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Thursday, August 28, 2014

EMMA Collaboration 2014

The first week of August I attended the EMMA International Collaboration that is held every two years in Saskatchewan, Canada.  This was my second EMMA.  Only one hundred artists from around the world are invited to come together to work in collaboration, teaching one another new skills and sharing creatively in the fabrication of art objects.  At the end of the session an auction is held at the Saskatchewan Craft Council where the objects are sold to patrons in order to fund the next event.

Affectionately known as 'Emma', this biennial weeklong residency takes place in the heart of the Boreal Forests of Northern Saskatchewan. 

Artists are challenged to step outside their usual practice to explore different media, techniques and subject matter.  Professional artists skilled in working with wood, blacksmithing, metal fabrication, forging, painting, fabric, leather, bark, stone and other media are invited.  The artists move around the group to work with each other, asking someone to add something interesting to a project or asking another how to solve a problem with an unfamiliar medium.   New techniques, ideas and inspiration are shared throughout the week.

This year one of my projects was to collaborate with the team that made this clock.  My contribution was to make the pendulum from telescoping brass and copper tubing and an old 1920's pre-vinyl record made from wood fiber and other material that I cut and carved to shape.  The record was at least 1/4th inch thick, very different from the vinyl records we are more familiar with now.  I think the name of the record was 'Good Bye Sunshine Hello Moon' before the label was removed.  

I worked on several other projects, as well, but we were so busy that I didn't take any photos.   It was especially hectic at the end of the week as we tried to get our work completed.  

These are the Blacksmiths forging a relief onto some hot iron for a table that was completed later. Great teamwork! Timing was critical. These guys are from Great Britain, New Zealand, Hawaii, Saskatoon and a Kiwi now residing in Canada. A better group of people you would be hard-pressed to find.

This is Te Rangitu Netana from New Zealand, an amazing graphic artist.  He had never met an African American before and I had never met a Maori.  We were instantly friends.

This is the Tiny Shiny group of Jewelers, Greg Wilbur, John Wirth, Myra Perrin, 'Mary' Podiluk, Melody Armstrong and me.  As with the other work locations at EMMA the amount of skill, talent and problem solving that went on in this space boggles the mind.  Hell of a group and I was honored to be a part of it.  

The Emma Lake International Collaboration grew from a series of wood workshops organized by Michael Hosaluk through the Saskatchewan Craft Council in 1982.  Since that beginning, the EMMA International Collaboration has become a catalyst for worldwide creativity in the arts and several collaborative EMMA events across the world have emerged. 

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Thank you for reading!  Please send me your comments.  Charles