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Matthew Cohen, Scott Eunson (2 x winner) and Sina Zapfe.

It’s been a busy winter over here at Design by Nature HQ, as we whiled away all those chilly months planning big improvements for the program for 2014.  A brand new look, an expanded prize structure, and several new community partners mark an exciting year of growth for us.

2013 saw many milestones reached for DxN, including a doubling of submission totals, a truly outstanding roster of winning pieces

, and the publishing of our first ever annual report. So where do we go from here? Up, up, and at ‘em, of course!

This year we are exploring a theme of resource-based art, expanding the focus of the program from one based purely on the re-use existing materials to include a consideration of materials that are available locally that if not put to use will otherwise be redundant. These include wood from the City that came down in the ice storm last year, as well as materials available from new program partners Habitat for Humanity and Trashwag. It’s a new twist on the same basic idea: to encourage new, relevant, city-enhancing art and furniture to be made from materials otherwise overlooked or discarded. Beyond these sources, we encourage you to find your own, whether you’re a dumpster diver, clearing out your great aunt’s attic or get excited about debris found at one of Toronto’s many construction sites. Either way the song remains the same: to encourage the creation of beautiful, original, provocative art for the city from waste.

With the addition of five new prizes this year, for a total of nine, DxN aims to broaden its reach into a rich collection of pieces going forward. It also looks likely that the exhibition will travel beyond the Brick Works following its fall launch, thereby further increasing exposure for the program and its winners.

We are very excited to see the inspiring, creative submissions that roll in this year. This is the chance to experiment, to reimagine, to go beyond the norm in creating unique art that demonstrates the virtues and value to be found in materials long since left for waste. With the truly awesome talent continuing to emerge in the local makers community in this city and beyond, one thing is for sure – it’s going to be another amazing year for Design by Nature and our growing community.

Matthew.