Earthly Inspiration: The Process and Expression of Craft

2011, Art, Temporary Exhibit, Toronto Pearson International Airport
artistic practice, contemporary art, craft, glassware, Harbourfront, metal, pottery, textile, Toronto
About This Project

Date: April 16 – October 3, 2011

Partner: Toronto Pearson International Airport

Venue: U.S and International Departures Lounges – map

Project Members: Michael Devaney, Trish Terrill Small, and Yan Zhou


Earthly Inspiration: The Process and Expression of Craft is an exhibition that was designed to surprise the viewers who encounter contemporary craft by revealing the intriguing processes and material that artists manipulate. The exhibition team thinks there is no point in defining “craft”; instead, we wish to communicate to the viewer its diverse nature. Craft uses a variety of earthly materials from which artists draw inspiration and create in a variety of ways.


The exhibition is mounted in the U.S and International Departures Lounges at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Due to its location, this exhibition will attract a general audience; people who come from all walks of life and parts of the world.


Earthly Inspiration is being sponsored by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, the GTAA, and Harbourfront Centre in a collaborative effort.


Planning for this exhibition began when we first contacted Lee Petrie, curator of GTAA, in September of 2010. We then approached Melanie Egan, Head of Craft at Harbourfront Centre, in October to introduce us to the artists who make up their Artist-In-Residence Program. Between November and March 2011 we’ve built up a relationship with the artists in selecting and commissioning their work for inclusion in our exhibition. Finally, we formulated design elements with a professional graphic designer contracted by the GTAA.


Putting on an exhibition at the airport has its limitations. All of the works are displayed beyond the security check and behind glass (in U.S departures lounge) as well as in glass cases (in International departures lounge). Lighting options are unavailable to us (the large case in US departures has diffused lighting), and there are no options to install a multimedia presentation. Our access to the space itself has been very limited; therefore we could only make one trip to the airport before the installation. We are using 20 glass cases in the International Departures Lounge and one large case in the U.S Departures Lounge to mount and display objects of glass, metal, ceramics, and textile onto plinths, walls and ceilings.


The airport will market our exhibition in their publication (magazine), and the Harbourfront Centre has provided us space to put up our poster. We would like to thank the GTAA and Harbourfront Centre for their enormous support, encouragement, and resources in putting on this exhibition.


We extend this thanks to the Faculty of Information for giving us the opportunity to curate this exhibition.