Six artists share their experience of these times

Each week we are reaching out to a different small group of our fabulous artists to find out how they are doing, during these most unusual times. Their responses are heartwarming and genuine. We are all in this together, and we hope that reaching out and connecting in this way is comforting for all.

The question this week was:

What are some of your tactics to get into your workflow, in these unusual times? Indeed, are you able to? Tell us a little about what happening in your studio world.

Jan Meads - Glass Artist

Things are good here.  Glenn and I are in isolation, but doing well.  I have been in the door of the studio several times, have accomplished nothing yet. I have a spring piece I started in the fall still sitting on the table. It seems like just the spring cleaning and yard work have been the priority. The gallery is a big motivator, as you then have a place to display your art and socialize. Here’s to you guys for keeping us motivated.  I will be out there soon to finish this springtime piece for you.  Keep safe and healthy. Jan

Patty and Steve Biro - Compass Crafts - Map Arts

We are creatures of habit so we tried at first to keep things the same. We schedule our day with a ”to do list.” This is usually set in the evening so the next morning begins as usual with a clear direction and a goal.

We have taken care of a lot of housekeeping and maintenance in the shop and have created a new website design these past 6 weeks. We are relieved to have completed these tasks.

Compass Crafts has added 2 new charts to the collection: The Sunshine Coast and Oceanside which features Lantzville to Qualicum Beach. There is a third chart underway: Barkley Sound, which we hope to have ready for the late spring. The new designs can be viewed on the website:

The morning tasks are easy to complete, to keep moving forward in the afternoon requires a “Great Music Playlist.” Steve blasts out the classic rock where ever he is working and I have created a good mix of genres that includes a lot of old sing a-long favourites. You can often find “Me and Bobby McGee” belting it out together along the Coombs trail in the afternoon.

We do miss the social interactions with family, friends and the public. Our online sales are still holding their own and we are grateful for that. We ship most of the charts that are ordered and do the local deliveries ourselves. We all look forward to returning to a business as usual schedule when it is safe to do so.

Stay healthy everyone. Patty and Steve Biro

Marianne Eñhorning - Fine Art Painting

I have been feeling quite unsettled, and watching the news does not help me. So, I don't watch it everyday anymore. I am calmer that way. We just renovated our house and are now going through bins, slowly moving back in. So, there’s plenty to do at home. I spent hours sorting the spices! They are now in alphabetical order! unheard of for me!

I have two 16 year old daughters, and it feels so nice to spend lots of time with them. I wake up and make a nice breakfast, drinking tea from tea cups that were my mother's. She just passed away three months ago so that is fresh too. After breakfast, we go for a long beautiful walk in the forest with our dog. We are very lucky to live in a remote place and have access to the absolute most stunning rain forests you can imagine.

My other daughter is a night owl and a late riser. So, when I return from the walk, it's time for breakfast with her. We are having precious moments!

In the midst of sorting and cooking and spending quality time with my family, I try to go to the studio for a couple of hours every day. Before Corona, I would go all day and often evenings as my daughters are normally busy with school and activities in the afternoon and evenings. And my husband is very supportive of me painting whenever I feel like it. So, normally I spend an awful lot of time in the studio. I do love that! Now, time at the studio is very limited and, as a result, more precious. I don't have any shows coming up. Everything has been canceled. I do have a couple of commission, but there is no rush for them. So, during my two hours a day at the studio, I paint whatever I feel like. Last session I was doing splatter paint. I used to teach that to children and we all loved it. Yesterday I had so much fun with that! Painting is definitely my therapy! Whenever I am going through anything stressful, if I can paint, I become calm. I let out the energy onto my canvas.

So, with all that is going on right now, my art is looking a bit different! It is not as calm and serene as it often is. There’s more energy. Worries, and unknown outcomes....all coming out in paint. I never have any problems thinking of what to paint because I just paint without thinking. It is rare that I plan ahead. I just let it flow. And there is no difference now. I never have any form of block. I just paint. It is easy for me.

This is a surreal time, but I do feel very hopeful that this too will pass and that perhaps we as a race have learned some good things. I am hoping Mother earth is thriving from us putting everything on hold. The fish must be happy!

Tracy Lewis - Ceramics

My husband and I returned from Costa Rica two and a half weeks ago and have been self isolating ever since. I have been in a general malaise since we returned. Some days I just didn't feel like doing anything at all. I felt sad, not depressed over the state of the world or sorry for myself. Just an overall low feeling with a sore heart. I still went into my studio and created houses. Just less of them. I have been reading lots! Each day I create a little more. I've done a firing and am now glazing for a raku firing I will do tomorrow. 

And then, John Prine died! I can't believe how that affected me! I believe that I have been full of unshed tears and that his passing helped the flow. I cried so much last night!!! I loved him. He was the best songwriter. He could write funny, sad, poignant, goofy. His music has touched my heart and my funny bone and he will be missed. I am grateful for his music and glad it will survive. I awoke with renewed energy. I feel less of the malaise that has been hanging about me. So, onward and upward. I generally go straight to my studio every day (after coffee and Sudoku of course). I can work all day and into the night but I try to move my body from time to time. I used to go to Pilates twice a week. I keep meaning to do some online, but alas, I have not yet. Today? I find it crazy that I can just make houses all day every day. I never get tired of it. Back to the old drawing board!

Kastawayz - Metal Arts

This is definitely an unusual time!   The levity of the situation is that  ‘staying at home’, quarantining and social distancing is a regular day for us, and I would imagine most other artists who are self employed, so that is something we are not struggling with at all.  Of course, there is uncertainty with markets and outlets being closed and cancelled, but we find that it is better to just keep creating.   It’s a great opportunity to get to all our ‘wish list’ items that are often sidelined to keep up with the regular busy season demands.  One thing we have been creating is planting pots for all the vegetables that I have ready for our edible garden, this has simultaneously  served to perfect a range of new functional art pieces that we can sell in the future which is exciting!  Secondly, we are going to utilize every spare moment available to complete our larger, 3D sculptures that really need uninterrupted time to construct!  Lastly, but probably most important, is utilizing this turn of events to get our work areas perfected and organized so everything has a place and one is not in danger of falling over the clutter ... as recycled artists we have A LOT of ‘stuff’, albeit very ‘cool stuff’, that hangs around waiting to be made into something beautiful!

Carol Smith - Jewelry

Before this event, I was making some new pieces for Spring, being usually motivated by the approach of a new season.  However, as this unfolded, I was preoccupied with making sure that we had enough staples for at least two weeks.  The general angst and paranoia surrounding this definitely had an impact on me.  We had several friends trying to get home from Europe and Mexico and our grandson returning from Central America.  We were in touch constantly with friends and family and were hearing from friends we hadn't seen in a while.  

Also, we have a garden to prepare and spring planting (which has been a wonderful distraction from the addiction to the news).  We seem to be doing a lot more cooking also. I think that as we settle into this "new normal" (hopefully temporary), that we will relax and return to creativity and, no doubt, it will provide some new inspiration. I see a lot of hearts in our future.

And there you have it … six of the Salish Sea Market artists sharing what it’s really like for them … the upsides, downsides and all the in-betweens!

Be well, from all of us at the Salish Sea Market!