October 22 – 25, 2014

The fourth annual A Handmade Assembly, hosted by the Owens Art Gallery and Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre with support from the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University, featured workshops, talks and projects by Kaeli Cook (Sackville, NB), Paula Jean Cowan & Chris Down (Sackville, NB), Ray Fenwick (Winnipeg, MB), David Hoffos (Lethbridge, AB), Christine Kim (Toronto, ON), Adriana Kuiper (Sackville, NB), Amanda McCavour (Toronto, ON), Janine Rogers (Sackville, NB), Karen Stentaford (Sackville, NB), Kara Stone (Toronto, ON), Rachel Thornton (Sackville, NB), Tara K Wells (Sackville, NB) and Mitchell Wiebe (Halifax, NS).

Opening Night Roundtable Discussion

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 7:30pm
Royal Canadian Legion

The Assembly activities began with an Opening Night Roundtable Discussion moderated by Adriana Kuiper with Ray Fenwick, David Hoffos, Amanda McCavour, and Kara Stone. Through a series of questions followed by informal conversation, Kuiper lead a discussion about each artist’s relationship to the handmade in their own art practices and what they think it means to make something by hand. The Opening Night Roundtable Discussion is an opportunity to gain some insight into how A Handmade Assembly came together, meet the participants, and find out more about what you can expect to see over the course of the four-day event. An opening night social followed.

Workshop: Pieceful Curves
Tara K Wells

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Royal Canadian Legion

In this workshop participants learned how to sew the smallest of fabric scraps into an intriguing composition. Fabrics and tools were provided, but participants were encouraged to bring their own sewing machines, irons, or anything of the following: Fabric scraps (cotton), Solid fabric yardage (cotton), Sewing machine, Iron, Ironing board, and Rotary cutters.

Workshop: Handmade Videogame Controllers
Kara Stone

Friday October 24, 2014
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Royal Canadian Legion, 15 Lorne Street

Make your own videogame controller, musical instrument or keyboard! Create handmade interactive new media by mashing together crafting and electronics and discuss the feminist history of the relationship between crafting and technology. Using a MakeyMakey, each participant learned how to make cool and crafty interactive peripherals and wearables.

Exhibition: 13 Artists

Owens Art Gallery, 61 York Street

Recent and new work by faculty and technicians in the Department of Fine Arts, Mount Allison University, guest-curated by Pan Wendt. The artists in the exhibition were: Thaddeus Holownia, Karen Stentaford, Jerry Ropson, Leah Garnett, Adriana Kuiper, Chris Down, Dan Steeves, Erik Edson, Anne Koval, Ryan Suter, John Murchie, Jon Claytor and Herménégilde Chiasson.

Exhibition: May it Always Be

Paula Jean Cowan and Chris Down
Thunder & Lightning Ltd.

These drawings were made on our dining room table, during naps and after the bedtime of our then-one-and-half-year-old son. Their circular supports were traced from the lid of our pasta pot and their images are emblems of our shifting domestic circumstances. They were made through a process of “call and response”, one drawing begun, its pair a counterpoint. Their narratives are cryptic - private responses to the mundane events that structure our everyday existence. Some are joyous. Some are laments. Others are talismans of protection or remembrance. They are small gestures in an ongoing conversation between two artists who share a life.

Handmade Study Break: Retro Photo
Tintype photography with Karen Stentaford

Saturday 25 October 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Owens Art Gallery

This Handmade Study Break participants were asked to join Karen Stentaford for an introduction to tintype photography. They shared the frame in group portrait sessions taking place throughout the afternoon, watched as images were developed in a portable darkroom and got a rare first-hand look at this popular nineteenth century process used to create the original instant photograph.

Karen Stentaford is photography technician and a lecturer in the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University. Working mainly in large format photography, Karen also uses toy cameras, pinhole photography and historic processes where elements of chance and surprise are at play.

For this Handmade Study Break Karen was working with Christie Lawrence, her partner in Photomatic: Travelling Tintype Studio, a project that they have taken on the road over the last year and a half. They have set up Photomatic in towns and cities throughout New Brunswick as well as Halifax, NS and Eastport, Maine.

Handmade Study Breaks are informal, artist-led workshops for everyone. Take a break, come on out and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate too. It’s free. Organized by the Owens Art Gallery in conjunction with A Handmade Assembly.

