It started out grey but as the ferry left Tsawwassen for Fulford Harbour the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds. Our group of a dozen enthusiastic members was eager to begin a day of touring Salt Spring, the largest of the Gulf Islands with a population of 10,000. After coffee in a downtown cafe housed in a heritage building that was once the town's Telephone and Telegraph headquarters, we headed out to see the sights. Visits to galleries in Ganges Village, shopping in POD (a contemporary shop of women's clothing and art), checking out local specialty shops, we stopped in at artist Susan Benson's studio. Her years of work as a painter has been interwoven with design for the theatre, ballet and opera. Her portraits and landscapes are included in many public and private collections.
Lunch at Auntie Pesto's, a favourite of locals that is located on the waterfront, provided a chance to share highlights of the morning. Afternoon visits to north island studios included stops at Blue Horse Folk Art Gallery, home to the acclaimed folk art animal sculptures of Paul Burke and the uniquely elegant raku vases and lamps of Anna Gustafson.
Some of the group enjoyed a stay at Jane Stafford’s Weaving Studio. Jane is an internationally recognized weaver whose workshops attract students from across North America. She also sells yarns (more than 1000 varieties), weaving supplies, kits, and other items related to weaving.
A quick stop at Kizmit Galeria and Café, located close to the ferry in the south end gave some members a glimpse at a unique venue created from found objects/art. Slightly used clothing, art exhibits and other collectibles fill the space.
Then it was time to catch the early evening ferry back home, tired but delighted to have experienced parts of the island for the first time.