DATE: Tuesday March 8th, 2016
The d.talks Craft edition was presented at the John Dutton theatre, a multipurpose theatre space located at the Calgary Public Library’s central location.
Panelists explored the definition of craft and how the art of making is related to place making. The ability to think with ones hands and contribute to local culture was demonstrated by chefs, blacksmiths, a woolen mill owner, glass blowers, jewelers, coffee roasters, distillers, brewers, designers, factory owners, potters, and museum curators.
FEATURED ALBERTA CRAFTERS
Bee Kingdom Glass - Ryan Fairweather, Tim Belliveau & Phillip Bandura
Tony Bloom - Sculptor, hand-held to monumental work in metal clay and mixed-media
Firebrand Glass Studio- Julie Reimer & Tyler Rock
Scott Hardy - Silver and Goldsmith, founding member Traditional Cowboy Arts Association
Shona Rae - Jeweler & Sculptor, fairytale, folklore, myth and ancient religion inspired work
FEATURED LOCAL FOOD & BEVERAGE
Aaron Nelson, Medalta Museum and Ceramic Arts Facility
Japheth Howard, The Canadian Museum of Making
Studio Collective, University of Calgary faculty of Environmental Design
Maddy Purves-Smith, Custom Woolen Mills Ltd.
Jennifer Dobbin, The Dobbin Group
Five panelists discussed the importance of physical literacy and craft. Small craft centered businesses have the ability to be nimble and offer a resilient business model during challenging economic times. Not only are these businesses important for local economies, they also contribute to the cultural realm. They offer alternative education models and have the ability to produce unique goods due to their adaptable tools, skill sets and business models.
Craftspeople face the challenge of affordable space. However, they have the potential to contribute to the vibrancy of the city and street life as their markets and mobile storefronts surface. They are ideal candidates as tenants in historic buildings, or in scenarios of adaptive re-use.
Medalta Pottery located in Medicine Hat, Alberta produces ceramic wares and clay through the social enterprise Plainsman Clays for artists across Canada. It is a national historic site and an industrial heritage museum. Medalta hosts artist residencies, has a gallery space and teaches math, science, art and social sciences using ceramic processes to school aged children.
Custom Woolen Mills is a family owned and operated mill that uses turn of the century machinery to produce wools, yarns, bedding, socks, blankets and garments. Using wool sourced from farmers in Western Canada, all processing is completed at the mill including washing, dyeing, spinning, knitting and quilting.
Studio Collective, a group of second year Architecture students from the University of Calgary Architecture program, developed a project called “Makers Block”. The building is focused on craft offering a research centre, communal workshops and tools and a market. Studio spaces are housed at the top of the building while fabrication spaces are located at the bottom. The market space is located at street level to foster a connection between passers-by and the producers.
The Dobbin Group owns and manages commercial properties in Kensington and attempts to foster community engagement through its properties.
The Canadian Museum of Making was founded by Ian MacGregor in 2001. Ian began collecting machinery and tools that were built and used in Canada, Britain and the U.S. in order to be a source of information about man made machines and their history. In collaboration with Japheth Howard, a skilled blacksmith, the machines are restored to working order and on display at the museum as well as displayed virtually on the website.
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION
Visit Shelf Life Books and the d.talks recommends shelf to read up on craft and other d.talks themes.
Watch craft theorist Glenn Adamson define “craft”
Find ways to support the incorporation of space for “making” in our existing buildings or become and advocate for the value of creative practice as an alternative economy in the city.
EVENT SUPPORTERS AND FRIENDS
We would like to thank the Alberta Craft Council (www.albertacraft.ab.ca) for help in curating local craft practices to be featured in the video installation.
This event was supported with the help of The Calgary Foundation / The First Calgary Stepping Stones Grant (http://www.thecalgaryfoundation.org/grants-awards/grassroots-grants/stepping-stones) and the support of our members.
Thank you to local food and beverage presenters for demonstrating their production process and for the delicious food and drink.