Saint John 2018
This collection of goods from designers, artists and makers of the Saint John region represents the convergence of long held traditions of craft, and the influence geography of this place has on its culture of making. The selected pieces are also a snapshot of Maritime design sensibilities; some bridging the gap between deeply rooted cultural icons and contemporary design, others subverting expectations of ‘handicraft.’
Design of the Saint John region is diverse in its cultural influences; from its First Nations origins, to the infiltration of 19th century New England fashions. This confluence of culture and style has fostered a history of invention and a culture of making something from nothing. Knowing this history, I wanted to bring together makers whose work represents these narratives – such as basket weaving (Mme. Savoie) and rug making (Ms. Morell) – but done so through a modern light.
Greater Saint John is rich in rugged, sublime beauty, not just in nature, but in the fabric of the City itself. The modern face of Saint John is a blue collar one that has weathered many years of hard economic times. Selecting pieces such as Mr. Emenau’s vase and Ms. Klausen’s necklace that capture the gritty beauty of Saint John – found in both its geographic character and in its people’s faces – was an important story to include.
The final piece of the collection captures the next progression of design in Saint John, and Maritimes – reframing and re-imagining ubiquitous elements and icons of this place through a modern lens. This classic diner style mug merges familiar vernacular form with the nostalgia of down home comfort into a modern product for the home.
Correspondent: Geof Ramsay