Saturday, 14 July 2012

Canadian Design

It's taken me a long time to come to terms with what I'm going to do with my life. It was pretty much expected of me from the moment I stepped foot in a highschool that post secondary education would just follow. I have a degree from Brock University, and a diploma from Centennial College and I had the most amazing post secondary experiences in both places. I will cherish that time for ever, and I wouldn't be who I am without it. 
That said, I'm not an office girl. I'm just not. I've been struggling with this for quite some time, and I think I've mostly come to peace with it. All sorts of outside influences tell you what you "should" do with your life, and a solid, defined "career" is definitely high of the list of life "normals". I've been hired on at The AGH, dividing my time between the new Design Annex on James Street North, and the actual Gallery on King Street. 
I'm also officially an employee at White Elephant! No more intern status. HIYAH! 
So, the places I'm now calling "work" are basically places where I can meet people, and look at beautiful things all day. It's pretty much perfect for me right now, in this moment, and for the person I am in this time. 

I digress though, this post was supposed to be about how amazing Canadian design is! But the reason I know about all of these beautiful things is because of these two fabulous places that employ me. 

Touch The Dutch is a company run by Anneke van Brommel, from Toronto. White Elephant has carried her work since I've started here, and it is so perfectly Canadian. She says that she is reluctant to use such "cliche" imagery in her work, but I think it's what gives it heart. She has a wide range of earrings, brooches and necklaces in all sorts of classic Canadian themes: Terry Fox, tree stumps, lumberjack paraphernalia. Check out her etsy store here, her blog here, or come into White Elephant and see what we have in stock.  

I just discovered the work of Ampersand&Ampersand last night, at the Design Annex and I'm totally smitten. It is a line of graphic print and design by Mark Byk and Kristine Tortora. They do posters, framed prints, custom notecards, as well as totes.  The work is kitchy (in a good way), and bold and touching in a simple wau.
I'm told Kristine is back in Hamilton right now, and Mark is in Toronto.  Come by the Annex to check out their "Lovers and Thieves" series, and my favorite print "Hopes and Dreams".  

Barb Sachs is a clay artist from Dundas and the Shop at the AGH carries her work. She uses slabs of clay to create her animals, and the end result of a hollow, folded, sculptural form. She uses the raku firing process and a variety of glazes that give the animals an interesting, weathered look.
The Canadian government has used her sculptures to give as gifts to visiting dignitaries! Nelson Mandela has one. So that's kind of cool.
I've seen her penguins, polar bears and elephants (I know elephants are very "Canadian" but I love elephants so i'll let it slide) at the gallery, and I've even sold a large penguin already! Her work is so gorgeous, I will definitely need to save my pennies and bring home an animal sometime soon. 

As usual, this post got totally carried away and so I'll have to do a "Canadian Design Part Two" so I can fit in all the rest of the awesome art, jewelry, furniture and design I've come across in my Hamilton travels! 

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