The Emma Lake International Collaboration grew from a series of Woodturning and Furniture Making workshops organized by Michael Hosaluk through the Saskatchewan Craft Council starting in 1982. These workshops evolved away from the standard lecture-demo format to lots of open studio time and hands on experiences allowing the participants more one on one time with the instructors and the instructors a chance to play their ideas and experiences off each other.
In 1996 we moved to the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus, an artists’ retreat in the Saskatchewan boreal forest with a history of fresh thought. The open studio sessions had become so successful we dropped all formal instruction in favor of the totally hands on “no format format”.
To broaden our creative base we increased the scope from wood related disciplines to include blacksmithing, metal fabrication, a foundry, painting and anything we could find that fit the spontaneous nature of the event. Thanks to the generosity of a private charitable foundation we were able to sponsor many outstanding makers in these fields and “Emma” became one of the world’s greatest celebrations of creativity.
“Emma” invitations are issued on the basis of ability in and dedication to one’s discipline and the ability to share and sustain one’s energy in this creative maelstrom. We aim for a balance of gender, age and stature. This means we have relative novices sharing the experience as peers of the world’s leading makers ensuring the ongoing vitality of these fields.