Site Alive, November 27–Feb 7

Azza El Siddique. Child’s Play Inspiration, 2016. Acetate. Image courtesy of the artist.

It’s Not You It’s Me

Marissa Alexander, Alexia Bilyk, Holly Boileau, Helen Liene Dreifelds, Teresa Dunlop, Azza El Siddique, Marie-Eve G.-Castonguay, Oscar Kwong, Becky Lauzon, Pasha Moezzi, Sam Pedicelli, Kristian Spreen, Silvia Taylor, Devon Thom

June 25–September 18, 2016

Curated by Azza El Siddique



It’s Not You It’s Me began as a simple collaborative exercise between 14 Artists-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre from five different studios: Textile, Glass, Ceramics, Design and Metal. The artists were asked to draw a name at random, and from there they were asked to rework, resample and reimagine the given objects from the name drawn into a final piece. The purpose of the exercise was to explore what happens when artists that have crafted their own unique voices in their respective medium were directed to interject a fellow practitioners work, themes and/or materials into their own. It’s Not You It’s Me represents the multitude of various practices at Harbourfront Centre through a remixed lens.

– Azza El Siddique, Artist-in-Residence (Textiles)


Marissa Alexander

This series of functional objects is inspired by the thoughtful and minimalistic design created by Oscar Kwong. Attempting to maintain the various qualities of the original tea light/candle holder, I chose to make contemporary versions of traditional ceramic objects: cups and saucers. Incorporating loose, hand-painted, decorative details to the simplistic form, I’ve aimed to remain true to the initial design, combining the hard and the soft to produce an object that is both purposeful and beautiful.

– Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander is a ceramic-based artist whose work ranges from decorated, functional wares to abstract, sculptural work. Material and process are central to her studio practice and she aims to things that engage herself, other people and other objects. Prior to graduating from Sheridan College where she earned an advanced diploma in Craft and Design (Ceramics), Alexander graduated from McMaster University receiving an honours degree in Sociology. She is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre where she was awarded a scholarship upon acceptance.


Alexia Bilyk

Glass Vessel:

For this exercise, I was given some blown glass vessels by Becky Lauzon. As a textile artist, particularly drawn to pattern, I began to play with shapes and stripes to create an altered surface. Using vinyl as a tool for mark-making, I cut out crescents and stripes that would lend themselves to the shape of the glass, which alters the surface design from various directions.

Paper Piece:

For this exercise, I was given a sheet of cardstock that had been laser cut by Marie-Eve G.-Castonguay. The original piece was very symmetrical and orderly which is very different from how I work. I cut up the cardstock sheet, creating strips of cardstock and then rearranged them to form a different pattern.

– Alexia Bilyk

Alexia Bilyk is a current Artist-in-Residence (Textiles) at Harbourfront Centre, as well as a graduate from OCAD University’s Fibre program and Sheridan College’s Textile program. Bilyk’s work is inspired by architecture, nature, and everyday objects. Her work incorporates silk screening and paper cutting to create dimensional, lively narratives that lend themselves to both art and design.


Holly Boileau

In this collaborative exercise, I played with the concept of orthographic illustration. By rotating a three-dimensional object even slightly, the perspective of that object changes entirely as a two-dimensional shape. Using a series of those shapes, I created a surface pattern that curls and dances around just as the original objects do when exploring them with your hands.

–Holly Boileau

Holly Boileau received her BA in Design from OCAD University, specializing in fibre arts and material exploration. Together with her business partner, she started Woodwater, a design company that makes clothing and homewares. In 2012, she was awarded an artist residency in the Textile Studio at Harbourfront Centre where she continues to develop her personal practice in art and material construction. Through thoughtful design and crafting of an object, she examines the ways in which we relate to each other.


Helen Liene Dreifelds

A distinct series of sewing thread stitches can be found on the back of Sam Pedicelli’s beaded image samples. I am interested in these marks as traces of her process and as structural supports for the beadwork. Through repeating and distorting these lines and shapes, the back of her work becomes the main image.

– Helen Liene Dreifelds

Helen Liene Dreifelds is an emerging artist currently pursuing the Artist-in-Residence program at Harbourfront Centre’s Craft & Design Studio. Motivated by a desire to prolong the physical and emotional experience of change, she builds dimensional wall pieces using thread. She considers her work a form of record-keeping, exploring themes of duration and movement. Dreifelds holds a DEC in Textile Construction from the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles (2014) and a BA in Applied Human Sciences with a minor in Art History from Concordia University (2009).


