre, except as noted

Page 14 – AQUA – August/September 2016


hen Joyce Kallweit stepped off the ferry at Mayne en route to Tsawwassen from visiting a friend on Salt Spring, she was seduced. “I had never been here before, yet before I knew it I found myself looking at a property below Mount Parke with a shack and a trailer that came with an old Ford tractor, a home-made wood splitter, three dozen old chickens, half a dozen sheep and an old dog. I said to the couple who were anxious to sell: ‘Can I come back and stay overnight with you? I need to wake up here to know whether it’s right for me.’” They agreed, she did, and she bought. It was 1988 and she tells my friend Cathy and I that she was running away from home at the age of 50. “That first visit was in May. I moved in in July.” The 23-acre parcel she bought had originally been part of Dalton Deacon’s farm. A Mayne Island pioneer from the late 1800s, Deacon's enormous acreage near Village Bay was subdivided in 1967.

Kallweit had an enormous amount of work to do. The soggy valley floor needed drainage, it needed fencing, it needed a barn and she needed a house. These were daunting tasks for someone who was tasting independence for the first time after 31 years of marriage. “I was initially in the shack with a 26-foot trailer attached, and only cold water and an outhouse — no septic. There was a shell of a sheep shed, a dilapidated henhouse, woodshed and a few fruit trees.” The house came one and a half years later. “It was on an adjacent property that I bought, a small, bare-bones unfinished cottage but a big improvement to have a real bathroom with a real tub and shower. Over the years I had a deck built around the cottage and have now weatherized it with good windows and doors, a new roof and a new porch and finally the interior has been finished and is warm and cozy.” The spry senior, well into her 70s, had never farmed before but took to farming like a lamb to a bottle. It seems to have suited her. Energetic and agile, she has no problem climbing over fences or under gates, catching shy lambs or crouching to be a surrogate mother. That’s how we found Kallweit this past February when we arrived in the rain and mud, down at the barn bottle feeding three-day-old lambs who had the misfortune of being born to a mother who appeared to have no interest in or milk for her new family. But perhaps not a misfortune after all, as they seem to be quickly learning to follow their two-legged provider with shaky legs and eager mouths. “In the past when it was time for the ewes to give birth I would bring my sleeping bag down to the barn in case there are problems,” she tells us. “But now I have a baby monitor down here.” Her sheep are a Romney and Suffolk cross and provide meat for food and fibre for wool. The wool, which is sent to Alberta for processing, returns reincarnated into socks, slippers, berets, bicycle covers, rugs, yarn, felt and more. Her goats are a Saanen and Nubian cross, good dairy breeds producing milk, cheese and a meat called chevon. Interestingly, the little animals are also bred as pack goats, able to carry one third their weight. From top, at right: Manley Stanley the peacock, named for an old friend who, like the peacock, used to drop by unannounced for coffee; one of the many Romney-Suffolk cross lambs born on the farm this year; and Flo the goat, who was named for a naughty limerick. Previous page: Joyce Kallweit at the entrance to her Merryman Drive property.

August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 15

“My most wonderful Christmas present from my children two years ago was a new motor for my ancient wood splitter.” — Joyce Kallweit

Page 16 – AQUA – August/September 2016

Above: Joyce Kallweit on her trusty tractor. At left: Joyce with some of the many fleece and wool products available to purchase at Meadowmist Farm.

photo by cherie thiessen

She also raises chickens and sells eggs, some of them green (from the Araucana hens, a breed from Chile). The farm is also home to peacocks and, sporadically, pigs, when the goats’ milk is in large supply. These three babies today are sporting Laura Ashley designer jackets, made of cashmere no less. Kallweit shows us how she cut up one of the sweaters from her old life into three little warm garments to help the tiny critters keep warm in the cold weather. How many women do you know who can get excited about a wood splitter? “My most wonderful Christmas present from my children two years ago was a new motor for my ancient wood splitter,” Kallweit enthuses. She hires help on island when she needs it, but surprisingly doesn’t seem to need it all that often. Someone needs to stay at the farm when it’s time to load up the animals and take them on their final journey to the abattoir, however. Sometimes that’s been to Saturna, but although very close, the ferry schedule makes that trip more difficult now, so it’s usually either Salt Spring or Metchosin. In addition to providing food and wool, the farm also provides fun for families. For a small charge guests are invited to visit, to commune with the animals and see how a small farm operates, and they seem to come from around the world and come often. A row of rubber boots in all sizes considerately waits on the front porch for city folk to slip off their fancy shoes and heels and get attired for farm life. Then when it’s time to return the boots, there’s the shop to visit to check out the myriad wool products and silky goat's-milk soap. Who doesn’t need socks and who doesn’t like buying locally? This farmer, who says if she had to do it all over again she wouldn’t change a thing, loves her life. Mayne, she says, is a place of healing and peacefulness with a strong community holding it all together. She tells me that what she cherishes most are her family: “I have three wonderfully supportive children: Kip, Karen and Dean, and five grandchildren, all of whom have participated in farming activities and fall fair parades.” Because she had never lived alone before, she also loves her independence and, of course, there are her animals. “There are now 20 lambs from nine ewes with six ‘ladies still in waiting.’ This is the first year my flock has had more than one set of triplets . . . My barn will be crowded!” When I ask her how supportive the community has been, she gets enthused again: “The couple from whom I bought the farm introduced me to two important people, a ‘tractor guy,’ Harry Burr, and a lovely social lady friend, Wanda Pietrzak, who could answer whatever questions I might have. Betty Klatt was the postmistress in 1988 and she also helped with my many queries. I quickly met people when I helped with haying and got involved with the fall fair parade. My first winter found me struggling with frozen pipes, trying to thaw them out with a hairdryer, and dealing with a goodly snowfall. I recall with great appre-

ciation the thoughtfulness of Doug and Ann McNeil, and Brian and Mary Crumblehulme, who ventured down a mile of unplowed road to ensure that this relative newcomer was safe and sound.” On our magical islands it’s not hard to find people who are where they want to be. They glow with a different kind of light. Meadowmist Farm’s owner is one of them.

