Site Alive, November 27–Feb 7

Helen Liene Dreifelds. Variation 1 (detail), 2015. Monofilament nylon, mercerized cotton, combed wool. Hand woven four-harness loom shadow weave. Image courtesy of the artist.


Marissa Alexander, Alexia Bilyk, Anouk Desloges, Helen Liene Dreifelds, Azza El Siddique, Marie-Eve G-Castonguay, Andrea Kott, Grant McRuer, Meghan Price, Linda Sormin, Alice Yujing Yan

January 23–June 19, 2016

Curated by Melanie Egan & Patrick Macaulay



The work in this exhibition has a vibrancy that delights and intrigues.

Art historian and curator Damian Skinner describes the present moment as the third wave of craft wherein there is a collapse in the distinctions between craft, design, art and business. This progression within contemporary craft is due to the growth of theory and practice generally and movements within specific genres over the past few decades. The ongoing development of post-disciplinary teaching and methods has also had a profound effect on craft practice and thinking. This third wave of craft has evolved from the foundational Arts & Craft Movement (1880s-1910s) which was a response to industrialization, and the later Studio Craft Movement (1960s-1970s) which was focused on originality and artistic expression. Today’s craft artists are defining this collapse of distinctions with work that is less concerned with categorization or defined in opposition to other artistic practices. Highly aware and engaged with contemporary culture, these artists embrace it all.

Harbourfront Centre’s Craft & Design Studio has always had a lateral view of contemporary craft, championing an expansive and inclusive mindset when it comes to artists and designers. This exhibition confounds specific readings of the craft “object” and happily engages in ambiguity.

– Melanie Egan, Head, Craft & Design and Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts


Marissa Alexander

Notebooks containing thought out sentences and frantic confessions, love letters and streams of consciousness – accumulating over time. Flipping through pages, characters and structure become blurred, maybe context disappears along with any specificity. Words within a moment seemingly pressing lose meaning and become something else. Treating the blank pieces of paper as pages from my notebook, concerned with filling up space, these drawings are about searching and immediacy. Searching for ways to adorn that which is bare, to quickly fill what is empty, creating pattern through repetition, and an attempt to find a point at which to stop and move on. The designs are an abstraction of my own written words, where the rhythm of the act is as important as the line drawn. Like words obscured by the motion of flipping through the pages, these compositions mean something at one moment and nothing at another.

– Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander holds a BA in Sociology from McMaster University and received her Advanced Diploma in Craft and Design (Ceramics) from Sheridan College in 2014. Originally from Hamilton, Alexander is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre. Material and process are central to her practice and she aims to make things that engage her, other people and other objects.


Alexia Bilyk

“No matter how often professional cartographers proclaim objectivity, a map is but one version of reality.”

– Antonis Antoniou

Inspired by aerial views of transportation routes and housing structures, I have designed a series of paper-cuts and prints that create an abstract representation of a place using pattern.

– Alexia Bilyk

Alexia Bilyk is an Artist-in-Residence 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.


Anouk Desloges

The original idea succumbs to the act of materialization. Yet prior to the end, the idea is investigated, deepened and deconstructed throughout the evolving phases.

The Many Projects series serves to illustrate various art projects on their way of becoming tangible.  Each individual white cloth is neither a sketch nor a final piece; it is in the midst of it all.

“The worst thing that can happen to you is to have one idea.” –Jean-Pierre Morin (my teacher)

– Anouk Desloges

Anouk Desloges received a BFA from Université Laval (Québec City) and a Diploma in Sculpture from the Maison des métiers d’art de Québec where her work was awarded first honours. Since then, she has been awarded a number of prizes and fellowships. She has exhibited in Canada, France and Guatemala and her work can be found in various public and private collections across Canada. She now lives in Toronto and was accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence program in 2013.


Helen Liene Dreifelds

A desire to prolong the emotional and physical experience of change informs this series of resampled samples. Beginning with a simple weave structure, I rearrange the order of threads and combine forms to distort the original sequence. I consider this work a record exploring how pattern traces and repetition can relate to the intangible experience of rhythm.

– Helen Liene Dreifelds

Helen Liene Dreifelds is an emerging artist currently pursuing the Artist-in-Residence program at Harbourfront Centre’s Craft & Design Studio. She holds a DEC in Textile Construction from Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles (2014) and a BA in Applied Human Sciences with a minor in Art History, from Concordia University (2009).


Azza El Siddique

Still Life #5 is a continuation of my work that explores perception and understanding of materials through objects and the negotiation of space. Like a still life that focuses on commonplace objects, I transform everyday materials into new objects and set them up in a way to create a continuous discourse between the familiar and unfamiliar.

– 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 in Material Arts & Design from OCAD University. She attended 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 play with forms and function to generate motion in my objects, thus creating an intimate relationship between my work and the body. The viewer participates in engaging or inhibiting movement within each piece by blowing on the kinetic parts and plays an active role in making the objects reach their full potential. The random motion of each paper tab recalls the movement of flowers or plants being blown by the wind. Using the categorization and organization principles of garden design, I turn disorder into order, unconsciousness into consciousness and spontaneity into arrangement and calculation. Therefore, I see these pieces as small-scale gardens in which one can find comfort or get lost.

