I hit the City of Waterloo Museum for the first time yesterday to see a show very close to my maker/photographer/storyteller heart. My friends Sunshine Chen and Karl Kessler started capturing local stories of disappearing trades and the makers that work them in 2008 to form a body of fifty vignettes. The show is called OVERTIME and features only a fraction of these very important captures. Excellent photography, excellent story, great presentation. This show runs through the end of January. Go see it.
A few pics…
This place is small but well turned out.
I really appreciate the discipline that it must have taken to keep a project like this going year after year. In chatting with Karl and his partner Jane Snyder last week at the BIA event, I said I loved the concept of OVERTIME and mentioned the UW maker study with which I’m helping a bit. When we think about the maker skills disappearing in some cases with the last practitioners retiring and no apprentices filling in, it made me think about some of the study notions around the potential to restart a lost art. I’m optimistic that it is indeed possible and OVERTIME has a very definite current of optimism running through it, too.
I read all of the vignettes on display. Just excellent. Although I’m a WR import some twenty years ago, I feel very connected to some of these stories. There’s the iconic Bullas Glass story on the right end. Everybody knows the yellow glass tiled building near the bus station. Next to it is Fisher’s Esso station in St. Agatha that I drive by on the way out of town to see my mom. The Rumpel Felt factory and personalities are featured in some stories and that resonates with a series of shoots I did in that closed factory for the BOX Art Show back in 2011.
Six years of work creating a whack of sensitive short stories and beautiful portraits on film. Do we call that the long-short form?
From Krug Furniture over on Ahrens Street, one vignette tells the story of the fellow that runs the steam press that bends this wood.
This is such a heartfelt way to honour craftsmanship and the people who earned their living with the head and their hands.
You know what to do: show up.