Websites: Meadowmist Farm: Getting here via B.C. Ferries:

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Weaving from the Heart Terri Bibby’s infectious love of the SAORI craft By ROGER BRUNT Photos by Alan Bibby

Above: The Loom Dancers group of visiting weavers with their colourful SAORI pieces created at a retreat led by Terri Bibby on Salt Spring Island. At top: Terri weaves at Southey Point. The portability of the SAORI loom is one of its advantages.


he origins of the SAORI style of weaving taught on Salt Spring Island read like a Zen koan. In fact, the philosophy of Zen is central to its very existence. The story goes like this: Misao Jo, the founder of SAORI, decided to become a weaver when she was 57 years old. Born in 1913 in Osaka, Japan and now 102 years old, Misao began her new vocation after raising a family and teaching ikebana (Japanese flower arranging). One day she was weaving an obi, a kimono sash, and showed it to her teacher. “This is no good,” the teacher informed her. “You have made a mistake.” Misao knew she had made a mistake, but she liked its effect and had intentionally not corrected it. Thinking about what her teacher had said, she went back to her loom and made a second obi. It not only incorporated her “mistake” but repeated it over and over again. Showing this new piece of fabric to her teacher, she was told, “This is a beautiful and very original design.” And so the SAORI style was born. Terri Bibby, of SAORI Salt Spring, explained all this to me as she demonstrated the technique on one of the looms (and even let me try it) in her north-end studio so full of multi-coloured cones of thread and swatches of hand-woven fabric it was like being in an Oriental bazaar. Bibby has the only studio in Canada that teaches this particular style of weaving. She told me, “SAORI is a word incorporating two Japanese words. The 'SA' of SAORI has the same meaning as the first syllable of the word 'SAI' found in Zen. It means ‘Everything has its own dignity.’ The August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 19

word ‘ORI’ means ‘weaving.’ To take this to its logical conclusion, in SAORI, as in life, there are no mistakes, only teachings, which is the ultimate Zen perspective.” SAORI is a style of hand weaving that emphasizes creativity and free expression. There are no rules, just an immersion into weaving and a spontaneous working with yarn and threads. This technique is meditative in nature and aims to build self discovery from the process and the resulting textiles. If this sounds

very esoteric, it’s actually as simple as taking a basket of yarn and choosing the colours that appeal to you. “In this way,” Bibby says, “I believe the process is very intuitive. Many times I have watched as a weaver selects colours for the loom that are very close to the colours of the clothes they are wearing at the time. It’s as if they have said to themselves without even realizing it, ‘I feel red or brown or blue today.’” Anyone can enjoy SAORI. In fact, it is said that the less you know about weaving the easier it is to explore. Even beginners can create a completely unique hand-woven textile. For this reason SAORI is practised by art therapists, in hospitals, for meditative sessions, in schools, by people with disabilities, and by textile and fashion designers worldwide. More than 40,000 people weave in the SAORI way in Japan, and SAORI has a global network of teachers, studios and authorized product dealers. Bibby is one of these.

Page 20 – AQUA – August/September 2016

The SAORI style of weaving came to North America in 2000. Bibby first saw it in 2005 at the Cowichan Fleece and Fiber Festival. “I had been a traditional weaver for 20 years. As soon as I saw SAORI I knew it’s what I wanted to do. I came home and cut the fabric I had been working on off my loom. I just couldn’t continue in my old style, and I have never gone back.” The SAORI looms are small and portable, and designed to free the hands so weavers can select colours and create patterns without having to think about the mechanics involved in the weaving process. One of the main tenets of the design of the innovative SAORI loom is to “get the loom out of the way.” There are no technical things to remember and a weaver does not even have to know what a weft or a warp is. SAORI looms are unique in this way because most conventional small looms require weavers to hand operate levers for every row. SAORI looms are foot powered. Each loom uses a boat shuttle for a simple, smooth, efficient weave rhythm. Bibby chants a helpful rhyme as I try to attain this rhythm: Weave. Beat. Switch your feet. Only three simple steps to a world of possibilities. Another thing that sets SAORI apart from other types of weaving is that it can be a social and community-building style of weaving. Because no measuring or counting is required, the weavers are free to talk and share stories as they work. One of the principles of SAORI weaving is that group members learn from each other. Bibby hosts workshops for up to 10 people (or four in her studio) and the room is often buzzing with the sounds of the looms, talking and laughter. The textiles created on a SAORI loom can be used for clothing, bags, scarves, banners, etc. Following the “simple is better” philosophy, the idea is to have minimal waste in making garments. The fabric doesn’t have to be cut, but squares and rectangles can be draped directly onto the body, then sewn into a one-of-a-kind origami-style garment. On the day I

visited Bibby she was wearing a lovely red and earth-tone top made on her SAORI loom. She told me that the process that went into the design of this piece of clothing is just as much a part of Zen as the creation of the material itself. “When I created this piece of cloth,” Bibby told me, “I really liked it but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make with it. I took it to the house where it became a wall hanging. It hung there for a full year before I knew what it wanted to be. In this way, being a SAORI designer is a bit like being a cloth whisperer.” Likewise, Bibby showed me a bag that encompassed a pair of pants for a lining, complete with pockets and draw string. “One morning I woke up and I just knew what this particular bag wanted to be,” she said. “This is a completely organic process that springs from the unconscious ‘with eyes that shine through beauty.’” For those not quite as creative who need a pattern to work from, SAORI Japan has published books with clothing patterns. Any of these patterns can be adapted and modified to your own designs. Bibby teaches SAORI workshops for all ages and retreats for adults. She uses only SAORI looms and offers students books and equipment from Japan. Every year she and her students and the public weave a long peace banner that is sent to Hiroshima for an event called SAORI Peace Weave. The one she showed me was at least 15 feet long, consisting of bands of colour that each person had created. The result is a rainbow of colours symbolizing peace and harmony. “I have many students from as far away as Indonesia, New Zealand and all over the United States, and also from across Canada,” Bibby told me. “We have a guest cottage on the property and a visit here to learn SAORI weaving is a form of retreat. Students may not realize that when

