Re-designed Medalta Plates - Toronto Design Offsite Festival 2014

A collaborative design venture between Medalta and MADE Design, Toronto.  Participating artists: Jenn Demke-Lange, Laura McKibbon, Aaron Nelson, Elizabeth Burritt, Jenna Stanton, Noriko Masuda, Tobie Laliberte & Alyssa Yuhas


Makers, illustrators, designers and art directors with multi-faceted practices from across Canada have been recruited to design for an innovative new venture, "Redesigned Medalta". The limited edition series of plates is to be launched at MADE.

Leveraging an industrial and entrepreneurial past to create its cultural future, Medalta is becoming a model for how small communities can transition from industrial economies to cultural economies that connect to broader cultural networks. An iconic factory and beehive kilns are now home to a state- of- the- art contemporary artists studio facility and industrial museum. Artists and designers are invited to interact with the site, the artefacts, and in the case of the Re-designed Medalta project, the leftover ceramic objects from the factory.

Thousands of pieces of vintage china, some slightly flawed, some waiting to be shipped, remained untouched for over 30 years in the shuttered Hycroft China Factory. Frozen in time, Hycroft is now a part of Medalta in the Historic Clay District of Medicine Hat, Alberta. Medalta preserves the vestiges of a fading industry and once powerful economic driver; its unique early 20th century buildings, the rusting equipment, the hills of clay transformed into brick that built the town and the stories of the people who worked in the district.

The post-industrial landscape is rapidly changing in North America as places that once that manufactured things are disappearing. Curator, Aaron Nelson (Artistic Director of Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District) assembled a group of problem solvers who see past the skin of the pattern and extend the role of the rescued plates. Once vintage pieces of Canadian design history, the plates of Redesigned Medalta reflect our industrial past while forging a cultural future. 


Jennifer Demke-Lange