Dante Ambriel and Tashi Draper share a house, several studios and an exhibition gallery located in a turn of the century tudor house.
We live on an island about the size and shape of Manhattan with about 700 residents which is a 10 minute ferry ride on a cable ferry off the coast of Vancouver island in British Columbia, Canada. Regular ferry service links Denman Island to both Hornby Island from Gravelly Bay on the east side of Denman and across Baynes Sound to Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island on the west side. Denman Island has long been a haven for people escaping from busy urban centres. Downtown Denman consists of one general store (which includes a gas pump, government liquor outlet, and post office), hardware store, bookstore, dental bus (shared with Hornby two weeks a month), craft stores, the Guest House Bistro, a cafe, two community halls, the Dora Drinkwater Volunteer Library, a community school, two little country churches, a museum. It is famous for its all ages dances, Art and Writers' festivals, fabulous live musical - both classical and alternative - concerts, quiet roads, beautiful scenery and beautiful wild parks. Yoga is a prominent activity, as is gardening, and volunteerism. Many artists have made Denman Island their home for decades, and as a result there is a thriving local artistic community. The island has a land area of 51.03 square kilometres (19.70 sq mi).
Here, on a heritage 40 acre sheep farm, we raise rare Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep - one of the oldest breed from the South Down Hills of Sussex County England. We also raise Mini Aussie Shepherd pups to go with our miniature sheep.
We also have two almost white horses - both raised in a natural horsemanship method - who grace us with their presence.
We purchased this property in 2009 for the horses. We wanted them to have big green fields to roam in and we cut all their hay from our fields. We produced a handmade book of an addition of 50 copies about finding this place from the horses' point of view called "How I found My Island Home". It has been sent all over the world and we still receive emails requesting copies to this day. See the "books" link on menu to see and/or purchase a copy.
We have six Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep. A ram named Thorn - he is a fine gentleman - and four ewes - Liquorice, Cream Puff, Ivory, Ebony, The “Babydoll” woolly teddy bear face will always give you a smile. Their short legs along with their small size makes them really cute. We enjoy the tranquility of sheep as living lawn ornaments while their lambs scamper about. Both ewes and rams are polled (have no horns) and are non-aggressive by nature. The ewes are very good mothers, often raising twins and triplets with ease.
“Babydoll” Southdowns are wonderful companion animals. Their calm, docile disposition has a soothing effect on other livestock including our dogs. These little “Babydoll” sheep make excellent companions for the young, elderly, and disabled. Their gentle nature makes them a joy to own, and their diminutive size - about 18 inches at the shoulder - makes them close in size to our Mini Aussie Shepherd dogs who are about 16 inches at the shoulder.
Because “Babydoll” Southdowns are a ancient breed, they are not prone to many of the modern sheep problems. These small sheep were know for their extreme hardiness and produced meat with unmatched tenderness and flavor then any other breed of sheep.
Olde English “Babydoll” Southdowns are outstanding pets who produce wool that is a hand spinner’s delight. “Babydoll” fleece generally runs in the 19 to 22 micron range, which puts the fleece in the class of cashmere. Babydoll fleece also has more barbs per inch than any other wool type, making it ideal for blending with other fibers.
They provide organic weeding and utilizing “Babydolls” as organic weeders, vineyards owners have been had great success with them in wine vineyards as well as fruit and berry orchards since they will not harm the fruits, girdle trunks of trees, or harm shrubs. They leave the grounds well groomed and fertilize the soil as they graze.
We are artists with a puppy addiction and so we also raise Mini Aussie Shepherd pups. The Miniature Australian Shepherd was developed by breeding smaller Australian Shepherds for the desired size. The breed is rapidly increasing in popularity among those interested in a compact dog with a strong dog work ethic. They are especially popular in dog agility, and do well in other dog sports including herding, obedience, disc dog, flyball and many other activities. Mini Australian Shepherds become incredibly devoted to their people. They enjoy, and need to be involved in, all family activities. They are gentle with children, good with other pets, and readily trained.
We also grow organic fruit - many types of pears, apples, plums, peaches, apricots, cherries, grapes, and berries.
We both work in silver jewelry from our forge, porcelain and ceramic sculptures and bowls in our ceramic studio and kilns, two painting studios, black and white, infrared and colour photography and a full silk textile studio.
To personally visit us in our studios and gallery please email us and we will be happy to arrange a time that works best for you.
For your convenience there is a circular drive and ample parking.
Tashi Draper's website link below -