Teresa Dunlop

There is a long and intimate relationship between ceramic vessels and textiles. Some of the earliest renderings of textiles exist because the imagery and texture was incorporated on ceramic forms. As well, textiles have also always been a passion of mine, so I was thrilled when I drew Alexia Bilyk to be my muse for It’s Not You It’s Me. I love her use of architectural references and actually use some similar marks in my own practice. Taking Alexia’s paper samples, I pressed, carved and fired stamps that could be used to recreate her silk screen and paper stencils. Then I pushed these into soft clay. After that the project became a wonderful opportunity for what if…

–Teresa Dunlop

After a rewarding career as an elementary school teacher, Teresa Dunlop returned to school to complete an advanced diploma in Craft and Design: Ceramics at Sheridan College. She recently completed an 18 month wood fire mentorship under the direction of master potter, Tony Clennell. Dunlop has been an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre since 2014.


Azza El Siddique

Child’s Play is an installation that explores themes of repetition and camouflage inspired by Holly Boileau’s practice and playful prints.

– Azza El Siddique

Azza El Siddique is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, painting, photography and film. Her work explores the contextualization of objects in space and the dialogues that arise through placement, material and form. El Siddique received her BFA from OCAD University majoring in Material Arts and Design. She recently completed The Chautauqua School of Art residency in Chautauqua, NY, and was accepted as an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre in 2014.


Marie Eve G.-Castonguay

I like to work with rigid metal structures to create enclosed spaces in which all things possible may happen. Being given Shane Weaver’s laser etched ceramic tiles, I isolated certain zones of the patterns, therefore abstracting the figurative aspect of each illustration. The abstracted patterns become accidents within the chaotic metal structures.

– Marie-Eve G.-Castonguay

Originally from Quebec City, Marie-Eve G.-Castonguay is an emerging jewellery artist currently based in Toronto. She holds a diploma from the École de Joaillerie de Québec (2011) as well as a BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing from NSCAD University (2013) in Halifax. She is currently part of the Artist-in-Residence program at Harbourfront Centre, where she was awarded a scholarship in 2014. She was recently granted with the Autor Joya Award in 2015, and she has shown her work in various exhibitions throughout Canada as well as in various countries of Europe.


Oscar Kwong

Zen-boy experiences purely through his emotions. He is born from a sense of wonder and a place of hope. So he follows his feelings rich with qualities of a melancholy dream to interact and decipher our world. Zen-boy is constantly trying to learn and appreciate the reality that is presented to him. In his attempt to understand our nature he has decided to participate with our vast history of material creations. With this engagement to objects he sincerely approaches each collaboration void of judgement. He is the manifestations of all our indescribable thoughts.

In this entry log, Zen-boy has discovered a treasure chest with the words “It’s Not You It’s Me carved into the surface. Revealed inside were mysterious artifacts that he could not place a particular source to. Under one of the gleaming pieces that poured out of the chest is inscribed: “Pasha.”

– Oscar Kwong

Inspired by the subtle feelings embedded in the spaces and objects that surrounds us, Oscar Kwong’s designs stem from the belief that there is a careful balance between our spirits and the natural world, which has the ability to distill a sense of appreciation for the present moment. So he spends his practice in the constant navigation and attempt to understand the emotions that result from our contact with the material.

Kwong received his BDes (Industrial Design) from OCAD University in 2015.


Becky Lauzon

For the exhibition It’s Not You It’s Me I was given the opportunity to collaborate with fellow Artist-in-Residence and textile artist Alexia Bilyk. My goal was to make something that had Alexia’s voice and mine in it through the use of her patterns and colour palette while using my preferred medium of glass. This collaboration gave me the opportunity to think outside of the box and pushed me to look at the way I generally go about putting pattern onto my glass.

– Becky Lauzon

Becky Lauzon is a glass artist and engraver, currently based outside of Toronto, as well as an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre. Born and raised in Cochrane, a small town in Northern Ontario, Lauzon takes inspiration from the urban landscape and its juxtaposition with the natural world.


