THE ART BLOG
Now that I've worked out the layering, the opacity and the imagery... I'm on a roll! This is how the full-scale panels were fabricated. I'm nearly done the 6th panel and will be handing them over to the Fernie Forge soon for them to custom build the frame / hanging mechanism. They will be installed at the Elkford Community Conference Center (front entrance) in the coming weeks and officially unveiled on Saturday June 29th at noon by the Elkford Arts Council... all are welcome!
In fabricating the panels I first cut strips of colour in varying widths from 1" to 4", avocado green, moss green, pea green and woodland brown for the sub-alpine areas, then adding in deco gray, deep gray and white getting up to the alpine level.
I fit the strips together so there are no gaps between the colours
And I copy my template onto the glass
(I first traced this template using the projector and Google Earth)
Then grind away the excess until I get my exact ridge line
I prepared these transparencies and burned them onto silkscreens... elk tracks, ponderosas, pine cones, cedars, the Connor Lakes cabin, cougar tracks...
To use the silkscreens for "printing" the image with glass powder onto the sheet glass
One strip at a time, then loading in the kiln
I weighed out the transparent blue glass frit (crushed glass) to fill the sky and it's ready to fire to 1500F to fuse into one piece
All these sparkly bits of transparent blue glass will melt down, catching lots of
tiny bubbles and smoothing out the surface
Each panel is 1.5 feet wide by 3 feet high. Six panels will make up
the artwork (total dimensions will be 11 feet wide by 5 feet high).
This whole project has been fabricated in the Elk Valley! The frames / hanging mechanisms were made in Hosmer, by David Barrett at the Fernie Forge
Thank you to those that have contacted me, I'm enjoying hearing your memories of hiking this epic route... what the place means to you, which route you took, which end you started from. Thank you for sharing these stories with me, and please continue to tell others about your experience... lets get more people out enjoying the Elk Valley on foot.
Come out to celebrate the Unveiling...
Submitted by Katherine Russell
Now that my exhibition is up, I can resume working on my next project: a public artwork titled "Pass in the Clouds" for the Elkford Community Conference Center.
The last few months I have been fabricating dozens of technical tests at sample-size before committing to a full-scale panel. What kinds of technical tests you ask?? Glass-making tends to be less spontaneous than other mediums like drawing and painting, and requires lots of planning and testing before the initial vision for the work can be realized. Three main areas needed figuring out:
1) the layers. Since I can't cut the blue of the sky to the exact same silhouette as the mountain line - how do I achieve this without having a gap between the sky and mountains? After several tests experimenting with different sequences of layers (I have 4 layers to play with here) I decided the best way to achieve this would be to use two formats of glass... blue sheet glass covering the sky and going underneath the mountains AND blue frit (crushed up glass) sitting on top of the blue sheet glass, to fill the space on the top layer of glass right up to the mountain silhouette. This doubling of the blue makes for a stormy and dramatic sky, but from what I've heard about this hike... it fits the bill!
2) the opacity. Since that blue sheet glass needs to tuck under the mountain surface, I'm concerned about seeing a horizontal line inside the mountain area. The glass I've used for the mountains (blues, greys, browns and white) is all opaque, but to varying degrees... sometimes the white and the light grey becomes see-through after firing. And an added challenge: since the sky is transparent and the finished artwork will be hung directly under lighting, the light will come from above and behind the work as well. So, I've swapped out some of the colours and even brought my samples to the site they will be installed at to test the true lighting out in person.
3) the imagery. Each glass 'slice' that makes up the mountains will have imagery depicted on it. This imagery is achieved by taking my original photographs and tracing them with india ink:
or printing them onto transparencies:
burning it on a silkscreen, and "printing" with powdered glass onto the coloured glass sheet:
This works well for imagery that gets repeated such as the elk footprints or the cedar branches but for the photograph of the Connor Lakes cabin which is horizontal landscape... I'm only able to use a narrow vertical section of the photograph. This makes it hard to recognize, but incorporating factual imagery in this artwork is important to me. So, after a few re-prints, I think I've captured a section that conveys that exact location... I hope you agree!
