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Turning and Piercing: The work of Rodney Peterson

Submitted by: Maia Stark, SCC Gallery Assistant

Rodney Peterson, a professional craftsperson with the Saskatchewan Craft Council, was born in Duncan, B.C, in 1943. Having been raised and spent most of his life is Saskatchewan, his work is mostly inspired by the Boreal forest around his Nipawin home (NAC). Peterson has had a variety of careers throughout his life: construction workers, physics teacher (for 29 years!), rail line worker, taxi driver, and professional artisan, just to name a few! (NAC)  Peterson is a self-taught woodturner, developing his skill and technique over the years by attending workshops with master woodturners. 
Many may be familiar with the concept of woodturning, but here’s a quick rundown for those who are new to the term!
Woodturning is a process which uses a “Lathe”: a machine that rotates the piece of wood you are working with on its axis (
Wiki). While the piece is turning (at high speeds!), the craftsperson uses various tools to carve the wood, essentially slicing it down into the shape they want. The appeal of using a lathe is that by nature of the process the finished piece will have a (horizontally) symmetrical design. The origin of woodturning traces back to approximately 1300 BC in Egypt, where a two-person lathe was developed: one person would turn the wood with the help of a rope, while the other used a sharp tool to carve (Wiki). During the industrial revolution, the lathe was motorized in order to speed up production, focusing on mass production of wooden products. 

Peterson at work (Saskatchewan Craft Council)
Despite the “quick-production” origins of contemporary woodturning, many woodworkers incorporate a high standard of aestheticism, making unique pieces enhanced by further carving, coloring, piercing gilding, or by applying pyrography. Rodney Peterson’s work employs many of these techniques, notably coloring and piercing. Woodturning has its various hiccups and problems to overcome, just as many techniques do. One thing to consider is the direction of the grain and the direction one carves. Cutting in the wrong direction can cause the fibres to separate and “tear out,” creating a rough and damaged looking surface (Wiki). As well, there is a patience, foresight and understanding of woodturning required to be able to anticipate the shape and look of what’s being created. Carving too much or too little could lead to a piece of which the form could be disproportionate or seem awkwardly shaped.
Eye of the Garden by Rodney Peterson. This turned piece incorporates coloring and pyrography  (NAC).

Birch Ribbon Vase by Rodney Peterson. Another turned and colored piece, this vase has also had piercing applied to it (NAC).

Peterson’s works often take celebration in the small “faults” found in the wood he uses, often sourcing wood from the boreal area around his own home. Some turned pieces focus on a particular knot, enhancing the natural shape of the tree’s original growth pattern. 
By Rodney Peterson (SaskatchewanCraft Council)
By Rodney Peterson (SaskatchewanCraft Council)

To see some of Rodney’s works in person, come by the Affinity Boutique! The SCC gallery and boutique is located in the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s Affinity Gallery at 813 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, SK.

cSPACE Projects

Submitted by: Vivian Orr, Communications and Publications Coordinator

If you missed the Kick Off for Park(ing) Day on Thurs, Sept 18, you missed a great presentation by Reid Henry, President and CEO of cSPACE Projects.
“Reid has over 16 years of experience working at the intersection of urban, cultural and economic development with a focus on non-profit real estate projects. … Recently appointed as the first President and CEO of cSPACE Projects, Reid is leading the development of a network of large scale, multi-disciplinary creative workspaces in Calgary, Alberta.” cSPACE

cSPACE King Edward School
Substitute “Saskatoon” in cSPACE Projects Mission and Vision statements and you get a glimpse of what artSpace Saskatoon is aiming for:
Our Mission
We believe that Calgary’s creative talent is our most valuable and adaptable resource in making a more vibrant city.

But we know Calgary is a challenging environment for emerging artists, small non-profits and early-stage social entrepreneurs. If our city is to be home to a diversity of creative talent, we must focus on a strategy to connect people and their ideas through places that fuel creativity, foster community, ignite collaboration and inspire change.
Our Vision
We envision Calgary as a city where all forms of creative enterprise thrive.

Through our leadership, new generations of Calgary’s creative talent will be nurtured, neighbourhoods will flourish and bold ideas will be realized. Our city’s vibrancy will inspire and engage the world.

