ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN FACULTY ASSOCIATION
Hillary Knutson Untitled (Band-aid), 2012 Felt 6 x 2 feet approx.
Jo hn C al vel l i S choo l o f C r i t ic a l + C r e a t i ve S t u dies Editor’s Report o f t h e m o s t s e r e n d i p i t o u s a s p e c t s of the publication of this newsletter is that by the time it arrives in faculty mailboxes, it is the end of the semester, when most of the heavy lifting is already completed (except for my School, where stacks of papers and finals await our attention). Even so, I hope you will find it a special pleasure to peruse your colleagues’ rich and rewarding work. Teaching is certainly rewarding—and a challenge. Our work and our research is also challenging, but viewing the work of our colleagues is unmitigated pleasure and awe, at least for me. I hope for all of you as well. This semester I also had the pleasure of attending (and presenting at) a faculty research event, organized by the indefatible Carissa Matthews. There were ten of us presenting and about twice that attending. Too bad for those not attending, as it was wonderful and fun, and culminated with a reception afterwards. Rather than the mostly dour, academic research symposium of a few years ago, what distinguished this was its celebratory character. The presentations (in the lecture theatre) were short, at around ten minutes. And it was Friday late afternoon, which contributed nicely to the informal and festive atmosphere. I say more of them! And more of you!, dear faculty, as both presenters and audience members. This is the best way for all of us to understand the interest and breadth of our research culture here at ACAD. Another great contribution to our research culture here at ACAD took place this semester over a full week in November, organized by Diana Sherlock. It was more serious and interrogative than that described above, exploring a wide range of issues to do with research at ACAD such as research ethics, academic freedom, practice-based research as well as many other topics. Most were held in room 371, fitted and framed with Rodney LaTourelle’s The Stepped Form, an installation consisting of series of risers facilitating community discussion. Unfortunately, I cannot report on most of it, as I was caught either in class or on my own research project, the interminable but rewarding dissertation. However, in synthesizing some of my research for Diana’s research event, I had what could be called an “oh, duh!” moment —at least for me, and hopefully for at least a few others. It’s this I would like now to share. The first research project—ever—began on this side of 4 million years ago, and lasted 1.5 million years. Its outcome consisted of two things: the first tool and the human consciousness of time— what some would call human consciousness itself. And it began with the hands, once our Australopithicus ancestor became bipedal. The research consisted of the physical work of grasping, gesturing and
controlling. Its effect was to develop the physical structure of the brain to the point where we were able to transform our hand-based practice into an event of cognitive anticipation. This allowed for the precise strikes of rock-on-rock that enabled the design of the first tool. Anticipation created consciousness of future; the embedded memory of the first rock tool stored a past. Our present slipped away, to become the trace it is today. Practice-based research continued over millennia. The first large human settlement, Catalhöyük—settled two thousand years prior to Jericho—was a craft- and image-based city and art colony, with live-work spaces built on top of and next to each other in non-hierarchical fashion. The evidence of social stratification, inequality and slavery only emerges later with large-scale centralized civilization, beginning in Mesopotamia. The Kings took over. Under their pressure, for tribute and religion, we designed a special kind of image—writing—and the oppression of the makers began in earnest. Not a bad thing, even if many of us makers (and our students) still have difficulty with it. Writing unleashes all kinds of things, some nasty, some nice…and in particular, philosophers, philosopher-kings, and in general, know-it-alls, who invent theories on the basis of our invention (writing) then impose them upon the rest of us. It’s been written before: the history of civilization is the history of barbarism. The Greeks systematized the oppression of makers in their concept of skhole, which signified a kind of leisure that allowed the true citizen the time to think and to write. Only citizens had the right of skhole; the rest of us—all women, slaves and makers—were assigned to askholia, “the hurry.” An occasional painter might be given skhole, but certainly not sculptors—they were way too messy and engaged. But who remembers Greece for its painting? So here we are in our art school (whose etymological origin is skhole), now and then having debates about the nature of scholarly research. The resolution of this ancient debate is not in its details. It is in the recognition of the exercise of power and the justification of inequality that has been facilitated by writing (and maybe maces, but not as cleverly). I suppose we makers are partly to blame for inventing it. It’s a noble invention but dangerous. But it’s time to stop apologizing. We’ve got other things to work on up our messy sleeves. Makers of the world, unite!