Artist Talk: Christine Kim

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 10:30am
Royal Canadian Legion

For the past few years, Kim has been straddling the boundaries between craft, contemporary art, and design. For the Handmade Assembly, she shared her work with an emphasis on studio process. Her interests lie within the ‘post-medium’ era, where the language that frames the artwork has gained more significance than material competence. Kim traced her own process and practice in order to share moments where her hand informed her head, and the materials and processes dictated the product and presentation. Kim tries to strike a balance between the mastery of material and technique, and being mindful of both when framing and presenting the product with language. It is this reconnection between body and mind that she explored in this artist talk – specifically, how the gestures of folding, cutting and layering play a role in her studio process and work.

The Work Room

Thursday, October 23 & Friday, October 24
1:00pm - 5:00pm
Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre

Participants were invited to bring their on-the-go projects and drop by Struts & Faucet to get some work done in the company of others, or maybe even start something new. Refreshments, music, and a few extra bits and bobs were provided to help with work.

Workshop: Cut Paper Sculpture
Christine Kim

Friday October 24, 2014
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Royal Canadian Legion, 15 Lorne Street

This workshop invited participants to enter a paper forest, as Christine Kim talked about her studio practice as a cut paper artist through images, prototypes, and paper samples. She shared some of her favourite tools and techniques through the construction of one cut paper sculpture. Using a slot sculpture for a dodecahedron, participants cut and perforated the paper to create new possibilities for form, shape and shadow.

Open Studio artist in residence Amanda McCavour

Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre

McCavour's focus during the residency has been to explore the making process in the space of the studio, playing with embroidery’s structural potential through stacking, folding and forming her thread drawings.

Artist Talk: Amanda McCavour

Saturday October 25, 2014, 10:30 am
Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, 7 Lorne Street, All are welcome.
Amanda McCavour has been Struts & Faucet's artist in residence since September 22, 2014. McCavour shared her past and present work in an informal talk in her studio at 7 Lorne Street.

Closing Address: Janine Rogers

Saturday October 25, 2014, 8:00 pm
Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, 7 Lorne Street, All are welcome.
A Handmade Assembly cam to an end on Saturday evening with a closing address delivered by Janine Rogers at Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre. The closing address was a collection of thoughts inspired by what Rogers had observed over the course of the four-day festival, and offered some insight into the role the handmade plays in contemporary culture. Karaoke followed.

Workshop: Experimental Layers
Amanda McCavour

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Royal Canadian Legion

Participants ere invited to construct dynamic, textured, mixed media surfaces through the use of machine and hand embroidery. With the use of a water soluble stabilizer, they were encouraged to experiment with a variety of materials to create textured, embellished grounds where stitches hold the surface and materials together. Thin plastics, papers, yarns, fabrics, threads and leaves were used in this workshop, and the constructed cloth were used for collages, wearable art pieces, or as grounds for more embroidery.

Workshop: Intro to Tatting
Kaeli Cook

Friday October 24, 2014, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Royal Canadian Legion

In this workshop participants learned the dying art of handcrafting lace through a series of knots and loops.

Exhibition: A Collaborative Installation Workshop with David Hoffos and Katie Patterson, Patrick Allaby, Rachel Thornton, Soo Lee, Ben Egli, Emma Hoch, Chris Donovan and Hailey Guzik

Owens Art Gallery, 61 York Street.

Exhibition: Accumulations
Rachel Thornton

Thunder & Lightning Ltd. special projects gallery

These works came to be after a summer of making, researching, and visiting sites that have a history of witchcraft, or at least of those accused of being involved in dark magic. Drawings, collected objects, gilded flora and embroideries are combined on stretched fabric, representing trilogies of magical sisters. These drawings serve as one perspective on the limitless possibilities of magic.

Under Ground Art, aka Contemporary Futureprimitivism: A Cave-Drawing Party Situation

Ray Fenwick & Mitchell Wiebe
Saturday October 25, 2014
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, 7 Lorne Street

Hosts for the party were Ray Fenwick and Mitchell Wiebe, who first met while wandering deep in the caves of the Manitoba–Maritime Pan-Canadian Cavern System. After years roaming underground together making art and music (and nurturing friendships with the strange fauna of the caverns) they recently surfaced from a crack in the Save-Easy parking lot. They immediately stumbled through the harsh sun to the safe, dark confines of Struts Gallery.

The primary aim of the Cave-Drawing Party was to cover the walls in drawings, and that in a dark, strangely lit environment whose cave-floors rolled with a shroud of mist. Like all cave drawings, the marks that were made will be re-discovered in 30,000 years. Like all “Cave-Drawers", we must ensure that we leave no clues as to what our life was like. It is the duty of the cave-drawer to leave only enigmatic markings, abstractions, false languages and historical red-herrings. Live ambient music and refreshments were provided.