Thursday, September 17, 2015

What did i do this summer? Fund-raising for the Indigenous Legal Research Unit

The summer of 2015, I spent my time thinking about the Report of the TRC (The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools).  I was particularly obsessed with its 94 Calls to Action.  I found myself thinking about #50, which argued for the creation and funding of Indigenous Law Institutes:
50. In keeping with the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
, we call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations, to fund the establishment of Indigenous law institutes for the development, use, and understanding of Indigenous laws and access to justice in accordance with the unique cultures of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. 

I know the calls does not speak directly to ordinary citizens, but it really did speak to me.  I work at a law school that has already established just such an institute (the Indigenous Law Research Unit).  The ILRU has been doing exceptional work over the past years, working with and alongside Indigenous communities, focused on the issues, processes and traditions important to those communities.  The work of the ILRU, including the work on the graphic novel Mikomosis and the Wetiko, (click here to link to the teaching guide) has been a central part of my own intellectual and political life over the past years, and so i had been thinking of a way to make the TRC call #50 'my own'.
a pile of completed pendants

So... this summer, I decided to take my usual summer vacation (making pottery necklaces to give away for my September birthday), and turn it into a project to raise funds for the work of the ILRU.  Thus, during the summer, I spent my vacation in OCD mode, making necklaces.


the view from the pottery wheel under the deck
I made the necklaces in Secwepmc Territory (Shuswap).  My family lives there, and I have spent nearly every summer of my life there, surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins.  My heart lives there.    My aunt bought a kiln and wheel several years back, and they invite us to play with clay under the deck (sheltered from the sun).  So I made these necklaces while sitting under the deck, watching beauty of the land around.

pendants drying in the sun

Depending on the batch, the clay was one of these:  CKK6, Klamath Red, Midnight Black, Dove, Polar Ice.  It is stoneware, or porcelain and was fired to Cone 6.  This summer, I also played with a number of oxides and stains, and mixed them into the clay.  I then wedged the plain and coloured clays together.  I then shaped the individual pieces (rib tools, modelling tools, carving tools, etc), played around with them at the leather hard stage, then got them dried to greenware.  

pendants after a bisque firing
At that point, I loaded them into the kiln for a first bisque firing (cone 04, aka 1060 celsius) [basically, a day to get the kiln loaded, fired, cooled and unloaded again).]

first batch coming out of a glaze-firing
At the next stage, I played around.  Here is where i glazed, used wax resist, glass and rocks!  Then, it was back into the kiln for a second firing (up to cone 6, aka 1222 celsius).

And last but not least, I took the kids to the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, where we sat listening to music and tying chords for the necklaces.

1 comment:

  1. David's favourites from your collection can be seen in the kiln photo where your toes have been caught on camera. They are from the oxide/stain series. He loves the deep blue one in the bottom left corner next to a pink one. It makes him think of the water at the Shuswap.