High interest in the Cortes Museum’s 2015 annual tour of Creative Spaces – Gardens, Studios & Workshops
was stimulated by curiosity about “The Mushroom Projects” around the lakes on Cortes. For those relying on a lake or stream system for their fresh water supply it was a chance to check out the installation of a myco-filtration system along Gunflint Lake. This simple ecological system utilizes mycelium (mushroom family) inoculated into wood chips and spread strategically where runoff and leaching occurs. Linnaea Farm has placed these woodchips below their animal barns and along drainage ditches from their grazing fields. Mycelium gobble up phosphates and nitrates that cause algae blooms in lakes. A bonus is harvesting delicious giant mushrooms! Many visitors on the tour had all their queries answered by the experts and Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) who were on site with descriptive panels and information pamphlets.
Artists and galleries opening their doors on this year’s tour provided visitors with a variety of interesting, colourful and unique art. There were paintings on canvasses
of all sizes, some for hanging on walls and some for laying on your floors. Works merging impressionism and expressionism, some with the lyrical abstract style, created a meeting of the spirit of colours and human beings at a private studio tucked away in the woods.
Pottery of all shapes and sizes was on display by the Cortes Pottery Guild
with demonstrations at the Old SchoolHouse Art Gallery
and the Manson’s Pottery Studio
in celebration of community spirit enriching the lives of so many. Interested visitors were encouraged to return and try their hand at ‘throwing a pot’ in the Pottery Guild studio at Manson’s Hall.
Visitors were drawn to the amazing studio of unique black and white works by a world renowned photographer who was raised on Cortes Island
. His works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the USA, Europe and Asia. He has permanent exhibits in the Chinese Museum of Photography and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of BC.
A myriad of colourful flowers were blooming in gardens despite being in the midst of a June heat wave. Everything growing was two or three weeks ahead of the season with vegetables and berries already producing prolifically. There were peeks behind fences with artistically landscaped gardens including streams, ponds, trellises and resculpted land along the oceanfront and in the Seniors’ Village
, all created by local landscapers. The Museum’s Heritage Garden
featured many plants from early homesteads on the island and a sun dial in a memorial garden.
Many roses were blooming in gardens with over a hundred ‘old’ roses at Fairhaven Gardens Nursery
– from pure white to a dark wine and every colour variation in between.
Gardens ranged from those created by professionals to ones developed to supply a kitchen and nourish souls and bellies. One was hacked out of blackberry thickets with a pet turkey begging for pats – when he wasn’t hiding from the sun under the berry bushes! Loon Ranch had baby goats to play with – and their humans lived in the Goat Barn home!
Rampant colours could be found in the ultimate container garden spread along a boardwalk and over a solid rock bluff high above Cortes Bay. Some containers here were plastic, others were disposable material or pottery or mini stone walls. A couple of venues showcased English country gardens with ponds and cooling trails winding through the surrounding woods.
Endless innovations were exhibited to protect gardens from deer and invasive species, reflecting the creativity, resourcefulness and ingenuity of Cortes Islanders. The studio and garden hosts had fun welcoming and engaging the tour visitors in their creative spaces.
The Cortes Museum very much appreciates the planning and work that all venue hosts put into each of their Creative Spaces. It is good of them to invite visitors into these special places in support of the Museum. Funds raised with this annual tour help benefit the Cortes Museum’s Public Education, Community Outreach and Archival Programs, as well as the continued development of the Museum’s own Heritage Garden featuring plants, shrubs and trees from early Cortes homesteads. Sincere thanks go out to all those who participated, including those who purchased tickets for the tour.
More photographs of the 2015 tour are displayed on the Museum website http://cortesmuseum.com/creative-spaces-tour-2015/
Text and photography by Lynne Jordan