Past Exhibitions

Brianna Gluszak

Her work utilizes the act of observation, relationships, and formal investigations. Gluszak focuses on the creation of objects, to escape from the mundanity of everyday life.




Thousands of Hands and Objects: Mengnan Qu (August 19 - September 29, 2023)

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August 19 - September 29, 2023
Reception: Saturday, August 19 from 2-4pm
Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto

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‘Thousands of Hands and Objects’ is a solo exhibition of enameled silver brooches by jewellery designer and metalsmith Mengnan Qu.

“In Buddhism, the enlightened being Avalokiteshwara (called Guan Yin in Chinese Buddhism) is known as “The One with a Thousand Arms and a Thousand Eyes.” The bodhisattva’s one thousand hands hold holy ritual implements to assist all those who need aid, representing compassion.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused much pain, sadness and stress. The virus made us reconsider the safety of touch; we avoided contact with others as well as high-touch surfaces and objects. It made me realize how reliant we are on physical contact. I like to hold an object, feel its texture and sense the craftsmanship and marks from history. Objects have meaning beyond their function—an object may convey a sense of safety, trigger memory, induce calm or provoke agitation. Anything can function as a sacred implement to help relieve the pain of reality. These everyday objects act like the holy ritual objects in Avalokiteshwara’s thousand hands that bring aid.

In looking at these objects – a microphone, a watering can, a roller skate, a hot dog – our own memories are evoked. This project pushes us to reconsider the objects we use every day; to cherish the materials and artifacts in our lives, and to cherish the natural environment, lives, and resources around us. Though inanimate, objects carry the meanings of lives and act as a testament to our existence.”

– Mengnan Qu

Mengnan Qu is a jewellery designer and metalsmith born in Nanjing, China, and living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She received a BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing from NSCAD University and then completed her MFA degree at the State University of New York (SUNY) in New Paltz. She is currently teaching at NSCAD University and has previously taught at SUNY New Paltz, the China Academy of Art, Yunnan Arts University and Capital Normal University. She has a perceptive, sensitive eye and mind. Her mixed cultural and educational background provides her with a unique outlook on the world. She reconsiders Western society through traditional Chinese culture and rethinks Chinese society by looking at it from an international perspective. Mengnan's work has been exhibited, awarded and published worldwide.


Mengnan Qu acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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Speak for Me: Katie Lemieux (June 25 - August 13, 2023)

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June 25 - August 13, 2023
Reception: Sunday, June 25 from 2-5pm

Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto

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‘Speak for Me’ is a solo exhibition of sculptural ceramic works by Thunder Bay-based artist Katie Lemieux that probes the boundaries of communication. Using hands as a metaphor for language, the work explores the limits of the verbal word, creeping into the visual and the tactile.

Each sculpture maintains traces of the artist through thumb prints, finger strokes or gestural clay placement. Highlighting elements of the sculptural process is important to the work, as the progress of ‘becoming’ also parallels the progress of communicating. This analogy is bolstered by the physical similarities between clay and flesh.

Within the ongoing theme of non-verbal communication in the artist’s work, ‘Speak for Me’ focuses on a particular dialogue: the silent conversation with our own voice, our own authenticity. How do we experience our own inner dialogue or self-talk? In both conversation and self-talk, do we use our own words or do we subconsciously regurgitate others’ language? Does allowing others to speak for us diminish our authenticity?

Ultimately ‘Speak for Me’ explores the permeability between our external and internal selves: both the barriers to expression, as well as the apertures through which ideas pass fluidly, rendering inside and outside indistinguishable.

Katie Lemieux is a ceramic sculptor born in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She earned a BFA in ceramics from Lakehead University (2016) and a MFA from the Peck School of the Arts in Wisconsin, Milwaukee (2019). Katie has participated in ceramics residencies in Jingdezhen, China; Zagreb, Croatia; Medicine Hat, Canada; and, most recently, Skopelos, Greece. Her works have been shown in group exhibitions in Canada, the US, Croatia, and Korea, and in the solo exhibition ‘Ending Up’ at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery (2022).

In addition to her work as an artist and ceramic/sculptural technician, Katie also works as a Personal Support Worker with young adults. Her social work continues to drive her artistic narrative as she creates in her at-home studio.


Loup Garou & Moccasins: Nathalie Bertin (April 29 - June 17, 2023)

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Photo by Jocelyn Reynolds.

April 29 - June 17, 2023
Reception: Sunday, April 30 from 1-4pm

Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto

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‘Loup Garou & Moccasins’ is a solo exhibition by Lake Nosbonsing-based multidisciplinary artist Nathalie Bertin that interprets stories from Métis culture through beadwork.

“Tales and stories are part of our childhood. It is often when we go to bed at night that a parent tells us a fairy tale. Lying on our pillow listening to the voice of someone we love soothes us and puts us to sleep. We are in dreamland!

In the Ojibway and Métis tradition, moccasins are not only to put on our feet, but they also connect us to the earth. On special occasions, we are often given a new pair of moccasins with beadwork to signify the importance of the occasion and also to keep us grounded in life.

Storytelling and traditional dress are part of many cultures. It is a common link. Unfortunately, most Canadians are not familiar with Métis culture, nor many First Nations or Inuit cultures. This project serves to introduce the Métis culture through a series of “moccushions”—cushions created in the model of the Métis style moccasin—that interpret traditional stories.

The series consists of a dozen stories drawn from Métis families across Ontario. Their construction is made with a variety of leather, fur, wool, embroidery and various beads chosen specifically for the tale. In addition to interpreting a traditional tale, they show us some things about distinct Métis art styles.”

