Inspired by reclusive American quilter Rosie Lee Tomkins and vintage needlework patterns, Grant Heaps created a garden of salvaged chairs dressed up in covers made of reclaimed fabric that were put together in his signature pixelated style.
Heaps, the assistant wardrobe coordinator for the National Ballet of Canada, creates stitched tapestries by piecing together umpteen tiny squares of colour to make up images that appear more clearly at a distance and dissolve into a neo-pointillist blur of colour up close.
To add to the garden effect, the wooden school chairs were painted bright colours before being topped with slipcovers depicting different flowers on the seats and the front of the chairbacks, with irises trailing down behind.
Grouped together, the set of chairs brings the flower garden indoors, particularly noteworthy on a winter's day, set against the sterile backdrop of the sprawling lobby of an office tower at the very heart of Toronto's financial district. What better visual reminder to stop, relax and think about the roses?
Heaps bases his craft on the simplified processes and structure of mass market needlepoint patterns, but turns the process on its head by making it a laborious undertaking. The many tiny squares that make up Heaps' mosaics are reminiscent of those stitched together into quilts by Tomkins in a more fluid, abstract pattern.
The idea is to value the traditions and skills that went into developing the craft of yesteryear upon which we base our current creative assets, an apt thesis for the series that was shown at Assets and Values, this year's edition of Radiant Dark.