A Handmade Assembly October 18 - 21, 2017

Kip Jones, Claudia Manley, Becca Taylor, and Lesley Johnson speak at the Opening Night Roundtable in 2016. 

Kip Jones, Claudia Manley, Becca Taylor, and Lesley Johnson speak at the Opening Night Roundtable in 2016. 

Opening Night Roundtable Discussion
Wednesday, October 18, 7:30 PM
Sackville Curling Club, 
22 Lansdowne Street

The Assembly activities begin with an Opening Night Roundtable Discussion moderated by Adriana Kuiper with Katherine Boyer, Katie Marie Bruce, Kelly Ruth, and Wing-Yee Tong. Participants will share short presentations on topics related to the handmade in contemporary culture as it relates to their own research or art practices, to be followed by questions from the moderator and audience.

Harvesting from my dye garden, September, 2017.JPG

Making Colour: Deborah Margo
Friday, October 20, 9:30 AM
Owens Art Gallery, 61 York Street

Deborah Margo’s talk will focus on the making of a new project, Making Colour, which explores the connections between gardeners, natural dye artisans and teachers, naturalists, ecologists, and visual artists. Topics will include the making of her first dye garden, in Ottawa, in May 2017. In addition, she will speak about the harvesting and making of colour dyes from a variety of collected and foraged plant matter in preparation for the making of an indoor installation out of dyed silk and paper. Margo is focusing on the search and manifestation of colour found in nature as idea, material, and practice. By conceptually, poetically, and physically connecting different parts of her practice, Margo aims to have one become the outcome of the other: by growing and finding the necessary plants, then making the dyes, she has access to colour that comes from nature.  The making of an installation becomes the distillation of seed to plant to dye, where colour is impregnated into a textile’s very fibres.  It is an exploration and synthesis of ideas where each step leads to the next consequence.

Image: Nautilus Plate-loading Biceps/Triceps machine, circa 1972

Image: Nautilus Plate-loading Biceps/Triceps machine, circa 1972

Hazel Meyer
Thursday, October 19, 9:30 AM
Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, 7 Lorne Street

RUBBER, LEATHER, WOOD extends Meyer’s ongoing research about the role of handmade tools, equipment and textiles within queer and sexual subcultures, amateur athletics, and activist actions. Specifically Meyer is interested in world-making: how we use objects to populate, orient and build the world we want to share with others. Meyer draws on archival images, popular imagery, the ideas of José Muñoz and Sara Ahmed, and the artist’s own on-going installation and performance project Muscle Panic (2014) to tease out the radical capacity and resilience of the handmade. The talk is named for three materials that effortlessly bridge the worlds of sport and sexual subcultures. 

(Content Warning: This talk includes images from the Leather Archives and Museum of people engaged in varying forms of BDSM. Some of these images are sexually explicit. Various kinks and power plays will be discussed, along with the tools and equipment used in such practices.)

Abeng (by Tyshan Wright and Shauntay Grant, photo credit Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21).jpg

“Go back and fetch”: Cultivating Maroon Tradition in Contemporary Canada
Shauntay Grant & Tyshan Wright
Friday, October 20, 11:00 AM
Owens Art Gallery, 61 York Street

In this artist talk writer Shauntay Grant and visual artist Tyshan Wright discuss their art, and their work to reconnect Jamaican Maroon narratives and sacred objects to Nova Scotia and Canada. Jamaican Maroons are descendants of Africans who evaded slavery and established independent communities in the island’s mountainous interior. When some 550 Maroons were exiled to Nova Scotia from Jamaica in 1796, they were denied their ceremonial instruments. Grant and Wright will discuss their creative processes and the influence of Maroon traditions on their contemporary works.


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Thinking Through Making: Suzie Smith
Thursday, October 19, 11:00 AM
Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, 7 Lorne Street

Suzie Smith will present an artist talk about her multi faceted practice. Routed in printmaking Smith’s work plays with both traditional and experimental processes that expand off the flat surface into installation, sculpture and video. The handmade is central to her work. In particular she is interested in how craft process can inform conceptual ideas. In addition to talking about her own practice Smith will also talk about the work she does collaboratively with Parameter Press, a Risograph collective that produces limited edition artworks that are disseminated quarterly by mail.


Waste Patterns: Transforming Trash, Obsolescing, Tessellating, and Other
Related Complexities
: Keeley Haftner
Saturday, October 21, 11:00 AM
Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, 7 Lorne Street

In her artist talk, Haftner will discuss her obsession with “rhombille”, or “tumbling block” pattern, and how it relates to her parallel obsession with transforming garbage into art objects. Haftner has an ongoing blog where she documents found instances of the pattern (, and engages processes ranging from 3D printing disposable cups to blowing glass from shards found on the street in her efforts to completely transform waste materials.


Closing Address
Diana Sherlock
Saturday, October 21, 8:00 PM
Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, 7 Lorne Street

A Handmade Assembly will come to an end on Saturday evening with a closing address delivered by Diana Sherlock. Diana Sherlock is a Canadian independent curator, writer and educator whose projects create opportunities for contemporary artists to produce new work in response to specific collections, contexts, histories and cultures of display. Recent curatorial projects include: New Maps of Paradise (2016) with Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton (Nickle Galleries, Calgary); In the making (2014–15) (Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary and Kenderdine College Art Galleries, Saskatoon); Folly: Château Mathieu (2009–14) (Mathieu, Normandy, France; Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat and Nickle Galleries, Calgary). Current projects include tracing the parallel histories of West German ceramics (Ricardo Okaranza: Un Certain Regard, Berlin, 2010) and the Medicine Hat clay industries in southern Alberta, and editing a publication on Canadian artist Rita McKeough’s performances and installations. Sherlock has published over 70 texts in gallery catalogues and contemporary art journals internationally including Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, CMagazine, FUSE, Blackflash, Ceramics Art and Perception, .dpi Feminist Journal of Art and Digital Culture and The Calgary Herald. An essay, “Capitalizing on Community: The Makerspace Phenomenon,” is included in the anthology Craft on Demand: The New Politics of the Handmade edited by Nicole Burisch and Anthea Black for I.B. Tauris. Sherlock teaches critical theory and professional practice in the School of Critical + Creative Studies at the Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary.