June 25th, 2006: We spent the weekend in Prince Albert, stabled our motor home at Mary Nisbet Campground, which we like. Jenny came up with her Jeep and we used it to run around. We took in the Parkland Artisan’s Tour in and around Shellbrook, and it took us all of Saturday and Sunday. There were many displays of art in many forms, all of it excellent and each artist’s work different from the others. I won’t try to report on all of it, but three demonstrations were outstanding.
First was a glass blowing demo by Ronnie Anderson, south of Shellbrook. He took a pipe, heated it and dipped it into a pool of molten glass. Then he turned it, blowing through a tube connected to the pipe to form a glass ball, dipped it into a coloring medium, and glazed it in another furnace. Then, before it cooled too much, he cut through it to separate it from the tube, and attached a little hook to hang it up by. The room was very hot, but he kept a good sized audience enthralled.
Next was a demonstration of throwing a pot on a potter’s wheel, by Sylvia Jones. (She doesn’t actually throw it at anybody – that’s just the term they use for making a round pot on a wheel.) Sylvia is a very good instructor, and the demo was fascinating. She made a very pretty pot, then cut it in two so she could show us how she trims excess clay from it before she fires it. I was shocked, but she said she doesn’t get too attached to anything she makes – too much can go wrong before it is on the shelf!
Today we went to Nisse Foundry, 29 kilometers west of Shellbrook. We got there just in time to watch Jim Jensen prepare sand molds for three plaques, melt down the alloy to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit, and pour it into the molds. Almost immediately, he could open the molds and show us the casting. He said that at that point it is only about half done. It has to be trimmed, sand blasted and generally cleaned up before it is ready for a customer. He and Deb, his wife, are both sculptors and do much of their own design. He also casts for others, notably other sculptors. He cast the life-sized statue of Count Imhoff mounted on a horse, that stands at the entrance to St. Walburg. It was cast in well over a hundred pieces which had to be welded together. Again, it was very hot in the room where he does his work, but he held his audience! What a wonderful weekend!
This Artisan’s Tour attracts between 350 and 500 people every year to the Shellbrook area. Why couldn’t something similar be done centered around Kelvington, or Porcupine Plain, or Greenwater Park? I’ll bet we have just as much talent as Shellbrook does!
The air has been full of poplar fluff the last week or so; every time the wind blows a little it looks like a snowstorm. In places, the fluff has piled up like snowdrifts. At least we don’t have to shovel it.
I got up early last Monday, it looked as if sleep was eluding me so was up before 6 am. Honest! It was lovely out; sunny, cool and calm, but I soon found out it was perfect for mosquitoes too. I took my camera and tripod and walked down to the Marina, then to the end of Lakeshore Campground. I heard geese flying, but when I got to the beach, there was one pair of adults with dozens of goslings in tow. Do you suppose one pair is appointed guardians of the flock while the other adults go to feed elsewhere? There were far too many young ones for one pair of adults.
I stopped and had coffee with Gary at the Beach Café on the way back; he tells me the café is open every morning at seven.
I took pictures of some red-necked grebes nesting in the reeds at the west end of the beach. I could see some large white birds away west but couldn’t tell what they were. They looked too tall to be pelicans, but I took a picture of them with my long telephoto. When I blew it up, I realized they were pelicans, and seemed tall because they were rearing their heads up to preen themselves.
We had seen a muskrat in the Marina the night before, it posed prettily for us but at the time I didn’t have my camera. I was hoping to see it in the morning but it must have slept in. Slugabed!
There is a fireworks display planned for August 12th. Connie & Gary are spearheading it and hoping for support from other businesses and individuals.
On July 16th, there is a pancake breakfast at Marean Lake Resort, from 9:30 to 11:30 with proceeds going to Cystic Fibrosis research. Sounds like fun! We haven’t been over there yet this year – one of these days we are going to try out their campgrounds.