they arrive here, but they are certainly aware of it by the time they leave.” A number of workshops and retreats are coming up, with all the information available at “I love to share SAORI and let people experience the creativity themselves and make their own unique weaving. Probably the thing that is most evident talking to Bibby about SAORI is her contagious enthusiasm for what she does. A quote from Misao Jo sums that up perfectly: “Because everything has the same life, life cannot be measured by a yardstick. It is this individuality that makes everything meaningful and the uniqueness of each thread that creates the tapestry of life.”

“I had been a traditional weaver for 20 years. As soon as I saw SAORI I knew it’s what I wanted to do.” — TERRI BIBBY

Above and at left: SAORI weaving samples. At right and below: Terri with one of the peace banners made as a community project. Previous page: Terri coaches a child at Ruckle Farm Day.

August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 21

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Family Fun

A Salt Spring summer is full of fun & ice cream By ELIZABETH NOLAN Photos as credited

Almost every summer during the past decade I’ve been fortunate enough to have my best friend from high school visit Salt Spring Island with her children. Our other dear friend also lives on Salt Spring, so we both take the week off for an island “staycation.” Although the non-islanders now live in Luxembourg, all three of us have enjoyed seeing our kids grow up together. Our favourite activities might be equally enjoyed by other visitors looking for some summer tips.

photo by jen maclellan


The local kids I know want to spend all their time swimming, and since they are in the water for hours at a time, they seem to prefer lakes to the ocean. Visitors are often shocked at the postcard-sized public beach at St. Mary Lake, but this is an extremely popular spot for local families. Youngsters happily dig in the sand at the water’s edge and children with good swimming skills head out to the float. August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 25


photo by jen maclellan

Other family-friendly lakes include the favourite south-end hang-out at tiny Stowel Lake, while Cusheon Lake is both mid-sized and centrally located. The latter doesn’t have much for smaller children, though, and the dock is in need of repair. All of the above locations have outhouses. Bring plenty of snacks and water and you’re set for the day. Vesuvius Beach is the hands-down favourite (and warmest) ocean beach and the place to see amazing sunsets. The heat can be unmerciful on really warm evenings, though, so bringing an umbrella is a good bet. The beach is sandy but has lots of shells, so water shoes are also recommended. Also served by an outhouse. Rainbow Road Indoor Pool is open six days a week and has the added bonus of showers and a hot tub!

Page 26 – AQUA – August/September 2016

Above: Island Fruitsicles stand in the Saturday Market. At left: Vesuvius Beach, which is the warmest ocean swimming beach on Salt Spring. Previous page, from top: St. Mary Lake, and a fruitsicle seller.


Kids don’t always relish a hike without something interesting to explore at the end. Not the best for swimming but lovely to visit are Ruckle Park, the Jack Fisher Trail at Southey Point and Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park. Great views can be found on Mount Maxwell and Mount Erskine. The latter is more challenging to summit but can be fun for a group. Channel Ridge has a nicely numbered trail system with “choose your own adventure potential” and a couple of viewpoints.

Mouat Park is right on the edge of Ganges and has some wonderful large trees. It's nice for getting some shade on really hot days or a little cover if it’s raining.

we both take the week off for an island “staycation.” — ELIZABETH NOLAN


Many of Salt Spring’s most popular day camps — fiddle camp, junior sailing and Gulf Islands Centre for Ecological Learning — are full long before summer arrives, but Salt Spring Parks and Recreation Commission programs often have good availability. Drop-in registration is offered for its Camp Colossal day program where every day has a different theme and ends with a swim at the Rainbow Road Indoor Pool.


Kids obviously like to eat ice cream, and there are plenty of locally made options to choose from. Try: • Salt Spring Ice Cream at the Saturday Market or Country Grocer. • Goat-milk gelato at Salt Spring Cheese Farm on Reynolds Road. • Salt Spring Gelato and sorbetto at Harlan’s Chocolates and Gelato. • Many shops carry Salt Spring Fruitsicles, with delicious varieties made with cream, yoghurt or without dairy. They're also at the Saturday Market and special events like the Salt Spring Fall Fair. • “Real food” snack options include fruits and veggies from the island’s many farm stands, or stock up on healthy treats like Japanese rice balls from the Tuesday and Saturday markets. Several food carts have recently popped up in Ganges serving the full range from healthy to decadent, meaning organic local greens to gourmet tacos to multiple flavours of poutine. • The Salt Spring Cheese Farm also has a great product tasting spot and pizza cafe, farm animals for the kids to enjoy and windows for watching cheese-making in process.

Above: Exploring Ruckle Park tidal life. Below: Goats on the grounds of Salt Spring Cheese Farm.


• Wisdom of the Earth, a local organization that promotes fostering deeper connections with the natural world, will offer two outdoor nature camps this summer. There might still be room to register in the Way of the Wild day camp running Aug. 15 to 19. Kids aged nine to 14 are invited to explore the outdoors through hands-on activities, nature-based games, songs, storytelling and adventures. • Island Escapades. Teens and more adventurous youth can find a range of programs from day camps to overnight kayak and surf camps through Island Escapades, including an Aug. 14 to 20 Overnight Kayak Camp. • Also see the Salt Spring Parks and Recreation Commission's Leisure Guide, the Salt Spring Arts Academy, Workshops on the Rock and the Salt Spring Public Library for other events and programs.