C hr i s Fr ey S choo l o f C r i t ic a l + C r e a t i ve S t u dies
“research @ ACAD: what the [cCrw] says” “modified by the artist (me)”
He a t h er Hu s t on S choo l o f Vi s u a l Ar t s, Prin t ma king
Heather Huston signs her name at the opening reception of “Printed In Canada/ Taiwan” at the Dr Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan.” The exhibition, curated by Guy Langevin, features the works of 25 prominent Canadian printmakers including ACAD faculty members Heather Huston, Laurel Johannesson, and Derek Besant.
G a r y O l so n S choo l o f Vi s u a l Ar t s, Prin t ma king BULL STORY
Bull Story is a series of etchings focusing on Angus bulls and buffalo. Bulls and bison are my current print iconography and personal symbols. The attributes of physical strength, power and virility are embodied in the bull. The bull represents masculinity and the male point of view with one obsessive purpose in life. In my prints I draw with intaglio and relief printmaking media, materials and processes. I use etching acids to draw into metal plates. The corrosive action of the acid manipulates the surface of the copper plate, “eating” lines and textures into the plate. Etching my plates is a physical, emotional and tactile experience. I etch the surface of the metal aggressively in the acid bath—sculpting the image out of the plate. Since bulls and buffalo are not delicate animals my approach to etching suits the subject.
M a r t i n a L an t in S choo l o f C r aft + E me r g i n g M e d ia , C e r a mi c s Alongside an active studio practice, I am currently engaged in a collaborative research project investigating the tile and architecture of the early Ottoman Empire. Together with art historian Dr. Felicity Ratte (Marlboro College, USA) and archeology doctoral candidate Moujan Matin (University of Oxford, England), we are examining the tile revetments of four major sites in the early capitals of Bursa and Edirne. Of particular interest are the changes visible in the tile technique referred to as cuerda seca. These images depict two of the sitesâ€” the Yesil Complex in Bursa(1419-1421) and the Muradiye Mosque in Edirne (1426-36). The project combines on-site visual analysis, architectural and cultural history with studio work to recreate both motifs and materials. Preliminary research tracing the adaptation of motifs and development of techniques will be presented in conjunction with experiments to date of the replication of historical materials (assisted by Tyler Rock) at the upcoming National Council for Education on the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in March of 2015.
Yesil Turbe Mihrab Central Panel, Bursa Turkey
cuerda seca Detail
Ke l ly Ha r t m a n , C GD S choo l o f Vi s u a l C o mmu n i c a t i on s, Des ig n Retrouver: an art catalogue of the work of Laura Vickerson. For the Esplanade Art Gallery
Visceral beauty and delicate decoration are central strands in the exhibition Retrouver (which means to find again or rediscover) featuring over a decade of diverse sculptural art by Laura Vickerson. Textiles, tacticity, texture, and hand labor/sewing are the main “threads” pulled from Vickerson’s work to create a delicate hand-crafted book that feels like a natural extension of the exhibition for which it was designed. An intricate
sewing pattern from the artists’ work is diecut into the cover. The books were sewn one at a time on an old sewing machine and each book hand stuffed into a cheesecloth bag to be discovered and rediscovered. Celebrating Vickerson’s attention to labor and detail, the book complements her work without overshadowing it. http://www.hartmandesignstudio.com
(Con’d from previous page)
Bon à Tirer: art catalogue of the work of Garry Newton. For the Esplanade Art Gallery The Challenge: A retrospective book that showcases the artist Garry Newton’s body of work taking into account his process, materials, approach, breadth of work, personality and idiosyncrasies. The book represents the exhibition, provides a document for National Archives and creates a piece that would provide insight into this artist in a tangible, accessible and engaging manner. The Solution: To embrace and support many of the artist’s bookmaking and printmaking nuances. Starting with the notion of a limited edition set of books (500), like a set of prints – each individually hand-numbered. To support the details in typography apparent in Garry’s books, a traditional looking AES word processor font was chosen for titling and captions. As with any word processor, certain characters have particular attributes: an ‘R” may sit slightly higher, an ‘A’ may shift down, an ‘in” might always appear tight. For this book, a list of nuances of characters was devised and stringently adhered to in both titles and captions. Titles had the additional appearance of the rubber stamps mimicking Garry’s use of coloration in the waffling of ink from brown to dark blue to brown. Classic serif typography was used for the body copy and formally set in a traditional looking book grid. This addressed the dignified nature of the work. This was paired with the quirky looking captions to highlight his humour. A toothy printmaking style of paper was chosen. Ivory for the main image pages and a companion white for the text. This change in paper colour also served to separate text from image and give a sense of pace. Four gate folds help to provide larger real estate for select images to showcase the detail of the work.
