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Month: August 2016

August 2016 – newsletter

Ashleigh - summer school
Alumna Ashleigh Bell ('13) at The Prince's Foundation Summer School in Dumfries, Scotland - undertaking a design using traditional building materials and methods.

August Newsletter

The 2016-17 school year is right around the corner!
We've made the move! Willowbank shifts operations to the Lower Campus 
In preparation of a fall schedule of work installing a fire suppression system and other infrastructure upgrades to the Estate House, we’ve moved operations to our Lower Campus. We hope to be back up at the Upper Campus for the Spring/Summer 2017! Classes and events will take place primarily at the Lower Campus and in the barn at the Upper Campus. All of our contact information remains the same (with a few changes to our extensions).
Reimagining Ecology: CBC Radio One’s Ideas with Paul Kennedy
We hope you caught the broadcast of the Ecology Reimagined Salon hosted by the The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on CBC Radio One. The radio coverage was broadcast on Thursday August 25th and featured a conversation between Poplar River First Nation community leader Sophia Rabliauskas, Minister of the Enviroment and Climate Change and MPP for Toronto Centre Glen Murray and our very own Dean of Faculty, Julian Smith. If you missed the broadcast (or just want to listen to it again!) you can tune in anytime online at http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas. 
Willowbank welcomes new Director of Education Nancy Oakley 
Along with our new and returning students who will commence studies in September, Willowbank will welcome its new Director of Education, Nancy Oakley. Nancy comes to us via Whitehorse, Yukon, where she was the Executive Director of the Yukon Historical & Museums Association. Prior to her time in the Yukon, Nancy gained experience in the Heritage field through stints as a Heritage Planning Consultant, Researcher and Heritage Interpretor at various consultancies and planning practises in Ontario, B.C and Alberta. Nancy will bring a passion for heritage education and advocacy and her experience working in the non-profit sector to her position as the head of the Diploma program. She is a board member with ICOMOS Canada and an active volunteer with the National Trust for Canada. Nancy will transition into the role with continued access to our outgoing Director of Education, Elaine O’Sullivan, who will be joining our Advisory Council in the Fall.
aug newsletter 2
Estate House Window Conservation at Willowbank Third Year Student Stephen Telford
At Willowbank we have the opportunity and actively encourage our students to engage with our evolving national heritage site and landscape. Over this past summer, one of our students Stephen Telford (entering 3rd year) has had the chance to experience the hands-on conservation of the Estate House’s ground floor windows. Stephen has undertaken this project from start to finish, from planning to production and now can boast a holistic understanding of window conservation. Stephen began the conservation process through a full conditions assessment of the ground floor windows which he incorporated into a windows documentation of the entire estate house’s glazing - a document Willowbank will be able to use in future years for conservation. Stephen then moved on the planning process, writing full specifications for the windows conservation, from which he was able to quantify his materials and labour needs. Once a full understanding of the planning process for the project was gained, Stephen switched his hat for that of the contractor and began the hands-on work of conserving six of the ground floor windows. Using best practices, including steam removal of paint, and Allbäck products for both the reputtying and repainting of the window sashes, Stephen has gained great knowledge of how to undertake and solve the problems that necessarily arise when working with historic materials during a conservation project. Thank you to our funders for this undertaking: The National Trust for Canada and the Town of Niagara-On-The-Lake. Special thanks to faculty associates: Craig Sims and Walter Furlan for their advice and mentorship.
The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community Summer School Second year student Kitty Mahoney and graduate Ashleigh Bell attend 
This summer Willowbank was excited to extend a generous offer from an anonymous donor to our students and alumni to attend the 27th annual summer school of The Prince’s Foundation held in the UK and Scotland, as we continue to exchange ideas and students through our Memorandum of Understanding with The Prince’s Foundation. The program extends an ecological view for modern design and living that is based in traditional philosophies of building, agriculture and crafts. During their first week of studies, the students were exposed to both life drawing and sacred geometry lessons while studying in London, England. During their second week, the students travelled to Dumfries, Scotland where the students dove into a hands on experience of the traditional crafts including stone masonry, timber framing, lime plastering and — two new areas for our Canadian students — pargetting and thatching. This exploration of drawing in their first week and traditional building methods in their second week of studies, would form the basis for their third week at the Summer School where the students were given the task of designing a building suited to its site in both design and materials. Both Kitty and Ashleigh returned from the summer school inspired and determined to put their lessons to use. Of her time at the summer school, Ashleigh (’13) stated, “ My time in the UK reminded me of my time at Willowbank…how we build and live within our environment affects our psychology, our culture, our well being. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to have gone away and learn from some of the best in design and traditional building and I hope in time to put some of that wisdom to use here in Canada.”  Kitty Mahoney (’18) a current second year student and one of our international students from Buffalo, NY, stated, “The intensive three week program was an invaluable opportunity, which will only continue to prove its worth as I progress in the heritage field…my Willowbank education provided a stable-bridge with my course mates. I felt comfortable not only as an active participant but also as a leader.”
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Willowbank Stonesthrow Stone Festival September 30th, October 1st, October 2nd - Shortcourse spots still available
Our Stonesthrow Stone Festival is fast approaching. This year our festival will run September 30th- October 3rd and will feature a slew of short courses in stone work and other traditional building trades. Space is limited in the short courses - so if you’ve always wanted a taste of the Willowbank curriculum - sign up today! Short courses on offer: Intro to Drystone Walling* Intro to Stone Carving Advanced Stone Carving Plastering Blacksmithing Historic Mortars and Lime Burn *Certifications for experienced wallers are available on Monday, October 3rd. If you want to come and check out what’s happening but not immerse yourself fully in the crafts, come have a wander - check out the opening public lecture on September 30th with Dominion Sculptor Phil White and then join us for a dance that evening. Saturday, October 1st will also feature live music all day with an Artisan Market featuring local vendors. We hope to see you there! www.stonesthrow.willowbank.ca
aug newsletter 4 Alumni Spotlight Alex Blades
Growing up Alex was surrounded by heritage conservation, whether it be living in a historic home or visiting sites, literally all over the world.  It was inevitable that she would somehow end up working in historic building conservation. Alex came to Willowbank having studied history and having started a career in the museums field before deciding to make a change to Heritage Conservation. In her third year internship Alex had the opportunity to work on the West Block of the Parliament Buildings Restoration/ Rehabilitation Project in Ottawa and at the Saskatchewan Legislature Building in Regina, as a Junior Conservator for RJW Gem Campbell Stonemasons. Working as part of the masonry conservation team Alex carried out an extensive range of conservation procedures including;  documentation, cleaning techniques, including laser, steam, abrasive and poulticing; mortar patches, crack and injection repairs, and grouting. Alex found her third year to be an incredibly valuable period where she gained varied experience in techniques and skills from stone masons and conservators from all over the world. After her third year internship period, Alex continued in this role for a further 18 months. Currently Alex is working as Site Conservator on a 1640’s masonry ruin at Saint Marie Among the Hurons in Midland. She is responsible for the extensive documentation of each phase of the work; the repair of shattered stones and the take down and rebuilding of the stonework.
Upcoming Events
  • Willowbank presents: Stonesthrow Stone Festival 2016. Join us for short courses, live music and an artisan market on the weekend of September 30th-October 2nd. Find out more at stonesthrow.willowbank.ca. 
  • Interested in helping out? Call Shelley Glica at 905-262-1239 ext. 24 to book your training and become a Willowbank Volunteer today!

