As regular readers may have learned, I will be departing soon for a six week working trip to Europe.
The core of this trip is being funded by a Project Grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
This venture started with learning about the Ypres 2016 project from local artist blacksmith Sandra Dunn, back in November of 2015.
For an number of reasons (which I will detail in a later post), I decided that I would attend this event. Originally this would be funded from my own resources.
I did work up a submission for one of the smaller panels at the memorial, described on a much earlier post here. (Unfortunately, the whims of the internet swallowed the submission, which never made it into the selection process.)
Scottish Sculpture Workshop. My friends at SSW were interested in continuing the original work on the Turf to Tools project. I rushed to complete a Project Grant application with the Ontario Arts Council by the mid October deadline.
Honestly, I was quite surprised in late January to find that OAC had indeed awarded me the full grant request - funds to cover a four week residency at SSW! This would include two weeks on Turf to Tools 2, plus an additional two weeks learning medium scale bronze and iron casting techniques aimed at creating some specific art works.
As I started to pull together the travel arrangements to combine the two elements, I had contacted my friend Jenns Olesen from Denmark. I wondered if there were any iron smelting related events happening in Europe around the same early Fall period?
It turned out he was organizing the demonstrators for an event being planned for The Museum of Ancient Mazovian Metallurgy in Pruszkow (outside Warsaw Poland).
At the International Congress on Medieval Studies in May, I met Jenn Ratcliffe. Through conversation, I heard about her company, Big Blue Dive Lights. This is a enhanced vision system for murky waters. I put her in touch with Barrie Andrian, at the Scottish Crannog Centre, who has that very problem with their underwater archaeology.
I had met with Barrie and her staff in 2014, with the hopes of undertaking some experimental work with them either with bronze casting or even iron smelting, there based on 'Celtic' / Early Iron Age.
With only the smallest amount of pushing dates, I ended up with this schedule:
August 30 - September 6 : Ypres 2016 (as participating team blacksmith)
September 7 - 12 : FIREPROOF at Pruszkow (seminar participant with two smelt demos)
September 13 - 26 : TURF TO TOOLS 2 at SSW (two experimental smelts)
September 28 - October 8 : personal arts project at SSW
(October 2 - 5 : bronze / iron at the Crannog Centre)
This is a very packed working schedule. The slight gaps are travel days, with only a couple of half day 'breaks' in the total.
Since the OAC grant is funding the travel cost to Scotland, I am using my own resources to expand the trip to include the additional two events (actually 3 with Crannog).
Readers can expect regular blog postings (using the header block seen above) detailing the research and other discoveries over the next six weeks...