T i va da r B o t e S choo l o f Vi s u a l C o mmu n i c a t i on s, Des ig n Coin Design for Untamed Canada Series The design of the final coin in the Untamed Canada series was completed this year for the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa. I designed all three coins in the series: the first was the Arctic Fox, the second, the Pronghorn Antelope and the final, the Wolverine. The total value of all three coins was close to 5.2 million dollars. The project lasted over 2 years in total and the coins have all received high ratings from the national and international coin collector’s community. The Wolverine coin presently has a 5/5 rating in the review section. From the Royal Canadian Mint website: “The wolverine is the largest member of the Mustelidae (weasel) family. This stout animal enjoys a fearsome “tough guy” reputation. Much of the wolverine’s notoriety can be attributed to its secretive ways, low population density and remote northerly range in central and western Canada. It’s one of the nation’s least understood animals, but as researchers continue to study the wolverine, they are discovering it is one of nature’s great powerhouses. The wolverine’s strength is far beyond its stature. Its powerful jaws can bite through moose tibia, and its teeth have evolved to eat frozen meat and bones. It has long, semi-retractable claws that it uses primarily for digging and climbing. And while the wolverine is known to ferociously defend its food from larger predators, it is primarily a scavenger rather than a hunter of live prey.” You can read more at: www.mint.ca
D e n n is Bu d ge n S chool of Vis u a l D e s ig n , I llu s tra tion From the Ellesmere Island Series
HR – Jill Brown
Dennis Budgen Defence (detail, Muskox Group) 2014 Charcoal drawing
Few people have ever been in our Canadian high arctic and fewer still have visited Ellesmere. I was fortunate enough to work with the Geological Survey of Canada as their “artist in residence” producing a documentary series of illustrations for their geological publications. We were camped on a delta, on the North East shore of Ellesmere Island, called Carl Ritter Bay. From this experience I am producing a series of images. Dennis will be exhibiting the series at the Okotoks Art Gallery in March 2015, for which he wrote the following. —Ed. The camp was as cooperative effort between the geologists of Canada and Germany. The Canadian scientists were completing their geological mapping of Ellesmere Island. The data gathered by the mapping team is published in research documents and disseminated into the public domain. This research becomes highly valued geological information for natural resource industries. Mining operations have already bought the mineral rights around Carl Ritter Bay based on the lead - zinc deposits discovered by the GSC. The German scientists were compiling and comparing the scientific research from all the polar nations to better understand the tectonic forces that effect Greenland and Ellesmere Island. Each day the head geologist, Ulrich Mayr would divide us into teams and assign different destinations for them to work. After breakfast the helicopter would ferry the work teams to and from camp. Meal times were alive with conversations of the day’s events in German, English and Inutituk.
Mir una Dragan S choo l o f Vi s u a l Ar t , D r aw i n g Shadows Mirror Shadows In a photograph from Miruna Dragan’s series The Mountains Are Mirrors, Cascade Mountain in Banff monumentally looms. Among its gradations of grey, Dragan has drawn graphite planes of elusive metallic sheen and luminosity—only visible from certain angles, sometimes shimmering, shifting according to the light and the viewer’s movement. Dragan cites Pavel Florensky, the mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and Orthodox monk, as a major
influence. He applied his theories of Imaginary Numbers in Geometry to the canon and aesthetics of icon painting and to theology. A flat plane separates “real” and “imaginary” mathematical space. The plane also exists as border between dreaming and waking, between the conscious, visible, material—and the unconscious, invisible, spiritual. These dualistic ‘inverse worlds’ exist as ‘ontological mirror images’ of each other. One may gain access to the invisible realm by ‘breaking’ space, which ‘turns’ self, time, and body ‘inside out.’