After solving the above, it was time to begin planning for the full scale artwork (11' by 6'). I got all my colour ordered from Bullseye Glass in Portland, plus plenty of extra. I used google maps to accurately depict the silhouette of this Pass:
and projected it onto the wall to trace that ridge line onto poster board to make my templates:
Then I sized my imagery to fit the vertical slices and determined roughly what would go where:
As I write this, I've got the first (of six) full-sized panels firing in the kiln. I'm anxious to see if all the technical challenges tested on the sample sizes passes at full-scale. If you want to see updates more often on this project, follow me on Instagram at: "katherinerussellglass"
Know someone who has hiked the Pass in the Clouds? Contact me, I want to hear their story! So far I'm enjoying hearing about mid-summer blizzards, coral found up top and very difficult terrain. These stories have already help shaped this artwork.... keep 'em coming :)
This project is funded by:
Back in August of this year the Elkford Arts Council was successful in its application to the Columbia Basin Trust's Public Art Grant to commission its first piece of public art. This grant is to support the acquisition and installation of permanent art by Columbia Basin artists in public spaces in communities. To see what other communities received CBT Public Art Grants this year, click here.
A Call for Entry was sent out in August to all of the Arts Councils in the Columbia Basin, seeking artists to submit ideas for this project. Proposal packages required: the artist's CV, 10 images of their previous work, 2 references, project proposal and drawings. Submissions were due October 12, 2018 and were juried in the days following by Mandy McGregor, Steve Fairbairn, Tammy Cashato, Michelle Barthel and LeAnne Cheswick. They met in person at the Elkford Art Studio and Teri Cleverly facilitated the jury process - each juror graded each submission based on these guidelines set out in the Call for Entry:
- How well the proposal reflects one or more of the suggested themes
- Artistic merit of proposed artwork
- Suitability of the artwork to the proposed site
- Quality of previous artwork/ portfolio
The results were tallied and Katherine Russell's submission, titled "Pass in the Clouds" was chosen. After references were called and all other submission requirements were confirmed, Katherine was notified as the successful applicant for Elkford's first public artwork!
Katherine will make a set of six 3' x 1.5' glass wall panels depicting the silhouette of the iconic hiking trail the "Pass in the Clouds" north of Elkford in the Height of the Rockies Provincial Park. Inside of this silhouette will be vertical striations of colour loosely referencing the change in colour from sub alpine to alpine elevations. Within this colour will be imagery such as pondarosa pines, cedars and wildlife prints. To do this she will use a technique called powder printing, to "print" coloured glass powder onto sheets of glass before fusing them in her kiln. Each glass panel will be framed in steel.
Katherine lives in Elkford and has a kiln-forming glass studio. You can find out more about her and her artwork here.
This artwork will be installed inside of the Elkford Community Conference Centre and will be unveiled on Saturday June 29, 2019 as part of Elkford's Wildcat Days celebrations.
This project is funded 80% by the Columbia Basin Trust and 20% by the Elkford Arts Council.
The Elkford Arts Council Society (EACS), a registered non-profit, is appealing for community support in its quest to acquire a more accessible and functional community arts space.
Since 2014, the society has been enriching the cultural landscape of the Elk Valley and providing Elkford and surrounding communities with an array of arts classes and a fully equipped arts studio. The studio also features an after hour drop-in option for local artists, who receive a swipe card as part of their annual $25 membership and pay a nominal fee for drop-in sessions.
“We are so appreciative for the space we currently have,” explained Katherine Russell, the EACS director and an award-winning glass artist. “But in order to better serve our community, we require a more accessible arts space that’ll help us grow and expand what we can offer. Our studio being up on the top floor not only renders us inaccessible to many community members with mobility issues, but it also hinders our visibility. It’s creating insurmountable barriers against what we are trying to accomplish as an organization.”
The society has recently registered a formal interest in acquiring the old district office building in downtown Elkford and awaits the District of Elkford’s impending decision. Securing a larger ground-floor space in a centralized location, Russell believes, could help the EACS provide new class offerings, qualify for the funding to update equipment – and most importantly, finally become fully accessible to the entire community.
From potters to painters and photographers, the EACS is run by a board of passionately invested artists and volunteers. Their vision is to support the social wellbeing of all Elkford community members – as a fully inclusive organization that welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds and experience-levels – and to use creativity as a vehicle for fostering both personal and communal growth.
“We’re a small, semi-isolated mining town that’s snowed-in for nearly seven months a year,” says EACS founder and President, Teri Cleverly. “People here are starving for arts and culture, which are essential to community health. Establishing a centralized hub where people can come to learn, beat cabin fever and cultivate their creativity? These things are crucial for sustaining a thriving, vibrant community – especially for our children, youth and seniors. We desperately need to improve our studio’s accessibility.”
How can you help? Write a letter declaring your support, or share a few lines about what arts and culture means to you, and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more or to register for upcoming classes, visit here or call 250-433-7007.
