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 
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.
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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!
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 
  • Interested in helping out? Call Shelley Glica at 905-262-1239 ext. 24 to book your training and become a Willowbank Volunteer today!
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