The pavement curves on ahead as I travel Route 915 from Riverside-Albert toward Alma. It’s a quiet, scenic highway with narrow shoulders, the kind that begs me to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Not a road for people in a hurry. But then again, the Bay of Fundy with its mighty tides is a place that deserves quiet contemplation.
Those who live here harbour respect for these powerful tides; tides that set the rhythm for life along these shores. This is what inspired artist, Karin Bach, to create An Artist’s Garden B&B, studio and gallery overlooking the bay about 10 kilometres from Riverside-Albert.
As I spot the sign and pull into her driveway, I understand why she calls it a nature lover’s accommodation. The weathered buildings appear to sprout from the soil and rock anchoring them and the air is thick with garden scent.
Upon entering her gallery, I immediately appreciate how her surroundings complement and enhance Karin’s artistic style. Her exquisite paintings, sculptures and raku-fired pottery mirror the textures, colours, and forms found within her secluded haven. She also displays the pottery work of her young son, Jacob, who presents me with his own business card, which says ‘Adventures in Visual & Literary Arts.”
Outside, I can see how Karin has integrated her pottery sculptures into the natural elements of her garden. She uses water features to calm, colour to catch the eye, graceful shapes and forms for movement. Stooping to examine an unusual plant, I discover a small stoneware wren and just over there, a turtle lounges at the pond’s edge while a turtledove huddles on a stump.
“In many ways, I feel that being an artist and a gardener are closely linked in that they both draw me in,” she says. “Once I begin gardening, tend the plants and watch them change, they draw me closer. When I do a sculpture or a painting, I am drawn to look more closely than I did before. It takes this study to notice and discover things I overlooked before.”
Certainly, not to be overlooked is the stoneware border of fish on a cerulean background decorating the roof fascia. And beneath the portico, a gazing pool complements other elements in the garden.
This is a place to escape to…dawdle, to browse, to sit and let the surroundings calm and quiet the soul. Even her bed and breakfast accommodations are styled for reflection and peace, with small kitchenettes for preparing light meals. One of her rooms has a star-gazing cupola, but I imagine the garden offers another perfect spot for watching the night skies.
“I love to walk out here at night and listen as the tide speaks,” agrees Karin. “I enjoy having visitors here when they realize how much the Fundy tide dominates everything. It sets their timetable. We all have to work our activities around nature here and that’s a wonderful thing to be reminded of.”
In 2009, I traveled through the province, researching and writing a number of online travel articles for New Brunswick Tourism’s ‘Getaway Ideas’ promotion. This was one sample.
© 2009 Deborah Carr