Natural Dyes in the 21st Century
June 8 - August 26, 2017
Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto
Chromatic Geography examines new trends, and presents a diversity of approaches to the use of natural dyes, from scientific research and raw material development, to innovative, contemporary applications in craft, fashion, design and art, with personal approaches to materials and aesthetics.
Curated by Rachel MacHenry and Thea Haines, with the work of:
Chromatic Geography is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.
Craft Ontario ’17 surveys the work of members across the province, and presents the very best of contemporary craft. Since 1975 Craft Ontario has supported the development of contemporary craft through juried exhibitions of member work.
Congratulations to this year's award recipients:
Juried by Gordon Thompson (Sheridan College Craft & Design Program) and Chung-Im Kim (OCAD University Material Art & Design Program), Craft Ontario ’17 featured the work of:
This annual thematic exhibition brings together emerging and established artists and designers from many disciplines to consider the theme of living well.
'Living Well' explores the tangible and intangible ways in which design improves our daily lives. What is the capacity of design to help us feel or live better? How does it help us achieve higher states of personal health, resource efficiency, conviviality, collaboration, mindfulness, or even happiness? Ultimately, 'Living Well' asks about the ways in which design transforms us, or how we use design to transform ourselves for the better.
This exhibition features the work of:
'Living Well' is an exhibition curated by the Toronto Design Offsite Festival. Funding is generously provided by the Ontario Arts Council and Craft Ontario.
Hosted at the Art Gallery of Burlington's Perry Gallery, the third annual Materialize exhibition highlighted a collection of emerging work that celebrates a diversity of creative, innovative and skilled incarnations of material culture. Juried by Denis Longchamps and Janna Hiemstra, Materialize included the work of:
Every year, Craft Ontario recognizes the very best in contemporary craft through the Craft Awards program. Craft Awards recipients are accomplished and dedicated practitioners in the field of craft and design. As part of Craft Ontario’s 40th Anniversary celebrations, and through the generous support of the Craft Ontario Volunteer Committee, the 2016 award recipients had their work on display as part of a special exhibition at the John B. Aird Gallery:
The Craft Awards program is able to take place on an annual basis through the valued support of many generous donors and sponsors. Our thanks go to the following organizations, businesses and individuals: the RBC Foundation, the Craft Ontario Volunteer Committee, the One of a Kind Spring Show & Sale, The Pottery Supply House, Tuckers Pottery Supplies Ltd., Lacy West Supplies. Ltd., as well as members and friends of the Mather, Copeland, Walker, Gregor, Yung, McPherson and Robertson families.
The Mending Lounge featured nine local artists and designers reviving the art of mending through experimentation, innovation and signature styles over a weekend pop-up event at Craft Ontario. This public event took a participatory approach as it aimed to increase attention to a fading practice.
Mending was once a part of everyday life before unfettered economic growth moved the textile industry offshore and pushed prices down even as it has intensified abuse of labour and environmental degradation. The tragic irony is that while mending is fading from public consciousness in Canada and United States, many people overseas and out of site spend their days in deplorable conditions, sewing cheap, new clothing for the North American market.
Curated by Kathryn Walter of dittybag and Janna Heimstra of Craft Ontario, the artists were selected to reflect a range of approaches through poetics and politics, and inspire a celebratory spirit that will resonate with their audience as they revel in the act of making the old new again.
Featuring the work of:
A solo show of ceramic and mixed media work by Lisa Creskey. Exploring the potential of clay as a sculptural medium and as a painted surface, Creskey investigated concepts of land, landscape, and belonging. Through clay, her collected body of work focused on how social and cultural identities evolves with our sense of belonging to a landscape, and how we manufacture that belonging by transforming nature.
When Horses Walked on Water draws on historical and romantic imagery of Victorian-era Toronto in order to examine ideas of power in relation to culture and nature. By exploring personal connections as associated with the experience of place, Creskey allows individual experience and emotion to articulate the historical narrative at play in her work.
Reveal included current work from the graduating class of the Craft and Design Furniture Program at Sheridan College. Featuring skillfully crafted furniture prototypes from sixteen emerging makers and designers, the exhibition highlighted the culmination of three years of dedicated study.
The selected work on display reflected an abridged exploration of Sheridan’s furniture studio. As a unique, inspired environment in which students build their technical skills and refine their design aesthetic, the studio essentially functions as a laboratory for experimentation. Participants in the program explore a variety of materials, processes and concepts; and under the guidance of skilled mentors, they develop their identities as independent makers.
