Past Exhibitions

Brianna Gluszak
FEATURED MEMBER

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.

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Arboreal: Daniel Gruetter and Juliana Scherzer (August 21 - October 2, 2021)

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Left: Daniel Gruetter, 'Hard Maple Vessel', 2020. Hard maple, oil-varnish.
Right: Juliana Scherzer, 'Synthesis' (detail), 2020. Preserved leaves, ecoprinted wool, ecoprinted cotton, thread.

August 21 - October 2, 2021
Reception-by-appointment: Sunday, September 12 from 11am-4pm
Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto

‘Arboreal’ is an exhibition of recent work by woodworker Daniel Gruetter and textile artist Juliana Scherzer exploring how we relate to material, place, and nature. Created using tree materials—fallen leaves for Juliana and local wood for Daniel—these works interrogate our role within, and responsibility to, the natural environment.

Juliana Scherzer’s quilt-pieced leaf works developed out of a week-long, land-based residency in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Chéticamp, Nova Scotia. Informed by the park’s restoration and conservation efforts, Juliana’s experiments led to a method of encasing fallen leaves in glycerin. By preserving the leaves’ flexibility, she is able to manipulate them like textiles, constructing her works through cutting, quilt-piecing, and machine-sewing. The result is evocative of wooded paths, rhizomes and roots, insect burrows, tree canopies, and watersheds—vectors ranging in scale from micro to macro. At the same time, familiar quilting techniques call to mind heirloom quilts pieced from a baby blanket, an outgrown dress, an old work shirt, all sewn together to create a network of connections between people and their stories. And that’s the point: these systems—human, animal, fungal, vegetal—are enmeshed and indivisible.

Through his furniture and objects, Daniel Gruetter reveals the intrinsic value of wood. His work expresses the unique capacities of local woods and reframes “flaws” as valuable and essential parts of the material. Daniel’s approach to material, one of observation and response, draws on traditional craft methodologies and their relationship to the natural world.

Each of Daniel’s pieces highlights a specific material trait. The technique of oxidation, for example, combines iron with the natural tannins in wood to create dramatic colours that vary by species. ‘Live-edge table #1’ utilizes an expansion joint made from a crack, a feature that highlights the forces inherent in wood as it expands and contracts. The handheld objects are sculptural ergonomic shapes, finely finished to optimize the tactility of wood. This attentive and caring relationship to materials extends out to the whole of the natural world, and offers an alternative ideology to our current economic system of extractive capitalism that treats natural resources as commodities for exploitation and is an ongoing driver of colonialism.

Both artists’ work express a sense of care that comes from understanding yourself as a node in a network of relations; that being in relation means a reciprocity and a responsibility to the material and, in turn, all of the material’s connections.

– Robyn Wilcox, Curator

 

Daniel Gruetter is a woodworker based in Toronto, Canada. He was born and raised in Bella Coola, a remote community nestled in British Columbia’s coast mountains. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BA in History in 2010. Daniel has worked with local and international artists, architects, and designers to provide finely made furniture and objects for a wide variety of contexts from private homes to commercial spaces and hospitality enterprises. He provides design services, as well as batch production and custom woodwork.

www.danielgruetter.com

 

Juliana Scherzer is a textile artist working primarily in free-motion machine embroidery and quilted leaves. After graduating from Sheridan College with a Bachelor of Craft and Design (2018), Juliana spent three years as an artist-in-residence at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design where she continued to build her practice while branching out into production work and teaching a range of textile and art courses in the community. In August 2021 Juliana relocated to Toronto to join Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence Program.

www.julianascherzer.com

 Juliana would like to acknowledge the support of Arts Nova Scotia with their Presentation Grant.

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Iron Identity: Contemporary Jewellery by Alex Kinsley Vey (June 11 - August 14, 2021)

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Image: Alex Kinsley Vey. 'Gold für Eisen' ring series, 2018. Steel, paint, 14k gold.

A selection of work from this exhibition is available for sale in the Craft Ontario online shop.

June 11 - August 14, 2021
Reception by Appointment: Sat, Aug 7, 6-9pm & Sun, Aug 8, 1-4pm
Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto

‘Iron Identity’ is a solo exhibition of work by Toronto-based contemporary jeweller Alex Kinsley Vey.

“Hamilton, my hometown on the shore of Lake Ontario, has traditionally been a steel producing centre. Despite the industry having died down in recent decades, its industrial activity is still apparent. ‘Iron Identity’ references my time growing up there, and the impact this place had on me.

