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On Wednesday, October 21st we took to the road for this year's FODH conference in Banff, Alberta (that's in Canada in case you don't know). We took two days to drive, staying at a pretty sweet AirBnB rental in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho for a night. We arrived at the conference Thurs. evening just after the keynote address concluded (D'OH!). There's only so much planning you can do when travelling within a tight timeframe, and we didn't plan on being stopped by a screw in our tire, construction, and rock blasting (we kid you not!) along the route from Radium Hot Springs, to the Banff Centre. At least we got to see a beautiful sunset and some bighorn sheep along the way.
After settling into our AirBnB rental at the nearby town of Canmore (Banff doesn't allow AirBnB rentals), we stayed up a little too late Thurs. night putting the finishing touches on the presentation we were set to give at the conference on Friday afternoon. Thankfully local beer and poutine aided our progress.
On Fri. we enjoyed a full day of presentations that were inspiring and informative. Here's an overview of what we heard. (Sadly we missed the first speaker of the day, Virginia Howell from the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking. Sorry Virginia! Like we said, we stayed up too late the night before prepping our talk.)
Okay, back to the talks-
- Kerri Cushman provided a behind the scenes look at Longwood University's studio in Virginia, and how they are focusing on ways that papermaking can build community.
- Nicole Donnelly and Mary Tasillo discussed the ways papermaking is reaching new audiences in Philadelphia via community engagement and alternative art spaces.
- Helen O'Connor gave an overview of her recent residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in Ireland. She focused on how collaboration between artists working with varied mediums can create something new and unexpected.
- Caitlin Chaisson spoke on the role that drawing and other intentionally slow crafts can play in building societal change.
- Lyndon Barrois gave an overview of his art practice highlighting the role of paper.
- Dallas Price discussed the ways handmade paper helped her communicate the personal narratives of Central American immigrants via her artwork.
- And our talk focused on the first year of the papermaking residency program that we co-founded and operate with the non-profit org., c3:initiative.
We were understandably nervous when starting out our presentation, but overall we're happy with how it went. (On a side note: We'd love to give a modified version of this presentation to any interested groups and/or schools who would like to know more about how paper is being used as a contemporary art medium.) For our fellow Dardos who were at the conference, if you didn't remember to write down the name of Gary's podcast, it's I'll Have a Beer and Talk.
In between talks we went on a guided tour of the papermaking studio and amazing library (that's chock full of artists books) at the Banff Centre. We spent a good amount of time oohing and ahhing over the paper studio, and while there we were treated to a demo. by Radha Pandey in Islamic Style Papermaking.
Our first stop was Lake Louise, known for it's beautiful blue/green glacial water. We had planned on checking out Moraine Lake too, but the road was already closed for the winter. Did we mention it was pretty cold in Alberta? Not to be thwarted from visiting more lakes, we went to Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake, stopping for a quick walk in the woods along the way. The sun was starting to set and the views were stunning. We also enjoyed the many ravens and magpies. The only other wildlife we spotted were ground squirrels and a bull elk way off in the distance, too far for a good photo.
Our last travel day was scheduled for 8 hours of driving, so we knew we needed to make good time. Jenn got a little overzealous with the idea and ended up getting a speeding ticket (yikes $125!) which put a real damper on the afternoon. Don't you hate it when things get you off track like that? Anyway, we set the cruise control on the car and settled into listening to the final episodes of the Serial podcast, and got the rental car back to Portland.
Looking back at this, our second year of attending the conference, (if you'd like to check out our adventures at last year's conference in San Francisco, the blog post is here), we've been thinking about what we get of going, and what it means to us. Since this post is already a bit on the long side, we're going to come back with a follow up post with our musings.
Many thanks to all who made this a wonderful trip and conference! We raise our virtual glass to you (you know who you are, AirBnB hosts, FODH board of directors, papermaking friends and colleagues, all you guys!) Prost!!!
***If you'd like to see more photos from our trip, check out our Facebook album.****