Emma International Collaboration
Every two years, one hundred artists from across the globe come together to share in an experience of raw creation and open possibility.
The EMMA International Collaboration is an innovative workshop model for un-structured creative collaboration between artists working in traditional craft and those engaged in contemporary method. Affectionately known as “Emma”, this biennial weeklong residency takes place in the heart of the Boreal Forest in Northern Saskatchewan — a place where form and function collide. Artists at various stages of their careers are challenged to step outside their usual art practice; to explore medium, technique and subject matter through hands on collaboration and exciting creative exchange.
The event has become a catalyst for worldwide creativity in the arts. Since adopting this new spontaneous approach to learning several collaborative events across the world have emerged. Notably: Collaboration NZ, McGregor’s Bay, New Zealand; Echo Lake, New Hope PA; Hawaii Artist Collaboration, Holualoa, HI; Art in the Pearl, Portland, OR; Collaborations, Sydney, Australia.
2018 EMMA International Collaboration
Dates: July 25 – August 2, 2018
Location: Ness Creek Festival Site, Big River, Saskatchewan
Invited artists are challenged to step outside their usual art practice; to explore medium, technique, and subject matter through hands-on collaboration and exciting creative exchange.
EMMA Auction – Saskatoon
Date: August 2, 2018
Location: Holy Family Cathedral, 123 Nelson Road, Saskatoon, SK
This live and silent auction takes place in Saskatoon, and is also free and open to the public. See what artistic magic occurred at the weeklong 2018 EMMA International Collaboration. This could be the beginning of your art collection! Collaborative artwork created by international, national and local artists. Proceeds help fund future EMMA Collaborations.
The Ness Creek Arts site is located near Big River, Saskatchewan. On-site facilities for Emma include multiple covered work sites set up for areas in woodworking, blacksmithing, jewelry production, mixed-media and print-making. Participants stay in rustic cabins or provide their own camping gear (trailers are welcome but with limited access to water and electricity). Many participants embrace the northern experience, tenting in the many available camp sites adjacent to the work area.
The site also has a modern bathroom complex with showers and flush toilets. There is also an on-site kitchen and several community gathering areas. Food is catered with an emphasis on fresh local fare, including lake trout from nearby lakes.
There are many attractions in the surrounding area including hiking trails, fishing, boating, and swimming at the longest white sand beach in Northern Saskachewan – Nesslin Lake.
In 1982, Saskatchewan-based artist Michael Hosaluk and the Saskatchewan Craft Council organized a Wood Turning and Furniture Making Conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This event brought together some of the finest wood turners and furniture makers of the time and has evolved into the Emma Lake International Collaboration. The standard lecture-demonstration event has developed into an innovative hands-on experience that brings together artists from around the world, every two years, to make art in northern Saskatchewan.
In 1996, the event moved to the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus (hence the name “Emma”), an artists’ retreat in the northern boreal forest operated by the University of Saskatchewan. The success of the open studio sessions at past events led organizers to drop all formal instruction in favor of the totally hands on “no format format.” To broaden the creative base from wood related disciplines, organizers decided to include blacksmithing, metal fabrication, a foundry, painting, and anything that fit the spontaneous nature of the event.
In 2006, Emma International Collaboration moved to the site of Ness Creek. Over the past 20 years, Ness Creek Music Festival has been host to musicians from all over the world and are in the process of expanding their site into a multi-functional arts center. Emma International Collaboration is one of the five key founding organizations of the Jack Milikin Centre, a planned creative cultural facility that will nurture and steward cultural activities in Saskatchewan.
All below quotations are from participants of the 2014 Emma International Collaboration.
“I am still basking in the glow and remembering … generosity of spirit, excellence of hand, freedom of creative thought and action, refreshing in the stream, seconds (with occasional mid-morning thirds) at the pumpkin bread table, hard work that never quite felt hard, more hard work, falling asleep finally to the inspiring clang at forges in the night.” ~ A. Cinnamon
“As a first timer with Emma, I’m still reeling with excitement over this awesome experience. A new door opened for me and I can’t wait to get back to playing with my newly discovered toys. I thank you all for your generosity, giving of your time, knowledge and of your hearts.” ~ D. Covington
“I feel full and empty, accompanied and alone, a little sad and very enthusiastic, impatient to start working again and longing for the next EMMA already.” ~ E. Sipkes
“This was my second EMMA and I enjoyed it as much as the first one. I sense the bond will grow stronger each time I participate.” ~ E. Kolijin
“I am still glowing, I feel completely honoured to have been given the mere opportunity to work with all of you- I am filled to the brim.” ~ G. Haley
“I believe Emma is ultimately about the work … the piece, beautiful, odd, wonderful, mysterious, even misunderstood is the Emma legacy. We are, I think, nourished and inspired to make things and let them go. Such is Emma and I am glad to be part of it with all of you.” ~ G. Grismer
“The Emma experience allows this awesome mash up of regional, generational, cultural and even spiritual acuity to happen spontaneously within the context of a communal ‘YES.’ The honest and open sharing was almost effortless as each one of us allowed our process to unfold in a collaborative intention. How extraordinary to problem solve and explore new solutions with the genius and the fool among and within us! I have laughter memories I will treasure forever and also the unique tactile feel of silk, copper and wet leather moving through my fingertips. Emma and the Artists’ Collaborative experience allows the individual to climb out of the ego suit and swim in the waters of our creative global identity as the new tribe of cultural mentors and crafters.” ~ K. Abood
“… we are indeed, the lucky ones who have had our spirits satiated by a week of community, making, sharing, learning… I, along with you, hold the experience and memories close to my heart. I look forward to the next opportunity to gather and,again, make magic.” ~ K. Winkle