Tag Archives: causes

Our Gratitude for Your Help

Photo credit edwinasharp.blogspot.com

We want to express enormous gratitude to the thousands who rallied to support Japan and Greentea Design’s fund- and awareness-raising efforts these last ten days.  Thanks to your work through email, Facebook, Twitter and your own websites, we are honoured to be making a $6,248.00 directed donation to the Canadian Red Cross to help with relief and rebuilding in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Moreover we were touched by the many notes sent our way detailing your connections to Japan, the personal ways you are helping, and your appreciation that social action is being taken.

There is much work to be done and we won’t let this disaster fade from our consciousness.  Look for periodic updates on the blog and Facebook page.  Here are a few ways to continue to help and keep up to date on emerging issues, efforts and successes on the ground as the country moves forward.

  • Like your local Red Cross’ Facebook page for real times updates (Canadians click here, Americans here). There are 186 countries with Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations including Japan.  Your local Red Cross is best able to lend effective and efficient disaster management support to its Japanese counterpart.
  • Humanitarian Coalition represents the joint efforts of Care Canada, Oxfam Canada , Oxfam QC, and Save the Children. Humanitarian Coalition unites in cases of humanitarian crises for a greater impact and response.
  • Global Giving in the US is raising $4M to fund various relief organizations including Save the Children and International Global Medic to provide emergency services to survivors affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

For Kids and Youth – Paper Cranes for Japan

Students Rebuild and DoSomething.org have come up with a wonderful fund and awareness raising campaign for kids and youth to benefit Architecture for Humanity.  Kids can turn their origami paper crane into dollars for reconstruction – and eventually an art installation – by mailing them to Students Rebuild.  Cranes are sacred in Japanese mythology and a symbol of hope; and folding 1000 is said to grant you one wish.  Each crane received will result in a $2 donation to Architecture for Humanity and its teams of pro bono professionals in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto who are partnering with other organizations to mobilize around a long-term reconstruction effort. The 100,000 cranes these organizations hope to receive will be woven into an art installation – a symbolic gift to the youth of Japan from their global counterparts.

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$10,000 in 10 Days

By a simple click of your mouse, Greentea Design will donate $1 on your behalf to the Red Cross to support relief efforts in Japan. With your help we hope to raise $10,000 in 10 days as a donation for all those affected in the disaster area. Greentea has close ties to Japan and we want to help those that have helped us in the past.

For each person who either “Likes” our Facebook page, follows us on Twitter, or sends an email to japanrelief@greenteadesign.com by March 27, 2011 Greentea Design will donate $1 to the Canadian Red Cross.

I have visited Japan many times over the years and have been inspired by the people, culture, and history of this special place.  Please join us in spreading awareness and raising funds in support of Japan’s relief efforts. Forward this to your family and friends, since the smallest acts put together can have a big impact.

If you want to make your own donation to the Red Cross (and for more information about them) please visit their website (here for Canadians, here for the US). For more information on other NGOs and aid organizations at work in the area, please visit our Facebook page.

Thank you very much,

Dale Storer
Greentea Design

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Designers with the Capacity to Inspire

Capacity runs through February 6, 2011 at Bookhou in Toronto.
Location: 798 Dundas St W @ Palmerston
Gallery Hours : 11-5
Public Reception: January 29, 2011, 5-9pm
Admission: free

Featuring new work by: Maiwenn Castellan, Joy Charbonneau, Michelle Ivankovic, Arounna Khounnoraj, Eric McCutcheon, Katherine Morley, Nathalie Nahas, Ayla Newhouse, Ange-line Tetrault,  Kirsten White

Joy Charbonneau's "Hydrological Map of Canada" depicting the interconnected nature of Canada's water supply

I attended the preview of  Capacity at Bookhou. The exhibition, running till February 6, 2011, features new work by 10 top Toronto-based designers, some established, some emerging, all exceptionally talented.