Reid gave an overview of how they were able to engage the community, find shareholders, build partnerships and trust. He said their model of social enterprise is based on 4 C’s:

1. CREATIVITY and the conditions that enable it to flourish – we rethink space as a platform for creative purpose
2. COMMUNITY and the transformative power of engaged citizens – we connect creativity and community for the benefit of both
3. COLLABORATION and the innovation this unlocks – we seek out diverse and meaningful partnerships to shape our projects
4. CHANGE and the culture that fosters it – we cultivate a wide view of sustainability to amplify our impact 


Reid’s presentation was inspiring - but more importantly, it was very concrete and based in the hard realities of financial sustainability.
As they say:
"As a social enterprise, the cSPACE business model blends community stewardship with entrepreneurial agility. Our focus on environmental sustainability, heritage adaptive reuse and urban place-making generates immense community and economic value. As a result, cSPACE is able to mobilize and leverage diverse sources of capital to develop our projects.
We collaborate extensively with government, foundations, individual philanthropists and the private sector. Once in operation, cSPACE projects balance affordability and cost-recovery to deliver a viable operation, requiring no ongoing subsidy." cSPACE

I was impressed at how multi-layered their business model is. They are providing many different ways for various people, goups, organizations and governments to connect and buy into the project. Whether it is saving a local historic building from demolition; upgrading the building through ecologically friendly and sustainable technology; creating a business incubator for new entrepreneurs; including not only artists’ studios but live/work studio spaces as well; designing an outdoor plaza that can host ACAD and other art shows – even in the dead of winter, they are purposely building a web of connections that help grow, fund and sustain the project.

cSPACE King Edward School
I left the presentation thinking cSPACE is being run by smart, experienced professionals. If you want to learn more about their King Edward project or others like it, check out the links at artSpace Saskatoon Places to Find Inspiration

If nothing else look at Toronto Artscape.

Reid developed and managed the consulting practice of Artscape, a non-profit urban development organization. During his time with Artscape, Reid led a diverse range of building feasibility studies, urban district planning frameworks, arts facility policy development initiatives and cultural/creative sector research projects.

Then think about how amazing something like this would be for Saskatoon and remember artSpace Saskatoon.

The REDress Project

Submitted by: Sydney Luther, SCC Communications Assistant

If you are a student, instructor, or employee of the University of Saskatchewan, you may have noticed the 130 red dresses that are hung around the campus. What you might not know, however, is the great significance these red dresses hold. The REDress Project is an art installation by artist Jaime Black, running from September 17 to October 5, 2014. The project “is a critical response to the hundreds of reported cases of murdered or disappeared Indigenous Women across Canada. Through the collection and public display of empty red dresses, the installation seeks to create space for dialogue around the gendered and racialized nature of violence against Indigenous women” (event poster). The red dresses have been installed in the Agriculture, Arts, Education and Geology buildings, as well as in The Bowl on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon.The work is described as “creepy” by some, but this emotional response is the core of the exhibition. When Black began the project in 2011, it was estimated that over 500 Aboriginal women had gone missing or had been murdered in Canada. The exhibition is a manifestation of this gruesome message.

Photo credit: Hannah Luther

However, according to a recent CBC news article on the topic, “The RCMP recently confirmed there are 1,186 cases of missing or murdered indigenous women in Canada” (CBC news). This is more than double the original estimated number of women, a fact which grants even more importance to this project. This issue is of concern because the rate of violence and disappearance of Aboriginal women is much higher than that of any other population in Canada. Black, who is of Anishnaabe descent, manages to portray this chilling message through her work.

Black specifically chose red because of the symbolism of the colour. As told to the Star Phoenix, Black stated, "I've always thought red was a really sacred colour. It's the colour of lifeblood, and it's also conversely the colour of blood spilled. There's connotations of the violence that these women are facing because they're indigenous" (Trembath, "Red Dresses"). Black's project has been able to continue thanks to the donation of hundreds of red dresses over the four years that the project has been in motion.

Photo credit: Mackenzie Stewart
Since the start of the project, Black has installed the REDress Project across Canada, beginning in Winnipeg where she resides. After the University of Saskatchewan, the project is headed to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. In a review of the exhibition, Wendy Haines writes, “Somehow the dresses embody both presence in their representation and absence in their emptiness, so you feel a connection to the lack of these women you never knew” (Haines,“Egocentrix”). The pieces ask you to consider the individuals who have disappeared, but also the magnitude of their similarities. There must be a reason why they all belong to this specific population. This issue is tied to both issues of gender and of race, as stated above. 