July 2016 – newsletter

Our Dean of Faculty, Julian Smith, pictured here in Union Station, will be featured in this month's Canadian Geographic magazine! (Photo: Jonathan Castellino)
Our Dean of Faculty, Julian Smith, pictured here in Union Station, will be featured in this month's Canadian Geographic magazine! (Photo: Jonathan Castellino)

July Newsletter

We're keeping it short and sweet in the summer heat.

Dean of Faculty to be featured in Canadian Geographic Magazine

One of Canada's best read publications interviews Julian Smith An interview with Julian Smith, the visionary conservation practitioner who continues to shape Willowbank, will run in an upcoming issue of Canada's 3rd-most read magazine, Canadian Geographic, with an audience of millions. The article will comes on the eve of the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador, for which Willowbank was commissioned to inform deliberations on culture, heritage and urban sustainability. Julian led the effort to contribute a North American perspective for the summit which only takes place every 20 years. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society publishes Canadian Geographic, in its mission to foster deeper appreciation of Canada’s natural, cultural and social heritage. The Society's work has intersections with Willowbank's mandate, and among its Fellows are faculty associates Victoria Angel and Lisa Prosper, along with former board chair Christina Cameron and diploma graduate Nigel Molaro. This wonderful exposure comes on the heels of Julian's participation in our Canadian Environment Week salon which airs on CBC Radio One's Ideas later this summer. The October issue of the magazine arrives in stores in early September, or you can subscribe in advance to enjoy Julian's interview at home.

Summer Garden Workshops Continue Generously funded by the Niagara Community Foundation

On July 5th at 7pm, we were excited to have Kerry Royer from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, who came to discuss habitat restoration and re-naturalization. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority has helped us with our own re-naturalization projects in the Lower Meadow and with our Native Species Garden at the Lower Campus. Upcoming garden workshops will include a children's gardening workshop which will be held with the Niagara On The Lake Horticultural Centre for the Niagara Regional Native Centre's Ak:wego Urban Native Children program mid- August. We will also be hosting a public Foraging workshop right here on the Willowbank estate on September 2, with Jennie from itsawildthing.com, stay tuned for more details but in the meantime you can check out Jennie's amazing foraging photos @realwildthing on Instagram.

