Maple Sugar Time (1941)

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Institution: Library and Archives Canada
Collection: Metropolitan Toronto Library Board fonds, 1987-0337

Other title: Le Temps des Sucres
Running time: 8m 14s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1941
Director: Stanley Hawes
Production: National Film Board of Canada; Northern Electric Recording (sound)
Camera: Michael Spencer
Editor: Donald Fraser
Music: Maurice Blackburn


As a news topic, maple syrup has undergone an odd resurgence in recent years. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers — a Canadian organization dedicated to controlling the province’s output and stabilizing its price — has been criticized in the press due to borderline-draconian treatment of producers it considers delinquents. The price stability has been correlated to increased syrup production in the northeast U.S., thereby decreasing Quebec’s market share over the past several years. Thieves were caught stealing $18 million worth of syrup from a federation warehouse between 2011 and 2012. Last we heard, Jason Segel — of Freaks & Geeks and The Muppets fame — is attached to star in the film about the sticky-sweet heist. You don’t see this sort of press attention for honey (unless it’s related to bee colony collapse disorder).

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Possibilities in Clay (1975)

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Institution: Indiana University
Collection: IUL Moving Image Archive

Running time: 24m 51s
Year: 1975
Source film: 16mm; color; sound
Director: Phil Terman
Audio: Don Scales
Photography: Phil Stockton
Production: Indiana University Audio-Visual Center


There are many functional items you simply cannot produce using clay as your primary material. Skateboards, functional gyroscopes, and domestic cats are all well beyond the jurisdiction of the ceramist. In fact, there are far more things that are not clay-based than are. That said, the art and practice of ceramics — hardening material into form by firing it at extremely high temperatures — is thousands of years old and the medium of clay transcends culture, geography, and era. The 1975 short documentary Possibilities in Clay, produced by the Indiana University Audio-Visual Center, examines various expressions of the material through four portrayals of five different ceramics artists, each with his or her own philosophical approach to the craft of clay.

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