Maps of the exact locations of all the dresses are available at the Aboriginal Student Centre on the U of S campus, in Marquis Hall. The exhibition runs until October 5. There will also be a ‘Research Round Table & Community Discussion’ on the topic of  ‘Taking Action to End Violence Against Indigenous Women’ on October 2, 2014 at 7 pm at Station 20 West (1120 - 20th Street West), as a response to the exhibition. Please attend if you would like to have your voice heard or to simply learn more about this topic. 

Artist Profile: Cindy Hoppe, the Prairie Fibre Artist

Submitted by: Kimberly Murgu, SCC Festival and Curatorial Assistant

Cindy Hoppe Wearables
Cindy Hoppe has worked in a variety of media over the last 40 years, and for more than 25 of those years, she has placed her focus on fibre art. Cindy works with recycled materials and incorporates machine embroidery with hand knitting to make beautiful wall hangings and garments. Using sewing machines and embroidery thread as her drawing tools, she gets to enjoy creating both public and liturgical pieces of art. One of her biggest enjoyments with this medium is the challenge she faces when reflecting the colours of our beautiful Saskatchewan landscapes, using only cloth and thread.

River Runs Through It, back
Cindy has completed 3 out of 4 years of a Bachelor of Fine Art at the University of Saskatchewan. She decided to discontinue with her degree upon finding that university classes seemed to be more about talking about art, than actually creating art. Since then, her artistic career has taken flight. She has participated in shows all around Saskatchewan and Alberta; including having her work shown a total of 9 times in the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s juried show “Dimensions” since 1986. Also, her wall hangings are available exclusively at the SCC Fine Craft Boutique at Affinity Gallery.

For most of her career, Cindy has worked alongside her mother Myrna Harris. Myrna was also a felting artist, although she also worked in painting, pottery, photography, felting, weaving and spinning. Cindy worked in pottery with her mother for over 10 years, and has accompanied her in every new medium that she started. From painting, pottery and photography, to weaving, spinning, dying and felting, Cindy was always learning beside her. Myrna passed away in August of 2009. Cindy’s comment on her relationship with her mother is: 
“We were each other’s touchstone for support in a vast prairie, where few understand the looping path it is to be an artist.” Cindy hopes to build the same level of connection with her own daughter and step-daughter.

Cindy is currently working in felting. She creates wearables, vestments, and wall hangings. Her wearables are mostly made from recycled materials. She uses leftovers from past projects as a seed for something new, and sometimes photographs will spark a patchwork project that turns into a jacket. Cindy enjoys taking interesting remnants of past work, and giving them a new life.

Cindy is inspired by daily walks and photography by prairie artists. She creates wall hangings for the home and church, and usually creates pieces in a series, finding growth and improvement over several pieces. Combining the techniques used for her wearables and wall hangings, she also creates vestments. These vests are sometimes inspired by scripture, but always inspired by nature.   
Cindy Hoppe Wearables
Desert Blooms
Cindy also creates on commission. She makes custom wall hangings, church hangings, jackets and stoles. Her wall hangings are densely embroidered and quilted to give a detailed close up view on ones wall in their home. In contrast, her church hangings are on a much larger scale, so they are not as intensely worked on. She uses photos of the church to ensure she captures the right colours and feelings for the piece. Some of her jackets have included detailed dragons, parrots, trees, and even pianos. Her stoles are made to be reversible, and two common themes are lent/advent, and Christmas/Easter. She enjoys using context from meaningful scriptures to give personal meaning to each owner.
Cindy Hoppe Wearables

What is Mixed Media?

Submitted by: Maia Stark, SCC Gallery Assistant

In a gallery exhibition you may occasionally see the media on the label listed as “mixed media.” This may seem obvious to you, as you inspect at the piece; look, there’s string, paper, paint… and you may ask yourself, why not just list the various materials? What is “Mixed Media,” and why is it a category unto itself?

