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A Look Into DesignTO

When given this blog assignment, I realized its importance in terms of the relationships this carries and the correlations DesignTO can have from one designer to another. Although each artist's work might be completely different in appearance, each one is connected in some way. For my two artists, I answered each with the questions given to us for this assignment.

REMINISCE by Victoria Fard

& written stories by shakerszstories

The first artist I visited for the DesignTO assignment was Victoria Fard and her digital series, REMINISCE. I was able to view this work through a digital exhibition online.

1.What did you think of the presentation of work? What was successful? Was there anything you think could be improved?

The first thing that I noticed was the designs. There are so many pops of beautiful colours and intricate patterns used in these designs, it caught my attention right away! Once I looked further into the detail, it reminded me of a kaleidoscope, briefly mentioned in one of the narratives by Shakerszstories.

I think what was successful about this digital exhibition was the coherent feel of the design with the short stories. I loved the pairing of child-like narratives reminiscent of old tales you were told as a child, paired with these detailed digital designs. It was almost like it gave the story an extra layer of depth but from a design standpoint.

If anything was to change, I think a more in-depth discussion about the digital designs would have been great. Why she chose certain colourways? The interpretation of certain images for each design? It would have been nice to have more of a background on that.

Fig. 1 "REMINISCE", ‘Hasan and Ruby-Anne’, 2021

2.Why did you choose this designer or artist? How does this work relate to your current project?

I decided to choose REMINISCE because it spoke a lot to me and to the idea of culture and identity in regards to my own project. Even though the cultural references are different from those I grew up with, the meaning and value behind them are no different from my own. The idea of remembering your past and continuing your culture into the present using memory was something that resonated with me and something that really related to my project. There was a specific line from the story "Ning Ning" that really reminisced with me- see what I did there.

The line read, "Wherever we may be in the world, when we gaze upon the parol, it is a beautiful reminder of where we came from. In a way, we feel that we still belong and are part of a truly vibrant nation. It reminds us of who we are." (4th story, Para. 2) The Story of the Parol-A Filipino crafted star-shaped Christmas lantern carries a lot of identity and culture, which is something I can relate to in my work.

I feel my work is something similar where it's a handcrafted object that can be passed down and bring a sense of identity, culture, and connection that can be looked upon as a beautiful statement. Although the idea of the white wedding dress has evolved in western culture and has been done and worn by many individuals from multiple backgrounds, I hope to bring it to another level of individuality. I want my final capstone piece to capture that spirit of my culture and identity just like the Parol is ubiquitous at Christmas time in the Philipines and the Sofreh is important in Persia for the "Nowruz", which is the Persian new year celebrated on the spring equinox.

Fig. 2 "REMINISCE", ‘Ning Ning’, 2021

3.How might you adapt some of their strategies and apply them to your work?

One thing that really struck me about her work was how intricate the digital details were! As someone who constantly wants to improve and grow as an artist, I've longed for the ability to be able to work so delicately in a digital context. I tend to shy away from complex detail because my mind can't go as intricate as I wish it would. But I'm always fascinated by artists who can take the time to create something so detailed.

Taking in this digital design exhibition, I think I need to look more in-depth at my work; Both on a physical level and an emotionally connected level.

Fig. 3 "REMINISCE", ‘Spring’, 2021

Between the Suns by Rachel Miller

Presented by Fentster

The second artist I visited for the DesignTO assignment was none other than Rachel Miller, one of the textile instructors in the Craft and Design program. Her window installation was titled "Between the Suns" from "FENTSTER: A window onto Jewish life through art". I was most intrigued by this because it reminded me of old vintage lace, which I absolutely love. I was able to see this piece on Sunday, February 7th through a video chat connected by Jacqui Vouk.

Fig. 4 "Between the Suns: Fentster", Winter 2021

1.What did you think of the presentation of work? What was successful? Was there anything you think could be improved?

When I first saw the installation via video chat, I was actually surprised about the size of the piece. It was larger than I expected, but because I love larger pieces, it made it even better to take in. When I first take a look at this installation, it reminds me of a woven piece. There's something very intricate and symmetrical about how these designs fit together, similar to how weavings can appear. Seeing it through the video, I noticed that each piece seemed to have different colours to it, which again, reminded me of the vintage look of old lace, but I felt it was also referencing how old cut paper pieces-like those carved by her family- can age and look more yellowed over time. I felt the connection to the dirt and the design coming up through the dirt was almost a reference of coming up through the ashes and continuing on with life strong, even through hardships.

One thing I noticed was that some of the wax pieces were starting to melt from the sun heating the window. I believe that it might have been produced like that on purpose by the artist, but it might have also been something that was overlooked.

If I was to change one thing, I would say it might have been better to try and display the work without the large push pins in the middle of each piece. I know that each piece has to stay up somehow, and maybe that's a part of the piece. However, I think it would have been nice to see it hung up in another way, maybe off the wall to produce a shadow against the white backdrop.

Fig. 5 "Between the Suns: Fentster", Winter 2021-Screen shot from video chat with Jacqui Vouk

Fig. 6 "Between the Suns: Fentster", Winter 2021- photo was taken and provided by Jacqui Vouk

2.Why did you choose this designer or artist? How does this work relate to your current project?

One of the biggest reasons I chose Rachel's piece was because I've never seen her work in person before. I've always been intrigued by the ideas and multi-media she works with, so I thought being able to see Rachel's installation was perfect for this blog post. The other reason I decided to go see Rachel's piece was because of the meanings and the references relating back to family, history, and culture. Although the terms of these subjects are slightly different from her installation to my own work, I still feel there are some significant similarities. The idea of culture and an individual's background and the reference to family was something that really resonated with me. A person's culture and history can really define who they are and make them feel a part of something. After Reading Rachel's reasoning behind the piece, I fell in love with the importance of Jewish papercutting and the paper lasting as long as they do, when the paper isn't meant to last that long. Being able to have an object or a piece of handcrafted art from your family that has meaning holds so much meaning and value, not only to the art world but also to life in general, and how important it is to never take life for granted.

Fig. 7 "Between the Suns: Fentster", Winter 2021- photo was taken and provided by Jacqui Vouk

3.How might you adapt some of their strategies and apply them to your work?

I think the biggest thing I take from this art installation is what my project would leave behind when all is said and done? Would my wedding dress have meaning to other family members in the future once I'm gone? Would this be something that people would treasure? Or would this be something people would forget about? Or even donate?

I have to think about what my wedding dress is leaving behind and if this dress brings the cultural history and meaning to others that it does to me.

It'll be interesting what DesignTO displays next year.

As Always,


Works Cited

Information sourced by :

DesignTO. (January 2021) Victoria Fard: Reminisce. Digital Exhibition.

Fard, V. (2021) Reminisce. Digital Exhibition.

DesignTO. (January 2021) Rachel Miller: Between the Suns. Window Installation.

Miller, R. (No Date) Sculpture Installations.


Fig. 1 Fard, V. (2021). Hasan and Ruby-Anne [Digital Photograph]. Reminisce.

Fig. 2 Fard, V. (2021). Ning Ning [Digital Photograph]. Reminisce.

Fig. 3 Fard, V. (2021). Spring [Digital Photograph]. Reminisce.

Fig. 4 DesignTO. (2021) Between the Suns [Photograph 1]. Presented by Fentster.

Fig. 5 Trotter, J. (2021) Between the Suns Video Viewing [Photograph]. Kingston, ON

Fig. 6 Vouk, J. (2021) Between the Suns Window Installation [Photograph]. Toronto, ON

Fig. 7 Vouk, J. (2021) Between the Suns Window Installation [Photograph]. Toronto, ON

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