Current Learning Programs

Esker Foundation provides free public programming to encourage participation and to increase accessibility to contemporary art. Programs are created in response to, and in tandem with our current exhibitions. All are welcome to attend. Our programs are very popular, securing your spot by registering is strongly recommended. Programs often have wait lists: if you register and are unable to attend we ask that you please cancel in a timely manner.

 

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Friday, June 22nd, 7-8pm > Oyster Shells: Artist Talk and Tour

Vanessa Brown

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Vanessa Brown will offer a talk and tour of her exhibition, The Witching Hour. In her talk, Brown will trace threads from her past work to her arrival at this present exhibition, while touching on the joys and pains of working with steel, the politics of scale, and the importance of fantasy in her work.

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, June 23rd, 1-3pm > PLACEHOLDER: It’s your turn to talk! with d.talks

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Join d.talks, in collaboration with Esker Foundation, at PLACEHOLDER. This is an unconventional book club where we present the theme of the afternoon and you bring your own book, poem, or object that you feel best articulates that theme. This is an opportunity for Calgarians to critically discuss and identify how the city and citizens affect and are impacted by local and global themes borne out of the work of Esker’s current exhibiting artists. Let’s form a new narrative in Calgary together! The theme of this PLACEHOLDER will be Thresholds.

Registration essential.

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Saturday, July 21st, 10am-4pm > Workshop: Introduction to Sashiko

Jolie Bird

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During this day-long workshop, participants will explore ‘sash(i)ko,’ a rural hand stitching technique from Northern Japan. Working with traditional patterns and natural fabrics from Bird’s collection, participants will work on a stitch sampler alongside a centerpiece or wall hanging. All materials will be included. Participants must be over the age of 16.

Registration essential.

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Friday, July 27th, 7-8pm > Exhibition Tour: Curiouser and curiouser

Elizabeth Diggon

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Vanessa Brown and Anna Torma both layer fantastical imagery, personal histories, and hidden symbols into their work. Join Elizabeth Diggon, Esker’s assistant curator, on this informal tour that considers the conceptual and material threads that link together these two artistic practices.

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, July 28th, 10am-4pm > Workshop: From Lyrical Line to Wearable Wire Jewellery

Joan Irvin

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Observe, design, experiment, create!  Join local jewellery artist, Joan Irvin (ACAD), for a tour of Vanessa Brown’s exhibition, The Witching Hour. Afterwards, head into the studio for some creative alchemy of your own. Participants will work with copper and silver wire. All materials will be provided. No previous jewellery experience is required but participants must be over the age of 16.

Registration essential.

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Friday, August 10th, 7-8pm > Talk: Speaking Truth to Materials: Revisiting the Workshop, from Bauhaus to Womanhouse

Dr. Erin Silver

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This talk will extend in two directions, taking the contemporary practices of Vanessa Brown and Anna Torma as springboards not only for tracing genealogies of early-20th century avant-garde workshops, including Vkhutemas and the Bauhaus, to the feminist studio workshop initiatives of the 1970s, that fused preoccupations with craft, design, and art with social, political, and economic ideology, but also for testing out the possibilities afforded by transposing present-day theoretical and political vantage points onto historical ones for expanding canonical thinking and bringing lesser known histories (notably, those of women and racialized artists) to the fore. Dr. Silver is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory at the University of British Columbia

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, August 11th, 1-5pm > Workshop: Appliqué Bunting

Caitlin Thompson

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Drawing on the surface design techniques of the summer exhibitions, this workshop will bring together stitches and symbols in the form of appliqué bunting. Although bunting is often seen as decoration, Thompson will discuss the history of appliqué and how the international textile trade has influenced this resourceful technique. Each participant will create their own triangular “tammy” flag, embellished with appliqué and embroidery stitches learned in the workshop. All materials will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring textiles and scraps of fabric to be incorporated into their flag. Participants must be over the age of 12.

Registration essential.

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Friday, August 17th, 6-7pm > Exhibition Tour: The Magic of Material

Naomi Potter

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Join Naomi Potter for a tour of the fantastic and magical worlds of Vanessa Brown and Anna Torma. Rich in symbolic imagery, both artists reclaim and activate craft traditions by challenging the historical stereotypes of certain materials or skills; embroidery, patchwork, and appliqué relegated to the domestic realm, and steel associated with industry, weaponry, and brutality. These seemingly opposite material selections act as a point of connection, proposing a conversation that binds as much as it does question the hierarchy of material and making.

Registration recommended.

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Friday, August 17th, 7-9pm > Craft-Along Workshop

Veronica Murphy

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What are some of the ways that we can take our craft skills to the next level of artistic expression? Enjoy an exhibition tour of Anna Torma: Book of Abandoned Details and then join Veronica Murphy from STASH for a craft-along and casual discussion at the gallery about pushing your crafting boundaries in your own work. Bring your most inspiring fibre craft supplies for the craft-along – knitters, crocheters, stitchers, spinners, and weavers are all welcome. Participants must be over the age of 16.

Registration essential.

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Sunday, August 26th, 1-5pm > Bus Tour to the Canadian Museum of Making

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Join us on an intimate and rare tour of the Canadian Museum of Making, located near Cochrane. This museum features a collection of machinery and tools that were built and used from 1750 to 1920 in Canada, Britain, and the United States, as well as an extensive African metalwork collection. The tour will also feature a blacksmithing demonstration by artist, blacksmith, and curator L. Japheth Howard. Bus transportation to and from the museum will be provided. Unfortunately, this program is not wheelchair or walker accessible. Participants must be over the age of 16.

Registration essential.