A mountain is, perhaps, inside out: the once hidden, submerged sea floor has been thrust upward. Strata of memory, our bones, our subterranean psyches, exposed. By marking the mountain with graphite (the “writing stone” and highest grade of coal), Dragan inscribes geological time and patterns of history embedded in the mountain: carbon fossil fuels, indigenous peoples, colonizers, coal mining, melting glaciers. Composed of pure carbon, the chemical basis of all organic life, graphite reflects us. In Orthodox iconography, ‘reverse
perspective’ (with lines diverging outside of the picture plane and the focal point converging upon the viewer) upends power relations, reversing the dominance of the anthropocentric viewer. In linear perspective, I look at the figure. In reverse perspective, the figure looks at me. The Mountains Are Mirrors evokes this anthropocentric reversal; the face of the mountain witnesses, records, and reflects us back to ourselves. From another perspective, the graphite planes could be portals, allowing entry into the deep time of the mountain’s interior. A cave is, in a sense, the internal, invisible, spiritual dimension of the mountain. Its dark recesses were the sites of prehistoric sacred ritual. In Shadows Mirror Shadows, Dragan imagines the permeability of stone through manipulations of photo-mechanics: three photographs taken inside of caves were made by long exposures during which the lens was zoomed in and out. Their metallic paper gleams, again evoking mining. Unsure if I’m being pulled backward or drawn inward through a portal of light, I have the sensation of physically moving through material, of entering stone. As the body ‘breaks’ through the plane, the cave releases and reveals what was buried in the mountain for millennia, its “invisible numen”— deities inhabiting natural phenomena, the spirits of a place. By their very creation, caves are also sites of erasure, of embedded history eroded and forced to disperse from rock that actually was and still is physically permeable. In The Form of the Good: Stone Church (Dover, NY), where legend says that Pequot chief Sassacas sought refuge but was found and killed by the English Army, a single photograph of the vaulted cave is stretched into a moving image like a time-based Iconostasis. The metaphysically transformative power of light is materialized through its slowly yet dramatically shifting colors. When We Stand On The Threshold Between Two Worlds, Our Soul Is Engulfed
With Dreams is a large-scale double-sided lightbox. One side presents a photograph of a cave lit for tourists by multi-colored display lights. The other side of the lightbox emits a white glow, created by separate red, green and blue lights from its interior, so that the viewer moving in its wake casts color-separated shadows. In another form of reverse perspective, this piece illustrates Florensky’s notion of reality as “a twofold, doubly-extended plurality.” On one side, looking into the depths of the colored cave site, it’s as if, in a kind of transubstantiation— you’ve entered it, merged with the plane, emerged through white light, and somehow rematerialized as RGB shadows on the other side: one realm ‘ontologically mirroring’ the other.
For Florensky, the plane serves to both divide and unify the dualism of “real” and “imaginary” experience—and Miruna Dragan’s works reveal that what exists on either side of the boundary are two visions of one holistic reality.
Marianne Shaneen is a writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. This essay was informed by reading Anya Yermakova’s thesis: Mathematical Foundation in Pavel Florensky’s Philosophical Worldview (2011), along with excerpts from Iconostasis and Reverse Perspective by Pavel Florensky [1882 – 1937]. Special thanks to the FPAC for its support.
