Okay, so it was actually an entire weekend. But, come on… how often does a girl have a chance to quote Stompin’ Tom Connors? As an ex-pat Maritimer, I felt a moral obligation to seize the day.
This past weekend was the 2012 Northern Lights Festival Boréal and, since LX wanted to take me to the Great White (actually – brilliant Blue & Green as it turns out) North to see the city of his formative years, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to plan a road trip to Sudbury, Ontario. Plus, Daniel Lanois was the Friday-night headliner and I’ve loved him to pieces since the first time I heard his Acadie album back in ’89. A lot of folks may know him for his production prowess (Eno, U2, Peter Gabriel) but I defy you to listen to Jolie Louise and resist the urge to sing along (or, at the very least, tap your toes.)
In any event, we managed to finish work Friday and fight the north-bound cottage country traffic to get there JUST in time to hear Lanois as he hit the stage. Timing? Yeah, we got it!
Set in beautiful Bell Park on the shores of Lake Ramsey, the NLFB – one of the longest-running (this was the 36th annual) music & art festivals in Canada – is a weekend of music, food, kids events and an Arts Village replete with artisans of every ilk. From painters, photographers, jewelry makers and clothing designers there were crafters & vendors from all over the province. And far be it for me to pass up the chance to support some local talent.
Claudette Jesso (email@example.com) calls herself The Bag Lady – and with good reason: she creates some of the most beautiful, hand-made totes I’ve ever seen. Not only are they roomy and sturdy (made of upholstery fabric!), you can turn them inside-out and toss them in the washer when they get a little on the dusty side. She’s based in North Bay, but I’m guessing you can find her at any number of arts & crafts festivals. Unfortunately, she hasn’t much of a web presence. But her talent speaks for itself.
Among the various jewelry vendors, there was one in particular who’s work had me as close to mesmerized as I’ve ever been by hand-made jewelry. And, for those of you who know me… that’s saying something, considering my child-like attraction to all things shiny. Michelle Hambourg (My Belle Bijoux) creates outstanding pieces inspired by the lines and shadows she finds in trees and nature. Pieces made of guitar wire, with wood-burnt pendants, and out of her own photography really made her collection stand out. If you get the chance, do check her out. In fact, go visit her on Etsy. You won’t be sorry.
I also found a sort of kindred spirit in the happy wee Arts Village. With a collection of art based on some of the most delightfully nerdy movies, Tracy Baker (@tb_tracylouwho) caught my eye with a particular piece that paid homage to David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly in the deliciously campy ’80s flick, Labyrinth (which, if you’ve not seen, I insist you go out RIGHT NOW and do so!) Sadly, Tracy doesn’t seem to have much of a web presence, either. But she does have slightly out-of date profile of work here.
It’s nice to know that, despite whatever my previous misconceptions were with regard to Sudbury (no, it’s NOT all curling and slag heaps; I can’t believe Paul Gross would steer me wrong 😉 ), it really is a beautiful small town that everyone should make an effort to go and visit. Might I even suggest during next year’s festival?
Oh, and if pretty pictures are your thing, feel free to check out my Nickel City Getaway album over on Facebook.
And, in the meantime… watch this. (LX, I promise not to make you wear this outfit on our anniversary. At least not the codpiece. Heh.)