Written by: Lucas Morneau, Exhibitions Assistant
Now that the dog days of summer are almost over, my time with the Saskatchewan Craft Council is coming to an end. Throughout this summer, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people and had the opportunity to attend some spectacular events. I thought this blog post would be a perfect opportunity to thank those whom I worked with throughout the summer and to share some of my experiences.
Joining the SCC at the end of May, I had the pleasure of starting work during possibly one of my favourite times of year: Pride. The SCC gave me the task and pleasure to submit a proposal for the design of the SCC’s Pride decorations. As both a queer artist and an avid fan of design shows (I used to watch HGTV all day during sick days), I was excited to see the Craft Council’s building covered head to toe in rainbows. In past years, the SCC used party streamers to decorate the windows of the building. This year, I borrowed from that idea but decided to use a material commonly used in many craft mediums: yarn. Some coworkers, including my fellow summer student Michelle Day, and I spent a couple of days cutting yarn into strips and taping them to the windows, creating a vibrant display for the rest of Broadway to see (and to be jealous of, hehe). Donna Potter and Lesley Sutherland, the Boutique and Administration Coordinators, even changed the window display so that it matched the rainbow design.
During my time working at the Craft Council, I had the opportunity assisting with two of the exhibitions showing in the SCC Gallery: Claude Morin’s Grandfather’s Teachings of the Meadow Lark and the current exhibition Curio, consisting of works created during the Emma International Collaborations throughout the years. Curio, which is made up of works on loan from local art collectors, really blew my mind, as all the works were created ONLY within a week. Heck, it takes me a week to round up the motivation to even go to the studio at times!
Claude Morin’s exhibition at the SCC helped spark my interest once more into ceramics and pottery. I first became obsessed with ceramics and pottery when I visited the Peter Leech Pottery in St. Ives, UK during a semester abroad. My visit to The Leech Pottery was the catalyst that made me take sculpture classes during my undergrad. If not for my newfound love for pottery during that time, I probably would not have created the light installation I submitted as my graduating piece for my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, nor would I be here in Saskatoon completing my Master of Fine Arts.
My favourite pieces from Claude’s show, the series L’Éveil de la Conscience (The Awakening of Consciousness) consists of multiple vessels filled to the brim with black dye. Smaller vessels float on top of the abyss-like liquid, slowly absorbing the dye through the pores of the porcelain. The floating vessels, which once were stained with vibrant pops of yellow and red, slowing blackened from the process.
One of my favourite parts of working on Curio was having the opportunity to visit collector’s homes to look at work made at previous Emmas. Again, as an avid fan of decorating shows, being able to see how these collectors and artists incorporated these wacky and weird artworks into their homes was really inspiring. In fact, I was so inspired that I ended up bidding on and winning an encaustic painting from the collaboration created by artists Kathy Bradshaw and Travis Townsend.
Not only did I get to experience the Emma International Collaboration through Curio, I also had the amazing opportunity to travel up to the Ness Creek Festival Site and assist in documenting close to 300 artworks created during the week of the collaboration. At Ness Creek, I was able to experience an abridged version of the magic that is the Emma International Collaboration, as well as meet some amazing artists from all around the world. Though the experience was extremely tiring, looking back, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to experience Emma, as it has peaked my own interest in attending artist collaborations.
While working at the Craft Council, I also had the opportunity to work in the SCC Fine Craft Boutique, either covering lunches for Donna and Lesley, or spending a full day greeting gallery visitors and patrons. The Boutique was an extremely fun place to work, though my wallet DID NOT enjoy it: I bought WAY too many pieces for myself and family members. I guess one of the issues with working around beautiful, handcrafted works of art is that you want to own them once you work around them long enough. Personally, I fell in love with a sterling silver ring made by Winston Quan, a beadwork spider created by Houkje Wendt, and a series of mugs created by Parsons Dietrich Pottery. Their creations will be a great addition to my growing collection. I can see myself coming back to the Boutique in the near future to purchase even more work.
I really enjoyed my time working at the Saskatchewan Craft Council. I’m going to miss the long conversations I had with staff members, such as my long conversations with Margaret about our own adventures abroad. I’m going to miss the conversations with Lesley surrounding queer theory and knitting. I’m going to miss “spilling the tea” with Alexa about the show RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’m going to miss the encouraging talks I had with Carmen about my future. I’m going to miss the video game talk with Maia, whether it be us sharing our love for the game Stardew Valley or telling each other about the newest games we’re playing. I’m going to miss the jokes and stories that Steph and I seem to constantly tell each other, especially when we’re out picking up supplies for the gallery. I’m going to miss walking downstairs to the gallery and chatting with Donna in the mornings. I’m going to miss bothering Vivian and Sydney about documents that I need from them (there were a lot of documents). I’m going to miss the chats with Kaitlyn about Newfoundland and the MFA program. I’m going to miss the stories Michelle and I share, and laughing at our ridiculous ideas for the chalkboard signs (like “C’mon Ms. Thing, come check out our bling”). And I’m going to miss all of you, especially those I got to meet while working here at the SCC.
Hopefully I’ll work here once again in the future. For now, after I finish up here at the SCC, I am focusing on finishing my upcoming exhibition, The Queer Mummer, which will be on display at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery from August 20th to August 31st. The closing reception is on Friday, August 31st from 7 to 11 pm. I hope to see all of you there!