It's getting close to a decade since I packed it all in: my needles and wool, my sewing machine and fabrics, my mid-level-management career. There was more to explore.
I've been mixing it up with a wide range of materials (and makers) ever since but even I'm surprised to find that my latest tools of choice for bushwacking new routes of making are the ol' crochet hooks, knitting needles, rug hooks and embroidery needles.
The line on the paper has always been too limiting to me; I need to pick up that line, play with it in my hands, turn it into area, then volume. I remain entranced by the possibilities of connecting something created by a silkworm or an industrial manufacturing plant to a mathematical model or a wearable with uncomfortable connotations.
The beauty of fiber is in its physical and metaphorical ability to connect the Art side to the Design side (not to mention the science side), weaving the two together until it's clear that playing with ideas cannot be put into separate boxes.
Except if we're talking shipping boxes, for the Toronto Design Offsite (TO DO) Festival next month.
A few object-experiments from my ongoing Fuzzy Logic series will be packed in there, as part of the Vancouver group of makers, selected by the Dear Human creative studio.
It's all part of the ‘Outside the Box’ exhibits featuring works from three selected Canadian cities — Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver — and five from the U.S.: New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle.
It's a fine way to mine local design ideas and visions through an unexpected selection of objects that are shared in various locations via specific-sized shipping boxes.
The Vancouver contribution includes nine individuals and teams who live, design and make in the greater Vancouver area. The connecting thread is a pursuit of a design practice through material exploration, according to Dear Human. "Whether through common applications of unusual materials or transcending common materials through unusual applications, exploration is evident in each of the included objects."
Rounding out the Vancouver Outside the Box contingent are: Cathy Terepocki, Dahlhaus, Dina Gonzalez Mascaro, Hinterland Designs, Laura McKibbon, Rachael Ashe, and Studio Bup.
Vancouver Outside the Box will take over the windows at 1082 Queen Street West, Toronto, from January 19-25, 2015.
TO DO is an annual city-wide not-for-profit week-long festival that celebrates and showcases the nation's design scene, providing exposure and cross-pollination of ideas and techniques. There are too many exhibits, installations, talks, parties and films to list here, so check out the full (and growing) schedule here as well as the fun promo video.
In the next month you're likely going to end up stuck at some fatuous seasonal gathering, wondering how soon you can bolt without appearing rude so you can go home and change into your antisocial cozy pants.
This is why I like PechaKuchas, lectures delivered in 20 slides that each flash by in 20 seconds. (Next!)
They're fast-paced, a little risky, guaranteed to vibrate the ol' grey matter and bring on some laughs (vital during these dank days). You don't feel like a knob if you go by yourself or arrive in your day uniform — whatever that is. In short, except for the alcohol and snacks, PechaKuchas are basically the opposite of most social events.
The participatory part isn't for everyone, but when I saw the call to artists to participate at the Terry Fox Theatre in Port Coquitlam on Nov. 21, I decided to take up the challenge.
I'm bent on facing my fears these days and besides, I had a topic in mind that might answer one frequently asked question I get about my work: What's the deal with the doilies? (Or the more polite: Are you still working with doilies?)
This isn't my first PechaKucha — the onomatopoetic name for Japanese chit-chat — but I'm a serious neophyte, and that's okay.
The beauty of PKNs (PechaKucha nights) is that it's all okay, which likely explains why they've taken off around the world, in coffee houses and auditoriums, plazas and living rooms, with wide-ranging topics from biology to political movements, delivered by everyone from little kids to known political dissidents.
My little drop in the PKN bucket addresses a crafty little topic with some tangles but it forces me to do a little more than just shrug and mumble something apologetic.
It could be of particular interest to no one else but me, but my approach is: fly this freak flag; it will all be over in six and a half minutes.
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