Je nn i f e r Sa l ahu b S choo l o f C r i t ic a l + C r e a t i ve S t u dies Unexpected Insights: The Early Years Sloyd gives a healthier tone to all branches of education, and if it only redeems what we know as sleight of hand (for sleight is the English equivalent for sloyd) from the reproach of ages, no small victory will have been won. —Calgary Weekly Herald, 4 January 1900 During the winter term I had several opportunities to discuss my ongoing research with colleagues and while I believe there are few who do not know that I am endeavoring to research and write a History of Craft at ACAD, I realize that there are many who may not be aware that I am attempting to push back the accepted date from 1926 to 1916. Further, I would guess that, outside of those tortured souls in the Library and in the offices adjoining mine, few have heard me discuss sloyd (slöjd), a system of handicraft based education, or why I believe that the Canadian Educational Sloyd Movement of the early 20th c. not only impacted our formative years but directed, even codified, craft education at the College. In this “update on research” I am untangling several of the clues I have been following; but, please keep in mind that this is indeed a work in progress and, at this point, raises more questions than answers. When considering the history of ACAD it is generally agreed that The College began in 1926 with the arrival of the Norwegian artist Lars Haukaness (1863-1929). Nonetheless, I am suggesting that if we consider the teaching of craft, we must consider the earlier date of 1916, when the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (“the Tech”) was founded. Contemporary newspapers, institutional histories and the Tech’s Annual Announcements and
Illustration from The Teacher’s Hand-Book of Slojd by Otto Salomon
Year Books support this hypothesis. For instance, in Sept 1916 several provincial newspapers reported that the Institute had “appointed an Instructor in Fine and Applied Art” and by the early 20’s regular course offerings included “General Art,” “Art Education,” and “Design and Handicraft.” Besides attempting to discover the actual class content, what has proven difficult is identifying the individuals who taught these courses. Although the Annuals include a list of “Staff ” and their specializations, teachers
are not paired with specific courses. At first glance it might appear there was no one was teaching art or craft; however, by eliminating those tied to the obviously non-art themes such as “Steam Engineering,” “Tractors”, and “Battery and Ignition” I was left with “Drafting” and “Leo Earl Pearson.” In fact, other ACAD historians had trod upon this path but it soon became obvious that for these individuals Leo Pearson was a dead end. It was also evident where their interests lay. For instance, in Founders of ACA (1986) Val
Greenfield writes that Pearson was not of interest, as he “did not appear to be involved in the Fine Art component.”(7) Fifteen years later, in 75 years of art: Alberta College of Art + Design: 19262001 (2001) we are told that “the only art instructor at ‘the Tech’ is Leo Pearson who has taught drafting and design since 1916 and will continue to do so until 1935.” Yet, they too ignored Pearson’s contributions and pinpointed 1926 as the foundation year.1 I found that Pearson spent not twenty but over thirty years at the “the Tech” and in various Annuals is paired not only with “drafting,” but with “design and drafting,” and “design and art.” He is described as “Head of Art” in the summer sessions and class pictures place him amongst the art students. In other words, Pearson would have taught, perhaps even mentored, Marion McKay (Nicoll). He retired in 1947 (not 1935) about the time Nicoll returned to take up a permanent position as teacher of “Craft and Design” at the Tech. Given my interest in the role Nicoll played in the promotion of craft and craft education in Alberta I became determined to learn more about Pearson and the period before Lars Haukaness.2 Leo Earl Pearson (18831952) was born in Lawrence, Kansas and completed his secondary education in California. In 1906 The Pasadena Daily News announced his graduation from Throop College (now Caltech) with an Art Normal Diploma and a special interest in “art teaching methods.” To my delight the journalist stated that, Pearson had been “elected instructor at State Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo” and would be teaching freehand drawing (yeah fine art) forging (yeah craft) and Sloyd.3 Sloyd? I would learn that the Sloyd Movement was a late 19th C Swedish innovation that posited the benefits of handicrafts in general education – although it taught handwork it was not vocational training.4 Proponents believed