– Marie-Eve G.-Castonguay

Originally from Quebec City, Marie-Eve G.-Castonguay is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre, where she was awarded a scholarship in 2014. She holds a diploma from the École de joaillerie de Québec as well as a BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing from NSCAD University. 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.


Andrea Kott

I like making work that is fun to make.

Taking advantage of the distinct properties of hot glass, I form objects that can’t be made with other materials. Beginning with an opaque sphere I build up thin layers of clear glass, morphing and changing the form each time until the colour becomes muted, translucent and transparent.
By exploiting the qualities of glass and the process the pieces become abstracted objects, through a playful exploration of material, shape, colour, and form.

The objects in this installation take on characteristics or anthropomorphic tendencies, if you use your imagination – like looking at clouds floating in the sky. I am interested in the relationship and communication of a group of forms interacting with each other, their given space, and with the viewer.

–Andrea Kott

Andrea Kott graduated from Sheridan College’s Craft and Design program, majoring in Glass. She makes thoughtful sculptural, functional, and installation work that focuses on concept and material quality. Often using multiples and groupings, her work explores themes of childhood, innocence and memory as an elusive marker of defining moments. She is curious about the connections between the ephemeral and tangible things that define us. Kott was accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence program and awarded a scholarship in 2012. She completed her residency in summer 2015 and is continuing to grow her practice as a Toronto designer and maker.


Grant McRuer

Society now believes in minimizing the amount of materials that are thrown into landfills and we diligently separate the recyclables from garbage. Once the trash hits the sidewalk, I dig in, removing materials such as plastic containers, scrap metal or whatever I can utilize. These materials are then transformed (“up-cycled”) into objects of wearable art. From the gutter to a place of prestige, these creations speak to the inherent value of materials that we give no credence to other than outliving their usefulness. Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder and in what we throw out there is the capacity to bring forth unexpected beauty.

– Grant McRuer

Grant McRuer completed his BFA in Jewellery Design at NSCAD University in 2013. His love of travel, trinkets, oddities, fine art and ethnic jewellery has fuelled his creative spirit giving him a wealth of ideas and inspirations that are prevalent in his simple, yet assertive designs. He has been an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre since 2013..


Meghan Price

The prevailing understanding of stone is that it is a lifeless, unyielding material. However, when viewed within its own timescale or “deep time”, geology is fluid – its formations always in the midst of change.

I have been exploring ways to bring a deep time perspective into the present by foregrounding the temporal nature of the materials, processes and media I use. Body Rock is a series of paper forms made through improvised pattern drafting and stitching – a process akin to dressmaking. Subtle geological textures are recorded on the paper with graphite rubbings. These floating “boulders” manifest the time of handwork and, as they sway in response to our movement, mark the time of our own bodies moving in space. The fragile, animate forms also point to the much greater, geologic timescale where stone can be known to be temporary and lively.

Body Rock was created at the Banff Centre with support from the Rousseau-Vermette Endowment.

– Meghan Price

Meghan Price is an interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto. Her practice is rooted in the language of textiles and looks for meaning in material, process and pattern. Price holds a degree in Textile Construction from The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles and an MFA from Concordia University. Her work has been exhibited internationally and Price has held residencies at Artspace Sydney, Open Studio (Toronto), the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and the Banff Centre. Meghan Price teaches in the textile studios of the OCAD University and Sheridan College and is represented by Katzman Contemporary (Toronto).


Linda Sormin

I roll and pinch the thing into place. I collect and lay offerings at its feet. This architecture melts and leans, hoarding objects in its folds. It lurches and dares you to approach, it tears cloth and flesh, it collapses with the brush of a hand.

Nothing is thrown away. This immigrant lives in fear of waste. Old yogurt is used to jumpstart the new batch. What is worth risking for things to get juicy, rare, ripe? What might be discovered on the verge of things going bad?

– Linda Sormin

Through objects and site-specific installations, Linda Sormin’s work explores issues of fragility, aggression, mobility and survival. Born in Bangkok, Sormin moved to Canada with her family at the age of five. She has taught ceramics at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, the Rhode Island School of Design and Sheridan College. She has recently started a new position as Associate Professor of Ceramics at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.


Alice Yujing Yan

My work is inspired by modern architecture and, in particular, minimalism. The use of colour is prevalent in my work for its symbolic meaning and emotive qualities. Fabrication techniques in metal allow me to explore form that is both representative of architectural elements that I love and my inner most emotional feelings. My current work uses these visual concerns in two stylistic series, one focusing on colour and the other on the metal material itself. I hope that the viewers will converse with each piece on their own terms.

– Alice Yujing Yan

Alice Yujing Yan is originally from China where she received a BFA degree in animation. In Canada she decided to study jewellery and began metalsmithing at NSCAD University, receiving a BFA in Jewellery Design in 2014. Yan has shown her work in Canada and China. She has been a member of the Society of North America Goldsmith since 2013 and was accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence program in 2014.

More Images