Other Options

August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 27


Pender Electric Flyers and their gear at a weekly gathering.

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Pender boys love their electric toys STORY & PHOTO BY HANS TAMMEMAGI

Page 28 – AQUA – August/September 2016

Model airplanes of several shapes and sizes buzz back and forth above my head. Some glide elegantly, while others are performing loop-theloops, barrel rolls and other elaborate stunts. It’s like a miniature air show on a glorious sunny day. Suddenly one plane, a highly acrobatic Extra 300, veers out of control, spirals downward and crashes hard into the turf. Wayne McNab, who was flying the bird using a hand-held radio-transmitter control, shakes his head and says, “Drat, a gust of wind caught her.” He walks onto the field and retrieves the plane, now with a broken wing and a gaping hole in the fuselage. “No problem,” he says, “I’ll have her fixed in a few days.” Just another minor setback at the Pender Electric Flyers weekly meet. A small windsock flutters by the fence, the only clue that every Sunday afternoon this field next to the community centre on Pender Island doubles as a miniature airfield. Six men are lined up along the fence, each with a few planes at their feet, and several are gazing intently skyward as they take their planes through their paces using what look like video-game controls. I inspect the planes, amazed at the different shapes, which range from helicopters to something looking like spiders, called quads, to regular planes. The smallest are only a few inches in size and weigh less than an ounce. The largest in the club is a quarter-scale Piper Cub with a nine-foot wingspan. One interesting aircraft looks like a jet fighter and flies with a small electric-driven impeller inside the body to simulate a jet motor. There are even a few float planes, which take flight on Magic Lake. Most of the aircraft are assembled from kits, but some club members build the models from scratch. Bob Gilbert, the owner of the Piper Cub, explains that the club has

The Pender Electric Flyers club began in 2011 after Gilbert posted about 20 members. “Each member owns about a dozen planes,” he says, a notice seeking fellow enthusiasts. Flying model airplanes is popular “but only about three are in working condition at any given time, due to and there are 55 clubs in British Columbia, although the Pender club repair work after crashes and ongoing upgrades.” is the only one in the southern Gulf Islands. The club is informal with Some Sundays, the club also flies in the school gymnasium. It’s quite minimal bureaucracy. A set of safety rules has been adopted and the a sight to see model planes soaring about in such an unexpected, and club carries insurance. Four members, McNab, Henderson, Gilbert and limited, locale. Smaller planes are in their element here, especially since there is no wind. There is also no noise as the battery-powered planes are Jeremy Harwood, serve as an informal executive. Only electric, that is, almost silent. A colourful quad, decorated with bright flashing lights, flits battery-powered, planes are allowed; gasoline-powered models are very noisy and can be a fire hazard, an important consideration in the dry back and forth. Another model does all kinds of stunts, including, by acPender summers. cident, almost a slam dunk into a basketball net. Occasionally, the planes What kind of person builds and flies model airplanes, I wondered? get stuck high in the top beams, requiring long poles to extricate them. All members of the Pender club are men, I discovered. All but one are Of course, these “boys with toys” embrace the latest electronic gadretired. Most of the club members getry with enthusiasm. Several of the have career backgrounds involving models have cameras mounted on electronics, flying and/or computer them and the operator can control the technology. plane while watching a small computer McNab has taken a giant step bescreen or by wearing special goggles. In — GLENN HENDERSON yond normal club activities and makes other words, these planes are drones. model plane kits in his state-of-the-art workshop. His kits, which are at the In model-airplane jargon, it’s called First Person Viewing, or FPV. The cutting edge, have sold around the world. McNab uses computer-aided view is as though you’re sitting in the cockpit. design software to drive a laser that cuts the balsa-plywood composite. As The cost of a flyable model airplane varies depending on size, complexity and quality of the plane, but starts from below $100 for the body. I watched, the laser beam was invisible, but smoke curled from the cut it made accurately and quickly. The kit airplane, called the Gemini 1, sells for The motors and electronic control system are a few hundred dollars, but $400 (no electronics), has a 12-foot wingspan, weighs 20 pounds and can one control system can be used for several different planes. The lithiumfly for about two hours. This is designed to be a working drone. polymer batteries give about five minutes of flying time, so many are “I’m currently building the next generation, a Condor,” said McNab. “It’ll needed. With each member owning about a dozen planes, the hobby can have a 15-foot wingspan and be capable of carrying a 10-pound payload.” be expensive. As Glenn Henderson says, “Our models help us keep up These magnificent men and their flying machines are impressive. with our wives on spending.”

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Clockwise from top left: 2015 festival scenes, including Chilliwack performing; random play; winged costumes.

Bring on the Happy Feet! O Lots for all ages at 2nd annual Salt Spring Music & Garlic Festival By KATHLEEN HORSDAL of the Salt Spring Music & Garlic Festival committee Photos by Jen MacLellan

ne thing that surprised many attending the first Salt Spring Music and Garlic Festival last year was just how kid-friendly and family-welcoming the whole event was. A sweet memory is the image of multi generations — grandparents with sons, daughters, grandbabies and young sprouts — playing or dancing together in the open fields while listening to an eclectic variety of “feel good” music in the dusky, late-afternoon sunlight. Music directors of this year’s festival — myself, Trish Nobile and Jeff Chamberland — have brought in Main Stage acts that will appeal to all tastes and ages with the vision of this memory, a field full of happy feet, wiggling, tapping, dancing. And this year, on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and 7, even more activities will be available for kids with their families and the proverbial “inner kid” in all of us. Firstly, all children under 12 years old are free admission (accompanied by an adult). The Paradise Within Farm field on Musgrave Road has been improved