that craft built character, encouraged moral behavior, greater intelligence, and industriousness. Sloyd was a form of educational reform that had a noted impact on the early development of manual training, manual arts, industrial education and technical education. It was student centered, experience based, and was promoted in Northern Europe, England, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada, where it was enthusiastically taken up under the banner of the “Macdonald Educational Sloyd Movement.” The philanthropist Sir William C Macdonald (1831-1917) agreed to fund the project for three years – furnishing ten sloyd centers across Canada, including one in “Calgary N.W.T.5 Sloyd-trained educators were to be brought to Canada, teachers trained, sloyd rooms equipped, and classes begun. By 1907 it is estimated that more than 20,000 Canadian students had been educated in the Sloyd method! It is evident that sloyd appealed to both the proponents of the intellectual function of schools and to supporters of the economic, or practical role, of schools in preparing student for jobs during a time of economic and social change. The Canadian press followed the developments closely noting the arrival of the first three teachers from England. In July 1900 The St John Daily Sun (NB) enthusiastically welcomed the arrival of Albert H Leake, Thomas B Kidner (1866-1932), and Lindley H Bennett and set about discussing the various locations that were being established as teacher training centers. The movement was well orchestrated and well documented and these men travelled across the country proselytizing the benefits of the movement. In his text The Theory of Educational Sloyd (1892) Otto Salomon insisted that the sloyd instructor was first and foremost an educator and we can see that Leo Pearson took this to heart. During the three years he was taught sloyd in California he continued to add
to his skills studying at the Los Angeles Academy of Art, the College of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California, the Art Students’ League of Los Angeles (1906-08) the School of Arts and Crafts in Minneapolis, The School of Art in Chicago, and the Stout Institute in Wisconsin. He resigned his position in California and enrolled in the Art Department of Teachers’ College, Columbia University, N.Y. graduating with a BA in Art (1912). Pearson sat the examinations for “Art Specialists” required by the Board of Education in New York City and soon after he accepted the position of Art Specialist at the Alberta Provincial Normal School (teachers college) – arriving in Camrose in 1913. He remained at the Normal School for only two years before being head hunted by the founders of the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary. The Red Deer News enthused that Pearson had been “Appointed as Instructor in Fine and Applied Art” (Sept 13 1916). Pearson’s qualifications as an artist and art educator and his experiences with Sloyd Education would have appealed to the Calgary Board of Education, in particular the Director of Technical Education, Thomas B Kidner (one of the three original “sloyd masters”). In 1916 Pearson moved to Calgary to become an instructor in “drafting and art subjects.” Lindley H Bennett, that other “sloyd master”, would soon join him. During his tenure at the Tech, Pearson continued his studies, and in 1923 was awarded a BA (Fine Art) from Stanford University. He was a practicing artist, a charter member of the Alberta Society of Artists (1931), and was exhibited locally and at the National Gallery in Ottawa. However, at the Tech, I believe he reveled in his role as an art educator with a special interest in the teaching of craft and design. During the summers, when not at Banff, he attended institutions including the Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles (1927); Roche
Studios, Los Angeles, for commercial art work (1928); interior decoration and costume design at University of Washington, Seattle (1929); and the California School of Arts and Crafts (1931). With further research I might suggest that Marion Nicoll’s life long interest in craft education was inspired by this model. Given that these sloyd activists were operating in the founding years of the Provincial Institute I began to wonder about the promotion and reception of craft within the greater community. During WWI civilian instruction was suspended for two years (1917-1919); however, everything I read confirmed that instruction continued. Yet, where did art and craft fit within the plan? This was partially addressed when I discovered that, Sir James Lougheed (Senator from Alberta) when asked for a recommendation from Ottawa suggested Thomas Kidner. Kidner was to oversee a national program of occupational work for all men undergoing treatment in convalescent hospitals across Canada. A year later Kidner was “loaned” to the U. S. Surgeon General’s Department