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The Importance of Embracing the Unknown: Learning What You Don't Know

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

It has been a crazy ride, but I can now come on my blog and share the past month and all the upcoming things. In the fall of 2022, I was enrolled in the Tourism Saskatchewan Achieving Awesome course to develop a new tourism experience. I came up with the big idea to develop the third floor attic space in my heritage house and offer pottery retreats. BIG idea!!! Well the course was amazing and the support from all those enrolled and involved in the course was beyond amazing. I applied for a Tourism Saskatchewan diversification grant to help support the incredible renos that had to take place.

My husband will say that I am time blind as I will set unrealistic timelines and then run around like a chicken with my head cut off. So lets talk about that first. I finished the Achieving Awesome course December 2022. I got word of the grant January 2023. My timeline was pilot June 2023, and launch in September 2023. The electrician started February 2023 and dad and I started framing out the attic April 1, 2023. I took on the role of a general contractor and potter and an artist working in the Wynyard schools for an Artist in Schools grant. The timeline looked great on paper and was completely doable if there were 48 hours in a day rather than 24!

So what had to be done to the 104 year old heritage house to make this new experience a reality.

  1. There was still some knob and tube wiring in the house and that all needed to get changed, wire a whole entire third floor with new wire, outlets, lights, etc

  2. Change all plumbing in the house from 104 year old pipes and drains because of various things changing in the three existing bathrooms and add a fourth bathroom to the third floor.

  3. Add a new heat source to the third floor as the working 104 year old boiler system doesn't go up to the third floor. Thus a beautiful natural gas fireplace

  4. Research all the information for finishing the third floor space to be useful and energy efficient.

  5. Frame out knee walls, lift east/west dormers for headspace, frame out a bathroom on third floor.

  6. Insulate the third floor to the highest we could for efficiency

  7. Gyproc the third floor with 60 4'x8' pieces of gyproc. EVERY single piece had to be cut somehow. Thankfully I found the best drywall guy in the whole province according to me!

  8. Paint the whole third floor

  9. Refinish the third floor 104 year old fir flooring

  10. Furniture, touches, etc etc etc

  11. Gut and finish the three existing bathrooms in house

  12. Oh did I say empty the attic of all the "stuff" that has been stored up there for 50 years

  13. Prototype and pilot all the individual parts of the experience

  14. Content capture and create a marketing campaign for the new experience

  15. And I'm sure I have missed a few things

So was I time blind...absolutely as things flowed pretty good. We had a bit of a delay with weather for hooking up new stack and fireplace chimney. Only one injury that required stiches. Only one redo of a project due to a little flood. I have done the four flights of stairs (from studio to attic) more times than anyone can count since this project started.

So the timeline switched to Content capture and begin marketing August 2023, Pilot end of September 2023 and Launch November 2023 as a result of the pilot and also a few last of the renos that needed more time. So the attached short video is a reel made by one of the pilot people and it was an incredible weekend where I got great feedback and learnt so much to be able to make Elemental Claycation the tourism experience it deserves to be.

NOVEMBER 24-26, 2023 is the launch weekend! All things are wrapping up and preparations are a go for that weekend. I just now need to book people in for the launch weekend. I was going to have Back 2 Nature Wellness bring their sauna for the launch, but I realized that would be an amazing touch, but I need to stick with all the touches I have in place already and not add anymore great ideas to the weekend. That does sound like I am making the launch weekend not as exciting. Something I learnt from the pilot is that if is fun filled, learning filled and relaxing filled how it is already. So I will revisit the barrel sauna after the first year of Elemental Claycations and just stick to my plan I already designed.

One more touch though is only for the November Claycation dates which is my official launch, is a financial deal! The retreat is for groups 3-6 people. If your group signs up with six people then the price per person for the claycation is going to drop from $1122.00 to $935.00 plus tax. The deal basically is come with a group of 6 and only pay for the cost for 5 people. Confusing? Maybe but if you have a group of six people that want to come to the launch weekend of November 24-26, 2023 the cost per person is $935.00. The website right now is set up for the full price, but if you are ready to book just email me at to get the code for the deal. This deal is only for the launch weekend and expires on October 31, 2023. So get your group together and book in for an incredible new tourism experience.

I am so excited that this part of my business is ready to launch the end of November. I am also very excited that I am able to get into the studio more and create with the renovations slowing down!

Marea Olafson

Freba Pottery


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