Les-150x150Longtime SCC staff member Leslie Potter has decided to retire. Les has decades of experience as a practicing artist, teacher, curator, preparator and vital member of the artistic community of Saskatchewan AND of course, as an SCC staff member.

As we celebrate his remaining time with us, the Saskatchewan Craft Council is running Ask Les, an advice column about anything and everything!


Bubble wrap: Bubbles in or out? Why?

In most situations you should try to put the bubbles on the outside; they are more abrasive and can catch on delicate parts of an object. The only time I can see
putting them on the inside is if you are making bubble envelopes that need to be tucked in, side by side in a box or crate. Then, if the bubbles were on the outside
they would catch and snag each other every time they were packed and re-packed.

Is it important to learn from an institution, rather than teaching yourself or doing the odd workshop? What are the pros and cons?

There are many pros and cons, but each person has to distill the essence of what will be the best path. I am a strong advocate of the 4-H motto: “Learn to do by doing”. I think that, ultimately, one acquires meaningful skills and knowledge by experiencing the pains and joys of making mistakes and creating corrective directions on your own.

Les, what advice would you have for a newbie metal worker who would like to make big things?!!

Big things are made one step at a time, depending on the object, of course. Sometimes you may have to employ different tools or methods, but that is just the fabrication process. Big things require you to alter your perspective and imagine yourself looking at what you want to make as if you were really looking at it “in real life” before you even start working on it. And, this usually means elongating your piece from the maquette – even up to 10 % in order to retain the elegance of your vision.

In years past, one could smoke pretty much anywhere. Were people and staff allowed to smoke in the building or the gallery? When did that stop?

When the SCC acquired the building the top 2 floors were rented. The SCC office was in the basement and smoking was allowed in a couple of rooms. I am not sure when it stopped, I think when none of the staff smoked any more.