2012: a year’s worth of blogging in one post

IMG_2268 Well it seems as if my New Year’s Resolution should be to post more on this blog, but I’m not sure if that would make me actually do it or not!! I made exactly one post last year, so if I only do two this year I will have doubled my efforts.  Aim high I say!! 🙂 It isn’t that I don’t spend enough time on the internets, cause I do, I just don’t seem to be able to discipline myself enough to post! I will now attempt to make up for my slacker nature by doing all of last year’s posts in one giant blitz. Highlights from last year included: The Camino Trail

Hiking on the Camino Trail in France.  (Called The Way of St. James in England, Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle in France, and El Camino de Santiago in Spain) The Camino is an ancient Catholic pilgrim route which goes from France to Spain (although there are alternate routes all over Europe) ending in Santiago.   My mum and I (That’s us in that picture up there.  I think she may disown me for posting it but it makes me laugh! Make sure you zoom right in to get the full effect) walked over 400 km from Le Puy en Velay to Moissac, some very steep and hilly terrain and it rained every day except for the first three. Apparently it was the rainiest spring in a long time.  That’s the story of my life! It also snowed.  The people in the countryside of France were wonderful.  We also enjoyed meeting many other pilgrims along the way.  My favourite part was the wine.   As hard as it was I enjoyed it immensely and we are going back this Spring to do part of the Spanish Camino.  My mum has walked almost the entire way and this coming spring we will walk on the Meseta which will finish her journey.  It is addicting though, so I have no doubt we’ll be walking again!

Snow on the Aubrac Plateau:


Muddy Feet.  They were like that most days. Can you see how tired they are inside those boots?


Looking back on Conques, one of our favourite places


Mum and I against the Cahors skyline


I loved it.  I can’t wait to go back to France to pick up where I left off in Moissac.

Artisans in the Attic and The Artful Badger In October of 2012 I opened a new retail location at Artisans in the Attic in Sydney.  This is somewhat similar to an “Antique Mall” where there are a lot of different little shops/booths and one main central location for purchases.  This is great as it allows me to have my work for sale in Sydney (the largest city here on Cape Breton Island) and as I am a bit of a control freak I can have total say over how everything is displayed. The best part is that I don’t have to be there because someone else handles the sales aspect of things.  So a customer can browse through the different boutiques (17 artisans represented at the moment) choose what they like from different booths and then take all their goodies up to the one counter for purchase.  I am sharing a space with my talented friend Gayle Bird who makes amazing wire wrapped jewellery.  Sharing works really well for me because I am a bit worried about being able to produce enough stock in the summer while my retail store on the Cabot Trail is open, so this way Gayle can fill up any empty spaces I might have! I haven’t really posted on here (surprise!) about my newer artistic ventures of button making and graphic design but for the last couple of years I have also been making pinback buttons and prints, cards, jewellery etc. under the name The Artful Badger so that is what is featured in the Artisans in the Attic shop.  There is pottery too! I am having such a blast with my Artful Badger stuff.  It allows me to draw more and also gives me something different to work on when the juices aren’t flowing in the pottery creation world.


Some of Gayle’s Jewellery with two of my prints:




Medieval Market 2012 I went out to British Columbia again to do the Medieval Market with my mum.  It is always a very busy time as I am trying to fit a few months worth of production into a few weeks! As I have mentioned before my mum is a potter so we work in her studio together and then share a booth at the market.  It was great being back in my hometown. I miss my family a lot, living so far away, so this was a great chance to see them.  I have an aunt and uncle and cousins who live in Williams Lake so I also got to spend a lot of time with them.  My aunt, Jean Wellburn,  is a painter and my arrival in Williams Lake coincided with the opening of her show at the Stationhouse Gallery.  The show was a series of paintings of the glacial erratics found on Becher’s Prairie (pronounced Beecher’s) in the Chilcotin, the area west of Williams Lake.  These rocks were scattered there during one of the Ice Ages and now are a striking part of the landscape of the region.  We went out to that area many times when I was growing up, so it was nice to visit with the rocks in her show and in person as we did another family trek to Becher’s Prairie while I was home. I bought one of the paintings which you can see below.  That’s MacDuff, Auntie Jean’s dog in the painting. I was also asked to play at the Williams Lake Pipe Band Ceilidh which was the first weekend after I got home.  Those of you who know me well are aware that I suffer from stage fright (sometimes extreme) when performing alone, so this was a bit daunting.  Especially terrifying when I arrived that evening to find that I was the SPECIAL GUEST ARTIST! eek! Well I managed not to pass out or even screw up and I felt like I did a fairly good job.   I play with a group called Rocky Shore (see video below) here in Cape Breton which has 5 other members, so being onstage alone (and unaccompanied) is a bit different. Thanks to the Pipe Band for having me, it was a fun night! (And there was Trifle.) Here are a couple photos of our booth at the Medieval Market:



And one of my family at the Piper’s Ceilidh, aren’t they gorgeous?! XO


Here’s one of the painting installed in my house, sorry for the bad light! I love the colours of the lichens on the rock and the prairie stretching off into the distance.

auntie jean painting

There were many other highlights from last year, but this post is starting to run on and on and I’m sure you all have better things to do, like cleaning the fridge, so I will wrap it up!!

Here are three more things:

A video of our group Rocky Shore, playing at the St Ann’s Bay United Church Ceilidh.  The band consists of me (yes, that’s me up there with the slipshod bow hold), my husband Paul (to the right of me when you are looking at the stage, not my actual right) Paul MacDonald to the right of Paul, David Papazian, to the left of me, and Otis Tomas the bearded fellow, and his wife Deanie Cox. Thanks to Sandra Kay, wife of Peter Bauer who makes luscious jewellery, for taking the video.

A photo of our 1979 Airstream Excella Motorhome.  We got this baby in 2011 and about 2 days later the motor went.  It sat like an albatross in our driveway, taunting me with unfulfilled promises everytime I walked by.  We finally got a motor and thanks to our friends Charlie and Duncan it is running again! We hope to do some little road trips around the island here, camping by the shore and enjoying the view! 197631_10150743783040151_326350_n A video from my husband Paul’s Ceilidh series in Ingonish.  The Ceilidhs run every Saturday night during the summer and feature players from all over the island and sometimes visitors from Scotland, Ireland and other parts of the globe. This video is of Paul playing with our good friends Stewart and Ryan MacNeil (of the Barra MacNeils) I apologise for the shaky footage, but urge you to close your eyes (to avoid getting seasick) and listen to the tunes! Here’s to 2013 and more blog posts! (I’ve actually got another one all ready to go after this one.  There’s my 2 postings for the year done! Oh I hope not. One other sad note.  Today we lost our friend Joe Peter MacLean.  Joe was a fiddler, a native Gaelic speaker and an eccentric and charming being.  I will miss his funny and clever sense of humour, his great stories (40 dogs in a taxi!), his habit of popping up unannounced at parties, his adorable laugh and sharing and learning tunes with him. Here’s a video of Joe. You’ll see his sense of humour right off the bat! One last footnote: (I promise, really!) Last year I started uploading some of my Artful Badger designs onto a print on demand site called Zazzle.  When a design sells with my image on it I get a percentage in royalties.  To look at (or purchase!) any of my designs on items such as t-shirts, ipad sleeves, mugs (I know, I know, I’m a potter, but I still have commercial mugs in my house), buttons and more you can visit my zazzle shop Fiddle Me This. Happy New Year!

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