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Discovering Unconventional Destinations: Escaping to a Unique Space

Updated: Jan 31

Life gets crazy sometimes and you just want to escape, but don't want to have to deal with packing for a weather change, a country change, a long drive, a flight, or whatever goes along with that need to escape. October 2015, I attended my first Wonderscape Creativity Retreat which turned out to be an incredible escape that was at Clear Lake, Manitoba. I believe this retreat became an event that had great impact on my life. Jump ahead to May 2022, and I applied to be a part of a Tourism Saskatchewan course called 'Achieving Awesome'. This course was to prepare me to develop a tourism experience to market. It may not be a conventional destination, but it has unique qualities that fill up everyone's cup when they escape to the country.

Elemental Claycation pottery retreat
The amazing fireplace providing a unique space to unwind

Lets back up a bit in this story a few more months to February 2014, when an incredible woman and her three daughters showed up in my pottery highway store. They had stopped in to shop and I went out to visit and a conversation began about creativity and I mentioned that I was working on my Master's of Education of creativity of educational practice. Tricia and I formed a great friendship. She created Wonderscape and the first retreat was in October 2015. I did have to drive six hours but when I arrived I knew that I had arrived at the most special experience.

So what had Tricia created that inspired me; specifically with Elemental Claycation? She brought together people who are creative with no rules to have to create anything big or small, but rather creatives gathering. She gathered us at a very unique space of rustic cabins in a gorgeous environment at Clear Lake. She had a chef that created meals that were locally sourced ingredients and incredible plates of food. As I was developing the plan for Elemental Claycation, I thought of everything that Tricia had put together for the retreat that allowed me to escape for a few days that was not a lot of work on my part, but just to commit to it.

In the newly renovated attic space there are a few elements that I want to share that are directly related back to Wonderscape and Tricia's touches. We needed a heat source in the attic and with three dormers having windows it made the most sense to put the fireplace in the north "dormer" and be a feature wall. I created the tiles around the fireplace to represent the four elements; fire, water, earth, air. I wanted a space that groups could gather near the glow of fire. The chef for the claycation sources all of her ingredients as local or small business as she can. I also asked her to create the meals so that the guests don't have to make decisions, but rather just enjoy incredible food just like how the chef at Wonderscape did for me. I ask food preferences and allergies when guests book a claycation so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of beautiful food, without having to dive into making any decisions. As a teacher of art and a wheel throwing functional potter I wanted to create a retreat that allows everyone to explore an artform that isn't easy to access unless you know a potter. I want everyone who comes to the retreat to embrace their inner creative and know that they can create while getting an escape from life in the third floor our heritage house. It may not be in a National Park, but at least we are central and the 180 degree views from the attic windows are pretty spectacular providing a unique space for you to enjoy.

So as I reflect back on that escape in the fall of 2015, I know that it was exactly what I needed at the right time so I could be inspired to create a new tourism experience that could be the escape and inspiration for someone else to create something incredible. I live my life with listening to the "shoulder taps" and will share more of my shoulder taps over the years that has got me to where I am in my life. It is when we are listening to the little things great things can happen!

A new year always allows reflection and I am so glad I can share one of my reflections with you.

Marea Olafson

Freba Pottery

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