The first thing Teri will tell you is that she is passionate about bringing art to the community. But the word ‘opportunity’ is painted into everything she does. As a volunteer, Teri has worked for years helping to establish the Elkford Arts Council. She continues to devote her time to organizing classes, increasing membership, and applying for grants. Teri explains that its part of the social fabric, and connects different ages. So, the opportunity for a creative space must exist in our small town.
The studio is available for members on a very flexible schedule for individual use, it has been offered as a meeting place for various family-oriented services, classes and drop-ins are offered for instruction, and Teri’s favourite program brings the love of art to children. The opportunities are endless.
In November the Youth Mentorship Program, developed and overseen by Teri, held one of its Open Houses for the families of the artists. Through Teri’s efforts, a CBT grant was secured to last for 2 years so that the art classes were free for the children grades 3-6, and teen tutors were employed to plan, instruct, and clean up after the classes. Four sessions of 32 children had the opportunity to get involved in a weekly art class.
Each session, which lasted 8 weeks, had 10 tutors ranging from grade 8-12. Not only did these teens help with the children, each had to prepare one lesson and gain the confidence to teach it in front of 40 people. Learning the skill of presenting a lesson is a valuable opportunity for these teens. They benefited from having a supportive audience of their peers and eager artists. These teens also had the opportunity of gaining job experience, learning expectations for a work ethic where they had to be on time, follow routine tasks, and be accountable. It also included the opportunity for the tutors to take home a pay cheque.
Teri says all the hard work she puts into this and other programs is worth it. For her, she enjoys how the children’s art classes are Unique, Exhausting, Creative, Time-consuming, and also very Satisfying. It warms her heart when she hears that teen tutors who she worked with years ago, still make Art an important part of their lives. She feels that somehow, she may have helped them gain that passion too. This opportunity she created helped them.
She remembers how she benefited at a young age when teachers cared and encouraged her talent. The art room was a welcoming space and often a teen really needs a space like that. Her teacher suggested she try a summer program learning to draw from Franciscan monks. She describes every possible stereotype – brown cloaks, balding heads, but she also remembers their laughter and their gift of teaching. Maybe her drive is fueled by this type of experience as well as her caring nature and ability to lead.
Teri’s efforts with the Elkford Arts Council are very far reaching and everyone involved in the council want to recognize Teri for all that she has generously provided. Not only does Teri create art through her painting and clay, she also creates enormous opportunities for her community. Thank You to Teri.
The day is one of those snowy, rainy, breaks of sunshine afternoons in Fall in Elkford. I have arrived at the Elkford Arts Council early in the day to check on my pottery pieces, put the coffee pot on and wedge some clay to make more pots. I pour myself a cup of coffee and watch as people begin to enter The Art Studio. At the Art Studio someone turns on the tunes, puts their lunch in the fridge. People greet each other as community artists, and everyone begins to settle into a day of creativity. Parents and their children enter. The children rush over to the drying racks to show their parents what they made at the after-school art program. Their voices are animated and their faces express how excited they are to create new pottery or painting pieces. They even offer to help their parents come up with those parents own unique ideas.
Adults are wedging clay and starting to throw pots. The children walk over to the pottery wheels and watch potters as the cone up their clay.. Often, the kids will say, “Wow, how did you do that?”. They ask questions and often say that when they are older, they want to be artists also. There are painters and potters entering the studio, getting out their easels or wedging up clay to begin throwing their pots. People are greeting one another and the conversation evolves into ideas these artists hope to turn into their own work of art. They relate the latest “oops” they made and laugh about it. There is music, laughter, positive interactions between young and old. The Art Studio feels full of positive energy. All of these interactions, and the positive feelings that fill our Art Studio space makes me smile. The Art Studio is really an amazing place in our community. Please come and visit us, and see for yourself.
With gratitude, Teri Cleverly, President Elkford Arts Council
Article for the Elk Valley Herald
by: LeAnne Cheswick
I was an imaginative child. I was forever building things in the backyard, drawing animals, daydreaming about living a secluded artsy life in the mountains. Then came real life. Graduation, a two week-turned-ten year move to Alberta, boyfriends, and a husband. My last artwork was dated 1998. One day, I promised, I would use my natural creativity again.
Fast forward nearly 20 years (yikes, really??). I found myself - both in the literal and symbolic sense, living a new life in the hidden gem that is Elkford BC. I’d been on a journey of self discovery and healing, after some unexpected life turmoil. So when I saw a weathered paper taped to a window touting Adult Pottery classes offered at the Elkford Arts Council, taught by Tathlina Lovelin, I knew why I randomly ended up in a secluded mountain town. That elusive “one day” had finally arrived.