Pasha Moezzi

I started my art career by doing ceramics and working with clay. Now, being a jewellery artist and working with metal, the properties have changed. It was such a great experience to be left with some marvelous pieces from fellow artist Marissa Alexander and experiencing all the different approaches I had to fabricate these objects and seeing the end results.

– Pasha Moezzi

Pasha Moezzi is an emerging jewellery artist residing in Toronto. He obtained his Fine Arts diploma from Langara College (Vancouver) and later attended the BFA Program at Concordia University in Montreal majoring in Design Arts and graduated in 2006. His true passion for jewellery emerged while working at his father’s furniture-making workshop, where he made jewellery out of scrap pieces using very unorthodox techniques and machinery such as the table saw and band saw. Later on he pursued formal goldsmithing training and attended George Brown College and graduated from Jewellery arts program in 2015.

Moezzi’s work has a unique style influenced by industrial shapes and architectural forms, which is very evident in both his one-of-a-kind work and his production lines. He is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre.


Sam Pedicelli

Using a combination of textile sculpture and intricate beadwork, my current practice features a series of masked figures and fantastical creatures. It’s Not You It’s Me posed the interesting challenge of incorporating Teresa Dunlop’s pre-made ceramic elements into my own works. Drawing inspiration from the whimsy of her work, my figures evolved naturally from the shapes and images present in her ceramics.

– Sam Pedicelli

Sam Pedicelli is a Toronto-based artist working in a variety of media including, but not limited to, textile sculptures and beadwork. She currently resides in Toronto and is a graduate of OCAD University. She has been an Artist-in-Residence (Textiles) at Harbourfront Centre since June 2015.


Kristian Spreen

This piece was influenced by the textile work of Helen Liene Dreifelds. I was inspired by Helen’s use of natural and artificial threads intermingled with contrasting and less traditional materials such as copper wire. I was captivated by the fabric’s capacity to flex and also hold a form. I decided to interpret this piece using delicate stringers of glass interwoven with copper. When hot glass is stretched so thin that it bends and sways, it takes on the qualities of a diaphanous fabric. The top of the piece is left loose and uneven to allude to the raw edge of a piece of cloth. The piece is meant to convey the rigid fluidity I observed in Helen’s fibre work through glass.

– Kristian Spreen

Kristian Spreen was raised in Brampton, Ontario. She graduated from Sheridan College in the Craft and Design Program in 2015 and shortly after was accepted as an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre. Prior to pursuing her artistic career, Spreen received an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, where she studied psychology, biology, and physiology.


Silvia Taylor

For Its Not You It’s Me I was gifted working samples from Azza El Siddique. One of the samples was a piece of plastic Azza had manipulated with heat to produce a wrinkled texture and form. Instantly I saw how the plastic behaved similar to glass and was inspired to recreate it.

Elaborating with form and exploring opaque colour, I have conjured up a number of objects for this grouping. With respect to Azza’s installation tact and sensitivity to space, I have grouped the objects to create a scene or environment.

This project has been an interesting investigation into the similarities between glass and plastic.

– Silvia Taylor

After graduating from Sheridan’s Crafts and Design program in 2011, Silvia Taylor returned to Sheridan as a teacher’s assistant while simultaneously completing a part-time residency at Blown Away Glass studio in Elora. She has participated in a number of shows and gallery exhibitions including The Artist Project, One Of A Kind Show, and Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. She has been a grateful recipient of several bursaries and awards from the Glass Art Association of Canada and Craft Ontario.

Taylor sits as Secretary for the board of the Glass Art Association of Canada and has started her fourth year as a full time Artist-in-Residence (Glass) at Harbourfront centre.


Devon Thom

Much of my work as a jewellery artist incorporates the use of quartz stone. One of the main components of glass and quartz is the chemical compound silicon dioxide. Although they share chemical properties, on a molecular level these materials are very different. Unlike quartz, which has a very rigid crystal structure, glass has no crystalline structure. Glass has also been used in jewellery-making for thousands of years, primarily to imitate gemstones. With this project I challenged myself to work with the glass samples I was given by Silvia in both traditional and non-traditional ways.

–Devon Thom

Devon Thom was born and raised in Vancouver. In 2015, she graduated with Honours from the Jewellery Arts Program at George Brown College in Toronto. Thom currently resides in Toronto and was accepted as an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfont Centre and awarded a scholarship in 2015.

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