– Nathalie Bertin

Nathalie Bertin is a multidisciplinary visual artist from Toronto of French, Métis, and Algonquin heritage. She currently lives near the shores of Lake Nosbonsing (near North Bay). Nathalie worked as a graphic designer in print, publishing and advertising for over 20 years before deciding to pursue her true love of creating art in 2009. Not content with just one medium, she expresses herself through painting, illustration, photography, and a variety of traditional crafts.

Nathalie has had her illustrations struck on collector coins for the Royal Canadian Mint and has illustrated several children's books for Nelson Education. She has presented her work in solo and group exhibitions, has curated exhibitions, and is the co-creator of 'Breathe: A Collection of Traditional Masks Demonstrating Resilience in the Face of the 21st Century Pandemic' to help artists work through the emotions of the pandemic.

Nathalie's work is included in the collections of the Government of Canada, Manitoba and Alberta; the Royal Ontario Museum; and private collectors in Canada, the US, and Europe.


Personal Geographies: Shiemara Hogarth (March 4 - April 22, 2023)

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March 4 - April 22, 2023
Reception: Thursday, March 9 from 6-8pm
Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto

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"'Personal Geographies' is a mixed media installation that takes a holistic approach to interrogate the ability of traditional craft, with digital design and fabrication to dissect dialectical discourse. Comprised of embroidery and 3D fabrication, braiding, jacquard damask brocade weaving, and quilted digitally printed 1800s fabric reproductions, the works included in this exhibition offer a critique of the legacies of colonization that continue through the movement of a body. I deconstruct my understanding of the changes and continuity of self through the idea of ‘migrant’ and engage in a broader discourse on what informs ideas of identity and belonging.

The works speak to each other of the multiplicity of truths embedded in the conceptual and material knowledge of my Black diasporic immigrant experience through objects that aim to renegotiate my relationship between multiple colonized spaces. The pieces in this work deconstruct the meanings behind the Jamaican bandana cloth – a reclaimed symbol of post-slavery pride and distinction; uses the body as a vehicle for reimagining and re-inscribing spaces of belonging outside of conflicted existing geographies; and uses weaving as a reflexive conversation between the maker and the object about these themes of colonialism, migration and belonging.

These objects do not aim to solve questions of the colonial project. They, instead, bear material witnesses to how a diasporic body can reimagine their place in the world beyond what official ‘multicultural’ narratives may tell. Overall, this exhibition invites the viewer to consider the material and theoretical connections that locate a body between multiple colonial spaces, including the wider space within which this visual conversation takes place."

– Shiemara Hogarth


Born in Jamaica, Shiemara Hogarth received an Honours Double Major BA in History, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from York University, then a BDes in Material Art and Design from OCAD University, followed by an MFA in Craft Media from the Alberta University of the Arts. Trained as a historian and textile artist and designer, 3D fabrication has come into her work, and her exploration of narrative and critique through material adaptation and deconstruction engages multi-disciplinary material research as a method of production. She has organized and hosted the symposium 'Canadian Women in Craft: A Conversation,' and curated the exhibition 'Threading Black' with the Alberta Craft Council. She has also had her writing featured in Studio Magazine.

Currently based in Brampton, Ontario, she was awarded a 2021 Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship which enabled her to produce 'Personal Geographies.'


Generation: Amanda Rataj (January 14 - February 25, 2023)

Craft Ontario Generation Photo by Jocelyn Reynolds WEB 4

'Generation' at Craft Ontario. Photo by Jocelyn Reynolds.

January 14 - February 25, 2023
Reception: Sunday, January 22 from 2-5pm
Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto

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‘Generation’ is a two-person exhibition by Hamilton-based artist and weaver Amanda Rataj and her late grandfather, master woodworker and furniture designer Rudolph Rataj.

"In the 1960s my paternal grandfather became the principal designer and shop manager for a successful furniture company in Toronto called Brunswick Manufacturing. For the following two decades, they supplied locally made, well-built institutional furniture to universities, community centres, and hospitals throughout the GTA.

In my home I have six chairs built by Brunswick Manufacturing that are covered in their original fabric — each of my grandfather's children got a matching set of chairs, and I have my father's set. I have designed, sampled, and hand woven yardage to reupholster these chairs. The original fabric is plain, brown, and synthetic — very representative of the late 1970s when they were made. The new textile covering for each chair takes its cues from the coloured light in shadows, and is made from natural fibres and padded with local wool felt.

My grandfather died before I was born, but his material influence has always been a part of my life, through the family cottage he designed and built, and in the countless chairs, tables, and furniture I have lived with, slept on, and used in my day to day. I’ve always taken this material landscape for granted while knowing very little about the maker.

Ultimately, this exhibition contributes to a conversation about Toronto’s small-scale industries, institutional furniture, and craft history. Through this exhibition, my work may help viewers identify items of Brunswick manufacturing that they know through offices, classrooms, and boardrooms, creating a conversation about the crafted environment of our institutional spaces."

– Amanda Rataj


Amanda Rataj is an artist and weaver living and working in Hamilton, Ontario. She has studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and Kawashima Textile School in Kyoto, Japan. Amanda has developed her contemporary craft practice through research-based projects, artist residencies, professional exhibitions, and lectures. She has exhibited at the Textile Museum of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, and the Art Gallery of Burlington, among others. Amanda regularly writes about textiles and publishes her textile designs online and in print, working with companies like Gist Yarn and Fiber in Boston, MA, and international publications like Väv Magasinet in Sweden.


Amanda Rataj acknowledges funding support from the Ontario Arts Council.

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'Generation' is part of the 2023 DesignTO Festival.

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Who We Are

Formerly the Ontario Crafts Council, Craft Ontario is a not-for-profit service organization that works to have craft recognized as a valuable part of life. We promote and celebrate professional craft through providing member opportunities, and advocate for craft practice by educating and empowering diverse audiences.