Wait a minute, you say. Tiny Elkford, that place at the end of the highway where miners commute for work, has an Arts Council? I’m telling you it is true! Since 2012, under the direction of Teri Cleverly, the Elkford Arts Council has been providing art classes and art experiences to people of all ages and skill levels at the Elkford Art Studio located in the heart of town.
Let me tell you, I was in awe when I entered the studio. I gazed upon a fully stocked and furnished pottery studio, everything a potter could need from glazes, tools, wheels, a slab roller, and a kiln. And best yet, a network of mentors and instructors ready to take this complete beginner under their gloriously muddy wings and offer support and guidance in my pottery education. I was so excited, I even forgot that I was an introvert. Since then I have unearthed the fact that I have the soul of a potter, and will never look back...
The Art Studio also tempted my desire to try drawing again. With both trepidation and enthusiasm I enrolled in a watercolour and ink class taught by Katherine Russell. In painting class we utilized the supplied easels, tables, natural lighting, top notch instruction, and student comradeship. I learned much from that course, including the insight that my heart has needed this creative expression, and artistic companionship, for many years.
I have now been in Elkford for 6 months and so much has changed in my life. I am honoured to be elected to the board of directors of the Elkford Arts Council, I have discovered some natural talent for turning mud into mugs, and I have found a group of like minded friends and mentors. I have found my favourite place to be, and I have found my home.
If you have followed me this far, then I imagine you have an interest in local arts! I am excited to share the news that the Elkford Arts Council is hosting a two day intensive linocut workshop with Michael Hepher of Clawhammer Press, April 22-23. The last day to register for this unique opportunity is April 2, so don’t delay! I invite you to come join us and see for yourself that the Elkford artistic community is truly one of a kind.
For more information about the Elkford Arts Council, including registering for our upcoming workshops, classes, and happenings, please visit www.elkfordartscouncil.blogspot.ca, find us on Facebook, or contact any of our board members (contact info can be found on the website).
Mountain Meadows Golf Course in Elkford was recently the scene of a wonderful music event! The Canadian folk singer, Valdy appeared for a one night engagement as a fundraising event for the Elkford Arts Council Society and Mountain Meadows Golf Course. The sold-out venue was filled to capacity in a clubhouse converted into a small concert hall enhanced with displays of local art work.
Valdy’s remarkable career began in the late 60’s with his biggest hit “Play Me a Rock and Roll Song”. His resume includes 15 albums 22 singles, 2 Juno awards, and an induction into the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame. He draws on his experiences on the road and current events as inspiration for his songs and proudly announces that he still does 200 gigs a year at 71 years old.
The majority baby boomer crowd proved very familiar with most of Valdy’s material and were encouraged to help out with some of the choruses. They happily obliged. Valdy charmed the Elkford audience with humorous tales of his days on the road and introduced Martin, his guitar, which has been his constant companion for most of his career. He played the crowd favourites, (“The Rainmaker”, “Ordinary Man”, “Yes I Can,” and others) but also performed some newer tunes such as “Tom We Miss You” (an ode to Stomping Tom) and a new composition, “Rolling North on Highway 63” which tells the story of the Fort McMurray fire evacuees returning home. Valdy’s easy banter and on- key renditions easily captivated his audience. They only knew him for a few hours but they left calling Valdy “a friend”.
The Elkford Arts Council Society and Mountain Meadows Golf Course were beneficiaries of this event and there are many to thank for making this possible. A big Thank You to the following:
Cindy Hesje, Bill MacDonald, Carol Robertson, Colleen Trozzo, Abbey Ridge Productions, Judy Meakin, Judy James, Teck, Stacie Dixon, Barb Nelson, Renie Porter, Terry Vandale, Gary Cleverly, Mark Hesje, Mountain Meadows Ladies Golf, and of course, the audience who eagerly purchased tickets and made our jobs so much easier! We hope you will also support our future endeavours!
Gen Muller on behalf of Elkford Arts Council Society
by Lisa Durand, Photos by Teri Cleverly
"Flop it, smush it and do the pastry flip” were just a few of the new terms heard coming from the Elkford Arts Studio
A small group of budding artists were gifted with a two day workshop from Sarah Pike, potter extraordinare from Fernie BC. The Elkford Arts Council hosted the workshop in their space upstairs in the Elkford Recreation Centre. Early Saturday morning participants were greeted with muffins, coffee and eight tables nicely prepared with all the necessary tools and equipment for two days of wonderful creativity and learning.
Saturday began with each potter introducing themselves. There were a variety of levels of experience in the room. Sarah followed with one of many of her valuable demonstrations: how to roll a slab of clay using her technique. Oh, she did make it look easy. The banging soon began with everyone wedging their block of clay and then doing the “CPR” method. Yes another new term.
