Gabriola metalsmith Brendalee Astells (right) is teaching a workshop at Gabriola Island’s Isle of the Arts Festival. (Photo courtesy Alfred Hoeflok)

Isle of the Arts Festival returns to Gabriola Island

Workshops and performances coming to island venues from April 4 to 14

It only took one class for metalsmith Brendalee Astells to become hooked on working with silver.

“I like it because silver has kind of an attitude,” she said. “You have to work with it and not against it.”

Five years ago Astells moved from Vancouver to Gabriola and was quick to become a part of the island’s arts community. On April 9 she’ll be introducing other curious individuals to “the allure of silver” when she hosts an introductory workshop on metalsmithing during Gabriola’s Isle of the Arts Festival.

From April 4 to 14 artists of all kinds will be offering workshops and all manner of performers will take to stages around the island for the Isle of the Arts Festival.

“It’s just giving everybody a taste of what’s available on the island,” Astells said of the festival.

This is her third year taking part in the event. She said she enjoys teaching beginners and watching them as they realize what they are capable of creating.

She said she participates in the festival because she wants to “give back” to her adoptive community. While she is still relatively new to Gabriola, Astells said she feels like she belongs.

“I do the farmers markets every summer, I do the Christmas markets on the island, I teach, I volunteer, I just really feel like more than any place else I’ve ever lived, I’ve integrated myself into the community,” she said. “It’s really worthwhile to be a part of it and I think that’s what attracted me to Gabriola in the first place.”

WHAT’S ON … The Isle of the Arts Festival takes place at various locations on Gabriola Island from April from April 4 to 14. For a complete list of events and workshops, click here.

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