This past July, Simon and I decided to take a day trip to check out Tour des Arts in the Eastern Townships region of . Over the course of 11 days, participating artists and artisans from the area open up their studios to the public providing a unique opportunity to meet the artists, check out their work spaces and see their latest work.

The tour area is quite large with artists' studios situated throughout the countryside, so there can be a bit of a drive in between stops. We made it to visit three artists. First was Marie France Bourbeau in West Brome who creates really interesting and sometimes eerie sculptures out of dead wood. The branches she chooses are often “Y” shaped which make for reallllllly long legs which reminded me of Dali's elephants.

We saw that a guitar maker was also on the list – a luthier to be exact, so we had to go check that out. Michel Dufresne from West-Bolton is an incredibly smart and talented man, he chatted with us in great depth about the 100 year old lute he was restoring and all things stringed instrument-making from how different types of wood affect the sound, to how intricate patterns and details in the instrument design are created. It was obvious that he is extremely passionate about what he does! If you have you have a stringed-instrument in need of restoration, bring it to Michel.

The stop of the trip that captured our hearts was the beautiful property, Ruiter Brook Pottery belonging to husband and wife artist-duo, Stanley Lake and Almut Ellinghaus. This dream home is located in a secluded valley between two mountain ranges in the village of Mansonville. Together they create amazing garden sculpture art, fountains and pottery.

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Upon first arriving, I was in awe of the gardens. As you enter, you follow a grassy green path flanked by large borders of bright red bee balm flowers – the hummingbirds were LOVING these.

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Then you notice all the magical sculptures peppered in amongst the garden and up the hill along the forested area at the back of the property. We spent a long time just wandering around and taking it in. There was so much to see! All of the sculptures had such unique character and I would have loved to hear some of their stories. What an inspirational place to live and create!

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Check out Stanley Lake's fantastical fountain sculptures in the video below.

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