where he took on the role of Advisor on Rehabilitation to the Federal Board of Vocational Education.6 It was Kidner’s belief in sloyd and the potential of craft in education and rehabilitation that would see him recognized as a founding father of Occupational Therapy in the United States.7 Was it here then that the North American idea that craft is “good for you,” even therapeutic was codified? My conclusions to date? In the first part of the last century sloyd (craft) was promoted as a form of democratic art and sloyd methods were such that they cultivated the understanding of craft as a part of everyday living in an industrialized society. To this end, the Canadian Educational Sloyd Movement created a demand for craft and a need for craft education. However, it is sobering to recognize that what the public took away from this period was the
emphasis on the amateur maker and the therapeutic practice of craft. Thus the early years at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art saw craft education being prioritized.8 Following WWI the demand for art and craft grew and the Tech offered three year “certificates” in “Fine Arts” “Commercial Art” and “Applied Arts and Crafts.” However, this was the “dirty thirties” in the Prairies and practicality the byword – the result being an almost moral imperative driving craft education. The 1931-32 Annual’s descriptive is telling: “the useful arts are not only handy but sometimes essential to progress.” Another World War would again define craft’s role in society – women knitted, POWs worked with barbed wire and Marion Nicoll taught art and craft as occupational therapy at the Central Alberta Sanatorium in Bowness (1943).9 However, a change was in the air and following the War the North American Studio Craft Movement and craft proponents like Marion Nicoll successfully challenged these perceptions. This remains a work in progress – It began as a simple question. When was craft first taught at the Institute? Leo Pearson began as merely a footnote; however, discovering his passion for art, craft, and design education I become intrigued. Through Pearson I discovered the Educational Sloyd Movement in Canada and followed Thomas B Kidner, a British trained craftsman, architect, and sloyd educator to Calgary where, in 1916, he and Pearson crossed paths. To my mind this “sloyd moment” is when the History of Craft at ACAD began. I will leave you with one thought: If my research is correct, and craft at ACAD began in 1916, it is worthwhile noting that the entry of our first cohort of MFA Craft Media students will mark100 years of craft education at this institution. Sloyd, then, is a foreign name for a foreign method; but as the method is the most thoughtfully worked-out system of its kind, it is best to retain the foreign name, even if the method is
modified a little to suit English practice. It is less cumbrous, too, than such terms as “Handwork,” “Manual Training” and possesses this important and unique advantage, viz.; it implies a system of manual work founded purely upon educational principles, and with aims, which are solely educational. Otto Aron Salomon. The Theory of Educational Sloyd. London: G Philip & Son. 1892.
Laviolette, Mary Beth and Christine Somer. 75 years of art: Alberta College of Art + Design: 1926-2001. Calgary: ACAD, 2001.
“Mine had a Ripple in it.” Marion Nicoll: Silence and Alchemy. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2013.
28 May 1906
Otto Aron Salomon (1849 -1907) started a school for teachers in the 1870s in Nääs, Sweden. The school attracted students from throughout the world and was active until around 1960.
Jas W. Robertson, Manual Training: The Macdonald Manual Training Schools and Albert H Leake. The Ottawa Manual Training School. Toronto: The Ontario Institute for the Studies in Education. Reprinted from Canadian Magazine, April 1901
After the war Kidner would remain in New York City (his wife and children stayed in Calgary).
Friedland, Judith and Naomi DavidsBrumer. “From Education to Occupation: The Story of Thomas Kidner. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. Electronic Edition Fall 2006.
This was in contrast to the British system, which had the benefit of a strong historic and professional footing in craft and supported practical craft training through apprenticeships – the roots of fine craft run deep in Britain.
Typically the February 1945 issue of Craft Horizons included an article entitled: “Crafts in a German P.O.W. Camp.”
S a r ab e t h C ar n a t S choo l o f C r aft + E me r g i n g M e d ia (Jewe l l er y an d M et a ls ) Convocation Address 2014 g r a d uat e s , pa r e n t s , c o l l e a g u e s , & h o n c h o s . I say honcho because either you are a honcho or you think you are a honcho, which means either way honcho will do. No disrespect intended.
