My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #511: Our Day Trip to Bear River

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-03-2011 12:57 PM 5023 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 510: Mini-Road Trip Part 511 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 512: Being Productive and Helping a Friend »

Yesterday was the perfect day to take a short day trip. Although it was cool out, the sky was clear and the sun was warm and there were still places that had trees with remnants of autumn leaves remaining. It was probably one of the last remaining times we would get that way this year, as we woke up to a thick layer of frost which reminded us that winter’s snow is not far off.

The gallery shop that Keith had his pens at had closed for the season, its last day being Monday, and the trip was necessary not only to collect the remaining stock of pens, but also to talk with the owner, Rob Buckland-Nicks, and see how well he did.

Rob has owned and operated the gallery for over thirty years. He is in his own right a wonderful artist and is famous for painting birds on rocks that are native to the area. Here is an example of one of Rob’s pieces:

From Bear River Nova Scotia Nov 2, 2011

We met with Rob and were happy to hear that he sold several more of Keith’s pens. He thought that this was pretty good since we came to the shop so late in the season. He not only asked Keith to bring more pens next year (especially fountain pens) but he was also interested in Keith bringing some shaving kits that he planned on making and also some bottle stops since the area had several privately owned wineries.

Rob has been a huge advocate for redeveloping the area and helping it grow and prosper. In the past few years, I have seen a great improvement in the small town of Bear River. While it was once a thriving and picturesque town, it had recently fell on hard times with tourism being at an all time low. Many of the towns’ buildings were abandoned and falling apart. I used to go there every week to paint with several of my friends, and it was sad to see the state of it and watch it decline.

It has been about three years since I visited there regularly however, and I was happy and surprised to see the great amount of progress that had been made in that time. Several of the main buildings were back up and running and now there was not only the main restaurant, but two other cafe’s and several arts and craft establishments as well as a book store. It looks much like the little village is on its way back and it was a pleasure to be there once again.

Rob said that in the past four years, his business has improved each year, despite the poor economy. Some of you may remember that I had spoken of his gallery having some paintings selling for over $4,000. His place is definitely a higher end establishment, and all the items for sale in it are done by local artisans. It felt great to be invited back, and he told Keith that he planned an entire section for his work to be displayed next year. It was all very positive.

We ate lunch at the main resturant which overlooked the river. The tide was quite low and you could see that most of the main buildings were built on stilts to accommodate the fluctuation of water levels. Here is a picture of where we were:

From Bear River Nova Scotia Nov 2, 2011

Just for comparison, I found a picture of the same place when the tide was high:

From Bear River Nova Scotia Nov 2, 2011

You can see the amazing difference.

I have many other pictures of Bear River if you are interested. I loaded them in a new album on my Picasa page and you can either click on the pictures or titles above or the link here:

Bear River

I also have more pictures of Rob and his work in it for you to see. I think you may enjoy it.

After lunch, we headed to Digby to see how Keith’s pens did at Bluefin pottery and gallery. We were also happy to report that not only did Keith sell a couple of pens, but the owner took seven more to have over the holiday season. He loved the fountain pens and took all but one of them that Keith had. Bluefin is open all year, so hopefully there would be some Christmas sales. While the owner said that business was not as good as he wished it could be, he still wanted to try more pens there and had high hopes of them doing well. We were both satisfied with that and realize that even though the holidays are coming up, it is the off season and there is much less traffic through the shop. In Digby, many of the businesses are closed for the season until next April.

So all in all we thought it was good news. Since it was already August when we approached the shops, we are optimistic that things will go well next year. We have the entire winter to plan and Keith was very encouraged about continuing to make beautiful pens. Every person who sees them comments on the excellent quality and beauty of them. It is amazing to think that he just began turning in May.

As for me, I still am not rushing to put my things in the shops. I feel that I am stretched pretty far these days and I know that when the time is right, I will begin to consider it. I am very happy for Keith though and I enjoy seeing him get the recognition that he has earned from others who are around artwork all the time. While it is nice to have positive comments from friends and family, it is wonderful to have professionals also commend his work. I am very happy for him.

With the economy the way it is, I will again say that we are very happy with the way things are going for us. While we aren’t looking to buy any sports cars or yachts, we are satisfied that we are on the right path and we are doing something we both love to do. In so many ways, that is far richer than it would appear. And we are happy to continue on.

