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Epp, William Harold (1930-95)

Bill Epp was born on June 12, 1930, in Glenbush, Saskatchewan and grew up on a farm; his father was a blacksmith. At a very early age, Epp used his creative mind to make toys from available pieces of wood and metal, influenced by the machinery that he saw around him. In 1948-49, he attended the Saskatoon Teachers' College, where he studied art with Wynona Mulcaster. Later, he took courses at the Banff Summer School and the Winnipeg School of Art, and studied with Eli Bornstein at the University of Saskatchewan, where he received his BA in 1968. From 1949 to 1967, he taught at schools in Saskatchewan. In 1967, he joined the Art Department at the University of Saskatchewan, teaching sculpture, drawing, design, and art history. He retired in 1993, having influenced and inspired many students. Epp had varied styles - mainly figure and portrait - and he worked in welded steel, wood, clay, fibreglass, stone, and bronze. When he began working in bronze casting, he built his own foundry on his farm near Martensville.

His work was shown in many solo and group exhibitions, and is represented at the University of Saskatchewan, the Mendel Art Gallery and the Saskatchewan Arts Board, as well as in private collections. Early in his career, Epp received grants for travel and materials from the Canada Council and the Saskatchewan Arts Board. He was a founding member of the Prairie Sculptors' Association in Saskatoon, and in 1991 was made an honorary member of the Saskatchewan Society for Education Through Art. Several of his public statues can be seen in Saskatoon, notably “Spirit of Youth,” done for the 1989 Jeux Canada Summer Games, and that of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and a young John Diefenbaker, completed in 1990. His statues of Lieutenant Harry Colebourn and Winnie-the-Bear are displayed at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg and in the London Zoo. Epp died on September 4, 1995.

Margaret A. Hammond

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