Reveal explored a variety of approaches to furniture design, and invited celebration of the individual expressions of a group of makers ready to enter the wider craft and design community:
Programmed as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, and taking place as an IDS Cultural Partner event.
Fourteen artists present new works that disturb the boundaries of their individual practices. Through critical reflection and collaborative exchange, unexpected themes and forms have emerged over a ten month mentorship program led by Linda Sormin, and programmed by FUSION: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association.
Close observations of nature collide with the forms and realities of urban life. Experimentation with raw materials unearths memories, reshaping personal metaphors and once-familiar landscapes. Through photography, video, pottery and sculpture, the exhibition offers work that has unsettled established ways of thinking and making. Are small transgressions the slippery slope to bad behaviour? These questions and conversations offer diverse interpretations of play, threat, beauty, gesture, sexuality, parenthood, family, community and environment. In sharing ideas and concerns, examining potential pitfalls and solutions, this group of makers has in many ways sped up their artistic research, yet slowed the impulse to cast judgment. Fearlessly, gently tending to bright wounds of doubt, these artists have created bodies of work that articulate distinct visions in the contemporary context.
Materialize offers a sensational selection of work by up-and-coming emerging makers that includes everything from embroidered acrylic to baroque ceramic compositions. Visitors will find curious soft textile sculptures, a sensuous wood and leather bench, intricate self-referential jewellery, immaculately carved glass and much, much more.
Craft Ontario is committed to fostering the next generation of professional craft practice, and this year’s exhibition is the second annual juried collection of work that celebrates a diversity of creative, innovative and skilled incarnations of material culture.
Juried by Deborah Wang and Greg Sims, Craft Ontario is pleased to present the work of:
Elycia Sarwer-Foner Androsoff
Joon Hee Kim
K. Claire MacDonald
Marie-Eve G. Castonguay
LookListen was curated by Nathan Heuvingh, and examined the contributions of Michael Comeau, Anne Douris and Martin MacPherson to the material culture of Toronto’s music scene.
Canada’s alternative music community is marked and documented by a distinct material culture that exists as an essential component of local networks of musicians and makers. While recordings and live performances are a large part of the music experience, the music scene is also embodied by unique practices including DIY methods, experimentation and collaboration.
Where small flyers were employed in the past to promote local music shows and unknown bands, a more creative and labor-intensive print practice has developed over time. This culture of making within alternative music communities has evolved into a distinguished craft itself and relies on a unique skill-set in order to produce objects that effectively materialize and visualize ephemeral experiences. Bands and musicians work collaboratively with makers to create promotional work, resulting in inventive styles that push the boundaries of graphic design, animation and printmaking.
Overall, LookListen explores the making of objects in relation to a unique area of material culture. It allows for critical perspectives to emerge through unconventional strategies of making, and fosters an awareness of the exceptional work that is made within the context of the music scene in Toronto.
Artefacts carry the unique power of being repositories of sensory experience. Rather than just perceived visually, they engage a range of sensations, and invite intimate and affective interaction. As such, material objects broaden the aesthetic encounter, and open the door to investigations of sensuality, material, process, interactivity, and culture (Owen, 2011).
Sensory experience is a potent counterpoint to rampant hyperconsumption that characterizes present-day material culture. Sensorial objects request an attentive involvement from an audience, and encourage a reflective encounter. They shake us from the habitual impulse of insatiable consumption, and offer an experience of the world that is felt with the whole of the body (Pallasmaa, 2005). By experiencing an object through its tactile, olfactory, auditory, and/or visual properties, the work of the maker stands apart from that which is hastily produced, consumed and abandoned. Positioned as such, these objects draw attention to a renewed role for making, and hold clues to future pathways for human relationships with material culture.
Sensorial Objects is an exhibition of work by Faculty from the OCAD University Fibre Studios: Ana Galindo, Chung Im Kim, Dorie Millerson, Eva Ennist, Kathleen Morris, Laurie Wassink, Lynne Heller, Meghan Price, Monica Bodirsky, and Rachel MacHenry.
1/16 showcases new work from the graduating class of Sheridan College's Furniture Craft and Design program, and is programmed as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival.
The exhibition highlights 16 individual furniture designers who have developed together over the course of a 3-year design program; and who are now diverging, 1 by 1, as emerging craftspeople. The exhibition positions their work as talented individuals within the context of the renowned craft and design tradition at Sheridan.
1/16 will contain work that reflects each individual's growth as maker and designer. It embodies their unique aesthetic pursuits, channeling past experiences into current aspirations. The diversity of work expresses the subtle boundaries between craft, art, and design.