I hope you take a side trip to my album so you can see more pictures of beautiful Bear River. When I saw it for the first time, it was one of the things that helped me decide to move here to Canada. Like any place, there are good and bad things about it, but as other things in life, we can choose what part of things to focus on and the way we live our own lives. I choose to focus on its picturesque beauty.

I wish you all a wonderful Thursday, and Keith and I both thank you for the kind comments you have made regarding his work.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

8 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2539 days

#1 posted 11-03-2011 05:32 PM

now that is good news to you and keith :-)
with low economy ,few tourist that don´t spend money and mostly off the season
it can´t be done much better this year :-)
keep up the spirit the economy is turning … slowly but get in to much higher gear next year
if those D… politics can solve the Greek crise in Europe

take care

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9331 posts in 3476 days

#2 posted 11-03-2011 07:20 PM

What a NICE report!

I didn’t think the tide would make such a difference! Doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference here on our Calif. beaches… I didn’t know there was so much of a difference… would be interesting to see low-high tide values worldwide.

Keith should feel Super GOOD about his pen sales… GREAT!

When I think of a pen I would like, I would tend to go with a good old fashioned Fountain pen… The quality should be much better than the old days; should not leak in your shirt pocket, etc. The run of the mill Ball Point doesn’t do anything for me… (I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money for a Ball Point pen).

Glad to see that all signals are good… resulting in a better season year after year.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8991 posts in 2344 days

#3 posted 11-03-2011 07:40 PM

Thank you so much, Dennis! We really were happy. Yes, if we can hang on now, it is a good thing.

Thanks to you too, Joe. We appreciate the nice comments very much. And here in Nova Scotia, we have the highest tides in the world. Here is an article on the Bay of Fundy:

Bay of Fundy Tides, the Highest in the World

It is quite amazing when you think about it. I like showing others pictures of the beautiful area in which I live, just as much as I enjoy seeing other places. I am glad you like to see them. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9331 posts in 3476 days

#4 posted 11-03-2011 07:50 PM

Thank you for that Link… AWESOME information… never dreamed of such HUGE differences and TYPES!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4607 posts in 2460 days

#5 posted 11-03-2011 08:46 PM

Good news and well deserved.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8991 posts in 2344 days

#6 posted 11-03-2011 10:38 PM

You are very welcome, Joe. It is quite incredible.

Martyn – I am really happy for him. He works so hard and the best part is that everyone who sees his pens is just in awe of them. The pictures he takes are nice, but they can’t show how good they feel in your hand or the extreme beauty and precision. They are nearly flawless (I would say they are flawless, but I am sure Keith would correct me!) Thank you for your kind comments.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BertFlores58's profile


1684 posts in 2346 days

#7 posted 11-04-2011 03:00 AM

Very imformative post Sheila. When I was a sailor and experienced cruising in the Great Lakes locks, I think the outward current of unregulated flow of Lake water to the Ocean during those days plus the melting of snow in spring that were accurmulated in the nearby Great Lakes lands had also added effect on the tides over there. On reading the link… I was refreshed of the tidebore that I experienced in Rouen, France while I am working on a ship and berthed in port, when suddenly our mooring ropes snapped and we need to run our engines rushly to counter the whirpool like tide bore. Thanks for the information.

For Keith, I noticed how refined and outstanding his pens are. You really deserve these outstanding accomplishments. And of course it is only the beginning and has more events to come.

God bless,

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8991 posts in 2344 days

#8 posted 11-04-2011 11:07 AM

Thank you so much, Bert. Again, I am very appreciative of your positive comments. I am so amazed at how advanced Keith has become in doing this already. He has studied electronics, and looks at things in a very exacting way. I think this helps the quality of his turning. There are times when he complains about a flaw in one of his pens and refuses to sell it because of the flaw, and I have to to study it to even see it. But that is why he is so good. he wants to move up to doing larger things, and I think that will come in time. Most importantly, he is having fun doing something he really likes to do. I have heard him say that even if none of the pens sold, he would keep them himself and be a ‘collector.’ I am sure that loving what he does contributes to the excellent quality of his work.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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