Brooches, rings and neckpieces evoke and commemorate this identity through the use of oxides, coarse finishing, and sturdy construction. I use colours associated with industrial machinery and abandoned sites – bright colours that contrast signs of rust and deterioration. Transporting this aesthetic to the body allows it to be worn close, displayed with pride, and given reverence as a jewellery object.

The places and structures I reference directly influenced the culture of Hamilton. These former steel mills, manufacturing facilities, and factories provided good, working class jobs, and were once economic symbols announcing the prosperity of the city. Now that we have moved into a post-industrial economy, these places look dirty and out of place. I grew up around the last of these industrial sites when the flame of industry was already diminished. I feel compelled to record the physical and emotional identity of this city in order to come to a better understanding of my own identity.”

– Alex Kinsley Vey

 

Alex Kinsley Vey is from Hamilton, Ontario, where he received jewellery training from his parents. Moving to Toronto in 2010, Alex studied jewellery at George Brown College, receiving an Advanced Diploma in Jewellery Arts in 2013. Alex has shown work in Canada, Europe, and the United States. He has been a member of Craft Ontario since 2012, Klimt02 since 2017, and was a Harbourfront Centre Craft and Design Artist-in-Residence from 2015-2019. He is currently a member at Jewel Envy in Toronto's west-end. Alex is a sessional instructor at OCAD University in Toronto, and has previously taught at George Brown College in Toronto, and NSCAD University in Halifax.

Alex is represented by Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h, Montréal.

www.kinsleyveydesigns.com

 

'Iron Identity' is part of the 2021 DesignTO Festival, January 22-31.

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The artist gratefully acknowledges support from the Toronto Arts Council.

 

 

SECURITY BLANKET: Embroidered textiles by Jennifer Smith-Windsor (March 9 - April 7, 2021)

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Image: Jennifer Smith-Windsor. 'SECURITY BLANKET: Russia' (Detail), 2018. Vintage military issue blanket, vintage doilies and lace, embroidery floss. 196cm x 136cm. Photo by Chris Snow.

March 9 - April 7, 2021
Craft Ontario Gallery, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto

The crisis of the global COVID-19 pandemic has drawn into sharp focus our collective global vulnerability against the threat of an unknown enemy. It has forced us to change our habits, from the way we work, shop, travel exercise, and perhaps most importantly, greet and visit friends and loved ones. It has forced us to ask critical questions such as: What does it mean to be safe and secure? How can we protect ourselves, our families, our friends and strangers? How can we secure our country from incoming, potentially unseen threats?

Coming at a time when we are all searching for comfort and the assurance that we will be safe, the SECURITY BLANKET series seeks to explore the above questions and more. The first object to touch a newborn baby, the blanket offers warmth and reassurance, but the blanket continues to be an object associated with well-being and security long after early childhood. Security is defined as a state of being safe and free from worry, but is there more to its meaning than initially suggested by this dictionary definition? SECURITY BLANKET explores two notions of security. First, the security of the home – represented by antique, handmade domestic textiles such as doilies and lace. And second, the security of the state – represented by eight government-issue military blankets from Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. These repurposed objects constitute a blank canvas onto which another layer of meaning can be added to their already nuanced histories. The intricate patterning created by the use of traditional embroidery stitches integrates these two divergent representations of security on both a physical and conceptual level, producing works of visually interesting contrast that provoke the viewer to consider their own relationship to home, comfort, safety and security.

Jennifer Smith-Windsor is a textile artist based in Stratford, Ontario. She was the 2019 recipient of the Craft Ontario Helen Frances Gregor Award for excellence in contemporary textile and in 2010 received the Mary Diamond Butts Scholarship in Embroidery and Needlecraft, also from Craft Ontario. Jennifer’s art practice focuses almost exclusively on hand embroidery. When hand stitching, she deliberately uses a limited range of stitches, exploring the wealth of possibilities that this restricted repertoire offers. Vintage, handmade textiles figure prominently in her work as reclaiming them and giving them a second life is incredibly important to her. They act as her starting point, a blank canvas onto which another layer of meaning can be added. She has always been drawn to cloth; embroidering as a child, sewing her own clothes as a teenager, studying textiles at university, working in theatre costume departments as a young adult and now with an active textile art practice. It is cloth’s intimate relationship to the body, its ubiquity in our lives, its associations with the home, its links to the past and its relevance to the future that continues to inspire her.

www.jennifersmith-windsor.com

 

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.