PHOTO ESSAY

Oh Canadiana

Highlights of the Canadian Design Resource

By David Balzer
April 18, 2006
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Basket. Image courtesy of the Canadian Design Resource.

“I grew up in Saskatchewan, where pioneer design was king,” says Falkowsky. “People made and repaired their own farm equipment, and to me that’s as legitimate as anything that came out of Expo 67.”

This woven basket, made by German-Ukrainian farmers for generations, is straight-up, timeless Canadiana, the result of two immigrant cultures blending their indigenous design sensibilities together to create a familiar and practical, yet entirely new, object. “This is the closest you get to what the vernacular might be in this country,” says Falkowsky. “It just goes to show that if you adjust the angle a bit in terms of how you appreciate material culture, you’ll find a strong Canadian design history. The lines go far back — as far back, really, as people have lived here.”

David Balzer is a Toronto writer.

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