“Mixed media” includes any artwork (2-dimensional or 3-dimensional) in which more than one medium has been employed. This could mean that one uses not only paint, but can include found materials like mud, grass, magazine cutouts, stencils, pennies, charcoal, etcetera. The Saskatchewan Craft Council defines mixed media as “includ[ing] any object which integrates two or more mediums in the structure and design of the object” (SCC). This can include collage, assemblage art, altered objects, altered books, cards and journals (mixedmediaart).
Anselm Keifer’s famous work Your Golden Hair, Margarete (1981), employs oil paint, emulsion and straw on canvas (Ibiblio).
Mixed media, though appearing to include a wide range of works, is in fact rather specific when we consider similar categories of artwork. Media, when referring to mixed media specifically refers to media of materials, not media of popular culture. Consider the distinction between mixed media and “multimedia.” Multimedia art implies a broader scope, “combining visual art with non-visual elements (such as recorded sound, for example) or with elements of the other arts (such as literature, drama, dance, motion graphics, music, or interactivity)” (Wikipedia). Mixed media art will specifically use various materials, either traditional or found objects, which support the intended idea for the piece and can potentially attain a wide range of self-expression.

Mixed Media is not a strictly contemporary category of art. The term has been present in discussions about art for over a century, since about 1910, popularly associated with mixed media paintings by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Collage in particular, a sub-category of mixed media, increased in popularity among the Dadaists and Surrealists in the 1920’s and 30’s. This work signaled a rebelling against traditional norms, incorporating popular media to create political artwork which aimed to criticize and focus attention on particular issues. For example, Hannah Hoch (1889-1978) was a pioneer of collage and photomontage work, many of her pieces sardonically critiquing the mass culture of the beauty industry, institutional sexism, and racial discrimination by subverting images of fashion and advertising (Wikipedia).  
Cut With the Kitchen Knife by Hannah Hoch, 1919 (source).
Creating work with mixed media rejected certain traditional models, which were built on systems which only allowed certain privileged individuals to make art. For example, when art is defined as work which is made with high quality materials, those who cannot afford such materials, or do not have a spacious studio, or do not have an specific type of art education, are excluded from the title of Art-Maker. Mixed Media not only questioned what art is and can be, but opened up the title of “artist” to a wider range of makers, further blurring the line between “high” art and “low” art, between “fine art” and “craft.” Mixed media artwork allows for a tactile sense of the artwork, which can help the audience relate to physical objects and items in a personal way. A Saskatchewan license plate with paint and strips of leather can trigger a memory, a knowledge of the prairies in such a way that a painting or photograph of the same aesthetic shape cannot. 

Paula Cooley’s current exhibition explores the use of mixed media with her ceramic work, incorporating non-ceramic elements in a playful and colourful manner. “Mix” runs September 5th to October 18th, at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Affinity Gallery at 813 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, SK.

"Mix" Works!

Submitted by: Stephanie Canning, SCC Exhibitions and Education Coordinator, on behalf of Mel Bolen

After a year of innovation and hard work Paula has succeeded in blending an exhibition of clay and other materials into a coherent statement. 
De La Mer 2

This is a daunting task to undertake and at times it feels like you're completely alone in the studio with the unfinished, evolving concepts and pieces. Paula's determination and good eye for design enabled her to challenge herself to incorporate steel, found objects, and glass into very strong pieces.

I often think of a breakout exhibition like this as a gift, a birth, a celebration. We are treated to someone's inner-self, their bravery and vulnerabilities. Paula gives us this gift. Clay drawings I call them, open vessels with their extremities flying off in a brush stroke shielding hidden treasures. Amorphous clay shapes struggling to free themselves from steel and wire. 

Seed pods blossoming from a tangle of metal stems under the watchful sentinels of flat steel and colored glass coddled in raw and ochre clays. The entire west end of the gallery is filled by a huge assemblage of steel and translucent clay cylinders that mimics our Prairie cloud formations, snow flakes, and northern lights as the sun sets and light changes behind the piece.  What a kinetic surprise!  

Lucent (detail)
To complete this inter fusion we have constructs that make statements about the fragility of our environment, and the restorative power of nature.  This is the Mix that I feel Paula has cultured, nourished and successfully presented to us.

Mel Bolen, Curator

Mix can be viewed at the Affinity Gallery, 813 Broadway Avenue, from September 5-October 18.

Reception: Friday, September 12, 7 - 9 pm.