Norva Artist Retreat: Flin Flon, MB and Denare Beach, SK

I went to Flin Flon MB and Denare Beach SK for a week long artist retreat where I would be a guest artist and hosting a workshop. I had no idea what my next week would look like when I got there. My favourite thing about visiting new places is getting to know people who I never would have met otherwise.

We all have our own routines and patterns in our lives. Sometimes these routines keep us safe and happy and sometimes our routines keep us from meeting new people on seeing new things. I’ve been lucky to have given opportunities to move outside of my comfort zone.

Going into a situation where everyone knew each other and I didn’t know anyone used to be outside of my comfort zone. I’ve realized that part of visiting a new place is meeting new people. People build the places that we can visit. People create the culture and the feeling of a place. To visit a place and stay in a segregated area isn’t truly visiting a place. It’s engaging in the end product of a group of people without finding out what motivated these decisions.

Going to Flin Flon MB and Denare Beach SK was not an artificial experience. I arrived in the pouring rain at an airport with one room with no security. We stopped at a yard sale in town on our way back to Denare Beach to look for TV trays. There had been several severe thunderstorms leading up to my visit, and there were detours from fallen trees.

I was to stay in a beautiful cabin home on a lake in Denare Beach with five women: my host and four other artists on retreat. Women who viewed their art very differently than the people I accustomed to, women who kindly brought me into their fold. Women who fed me meals, listened to what I had to say, and revealed their artistic processes

These women took me under their wings. They talked to me as an equal partner, not as a young person coming into their domaine. They asked my advice, and we talked about having an art practice. We drank margaritas that were mostly just tequila and had giggly dinners.

I taught an indigo workshop, and made a huge vat in a garbage can underneath a tent. Beside me several people were doing raku ceramics with a blow torch while we dipped things blue. In the week that I was there, they used two jars of indigo powder. They created astounding work, getting deep values and rich gorgeous resists. Thank you for making me feel welcomed and included.


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