Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Salt Spring Island is a whole different shebang. Driving off the ferry, and onto what felt like a huge highway compared to the other islands I had just been on, there was a big change of pace in the air. The energy and the excitement was paramount. Salt Spring Island is the perfect blend of urban and rural. The village core is filled with moving parts—cars, people, shops galore, and nowhere to park to see them.
And outside of that lies very long and winding roads, going past green acres of empty land and farm stands and trees and 80k/hr signs. A place for introverts and extroverts, too.There is every kind of maker imaginable here. Artists, farmers, brewers, shop owners, cooks, and so much more. I landed there on a sunny day, and was welcomed into my own little cottage overlooking the ocean with the now retired founding director of the Masters of Publishing program. A great relationship to have amidst magazine running.
I first had the fortune of meeting with Jessica Harkema, who had introduced herself with the following lovely email:
“I just wanted to say that the publication is amazing and very inspiring. I run the Salt Spring Chamber and Salt Spring Tourism, and Folklife was recommended to me as a reference to how locals want the island to be portrayed to potential visitors.”
What an amazing note to receive. It meant the world as I feel so passionate about supporting local business. It was a lovely visit over coffee at Switchboard Cafe—run by other FOLKLIFE supporters. Then it was a last-minute visit to meet Annika at the Salty Pear, whose beautiful sauna was featured in the first edition. An awesome guy showed up with beer, so we hung out in the yard with a dog who was a little too into me and a dancing naked child. Good times.
After a quick jaunt through the Salt Spring Art Council's gallery (omg amazing), and through Salt Shop (who features FOLKLIFE), Salt Spring Books (who was out of FOLKLIFE), and Salt Spring Mercantile (lovely busy shop with stacks of FOLKLIFE), I headed with an empty stomach for some delicious eats and drinks at Wild Cider.
It was actually hard to find anything but pub food on Salt Spring which was very surprising to me (and so sad that the most beautiful restaurant I’ve ever seen—Mateada—has had to close its doors amidst Covid times)…But the plant-based Wild Cider charcuterie plate was so good.
On the following day, I got to meet with ceramist, Erin Morris in her shop, The Pottery, before heading to meet Patrick who had motorbiked over from Gabriola, for lunch with me and Mr. Bob Masse—iconic rock poster maker who you’ll soon learn more about.
From there, I had the privilege of meeting with another talented creator at Earth Candy farm, Hannah Rohan of Honeysuckle Gathering. A little workshop yurt in the forest… We talked business and lack of housing and I got to try on one of her beautiful and highly sought-after tops! I then rushed to meet the talented ladies behind Eat Creative. Aurelia Louvet and DL Acken’s recipes were in the first edition of FOLKLIFE. They were running a food photography workshop at the Bullock Lake Farm barn, and it was so fun to meet with all of the talented ladies, including fellow publisher Danika of Edible Vancouver Island! What great energy in that big barn. Women entrepreneurs who really support one another are so inspiring!
The next day, I swung by Francis Bread at their opening time to find a very long line. But oh, what a lovely place! A little cottage with a lovely yard and people sitting around enjoying the sun and the green and their delicious eats. By the time I got to the front, they were out of anything I could eat, so I got some sunflowers (drying flowers everywhere seems to be a beautiful trend on Salt Spring), and headed to meet Krysta Furioso from Only Child Handicrafts, who you will learn more about soon as well :). It was an awesome visit with the inspiring beadweaver and her partner, and it’s just always so good to put a face to all the back and forth emails—and a privilege to get some of the limited time she has when she isnt focused on beading!
That one weekend, hopping from place to place and person to person, meant that everywhere I continued going, I was running into people I now knew. Like I had been there for months, not days. From my previous Salt Spring experiences, I had thought that it was a pretty cliquey place. But that’s not what I found at all. Maybe I’ve matured. Maybe because it wasn’t all hippies all the time this time around (whom I dearly love but don’t quite fit in with, haha). Maybe it was the sun, that finally brought out everyone’s bright sides. Whatever it was, it was fabulous to be in the salty vibes.
Thanks, Salt Spring, I’ll see ya soon, and I can’t wait to continue celebrating you!