Story & Photography by Margo Pfeiff, Cottage Life Magazine
Rain streaks the windows of Babette Deggan’s pottery studio as she lights a fire to banish the chill and lines up yesterday’s pots to dry on top of the woodstove. Classical music tinkles from the stereo as she wedges a lump of clay and then settles behind the wheel to shape a vase. Firelight flickers across a romantic landscape painting on the wall by her husband, Paul, and illustrations of dreamy female figures by her son Adrien. “I need to have clay under my fingernails,” she says with a lilting French accent. “Pottery is my happiness.” Her 700 sq. ft. studio with its loft guest room is just a few metres across a cedar-decked courtyard from the Deggan family cottage, but as far as Babette is concerned, it might as well be oceans away.
The Deggans are a self-described artistic tribe. Daughter Sarah Bastien, 36, is an illustrator; Adrien, 31, a digital artist; and Tristan, 18, an accomplished photographer. For most of their lives, they’ve wintered on British Columbia’s coast—specifically, since 2001, on Bowen Island, a place well known for attracting people with creative passions.