Kim Lulashnyk, Hilde Lambrechts, & Kristen Davidson | Episode 287
Kirstin Davidson, Hilde Lambrechts and Kim Lulashnyk are three potters from the Ottawa Guild of Potters who have put together a community-based ceramic art installation of over 9000 roses, fleurs de lis and feathers as part of Canada’s 150th year celebrations in 2017. Populace will be set in a park at the Canadian Museum of Nature and will be on display from June 17-September 4, 2017. Community studios, individual potters, high school students, seniors and members of the public will participate in guided making-sessions throughout the year. Kirstin, Kim and Hilde are honored to bring their love of clay into the community on behalf of the Ottawa Guild of Potters and share in the making of a significant public art installation.
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Is the Populace Project bigger than you thought it would be?
Knowing that, would you still do it?
Kirsten: Oh, in a heartbeat! It is the last thing I think about every day and it is the first thing I think about every day and I am excited about it every single day.
What are some things you would do differently now that you have come as far as you have down this road?
Kirsten: One thing I wish I would have known… because I am responsible for the finances for the project, I wish I would have had a better idea of grant applications and budgeting. I think I’ve done a pretty good job on it, but I think I probably could have done better if I had more skill in that area.
What have you done in terms of marketing to let the world know this is happening?
Kim: I have been working with social media quite a bit. I have been teaching myself this as well. There has been a learning curve because I am in the studio most of the time. I think for all of us our studio lives have changed significantly. So we are no longer working independently on our own projects. We have consolidated and are all now working on Populace. But in terms of outreach I am getting press releases, cold calling people in the community, reaching out to organizations that may be interested in talking about Populace. At this point we are in the preparatory stage because Populace is being made. So it is very interesting to talk about Populace when we are still in the making phase. We are anticipating a lot of press as the project is installed.
How do you go about wrapping your mind around an installation of this size and magnitude?
Hilde: I don’t think I need to wrap my mind around it. When I was still living in the Netherlands I had a garden design business, so I know how to design a garden. This is not much different from that, just on a larger scale. It was just a matter of finding a layout that would look great from the sky, as well as finding a way that the public could really interact with the pieces.
How do you find balance with your life when working on a project of this size?
Hilde: I think that we all three can say that we are all working really hard.
Kim: Yes, I think we are all hard workers and we all love clay and we devote our lives to clay. This is just another aspect of it. This is another iteration of clay work that we are now a part of. It’s a little crazy at times, but very rewarding and very much a learning experience. But in terms of a balance, all of my book club are going to be making work, my mother is a maker, my children are makers, and we all are participating in this amazing project.
Kirsten: I also think that as we go through the schools and work with the different groups in the community, is that community aspect of it that is fuel and energy for us.
What will you do when the project suddenly comes to an end?
Kirsten: Sleep… Actually when the project is finished, we are required to pass all the final check points with the grant and to have the granting organization, The Arts Culture and Heritage Investment Program, once they have signed off on the project, then the Ottawa Guild of Potters owns Populace. At that point in time we will look at a number of different options for the project, one of which is selling individual pieces or groups of pieces. We are also looking at ways we can share this project across our country, Canada.
Why is it all white?
Kim: I like to think of it as a statement of equality, togetherness, a blank slate upon which our new history can be written.
Hilde: It is also the color of peace and harmony. I think as Canadians it is sort of our mandate also. To work together, and to share, and to acknowledge the people that spread our bed because Canada is a nation of immigrants. It is not a political statement. We just all work together now.