This weekend, June 19-20, Glass Eagle Studios and Creative Garden Centre is hosting its first ever “Art in the Garden” event.

Six local artisans will be showcasing pottery, acrylic painting, stained glass – even leatherwork – in a lush garden near Haliburton.

Studio owner Tom Green said he hopes the event can be a bright spot in a difficult year for artisans.

“It’s just a way for us to let people know we’re still alive,” Green said.

“Art doesn’t stop because of the pandemic.”

After COVID-19 forced art show, festival and studio tour cancellations, Green himself was forced to find creative ways to stay in business.

Now, as well as running a renowned stained-glass workshop, he operates a small garden centre out of his studio.

Without the added business, Green said, “we’d be sitting here dead.”

He then invited five other artisans from across the County and beyond to join him for the upcoming showcase – his garden is large enough to easily space people and booths out.

Charlene McConnell who runs Purple Door Pottery Studio, will be selling everything from serving platters to garden ornaments – all crafted by hand.

Other than two studio partnerships, she hasn’t had a chance to share her work with others in person since before March 2020.

“It’s really nice to be able to talk to people – to find out the kinds of things people enjoy,” McConnell said. “It’s really pleasant to feel [COVID-19] lifting – to be able to get out again.”

Whether it’s the vibrant landscape paintings of Jane Selbie, or the intricate glass creations of Green, he said the event is more than just a chance to purchase handmade goods: it’s a statement about the health of the arts in Haliburton County.

“We are here, we’re not going anywhere,” Green said. “We’re artists who are going to keep making our product.”

After a year creating, often in solitude, many artists will be selling new work. McConnell explained how she had the chance to experiment with different coloured glazes this past year: a normal calendar year is filled with shows, tours and bustling summer tourism traffic.

“Perhaps that’s the silver lining,” she said.

Alongside Art in the Garden, artists and artisans will have more chances to show work as restrictions ease.

On June 19, Minden Hills is running its first artisan market, and the Haliburton County Tour de Forest studio tour is set to kick off later this summer.

For artists such as Green and McConnell, that is encouraging news.

“You keep creating, you keep making new product and you want to show it, you got to show it to people,” Green said.

“Art in the Garden” runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 19 and 20, at Glass Eagle Studios and Creative Garden Centre. The gallery is located at 2801 Blairhampton Rd.

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