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Image: Frog, Diane Blunt

Biting Towards Our Future with Diane Blunt - Thursday, April 25, 2024

Many have not heard of the ancient and rare art form of birch bark biting, with its rich history rooted in the Indigenous cultures of North America including the Ojibway, Chippewa, and Cree. The process involves biting the birch bark to create various designs and patterns with tooth marks. Every piece is unique, and when finished, there is always a thrill when the light shines through it and delicate designs appear. Historically, these birch bark biting patterns would have once been used as templates for beadwork, to tell stories, or for artistic expression. In this presentation, Diane Blunt will share her birch bark biting processes, her work, and her hopes to keep this art form alive well into the future.

Diane Blunt is an artist and a member of the Kawartha Nishnawbe Nation. A recent BFA Graduate in Visual Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, she has been the recipient of multiple scholarships, awards, and artist residencies. The nature of her work explores the life, history, and bark of the birch tree through drawing, painting, and material practices

Diane Blunt - Bitings in the Sky

Bitings in the Sky is a collection of six of Diane's birch bark bitings animated together in a one-minute video. Floating amongst a starry sky, similar to constellations, they appear one biting at a time, in a woodland setting meant to represent the territory where she is from.

Stephen Braithwaite, Strathcona's Folly, Ottawa, 1992. Photo: Alex Smith 

Donna Hiebert, The Wave, Halifax 1988. Photo: Alex Smith

Where do the Children Play?  - Thursday, October 26, 2024

Play expert, Alex Smith, takes us on a curated tour of Canadian play spaces, past and present, with a smattering of contrasting international examples. Photos and video illustrate different approaches and design elements that keep kids coming back for more. Whether it’s public art, minimalist landscapes, child-led temporary creations, or vernacular builds, each space offers seemingly endless moments of joy through the simple medium of play.  

Alex Smith is the founder/editor of the award-winning blog, PlayGroundology. For nearly 15 years he has been publishing stories for international audiences featuring play theorists and practitioners, designers, artists, academics and kids from Canada and countries around the world.  Alex’s rediscovery of play was inspired by his three youngest children’s very active pursuit of fun and adventure. Together, they gamboled through playgrounds in Halifax, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and points between. The backyard of their Nova Scotia home became an ever-changing neighbourhood play zone. 

In the process, Alex became an advocate for children’s right to play, organizing a variety of public events, appearing in regional and national media, and volunteering with the Canadian chapter of the International Play Association (IPA). The father of five and grandfather of two, he is a firm believer in the transformative power of play.

Lecture sponsored in part by: 

The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/ Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs was formed, with the generous support
of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, to provide a forum for all those interested in the decorative arts.
© 1981 - 2024 Canadian Society of Decorative Arts / Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs