EMMA International 2014… Part 1

Drivel Starved Nation!

I recently had one of the most fascinating experiences of my life. From July 30th thru August 8th I was invited to attend EMMA International Collaboration 2014.

This event occurs every two years and is held at Ness Creek located at the edge of the boreal forest approximately 2 hours dead north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Artists from all over the world are represented, many of which are preeminent in their field. I think it is safe to say I was the least qualified of the 100 selected and I am in awe of the creativity displayed over the week.

Bohemian is the best word to describe the location, most people camped in tents and the facility was the bare minimum required for working in metal, mixed media, jewelery, painting, and of course wood. Artists show up, and the rest is magic. There is no agenda, no meetings, you can work as late as you want, sleep in if you like (that is next to impossible, not that I tried…). All you do is create day and night for a week. If you are a fan of jazz, this is a jam session for the visual arts.

I am going to share my experience through imagery over the next couple of weeks culminating in the images of the finished pieces which were ALL auctioned off in Saskatoon. I think you will find this all rather interesting if not incredibly fascinating. And no way is this comprehensive! My first tour of the grounds began at the metals area…

A Axe Head w Old FileMany of the pieces made used material found on the site. This is an axe head and forged between the two halves is a piece of high carbon steel that was once a file.

A Axe Head
The craftsman behind this axe is Al Bakke who is in his 80’s – quite an inspirational guy.

A Grinding Axe Head

A The Beginning of a Chair 1Like you, I wondered what this piece was going to be… if you guessed “a chair” YOU WIN!

A Forming with hammerAn old stump, a hammer and a bit of motivation…

A Metal Sculpter in Progress

A Pounding Out a Form

A Forming Copper 1

A Cutting Brass

A Adding Oxygen

A Jewelery Making

Forming Copper

And lastly, the view inside my tent…
A The Tent
I hope you like this little teaser!


5 comments on this post:

  1. Wow! This looks like so much fun! Did you have great jam sessions, too? Who cooked? It looks like you had electricity – was it generators, or wired in? I can hardly wait to see more! I was noodling around on the Emma web site to see who some of your partners in crime were – what an amazing collection!

    So what did you come away inspired to make…?

  2. Peter-

    I worked on about 8 different projects. Mainly as the “wood” guy but did do some other cool things as well. Learned how to master my airbrush, and I learned gilding for copper/silver and gold leaf. Way cool. Lot’s of osmosis learning too, so many freakin’ talented people (more on that in a later post) to comprehend.

    Food was provided, everybody had dish duty at least once. Wired juice, the metal forging area was all propane tanks.

    Did not come away inspired to make anything specific, just inspired to make every minute of my dwindling life count.


  3. You can hardly beat that for a moral – make every minute of your life count. It sounds quite transformative. Jules and I have been discussing what we’ll do when we retire. We’re thinking that we’ll need beaucoup brainal stimulation, otherwise we’ll turn to mush. Want to join us? We could build stuff. And annoy people. And make people laugh. And teach them stuff.

    Sounds fun, no?

  4. Speaking of making your life count, John, you’ll love this story. I’m at a birthday part for a friend and her mother. The friend is a co-worker of my girlfriend. A co-worker of theirs is there (I know, a lot of co-workers, roll with me here), and I strike up a conversation with her husband. Turns out he designs really cool, very high end custom lighting. We get to talking about design – I confess to having absolutely no talent at design but seem to have an eye for it (why else would I be here?). I tell him about these tools I am hooked on and show him the photo of the CT-18 plane. It takes him about a second to say: “John Economaki”. Turns out he is a huge fan of your design work. When he did an internship at Nike some years ago, he actually drove to Portland just to visit BCTW.


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