and levelled so it’s easier to walk or push four-wheeled strollers. We are happy to have the return of the effervescent Angela Brown with her beautiful winged costumes to be followed by a delightful parade of costumed kids. There will be a drop-in art tent for all young artists, and watch for stilt-walkers, dancers and students from local circus and aerial groups. The festival also welcomes Terry Hand’s amusement rides: the popular Castle Bouncy Slide, the Swing Circle Ride and a Bullseye Gallery, with prizes of course. The antique Bickle fire truck (with real firefighters to help kidlets sit aboard) will be parked for photo selfies, and we have a call out to fill a corralled section with gentle farm animals for petting. We will also welcome roving illusionist Joel Eddington, a bornand-bred Salt Spring magician who’s been performing around B.C. since the age of 12. His primary passion is “close-up magic,” creating moments of astonishment with cards, coins and borrowed objects like garlic bulbs. His latest exposures have been the River Rock Show Theatre, and recently on TV for LG phones.

Also new at the 2016 festival: • The solar-powered Arvid Stage will be a more intimate audience space with emphasis on community talent and interactive workshops. This stage will go “live” the moment the main-stage act exits. Expect 15-minute pop-up performances, but anything can happen as spontaneity rules. • A demonstration from professor Norman Stanfield on playing the pipe and tabor. • Island musician Marianne Grittani will offer a uke workshop for young, old and in-betweens on Sunday afternoon at 1:15. • In the spirit of Arvid and an old town-square tradition, The “S.S. SoaPBoX” will debut around the dinner hour on both days. • Even more food venders will set up in a new, stroll-friendly configuration, with something for everyone’s grumbly tummy in the family. For more information, schedule and tickets, see Tickets are also on sale at Island Savings Credit Union, Salt Spring Clothing Co., Steffich Fine Art, Salt Spring Sound, Rock Salt Restaurant and Salt Spring Mercantile.

August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 33



in a Lifetime

Victoria Butterfly Gardens celebrate the beautiful and rare BY ELIZABETH NOLAN Photos courtesy Victoria Butterfly Gardens

Page 34 – AQUA – August/September 2016


he Gulf Islands have plenty of recreational activities to enjoy during the summer, but sometimes a grey day does occur or a change of pace is appreciated. The Victoria Butterfly Gardens is the perfect place to warm up on a cool day and enjoy a mini vacation in a 12,000-square-foot tropical ecosystem. Located near the famous botanical Butchart Gardens in Saanich, the indoor Victoria Butterfly Gardens offers a unique opportunity for people of all ages to experience a jungle environment up close. The facility is home to a wide variety of rescued tropical animals and thousands of free-flying butterflies.

There are up to 75 tropical species on site, including 3,000 butterflies, with species sourced mainly from the Philippines and Costa Rica. This season visitors might be most thrilled by an insect that they won’t see in flight. “We’re very, very excited this year because we’re going into the summer with a very healthy Atlas moth population,” says gardens manager Kurtis Herperger. “Right now we have hundreds and hundreds of caterpillars in mature stages, so we’re very confident that any time you visit the gardens you can see one of the world’s largest moths and one of the world’s largest caterpillars.” With a wing span of up to 26 centimetres (12 inches) and markings that resem-

ble snake heads at its upper wing tips, the Atlas moth is an impressive species that’s normally found in Malaysia. Like most moths it is nocturnal and therefore will be sleeping during daytime hours. Visitors may see the giant moths mating while they snooze in viewing cases. Atlas caterpillars are also on view, which Herperger describes as looking something like a green, spiky smokie. The experience is one the public is not likely to replicate in other facilities for a long while. Herperger explains that in the wild, the Atlas moth caterpillar can stay in its cocoon for up to five years. Once hatched, the moth might be alive for only three to five days. The short window for mating makes the export business a difficult one at the best of times. Supplies have now been almost completely halted due to record heat spells in South East Asia that hurt populations in the wild. “Everything you see in the gardens we’ve raised in house. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these creatures. They’re incredible,” Herperger says. With many of the species raised by gardens staff, visitors can enjoy the educational component of witnessing the full life cycle in stages from egg to flight. The emerging window is the place to see imported

Above: Black and white helicon on an angel trumpet flower. At right: Blue morpho butterflies at the gardens. Previous page: One of the beautiful pond areas.

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chrysalids as they transform into waking butterflies and moths. The facility releases from 600 to 1,000 new creatures each week to keep up the population. Some popular guest favourites are the blue morpho, with its hypnotic iridescent blue wings, and the giant owl butterfly. This species has evolved to have markings on its wings that look exactly like owls to would-be predators like birds and small lizards. The key to creating butterfly habitat is growing the plants the insects naturally feed on. Herperger is a biologist who learned the ins and outs of insect breeding during his 14 years at the gardens, but he started off in the horticulture department. “We’re always growing our plants for the next six months ahead,” he says. The “foods of the world” component includes organic vanilla beans growing on the vine, papaya trees, pineapple, coffee beans, ginger and many other food plants flourishing in their natural habitat. In Butterfly Alley, butterflies feed on nectar plants and fruit. The gardens also host carnivorous plants, stunning floral blooms and thousands of rare and endangered tropical plants. A visit any time of year will yield sights of free-flying tropical birds and other jungle species such as ducks, flamingos, poison dart frogs, tortoises, turtles and giant koi. None of the birds and animals are in cages, and none have been sourced from the exotic pet market. The gardens strictly bring in rescue animals that need a good home and are a good fit with the centre. “If you look up into the tree you might see one of our huge iguanas. We also have a group of big red-footed tortoises from Colombia. Both are long-lived creatures and are frequently abandoned as pets,”

Above: An Atlas moth, which can have wingspans of up to 26 centimetres or 12 inches. At right: Atlas moth caterpillar. Victoria Butterfly Gardens has a huge Atlas moth population this year.