Curators Erin McCutcheon and Katherine Morley asked participating designers to create pieces that reflected how ‘Capacity’ related to their work.  The aim is to profile a diverse group of women designers in a multidisciplinary exhibition.  The designs showcased range from textiles to furniture, sculpture to print.  So, that the exhibition is seamlessly cohesive, that the works on display are accessible, intimate and focused, is no small feat.  The collection taken as a whole is beautiful, each designer’s work crafted with integrity and a strong narrative. Indeed it highlights the great care taken by both curators and designers to create an exhibition that is sure to direct the conversation about the quality of work being produced by local women talent.

Katherine Morely's porcelain "Hanna Eggcup", one of many mediums this designer showcases in this exhibition

The Concept

“What is your capacity to understand? To withstand? To produce? To learn? To love? Is your cup half full or is it half empty? Is infinity possible? How much of who you are is what you collect?”

These questions are addressed thoughtfully in the works on display.  And how the sentiment is addressed is strong in each piece – sometimes irreverently, sometimes philosophically, sometimes full of hope.  Here are a few works that grabbed me.

Maiwenn Castellan's "LIAM Mailbox"

Maiwenn Castellan’s “LIAM” Mailboxes examines capacity in terms of potential space.  The mailbox, a clearly defined box also holds the world’s possibility – from this box comes announcements of new life and new love.  LIAM urges us to make room for that little thrill each day.

Erin McCutcheon's "Lodestar"

Erin McCutcheon’s Lodestar examines the human capacity to survive.  She displays two beautiful mobiles, one made up of ceramic airplanes, the other a series of signal mirrors to attract them when stranded in isolation (each engraved with quotes by Ernest Shackleton) and asks what contributes to our ability to live – even evolve – through the harshest of conditions.

Arounna Khounnoraj "Detachment Series"

Arounna Khounnoraj’s Detachment Series are brooches of naturally dyed fabrics on a felt background, constructed like tiny quilts – grown from the inside out, blossoming to find their shape or capacity.  Though small in size, they also seem to define the space around them.

The Curators

Katherine and Erin have produced an exhibit that represents a range of design practices and talent homegrown in our city.  The show is not about the politics of equality, but a celebration of great design and unique points of view.  The truth is that women designers are simply under-represented in the Canadian landscape as elsewhere. But this exhibition should inform, challenge and direct future dialogue about how this field should be defined.

Thank you Capacity for a show that does no less than make you think and feel.

Not in Toronto, but would like more information on the work of these designers?  Please check out their bios and sites through Capacity’s.

Nathalie Nahas' "Alphabits and Pieces", letters you'll note arranged in song

All images courtesy Capacity

Snob – A Toronto Boutique Profile

These masterpieces, the Snob Egyptian Lighting series, are handmade in Egypt so each one is slightly different from the next. Made of silver-plated copper.

If you’re attending IDS11, you don’t want to miss Snob’s booth (#1910).

Denise Zidel is the proprietor of Snob Boutique in Toronto’s east end.  Denise picks each of the handcrafted designs Snob showcases with the hand and eye of a curator.  The result is a space rich, inviting, and chock full of character.  As you travel through Snob you get a sense that each item has a story to tell, crafted by artisans from a number of African countries.

These seamless hand felted rock pillows by Ronel Jordaan from South Africa are made of 100% felt wool. Available in a range of colours and sizes; outdoor versions available too.

Denise seeks out – and Snob embodies – the soul of sustainism, the latest buzz word gaining momentum in the design world. With innovative design concepts that are sensitive to nature, created following ethically and environmentally aware principles, the end result are artistic pieces that help us feel connected to the planet and each other.

This feather headdress from Cameroon is constructed of bird feathers. Stunning on a wall or above the fireplace.

Many of Snob’s pieces, like the headdress and swirl mirror pictured, blend colour, natural forms and textures with a strong cultural voice; they play with scale and proportion to create ‘furniture as art and art as furniture’.

This Swirl Mirror is hand carved and constructed of solid African mahogany. Also available in silver, gold and lacquer.