Prince’s Foundation for Building Community Summer School Willowbank student and alumni return this week

Current second year student Kitty Mahoney and alumni Ashleigh Bell have been in the UK for the last 3 weeks immersed in a world of traditional design, crafts skills and building. We look forward to a full update on the projects they undertook while in London, UK and Dumfries Scotland. We've been following them on Twitter, and Instagram as they took over the Willowbank accounts for the month of July - check out some of the amazing pictures @Willowbank_ on Twitter and @Willowbankschool on Instagram.

Review of Recipe and Remedies in Upper Canada Published in the Fife and Drum - Fort York's Newsletter

Hannah Peters Jarvis would be proud! Recipes and Remedies in Upper Canada has been reviewed by the Fife and Drum, Fort York's newsletter and you can check it out here.  Edited, compiled and published for Willowbank by Board member and Library and Archives Committee Chair Dr. Elizabeth Oliver-Malone, Recipes and Remedies brings together the recipes of the original residents of Willowbank. Read the review and itching to try some of the recipes for yourself? We still have a few copies left and you can order yours online.

Willowbank Presents: Stonesthrow Stone Festival 2016 - September 30th, October 1st, October 2nd

Join us for a weekend of learning, live music and artisan crafts. This year's "Stonesthrow" Stone Festival will feature a series of lectures, short courses and workshops that celebrate stone and traditional building crafts, including a drystone walling course, stone carving courses, a traditional mortars workshop with an old fashioned lime burn, a plastering workshop and a blacksmithing workshop thrown in for good measure! If you would like to expand your knowledge into the traditional arts and get a taste of Willowbank's curriculum this is the event for you! You'll have access to some of our amazing Willowbank faculty associates - but hurry and book today - spaces are limited! If short courses aren't your thing you can dance the night away on Friday, September 30th to a local band and enjoy some local wine and brew. Or check out live local music throughout the day on Saturday, October 1st and wander through an artisan market with over 20 vendors of handcrafted and vintage wares. Register on-line today for your preferred activity or just mark your calendar for a one of a kind experience!

Summer Experience Spotlight: Sainte-Marie Among The Hurons Justine Southam and Hallie Church

This summer two of our third year students, Justine Southam and Hallie Church have had an amazing in the field conservation experience working on the Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons site in Midland, Ontario. Located on the shores of Georgian Bay, the Huronia park offers an incredible interpretation of one of the earliest - 17th century - settler contact sites in Ontario. Working with Willowbank Faculty Associate and Stone Conservationist Keith Blades and alongside graduates Emma Kuckyt (Class of 2014) and Alex Blades (Class of 2015), Justine and Hallie have gained first hand experience in the documentation, research, analysis and conservation of the remains of one of the The Great Fireplace, that would have been a cookfire in the original village and is still visible within the walls of the recreated village to this day. Through the archaeological documentation the students have been able to trace the evolution of the site through its rediscovery in the early 20th century, through layers of historic interpretations to its current state. A full scale documentation of the fireplace stones was undertaken to ensure a record of existing conditions and to aid in the conservation effort before carefully deconstructing each course from previous layers of inappropriate (too hard!) mortar, conserving individual stones and relaying stones in a soft historic mortar - made with lime fired on site!

Two Weeks in Italy: Messors Summer Program Alumna Theresa Felicetti returns to Fornello

This year Alumna Theresa Felicetti (Class of 2015) returned to Fornello Italy to continue preparing the caves for the use of the traditional shepherds and cheese makers. Combining the protection and documentation of the built heritage site with an understanding of the needs of the current inhabitants who continue to face the destruction of their cultural practises and traditional livelihoods, this year the participants employed dry stone walling techniques to re-stabilize the exterior walls of a cave, learned to remove salt accretions and clean the Frescoes in the caves and took part in archaeological digs throughout the site. You can read more about Theresa's time in Italy and see some of her amazing photos in her blog post.

Upcoming Events

  • Ongoing to August 26th, 10am-4pm, Monday - Saturday, 5 Walnut St, Queenston, Exhibit - Domestic Gems: The Architecture of Nicholson and Macbeth, free admission - donations appreciated!
  • Willowbank presents: Stonesthrow Stone Festival 2016. Join us for short courses, live music and an artisan market on the weekend of September 30th-October 2nd. Find out more at stonesthrow.willowbank.ca. 
  • Interested in helping out? Call Shelley Glica at 905-262-1239 ext. 24 to book your training and become a Willowbank Volunteer today!