Maker of the Year 2017: Vikki Wiercinski
Designer Vikki Wiercinski takes inspiration from the Western Canadian landscape for her vibrant, elegant work.
Vikki Wiercinski had nearly finished her degree at the University of Alberta—and was still unclear on the focus of her craft-practice—when one of her classmates handed her a book on wallpaper. “She said, ‘I thought of you because I know how much you like patterns.’” Shortly after that, another classmate gave her a swatch of Marimekko fabric; she, too, had noticed pattern in Wiercinski’s work.
“I clearly remember having every inch of my mind blown,” says the designer. “I thought, ‘You can do this? This is a design thing?’” Indeed, her penchant for sketching repeated abstract shapes in vibrant colours—largely inspired by the Western Canadian landscape—has been the foundation of Wiercinski’s elegant work. Her patterns are reproduced on everything from functional ceramics to concrete cladding and a widely anticipated calendar.
As it turns out, however, Wiercinski’s first product has remained her most enduringly successful. After a few years doing corporate design work while sketching shapes and colours in her free time, Wiercinski was moved to have one of her abstract compositions silkscreened to several white tea towels to sell at a local craft fair. They were an instant hit—and, years after she established her Mezzaluna Studio, still are. Her Abstract Garden series, which was also featured in Uppercase magazine (issue No. 32) is, as the artist puts it, “an ode to fresh warm air, new blooming shapes, and the smell of earth and grass.” Certainly, the patterns are pretty enough to frame, but they’re perhaps more deserving of the startling doses of joy they bring to otherwise mundane daily tasks.
Edmonton-based designer and DOTY judge Geoffrey Lilge was struck by Wiercinski’s “keen awareness of her own personal style” and by the polish of her work, in which “every detail has been considered.” This fall, Wiercinski closes the loop on her trajectory from disbelieving student to bona fide textile artist as she serves as an artist-in-residence in Finland, Marimekko design house’s original home. After that, she’ll oversee a pattern from her Neon Prairie series go up on a mural at Jasper Place Leisure Centre. Once that’s in place, Wiercinski half-jokingly suggests, she might like to retire to an Australian beach. We sincerely hope not.