Harmony of Work,Travel, Life & Art

In early June, I created some well needed harmony in my life worlds. A work related trip to BC to present a technology abstract was moulded into an opportunity to visit to my long time friend Island Raven.

In the past I have presented abstracts at several eHealth conferences in 20 minutes with a 10 minute question period, but the this year’s planners upped the ante. A daunting 3 minute verbal presentation required an inordinate number hours to create a MS Power Point with images and audio. I am sure I suffered a cerebral haemorrhage when I found that the sinister academic poster software did not work with the audio of my Mac created presentation. I was glad that I had booked myself into Island Raven’s art world  on Gabriola,a small Gulf Island in the Strait of Georgia.

I took a plane to YVR, a Sky train to Vancouver City Centre, a bus to Horseshoe Bay Terminal, the big ferry to Depature Bay, a taxi ride to Nainimo Harbour terminal and finally a little ferry ride to my destination. Gabriola is a freedom in the groove kinda haven. From what I have observed and gleaned from the web, the Island has a population of approximately 4500 and the  highest concentration of artists in Canada. Island Raven checked out of Van city living years ago, having prescribed herself a healthy dose of natural bounty living.  She checked into a three level house in a lush  forest, by the beach with her pet friends; Alfie, Gracie, Dalilah and Jazz, she enjoys a life most of us creative souls only dream about.


Exhausted, after that 11 hour travel adventure extravaganza, I looked forward to a good night’s sleep.  A satisfying dinner & scrumptious wine sent me on my way. I stood speechless for 3 minutes in front of my abstract audience. I was mortified. I was released from the mischievous dream when I bolted awake to the pitch black moonless night of the island. I was stunned  into unfamiliar blindness, but the  pulse of the Pacific geo-positioned me and lured me back to sleep. Gabriola was the soothing tranquility that I needed from the sand shattering street cars rails of Queen Street east.

The next morning Raven and I committed to creativity every day for the next three days. A fairly easy task, as her home and life are designed with that in mind. All day light streams into the studio & kitchen through six windows 10 feet in height. Half the square footage holds 5 or 6 weaving looms, an inordinate amount of yarn, beads, fabrics, books and found objects from the beach and sea. There are plenty of  drawers filled with every creative supply you could ever imagine, want or need. I soon stopped asking Island Raven “Do you have any silver wire?” and started asking “Where is the soldering iron”? We perused the library of books and  landed on Gabriola’s petroglyphys to shape our days.

petroglyphThe weather and good supplies guided us effortlessly through cloudless daily explorations. In a forest behind the church, mounds of rocks peeked out from the earth, like the bald heads of monks.We searched for a moss covered Sea Snake at that location. Not finding the snake I settle for a selfie with a tree. Fortunately for us First Nations rock artists worked diligently in the shade. For two days we mused about the prehistoric carving tools and the origins of the carvings. “What mind enhancing drugs were they  smoking?”  “Were these creatures imagined or real?” “Did the whole family participate ?’  “Was this a place of worship?”



On the second day the Sea Monster revealed himself to us. Satisfied, we picnicked in a field of wild flowers and gave sun salutations to the First Nations for the pleasure of our day. In the evenings we ate, drank, made jewellery late into the night and caught up on two years missed.



The third day evaporated into the Farmers market, beers at the Old Crow Cafe,  a sojourn through the Gabriola Artworks, a conversation exchange with Raven’s neighbour, artist Jeff Malloy  and finally a trip to the beach to follow my shadow to the sea.


The ride on the two ferries back allowed me to reflect on the harmony of my creative time on the island and prepared my mind for the slickness of Vancouver and the suits of the conference which awaited me. The tranquility and beauty of Gabriola  plus  the company of Island Raven had honed my intellect with creativity. I no longer felt daunted.I waxed on eloquently for a whole 3 minutes.