The Aboriginal Gathering Place (APG) at Emily Carr University (ECU) is a real community asset! I enjoyed my week-long residency in this amazing space for students, faculty and staff to connect in community. AGP is a modern studio with high ceilings, roll-up garage door and several zones set up for academic work, studio work, food prep, and relaxation. Post-modern couches mix with drum-inspired side tables next to several staff, alumni and Elder created art pieces. I was blown away by the thoughtful preparations made for me by Brenda Crabtree (Director, Aboriginal Programming), the assistance I received from tool expert and artist Lawrence Lowe, and the ever-attentive Michelle Sound, (Aboriginal Program Assistant) who shared tea from her private stash. Countless students, faculty and staff came by to work alongside me and sneek a peek at hide tanning activities including the stomach-turning concoction of moose brains, sunlight bar soap and lard warmed to perfection on a camp stove, then applied to the hide to soften it. Stories were shared, connections were made and most importantly, endangered traditional knowledge was transferred to the community. It was a challenge and a joy to adapt the traditional, wilderness-y activities of deer hide tanning to an urban environment, one I’d be glad to take on again.
You can read more residency details on the ECU website: https://www.ecuad.ca/news/2018/a-m%C3%A9tis-artist-brings-traditional-tanning-to-ecu