The flop, pastry flip and rolling came next. We soon got the hang of it; however, not looking quite like Sarah’s slab. The energy in the room was a buzz. Participants were busy making their own texture rollers and stamps using ideas shared by Sarah or creating their own. Before we knew it lunch time had arrived. In the afternoon, Sarah shared a short slide show revealing influences on her art over the years followed by a second demonstration of how to make her signature puffy mugs.
Throughout all her demonstrations she continually gave the participants pointers and tricks for working with clay. I wondered how I would remember it all even with writing it down in my notebook. Off we went again to make another piece, this time it was a rectangular mug, well sort off, mine was a bit round and rectangular. Four thirty came too quickly and it was time to clean up. Eager participants arrived back again on Sunday morning for another full day of invaluable demonstrations, one on one instruction, sharing and laughter. Sarah showed us how to make handles (three methods), spouts for creamers, square dishes and so so much more. The seed of hand building has certainly been planted in me.
A big thank you to the Arts Council members who worked so hard to put on this workshop. Your commitment to art, creativity and community is evident in what you were able to do for us, the participants of this workshop.
Thank you Sarah Pike, your gentle kindness, expertise and artist eye were inspirational.
The Elkford Arts Council, in cooperation with the Mountain Meadows Golf Course, hosted Sue Hanlon, teacher and artist, for a Sip n Paint evening. It was an amazing event, with each participant going home with a finished painting. We hope to host another Sip n Paint evening in the fall so please look for upcoming events on our facebook and blogspot pages.
In March, Tathlina Lovlin taught a beginner's wheel throwing workshop for members. Brian Bisset taught a photography workshop focusing on portraits earlier this month, followed by Shannon Parnall's glazing workshop, introducing us to using stencils, underglazes and liners....
Kate Middleton threw an enormous pot during drop in...
And Teri Cleverly continued to teach the Youth Mentorship Program which is a two year program funded by Columbia Basin Trust and run through the Elkford Arts Council. This is a work experience program for youth in the community of Elkford. The program has hired ten secondary students to learn how to teach various art mediums to thirty elementary students, and in the process gain valuable work skills. The program runs in the fall and winter of 2016 and 2017.
Changes are coming soon to the Art Studio as the Elkford Arts Council will soon be leasing this space from the District of Elkford. Classes, workshops and Drop In will be run through the Arts Council... so make sure you are on our mailing list, like us on Facebook and check this blog often for updates on programming.
There will be Drop In during the summer months, hours TBD
Sarah Pike is coming to Elkford later in April to teach us about texture in handbuilt pottery, this workshop has filled.
The Sip N Paint with Sue Hanlon has also filled for May 4th.
There are several spots available in the Youth Photography workshop on May 14th.
We will be having a booth at Elkford's Farmer's Market this summer, please contact us if you'd like to help!
During the Winter 2016 session Teri Cleverly taught wheel throwing on Tuesday evenings and painting on Thursday evenings...
Katherine Russell taught Still Life Drawing on Wednesday evenings.... they, drew musical instruments, animal skulls, wood logs, boots and portraits of each other using charcoal, conte, graphite pencil and pastels.
Teri received a grant through the BC Arts Council to teach high school students leadership skills as part of a Youth Mentorship Program. Each of these students applied for their position and come to the Art Studio once a week to teach art to elementary students.
And Katherine used the studio to have Brian Bisset photograph her glasswork for a major art competition...
Find out more about how this artwork was made here
WILD AT ART
Elkford’s First Rocky Mountain Art Escape. What a blast!!! September 2015 marks the beginning as Elkford becomes a sought after artist’s destination. I am proud to say I was one of the participants in the 1st Plein Air workshop held in Elkford. As part of the Elkford Art’s council this was one of our goals when we first started. Our dream of holding our first painting workshop has come true. What a great weekend! Two days of plein air painting with two of Alberta’s top artists. Doug Swinton Internationally known artist featured in Southwest Art magazine, owner of Swinton’s Art Supply in Calgary and Michelle Grant International Artist’s magazine winner as well as official poster for the 2016 Calgary Stampede.
Fourteen participants set up at several locations around our scenic town. Accompanied by the ever entertaining art instructors Doug and Michelle. After a full day of painting we gathered at our Lamplighter pub for supper and then down to the art’s studio for the evening.
Thank you to Elkford Art’s Council, art instructors Doug and Michelle and artists who participated in making this workshop possible. With continued support from the District of Elkford the Arts will continue to play an important role in our community.
Have something to share about your EAC experience? Submissions by members are encouraged and welcome! Please email your submission to us here!