Craft and Design Furniture Students Join Inaugural Unveiling of Mississauga Cultural Hub
In their third year, Sheridan Craft and Design Furniture students participate in a capstone community project that is organized and facilitated by Codesign. This year, students designed and fabricated furniture for a “Community Living Room” within the Small Arms Building, a heritage building re-imagined as a creative hub for the intersection of the arts, culture and heritage, environmental sciences and technology. Three indigenous students also worked alongside the furniture students for the entire project as part of the Small Arms Society’s efforts to include Indigenous voices in the development of this new community space.
The Small Arms Building, located at the eastern border of the Mississauga waterfront, sits on the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the traditional homeland of the Wendat, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee nations. In 1940, the site became a large munitions plant manufacturing rifles and small arms for the Canadian Army through the Second World War until 1974. Small Arms Limited recruited and supported a significant number of women who made up about 2/3 of the factory’s workforce. In 2017, the City of Mississauga acquired the building and this past June, the long-awaited space was unveiled to the public along with numerous creations from Sheridan’s Craft and Design Furniture Studio.
Taking their cues from the Small Arms Building’s archival images, the furniture students collaboratively developed furniture designs that referenced the shop floor production during WWII and the raw materials that were transformed into munitions. The Indigenous students looked towards their connection to the land with the pine seed emerging as a strong symbol for representing their voices. Among the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee, the pine tree is the Tree of Peace. Pine needles, sap, bark, and seeds were/are used for medicine, handicrafts, and food. The seeds only come from the female cones, a nod to First Nations matrilineal society and the female workforce of the building during WWII. The winged seeds are carried by the wind allowing them to disperse widely and regenerate. The dining tables, created by Sarah Lindsay, Emma Baldi and Jing Cao represents the Credit River in a modular form. The resulting work displayed includes: six lounge chairs, eight benches, two coffee tables, four dining/work tables, one serving trolley/mobile cart and a series of cast bronze coat hooks based on the winged form of a pine seed.
Take a close look at some of their creations below.
Participating Indigenous Youth:
Ashley Macdonald, Keelan Patriquin and Catherine Beaver
Participating Furniture Students:
Emma Baldi, Leigh Dotey, Hena Han, Levi Foster, Matthew McIntyre, Mel Merante, Wanxing Samson Wang, Ryan Norton, Jing Cao, Sarah Lindsay, Katie Lawrence, and Sarin Lyu.
Special thanks to Peter Fleming, Craft and Design Furniture Coordinator and Connie Chisholm, CoDesign Principal.
Sheridan’s Craft and Design furniture program provides real-world, hands-on experience in designing and fabricating furniture pieces by incorporating an understanding of structure, function and aesthetics. Visit the program page to learn more.
Photos courtesy of Small Arms Society. Photographer: Bill Soper.