This exhibition will offer insight into the following group of makers and designers who are eager to make a place for themselves in the larger craft and design community:
Tobias Cavan, Nathan Clarke, Josh Fawcett-Drummond, Chris Friedrich, Kyle Gibbons, Wooju Kim, Jared Lawee, Ashley MacDonald, Matt MacDonald, Young Jun Moon, Eric O'Hara, Cassic He, Tim Steadman, Stefan Tobolka, Leah Van Bergeyk, Jake Whillans
Curated by Morgan Mavis with works by David R. Harper, Julie Moon and the Contemporary Zoological Conservatory.
Where does the border between nature and culture lie? The concept of wild nature is a construct of our culture, reinforced by the language we use to describe it. Chimera brings together the work of Julie Moon, David R. Harper and the Contemporary Zoological Conservatory; exploring the natural world and the transition of specimen to material culture through traditional and historically gendered crafts: ceramic figurine, embroidery, portraiture and taxidermy. Harper, Moon and The CZC explore the nature-culture dialectic, investigating the desire to shape the natural into reflections of culture creating a cultural chimera – a beast created from a fusion of specimen and artifact.
Julie Moon manipulates ceramic materials, subverting the traditional reading of the figurine with amorphous nodules and protruding limbs, often depicting natural deformities of floral growths that consume her sculptures. Moon transforms the natural material of clay, playing with our desire to control nature’s reclamation of culture. Her delicately beautiful hand-painted surfaces feminize and tame anthropomorphized aberrations.
David R. Harper embellishes and remakes the natural world using historically gendered modes of adornment. Harper creates intimate encounters with the “wild” that foster reflection on our own sense of place and mortality. His meticulous, intricate embroideries and museological specimens preserve beauty, arresting the natural process of decay.
The Contemporary Zoological Conservatory changes how we look at the specimen by illuminating human interaction in the non-consensual transformation of nature to culture with the taxidermic animal. For the first time, the CZC will display a portion of its Noachian hoard beyond the private walls of the institution. Exploring the death of taxidermy in mass culture, the animal has further been stripped of its individuality, beyond the natural history museum and into contemporary geography; a ubiquitous marker on the urban landscape.
Chimera is an intimate look at the fragility, beauty and power of the natural world and our desire to understand, control and rework it.
The act of weaving in the 21st century has everything to do with negotiating networks of relationships and understanding our individual role within them, and this is exactly what Line Dufour sets out to demonstrate in the collaborative tapestry project, Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le sort, le destin et l’auto-détermination. Taking a centuries-old technique and mixing it up with social media, Line Dufour has both created and guided a three-part tapestry installation that explores multiple levels of communication involving digital, material and social platforms.
The first section of the 10 foot long installation was designed and woven entirely by Line Dufour. The second section is comprised of 186 separate woven pieces by 146 different people from across the world, and coordinated through facebook. The third section was collaboratively woven on a Gobelin loom in Toronto by a range of participants that included beginners to established professionals. Altogether, the three different sections play with the realities of making decisions, taking action and establishing connections – both in the hands-on creation of a tapestry, and in the weaving together of communities. Both are acts of self-determination, interlaced with the intricacies and surprises of fate and destiny.
Au 21e siècle, le geste de tisser s’apparente en tout point à celui de développer des réseaux sociaux, dans lesquels chaque individu tente de comprendre le rôle qu’il doit y jouer. C’est exactement ce que Line Dufour démontre dans le projet collaboratif de tapisserie Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le sort, le destin et l’auto-détermination. À partir d’une technique utilisée depuis des siècles, combinée aux médias sociaux, Line Dufour a tout à la fois guidé et créé une installation triptyque qui explore plusieurs niveaux de communications, mettant à contribution des plates-formes numériques, matérielles et sociales.
Dans cette installation mesurant plus de 3 mètres, la première partie a été conçue et tissée entièrement par Line Dufour. La deuxième partie comporte 186 pièces distinctes, tissées par 146 personnes provenant des quatre coins du monde, le tout ayant été coordonné par l’entremise de Facebook. La troisième section est le fruit d’un travail collaboratif, tissé sur un métier Gobelin, à Toronto, par un groupe formé de participants aux expériences diverses, allant de tisserands débutants à des professionnels chevronnés.
Cette installation joue avec différentes réalités sous-jacentes à la prise de décision, à l’action et à l’établissement de relations – tant dans le geste de création d’une tapisserie que dans celui de tisser des liens au sein d’une communauté. Tous deux constituent des gestes d’auto-détermination, entrelacés par les subtilités et la spontanéité du hasard et du destin.
Generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council / Avec le support du Conseil des arts de l’Ontario
The Art of the Book 2013 exhibition, organized and curated by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG), celebrates the potential of the book as an art object, and marks the CBBAG’s 30th anniversary. Exhibitors competed in five categories of design: artists’ books, binding, printing, calligraphy, and box making. The selected pieces included calligraphy and blackout poetry as well as handmade paper and unique bindings. Drawing from ancient and modern techniques, Art of the Book 2013 exhibitors presented a creative interpretation of the history of books, from early forms of paper binding and printing to covers for e-books. As Diana Patterson writes in the catalog essay, “[w]hen viewed in chronological order, the Art of the Book 2013 is a lesson in modern examples of…old crafts, done by true artists, based on the experience of millennia” (11).
There were three jurors for this exhibition: Quebec-based design bookbinder Jonathan Tremblay, private press printer and owner of Greenboathouse Press Jason Dewinetz, and Chicago design binder and book artist Karen Hanmer. For the first time ever, the exhibition opened outside of Toronto, in Calgary, Alberta, and will be touring until 2015. The show was co-curated by Lisa Isley and Lee Oldford Churchill.
Image detail: Martina Edmondson, facebook Obsessions, 2011.
Materialize presented selected work by thirty emerging makers, including pieces that range from hand-carved marble pendant necklaces to ‘Rebel’ quilts. Glass sculptures dealt with the hot issue of housing, while ceramic objects fused industrial forms with table top art, or got nostalgic with Nintendo motifs. Materialize offers work that inspires creative introspection, leads you down the path of a compelling narrative, or lets you enjoy the deep satisfaction of experiencing a good-looking object that’s made just for you to use.
Craft Ontario is committed to fostering a new generation of craft professionals, and is pleased to present the work of the following emerging makers in Materialize: Alex Kinsley, Alysha Alexandroff-Appleton, Barbara Banfield, Becky Lauzon, Chari Cohen, Chayle Cook, Claire Anderson, Claudia Côté, Elizabeth Elliott, George Cho, Hana Balaban-Pommier, Heidi Mckenzie, Jade Dumrath, Jay Joo, Jesse Bromm, K. Claire MacDonald, Lyne Reid, Marianne Burlew, Megan Carter and Mike Armstrong, Mengnan Qu, Michelle Landriault, Nathan Clarke, Sarah De Gasperis, Shane McNutt, Shay Salehi, Sonia Tyagi, Stephanie Flowers, Wayne Muma, and Zimra Beiner.
Juried by Britt Welter-Nolan, Managing Director - Artistic Project at the Gladstone Hotel and Janna Hiemstra, Curator and Director of Programs at Craft Ontario.
Image detail: The Rebel Quilt, by Elizabeth Elliott. Machine pieced and stitched quilt
A presentation of work by Janet Macpherson and Lindsay Montgomery where fantastical, monstrous, perverse, mythic and symbolic elements meet in a riotous mass of decorative excess.
Sharing an interest in the use of historical material culture as a platform for contemporary storytelling, Macpherson and Montgomery have collaborated in order to create an alternate world of objects, sculptures and puppets, which then duplicates and reappears in animation and video segments.
Using medieval imagery, Christian iconography, kitsch and an unbridled exploration of the relationship between feral freedom and hands-on manipulation, Gather explores our contemporary fascination with the dualities of beauty and deformity, lack and excess, purity and hybridity.
Having first met as classmates in 2001 at The Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design, Janet Macpherson and Lindsay Montgomery made a connection through their shared interest in craft, dark mystical imagery and historical narratives.
In 2007, this shared interest developed into a collaborative project which was exhibited at Harbourfront Centre in a show entitled Whisper and Clang. For this exhibition Janet and Lindsay worked together to create ceramic pieces that explored a variety of historical narratives and characters that were mysterious and perverse. Through collaboration, these narratives and characters were made into something new, and it was clear that pursuing a practice centered on a lively conversation was beneficial for both makers.
Since 2008, both Janet and Lindsay have left the Toronto area to pursue their MFA's in the United States. In graduate school, unknown to each other, both began expanding their practice beyond ceramics to sculpture, animation and video.
Lindsay and Janet make small-scale sculptural works. Lindsay's are used to create the strange and fantastical worlds of her videos in which handmade puppets wander through an ominous natural and fabricated landscape. Janet's figurines may remind one of ubiquitous knick-knacks upon first glance, but they revel in their quiet defiance of the ordinary, creating their own dark and sometimes disturbing environments.
