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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.