Herperger says, noting the centre uses the opportunity to educate the public about the unsuitableness of such animals as house pets. Admission hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Once inside, visitors can explore until 5 p.m. Family and group rates are available. For more information, see

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Island Artists

Inspired by Nature

I Kasumi and Rolando Lampitoc of Galiano’s Bodega Gallery BY CHERIE THIESSEN Photos by Cherie Thiessen, except as noted

t’s a story right out of Harlequin Romance: Rolando, born in the Philippines but an immigrant to Canada with his family when he was a boy, meets Kasumi, a Japanese student in Canada on a working holiday visa. It was 1992 and they were both on holiday, staying at the same hotel in Costa Rica. Rolando Lampitoc smiles, recalling that first encounter: “When I met Kasumi, I asked her where she was going and she said, ‘I’m just going to go to the beach to watch the sunset.’ It was so simple, so natural.” After the holiday, Rolando returned to Toronto where he lived and worked, and later, Kasumi also flew to Toronto, en route home to Japan. “So we spent my last day in Canada together,” she says. “After I went back to Japan, we wrote letters to each other and the following year I came back to Toronto and we met again. We married in 1995. I still have his letters.” Their love affair with Galiano Island, however, was still well in the future. It was November of 2010 when they packed up everything, including Rolando’s graphic designing career, and left Toronto, planning to visit friends on Salt Spring Island. “We did a lot of island hopping,” says Rolando. “We went to Pender, Denman, Hornby, Gabriola. Galiano was our last stop and we thought it was very serene and quiet — the opposite of what we came from.” August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 39

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Once they had arrived, he was sorry he had not given up his Toronto career and leapt full time into his lifelong passion sooner. “There’s so much learning to be done! Subconsciously I knew I would eventually end up being a full-time artist. My father was a proficient and established portrait artist, so I grew up surrounded by art and was encouraged to paint. I put off my art career, however, from my observations of my father’s ‘feast or famine’ lifestyle. It was Kasumi who encouraged me to quit my graphic design work and pursue art full time.”

“It’s just very comfortable to think about those things: the teapot and teatime.” — Kasumi Lampitoc

August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 41

photo by jen maclellan

From top: Kasumi Lampitoc's pottery in the kiln; Rolando Lampitoc's Girl Next Door painting; exhibit of Rolando's work at ArtCraft at Mahon Hall on Salt Spring. Page 39: Kasumi and Rolando and some of Kasumi's pottery pieces on display at their Bodega Gallery on Galiano Island.

photo by jen maclellan

Rolando has obviously inherited his father’s portrait art skills. “Look at this. This is what I’m working on now.” He brings over an emerging work that captures perfectly the pose and face of Huguette Benger, a long-time Galiano resident and previous owner of the popular Galiano restaurant, La Berengerie, and then shows me yet another portrait, a pen and ink with charcoal of his friend Peter Barrett. Self-taught and passionate about learning new techniques and skills, this artist defies any “branding.” His works and media are impressively varied, from the ancient art of encaustic painting, now enjoying a resurgence in popularity, to newer media like “shadow and smudge” charcoal. “They have all kinds of materials that are water soluble now, like graphite and even chalk, so it is easier to work with charcoal. It’s less irritating to the hands. I don’t want to be a specialist in any one thing. You know, people say,

Above: Rolando in the gallery with a pen and ink charcoal picture of his friend Peter Barrett. At left: Painting titled Forest Path. Next page: Rolando works on a portrait of Huguette Benger.

Page 42 – AQUA – August/September 2016

‘She’s a watercolourist,’ or 'She paints acrylics.’ I want to explore this and that.” On his website, the innovative artist writes: “It’s an ongoing trial-and-error to get the most by using less.” I want to know what he means, and he says, “I find that I want to get the impression across right away by using less. I don’t want to draw a really detailed painting. I want to take advantage of the medium, so with just a stroke hopefully people can get that impression. Here’s what I mean, look at this,” and he moves away again to get one of his newest works. “Sometimes we go for a walk by the charcoal pits. It’s always shadowy there, but sometimes the light shines on a single cedar, like in this piece, and that’s enough. This one is not even from a photograph, just from memory. What I did first was I wet the paper and when I put on the watercolour I just let it bleed all over the paper and then dry and then I put on the next coat, and that’s it. It’s less but you see more.” I ask him if he sometimes has to throw his work away because it doesn’t work the first time and he laughs. “Yes, a lot, because I want to get that certain stroke, and if it doesn’t work then I just keep going until I get it. I want to get that spontaneous impression. This one worked right away, though.” What we’re looking at is a stunning painting called Cedar Cathedrals, where the slashes of colour play with