Through Gather Janet and Lindsay revisit a collaborative inquiry, exhibiting video and animation work, as well as all the supporting objects and sculptures featured in the video pieces. The exhibition offered the opportunity to bring their narratives to life while employing the necessary skills of craft practice. The resulting works display a progression that continues to speak to the same motivation and interests that sparked their initial collaboration.
JANET MACPHERSON'S animal sculptures play with ideas of restraint and domesticity, taking their inspiration from her Catholic upbringing, imagery from medieval manuscripts, and visits to agricultural fairs where animals are judged and auctioned. Janet makes complex plaster molds of toys and found objects, casts them in porcelain and alters them to reflect an interest in hybridized and manipulated bodies. Janet earned her Bachelor of Arts from York University, and studied ceramics at Sheridan College. She holds an MFA from The Ohio State University, and is an artist in residence at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Janet exhibits her work throughout Canada as well as internationally, and was the 2013 recipient of the Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics.
LINDSAY MONTGOMERY is an artist working across a variety of media including painting, video, ceramics, and puppetry. Her work is focused on the construction of a personal fantasy-based mythology that explores issues of death, family, beauty, and history. She holds degrees from The Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and the University of Minnesota. Lindsay currently lives and works in Toronto.
Image detail: Peruvian Jaguar Sphinx and Marble Sphinx by Lindsay Montgomery. Cast porcelain.
An ever-changing technological landscape requires constant adaptation to a shifting toolkit, and an ongoing negotiation of analog and digital processes. Hand & Machine presents the work of local and international makers that rise to the challenge. Co-curated by Rebecca Horwitz and Tomas Rojcik, and programmed by the Craft Ontario Gallery as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival.
Showcasing the work of Andy Brayman, Joy Charbonneau and Derek McLeod, Zachary Eastwood-Bloom, Hot Pop Factory and Ozana Gherman, Jonathan Sabine, Phillip Stearns, Shawna Tabacznik, The T-Shirt Issue and Unfold, Hand & Machine explores how processes of enquiry not only allow for the incorporation of new materials and tools, but the development of innovative systems, objects, and ways of thinking.
The impact of technology on traditions of making can be alternatively embraced and rejected by members of the same community. This conflicted relationship between creation and tool is rooted in modern ideas of craftsmanship and has been a topic of contention since the Industrial Revolution. As advancements and shifts in technology take place, it is those at the front lines of making that have always readily engaged with new ways of doing things. At various points in history the potter’s wheel, floor loom, and table saw were all new technologies, and now they are all considered necessary elements of contemporary craft practice. As technology changes, so too does the accepted notion of how and why a particular thing is made.
With this background in mind, asking what technology can do for craft becomes a straight-forward question that can be answered by thousands of examples throughout history. On the other hand, asking how craft practice can propel technology is a question that merits discussion and exploration today.
Hand & Machine offers a selection of work that pushes the boundaries of where craft practice meets the capabilities of digital production. Questions of quality, the value of labour and materials, as well as the contemporary significance of historical objects are posed for consideration. Overall, Hand & Machine presents the opportunity to engage with a roster of makers that take up the opportunities and challenges of a constantly changing world in order to create new work.
Hand & Machine is generously supported by Maglin Site Furniture. Maglin is an industry-leading designer of quality site furniture recognizing the designer-makers who enhance our environment. Programmed as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, and taking place as Craft Ontario’s Cultural Partner exhibition during the 2014 Interior Design Show.
Rebecca Horwitz is a maker, artist and designer of wearable art. After graduating with honours from Sheridan Colleges Crafts and Design Textile department, she worked in a number of creative positions before pursuing her degree at the Ontario College of Art and Design. During her time at OCAD she has focused on expanding her creative projects ranging from co-designing for a digitally printed textile accessories brand, Calica Studio, to participating in a variety of jewellery exhibitions in both Toronto and Ottawa, ON. Her current projects explore the complex relationship between digital manufacturing technologies and traditional handwork. These projects have allowed Rebecca to explore both art and design in order to create unique quality made works of wearable art.
Tomas Rojcik studied Furniture Craft and Design at Sheridan College and is currently practicing in Toronto, Canada. Since graduating Tomas has worked with a variety of established Toronto designers and studios. His work utilizes traditional techniques and tools as well as the latest technologies to achieve simple, clean, and functional forms in a variety of materials. Tomas newest works will be released this coming January at the Toronto Interior Design Show under the brand normal goods of which he is a co-owner.
Image detail: Mac OSX 10.4 Install Disc ISO No.5 by Phillip Stearns. Jacquard Woven 100% Cotton Yarn & Binary Data