You can visit Snob at IDS11 at booth #1910 Saturday January 29th and Sunday the 30th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Snob is located at 202F-388 Carlaw Ave, Toronto

All images courtesy snobstuff.com

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Why You Should Care About The Toronto International Design Festival

For the second year the Interior Design Show has produced the Toronto International Design Festival.  This year the quality and abundance of local talent, ideas, art and intention on display is staggering. If you’re in Toronto this week, it’s worth braving the cold.  A few of The Design Tree’s picks on what to see and do are below.

Conversations in Design: Crowdsourcing creativity and community
Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St, W
When: January 27, 2011, 9-5pm
Admission: Full day $250 + HST; $150 + HST for students.

Ten great minds come together for IDS’ second annual full-day design symposium to discuss the effects “crowdsourcing” has on creativity in the design community and as a tool for social change. Understood as tapping talent from the crowd, the impressive panel is moderated by Helen Walters, and includes writer and artist Douglas Coupland (have you read his NYT op-ed dictionary of a near future?), David Benjamin – the force behind The Living (see Amphibious Architecture!), Bruce Mau Design’s Hunter Tura among others.  For more information, hop on over to www.conversationsindesign.com.

While Conversations in Design is an IDS event, across the city there are a great number of independent exhibits and shows that feature a tonne of home-grown talent.  Connecting with Parimal Gosai, a founding member of Pubic Displays of Affection,  a group that uses design as a tool to shape, build and improve society, he is excited about the emergence of Toronto as a hub – and community- of  design. Not only is the Toronto scene developing a unique identity and boasting a healthy diversity, Parimal sees a community truly in blossom: “There is a very supportive comradery between the designers and the different exhibitions happening this week. It will make Toronto design week feel like a week of sharing wonderful thoughts and ideas with friends.”  But perhaps most exciting is his view that the Toronto scene is thinking big, evolving beyond design as a “unilateral, money-making practise available only to the elite. We, as PDA are welcoming change, diversity, truth and love in design as way to move forward and exist in the current socio-economical, political and environmental climate while remaining true to who we are.”

When: January 26 – February 6, 2011
Where: The fabulous Bookue Boutique, 798 Dundas St W
Admission: Free

Curators Katherine Morley and Erin McCutcheon ask 10 Canadian women designers to examine the word ‘capacity’ in their work.  Bringing together top industrial, graphic, textile, and product designers this exhibit features a range of media -from sculpture to furniture- tied together by this common thread.  The show promises to be fascinating in its own right, but bravo to Morley and McCutcheon for featuring the oft neglected POV of women designers. www.capacitytoronto.com

Come Up To My Room
When: January 28-30, 2011
Where: Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W.
Admission: $10

In its 8th year, the Gladstone Hotel’s annual alternative design event invites more than 30 local artists and designers to show us what goes on inside their heads.  Always one of Toronto’s most exciting shows – conceptual, dynamic and inspiring in its marriage of art and design- this year’s show is curated by Jeremy Vandermeij and Deborah Wang and features works in 11 rooms and 14 installations in the hotel’s public spaces.  www.comeuptomyroom.com

Imaginando Lotta

Where: School of Design at George Brown College, 230 Richmond St E
When: January 28 2011, 4-8pm
Admission: Free

This year students of the Institute without Boundaries focuses on the future for Lota, a small mining community in Chile devastated by the recent earthquake in February 2010. Working together with local industry professionals and remotely with members of the community, this small interdisciplinary group of students is developing a revitalization plan and a vision for the future of Lota. The solutions they propose will address the physical damage as well as the economic, social and emotional impact of recent events. This exhibition highlights  this project that brings together an unusual academic design program with a vibrant community in Chile that was once a centre for culture and the arts.


Neighbourhood Maverick
Where: Harbourfront York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
When: January 29 – June 12, 2011
Admission: Free Public Opening Reception January 28th, 6-10pm

In Toronto – as elsewhere – neighbourhoods are defined by the houses within their boundaries. Cork Town is known for its turn of century workers’ townhouses; Leaside, its post war bungalows. But neighbourhoods evolve along with its city.  This exhibition explores the juxtaposition of modern homes within these neighbourhods, asking how and to what extent the  existing streetscape be maintained?

Lots to see and do this week.  We’re all very excited.  Just don’t forget your hat and mitts.