the eyes and the mind. What you see is not nearly as much as you get. “It’s just one example of how I approach my drawings. I was influenced by Mies van der Rohe’s take on architecture: ‘Less is more.’” Looking at the painting again, Rolando smiles: “You know, when I first came to Galiano I was in a panic state. I looked at the forest and all the branches, leaves, organic matter and I thought, ‘It’s like spaghetti out here. How am I going to capture this?’ Then I just tackled it. Now I am getting a sense of how to work around these organic subjects. When I was in Toronto, my subjects were buildings: perspectives, horizontals, verticals. It was so easy.” With incredible devotion and a consistent work ethic, the artistic couple work on a daily schedule beginning after breakfast, both of them in a 400-sq.-ft. studio, which is almost half the size of their 900-sq.-ft. home. “And Rolando even has space in there,” says Kasumi. Then every late afternoon they break off to take a walk in the nature that so inspires them. Their tiny gallery also echoes their belief that less is more. Entering it is like going into a minute chapel. Full of light and beautiful objects, the room manages to instill a feeling of serenity and space, teasing the eye by taking it further in and then upward. When in her early 30s, Kasumi was encouraged by Rolando to attend Sheridan College in Ontario to take a ceramics major in a three-year craft and design program. This soon set her on her artistic path, and she was noticed. Creating functional and decorative pottery, she too finds her inspiration in the natural West Coast. Since graduating, her works have been represented in over 70 shows and exhibitions from across Canada and the United States, and locally, in shows like Salt Spring’s ArtCraft, Sidney’s Fine Arts Show and Victoria’s Out of Hand Artisan Christmas Fair, and in outlets like Granville Island’s Circle Craft. Her ceramics are also found in permanent collections like the Burlington Art Centre and the Canada Council Art Bank. She has also been the recipient of seven awards and grants. Like Rolando, Kasumi was interested in art at an early age. “When I was 10 I used my allowance to buy my mother a tea set because I just liked it, the feeling of pottery. I always have.” Perhaps it’s no surprise then that teapots are her favourite object to craft. “It’s nothing complicated. It’s just very comfortable to think about those things: the teapot and teatime,” Kasumi explains. I get that; living in the moment with happy memories for company, merging the past with the present, and by doing so creating something that is more than the sum of its parts. “Also, the teapot is one of the most challenging things for all potters because of all the parts that come together and have to become functional as well as beautiful, whole and perfect.” She uses three different types of clay: porcelain, stoneware and sculpture clay. “Each has its own character: porcelain is very smooth, stoneware has earthy feelings and sculpture clay is very rough on the hands.”

I ask Kasumi about the process of making a teapot. “I throw the body, lid and spout on the wheel. When the thrown parts are at leather-hard stage, I trim the bottom of the teapot body in order to make ‘feet.’ That’s done on the wheel with the pot upside down. I also trim the lid. Next I hand build the knob for the lid, the strainer (placed inside the pot) and the handle. I spend a lot of time on the spout, as it is such an important part. I pay a lot of attention to functionality and balance, seeing how much personality I can give each object.” Rolando leans in to comment. “Kasumi refuses to call her pottery 'art' as she wants to simply make utilitarian pieces for the user to enjoy the moment while using the pottery. The time and care she spends on each part is remarkable. The way she holds each piece and keeps perfecting how the teapot pours and how the mugs and bowls feel in her hands. Her pottery is almost more internal than external. More of a meditative process.” His partner nods shyly. “It is true I am not a production potter. I make three or four teapots in four days, so that is very slow. Then they go in the kiln, a fast firing called a bisque firing. After that I apply the glaze. I make my own liquid glaze and then do a final firing.” Her favourite time is when she is at the wheel. “It’s the time I really have to be at the centre of the process.” Quiet and thoughtful, the skilled ceramic artist does not see herself as creative. Perhaps she’s right. Perhaps there isn’t a label for the glowing, satiny objects she crafts: the mugs, bowls, pitchers, vases, candleholders and pots. I’d describe them as positive energy made lovingly and exquisitely three-dimensional. You want them. Kasumi says: “People from Toronto still contact me to make them things and ship to them. The ceramics that I made here now have their own life there. They are no longer a part of me but they still connect me with people I used to know. It is amazing that something I made with my hands and that is not with me anymore still has a life somewhere. I’m grateful for that connection.”

Websites: | August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 43

Comfort Food

Mom’s Trifle Reminder of a New Zealand childhood STORY & PHOTOS BY MARCIA JANSEN

You’d be surprised by how many different nationalities live on Salt Spring Island. And each one of them has their own comfort food.

Marcia Jansen is a Dutch journalist and writer who has lived on Salt Spring since 2012.

Adina Hildebrandt at Salt Spring Books.

Adina Hildebrandt was 13 years old when she moved from a rural town in New Zealand to Marpole, a suburb of Vancouver. The first year was a difficult one. She didn’t want to leave New Zealand in the first place as she was just in high school and had her first boyfriend. The change of scenery was huge and the other kids in class had difficulties understanding her accent. “I had a really rough time and my memories of that period are a blur,” recalls 50-year-old Adina. “I vaguely remember that I had a talk with my parents that first year about going back because I was in bad shape. But I am close to my family, my sister and brother, so that wasn’t a real option for me.” Adina’s parents had moved to Vancouver to be close to her father’s family. “My dad was a German immigrant, escaping the Nazis in the early ‘40s. His family settled in Vancouver, but he decided to travel the world and ended up in New Zealand where he met my mom. He had been away from Canada for 22 years when we moved to Vancouver. My parents told me it was a twoyear family adventure, but we never went back. For me, things got better after a year. I made friends and they literally saved me. Looking back on that time, I can say that it made me a stronger person. I learned what real friendship is about, that it is important to have friends in your life.”

Page 44 – AQUA – August/September 2016

Sixteen years ago, Adina came to Salt Spring Island with her husband Andrew and threemonth-old son Aidan. They looked around rural British Columbia for a new place to live and fell in love with Salt Spring. “I grew up in a place where everyone had a big backyard. In fact, ours was an old orchard with lots of fruit trees. As a kid, I left the house on my bike in the morning and at the end we of the day we went back home without my parents knowing where we had been. We went from one house to the other and played outside a lot. This changed when we moved to Vancouver and my parents became overprotective. Andrew and I wanted our kids to grow up in a different environment, not in a big city. Salt Spring reminds me of my hometown in New Zealand. It’s safe, a perfect place for kids,” says Adina who had daughter Chloe, now 13, on Salt Spring Island. The family looked for land on the island to build their own home but couldn’t find the right place. “The realtor was so desperate that he suggested buying the bookstore in town that was about to go under. When he mentioned that, Andrew and I both jumped up and said yes, looking at each other in surprise because we had never thought about that before. But it felt good. We planned to do it for five years and then sell the store, but it’s such a labour of love. I have an interesting conversation with someone in the store every day.”