My father came to Calgary as a child in 1912. My father was the first psychiatrist in Calgary. He was a honcho. He really didn’t understand my creative nature. He was sure I wouldn’t be able to support myself financially as an artist. Luckily my mother did, & supported me in my creative quest. I grew up attending art classes at the Coste House, Calgary’s first art centre, & later at the Allied Art Centre. I took art, music, & dance lessons growing up, & had to decide in high school whether I would focus on visual or performing arts. Luckily I chose the visual arts. I had wanted to attend ACAD but even with several letters of recommendation I was not accepted. Actually that was a good thing, because my father did a lot of forensic work & had his buddies in the police force watching me & reporting back to him my activities with the ‘artsy types”. In thinking about the wisdom I want to impart to you it’s not easy to sum up 60+ years of experience into 5 minutes so I thought I could try to speak very quickly or articulate the most important things I have learned. I have long pondered this question. How do we become who we are? What are the events, factors, influences & choices that actually make us become ourselves? As a child I often spent time at my grandfather’s home. There were no toys there but there were three things to play
with, the copper kettle full of pennies, the button box & a hinged tin of seed beads. In hindsight I now realize that that tin of seed beads was the first craft material that I experienced. This was a huge influence in my love of craft & jewellery. How does a small moment change our lives forever? What is life & how do we make it meaningful? Think critically. This doesn’t mean to be self-deprecating it means to think analytically. Shit happens. Lots & lots & lots of shit happens. Try not to be the cause or the effect of shit happening. Avoid drama in your daily life. Life is hard & then you die. So how do you choose to live your life? Will you live fully engaged, really alive or alive meaning your body is functioning but imprisoned by your emotions & beliefs? So let’s look at beliefs. Whatever you believe to be true will be true. If you see yourself as a victim you will be a victim. See things not as a problem, but as an opportunity to learn. Don’t let fear cripple you. There are two kinds of anxiety, existential & neurotic. Existential is normal healthy concern about daily survival. Neurotic is unproductive, obsessive, worrying. It does nothing except waste your energy. Control is a myth, mastery is achievable. Remember it takes ten thousand hours to develop mastery. To quote John Lennon “life is what happens after you make plans”. Respect yourself, physically, emotionally & spiritually. Take care of your body, it is your temple that carries your brain and heart. Choose to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps you create your own antidepressants. Eat well. Imbibe with moderation. Men’s livers can take more abuse than women’s.
Think about the big picture of how you fit in the world & what you offer the world not only what the world offers you. Stay curious. It is a great remedy for depression. Power struggles are normal in relationships. Winning is really losing. The most important people in your life are your family and friends. They know you better than anyone else could. Treat them the best, not the worst. Life is not a competition. If we see life as a process as we see our art, we can grow with each stage. Aging is inevitable but maturity is a choice. It takes work to mature. Use humour to get you out of darkness. Embrace life & beauty. Be engaged. Live passionately. Accept your-self with all facets, warts & all. Let society be enriched by the depth and breadth of your creativity.
ACAD FA EX ECUT IVE BOARD 2014–2015
call for submissions w e l i k e i m a g e s ! You can send images for inclusion without them being part of an article. Send a modest selection of print-ready 300dpi tiffs, at approx. 4” x 6” in RGB colour, or greyscale. Include a clear indication of the content in your image file names and if the images support an article, also add a note in your copy about where you might like images e.g. Fig. 1/Ill. 2.
p l e a s e i n c lu d e a t i t l e
words. to include any credits, acknowledgements or photo captions.
has been received you’ll receive an acknowledgement from the newsletter editor or ACADFA office manager.
a f t e r yo u r s u b m i s s i o n
please don’t revise
or further edit your submission until you have received feedback from the editor or the ACADFA office manage, and then use the track changes for any further revisions.
l a s t ly ,
Alex Link vice president/treasurer
OFFICE 547 OFFICE HOURS TUES/WEDS 10AM–5 PM THURSDAY 10AM–2PM
Heather Huston p ro f e s s i o n a l a f fa i r s r e p
Tyler Rock nac c h a i r
article or submission. l i m i t f e at u r e a rt i c l e s
a c a d fa o f f i c e m a nag e r
ideas and proposals are welcome at any time! We sometimes work on items over an extended period so don’t feel constrained by our twice-yearly deadlines.
Phone 403-284-7613 email: email@example.com
Chris Frey g r i e va n c e a dv i s o r
Jeff Lennard newsletter editor
John Calvelli The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Alberta College of Art & Design Faculty Association. ©Alberta College of Art + Design Faculty Association and contributors 2014
ac a d e m i c c o u n c i l r e p
Justin Waddell s e s s i o n a l r e p r e s e n tat i v e
Diana Sherlock b oa r d o f g ov e r n o r s r e p
Ian Fitzgerald (non-voting)
Hillary Knutson Despair, 2011–13 (detail) Digital print on sintra 40 x 40 inches
“She’s Blocked. She’s exhausted. The combination of illness and medications lead her to spend a great deal of time in bed, where she sits writing. Lulled by fatigue, she considers ceasing production completely—the lure to just simply be. Or else: she needs to arrive at a new way of working.” —Chris Kraus Source: Where Art Belongs. Semiotext(e), 2011: 103.
Hillary Knutson Untitled (Despair), 2012 Graphite and embroidery floss on muslin 14 inches in diameter