Tuesday, August 1

Populace

POPULACE at the Canadian Museum of Nature

I've been absent from my blog for well over a year now but with very good reason. I've been involved in the biggest ceramic project of my career - POPULACE. It began as a proposal to Ottawa 2017, and a grant from the Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program. Our original estimate of 7,350 pieces turned into 9000, each individually hand crafted, fired and glazed then mounted on steel rods. Our site partner, the Canadian Museum of Nature, provided not only the land for the installation but also the manpower to daily patrol the garden, and gardeners (grass cutters) to maintain the paths between the beds.

2000 Canadians, some of whom were new to our country, participated in over 50 workshops in a 10 month period. We delighted in sharing the project with people who work with clay on a regular basis and those who do not. Students, adults, seniors all put their hands and spirits to work, surmounting the voice of doubt many expressed not only in their ability to make pieces but also in our collective ability to get to the finish line on time. But finish on time we did!

There were many highs on this journey. The best ones for me were the stories of individuals and the opportunity to share this project with family and friends. My parents came out twice to my studio, lending their skills to the project and being that ever encouraging voice of support and pride I've known all my life. They also came out to help install Populace in the park, mom filling pieces with putty and dad hammering in rods.

I have been blessed to work with two incredible women on this project, neither of whom I knew at all when we began. Hilde Lambrechts, at probably 5' 0" but always perfectly dressed in the most impressive heels, is the designer of the project from top to bottom. Kim Lulashnyk is our beautiful and talented wordsmith and media manager. I manage the money and general coordination of the project. Don't let that fool you though. This has been a collaborative effort from the very beginning.

I could write a book about the journey of Populace. Maybe one day the three of us will - it is on the radar and in the cue actually! But for now, I'll direct you to our website for all the information you'll ever need on the project. When you get there, be sure to click on the links to our Social Media pages, especially Facebook. Go to: www.populace2017.com Enjoy!

Feathers made by my dad, my nephew Joseph and my mom