In this age of digital reading, running a bookstore is not easy. “We are lucky. This island is full of intellectuals and thinkers, and they are still attached to the written word. And islanders are loyal. They like to buy locally to support the businesses on the island. So we never thought about selling the store. It is such a big part of who I am. It makes me happy, not rich, but that’s okay. We have a lifestyle that doesn’t cost a lot of money. We live totally off the grid in a hemp bale house, so we save money by keeping our footprint small.”

“The realtor was so desperate that he suggested buying the bookstore in town that was about to go under."

When Adina thinks back on her youth in New Zealand, she remembers the meat pies as her to-go snack. “They were everywhere and super cheap. And we had lots of barbecues, the whole year round, with family and friends. Those were big social events, very casual, with kids running around.” Her favourite recipe is her mom’s trifle. “She uses lots of full fat whipped cream and it’s much better than the English trifle. I love to cook, but I am not a baker like my mom. So I always love it when she makes it. And I am lucky that she and my dad, as well as my sister and brother, also moved to Salt Spring Island.”

— adina hildebranDt

Gloria Hildebrandt’s Trifle Ingredients: 1 sponge cake (homemade or bought) or white cake About ½ cup seedless raspberry jam (or other fruit jam) depending on serving bowl ¼ to ½ cup sherry (or fruit juice as a non-alcoholic option) One can (or fresh) pineapple rings or any other fresh fruit 2 cups custard (homemade or bought) Whipping cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Optional: crushed nuts (hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts) Cut the cake in half the way it fits in the serving bowl. Spread a thin layer of jam over the cake. Drizzle over half of the sherry or fruit juice. Drain pineapple and use half of the can to put on top. Add half of the custard. Repeat for a second layer. Beat the vanilla with the whipping cream stiffly. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with crushed nuts if desired. August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 45


photo BYjen maclellan

Valentina Atton performs at West of the Moon toy and book store on Salt Spring Island in 2015.

Child’s Play Author and performer Valentina Atton shares the dream You were born in the Ukraine and studied in Moscow before settling in Riga, Latvia, where you became known for your work as co-founder of Resonance and for your theatrical work. How did this start? A: Well, my first profession was actually in chemistry, working in Ukraine, Russia and Latvia, but in my heart I always knew I was an artist and that performing arts was my first love. I knew as well that I was good at finding and unifying other talented people, so when an opportunity came to have my own stage, the theatrical studio Lope-de-Vega was born. A few of us actors, musicians, dancers, artists and such soon became soul-mates creating our theatrical shows, which were interactive and full of surprises and whimsical humour, performing on our small stage and in the open air in towns like Olaine, Salaspils and Vangazi. Our kids grew up and we were inspired to produce a musical so children and adults could sing and dance on a stage together. Our dream came true when we got the funds, and we had a great success with our production of Pinocchio. It became a turning point for me and my studio, working with and for children. How magical it was! Searching for new ideas, I went through all my favourite children’s authors: Astrid Lindgren, Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, rediscovering some of the greatest children’s books ever. It was an exciting time, the era of children’s festivals, Mad Hatter tea parties and carnivals, and I felt that a big dream was about to be born: writing for children. Page 46 – AQUA – August/September 2016

Q: When you came to Pender in 2003 you continued to work with children, didn’t you? A: Yes. Before Pender I was involved in the annual Calgary International Children’s Festival, sharing my experience and learning. What I especially learned was face painting. I started to practise it in my own way as a “onewoman show,” creating fantastic sets and outfits at big community events here on Pender and in Saanich. I spent many long hours eye-to-eye, face-toface, heart-to-heart with children, and this is what activated my old dream, along with re-reading my favourite books in English while learning the language. And one day I heard a little voice: “Hi, my friend. Hi. So very high up in the sky I fly.” It was a butterfly who started to talk to me, then a bumblebee, then a tree frog. I remember feeling goosebumps and crying, “This is my book coming!” Q. Was it difficult to get your book Owl's dream published? A. I thought it would be impossible to get it published until many talented people (mostly from Pender, but some from Salt Spring Island too) stepped into this project to help me bring my dream to life. Well-known poets and writers, teachers, spiritual leaders, storytellers helped me with conceptual ideas and copy editing, proofreading, narrating, and so many helped me with the stage show. Magical coincidences and serendipities were happening all the time, bringing wonderful people my way, like Sophia Johnson, Owl’s Dream illustrator, and Iryna Spica, my book designer, and Daryl Chonka, my musician and recording engineer. Grace Jordan and Tim Kempe helped with the audio book creation. Jan Rabson narrated the story. Craig Paterson played his amazing native flute at the Old Growth Studio on Salt Spring Island where the recording was done. The audio now comes with the book as an MP3 download. You can check the YouTube ‘Touring with Owl’s Dream’ for the slide shows and our website for posters. You can see as well how easy it is to make costumes and sets, and how to stage your own show at home or at school, bonding parents and children and communities together. “Theatre is a collective art,” as Stanislavski said. Q. Do you have more books on the back burner? A. I have several fairy tales ripening in my heart: The Hummingbird Tale, Zillion Rainbows and Dove King. We’ll see what comes to me.

Be Water Savvy Use Only What You Need

Water is one of Salt Spring Island’s most precious resources. Please join islanders as we work together to ensure that this summer, and every summer, we use this limited resource wisely, and that we respect and protect our island watersheds. Try these handy water saving tips: Keep showers short. Use low-flow shower heads. If bathing, try a 1/4 tub only. Run only full loads in dishwashers and washing machines. Shut off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving, or washing up hands or dishes. Use low-flush toilets. Flush less often. Use a bucket to capture and reuse shower, bath and dishwater in your garden. Inform guests from the mainland about our islands’ limited water supply, and ask them to be please be aware of keeping consumption down.

Together EVERY water saver makes a difference.

North Salt Spring Waterworks District August/September 2016 – AQUA – Page 47


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